revcom.us, May 24, 2021 through May 30, 2021 (#701)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/694/a-declaration-a-call-to-get-organized-now-for-a-real-revolution-full-en.html

FROM THE REVCOMS (REVCOM.US):

A DECLARATION,
A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW
FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution—nothing less!

To everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie ... who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) ... everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all ... everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible ... everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution.

This revolution is not just “a good idea”—it is actually possible.

Is this for real? Are we serious about this, and can we back it up? YES. We are not here to repeat garbage that may be “popular” or to spread the lies we are constantly told by the people in power and their mouthpieces in the media and elsewhere. We are here to bring the truth. So here are some basic truths that we need to understand and live by.

1. The system we live under, the system of capitalism-imperialism destroys lives and crushes spirits. It is the source of endless horrors for the majority of people in this country and all around the world, and it is increasingly threatening the very existence of humanity. The military of this country is not carrying out an “honorable service”—and it is not some “bad ass” force that people should respect. It is doing the same thing around the world, on a massive scale, that the police are doing here: carrying out the cowardly killing and terrorizing of people in the service of the biggest oppressors in the world, the rulers of this country. And it is a major cause of the destruction of the environment.

It is a hard but basic truth: For the masses of people, and ultimately for humanity as a whole, there is no future, or no future worth living, under this system.

But there is a way to a world and a future that is worth living, and is worth fighting for right now: revolutiona real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number. A revolution means a force of millions, drawn from many different parts of society and organized for an all-out fight to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution.

2. Revolutions are not possible all the time, but are generally possible only in rare times and circumstances, especially in a powerful country like this. This is one of those rare times and circumstances. This system is in real trouble, caught up in crisis and conflicts for which it has no easy or lasting solutions. Throughout this country the workings of this system have given rise to deep divisions which cannot be resolved under this system. Society is being ripped apart. Those who rule are locked in a bitter fight among themselves, and they cannot hold things together in the way they have in the past. Although there are a lot of bad things connected with this and it could lead to something really terrible, it is also possible that we could wrench something really positive out of it—revolution, to put an end to this system and bring something much better into being.

We have seen the potential for revolution powerfully demonstrated just last summer when millions of people, of all races and genders, all over this country, and all around the world, rose up together against racist oppression and police murder. We have seen this potential in the mass outpourings of women, in countries all over the world, refusing to put up with being abused and degraded. This potential is also revealed in the deep distress being expressed, by scientists and millions of ordinary people, about the continually worsening climate crisis and the threat this poses to the future of humanity—a crisis this system cannot solve, but can only make worse. But, with all this, right now only a small number of us have recognized the need for this revolution and are acting to make it happen. So there is crucial work that must be done now to win people to understand the need for revolution and act to make it real—to turn the potential for revolution into a powerful movement and organized force for an actual revolution.

3. To make this revolution a reality, we need leadership with the scientific method, the strategy and program that can shine a light through the madness and chaos that this system is constantly creating and can lead in carving the path forward out of this madness to the radically new world we need. AND WE HAVE THAT LEADERSHIP—IN BOB AVAKIAN (BA). BA is the architect of a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now. We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

4. We need to urgently change the situation where not nearly enough people know about this revolution and are with it. We need to get this revolution, and its leadership, known everywhere. We need to challenge and seriously struggle with people right around us, and all over the country, to do something that, yes, requires real heart and will make a positive difference for real—become part of this revolution, and follow this revolutionary leadership. We need to organize more and more people into the ranks of the revolution.

Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same. On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.

We need to struggle hard with people to take up the orientation and strategy, the values and goals, for this revolution, and dedicate themselves to working for this revolution, while we unite growing numbers to fight the abuse, brutality and destruction perpetrated by this system, and through all this get thousands and then millions of people prepared and steeled to do away with this system that brings so much hell to people. We need to wield this growing revolutionary force to stand up to this system and its murderous enforcers and to change the whole “terrain” (the political, social and cultural situation and “atmosphere”) throughout society, in order to weaken the hold of this system over people, win people away from acting to strengthen and enforce this system, and create the best possible conditions for this revolution to succeed.

To come back to basics: We need revolution—a real revolution. We cannot afford to waste these rare times and circumstances that could be ripened into a real chance to make revolution. We cannot afford to squander the rare and precious leadership we have for this revolution. We have to get busy, build the movement and the organized forces for revolution all over the country, and work together tirelessly for this revolution, to actively prepare for the situation where this system can be brought down and something much better brought into being.

To get more of the tools and the knowledge you need to become part of this revolution, and to go to work building for this revolution, get with those representing for this revolution right now, become part of the Revolution Clubs around the country, go to our website revcom.us regularly, and watch The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show every week.

If you want to know more about this, right now, keep reading: here is further knowledge about these basic truths.

One. This system of capitalism-imperialism rules and profits by exploiting and oppressing, using and abusing masses of people, including children, all over the world; by treating whole groups of people as less than human; by slaughtering people who get in its way; by threatening people with its arsenals of mass destruction; by destroying the environment. Regardless of who is in the positions of power, this is the only way this system can operate, and under this system things can only get worse. All this is why we need a revolution. Bob Avakian (BA) has put this very clearly: “We have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!

To make it very clear once more: By revolution we mean nothing less than overthrowing this whole system—defeating, disarming and dismantling the murderous armed power and other institutions that enforce this system—completely abolishing this whole system and replacing it with something radically different and much better, a new society built on an entirely different foundation. And this new system we need is socialism—an economic and political system that is set up to meet the needs of the people, not the profit and power of exploiters and oppressors—a system that moves to do away with all exploitation and oppression, and supports people everywhere fighting against exploitation and oppression, in order to get to a communist world, where all this madness will finally be ended, for real, and people all over the world will be able to work together for the common good. Don’t be fooled by talk about how communism is no good and will make things worse. That is just talk that helps to keep this system of capitalism-imperialism going, with all its horrors for the masses of humanity and its growing threat to our very existence. In the works of BA, and other works you can find at revcom.us, you can learn the real truth about communism and the way BA has further developed communism into an even more powerful and liberating science of revolution: the new communism.

Two. This is one of those rare times and circumstances when revolution becomes possible, not just because this system is always a horror, but because the crisis and deep divisions in society now can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means. Those who have ruled over us, for so long, with their Republican and Democratic parties, are now caught up in bitterly fighting each other over how to hold this country together, keep this system going, enforce its rule over the people it exploits and oppresses, and maintain this country as the world’s top-dog oppressive power. The Republicans are moving to exercise this rule through fascism: discarding the pretense of “democracy for all,” relying on naked brutality and trampling on people’s rights, to enforce undisguised, aggressive male supremacy, white supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners and persecution of immigrants, especially from non-white countries) and crude “America first” chauvinism. The Democrats are trying to keep things together with more disguise and deception, with the claim that what exists in this country is a “great democracy” representing “the will of the people,” and for this reason it deserves to be, and needs to be, the most powerful force in the world. But, in reality, both of these ruling class parties are working to maintain the violent oppressive power, the dictatorship, of this capitalist-imperialist system, with all the horrors for humanity this involves.

These divisions and conflicts have ripped big holes in the camouflage of this system, further exposing its real nature and the lie that this is “the greatest country in the world,” the “shining light of freedom” and “leader of the free world.” All this is very likely to become more and more intense, tearing apart the bonds that have held things together under this system and further deepening the divisions throughout society, including within the institutions of power. This could lead to something very bad—or something very good, IF we act in the way we need to in these rare circumstances and fight to take things where they need to go.

As BA has emphasized, in a powerful New Year’s Statement (A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity), the fact that the fascist Trump was voted out of office is important but it only “buys some time” and time is not on the side of the fight for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be wasted by going along with this system. We will never get where we need to go by being a tail on the Democratic donkey (and, obviously, not by siding with the Republican fascists). No, we need to break out of acting on the terms, and within the confines, of this system, which has all this murderous oppression and destruction built into it. We need to be actively working to radically change the “alignment of forces” in society, to where things are more favorable for overthrowing this whole system.

These days there is a lot of talk about another civil war, especially from fascists, in government and the broader society, who think they could just carry out a one-sided slaughter of those they hate, including Black people and other people of color, “illegal immigrants,” “uppity women” and those who don’t conform to “traditional” sexual and gender relations and “norms.” This situation needs to be radically changed, to where there are masses of people prepared to defeat these fascists and to do so as part of getting rid of this whole system, which has bred these fascists, along with all the other horrors it continually perpetrates.

What we need is “repolarization for revolution—making real revolution an active and increasingly powerful force of first thousands, and then millions, of people organized to work for and win more and more people to this revolution—radically changing the “terrain” on which the revolution will be fought.

Today, there are not only many fascists in the murderous police forces, but more than a few in the military as well. But it is a fact that, at the high point of the 1960s, the strength of the radical liberation movements at that time reached into and strongly influenced every part and every institution of society—including the armed forces of this system, where more of the soldiers looked for leadership from the Black Panther Party and other revolutionary-minded forces than from the president of the United States (the so-called “commander-in-chief” of the armed forces). Even with the differences between then and now, creating this kind of situation—where a revolutionary movement based on the new communism and the leadership of BA is impacting every part of society and key institutions—this is achievable, and is a very important part of preparing the ground for the seizure of power, when the time is right. This will make it possible to have the best fighting chance to take revolution all the way, and not be beaten back down into yet more horror.

And the potential for this revolution is real. There is the ever intensifying climate crisis—and it is a scientific fact that this system of capitalism-imperialism cannot solve this crisis, but can only make it worse. At the same time, over the past few years, literally millions of women, all over the world, have demonstrated their outrage at the murder and rape, the attacks on their right to abortion and birth control, and the all-around brutality and abuse they are continually subjected to, as a result of the male supremacist relations that are built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and all systems that are ruled by exploiters and oppressors. And last summer, when millions of us, of all races and genders, rose up all over this country in righteous rebellion in response to the vicious murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, this powerfully demonstrated the potential for revolution.We were supported and joined by millions more in countries all over the world. And, at the height of this, the whole country, the whole world was compelled to recognize and to talk about the long and continuing chain of these racist murders and big questions about the whole history and nature of this country. Yes, this powerful rising was, in the short run, misled into dead-ends by people working for meaningless petty reforms and seeking funds for themselves and positions within the structures of this system. But that does not change the fact that what was demonstrated was the possibility and potential for something much greater and far better—an actual revolution.

Three: Bob Avakian (BA) came forward as a revolutionary and developed into a communist leader through the mass revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s. He is an old white guy—yes, deal with it! Unlike so many who considered themselves revolutionaries at that time, BA has never given up, never departed from the road of revolution. He has continued to advance on this road and to confront the problems and difficulties in making revolution. He has drawn crucial lessons from the historical experience (positive and negative) of revolution throughout the world, and from many other aspects of human society and human endeavor. He has deeply studied how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works, and what are the defining contradictions of this system that constitute the basis for overthrowing it. It is through all this that he has brought forward a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism.

BA is providing ongoing leadership for this revolution, and he has a whole body of work that contains the scientific method to analyze the problem and the solution, the strategy for the revolution to bring down this system, and the vision and concrete plan for that radically different and much better society, on the road to emancipate all of humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation, and to enable humanity to become fit caretakers of the earth. He’s even written a Constitution (the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America) that concretely maps out what to do starting right after the seizure of power, so we can actually work on building up that whole new emancipating society. It is simply true: There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now, and we cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

Four: Many of the people who can be won to this revolution are not “into this” now and are not acting in accordance with the methods, principles, and goals of this revolution. And there is still way too much trying to get over on each other and attacking each other, which only brings more heartbreak and misery. This revolution is in the interests of all people who catch hell under this system and all those who hunger for or dream about a world where an end to exploitation, poverty, inequality, injustice and oppression is not a bitter joke but a liberating reality. Instead of fighting each other, we need to be uniting everyone with a heart for justice and protecting and defending each other from the criminal, brutal and murderous actions of “official” forces and fascist forces with the power to do us the greatest harm. We need to be working together to build up the ranks of the revolution and prepare to defeat the forces, of any kind, that would keep this system going and make its madness even worse.

And, in working to change the world in this way, people can change themselves—they can be united with in refusing to put up with injustice that no one should accept, and struggled with to see that revolution is the way to put an end to all this—that revolution is what we should live for and fight for. The basis for making this real is concentrated in the guideline: Fight the Power, and Transform the People—for Revolution.

To do this, people need to break with this system’s ways and take up radically different and emancipating methods, principles and goals, and a radically different and far better culture, morality and way of relating to each other. With the revolution it’s not “everyone out for themselves and against everybody else”—it’s all of us together who can’t stand to live like this and hunger for something much better, something truly emancipating.

At the same time as leadership and guidance for this revolution is being provided, in an ongoing way, through our website, revcom.us and through The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show, and while paying attention to the necessary health measures in light of the still continuing COVID pandemic, we are reaching out directly (in real life) to people around the country, to bring the liberating message of this revolution, to win growing numbers of people to this revolution and organize them into the ranks of this revolution.

All over the country, in every neighborhood, every school, every place and every institution where there are people sickened by the way things are, or questioning whether things have to be this way, revolutionary organization needs to be built, as part of the nationwide revolutionary movement. This revolution and its leadership need to increasingly become the authority that people look to and the leadership they follow, setting the standard and providing the direction for how people see things, and how they act.

Through all this, growing numbers of people can be working together to shape the political situation, winning masses of people to revolution and strengthening the organized revolutionary forces for the all-out fight for revolution when the conditions for revolution have been ripened.

To come back, once more, to basics: We need a revolution—a real revolution. And this revolution is possible. To everyone who hungers for an end to oppression and injustice, and everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to get into this revolution, become part of the organized forces for this revolution, and work tirelessly for this revolution, so that we can have a real chance to win.

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/700/a-call-to-all-who-want-a-better-world-en.html

A Call to All Who Want a Better World...

June 12, 2021 MARCH!

From Southwest College, Los Angeles to the LA County Sheriffs

Show the World:
We Are Getting Organized Now For
REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!

| revcom.us

 

The LA County Sheriffs—like the other police forces and the military—“serve and protect” THIS SYSTEM—the system of capitalism-imperialism. The system that rules this planet. The system that destroys lives and crushes spirits... that treats all kinds of people as “less than human”... that hunts down and drives down our youth in so many ways... and that threatens the very existence of humanity.  

This system must go! So, Let’s Get Down to Basics: We Need A Real Revolution!

On June 12, people from around the Los Angeles area will march on the LA County Sheriff’s Station in Westmont to proclaim:

 

WE ARE FIGHTING TO EMANCIPATE ALL HUMANITY –

For a World Free of All Oppression and Exploitation
No More Antagonistic Divisions Among the People

THIS SYSTEM CANNOT BE REFORMED—
IT MUST BE OVERTHROWN!

June 12, 2021, 2:00 p.m.

March will start at the corner of Los Angeles Southwest College on Western Ave. and Imperial Hwy. March to the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, 1310 W. Imperial Hwy.

 

A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution says:

...For the masses of people, and ultimately for humanity as a whole, there is no future, or no future worth living, under this system.

But there is a way to a world and a future that is worth living, and is worth fighting for right now: revolutiona real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number.

This revolution will “overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism.”

We have the leadership for this revolution in Bob Avakian, BA.

BA is the architect of a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too.

This revolution is possible. We are in a rare time when this really could be. But only if we get organized.

Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society— spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same.

To Everyone who wants to see an end to oppression and injustice... To Everyone who has a heart to fight for something really worth fighting for –

Become part of the ORGANIZED Forces for this Revolution –
so that we can have a real chance to win a whole new world!

To read the full Declaration and Call, go to www.revcom.us. To learn more and get connected:
YouTube/therevcoms           Revcom.us           @therevcoms

The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show

Episode 51: Revolution: The Possibility is Real! Getting Organized Now; Bob Avakian on the New Society; May 1, 2021

Episode 55: "How soon can we sweep this system away?" Bob Avakian on Tulsa; June 12 MARCH for Revolution

youtube.com/therevcoms

What Is the Revolution Club?

Who Should Check Out the Revolution Club, Run with It and Join?

What Does It Mean To Join? And How Do I Get Started?

"Everyone who can't stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution"... and get with the Revolution Club!

Find out more...

Download, print and spread this call (PDF):
Front | Back

June 12 Marches in Other Cities

New York City
2 pm
Start @ Marcus Garvey Park, 123rd & Madison Ave., Harlem
March to NYPD 28th Precinct (123rd & Frederick Douglass Blvd.)
Contact: Revolution Club, NYC
@NYCREVCLUB

Chicago
3 pm
March to the 7th District CPD station in Englewood at 1438 W. 63rd
Starting from 63rd and Halsted (near Whole Foods and Halsted Green Line)
Download flyer (PDF)
Contact: Revolution Club, Chicago
312-804-9121 revclubchi@gmail.com @revclubchi

Download, print and spread this Poster (PDF):

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/natl-revolution-tour-fund-drive-page-en.html

Donate to the National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution

| revcom.us

 

“Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution—nothing less!”

— Declaration from the revcoms:
A Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution

 

Revolution will not happen without financial support from the people themselves – those who catch the most hell under this system, and all those who are sick and tired of living in a world where people are treated as less than human.  If you want to get free... if you want humanity to get free... you need to be part of taking responsibility for this.  This means contributing funds and raising funds from others for the revolution necessary to bring a whole new world into being.

Funds are needed to print materials, for transportation, advertising, support for the frontline revolutionary fighters who are currently on a National Tour, now focused in LA, to run the revcom.us website and to produce the weekly YouTube show, The RNL – Revolution, Nothing Less! – Show which are providing national leadership and guidance for this revolution.

There's nothing more important to contribute funds to than the work being done NOW to organize forces for real revolution.

For ways to donate, go HERE

Family Members of People Murdered by Cops
Call on You to:
DONATE GENEROUSLY TO THE NATIONAL REVOLUTION TOUR!

Read more

New Donor Statements

Updated May 19, 2021

Read all

Downloadable posters for the National Fundraising Week now available

Find them here

 

FUND THE REVOLUTION: Fundraising Livestream for the National Revolution Tour

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

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/new-years-statement-2021/bob-avakian-new-years-statement-2021-en.html

 

NEW YEAR'S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN

A New Year,
The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—
For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

 

1In my statement of August 1 of last year, I put forward the analysis that, in the particular circumstances of this presidential election and the truly profound stakes it posed, if the Trump/Pence regime remained in power at the time of this election, it would be necessary and important to vote for Biden to deliver a decisive electoral defeat to the fascism represented by this regime. At the same time, I emphasized that simply relying on voting would likely lead to disaster, and that it was vitally important for masses of people to take to the streets, in nonviolent but sustained, and growing, mass mobilization with the demand that this fascist regime must be OUT NOW!, as called for by RefuseFascism.org.

As it turned out, masses of people did vote in large numbers to oust this fascist regime—and, in doing so delivered a decisive enough electoral defeat to the Trump/Pence regime that its increasing, and then massively violent, attempt at a coup has been more difficult to pull off and has finally been defeated, with Trump forced to leave (while still refusing to acknowledge his loss in the election), even as Biden had to be inaugurated in a capital city that was a locked-down armed camp.

In immediate terms, the catastrophe has been narrowly averted that would have occurred if this fascist regime had been re-elected (or in some other way remained in power) and on that basis further consolidated its fascist rule and been more fully emboldened and unleashed to implement its horrific program. The fact that the Trump/Pence regime has had to leave office is of great importance and something in itself worth celebrating! Yet the reality is that, not only in relation to this election but throughout the four years of this regime’s rule and its mounting atrocities, there has not been the massive nonviolent mobilization called for by Refuse Fascism to drive out this regime—and, in the aftermath of the election, the streets were dominated by fascist mobilizations, and not by opposition to fascism. This has resulted in a situation where, despite the Trump/Pence regime’s loss in the election, the forces of fascism are still in many ways being strengthened, and the opposition to this has remained much too passive and reliant on the terms set by the Democratic Party.

The reality has to be confronted that, as expressed through the election, nearly half this country has passionately, aggressively and belligerently embraced what is represented by “Trumpism.” The unavoidable truth is that this country, the much-proclaimed “Shining City on a Hill,” is full of fascists!—in the government at all levels and in large parts of the society as a whole. And a defining characteristic of these fascists is their fanatical allegiance to demented distortions of reality, which is extremely difficult (and in many cases impossible) to penetrate with reason and fact, because these distortions serve to reinforce their sense of threatened entitlement and render long-standing prejudices and hatreds even more virulent. This fascism is deeply rooted, in the underlying dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system that rules in this country and in the whole history of this country, from its founding in slavery and genocide. Related to this is another critical truth: Biden will fail miserably in his attempt to bring about “healing” and “unite the country.” As I have written previously:

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

There is no question that many of the policies of the Biden/Harris administration will be different than the blatant atrocities of the Trump/Pence regime, and things will definitely “feel different” with Biden and Harris, but the way they will try to “unite the country”—in line with the interests and requirements of this system of capitalism-imperialism—is something that no decent person should want, or be part of. In seeking to re-establish and reinforce “stability” at home, and to maintain the U.S. as the world’s number one oppressive power, Biden, Harris, and the Democrats (as well as other “mainstream” institutions, such as the New York Times and CNN), will make determined attempts to keep the masses of people who have righteously hated the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime, and who aspire to a more just world, firmly tied to this system—restricting their political vision, and activity, within the confines of this system, preventing them from acting in their own fundamental interests and those of humanity as a whole. And to the degree that things are maintained within the limits of this system, this will actually have the effect of furthering the horrors for humanity that are built into this system, while also reinforcing and giving further impetus to the underlying economic—and the social and political—forces that will strengthen the fascism that has already shown great strength in this country (and a number of others).

2Even as it is critically important that the voting in this election has resulted in a decisive defeat for the Trump/Pence regime and its attempts to more fully consolidate fascist rule, this must not be allowed to obscure this crucial truth: The polarization, between Democrats and Republicans, as expressed through the electoral process in this country, involves contention over how to uphold and pursue the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system and rule by the capitalist class. It does not represent the fundamental divisions in society and the world, nor the fundamental interests of the masses of people, in this country and in the world as a whole. Nor can the profound problems confronting humanity be solved—in fact, they can only get worse—within the confines of this murderously oppressive and exploitative system and the chaos and destruction it will continue to unleash on a massive scale, so long as it continues to dominate the world.

This is fact-based, scientifically-established truth. Ignoring, denying, or trying to pursue individual escape from this reality will only make things worse and hasten disaster.

The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be squandered—mired in oblivious individualism and political paralysis or misspent on misdirected activity that only reinforces this system which perpetuates endless horrors for the masses of humanity and has brought things to the brink of very real catastrophe.

A profoundly different polarization must be brought about, in line with the potential for a radically different and better world, representing the actual interests of the masses of people and ultimately all of humanity. A radically different approach to understanding, and acting on, the relations and problems of society must be taken up—a thoroughly and consistently scientific method and approach.

3Among many who have been outraged by the way Trump has consistently engaged in both pathological and purposeful lying, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the importance of science and truth, on facts and evidence-based reasoning. This has focused to a significant degree on the criminally anti-scientific approach that Trump and Pence have taken to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the encouragement of this anti-scientific madness among the fascist “base” in society at large—all of which has led to at least tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of unnecessary deaths as well as unnecessary hardship and suffering for masses of people. This emphasis on science and the scientific method is vitally important, but it is also necessary to emphasize the real need and great importance of being consistent with this, and following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads, in order to correctly understand reality, in every sphere of life and society.

This means fully breaking with and moving beyond an approach of merely embracing truths—or supposed truths—with which one is comfortable, while rejecting, dismissing, or evading actual truth which may make one uncomfortable. One important dimension of this is rising above and repudiating methodologically the philosophical relativism of “identity politics,” which does a great deal of harm through its own version of reducing “truth” to partial, unsystematized experience and subjective sentiment (“my truth”...“our truth”...) in opposition to real, objective truth, which is correctly, scientifically arrived at through an evidence-based process, to determine whether, or not, something (an idea, theory, assertion, etc.) corresponds to actual material reality. While politically this “identity politics” may be proceeding from a desire to oppose various forms of oppression—even if this is often characterized, and vitiated, by people of different “identities” seeking to claim “ownership” of opposition to oppression—in terms of epistemology (the approach to understanding reality and arriving at the truth of things) “identity politics” has a lot in common with the reliance on “alternative facts” (assertions that are in opposition to actual facts, often wildly so) that is the hallmark of the fascists. Even as it is important to recognize the political distinctions involved, the situation is far too serious, and the stakes far too high, to allow ourselves to fall into, or conciliate with, any form of opposing the scientific method and its pursuit of objective truth about actual reality.

To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by—what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and the actual solution. This means coming to the scientific understanding that we are living under a system, and what that system actually is (the system of capitalism-imperialism); working to grasp the deeper relations and dynamics of this system and how this is setting the framework for how different sections of society spontaneously think and react to events in society and the world, and what is the possible way forward to transforming all of this in the interests of the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole. A crucial part of this is a scientific understanding of major changes, resulting from the very dynamics and functioning of this system, that have led to upheaval in society and have in significant ways fed this fascism: changes in the capitalist-imperialist economy and correspondingly in the social structure and “social composition” within this country, as well as internationally, which have undermined “traditional” forms of oppression without, however, leading to the ending of this oppression but establishing and enforcing it in new forms, while provoking what is truly a deranged, sadistic and often violent reaction on the part of the sectors of society who have identified their interests, and in effect their very being, with the traditional forms of oppression.

As an introduction, and overarching point, in regard to some of these important changes, it is important to emphasize that these changes, and especially those that have occurred in the last few decades, are bound up with the heightened parasitism of capitalism-imperialism in the contemporary world. As I explained in Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, parasitism refers to

the fact that an increasingly globalized capitalism relies to a very great degree for production and for maintaining the rate of profit on a vast network of sweatshops, particularly in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while capitalist activity in the capitalist‑imperialist “home countries” is increasingly in the realm of finance and financial speculation, and the “high end” of (not the production of the basic physical materials for) high tech, as well as the service sector and the commercial sphere (including the growing role of online marketing).

Since the end of World War 2 (75 years ago), the situation of Black people has dramatically changed. These changes were initially based in increased mechanization and other transformations in agricultural production, and the economy overall; they were driven by a powerful upsurge of struggle of Black people, wrenching concessions out of the ruling class in this country that was anxious to maintain its image as “the champion of democracy” and “leader of the free world,” especially in its confrontation with the Soviet Union for a number of decades after World War 2. As a result of these and other factors, Black people’s oppression is no longer centered around brutal exploitation in the rural south, in conditions of near slavery (and in some cases actual slavery) backed up by Ku Klux Klan terror, but instead involves a situation where masses of Black people are segregated and concentrated in urban areas throughout the country and subjected to systematic discrimination and continual brutality and murder by the police. Over the past several decades, due to heightened globalization and automation of production, interacting with continuing discrimination, there has been the elimination of a great deal of factory employment which provided Black men (and some women) with better-paying jobs in the urban areas. At the same time, as a result of the civil rights and Black liberation struggles of the 1960s/early ’70s, and other factors, there has been the growth of the Black middle class. But there has also been an increase of the so-called “underclass,” concentrated and contained in urban ghettos and more or less permanently locked out of regular employment in the “formal” economy.

Unable to provide a positive resolution to acute contradictions bound up with these changes—unable to end systemic racism which involves degrading discrimination against even economically better-off sections of Black people—unable to integrate large numbers of Black people into the “formal” economy—the ruling forces in society have responded to this situation with mass incarceration of millions of Black males (and growing numbers of females) with arrests, trials, convictions and sentences embodying yet more discrimination and injustice, and by unleashing and backing systematic police terror, which is especially directed against Black people in the inner cities but can target any Black person, anywhere, at any time. The attempt to brutally enforce “law and order,” given that a more just solution is impossible under this system, heightens the volatility of this whole situation, leading to further upheaval—including completely justified and righteous protest and rebellion—which, in turn, is seized on by fascist forces in promoting their grotesque white supremacist portrayal of the masses of Black people as “criminals” and “uncaged animals.”

The fact that, with all these changes, and regardless of who is occupying the seats of power, systematic discrimination and murderous oppression has persisted, has led some Black people to conclude that the Democratic Party is the problem, since it has consistently sought the support of Black people but has repeatedly acted against their interests. Even as the Republican Party has become the vehicle of overt and aggressive white supremacy, it is true that the Democrats, and not just the Republicans, have presided over the oppression of Black people. But what is the actual reason for that, and what is the real answer to it? The reality is that white supremacy is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and neither of these ruling class parties could put an end to this, even if they wanted to. The answer is not rallying to the fascist Republican Party, or trying to play these bourgeois parties against each other, or embracing “Black capitalism” and begging for a better “seat at the table”—all of which will only reinforce the existing system of oppression and perhaps benefit a few at the expense of the many. The answer is revolution, and establishing a radically different society that has the basis as well as the orientation to uproot and abolish white supremacy, and all oppressive relations.

There have been profound changes in the situation and social position of large numbers of women, both within this country and internationally. To cite one important dimension of this, much of the sweatshop labor in the Third World involves women, forced to work under horrific conditions. In this country, changes in the functioning and structure of the economy (as part of the increasingly globalized world economy) have led to extensive employment, and exploitation, of Black women (and other women of color), in the service and retail sectors in particular. At the same time, not only is there more opportunity for large numbers of women (especially white women, but some women of color as well) to find positions in the professions and in business, but this has also become a necessity in order for their families to maintain a “middle class way of life.” This situation where greater numbers of women are employed outside the home, including a significant increase in the number of women in better-paid middle class positions, has seriously strained and significantly undermined the “traditional” patriarchal (male-dominated) family and patriarchal relations in society overall.

All this has provided more favorable conditions for, and has been significantly influenced by, the struggle against the oppression of women, which was powerfully expressed as part of the overall radical upsurge of the 1960s and has continued in various forms since then. As I spoke to in Away With All Gods!:

Through the upsurge of the ’60s, many things were called into question—not just in the realm of ideas, although that was extremely important, but in practice, in the realm of political struggle—things that are foundational to this society. And many changes were brought about, partly as a result of mass political struggle and partly because of the changing features and needs of the economy. Once again, one of the most important dimensions of this was in relation to the role of women, particularly among professionals and other sections of the middle class, where it became both possible and necessary for women to work full time, in the effort to maintain a middle class standard of living. When you combine that with political and ideological expressions of feminism, and other movements that came forward out of the ’60s, this did pose a very direct challenge to traditionally institutionalized forms of oppression in this society.

Yet the elimination of male supremacy is impossible within the confines of this system. This is true because male supremacy has been deeply woven into the fabric of this society, and because this system is based on capitalist commodity relations and exploitation—things are produced to be exchanged (sold), through a process in which masses of people work, for a wage or salary, to create profit that is accumulated by capitalists who employ them and control their work—a system in which the patriarchal family unit remains an essential economic and social component and requirement, even as it is being put under increasing strains. And the fascist section of the ruling class has, over a number of decades now, waged a relentless attack on Constitutional rights, and mobilized their social base of religious fundamentalist fanatics, to forcefully and often violently assert “traditional” patriarchal oppression—with the assault on the right to abortion, and even birth control, a major focus of this attempt to essentially enslave women. What I wrote, 35 years ago, is today more true than ever:

Over the past several decades in the U.S. there have been profound changes in the situation of women and the relations within the family. In only one of ten families is there the “model” situation where the husband is the “sole breadwinner” and the wife a totally dependent “homemaker.” With these economic changes have come significant changes in attitudes and expectations—and very significant strains not only on the fabric of the family but of social relations more broadly.... The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.

What has gone along with all this has been an increased possibility and “space” for the assertion of gender “identity” and relations that run counter to the traditional oppressive gender relations—and, once again, there has been the often violent attempt to reassert and reinforce the traditional relations and to suppress anything that does not conform to this.

Religion, and especially religious fundamentalism, is a powerful factor promoting and reinforcing the patriarchal subordination of women, as well as other “traditional” forms of oppression. Here is an important insight by Kristin Kobes Du Mez, who grew up in a town in Iowa that was filled with white Christian fundamentalists (which she refers to as “white evangelicals”) who are the backbone of present-day American fascism. In her book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, she writes:

White evangelicals have pieced together this patchwork of issues, and a nostalgic commitment to rugged, aggressive, militant white masculinity serves as the thread binding them together into a coherent whole. A father’s rule in the home is inextricably linked to heroic leadership on the national stage, and the fate of the nation hinges on both. [emphasis added here]

Given the tight connection between militant patriarchy and fascism, it is not surprising that some (though clearly a minority of) Black and Latino men have been drawn to support for Trump, despite his overt white supremacy. (This includes some who are or have been prominent in rap music. While there have been positive forces and elements in rap and Hip Hop overall, what has been increasingly promoted is a culture that is full of, not to say dominated by, misogynistic degradation of women, as well as admiration for the kind of hustler gangsterism that is one of Trump’s defining “qualities.”) It is also not surprising that even significant numbers of women (mainly white women but also some Latina and other women of color) have been drawn to this fascism, as the phenomenon of the oppressed clinging to “tradition’s chains” that oppress them is unfortunately all too common. (Think of the mothers in the fatherland, written about by Claudia Koonz in her book with that title—women who actively worked for the aggressively male supremacist Hitler and the NAZIs in Germany during the rise of fascism there in the 1930s. Or listen to the words today of Black female fascist Candace Owens, who has praised Hitler for his efforts to “make Germany great”: “There is no society that can survive without strong men.... In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.” Of course, for fascists like Owens “strong” and “manly” men are those who embody and enforce traditional gender relations, exercising domination over women who submit to this domination—and men who do not conform to traditional gender roles and relations, men who support equality between men and women are somehow “weak,” “effeminate,” “emasculated.”) And for white women who are part of this fascist phenomenon, in which virulent male supremacy is a defining and cohering element, there is also the fact that these women can join in with the white supremacy which, particularly in a country like the U.S., is also a defining and decisive element of this fascism and is closely intertwined with the virulent male supremacy—as reflected in Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s formulation: aggressive, militant white masculinity.

As a result of the intensifying climate crisis, war and repression—and, as a driving force in all this, major changes in the capitalist-imperialist dominated world economy, including the further growth and increased impact internationally of corporate agribusiness and labor-displacing technology, increasingly monopolized control of seeds and chemicals, greater monopolization of marketing, and vast land-grabbing investments—there is massive dislocation and upheaval, particularly affecting people in the global South (the countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia—the Third World). An important feature of all this is mass urbanization: more than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, with huge shantytown slums, involving more than a billion people, in the urban areas of the Third World, even as tens of millions of people from the Third World have been forced to migrate to the U.S. and countries in Europe. And the situation has developed where, in some of these countries—with the U.S. a prime example—the economy could not function without the exploitation of large numbers of immigrants, while many are subjected to the constant threat of deportation, which also makes them even more vulnerable to extreme exploitation.

The ruin of much of traditional small-scale farming in Third World countries and the dramatic increase of an urban population there (as well as in the U.S. and some other imperialist countries) which in large numbers is unable to find work within the “formal economy”—this has also fostered the growth of an illegal economy and of gangs (and, particularly in Third World countries, cartels) based on this illegal economy, in particular the drug trade, but also the trafficking of human beings, especially women and girls viciously victimized in prostitution, the “sex industry,” and literal sexual slavery.

This dramatically changed and often highly volatile situation has also been a major factor in the rise of religious fundamentalism, in the Third World and notably in the U.S., where Christian fundamentalism is a powerful negative social and political force. Interconnected and interacting with these economic and related social changes in a way that has contributed to the increased influence of religious fundamentalism, particularly in the Third World, has been the defeat, or abandonment, of movements in the Third World led by communists or revolutionary nationalists against old-line colonialists and neo-colonial oppressors, above all the U.S., in the period after World War 2—with the greatest setback being the reversal of socialism and the restoration of capitalism in China in the 1970s, which transformed China from a powerful socialist country and a beacon and bastion of support for revolutionary struggle throughout the world, into a rising imperialist power and itself an exploiter of masses of people in Africa and other parts of the Third World.

The rise of religious fundamentalism has occurred together with, and in opposition to, the increase of secularism (people who are not religious, or at least not part of traditional religions), especially among the more educated urban populations. This secularism is not in itself conceived or intended as an attack on people who continue to hold religious beliefs, but it does objectively undermine religion—and it is taken as an attack “on everything holy” by religious fundamentalists who refuse to even attempt to reconcile religious belief with the results of scientific inquiry, as strongly reflected in their irrational attack on the solidly established scientific fact of evolution.

What is essentially involved in this division is the acceptance, or the denial and rejection, of evidence-based rational thought, including the importance of critical thinking, that has, in a broad sense, been the extension of the Enlightenment, which arose in Europe (in particular France) several centuries ago. In that time, and since, the advance of science and important discoveries this has brought forward have given impetus to the questioning of religion in a way that was not really possible before, since many of these scientific discoveries clearly contradict long-entrenched religious scripture and dogma, and the scientific method rejects the recognition of things as “real” if concrete evidence for their existence cannot be shown, in the real material world. And, as emphasized by Ardea Skybreak, author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, science provides plenty of evidence that human beings have invented every religion that exists anywhere in the world. (In a book consisting of an interview with Skybreak, Science and Revolution, she also emphasizes that, although at times “bad science” has been used for very negative purposes, including to promote racism, the actual scientific method itself provides the means for refuting this: “you can use rigorous scientific methods to prove that was all bad science.”)

It is true that science itself cannot put an end to religious belief, as shown by the fact that there are large numbers of religious people who consider themselves advocates of enlightenment and accept the discoveries and conclusions of science (up to a point at least) but insist that there is a realm of existence—involving a supernatural being, or beings—which is beyond the scope of science. And it is a fact that in general the representatives of the ruling class in this country, whether they are “liberal” or “conservative”—and whether they themselves personally believe in god or not—definitely regard religion as a crucial part of maintaining the “social cohesion” of the country on a capitalist basis, and work to promote religion, in particular Christianity, in one form or another. (They are all essentially practitioners of the statement attributed to Napoleon: society is impossible without inequality; inequality is impossible to maintain without a morality to justify it; and such a morality is impossible without religion.) Nevertheless (to paraphrase an important statement by the physicist Steven Weinberg), although science itself does not eliminate religious belief, it does provide a basis for people not to believe in god and to reject religion. This is in conflict with those who believe religion is necessary for an orderly and “moral” society, and all the more so with those who insist on a religious fundamentalism that is wildly out of keeping with reality and with a rational approach to reality.

Yet, while it is true that, in order to win their full emancipation, the masses of people in the world will ultimately need to cast off religious belief in general, it is important to emphasize that, in the world today, the polarization does not simply come down to those who have rejected religion in the name of enlightenment vs. those who cling to religious belief. An important polarization now is that between what can rightly be called decent people (including large numbers of religious people) who are opposed to injustice, and on the other hand those who are determined to revive and enforce traditional forms of oppression. In regard to all this, one of the important questions is whether people come to embrace, or reject, two distinguishing qualities: largeness of mind and generosity of spirit.

4All this provides an important foundation and “backdrop” for understanding what happened in the recent election, why, and what are the implications of this, now and in terms of the future. The following, from a November 9, 2020 article by Leonard Pitts Jr (“The election of 2020 has ended at last, but the celebration has caveats”) contains some important insights. The result of this election, he writes, “strips bare all the glossy claims about who we are as a country, underscoring the fact that in a meaningful sense, we are not one country at all anymore, but two sharing the same borders.” He continues:

The last time that happened [with the Civil War], it took four years and 750,000 lives to force us back into some semblance of oneness. Even then, the seams of the fracture were always visible.

Unlike that break, this one is not starkly geographic: South versus North. No, this one is city versus country, college educated versus high school educated and, most significantly, future versus past. Meaning that yesterday, this was a nation where white people were the majority, and tomorrow it will be one where they are not.

Although Pitts is correct that the division today is more rural vs. urban than strictly South vs. North, it is the case that the old (and new) Confederacy—and in particular rural white southerners—remain the anchor for an ill-founded and ill-intended attempt to restore the past (in the name of “Making America Great Again”). As I pointed out in the 2017 talk The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!:

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

At the same time, the divide, and the clash, between the past and the future goes deeper than demographic changes and the prospect of a majority non-white U.S. population. The forces fighting for the past are aiming to reverse, with a vengeance, even the modest concessions that have been made to the fight against social injustice and institutionalized inequality and oppression, and to enforce a form of capitalist dictatorship that is overt and unrestrained by the Constitution and the rule of law (or which turns the Constitution and the rule of law into merely instruments of fascist tyranny and atrocity).

As I put it in my August 1 Statement, fascism is “open and aggressive dictatorship, trampling on and perverting the rule of law, relying on violence and terror, on behalf of the predatory capitalist system and as an extreme attempt to deal with profound social division and acute crises (both within the country and in the global arena).” While this might hold things together, in an extremely negative way, for a certain period, in the final analysis this cannot succeed—cannot indefinitely preserve this system of capitalism-imperialism, and cannot lead to any future but one of horrors for humanity, if indeed we have a future at all. And the supposed “alternative,” as represented for example by the Democratic Party in the U.S., involving a “more democratic” means of exercising the rule of this system, will also continue to embody and enforce terrible and completely unnecessary suffering for the masses of humanity and pose an existential threat to humanity as a whole, even if not always through the same brute and unmitigated juggernaut of horrors as the fascist form of capitalist dictatorship.

What was expressed through this recent election—what, in fact, is expressed through all elections under this system—is not “democracy” and “the will of the people” in some abstract sense but specifically a choice that is made between different representatives of this system of capitalism-imperialism, which is the only “realistic” choice that is, or can be, offered under this system. In this particular, extraordinary situation, that choice—between fascist and bourgeois democratic capitalist rule—actually made a real difference, to the point where it was right to support one side, the Democrats, in order to deliver a defeat to the attempt to more fully consolidate fascism. But that does not change the fact that this was a vote on the terms of the very system that has produced this fascism and will continue to provide fertile soil for this fascism at the same time as it continues to generate horror after horror for humanity—horrors that are hidden only from those who do not, or will not, look. The “liberal” (or “mainstream”) version of this system’s rule involves the enforcement of the exploitation and oppression of masses of people in this country and throughout the world (including the more than 150 million children in the Third World who are cruelly super-exploited in sweatshops and mines). Enforcing all this, and defeating attempts by rivals to gain a larger share of this plunder and to replace the USA as the world’s dominant power—that is what “liberal” (and other) representatives of this system mean when they speak of the “national interests” of this country. And this is the foundation for the “progressive” approach of allowing for some more “diversity” and “inclusiveness” for previously excluded sections of this society, and the promotion of certain aspects of science, on the basis of and especially for the purposes of this international plunder, of people as well as the environment.

5To emphasize this crucial point once again: It is necessary to confront the fundamental reality that there is no future worth living for the masses of people and ultimately for humanity as a whole under this system—which has given rise to a powerful fascism; which is the source of horrendous, and unnecessary suffering, not only for masses of people in this country but for billions of people throughout the world; and which poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity, through its massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons as well as its accelerating destruction of the environment. It is true—an important truth—that the Trump/Pence regime (and others like it, for example the rule of Bolsonaro in Brazil) has made the environmental crisis far worse—has, so to speak, accelerated the acceleration of environmental destruction. But the dynamics and requirements of this system are driving the climate crisis toward the point of no return, regardless of which particular person or regime is acting as its dominant political representative. Capitalism is often extolled for being a “dynamic” system, constantly bringing about changes. But this is a “dynamism” based on exploitation for privately-accumulated profit, and driven by anarchy (and anarchic competition between capitalists), and that very anarchy is rapidly propelling things toward an existential threshold—past which humanity could well be irreversibly hurtled—if this system of capitalism, in its imperialist globalized expression, continues to dominate the world.

Given how much the fascist social base in this country has been conditioned to falsely and ridiculously identify the Democrats (even “centrist” Democrats like Biden) as “radical socialists” (or even “communists”) and to viscerally hate them on that basis—largely because of the Democrats’ limited concessions to the struggle against racial and gender oppression, to the need to address the climate crisis, and to a reckoning with the real history of this country—it is highly ironic that it is only a powerful movement aiming for actual socialism, as a radically new and emancipating society and the transition to the fundamental goal of communism on a global scale, that could create the basis for significant numbers of those, and in particular youth, who have been caught up in this fascism to break with that and become part of the struggle aiming for a positive resolution of the contradictions that this system of capitalism-imperialism continually intensifies. (As any rational person can readily determine, the relatively small number of “democratic socialists” who are part of the Democratic Party are in no way “radical socialists”—or really socialists at all—but are social-democrats who are aiming not for the abolition of the capitalist system and its replacement by a socialist system, but for reforms within the capitalist system which would not change, or significantly affect, its basic nature and functioning.)

The fact is that there is no bringing back (or newly bringing into being) an idealized way of life that supposedly existed in the late 19th century and the first part of the 20th century in this country, no return to an imagined idyllic America, characterized by “traditional values” which somehow fairly rewarded “virtues” such as hard work, and where people occupied the place in society they deserved (or were intended by god to occupy)—something which has really existed only in the minds of those who seek an illusory “restoration” of this, and who have been conditioned to irrationally hate everyone and everything that has supposedly destroyed it. And there is no bringing back the situation that existed for several decades after World War 2 where large numbers of people (especially, though not only, white men) without a college education could have jobs in major industries like auto and steel at a wage that made possible a “middle class standard of living.” That there is no basis for this is true not because of conspiracies by “satanic liberals who drink the blood of trafficked children” but, once again, because of the workings of this system of capitalism-imperialism, which have led this world to be shaped as it is, and to be heading for the environmental disaster it is rapidly bringing into being, if it does not first extinguish humanity through nuclear war unleashed by the powerful possessors of massive nuclear arsenals.

And no one should want to go back to the actual past: to a world marked by massive poverty and disease, even beyond the terrible toll this takes today, especially in the Third World; with the horrendous destruction and suffering brought about through two world wars in the 20th century, in which tens of millions of people were slaughtered, and atomic bomb attacks were unleashed by the U.S. on two Japanese cities at the end of the second world war, immediately incinerating hundreds of thousands of Japanese people and ushering in the “nuclear age”; with the USA marked by open, institutionalized segregation, discrimination and “second class” status for people of color and women, and a brutally suppressed existence for LGBT people, and Black people in particular subjected to continual terror, marked by repeated lynchings and other depraved acts accompanying them. The future lies not with the (real or imagined) past but in going forward, to an actual socialist society, and ultimately a communist world, where the fundamental orientation and practical policy are geared to meeting the material, intellectual and cultural needs of the people, while giving increasing scope to individual initiative, on the basis of and within the framework of the collective and cooperative foundation and ethos of society, where age-old economic and social relations of exploitation, inequality and oppression are surpassed, and no longer does the well-being of some rest on the misery of others.

It should be clear that the present polarization and the profound problems that must be faced cannot be solved by trying to “adjust” things within the confines of this system. The example of the “Occupy” movement of the last decade is another illustration of this. This attempt to in effect repolarize the 99 percent against the 1 percent of super-rich failed, in significant part because social relations (such as the oppressive relations between different “races” and genders), and not just economic relations, are powerful material forces, and a good part of that “99 percent” is determined to maintain those unequal and oppressive social relations from which they benefit (or strongly believe they benefit), especially in this capitalist society which sets people against each other in often ruthless competition.

It is only on the foundation of a radically different economic system—a socialist economic system (mode of production), where society’s productive resources are collectivized, marshaled and utilized, in a planned way, to meet the material, intellectual and cultural needs of the people, on a continually expanding basis—that there can be a favorable basis for uprooting and transforming social relations that embody oppression, and the ways of thinking that go along with and reinforce that oppression, moving beyond the situation where (as Lenin so aptly put it) people are not merely encouraged but are compelled to calculate, with the stinginess of a miser, what their position is in relation to others.

6All this strongly points, once again, to the need not simply to “face reality” but to consistently apply the principle that science matters and truth matters, and therefore to seriously engage the scientific analysis (which I have outlined here) of the problem facing humanity, and the solution: where the world is heading now, under the domination of this system, and the radically different direction it needs to, and can, take. It calls for a willingness to apply this same approach—that science and scientifically-determined truth matter—to communism and the historical experience of the communist movement, and in particular to the new communism which has resulted from decades of work I have carried out. This new communism is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. Unlike those who slander and condemn, or simply ignore, communism and the historical experience of the communist movement, I myself have done, and have led others in doing, extensive, serious scientific, study—investigation and analysis—of the history of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being (as well as countries that have called themselves “socialist” but in fact are not, such as Cuba since 1959, Venezuela in recent decades, and the Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe, where capitalism was restored and has reigned for more than 60 years, well before they became openly capitalist countries a few decades ago). This scientific approach has led to the conclusion that with the actual socialist societies that have been brought into being, with the leadership of communists, first in the Soviet Union and then in China (before capitalism was restored in the former in the 1950s and in the latter after the death of Mao in 1976), this experience of socialism has been mainly—and in the case of China overwhelmingly—positive, while secondarily there have also been significant, in some cases serious or even grievous, errors.

Drawing from this historical experience of the communist movement and a broad range of human endeavor, the new communism, as its defining method and approach, emphasizes the critical importance of science and applying the scientific method to everything—to society as well as nature. It firmly rejects any approaches that amount to applying and justifying the bankrupt and extremely harmful notion that “the ends justify the means,” and that “truth” is just an “instrument” of desired objectives, rather than what it actually is: a correct reflection of objective reality.

It is this same method and approach that has been applied to continually deepen the understanding of the nature and functioning of the system of capitalism-imperialism that continues at this point to dominate the world, with terrible consequences and implications for humanity and its future. And this work is continuing as an important part of developing the revolutionary movement that is needed in order to finally abolish this system and bring a radically different and much better world into being. While much remains to be done and many challenges remain to be met, a scientific analysis and synthesis of fundamental questions relating to the situation facing humanity and the possibility of human emancipation can be found—in both more concentrated and popular forms and in works of considerable depth—in talks and writings of mine and other materials that are available at revcom.us. And a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and emancipating society, on the road to the final goal of a communist world, is set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored.

It is a fact that, nowhere else, in any actual or proposed founding or guiding document of any government, is there anything like not only the protection but the provision for dissent and intellectual and cultural ferment that is embodied in this Constitution, while this has, as its solid core, a grounding in the socialist transformation of the economy, with the goal of abolishing all exploitation, and the corresponding transformation of the social relations and political institutions, to uproot all oppression, and the promotion, through the educational system and in society as a whole, of an approach that will “enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.” All this will unchain and unleash a tremendous productive and social force of human beings enabled and inspired to work and struggle together to meet the fundamental needs of the people—transforming society in a fundamental way and supporting and aiding revolutionary struggle throughout the world—aiming for the final goal of a communist world, free from all exploitation and oppression, while at the same time addressing the truly existential environmental and ecological crisis, in a meaningful and comprehensive way, which is impossible under the system of capitalism-imperialism.

Far too many have rejected this—or, more often, failed or refused to even seriously engage it—because of ignorance and prejudice which have their ultimate source in the distortion relentlessly propagated by guardians of the present order, and which serve to reinforce this highly oppressive order. Here, it has to be said (and can be readily demonstrated) that the “liberal” bourgeois attack on communism is, in its own way, as ludicrous and outrageous—crudely in violation of the scientific method and blatantly in opposition to the actual facts—as the fascist mangling of truth which the “liberals” are forever decrying. This does great harm to humanity: Refusing to apply, and acting in opposition to, an honest, scientific approach to communism, the actual history of the communist movement, and the development of the new communism contributes to closing off the only real alternative to this truly monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism—the only viable alternative that represents the fundamental interests and a future worth living for the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole.

The road to a better world is not, and will not be, an easy one—this cannot be accomplished without determined struggle and, yes, great sacrifice. But continuing on the current course, under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism, means a continuation of the horrors already being perpetrated in the world today, the far worse horrors that are immediately threatening, and the very real existential danger that is increasingly looming.

In the face of the fascist juggernaut that is still threatening and gaining strength, large numbers of us who are deeply sickened and outraged by this, and who aspire to something much better, have raised and rallied to the call that science and truth matter and must be our guide. Let us now be brave enough, and bold enough, to apply this in an unhindered way, determined to seek the truth and follow the truth wherever it leads, overcoming all obstacles to this, including any cherished illusions and ingrained prejudices that run counter to reality and scientifically-established truth. Let us dare to act to make a reality of what science reveals as possible: a radically different and far better world and future for humanity.

 

Download PDF of this statement (English):    Booklet    |    8.5x11 sheets


In Spanish:

Download PDF in Farsi:

(This translation reposted from the website cpimlm.org)

 

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download poster and leaflet:

11x17 poster

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

As BA has written about his life’s work:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump—Genocidal Racist (Parts 1-10) 

Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System

Police And Prisons: Reformist Illusions And The Revolutionary Solution

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

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

Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression

Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James And The Whole Truth

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

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

Trump And Pigs: A Racist Love Affair

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

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

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

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

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

Patriarchy And Male Supremacy, Or Revolution And Ending All Oppression

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

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

Bob Avakian On Ugly Words & Phrases

Bob Avakian On Tulsa Racist Mobs

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

[back]

Get to know BA

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

Get Into BA »

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/the-more-i-engaged-ba-i-could-not-wait-to-get-out-of-prison-en.html

"The More I Engaged BA, The More I Could Not Wait to Get Out of Prison"

by Joe Veale, revcom, former member of Black Panther Party

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received the following from Joe Veale.

I’ll start like this. I “knew” BA even before I met him. We grew up in the same city, in Berkeley, California. The Black Panther Party had started in Oakland which was right next to Berkeley. I knew a lot of the rank and file Panthers, once they got going. They were telling me what they were doing—they had developed this organization and they were trying to make revolution to overthrow the system and to put an end to the oppression of Black people. They were straight up about the fact that racism went with the capitalist system, working to overthrow the system and not working within the system. And they made it clear to me that they was trying to build the revolution not only among Black people, they was trying to build support for it among whites, you know, support for this among whites as well as other different races and nationalities. And in that context, BA’s name always came up. It was “Bob Avakian.”

I hadn’t met him yet, I wasn’t a Panther yet, but I knew about him. That’s what they were saying—this is the main person who supported them when they first began. Then when I started to go to Panther rallies, that’s what I would see on the stage with these Black revolutionaries, Black militants—BA would be right up there speaking with them about Black liberation and revolution, and supporting the Panthers.

Joining the Panthers

Then when I joined the Panthers—it was in Richmond, California, that’s the branch I went in. BA and the Revolutionary Union, which he led, were also there as well. I didn’t know this at the time, but they were in Richmond doing their political work. They were answering the call from the Panthers and others to take revolutionary politics out to poor whites. He talks about it in his Memoir (excerpts from the Memoir available here).

Richmond was a proletarian city of different races and nationalities. So out in Richmond, I would see him come by the office to talk with the Panther leadership. At times I’d have assignments at the National Office in Berkeley and I’d see him come through there talking to some of the national leaders and everything.

I remember on one occasion it was at this community college, Contra Costa College. BA talks about doing work there and the Panthers did work there also. This is when I first ran into BA face to face. And one of the things that really struck me, because up to this point, I had never met anyone who was white that was so passionate about Free Huey! Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were the two founders of the Black Panther Party. Huey was facing a murder charge for a shootout with Oakland police and they were trying to put him in the gas chamber. BA had Free Huey buttons all over his clothing—it was really striking to me. He also had Mao Tsetung buttons all over him.

You know, the Panthers were into popularizing Mao’s Red Book, but BA was just as passionate, if not more so, about Mao and revolution. I hadn’t met anybody—anybody white, to be frank—who was so passionate about Black liberation and communist revolution.

Then I found out that me and BA, we had some of the same friends. He talks about one of these friends—Billy Carr, who was also a friend of mine. Billy was a very good athlete, and a really nice person—he was a little older than me. Billy ended up being in “the life”—I had gotten into it too and I kinda idolized Billy.

But he was a friend of BA’s that he knew really well. BA was struggling with Billy trying to get him to do something else with his life. He wasn’t blaming Billy for being in the situation that he was in, he was blaming the system and trying to get Billy to see that. He really understood and he had a lot of real affection for people like Billy generally. When I realized that and I learned that BA had genuine friends like that, that they had potential to do something great with their life, this had a big impression on me—I just have to be straight up about it.

Studying Revolution in Prison, Going Up Against Identity Politics

In the early ’70s when I was sent to federal prison, these revolutionary prisoners (seven prisoners known as Leavenworth Brothers) struggled with me to read BA’s writings. Because I was really angry like [another person in this discussion] was talking about. I was cocky and angry, and nobody could tell me shit. I had a certain attitude towards other prisoners: “y’all trying to win a longevity contest but you need to be out here trying to make revolution.” Anyway, some people were struggling with me: “if you’re really serious you got to read BA.” The first thing they had me read was Red Papers issues #5 and #6, both issues were about the Black National Question or Black liberation. I knew BA had wrote these.

I had already read, studied, and listened to Malcolm X, all of his speeches/recordings over and over. I had read Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. I had read all this stuff from the Panthers and the Panthers’ leaders about this contradiction—the oppression of Black people—and what’s the solution to it. But when I read Red Papers 5 and 6, I recognized that I had never seen this kind of approach, this kind of systematic and scientific approach that BA took to understanding and analyzing it: from the time of slavery, to sharecropping and Jim Crow, to moving into the urban cities, into the proletariat still facing discrimination, segregation, and police terror—the implications of all that for revolution. Black people was now potentially in a more powerful position to contribute to communist revolution to emancipate humanity. I had never read anything like that.

But at that time some people were saying (at least some people that I knew—it was one of the things that was in the movement at that time): “don’t read anything from somebody white that’s trying to tell you about the struggle of Black people or any other oppressed people because its social chauvinism.” It means they are trying to take over “your” struggle. They are trying to “own” it. No! If it is true and scientific it is getting to the root of the problem so that this oppression can be uprooted and overthrown.

You hear a lot of this today in identity politics lingo—it’s white privilege, white racism, therefore white people are automatically disqualified and they have no business in here trying to tell you about what is real or not real. That is bullshit! It’s a way of avoiding the central point which is whether what anybody says is true or not, does it correspond to reality or not? You can determine that by taking the evidence-based scientific approach.

It’s bullshit on another level. I knew BA, and I knew where his heart was.

And then when I got to reading his writings—I got to know his method of thinking, his thinking process, how he went about engaging reality. When I received that pamphlet while I was in prison, Revolutionary Work in a Non-Revolutionary Situation, I thought it was a masterful grasp of the dialectical materialist method—understanding how a thing of one quality can be transformed into a whole different kind of quality. How a non-revolutionary situation can be transformed into a revolutionary situation.

I was in prison and we had our Marxist study group. We were comparing all these people that were saying they were communists and communist leaders. You had different ones—October League, League of Revolutionary Struggle, Communist Workers Party, Black Workers Congress—all these different organizations. You had ’em all, they were all around. We were looking at all of them, what they were saying in relationship to what BA and the RU were saying, as well as comparing it to how Mao, Lenin, and Marx took up the scientific method, how they engaged reality, and who here came the closest to that. Even at that time BA stood out.

The method that he was applying, even though he has developed it and made different ruptures since that time—but you could see, if you was looking for it, that there was some real systematic and a scientific way of getting to the roots of things. He did not put forward or say something just ’cause it was something to make people feel good, he just told people the truth whether they liked it or not. It was something I really appreciated. He applied this to everything including the oppression of Black people and how it had changed over the years.

Getting Out of Prison and into the Movement

The more I engaged BA, I could not wait to get out of prison. Before that, I didn’t give a fuck whether I got out or not. Before that I was saying: if I only live five more minutes it’s going to be on my terms, whether I’m in here or whether I’m out there—fuck it! But once I started getting into... I wanted to get out. I wanted to get with the leadership of BA. I wanted to meet him, I wanted to get with the Revolutionary Communist Party because I thought: hey, we have the leader and the leadership to really make revolution that we was trying to do in the ’60s.

When I came out of prison in the late ’70s, what immediately happened was the Bob Avakian and Mao Tsetung Defendants court case. He was part of a demonstration in DC that was viciously attacked for defending Mao and revolution in China and was calling out the capitalist coup after Mao’s death. BA himself was facing hundreds of years in prison. Because I knew that we had something special here in terms of a leader, I volunteered immediately to go to DC to be one of the volunteers. I said: we can’t allow BA to be snatched away from us. I’ll go anywhere, do anything politically, to prevent that from happening. And 200 of us volunteers went to DC. We went there to politically “turn DC upside down”—again, this is in BA’s Memoir. We were passionate about that, even as we were just beginning to grasp what we have in the leadership of BA.

I was brand new. I had just got out of prison, my parole had just ended the day before and the very next day I was on the plane to DC as a volunteer. So, I’m there, and I think it was a speech BA had just given to the volunteers. I’m standing in the back talking to somebody, he comes up to me. He starts talking to me about some of things we were all studying at that time about the Collapse of the Second Communist International. We studied why during Lenin’s time, Lenin was the only one who led the masses to go for revolution. They had other parties that were bigger and had even greater influence but were capitulating and leading the people in different countries to take up guns to defend the fucking imperialist fatherland and shit like that, during World War 1.

BA just walked up to me and started talking to me about that and some of the lessons that we should draw from that. I was just kinda... I have to say I was kinda taken aback because he came up and was talking to me. But BA was so genuine, he had no airs, he was just so genuine. I was just talking to him... even though he’s this really advanced world-class leader, when you’re talking to him it’s like you’re talking to your best friend, it’s like talking to a friend—that’s just how he comes off to me, which again, just really struck me. This always has struck me about him.

Back to what I was saying about his friend Billy, even the thing with the Panthers, when I listen to BA talk about it, he understands it better than I do. I was in the Panthers, I went through it, but he understands it. When I went to prison that’s why I was so angry because of what had happened to the Panthers. But BA had a rational and a scientific understanding about why they split apart, and departed from the road of revolution. Again, not blaming them, appreciating the very brutal and murderous repression they faced—but more so, recognizing how they didn’t make the leap to become scientific about revolution.

Nobody in the ’60s came up with a real strategy that can lead millions and millions to defeat and overthrow this system, what to replace it with, what kind of leadership do we need, what kind of methods and approach does that leadership needs to be based upon.

So it’s the same thing like what I was saying about Billy or with those youth in Chicago when we showed them the video clips of BA Through the Years. BA resonates when people hear him, especially the basic masses, as well as others. When they hear him it resonates so profoundly because he understands their situation, what they are going through, and what is the way out—better than you do.

You may be going through and suffering in this way, but it is like going to a doctor, a good doctor. You’re the one suffering but they understand what the solution is to put an end to that suffering better than you do and better than you can. Because he has done the work. People need to engage this work and become followers of BA.

“There has never been a leader like this”

But these are some of the things that have really always struck me about BA. It always struck me on a real personal level. Anytime I was ever able to talk to him, and then read and study his works, it’s so striking that there has never been a leader like this. I think it’s really rare. Especially when I was in prison, and other times, I would just hope that we could get a leader that could really lead the masses to get out of this shit and really navigate through all the twists and turns. Because in any revolution there are always difficulties, there’s always unanticipated things that pop up, but you got to have a method and approach that allows you to be able to work through that and not be thrown by that. And that’s what I see with BA.

When I was in my prison cell, I used to think that either I was going to do something crazy when I got out or I was just going to go to China and live because Mao was still alive at that time. But I hated this system, I hated what it was doing to the masses, not just here but all around the world. But I didn’t think we could get that leadership on that level of a Mao, a Lenin, or a Marx. Then I started realizing that we had it, we have it. And now, it’s developed more beyond what it ever had been in the history of the communist revolution, because BA has made this science much more thoroughly and consistently scientific, to be in synch with reality and how it is changing, and how it CAN be changed to emancipate humanity.

I would read some of things from the first wave of the world revolution—Marx making the first great breakthrough in our understanding in the struggle for human emancipation—but there were definite limits and weaknesses in the first stage of communism. Sometimes I would read those things and get to a place where I’d say, “oh yeah, now we can relax because there’s a kingdom of peace and forever harmony”—that’s a vision would come to my mind. But I don’t ever get that from BA.

Through this revolution humanity can surpass being divided into antagonistic groups—but there’s always going to be matter in motion, there’s always going to be struggle, even if it’s not always antagonistic, that’s just reality. That’s what’s so fucking refreshing. Because when I was in prison people would talk... some of these people, they was eloquent, they’d been studying Marxism—but it was really dogmatic. And I’d listen to them talk and my jaw would just drop because they’d be talking about how the working out of history is pre-determined, that feudalism would be negated by capitalism, and capitalism is going to be negated by socialism—and it was all a kind of worked out in a one/two-step harmony. Real dogmatic and shit like that. Some of that was in that first phase of communism, and BA has gotten rid of all of that with his new synthesis of communism. You don’t find none of that religiosity, religious mantra and shit like that in it and stuff. To me, that’s why I think we can do this—with him, and with his leadership, because of that.

 

BA Through the Years 1969,1979, 2003

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/science/there-is-an-urgent-need-en.html

There is an urgent need...

revcom.us

 

The new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian represents a qualitative advance in the scientific approach to making revolution and emancipating humanity

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

— Bob Avakian
THE NEW COMMUNISM
The science, the strategy, the leadership
for an actual revolution,
and a radically new society
on the road to real emancipation

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/699/bob-avakian-on-fascist-lunacy-and-woke-folk-insanity-a-new-two-outmodeds-en.html

Bob Avakian On
Fascist Lunacy and "Woke Folk" Insanity: A New "Two Outmodeds"

| revcom.us

 

A number of years ago, drawing from the title of a book by Benjamin Barber, I referred to one of the main confrontations taking place in the world as Jihad vs. McWorld/McCrusade. (“Jihad” here refers to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, and “McWorld/McCrusade” to increasingly globalized western imperialism, infused with a poisonous sense of “the superiority of Western Christian Civilization.”) As I wrote then:

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

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the “historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system,” and in particular the U.S. imperialists.1

Today, these “two outmodeds” still have real importance, but it must be said that there is, in addition, a new kind of “two outmodeds,” which is particularly pronounced in the U.S.: fascist lunacy and “woke folk” insanity.

I have written and spoken extensively about the viciously deranged, anti-scientific mangling of reality and truth that characterizes fascism as a powerful force contending for power—aiming to institute a more blatant and overt capitalist dictatorship, which would gut and pervert the rule of law, brutally suppress the rights of masses of people and carry to even greater extremes the exploitative and oppressive relations of this system of capitalism-imperialism and the threat to human existence through destruction of the environment and the danger of nuclear war.

But there is another kind of insanity that is becoming a major destructive force in politics and society: the increasing move to tear down everything and everyone that does not, and cannot, meet the tortured, anti-historical and anti-scientific “test” of conforming to the often arbitrary standards of “wokeness.” There are numerous and multiplying instances of this—including, for example, situations where someone (say, an artist) who is white does something powerful to expose the oppression of Black people... and instead of this being appreciated for its contribution to the understanding of and struggle against this oppression, the person is attacked for alleged “cultural colonization” (supposedly “appropriating” the exposure of and struggle against this oppression). This is crazy, and worse than crazy. As others have pointed out, carried to its logical extreme, this kind of “identity politics” wokeness—with its insistence that only people who directly experience something can legitimately say anything about it—would, among other crimes, put an end to, or at the least would seriously restrict and vitiate, literature and art. And overall, this does great harm to the struggle against oppression and the kind of society we should want to live in. Yet, like an out-of-control virus, this madness is continually expanding in its scope and mutating in its particular forms, as it becomes more and more extreme, and more and more unhinged from a sane approach to reality.

The Actual Struggle Against Injustice and Oppression, and the Perversion of Poisonous “Cancel Culture”

In A Beautiful Uprising: Right And Wrong, Methods And Principles, in examining different trends that were evident in the mass outpouring against police terror and institutional racism last summer, I emphasized these basic points of method and principle:

It is crucially important to identify what, in any given phenomenon (a system, a movement, a person), is the main thing (the principal aspect), which defines the essence of that phenomenon at any given time, and overall. For example, both Nat Turner and John Brown, who led heroic (if ultimately defeated) rebellions against slavery, were highly religious—and it is not wrong to see each of them as a kind of religious fanatic. But their religious zealotry was in the service of fighting the main (the most egregious) form of exploitation and oppression of that time—slavery. We cannot condemn Nat Turner or John Brown because they did not recognize that, to lead the struggle to do away with all oppression, it is necessary to cast off the mental shackles of religion and take up a consistently scientific method and approach—just as we cannot condemn them for not fighting against what is today the main system of exploitation and oppression subjecting the masses of humanity to horrific suffering, the system of capitalism-imperialism, because in their time the most decisive immediate question was not (yet) the abolition of the capitalist-imperialist system and the ending of all relations of exploitation and oppression, but the abolition of the system of outright slavery. That was the main (principal) contradiction being confronted. And the main (principal) aspect of what they did, in rising up against slavery, was overwhelmingly positive, even with certain definite secondary shortcomings (including the fact that, in the rebellion led by Nat Turner, they killed not only the adults but the children of slave-owning families).2

The cancerous “cancel culture” carried out in the name of “wokeness” tramples on these crucial methods and principles. In “A Beautiful Uprising” I pointed to the fact that, in some cases it is actually clear, right away, what is right and wrong—things that should be upheld, and things (such as Confederate monuments) that should be repudiated and removed—while in many cases the situation is more complex. But “woke folk cancel culture” rejects the distinction between what is more immediately clear and what is more complex—and rejects rational discourse and serious, scientific exploration of and grappling with questions that may in fact be complex, replacing this with knee-jerk reactions, in accordance with whatever have become the momentary imperatives of “identity politics wokeness.” As I emphasized in Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:

where people have committed real crimes and outrages they should be held accountable; but there is also the need to look at the arc of someone’s life and what is the principal and defining aspect of their life. Is it the mistakes they’ve made, or even a really terrible thing they’ve done at some point? Is that the essential aspect of their life and what defines it? Or has their life involved real transformation, where what has come to define what they are about are the positive things that they have done and the positive trajectory to their life overall?

What is involved here is a very wrong and harmful approach of “canceling” people—indicting them (in the realm of public opinion if not legally) and canceling them out—which is different than holding people accountable for serious acts of oppression or other outrages that they’ve committed but then also looking at the whole arc and main content of what their life has been about. (And this is made all the worse by the fact that it is often amplified through “trial in the media and social media,” with neither any prospect nor even any pretense of due process or any real attempt to get at the truth, fueled by the dangerous notion that a mere allegation is enough to condemn someone and make them a permanent pariah, and marked by a refusal to apply any measure of proportionality, to make any distinctions between different kinds and degrees of wrongdoing.)3

It has to be said—and cannot be overstated—that, in the world today, there can be no just society without the rule of law; there can be no rule of law without due process of law; and there can be no due process of law without the presumption of innocence (and that presumption of innocence must be real—and not a farce, as it is in this society). That is why so much emphasis is given to these principles in the new communism, including specifically the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored.4

It also has to be said that there can be no justice, and great harm will be done, where “trial in the media and social media” is treated as equivalent to, or a substitute for, due process—and this is especially so when what is involved are accusations not against representatives of state power, like the police, but against “ordinary people,” even wealthy and/or prominent ones. Yet “trial in the media and social media”—where mere accusations are treated as proof of guilt and there is a marked lack of proportionality (and at times even a refusal to recognize or accept the outcome of serious investigation and genuine due process)—this is what is clamored for and practiced with the cancerous “woke folk cancel culture.” This is just another version of the extremely harmful notion that “the ends justify the means” (that any means are justified if the goal is, or is proclaimed to be, righteous), something that is firmly rejected by the new communism and should be rejected by anyone who aspires to a truly just society.

But this kind of madness is what happens when petty bourgeois narrowness and cynicism—which is marked by (real, or artificial and fashionable) outrage at instances of social injustice but at the same time by a dismissal or outright rejection of any real attempt at bringing a truly just society into being, and which is often molded and manipulated by ruling bourgeois forces—is carried to fanatical extremes, unmoored from and in opposition to a rational, scientific method and approach. And this is made all the worse by the powerful influence of the extreme individualism that is promoted throughout this society, with its poisonous component of constantly seeking to “tear down” others (which has become a perverse “national sport”).

And, among other things, “cancel culture,” in primarily targeting individuals, is an approach that tends to ignore, downplay and fail to really fight against the institutions and the whole system which constitute the deeper root and source of these outrages. Rarely, if ever, does this approach aim at “canceling” the whole system!

All this is also an expression of “woke entrepreneurialism”: It treats oppression and opposition to oppression as “capital”—and seeks to “own” and “leverage” it—instead of fighting to abolish the oppression.

Now, as with the original “two outmodeds,” it is important to have a definite understanding about which of these new “two outmodeds” represents the greater danger and does, by far, the greater harm. Clearly, it is the fascist lunacy, and not the “woke folk” insanity. But, at the same time, as with the original “two outmodeds,” these new “two outmodeds” also reinforce each other even while opposing each other, and this, too, is a dynamic that must be broken with, in rejecting and opposing both of these new “two outmodeds.” (And those who deny that “woke folk” insanity and “cancel culture” is a real and serious problem—insisting instead that what is involved is merely holding people accountable for wrong-doing—are refusing to look at, or are seriously distorting, reality. They are akin to those pseudo “leftists” who have tried to prettify Islamic fundamentalist terrorism by characterizing it as “political Islam” and even in some cases have tried to portray this as a positive force against western imperialism.)

These New “Two Outmodeds”—Death Throes of This Moribund System—and the Revolution That Is Urgently Needed to Overthrow This System

In my New Year’s Statement (A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity), I pointed to the fact that, while they invoke very different political objectives, the fascists and the advocates of “identity politics” wokeness have much in common in terms of their epistemology (their approach to knowledge and truth). Both treat “truth” as something that conforms to subjective inclinations and prejudices, rather than to objective reality.5 And it has to be said that, in its social effect, “woke folk” insanity actually serves to reinforce and strengthen the fascist forces, which are quite capable of seizing on especially the most egregious expressions of this “wokeness” not just to mock and ridicule “woke” people but to deny very real oppression and obstruct the struggle against it, while in an overall way this “woke folk” insanity constitutes a diversion and evasion from—and actually does great harm to—the struggle against the oppression and exploitation of masses of people, here and throughout the world, and the need for revolution to abolish and uproot the basis for this oppression and exploitation.

It is this revolution—an actual revolution, to overthrow and completely abolish this system of capitalism-imperialism and bring a radically different and much better society into being, on an entirely different foundation—which must be urgently built for now, through applying the scientific method and scientifically-grounded principles of the new communism, in opposition to everything that serves to enforce and reinforce this system of capitalism-imperialism, which embodies the most horrific oppression and which increasingly poses an existential threat to the very existence of humanity.

 

1. Discussion of these “two outmodeds” (Jihad and McWorld/McCrusade) can be found in a number of works by Bob Avakian, including Bringing Forward Another Way, which is available at revcom.us, BA’s Collected Works. [back]

2. The article Bob Avakian On A Beautiful Uprising: Right And Wrong, Methods And Principles is also available at revcom.us. [back]

3. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism is available at revcom.us, BA’s Collected Works. [back]

4. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is available at revcom.us. [back]

5. New Year’s Statement By Bob Avakian, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, is available at revcom.us. [back]

Click to read.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/698/bob-avakian-breakthroughs-ebook-now-available-en.html

| revcom.us

 

EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!

From the book:
A Brief Explanatory Preface

In what follows, many of the concepts that will be gone into are of necessity dealing with things on a high level of theoretical abstraction. I have done my best to make this accessible to people who do not yet have even a basic familiarity with these concepts, in order to provide them with a “way into” what is alluded to in the main part of the title, while for those already familiar with and partisan to this, the aim is to deepen the grasp of this and the ability to work with and wield this in contributing to the revolution, and the ultimate goal of communism, which this theory points to as possible, necessary, and urgently required for a profound leap in human emancipation. This is, in one important dimension, an elaboration on The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements—An Outline.1 At the same time, as indicated in the title, it is a “basic summary,” because, even as a comprehensive exposition of much of what is addressed here is contained in the book THE NEW COMMUNISM 2—and important elements of this are included in the selections in BAsics,3 which can, in important ways, serve as a handbook for revolution—there is also a need for a distilled discussion of the theory, strategic orientation and objectives of the communist movement as this was developed from the time of Marx and with its further development and synthesis with the new communism. It is also a “basic summary,” rather than an attempt at a complete and final summary, because the development of the new communism is a work in progress, an important part of which is continuing to learn from and further synthesize what has come before, in the first great wave of communist revolution, beginning with the historic breakthrough by Marx.


1. Bob Avakian, The New Synthesis of Communism: Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach, and Core Elements—An Outline, Summer 2015. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

2. Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation (Insight Press, 2016). Also available as an eBook. Also available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

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

 

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/bob-avakian-commodities-and-capitalism-a-basic-explanation-en.html

COMMODITIES & CAPITALISM—AND THE TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS SYSTEM
A Basic Explanation

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

In a number of works, including Breakthroughs1 and The New Communism,2 I have examined the basic contradictions of the capitalist economy (mode of production) and the terrible consequences of the fact that the system of capitalism-imperialism continues to dominate the world. Here I want to offer a more brief, basic explanation of the contradictions inherent in (built into) this mode of production and how this leads to these terrible consequences.

Capitalism is the system where commodity production and exchange is generalized. A commodity is anything that is produced to be exchanged (sold). This is different than when someone produces something for their own use (and doesn’t exchange it with someone else). Understood in this way, a commodity can be either a good (such as clothes) or a service (such as health care). Under capitalism, goods and services are commodities.

Commodities have a basic contradiction built into them: the contradiction between use value and exchange value. Use value relates to the fact that, in order for a commodity to be exchanged for something else (sold), there must be someone (or numbers of people) who find this particular commodity useful (something they need or desire). Exchange value refers to the fact that the value of anything, as a commodity to be exchanged, is equal to the amount of socially necessary labor time that is required for the production of that thing. In illustrating this, I have used the example of a candy bar and an airplane. The reason that an airplane is much more valuable—contains much more exchange value—than a candy bar is fundamentally because the amount of socially necessary labor time that goes into producing an airplane is much greater than that required to produce a candy bar.3

In discussing this kind of thing, I have also used the example of chocolate chip cookies.4 If you make chocolate chip cookies with the idea of selling them, but no one finds them useful—people prefer other cookies or, for some reason, nobody wants cookies—then you will not be able to exchange (sell) them. In that situation, the exchange value of these cookies (what they can bring in return—money or some other commodity) cannot be realized, and the money you have spent in order to get the ingredients to make the cookies will be a loss for you. If this keeps up, you will go heavily into debt and eventually be forced to give up trying to sell your cookies (you will have to go out of business).

Here we see the basic contradiction between use value and exchange value being played out. Something must have use value in order to be exchanged; and if it does not have use value (if people do not find it useful, or find some other version of the same commodity, or some other commodity more useful), then it cannot be exchanged, and the owner of that thing (commodity) will suffer a loss.

As noted at the beginning, the capitalist system involves the generalization of commodity production and exchange. Overwhelmingly in capitalist society, things are produced to be exchanged (sold). And another defining feature of capitalism is that labor power (the ability to work in general) is also a commodity: People who are employed by others exchange this commodity of theirs (their labor power, their ability to work) for another commodity: money (a wage or salary) in order to live—in order to have the basis to buy still other commodities, such as food, clothing, etc.

The “secret” of capitalist development is that labor power is a special kind of commodity: It can create more wealth (value) in its use (by the employer—the capitalist) than the amount of value that is equal to what is paid to the worker in the form of a wage (or salary). So what, in its outward appearance, seems to be “an equal exchange”—a wage or salary for work—is actually an unequal exchange. The person employed does not work only the amount of time in which they produce value equal to their wage (or salary); they must work a number of additional hours producing additional value—surplus value—which is accumulated (appropriated) by their employer, the capitalist. If they are not willing to do this, they will be fired—or not hired in the first place.

This is the source of capitalist profit, and it represents the basic exploitative relation of capitalism—a system in which ultimately billions of people are employed by a relatively small number of capitalists, with corporations and other big associations of capital dominating the economy and accumulating huge amounts of profit every year. And this exploitation is part of the fundamental contradiction of capitalism—the contradiction between socialized production and private appropriation—the fact that production is actually carried out in a highly socialized manner, often with thousands of people working together in various workplaces to produce the commodities that are to be sold (whether food, clothes, shoes, cars, soccer balls, or other products) which, in turn, is part of an overall system of production involving millions and ultimately billions of people, while the products of this labor (the commodities) are appropriated privately and sold by capitalists who do not carry out the labor to produce these commodities but employ others to do so.

This relation between the capitalists (the bourgeoisie) and those they exploit (the proletariat) is one of the driving forces of the capitalist system. The other, even more decisive, driving force is the anarchy of this system. This goes back to the basic contradiction between use value and exchange value. In order to carry out the production of the products they aim to sell, the capitalists must spend money (invest) in buying labor power (employing people for a wage or salary), as well as raw materials, machinery and other means of production. Yet, even with all their “market studies” and other attempts to calculate how to “realize a profitable return” on their investment, these capitalists are in competition with other capitalists, and there is no guarantee that they will be able to achieve a profitable return on, or even that they will be able to “recoup” (get back an amount equal to) what they have invested. This is why they spend huge sums on advertising, in the attempt to convince “consumers” that their product is the most useful. And if they do not succeed in convincing enough “consumers” to buy their product, then they will not be able to realize the exchange value embodied in their products—they will fail to get a “profitable return,” or perhaps even to “break even,” on their investment; and if this continues, they will lose out to other capitalists, and may eventually “go under” altogether. This is the driving force that leads the capitalists to constantly seek out situations where they can exploit people even more intensely—employing people at lower wages, such as the actual (or near) starvation wages they pay people, including children, that they employ in sweatshops and mines in the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia).

The fact that competition among the capitalists, and the anarchy involved in it, takes place now on a massive scale—involving production and exchange on a global level, with the capitalists needing to constantly find cheaper sources of “inputs” (including people to exploit as well as raw materials) regardless of the cost to human beings and the environment—this means that the destruction caused by this is also on a massive, and continually expanding, scale. And, as explained by Raymond Lotta in a very important article:

The heightened imperialist globalization of production refers to the fact that a qualitatively greater share of industrial production serving the profit‑making requirements of imperialist capital is carried out in wider parts of the world, outside the “home” (the domestic) market of the imperialist economies—even though the national‑home market remains the single largest market and is the base of the national‑imperialist capital of countries like the U.S., Japan, Germany, Russia, etc. This heightened globalization is an expression of the expand‑or‑die logic of capitalism‑imperialism and the rivalry among imperial powers.5

In turn, the defining contradictions of this system of capitalism-imperialism, including rivalry among imperialist powers, leads repeatedly to wars. This includes wars by imperialists to subjugate countries in the Third World (such as the U.S. war against Iraq), in order to achieve (or maintain) control of key sources of raw materials and people to exploit, domination of strategic parts of the world and a dominant position in the world as a whole. There are also “proxy wars” in which rival imperialist powers back other, less powerful countries in such wars. And the possibility cannot be ruled out of war between rival imperialist powers themselves, with all the destruction this would involve, and the very real threat to the existence of humanity.

With all the complexity involved, all this is ultimately grounded in that basic contradiction inherent in commodities—between use value and exchange value—and the ways this finds expression with the capitalist mode of production that leads to terrible consequences for humanity and its future. It is this basic contradiction, and everything bound up with it and flowing out of it, that the socialist revolution, with its final goal of a communist world, can put an end to, by moving to eliminate the private ownership of the means of production and private appropriation of the products of production, and bringing about the eventual elimination of the production of things as commodities—and, in place of that, marshaling the productive forces of society, in a socialized and planned way, to produce things on the basis of what is useful in meeting the needs of the masses of people and ultimately all of humanity, and distributing this to the people on the basis of need, not on the basis of exchange value.

This will make it possible—this will provide the material foundation—for a whole new era in human history, with whole new relations among people, fundamentally based on cooperation not competition, and with the corresponding ideas and values.

 

1. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, by Bob Avakian, published as an eBook by Insight Press (insight‑press.com), is available online at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other major retailers (EPUB, MOBI, PDF). It can also be accessed at revcom.us. [back]

2. The book by Bob Avakian, The New Communism: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, is also available through Insight Press. Excerpts from this book are available at revcom.us. [back]

3. The reference here (with the example of the different values of an airplane and a candy bar) is to Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity, by Bob Avakian, Part 1: “Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right,” in the section “Marxism as a Science—Refuting Karl Popper.” [back]

4. This example of chocolate chip cookies, in explaining the basic dynamics of capitalism, is found in the 2003 talk by Bob Avakian, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. The film of this talk is available at revcom.us/BA’s Collected Works. [back]

5. Imperialist Parasitism and Class‑Social Recomposition in the U.S. From the 1970s to Today: An Exploration of Trends and Changes, by Raymond Lotta, is available at revcom.us. [Italics in the original, underlining added here.] [back]

THE NEW COMMUNISM

The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, by Bob Avakian

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/one-year-later-murder-of-george-floyd-the-revolution-we-need-en.html

One Year Later: The Murder of George Floyd, The Beautiful Rising, And the Revolution We Need

THREE CRUCIAL LESSONS

| revcom.us

 

One year ago May 25, a gang of Minnesota pigs squeezed the life out of George Floyd over nine agonizing minutes, ignoring the protests and desperate pleas of bystanders.

In the 401 years that Black people have lived in North America, that was not unusual. In speaking about another murder of an unarmed Black person by a pig—in this case, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham, who was murdered inside his own house, Bob Avakian—the architect of a whole new framework for human emancipation, said:

in the way this country has been built, and for the powers-that-be in this country, the humanity of Black people has never counted for anything—they have never been valued as human beings, but only as things to be exploited, oppressed, and repressed.

But what happened next was unusual—and powerful, welcome, long overdue, and with profound implication for the potential for an actual revolution in this country. Thousands of people in cities all over surged into the streets to protest. When they were met with arrests and brutal violence by police and reactionary fascists, they refused to back down; and thousands grew to tens of thousands and spread around the world. By the time the wave of struggle, debate and rebellion finally crested in September, millions of people had taken part, thousands had been arrested and some had lost their lives to pigs or fascists.

There are three crucial lessons to draw from that struggle.

One: The System Must Be Overthrown

Many people learned that the white supremacy on such ugly display during the murder of George Floyd is knit into every fiber of U.S. society. And even those who experienced and knew the racist history of this country learned more—how intractable it is and how the capitalist-imperialist system itself gave birth to white supremacy.

But to go still deeper, where we need to go, we must recognize that this system that birthed white supremacy cannot be reformed. Bob Avakian has put it this way:

White supremacy and capitalism—they have been completely interwoven and tightly “stitched together” through the whole development of this country, down to today; to attempt to really put an end to white supremacy while maintaining the system of capitalism would tear the entire fabric of the country apart. White supremacy and capitalism—it is not possible to overcome and finally abolish the one without overthrowing and finally abolishing the other.

It must be overthrown—and a whole new system put in its place—the New Socialist Republic in North America—a radically different and better society that will enable us to uproot all forms of oppression.

This was powerfully and scientifically argued by Bob Avakian in a series of articles that we are reposting here on the anniversary of the uprising. This is a much more difficult road than reform—but it is the only road that can actually end this horror and it IS possible.

Two: The Need for Leadership

Many people began to sense that to overcome and go beyond white supremacy—and to go beyond a whole system that degrades, oppresses and exploits people in so many ways, and is now bent on destroying the natural world itself—requires leadership.

But what kind of leadership is needed? Is it based on how many different forms of oppression you have experienced? Or how well you have succeeded in fashioning reforms that “leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number”?1

A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION puts it like this:

To make this revolution a reality, we need leadership with the scientific method, the strategy and program that can shine a light through the madness and chaos that this system is constantly creating and can lead in carving the path forward out of this madness to the radically new world we need. AND WE HAVE THAT LEADERSHIP—IN BOB AVAKIAN (BA). BA is the architect of a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now. We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

During the uprising revcom.us published important articles deeply getting into this, which we are reprinting now, along with an important piece we published at the beginning of 2020. Read these, learn about BA, and then think about how the above paragraph we quoted concludes:

We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

Three: The Potential Forces for Revolution Exist

The uprising showed that there is a force in this country that could potentially be marshaled for revolution. The Declaration and Call makes the point that:

[L]ast summer, when millions of us, of all races and genders, rose up all over this country in righteous rebellion in response to the vicious murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, this powerfully demonstrated the potential for revolution. We were supported and joined by millions more in countries all over the world. And, at the height of this, the whole country, the whole world was compelled to recognize and to talk about the long and continuing chain of these racist murders and big questions about the whole history and nature of this country. Yes, this powerful rising was, in the short run, misled into dead-ends by people working for meaningless petty reforms and seeking funds for themselves and positions within the structures of this system. But that does not change the fact that what was demonstrated was the possibility and potential for something much greater and far better—an actual revolution.

This is not the only force for revolution—there are people concerned about and acting to stop the destruction of the environment, the oppression and degradation of women and LGBT people, the persecution of immigrants, wars of empire, and other things built into this system.

At the same time, the way in which this hit so hard at white supremacy further widened the divisions among those who rule society; divisions between those who want to mask the white supremacy and those who want to hammer it down even harder and more blatantly. The fascists—Trump and those who support him, including the vast majority of the pig forces—lashed back and carried out extreme violence. They remain a powerful threat.

The Declaration and Call gets into how this should be understood:

All this is very likely to become more and more intense, tearing apart the bonds that have held things together under this system and further deepening the divisions throughout society, including within the institutions of power. This could lead to something very bad—or something very good, IF we act in the way we need to in these rare circumstances and fight to take things where they need to go.

And it explains what “acting in the way we need” consists of and how—through organizing in the way called for in that pamphlet—we can actually make a revolution. Then and only then the vision and goal that emerged in the beautiful rising of getting beyond a world of white supremacy, a world where billions all over are treated as less than human, can finally be realized.

If YOU Marched...

If you marched, if you fought, if you were inspired—then you are needed now. One year later the real work remains to be done. Making revolution—and getting organized now to do that. This revolution IS possible. In fact, the conditions of today—dangerous as they are—could be ripened into a situation in which this system whose knee is on the neck of billions every day could finally be ended.

To quote BA, in his statement at the end of the first week of the beautiful rising:

Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?

 


1. From "A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION"  [back]


Philadelphia – Thousands of protesters packed the entire area around City Hall. Photo: AP.

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

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

Read more

Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same. On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.

— Declaration from the revcoms:
A Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/in-pictures-a-beautiful-rising-against-police-murder-en.html

In Pictures:
A Beautiful Rising Against Police Murder and White Supremacy — Across the U.S. and Around the World

| revcom.us

 

The mass outpouring in the wake of George Floyd’s vicious murder in May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked one of the most massive and profound uprisings against police terror and white supremacy in U.S. history, and it spread across the globe. The pictures that follow capture some of the scale, diversity, courage and tenacity of this heroic rising. Go to A Beautiful Rising for more pictures from the U.S. and around the world—from Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea in Asia; to Nairobi, Kenya and Dakar, Senegal in Africa; to Mexico City and Rio de Janiero, Brazil in Latin America; to Paris and London in Europe.

“May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History”

The New York Times estimated that between May 26, the day after George Floyd was murdered, and July 3, between 15 and 26 million people in the U.S. took part in some 4,700 protests in some 2,500 cities and towns across the country, with over a half million turning out in 550 places on June 6 alone, many of them white.


Los Angeles – Thousands demonstrated in many areas of Los Angeles, with reports of at least 30 separate protests.


Chicago – 20,000 people protested, shutting down a portion of Lake Shore Drive.


Philadelphia – on June 6 50,000 to 80,000 protested in Philadelphia alone. Here thousands of protesters packed the entire area around City Hall. Photo: AP.


Protests Spread Across the Globe

Protests against police brutality, racism, white supremacy and in solidarity with the struggle in the U.S. took place in over 60 countries and on all seven continents according to researchers.1


Oslo, Norway – Thousands of protesters outside Parliament building


A map of more than 3,600 anti-racists protests and public gatherings in support of George Floyd. Alex Smith/Creosote Maps/Bloomberg


The Revcoms Join Protests in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where George Floyd was murdered


June 6 Revcoms join protests in Minneapolis


Protests Spread to ICE Detention Center—Immigrant Prisoners Stage Hunger Strike Against Police Murder of Black People

On June 4, immigrants imprisoned at the Mesa Verde ICE detention center in Bakersfield, California began a hunger strike in solidarity with the people rising up across the country against the murders and oppression of Black people, and against the deadly treatment of ICE prisoners.


LA: Revcoms Lead March, Speak Out For Black-Latino Unity


The banner says "Black and Brown United Against This System"

On June 12, 300 people came together to say “Black and Brown United Against This System” in a march led by the Revcoms through downtown LA to the Central American neighborhood near MacArthur Park.


Protests Spread to Small Towns, Rural Areas and “Red States”

The New York Times estimated that “More than 40 percent of counties in the United States—at least 1,360—have had a protest” and that “nearly 95 percent of counties that had a protest recently are majority white.”


Vidor, Texas - 200 rallied in this city that in the past had been a stronghold of the KKK.


Trump Calls in Military to Assault DC Protesters — People Refuse to Back Down


Washington, D.C. – Cops attacking newsmen June 1, 2020, to clear the way for Trump's photo op.

On June 1, Trump called in the military to assault righteous George Floyd protesters so he could stage a Christian fascist photo-op.  But protesters refused to be intimidated and protests continued in DC and across the country.


Washington, D.C. – Tens of thousands converged on the newly named Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House, now surrounded by high fences and concrete barriers. Photo: AP.


Refuse Fascism joined by Revolution Club at the protest in Washington, D.C., June 6.


Righteous Toppling of Statues: Slave Owners, Confederate Generals, Imperialist Colonizers, Genocidal “Heroes,” and More....

As protests continue across the U.S. and all over the world against police murder and racism, the people are taking righteous action to topple statues of slave owners, colonial oppressors, imperialist rulers and other enforcers of systematic, racist, oppression.

Read more


In Richmond, Virginia, people tore down statues of the Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham, and former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Above: the statue of Jefferson Davis.


July 4, 2020: Beautiful, Defiant Protests and Flag-Burnings Go Up Against Trump’s Fascist, White Supremacist “Make America Great Again” Ugliness


Washington, DC: Revcoms lead others in torching the American flag on July right near the White House.

This included Washington, DC, where the Trump/Pence regime was holding an ultra-jingoistic celebration of America and its military power.


Trump Goes To Tulsa—Met by the Beautiful Rising

On June 19, Trump had threatened to viciously come down on anyone coming to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to protest the fascist rally he was holding there. But as an ugly, reactionary crowd attended Trump’s rally, there was righteous and defiant protest outside the arena, capturing the world’s attention and grabbing the split-screen. The Revcoms joined Refuse Fascism there in saying goddamn to Donald Trump and his fascist regime, bringing forth revolution.


Revcoms and Refuse Fascism in Tulsa, near the Trump rally site.


Portland: Thousands Go Tit-for-Tat Against Trump’s Federal Agents


Friday Night, July 24. At least 4,000 protesters took to the streets once again in Portland, for the 58th consecutive day of protest since the police killing of George Floyd. Photo: AP

In Portland, in the face of violent fascist assaults by the federal forces sent in by the Trump/Pence regime as well by the local cops, people of all ages, nationalities, and genders stood up, defying the regime and their pigs, protesting for weeks straight since the police murder of George Floyd.


Outrageous Contrasts: During this beautiful uprising, there was a sharp contrast between —

OUTRAGEOUS Repression Against People Protesting Police Murder and Brutality and Other Injustices


Kenosha cops gassing a documentary filmmaker — after allegedly groping her breast.

And the OUTRAGEOUS Hands-off Treatment of White Supremacists, Cops and Other Reactionaries – including white supremacist Kyle Rittenhouse. After Rittenhouse murdered two protesters and wounded another in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, the pigs let him walk past – with his assault rifle – and go home.


August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo: AP


Kenosha: Righteous Struggle Continues Against Pig Violence and Nazi Brownshirts


People continued to turn out in protest after Rittenhouse's murders—Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 28.


Heroic Protesters Give Their Lives Standing Up for Black and Brown People and Justice

At the Republican Convention Trump spread the big lie that protesters were “violent anarchists, agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens.” In reality, in most cases where people have been killed at protests, it has been Trump’s “people”—cops, racist vigilantes, and reactionary storeowners who had murdered at least 20 heroic righteous protesters.

 


1. https://blm-map.com/
https://www.creosotemaps.com/blm2020/  [back]

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/bob-avakian-on-the-beautiful-rising-en.html

One Year After the Murder of George Floyd:

Bob Avakian On the Beautiful Rising and the Revolution We Need

| revcom.us

 

A statement from Bob Avakian:
NOTHING LESS!

Read the Statement

ON STATUES, MONUMENTS,
AND CELEBRATING—OR ENDING—OPPRESSION
by Bob Avakian

Read more

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

Read more

Bob Avakian Brings Out the Truth:
BARACK OBAMA SAYS POLICE MURDERING BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE NORMAL—
UNLESS HE'S PRESIDENT

Read more

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

Read more

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian_nothing-less-en.html

| revcom.us

 

A statement from Bob Avakian

revolutionary leader, author and architect of the revolutionary new communism.

 

To all those who have risen up so powerfully and are demonstrating to say “No More!” after the murder of George Floyd, and all the other cold-blooded murders by police.

To all those who have drawn inspiration from this righteous uprising.

To all those who have had the blinders forced from their eyes and have been provoked to think anew about what kind of country it is that we live in.

This has raised the biggest questions about what is needed for people everywhere to live fully as human beings:

AN END TO INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM
AND MURDER BY POLICE—NOTHING LESS!

AN END TO ANY WAY PEOPLE ANYWHERE ARE
USED, ABUSED, AND BRUTALIZED—NOTHING LESS!

We need a world without white supremacy and male supremacy—a world where no one is regarded as “alien”—a world without war, where people from all over the globe, with a beautiful flowering of diversity, act together for the common good and are truly caretakers of the earth.

THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM.

The possibility for this is being powerfully demonstrated in this uprising of the people, of all different races and genders, from all parts of the world—refusing to remain silent or stay passive while all this oppression and brutality goes on.

To Make All This Real
We Need: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

A strategic plan for how to make this revolution, and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and much better world, where all this can become possible—can be found in the work I have done, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

You can learn more about this revolution and become part of making it a reality by going to revcom.us and joining with the revcoms.

We do not need to live in this world where so much of humanity suffers so unnecessarily under this system of capitalism-imperialism that cannot exist without exploiting and degrading people, suffocating their humanity and killing them without mercy.  We can do much better!  Don’t listen to talk about how “it can never happen.” 

Look around you—what seemed impossible yesterday is happening right now!  Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?

WWW.REVCOM.US          

Share everywhere.

Download PDF of this flier, print and spread:

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/bob-avakian-racial-oppression-can-be-ended-en.html

RACIAL OPPRESSION
CAN BE ENDED—
BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, we revcoms boldly put forward: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

This is not just a slogan—though it is a very good and very important slogan. It is the concentrated statement of a very profound truth, which is also captured in our slogan: This System Cannot Be Reformed—It Must Be Overthrown!

But what do we mean in saying that this system cannot be reformed, and why is that true? In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, I speak to the “5 STOPS”—deep and defining contradictions of this system—and all the terrible suffering to which this system of capitalism-imperialism subjects the masses of humanity, and why all this cannot be ended under this system.1 Here I am going to focus on the systematic and murderous oppression of Black people, and racial oppression overall—which has been sharply exposed with the outpouring of outrage sparked by the murder of George Floyd—and discuss the basic reasons why this oppression cannot be eliminated under this system, but can (only) be ended through revolution.

The continuing terror and murder carried out by the police particularly against Black people (as well as Latinos and Native Americans) is not fundamentally because the police are racist—although, speaking of the police overall, that is certainly true. The fact that the police are racist is itself an expression and a function of the fact that terror and murder against Black people (and other people of color) is required by this system—is necessary in order to maintain the “order” of this all-around oppressive system—and this would be much more difficult to carry out if the police were not racist.

The Fundamental Causes of This Oppression

But, going deeper, why is this terror and murder necessary for this system, in order to ensure its “order” and its ongoing functioning? The answer is that, from the beginning of this country, white supremacy has been poured into the foundation and built into the institutions and the ongoing functioning of this system. Specifically with regard to Black people, the centuries of oppression they have suffered—from slavery days to the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, to the present time, with the continuing systematic discrimination against Black people, in every part of society (employment, housing, education, health care, and on and on)—all this has resulted in a situation where masses of Black people today, and in particular youth, have been robbed of a means for a decent life, with many maintained in conditions of desperate poverty and deprivation. This, again, is not simply because those who are in the seats of power and deciding government policy are racist (though that is true of most of them). It is fundamentally because of the nature of the system itself and the historically-evolved requirements and dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

Now, that is a big mouthful (“the nature of the system itself and the historically-evolved requirements and dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism”), so let’s break it down. This country was founded on the enslavement of masses of African people, as well as the genocidal subjugation of Native Americans and theft of their land (and its further development involved the conquest of huge parts of Mexico, reducing people of Mexican origin to second-class status as well). This required the propagation of racism to “justify” all the horrific oppression. Then, when the Civil War broke out over the question of slavery, and even when slavery was abolished as a result of that Civil War, given that white supremacy had been, and remained, such a crucial part of the “glue” holding the country together, the only way to “put it back together,” on the foundation of the capitalist system, was to once again forcefully assert white supremacy. That is why, very soon after the end of the Civil War, Black people were subjected to the system of Jim Crow segregation (backed up by systematic terror, punctuated by repeated lynchings), while the genocidal aggression against and theft of the land of Native Americans was stepped up, and immigrants from Mexico were subjected to ongoing discrimination and violence by the enforcers of this system.

Generations later, during World War 2, because of the needs of the rulers of this country in waging that war, large numbers of Black people were able to migrate to the North and get jobs in industries that served the war effort. And then, largely as a result of the fact that the U.S. was on the winning side of that war—and the fact that the war was not fought on its territory and it experienced no damage to its industrial facilities and infrastructure—there was an expansion of the economy in this country after the war. In this situation, significant numbers of Black people were able to continue getting employment in large numbers, including some better-paying jobs in factories (making steel, cars, and so on).

But, at the same time, because of the white supremacy built into the system over centuries—and the fact that really moving to overcome this would tear apart the fabric of the system and crack its very foundation—Black people continued to be subjected to systematic discrimination, including in employment (with “last hired and first fired” an accurate description of the situation of Black people with regard to employment). To cite another ugly example, government policy with regard to housing involved conscious, deliberate discrimination: after World War 2, loans were given to white people to enable them to buy their own homes, and increasingly move to the suburbs, while this was denied to Black veterans (and others) and instead Black people were piled into segregated housing projects in the inner cities. And this was part of the continuing systematic segregation and discrimination to which Black people were subjected.

As a result of the Civil Rights movement and then the more radical Black liberation movement in the 1960s, some concessions were made, and there has been an increase in the number of “Black faces in high places” and a growth of the Black middle class, although their situation is far more precarious than that of white middle class people (something which was cruelly demonstrated in the 2008 crisis, which resulted in large numbers of Black people losing their homes and much, if not all, of any savings they had). And, in more recent times, huge numbers of factories and other sources of jobs for people in the inner city have closed down, often moving their operations elsewhere—particularly to countries in the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) where the desperate situation of masses of people, including children, has left them vulnerable to being super-exploited, at near-starvation wages.

All this, together with increased automation and “cybernation” of production, when combined with the ongoing segregation and discrimination built into this system, has led to a situation where huge numbers of Black people, and especially youth, have, for generations now, not only been unemployed but are left with no prospect of meaningful employment in the regular (“formal”) economy.

The “Toxic Combination” of Capitalism and Racism

Here we see the “toxic combination” of systematic, historically-evolved segregation and discrimination, enforced with brutal violence by the powers-that-be, together with the basic functioning and requirements of the capitalist economy—which involves the greater and greater concentration not just of wealth, but of the means of production (technology, factories and other physical structures, sources of raw materials, and so on) in the possession and under the control of large-scale capitalist enterprises and financial institutions, which are locked in cut-throat competition with each other, not just within a particular country but increasingly on a global scale, and are therefore driven to ruthlessly exploit people and constantly search for ways to even more viciously super-exploit large numbers of desperate people, including children, in a worldwide network of sweatshops. (For example, cell phones and computers depend on the mineral coltan which is mined under horrific conditions by people, including large numbers of children, in the Congo in Africa; and a large part of the clothes that are bought in the U.S. are produced by huge numbers of women working in horrific conditions in the Asian country of Bangladesh.)

In this situation, and especially with the growth of the international drug trade, and its deep penetration into the U.S., many of those, in particular youth, who found themselves locked out of the “formal economy,” have turned to drug-dealing, as well as other criminal activity—something which has been encouraged by government policy that has actually resulted in the movement of large amounts of drugs into the inner city, even as the authorities seize on this situation to carry out systematic repression against the youth in particular, with such things as “stop and frisk.” The result of all this has been a huge increase in mass incarceration, as well as the continual murder of large numbers of “minority” youth by police.

At the same time, the way that the U.S. has continued to dominate Mexico, as well as other parts of Latin America, and to distort the economies, corrupt the governments and bring ruin to the social relations among the people in those countries—all this has resulted in large numbers of people being forced to flee those countries and migrate to the U.S., where they are vulnerable to being viciously exploited in factories and farmlands, and other parts of the economy of this country. And large numbers of the younger generations of these immigrants have also formed (or joined existing) gangs and become involved in the drug trade and related crime.

More recently, however, in at least many of the inner-city neighborhoods, for a number of reasons—including the fact that the “crack epidemic” had taken a terrible toll on people—there has been a decrease in the trade in cocaine and the high profits this brought for the relatively small number of “higher-ups” in the drug trade hierarchy. For a period, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, given their desolation and desperation, the drug trade was a “major employer” of youth in the inner cities, female as well as male, and a major source of at least a basic income for many (even if the promise of “getting rich” remained an illusion for most). Now, even this source of employment and income—as perverse and harmful as it is—has dried up or greatly diminished for many. This has further added to the miserable situation of massive numbers of inner-city youth in particular who have no future—under this system—no future but prison, an early death or a life of desperate hustling, in one form or another, in the attempt to survive and care for loved ones.

All this cannot be changed—cannot be transformed and overcome—within the confines of this system. Despite what any politician (“liberal” or outright fascist like Trump) may say, there is no way that this system could “reverse itself,” bring large parts of industry back to the inner city and provide meaningful employment, with “a living wage” for all those it is now depriving of this. Even if the government had the “political will” to try to do this, doing so (with the employment of millions of formerly unemployed or “underemployed” people at a “living wage”) would seriously undermine the competitive positions of American capitalists in the global economy. And, if they attempted to do this while at the same time trying to seriously overcome the whole historically-evolved relations of white supremacy, this would completely disrupt the social “cohesion” that “holds this country together,” with white supremacy a crucial part of this.

It is one thing for “good-hearted people”—and in particular many white people—to say (and sincerely mean) that it is wrong for the police to just wantonly, cruelly murder people, and to mobilize in protest against this. But imagine what would happen if, under this system and with the way its economy functions, the government tried to adopt policies that would deal with the long-term unemployment of Black people in the inner cities, who have not only been denied jobs but also the training for the jobs that do exist—imagine what the reaction would be of many white people who would in fact lose their better-off positions as a result of these policies. Imagine what would happen if these kinds of policies were applied not just to employment, but to education, and on down the line. (We have already seen the “backlash” that was fostered in response to even minimal efforts to implement “affirmative action” programs in employment and education.)

Again, this is not simply a matter that “white people are racist.” Many are racist, although many do not want to be. But the deeper problem is that given the basic way the capitalist economy works, and how everyone is encouraged to be “out for yourself”—and, more fundamentally, the fact that people are actually driven and compelled to compete with each other in every significant part of life, including employment and education—it would actually create destructive chaos and conflict among the people, and tear apart the “cohesion” of the society, to try to really and fully undo and overcome the reality and effects of centuries of racist oppression—under this system.

This most definitely and emphatically is NOT an argument for holding back from struggling against every form of discrimination, inequality and oppression in every part of society. Fighting back against oppression, and wrenching concessions from the powers-that-be, is very important—in enabling masses of people to feel their own strength in standing up and standing together in opposing oppression, and drawing people from all parts of society to join in this struggle—rather than feeling isolated, beaten down and hopeless. And it is important in contributing to the ability of masses of people to gain the understanding and build up the organization necessary for the final all-out struggle to bring down the whole oppressive system. But that is just the point—as important as these mass struggles are, if they are not built toward, and do not finally get to the point of, taking on the whole system, with the aim of bringing it down, and bringing something much better into being, then, as I have emphasized before, even where concessions are won, “so long as this system remains in power, there will be powerful forces who will move to attack and undermine, and seek to reverse, even these partial gains,” and people will remain oppressed and once more weighed down with a feeling of demoralization, as they are once again divided and pitted against each other.2

The basic and crucial point is that the fight against racial oppression (and all oppression) must not remain confined within the limits of this system, and instead must be carried out and carried forward as part of the overall struggle toward the goal of abolishing this system. The fact that this oppression cannot be abolished under this system is not a reason for giving up in despair—it is a compelling reason why this system must be and can be abolishedand it is the fundamental basis for why people can be won to wage the revolutionary struggle to finally bring it down!

All this is why there will not be any real and meaningful move by the powers-that-be (and any of its politicians and political parties) to overcome the centuries-long experience and legacy of brutal racist oppression and the situation it has led to today, where millions and millions of Black youth and other youth of color have no prospect of a decent future—under this system.

As I have pointed out before: “So what does this system do with youth that have no future and no prospects? It contains them.... contains them violently.”3

And all this is why there is systemic and systematic police terror directed at Black people and other people of color. It is why this is brought down not only on the youth (and others) in the inner cities, but why it can and does lead to harassment, brutality and murder of any Black person, anywhere, even those with more education and status in society. If the system needs the police to “violently contain” the masses of people in the inner cities—and it does—then this is bound to “spill over” and be applied to Black people, and other people of color, more generally. The police have neither the interests, nor the ability, nor the will to make distinctions between “good” ....... (fill in the blank as to what racist terms they use) and “bad” ones. And, beyond that, the “random” nature of the brutality and murder makes it all the more effective in terrorizing people—making everyone, even the “better off,” feel, correctly, that they could be a target of this.

There IS a Solution: Revolution and a Radically New and Different World

It is for all these reasons that racist oppression will continue so long as people are living under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism. It is not only right but crucially important to rise up and wage a determined fight against this, but it is also crucial to recognize that this racist oppression will never be, can never be, eliminated under this system—and, to finally put an end to it, we need a radically different system.

We need a radically different economic system—a socialist economic system (mode of production) that is geared to and proceeds by developing and utilizing the means of production collectively, to meet the needs of the masses of people, materially (for employment, food, housing, health care, and so on) as well as their needs intellectually and culturally, and to provide them with the means not only to live a life worthy of human beings, but also to scientifically understand the basis and need, and to more and more consciously take part in, carrying forward the transformation of society to finally and completely eliminate all relations of oppression and exploitation, and to support that struggle throughout the world. And, as one of its highest priorities and goals, this will involve the determined struggle to overcome and finally eliminate racial oppression in every aspect of society.

The radically different socialist economy (mode of production) will provide the foundation on which the ongoing process of uprooting racial oppression, and all oppression, can be waged on favorable ground, and can finally succeed in overcoming all this. The following from my work Breakthroughs speaks to this key relation and process:

Ultimately, the mode of production sets the foundation and the limits of change, in terms of how you address any social problem, such as the oppression of women, or the oppression of Black people or Latinos, or the contradiction between mental work and manual work, or the situation with the environment, or the situation of immigrants, and so on. While all those things have reality and dynamics in their own right, and aren’t reducible to the economic system, they all take place within the framework and within the fundamental dynamics of that economic system; and that economic system, that mode of production, sets the foundation and the ultimate limits of change in regard to all those social questions. So, if you want to get rid of all these different forms of oppression, you have to address them in their own right, but you also have to fundamentally change the economic system to give you the ability to be able to carry through those changes in fundamental terms. To put it another way: You have to have an economic system that doesn’t prevent you from making those changes, and instead not only allows but provides a favorable foundation for making those changes.4

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America provides a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for such a radically different economic system, and for government institutions, laws and a legal system, as well as an approach to education, science, art and culture that go along with this mode of production and contribute to its continual development, opening the way to finally eliminating all oppression and exploitation.5 And in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (as well as other works of mine) the basic strategy is spelled out for carrying out the revolution that will make it possible to apply this Constitution in working to bring about a world free of all the unnecessary suffering and madness to which the masses of humanity are subjected under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

This is why, and this is how, racial oppression, and all the oppression, which is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, can be ended—but only through a revolution to abolish this system.

This is why we continue to emphasize this basic truth: we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!

This is why we continue to boldly raise the slogan: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

 

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

2. The statement quoted in this part of this article is from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

3. Bob Avakian On Police Brutality And Murder: Consent Decrees Won’t Stop This—We Need A Revolution! This excerpt from a Question and Answer Session with Bob Avakian, after his presentation in 2018 in Chicago of the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, is also available at revcom.us. [back]

4. This statement is contained in Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, by Bob Avakian, which is available at revcom.us. It originally appeared in the book by Bob Avakian, The New Communism: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Insight Press, 2016. Italics in the original. [back]

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

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

THE NEW COMMUNISM

The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, by Bob Avakian

Download PDF of book here

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/696/defund-the-police-naw-not-nearly-radical-enough-we-need-a-real-revolution-en.html

Defund the police? NAW, NOT NEARLY RADICAL ENOUGH — “We need a real revolution...”

| revcom.us

 

Defund the police? NAW, NOT NEARLY RADICAL ENOUGH—"We need a real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefiting only a small number." If you're ready to find out what revolution really means and how this could be brought about, go here. And to know why "Defund the Police" won't work, and would actually cause harm, go here.

FROM THE REVCOMS (REVCOM.US):

A DECLARATION,
A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW
FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

Read this Declaration and Call, find out more:
Basic version | Extended version

Available in Brochure format (PDF):
Basic version | Extended version

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/new-years-statement-2021/bob-avakian-new-years-statement-2021-en.html#pt3

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/it-takes-science-and-leadership-to-truly-get-free-en.html

To Those Rising Up and Awakening:
It Takes Science and Leadership to Truly Get Free

| revcom.us

 

This is written especially to those who have been righteously standing up and fighting back against murder by police and the oppression of Black people more generally, and to all those who have taken heart and inspiration from this, who are newly encountering the Revolution. Welcome! We stand side by side with you in this struggle and unite with your outrage and fury against centuries of oppression that truly must be NO MORE. This outpouring of resistance must continue and it must grow. People must stay in the streets, and this upsurge must get bigger, broader, deeper, and even more determined. At the same time, the big question that now presents itself—one that literally millions of people are asking—is: What will it take to truly put an end to police brutality, murder by police, and the oppression of Black people, once and for all?

The answer is that it will take far more than just people staying in the streets and fighting back, as critically important as that is. And this oppression can never be ended by trying to make a few reforms to a system that is completely rotten to its core. As with any big problem—whether a natural disease like COVID-19 or a social disease like racial oppression—solving that problem will take a deep understanding of the cause of that problem and the solution to it. In other words: It will take science. And it will take leadership. So let’s talk about what science and leadership have to do with changing the world.

Many people hear “science” and think biology and ecology; climate change and the environment; chemistry and physics; labs and microscopes; medicine, technology and new inventions. All of these are very important examples of—or closely related to—science. But for some reason, many people don’t think you need science to understand and change human society as a whole, or even that you can apply science for this purpose. This makes absolutely no sense. Science means investigating reality, gathering evidence, analyzing that evidence, identifying patterns, and drawing conclusions about reality on that basis. Why would it possibly be that this scientific method can’t or shouldn’t be applied to understanding and changing society? Because human society is complicated? All the more reason you need science to understand it!

Many people hear “leadership” and think of an activist with a bullhorn or a person leading a protest. These can be important and necessary examples of leadership, but leadership in the most important sense is something much bigger than that: Leadership in that sense is a matter of identifying and leading others to see the most fundamental problems confronting humanity and the solutions to those problems. Leadership is a matter of saying “Here’s why we’re in this situation and here’s how we can get out of it.

In Bob Avakian (BA), we have the science, the leadership, and the understanding of problem and solution we need to not only emancipate Black people but all of humanity from centuries of oppression. Sound like a bold statement? GOOD. It’s meant to be. And it’s backed up with more than 50 years of substance.

BA came forward as a revolutionary in the 1960s, working and struggling alongside the Black Panthers. In the decades since he has been working tirelessly on bringing forward and continuing to develop the deep, scientific understanding of the need to NOT reform but rather overthrow and completely sweep away this system through an actual revolution; the strategy for bringing into being the conditions necessary to make that revolution and win in those conditions; and the vision for a completely new and radically different system, society, and world. Underlying all of this is BA’s scientific method, which he continues to apply to the biggest questions facing humanity while leading a movement for revolution. A deep understanding of and visceral hatred for the oppression of Black people and the ways that Black people suffer, and a burning desire to see Black people free of this oppression, is at the core of BA and everything he is about, and is a constant thread that runs through his life and work over decades.

People throughout society and throughout the world need to know about BA. Thousands now and ultimately millions need to follow him in order to make an actual revolution to get free of this monstrous system and bring a far better society, world, and future into being.

See for yourself. Start with BA’s powerful new statement, “NOTHING LESS!Read it and spread it to everyone you know. Go to revcom.us to see the latest articles from BA on an incredibly broad range of topics related to revolution and radically changing the world, and learn more about and find out how to get involved in the revolution BA is leading. Check out BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution, and the film Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Could Really Make Revolution. Go to the BA portal to get deeper into his extensive works. Learn more as you get involved in spreading this throughout society. Write to us to find out how you can specifically learn more and get involved. Write to us with your questions and let us know what’s on your mind.

One last thing: Make no mistake—hell yes, this is controversial. Once again, we say: GOOD. Think about this: Could there ever be a genuine movement for an actual revolution that didn’t offend anyone or make them uncomfortable!? There are all kinds of people out there who might talk a big game but are scared of an actual revolution, who want to get in on this system and try to get a better deal for themselves, or who just plain don’t know what they’re talking about. There are people who would have you believe that if the skin color of a person who has a way out for humanity is white, you shouldn’t listen to that person. Needless to say, these people are not going to like BA and what he stands for. And they’re going to come up with all kinds of lies, cheap shots, and slander to attack BA and cover their own asses. This kind of behavior is despicable, it is very harmful and it must be taken seriously and fought against. But it is not at all surprising.

So let’s end with a question back to you: Are you going to listen to lies and bullshit from the mouths of people who—in one form or another—want to keep the world basically the way it is? Or will you have the courage, integrity, and intellectual honesty to go directly to the source, get into BA, and see for yourself? Just how badly do you want to end oppression, change the world, and get free once and for all?

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

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

Read more         

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/international-commission-of-inquiry-systematic-police-violence-against-black-people-in-us-amounts-to-crimes-against-humanity-en.html

Check It Out: Report by International Commission of Inquiry

Systematic Police Violence against Black People in the U.S. Amounts to Crimes against Humanity

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On April 27, the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States released a scathing, 188-page detailed report of its investigation.1 The commission is made up of human rights experts from 11 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They carried out extensive research and investigation of police violence against Black people in this country and the systemic racism that undergirds it. The commission examined 44 recent cases of police murder of Black people, including: George Floyd, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Breonna Taylor.2 Their report includes video and transcripts of 28 hearings held in January and February, where family members and others told their stories of the murder of their child, their husband, their father, and their friend at the hands of police.

The commission report concludes that the systematic killing and maiming of unarmed Black Americans by police amount to crimes against humanity that should be investigated and prosecuted under international law. Crimes against humanity are acts that by their scope or nature, “shock the conscience,” and in this instance, is systematic and targeting a particular grouping of people. One of the 12 commissioners—who currently serves as president of the World Organization Against Torture—told the Guardian: “This finding of crimes against humanity was not given lightly, we included it with a very clear mind. We examined all the facts and concluded that that there are situations in the U.S. that beg the urgent scrutiny of the ICC [International Criminal Court].”3

Findings

The commissioners’ findings include:

The commissioners said they found sufficient evidence of “crimes against humanity” to warrant an investigation by the International Criminal Court. They said the crimes include “Murder, Severe Deprivation of Physical Liberty, Torture, Persecution of people of African descent, and other Inhuman Acts.”

U.S. Attempts to Stop the Investigation

The International Commission of Inquiry was established after the police torture and murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, which triggered the eruption of beautiful risings of millions of people, overwhelmingly young, in the U.S. and around the world against police violence towards Black and other oppressed people.

The families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile joined 600 rights groups to petition the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to appoint a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the systemic racist police violence and human rights violations against Black people in the U.S. However, in the face of powerful opposition by the U.S. and its allies, the HRC said it would not focus an investigation on the U.S. separate from the world as a whole. The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, National Conference of Black Lawyers, and National Lawyers Guild stepped in and launched an independent International Commission of Inquiry to examine systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the U.S.

I urge readers to look at the report and share it. As if much more is needed, it is another "nail-in-the-coffin" evidence of the utter inhumanity and immorality of this system and its lethal enforcers, who carry out the relentless oppression and repression of Black people and other people of color with impunity.


1. The executive summary of the report is available online here. The page has links to the whole report. [back]

2. Sean Bell was killed on his wedding day in 2006 after New York City police fired 50 bullets; Eric Garner died of a NYPD chokehold in 2014 as he repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe”; Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old child playing with a toy gun shot in 2014 seconds after Cleveland police arrived; Michael Brown was an unarmed 18-year-old who said “hands up, don't shoot” before being murdered in 2014 by a Ferguson, Missouri, cop—the refusal to indict the killer cop led to protests in a dozen cities; Freddie Gray died in 2015 in Baltimore after being taken on a “rough ride” in the back of a police van; Breonna Taylor was killed by cops carrying out a no-knock warrant raid on her home in March 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. [back]

3. “Police killings of Black Americans amount to crimes against humanity, international inquiry finds,” Guardian, April 27, 2021. [back]


Eric Garner died from cop's chokehold while gasping "I can't breathe" on July 17, 2014.


Freddie Gray was cruelly murdered by Baltimore cops April 15, 2015.

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

Now available as a PDF pamphlet:
Booklet    |    8.5x11 sheets

George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo...ONLY REVOLUTION Can STOP Police Killings! ... From Episode 49 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/a-ceasefire-as-the-murderous-oppression-of-palestinians-continues-en.html

A Ceasefire, as the Murderous Oppression of Palestinians Continues... Where Will This All Go?

| revcom.us

 

On May 21, Israel and Hamas, the ruling authority in the Palestine territory of Gaza, agreed on a ceasefire, halting—for now—the Israeli bombings and missile attacks on Gaza that started earlier this month and slaughtered at least 248 Palestinian people, including 66 children. Hamas has stopped launching their primitive missiles at Israel, where authorities reported 12 killed. The great disparity in death and destruction has yet again cast the actual nature of the state of Israel, and its genocidal oppression of the Palestinian people in sharp relief. The ceasefire is “unconditional,” meaning that aside from halting the bombings and missile attacks, there has been no agreement on anything else. The ceasefire may or may not hold—but even if the war and outright brutal violent attacks by Israel has stopped for now, the horrific suffering of the Palestinian people of Gaza not only continues but is getting even worse.

In the midst of the genocidal devastation and monstrous crimes wreaked by Israel, the resistance of Palestinian youth—including the rising of those who are treated as second-class citizens within Israel itself—indicates the potential for something important and different, potentially a greater threat to Israel than what is currently represented by reactionary forces like Hamas. And it has drawn forth support from progressive people and the Palestinian diaspora worldwide, including in the U.S. (see here and here).

In this light, the following from the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA is crucial:

Where there is oppression, there will be resistance—the masses of people will continually rise up against their conditions of oppression and those who enforce this oppression. But, without the necessary scientific theory and leadership, the struggle of the oppressed will be contained, and remain confined, within the system which is the source of oppression, and the horrors to which the masses are subjected will go on, and on. The new synthesis and the leadership of Bob Avakian represents and embodies the scientific understanding and approach the masses of the oppressed need to make the revolution they need—a revolution whose ultimate goal is a communist world—to emancipate themselves and ultimately humanity as a whole.

And, as the Six Resolutions quotes from Bob Avakian (BA):

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

On May 21, following a cease-fire, people inspect some of the rubble from Israeli airstrikes that slaughtered at least 248 Palestinian people, includng 66 children. Photo: AP

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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What Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu Calls an "Exceptional Success"

| revcom.us

 

Life in Gaza Goes from Unbearable Crisis to Catastrophe

Life in Gaza was unbearable before Israel began a massacre from the skies on May 10. Now life is much worse. What were crises in health care, access to water and electricity, schools, housing, and life for women have become catastrophes.

Death: As bodies are pulled out of the rubble left behind by Israeli missiles and bombs, the death toll in Gaza stands at 248 and counting, including 66 children.

Homes: Seventy-five thousand people began leaving United Nations schools where they had sought refuge from bombs that targeted densely populated neighborhoods and slaughtered whole families in their homes. Clutching blankets and a few possessions, many found the homes they left behind were no longer there. Nazmi Dahdouh, 70, a father of five, said his house in Gaza City was destroyed in an Israeli attack. “We don’t have another home. I’ll live in a tent on top of the rubble of my home until it’s rebuilt,” he told the AFP news agency.

Officials in Gaza said that as many as 2,000 homes and apartments were destroyed, resulting in 80,000 people who had been living in packed-together conditions losing their homes or having their homes seriously or partially damaged.


Palestinians return to homes that were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, May 21. Photo: AP

Health care: Israel bombed 17 hospitals and clinics. Those facilities are now trying to treat almost 2,000 people injured by bombs and missiles.

Israeli bombs knocked Gaza’s only coronavirus test laboratory out of commission. COVID-19 vaccinations have been canceled and doctors’ appointments were postponed. In a particularly obscene outrage, Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa Hospital, was killed when Israeli missiles struck his family’s home in Gaza on May 16. At least 33 people were killed in the attack.

Water and sewage: Israeli bombing damaged Gaza’s sewage system, sending wastewater into its streets. The bombing broke water pipes serving at least 800,000 people, setting off a humanitarian crisis that is touching nearly every civilian in Gaza. (New York Times, May 18, 2021). And as a result of the bombing, a desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to 250,000 people in the territory is off line. On May 18, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimated that 325,000 people needed emergency water and sanitation services, without which they are more likely to contract potentially deadly infectious diseases.

Electricity: Electricity output across Gaza, always intermittent and unreliable, dropped by 60 percent, leaving hospitals increasingly dependent on generators for the provision of essential health care services. These generators require significant amounts of fuel to function. Any reduction in health care capacity could also jeopardize treatment for those with COVID-19.

Schools: Dozens of schools have been damaged or closed, impacting 600,000 students.

Food: Before the latest massacre began, the New York Times reported, “At grocery stores, beggars jostle with middle-class shoppers, who sheepishly ask to put their purchases on credit. The newly destitute scrounge for spoiled produce they can get for little or nothing. ‘We are dead, but we have breath,’ said Zakia Abu Ajwa, 57, who now cooks greens normally fed to donkeys for her three small grandchildren.” Before the bombing, the U.S. was withholding $65 million from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides services and support for 1.2 million people in Gaza, many of whom rely on its regular handouts of flour, cooking oil, and other staples to survive. The food crisis has been greatly intensified by the bombing.

Women: Israeli bombs hit Umm Majed al-Rayyes’ apartment building in Gaza City on Wednesday, throwing her from her bed. As walls exploded and windows broke, the 50-year-old gathered her four children and tried to find a place to hide. “This whole territory is a tiny place. It’s a prison. Everywhere you go, you’re a target,” al-Rayyes told Voice of America. She said the Israeli airstrike came without warning. In a place with the world’s highest unemployment rate, jobs are much more scarce for women, but even at home, women and children are still over 40 percent of Gazans dead from Israeli bombs and missiles since May 10. And women bear the brunt of dealing with the death, destruction, and trauma of Israeli missiles and bombs on children.

As the world reacts to the devastation in Gaza with heartbreak, shock, horror, and outrage, Israel’s Prime Minister declared Israel’s assault on Gaza to be an “exceptional success.” And that “We achieved our goals in the operation.” In doing so, he gave those with eyes to see and hearts to feel an understanding of what Israel’s real objectives are for the Palestinian people. And why those objectives are utterly illegitimate.

Gaza Is an Open-Air Prison

Israel controls all access in and out of Gaza via air, land, and sea (one small crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been closed by Egypt for almost all of the past 12 years). Israel does not allow operating air and seaports in Gaza in violation of agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. The Gaza airport, funded by donor countries, was destroyed by Israeli bombardments and bulldozers. Gaza has a long coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, but a Gaza seaport project, started in 2000, was destroyed by the Israeli army. Israel attacks fishermen who venture beyond a small Israel-decreed zone and shut down fishing entirely during its recent massacres. What few rights Palestinians in Gaza have to even apply for permission to travel, including to visit close relatives in other parts of Israel-controlled Palestine, require ID cards administered (and often arbitrarily withheld) by Israeli authorities.

Access to education and culture is choked off by Israel. Dozens of schools were damaged or closed by Israeli missile and bomb attacks over the 10-plus days of bombardment in May, impacting tens of thousands of students. Students accepted and offered scholarships at schools in Europe are systematically denied exit visas by Israeli authorities. (See, for example, The Right to Education: Gaza Students Denied Permit to Attend EU-sponsored Summer School in France and A Palestinian Student Wants a Visa to Europe? Let Him Do Research in Gaza.) In the latest massacre, Israeli bombs destroyed the largest bookstore in Gaza that provided people there with exposure to their own literature, and the literature of the outside world.

Life in East Jerusalem and the West Bank: 24-7 Terror for Palestinians

Brutal repression by Israel of protest against eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem was a spark that set off the wave of Palestinian protest and Israel massacres of the last two weeks. A deputy mayor of Jerusalem justified those evictions as part of placing “layers of Jews” throughout East Jerusalem “to secure the future of Jerusalem as a Jewish capital for the Jewish people.” And that, in turn, is part of a larger picture of generations of genocidal displacement, massacres, terror, and oppression that have amounted to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that is now reaching genocidal proportions. (For background, see the special resource page at revcom.us and the segment on Israel and Palestine in Episode 53 of the RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show.)


Israeli police attack protesters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where several Palestinian families are under imminent threat of forcible eviction from their homes, May 15. Photo: AP/Mahmoud Illean

Living Under Constant Threat of Eviction in East Jerusalem

A piece in the May 22 New York Times1 gave a sense of what it means to live as a Palestinian under constant threat of eviction in East Jerusalem. Muhammad Sandouka was at work one day when an Israeli official confronted his wife with two options: tear the house down, or the government would not only level it but also bill the Sandoukas $10,000 for its expenses.

As the Times article accurately notes, “Such is life for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation: always dreading the knock at the front door.”

The official reason: because razing it would improve views of East Jerusalem for tourists. Another Israeli official told the Times that erasing Mr. Sandouka’s neighborhood was necessary to restore views of the East Jerusalem “as they were in the days of the Bible.”

24-7 Terror in the West Bank

Israeli soldiers impose a 24-7 reign of terror in the West Bank region of Palestine. Badr Abu Alia was awakened around 2 am by the sounds of soldiers breaking into his neighbor’s home in Al Mughrayyir, a village on a ridge in the West Bank. The Times reports what happened next: “When they got to his door, a familiar ritual ensued: His children were rousted from bed. Everyone was herded outside. The soldiers collected IDs, explained nothing and ransacked the house. They left two hours later, taking with them a teenager from next door, blindfolded. He had taken part in a protest four days earlier, when an Israeli sniper shot and killed a teenager who was wandering among the rock-throwers and spent tear-gas canisters.”

Note: this is a “familiar ritual” for Palestinians in the West Bank.

And the terror, destruction, and death from the Israeli army takes place in sync with unofficial terror by Israeli “settlers”—really Ku Klux Klan-style racist terrorists. In Al Mughrayyir, settlers have cut down hundreds of olive trees that provide a vital source of income for residents and are emblematic of the agricultural roots of Palestinian society that the Zionists are hell-bent on tearing up. They also burned a mosque. And in 2019, one of these settlers was accused of fatally shooting a villager in the back and has yet to be tried. (For more on the nature and role of the “settlers” in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, see The Reality of Israeli “Settlements”: Escalating Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.)

Israeli Military Again Attacks Palestinians Leaving the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem


Heavily armed Israeli soldiers with live ammunition assault worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, May 21.

The ceasefire agreement that, for now, halted Israel’s bomb and missile massacre in Gaza did not signal any letup in Israel’s brutal repression against Palestinians in the West Bank region, in East Jerusalem or of Palestinians who are Israeli citizens.

On May 21, at the same time the ceasefire went into effect, Israeli security forces viciously attacked Palestinians leaving services at the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Israeli security forces fired stun grenades and rubber bullets against thousands of Palestinians leaving the mosque after Friday prayers, injuring 20 people.

CNN reported that the attack was a response to people leaving services shouting slogans in solidarity with Gaza, and in solidarity with Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families are facing eviction. The attack on people at the mosque was similar to an earlier assault on the mosque that was a provoking factor in setting in motion the events that led to Israel’s massacre in Gaza.

Israeli troops targeted journalists including from mainstream U.S. media. A CNN journalist reported that dozens of Israeli officers hit journalists with batons and tried to point rifles at them, calling them “liars” when they showed them their press cards.

Israeli Bombs Destroyed the Samir Mansour Bookshop. It Was a Window to the Outside World in Gaza.

On May 18, Israeli bombing of Gaza resulted in the destruction of Gaza’s largest bookstore, Samir Mansour Bookshop. Those bombs and Israeli missiles are controlled by as sophisticated a targeting system as exists in the world, and Israel constantly brags that its decisions on who and what to bomb are made deliberately and consciously.

In response, Gaza-based author and professor Refaat Alareer tweeted:

Israel burns books: Palestinian tweets are also lamenting Israel’s annihilation of Gaza’s best and biggest bookshop, Samir Mansour Bookshop @samirbookshop. Samir has all sorts of books especially in English and their translations. No more books for Palestinians.

Israel continues to burn and destroy Palestinian education... A war against culture and books says Samir Bookshop @samirbookshop, the largest in Gaza. Israel levelled the bookshop along with tens of small businesses.

As part of isolating and attempting to crush the spirits and souls of the Palestinian people in Gaza, their access to education and arts in the outside world is systematically cut off. In 2020, Israel banned Mohammed Assaf, the winner of the 2013 Arab Idol TV show contest (the Arab version of American Idol), from entering Gaza to perform. A member of the Israeli Parliament from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reactionary Likud (Hebrew for “National Liberation”) party said the ban came “after the disclosure of video clips, calling for a struggle against Israel.” (See Israel bans Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf from entering Jerusalem, Gaza.)

Schools administered by the United Nations and students studying at them have been the direct and intended targets of Israeli bombing attacks in previous massacres of Gaza. The 2014 “war” between Hamas and Israel (really a one-sided Israeli massacre) damaged 547 schools, kindergartens, and colleges and after the war, Israel would not permit building supplies to reach Gaza to repair or rebuild them. In Israel’s war on Gaza in 2008-2009, an Israeli bombing attack destroyed a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza City. The school was clearly marked, and the UN had given the Israelis its GPS coordinates to avoid an accidental attack.

And now Israeli bombs have destroyed the Samir Mansour Bookshop, the largest bookstore in Gaza that provided people there with exposure to their own literature, and the literature of the outside world in multiple languages including Arabic, English, and Hebrew.

 


1. This particular piece in the New York Times was a departure from their normal practice of whiting out or defending Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. The editors of the Times make a consistent practice of portraying the relatively tiny number of Israelis injured or killed in clashes between Israel and Palestinians as comparable to the loss of Palestinian lives, even though the numbers of Palestinians killed is vastly greater than the number of Israelis killed. The Times coverage consistently turns reality upside down, excusing massacres of Palestinians as a matter of Israel exercising a “right to defend itself” (and making any criticisms of Israel in terms of “overreaction”), whiting out the reality that Israel is built on and maintained through terrorist ethnic cleansing of Palestine approaching genocidal proportions. To take one of an endless supply of examples: the Times headline on an article about Israel bombing the Gaza offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, the death toll in Gaza (at that time) of 145 people killed in Israeli air strikes and shelling, 40 of them children, read, “Netanyahu vows attacks until Israel’s security is ensured.”  [back]

 

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Revolution Responds to Question on Nature of Holocaust

Revolution received the following letter from a reader:

I thought your special issue on Israel was very good. I got a lot out of how you situated the stages of the development of Zionism and Israel in relation to what was going on with the imperialist powers at any given time. But it strikes me that the Holocaust is a very complex phenomenon, demanding more explanation than you gave it in the article. Could you respond?

Editors Respond:

This is an important question that deserves and requires some additional exploration. The discussion of the causes of the Holocaust, and the relationship between that terrible crime and Zionism, was an important element of our special issue on Israel. As the reader points out, this was part of overall situating the factors that made Zionism a viable force in the world, within a whole complex set of developments in Europe, with the Holocaust being a very important part of that.

The special issue of Revolution, and in particular the article, "Bastion of Enlightenment... or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of ISRAEL," and the shorter article, "Question: Does the Holocaust Justify the Dispossession of the Palestinian People?" expose that the Holocaust was a crime of imperialism. The Holocaust was a terrible crime. And as the special issue on Israel pointed out, and we will expand on here, this was not some inexplicable crime that can only be "understood" as an expression of humanity's capacity to do evil, or some eternal and inherent anti-Semitism. Instead, the Holocaust was the product, in complex ways, of the workings of the system of capitalism-imperialism. And, the issue makes the case that it is utterly unjust, immoral, and without basis to defend the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the establishment of the Zionist state of Israel, on the basis of the Holocaust.

As we wrote: "Let us state in no uncertain terms that the Holocaust was clearly one of the great crimes of modern history. But on a very basic moral level: how does a crime against one people (the Jews) committed by the government of another (the Germans)—no matter how horrific that crime—justify the dispossession, exile, constant humiliation and oppression, and denial of self-determination to a third (the Palestinians)? It does not and it cannot."

But all this does require examination in more detail, and in many dimensions.

In responding to this question from a reader, we will not attempt an overall analysis of all the causes of the Holocaust. But we will explore some key political, economic, social, and yes—religious—factors underlying this great crime. And in the process, further deconstruct and expose claims that Israel's existence is justified by the Holocaust.

In discussing the underlying causes of the Holocaust, the special issue of Revolution on Israel focused on the factor of the massive and bloody clash between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and the alignment of Jewish people in relation to that1. "The Nazi regime conflated Judaism and communism; that is, the Nazis rolled them into one big enemy, the so-called Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy. The Nazis regarded the communist project of emancipation—including the abolition of anti-Semitism—as utterly intolerable and evil; the participation of Jews in this project only added to their hatred. As the Nazi forces invaded the Soviet Union, the counter-revolutionary forces from among the Soviet citizenry which supported them were the same ones who eagerly assisted in the extermination of the Jews and the murder of communists."2

This was, indeed, one—and a very significant—factor behind the Nazis' "final solution," that is, their attempt to literally kill off nearly all the Jewish people in Europe, along with the Roma people (referred to as Gypsies), gays, and others. But there were other factors—both long-term and immediate—behind the Holocaust, particularly rooted in centuries of promotion of fear and hatred of Jews by the ruling establishment in Europe, and the powerful role of Christianity in the ruling order. And Hitler's fanatical nationalism that carried with it an absurd, yet foundational notion of "racial purity." Even the connections between Hitler's war on the Soviet Union and his anti-Semitism were multi-layered and complex.

The Immediate Situation Behind the "Final Solution"

The Nazi plan for the mass murder of the Jews of Europe was laid out and implementation orchestrated in gruesome detail at the Wannsee Conference, held in the Berlin suburb of the same name in January, 1942. The agenda of this conference was, explicitly, what the Nazis called the "Final solution to the Jewish question."

The Conference confronted, from the perspective of the Nazi leadership, how to carry out the "cleansing" of German-occupied territories of Jews. This ethnic cleansing of the Jews had been part of the Nazi program for some time, but a set of developments and circumstances—including setbacks Germany was encountering in World War 2, created a situation where, at Wannsee, even more extreme measures towards the Jews were adopted.

Leading into, and early in the war, the Nazis had explored possibilities for massive deportation of Jews from Europe—including forced emigration from Europe to African countries dominated by European imperialism, including Madagascar3.

But the Nazis were unable to implement mass deportation of Jews from Germany and German-occupied areas for a number of reasons. One was the refusal of the "Allies" to accept Jewish deportees4. Another was the continuing domination of naval passageways that the Germans had hoped to use to deport Jews from Europe by British naval power.

Further, the Nazis had hoped to send large numbers of able-bodied Jews to die in forced labor on their Eastern Front. But on the eve of the Wannsee Conference, the Germans began to suffer serious military setbacks in the war with the Soviet Union, and made an assessment that they did not have the resources or freedom to implement the scale of forced labor involved in that plan.

There were other immediate factors behind the adoption, at Wannsee, of the "final solution" in the form of death camps. Among them, serious food and housing shortages in German-occupied territories in Eastern Europe. Local Nazi officials, along with allied local fascists, demanded these shortages be mitigated by seizing the homes and property of Jews.

All of these factors combined to set the stage for the horrific crime of the killing of some six million Jews in Europe. The Nazis, led by Hitler, unleashed and carried out vicious attacks on the Jews as soon as they took power in 1933 (including building the Dachau concentration camp). Prior to 1942 many Jews were slaughtered, and Nazi officials made statements about the need to exterminate the Jews. Wannsee marked an extreme escalation of even this situation. The Nazis adopted and put into motion detailed, and definitive plans for the most thorough and efficient murder of all Jews in areas under their control—setting in motion the deportation of remaining Jews under Nazi control to death camps.5

Drawing on a Deep Well of Anti-Semitism

Beyond, and underlying the immediate agenda that produced the "final solution," an interweaving set of political, economic, and ideological factors formed the historical backdrop for the Nazis' vicious anti-Semitism.

One profoundly influential factor was the generalized virulent, violent anti-Semitism that was pervasive in Europe for over a thousand years. From the time that the Roman emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as state religion, Christianity was tightly integrated with the political, economic, and ideological domination of oppressing classes in Europe. The Catholic Church was an extremely powerful element of the ruling state structures in feudal Europe.

The Jews, as non-Christians, were outsiders—ostracized, and periodically persecuted. This was justified in part by the explosive claim that Jews had committed "deicide"—the killing of a god!—by refusing in great numbers to follow Jesus and, according to Christian myth, legend, and theology, agreeing to his crucifixion at the hands of the Roman authorities.

The Spanish Inquisition in the decades around 1500 saw the use of waterboarding torture, and the burning of Jews at the stake. Jews who refused to "convert" to Christianity were killed or driven from the country.

The Rise of Capitalism and the Enlightenment: The Impact on Jews...

The rise of the bourgeoisie and capitalism in Europe was accompanied by the Enlightenment—an ideological and political trend. In the economic base of society, as well as in the superstructure (the laws, customs, and thinking of people) these developments gave rise to seismic changes. These changes had great, and contradictory, impact on the status of Jews.

Speaking of the ideologists of the French Revolution, but applicable more broadly to the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the Enlightenment era, Frederick Engels wrote:

"The great men who in France were clearing men's minds for the coming revolution acted in an extremely revolutionary way themselves. They recognized no external authority of any kind. Religion, conceptions of nature, society, political systems—everything was subjected to the most unsparing criticism: everything had to justify its existence before the judgment-seat of reason or give up existence. The reasoning intellect became the sole measure of everything. It was the time when, as Hegel says, the world was stood on its head, first in the sense that the human head and the principles arrived at by its thinking claimed to be the basis of all human action and association; but then later also in the wider sense that the reality which was in contradiction with these principles was, in fact, turned upside down. Every previous form of society and state, every old traditional notion was flung into the lumber-room as irrational; the world had hitherto allowed itself to be led solely by prejudice; everything in the past deserved only pity and contempt. The light of day, the realm of reason, now appeared for the first time; henceforth superstition, injustice, privilege and oppression were to be superseded by eternal truth, eternal justice, equality based on nature, and the inalienable rights of man.

"We know today that this realm of reason was nothing more than the idealized realm of the bourgeoisie; that eternal justice found its realization in bourgeois justice; that equality reduced itself to bourgeois equality before the law; that bourgeois property was proclaimed as one of the most essential rights of man; and that the government of reason, Rousseau's social contract, came into being, and could only come into being, as a bourgeois-democratic republic. The great thinkers of the eighteenth century were no more able than their predecessors to go beyond the limits imposed on them by their own epoch." (Socialism: Utopian and Scientific)

As part of subjecting religion, conceptions of nature, society, and political systems "to the most unsparing criticism," irrational hatred and fear of Jews, the exclusion of Jews from economic, political, cultural, and intellectual life, and different forms of prejudice, persecution, and oppression came under attack. The bourgeois-democratic revolution that overthrew the French monarchy and nobility granted Jews full political rights. And the 1776 revolution in the U.S. against England institutionalized the separation of church and state.

Opposition to anti-Semitism arose along with other enlightened movements like those to abolish slavery and grant equality to women. All this was fiercely contested, both by pre-capitalist forces and institutions, and among different sections and trends in the bourgeoisie.

Within this explosion of social turmoil and intellectual ferment, there was a lessening of elements of centuries of oppression and marginalization of the Jewish people. And, Jews were active in all the economic, social, philosophical, and political movements of the time. The Jewish philosopher Spinoza identified places where the Bible and the Torah (essentially the first five books of the Bible adhered to by Judaism) are self-contradictory, and he did other rational studies that revealed that the Bible could not be the inerrant word of an all-knowing, all-powerful god who actively intervened in the lives of humans. For this, Spinoza was excommunicated by the Jewish religious authorities, and Protestant and Catholic authorities censored, burned, and banned his writings.

The capitalist system brought into being new forms of grinding exploitation and brutal oppression. Vast numbers of people who had suffered under feudal rule in the countryside were now violently and forcefully "freed" of their connection to the land, and driven and pulled into the slums and sweatshops of European cities. Through this, a new class of exploited people—the proletariat—emerged, an international class which owns nothing, yet has created and makes the modern, highly socialized means of production work. In some ways, the exclusion of Jewish people from wide areas of economic and political life in pre-capitalist societies in Eastern Europe facilitated their entry into new realms of economic and social life created by the rise of capitalism. In much of Eastern Europe (where the overwhelming majority of the world's Jews had lived for a thousand years), economic and social status was historically related to ownership of, or permission granted by the nobility to work the land. For hundreds of years, in these agrarian societies, legal and social prohibitions, persecution, and pogroms (mob violence against Jews) prevented or greatly restricted Jewish people from engaging in farming. They ended up concentrated in the cities where they acquired craft and other skills.

Locked out of many professions (like the military and civil services), many Jews ended up in professions like medicine, finance, and law. These professions rose in societal influence and prestige with the advance of capitalism and the decline of feudalism. Jewish traditions of literacy based in theological study and debate (among men at least) were advantageous in entering new arenas of intellectual and scientific inquiry.

And Jewish people were disproportionately represented in the radical and revolutionary movements of the time, including the communist movement for the abolition of all exploitation and oppression.

... and Ongoing Prejudice and Persecution

All this was intensely and wildly contradictory. As Engels summed up, the formal equality enshrined by the bourgeois-democratic revolutions and their ideologues actually covered up profound inequalities built into a system where the fundamental relations in society are grounded in the exploitation and oppression of the many by a relative handful. And where the drive of the capitalists to expand their profits/their capital dominates all of society and all the relations among people in society.

But even the fulfillment of the promise of formal equality was highly contested and uneven. The rise of capitalism emphasized the ideology of equality. In previous oppressive societies, people had their place in life defined by the social class, or religion, or the gender they were born into, and this was enforced in the realm of law, and in people's thinking. These ideas (and laws) were obstacles to the capitalist reorganization of society. And in the context of the promotion of formal equality, old customs, laws, and prejudices were subjected to criticism and in different ways knocked aside.

All this gave rise to all kinds of movements for equality. But as the bourgeoisie came to power, it often found it in its interests to limit or oppose demands for even formal equality—for women, for example.

And Christianity remained, for powerful sections of the ruling classes, an essential factor in legitimizing and maintaining (and enforcing) their rule. Leaders of the Protestant rebellion against the Catholic Church—expressing the outlook of the rising bourgeoisie in opposition to the absolute rule of kings, nobles, and the church hierarchy—challenged the authority of the Pope. At the same time, Martin Luther, the leader of this Protestant rebellion, wrote that Jews were a "base, whoring people." Luther advocated that Jewish synagogues and schools should be set on fire, Jewish prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes razed, and property and money confiscated. Luther wrote, of the Jews, "[W]e are at fault in not slaying them." (Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)

In short, the profound changes in the economic foundation of society associated with the rise of capitalism gave rise to closely related changes in law, culture, and thinking. Jews found greater acceptance in commerce and cultural life. But at the same time, powerful countervailing trends erupted. In many realms the bourgeois revolutions were not able to, and did not, even complete the ruptures with feudal traditions and prejudices—traditions, institutions, and prejudices that they found useful and essential to maintaining social order and their class rule6. Further complicating the terrain was the fact that in much of Eastern and Southern Europe, feudal economic and social relations remained powerfully embedded in society. With the rise of capitalism in Europe, Jews both entered into broader society in unprecedented ways, and were the victims of periodic pogroms instigated directly or indirectly by the ruling classes.

Imperialism, World War 1, and the Rise of Hitler

The clash between openings for Jews and various forms of backlash and attacks on the status of Jewish people formed a tense contradiction. Both sides of this complex equation developed in intensity with the rise of imperialism in the late 1800s, and the spreading of capitalism into still semi-feudal Eastern Europe.

The earth-shaking changes ushered in by the emergence of capitalism in Europe loosened and challenged, but did not come close to uprooting traditional theocratic-based fear and hatred of Jews. And even as great changes took place in the political and social landscape of Europe in the 1800s, and early 1900s, powerful forces in European society—including elements of the Christian establishment, along with feudal and other reactionary forces—lashed back at these changes, and, as part of that, targeted the Jews.

Sections of people were periodically enlisted in spasms of anti-Semitic violence. Peasants locked out of any scientific understanding of the forces that were upending their lives had their desperation channeled away from the ruling classes and towards the Jews. Even in the most cosmopolitan countries—like Germany—anti-Semitic demagoguery had an appeal among sections of small business owners and shopkeepers who tended to be blinded by their social and economic positions to the actual mainsprings of capitalist society.

At times, the status of Jews, served as political flashpoints in contention within the ruling classes. The Dreyfus Affair that divided France in the late 1890s and early 1900s involved the framing of a Jewish officer in the French military on bogus treason charges. It was a move by reactionary sections of the French army and church to reassert influence that had been curtailed by the French revolution. Radical bourgeois-democratic forces in France, including the influential intellectual Emile Zola, rallied behind Dreyfus and he was exonerated. For sections of the French bourgeoisie, the Dreyfus Affair was a challenge, and an opportunity to strike at remnants of feudal influences and impediments to the rise of—as they saw it—"true equality."

The inexorable demand of capitalism to "expand or die," including the contention of different imperialist powers over colonial domination, exploded into World War 1, from 1914 to 1918. As the special issue of Revolution on Israel identified: "On one side were Britain, France, the U.S. and Russia. On the other stood Germany, and the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman (Turkish) empires. Neither side was fighting for any greater cause than a bigger share of the plunder. Sixteen million people died as the armies of contending imperialists slaughtered each other, and civilians, to determine which imperialists would expand and which would be crushed. In the course of that war, empires crashed to the ground—most importantly the vast Russian empire, where a socialist revolution emerged victorious. In other parts of the world, the old order collapsed but the victorious imperialists raced in with new forms of domination."

The horror and suffering of World War 1, along with the world's first successful socialist revolution in 1917, profoundly challenged—both in reality and in people's thinking—the permanence of the existing order. And this was as true in Germany as anywhere. In the short two decades between the end of the first World War, and the beginning of the second World War, Germany saw both an attempt at socialist revolution (that was crushed by the German ruling class with invaluable aid from reformist "socialists" in the government), and then the rise of Hitler with his fascist (extreme, overtly and violently repressive) program for German imperialism.

Post World War 1 Germany had offered tradition-breaking openings to Jews in economic, political, and cultural life. By the 1920s, Jews were as accepted and assimilated in Germany as they were anywhere in capitalist Europe. At the same time, and partly in reaction to these changes in the status of Jews, Germany was a hotbed of anti-Semitic resentment. This resentment was felt, and fostered by powerful sections of the ruling class who saw changes in post-war Germany as treasonous, and inimical (intolerable obstacles) to Germany rising to the top of the imperialist world order.

These reactionary forces could continue to pluck the strings of irrational fear and hatred of Jews that were deeply embedded in the culture. German Jews ended up—as they had in the Dreyfus Affair in France—as flashpoints in conflicts within German society. But this time with terrible results.

Hitler's Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

As the special issue on Israel briefly alludes to, the German ruling class turned to Hitler, and his fascist program in all its dimensions, at a time of great crisis for German imperialism. The point of situating the roots of the Holocaust in the traditions of European culture and politics is not to argue that Hitler's ferocious anti-Semitism and the Holocaust were simply extensions of traditional fears and hatred of Jews.

In re-cohering German society, Hitler did draw on a deep well of prejudice against Jews, and a long tradition of scapegoating Jews. But there were other factors that came together—in the situation faced by German imperialism, and in Hitler's ideology—that led to the Holocaust.

Germany had been on the losing side of World War 1, and was cut out of the international division of Africa, Asia and Latin America by European, U.S., and Japanese imperialism. In the immediate aftermath of World War 1, Germany was devastated militarily and economically.

Many Germans drew the conclusion was that the horrific imperialist war—responsible for the deaths of some ten million people—and the system that gave rise to it, had to go. There was great attraction to the model of the Bolshevik revolution in what became the Soviet Union. Others, including dominant sections of the ruling class, drew opposite conclusions: that the loss in the war was the result of weakness that had to be, and could only be overcome with more extreme nationalism and a return to a mythic and reactionary Germanic identity.

All these contradictions sharpened tremendously with the global Great Depression, which began in 1929. Germany's economy had developed very dynamically after World War 1, and politically, the post-war Weimar Republic was a period of relative tolerance (again, based on the bloody suppression of an attempt at socialist revolution). During the Weimar period, reactionary fascist forces who seethed at what they perceived as the "betrayal" of German national interests by "weak" forces in the ruling class provided the ground from which Hitler emerged. Even as Hitler and his program emerged, he and his movement were kept somewhat in abeyance by the German ruling class.

But with the severe depression that wracked the capitalist world in the 1930s, the balance of forces within the German ruling class moved towards Hitler and his fascist program. They shared Hitler's determination to end Germany's exclusion from colonial super-exploitation that was choking the ability of German capital to expand in the face of rivals like Britain and France. And they saw in him a populist demagogue capable of channeling desperation and outrage of sections of the masses into appeals to vitriolic nationalism.

An immediate result of Hitler's coming to power was the ruthless, violent crushing of Germany's large communist movement. After the defeat of the revolution in Germany in the aftermath of World War 1, communists had again developed great influence among the poorer sections of the German working class in particular. And Hitler went after them with a vengeance. In the famous words of German theologian Martin Niemoller, "First they came for the communists..."7

Hitler's Insane "Master Race" Theories

One significant dimension of Hitler's ideology and agenda was his adoption of, and taking to extremes, the pseudo-science (fake science) of Eugenics along with bizarre "master race" theories. Absurd as these theories were, they found a home among Germans who gravitated towards a mythology that whipped up and supposedly "rationalized" national chauvinism and the superiority of their nation when the status, and very coherence of that nation seemed to be in question. And these theories were adopted as the ideology of the Nazi state—to devastating effect.

Eugenics claimed that humanity could be improved by forced sterilization of people with real or perceived physical or mental conditions (which included, along with genuine medical and mental handicaps, categories like homosexuality and poverty). These theories had significant influence in the rest of the world, including the U.S. in the period leading up to the rise of Hitler. In the U.S., laws and policies were implemented in less extreme ways in the form of forced sterilization, for example, of prisoners in some parts of the U.S. And Eugenics theory merged with traditional racism in significant parts of the U.S.—especially the South—as a force behind the adoption of laws and policies enforcing sterilization of Black people and others.

To Hitler, much of what he saw as weakness in German society was a result of the "dilution" of not only German culture, but the Aryan gene pool by "degenerates" (like the handicapped, gays, and people suffering from alcoholism), as well as the "dilution" of the gene pool by non-Aryans—particularly the Jews. Eugenics theories, along with other unscientific schools of anthropology and other realms, formed part of the framework from which Hitler developed his "master race" theory.8

And again, regardless of the extent to which other leading members of the Nazi power structure and German ruling class actually believed these insane theories (and some did), they took on a "life of their own." A significant section of German people was mobilized behind this poisonous mythology that in turn invoked—and drew on—centuries of Christian anti-Semitism.

Hitler was not a "perfect fit" for German imperialism. German scientists working on nuclear weapons were handicapped by the exclusion of Jewish physicists and other scientists, as well as by ideological dictates that they not acknowledge the work of Jewish scientists like Einstein9. And Hitler's determination to exterminate the Jews factored into real divisions in the German ruling class over his whole program10. But Hitler's master race ideology, hyper-aggressive military policies, and brutally repressive domestic agenda—with its component of genocidal anti-Semitism, was overall adopted by the German ruling class as—if not a "perfect fit"—the perceived best solution to the situation they found themselves in.

Hitler's Obsession with "Judeo-Bolshevism"

The Jews in Germany posed—by their very existence—a challenge to Hitler's program of a tightly united German nation cohered by a mythology of an "Aryan master race." These theories provided a—profoundly false—"justification" for German expansionism, domination of other countries, and the driving out or crushing of supposedly "inferior races." Hitler's "master race" lunacy provided a core ideology for a movement that would crush internal dissent and embark on hyper-aggressive imperialist adventures.

Integrally mixed into all this was the relationship of Jews in World War 2 Europe to the communist revolution and the socialist Soviet Union.That relationship had different, complex, and contradictory components—including but not only in the political dimension. To Hitler, the threats to German imperialist interests from the Jews and the communist revolution were integrally intertwined.

Overall, Hitler's conflation of Jews and communism reflected some, secondary elements of reality—there was an attraction among Jewish people to progressive and radical causes including communism. But this was coupled with mountains of exaggeration, distortion and outright invention, all underpinned by insanity, as reflected in the "master race" theories.

But a) Hitler's program was seen as expeditious to dominant sections of the German ruling class (whether they themselves all believed all of Hitler's master-race and anti-Semitic theories or not); and b) the adoption of these theories and programs had terrible implications and led to horrific crimes—including the Holocaust.11

Needed: The Emancipation of Humanity, Not Zionism

A whole complex mix of political, ideological, and military factors converged to lead up to the great crime of the Holocaust. We have explored some of them here in expanding on the discussion in the special issue, and other factors are still beyond the scope of this article.

But the overall framing dynamic that set the stage for the Holocaust was the operation of global capitalism-imperialism. The Holocaust was not a pre-determined result of the workings of global imperialism, or even necessarily the only possible outcome of the situation confronting German imperialism. But it was a product of a whole series of policies adopted by the German imperialist ruling class in furtherance of their interests—both contention with their imperialist rivals, and their drive to crush the Soviet Union. Hitler's virulent anti-Semitism served the mission of cohering and enforcing unity on the German "home front" for a horrific war, and in particular the war against the Soviet Union that resulted in over 20 million deaths.

And as noted in our special issue on Israel, the U.S. and the "democratic West" remained mostly silent and restrained in response to the Holocaust while it was taking place, refusing entry to Jews fleeing Hitler, and shared the Nazis' determination to wipe the socialist Soviet Union off the map.

In this light, the Holocaust—a great crime of imperialism—in no way justifies Zionism, which, as our special issue makes clear, is another crime of imperialism.

The Palestinian people were not in any way responsible for the Holocaust. Their exile from their homeland through terrorist ethnic cleansing is utterly immoral and unjust, and cannot be defended by invoking the crimes of the Holocaust. Nor does the Holocaust in any way justify Israel's ongoing role as a global hitman for the same imperialist system that gave rise to the Holocaust.12

The solution to all oppression—in any form—cannot be achieved by a persecuted people turning on another oppressed people, as Zionism insists. Instead, as we pointed out in the special issue on Israel, "So long as imperialism exists, the majority of nations and peoples will be oppressed by a relative minority of dominant nations. It is important and valuable and just—in fact, it is absolutely necessary—that people stand up to that oppression, refuse to tolerate it, resist it, and work to abolish it. But if that turns into a fight for national rights at the expense of another people's rights, then it is not so fine—then it is on the road to very quickly becoming reactionary. The only way to be finally sure that there will be no more genocides, of any kind and against any people, is to abolish imperialism itself—to, yes, emancipate all humanity, and nothing less."

1. In two different articles in the special issue, the number of those killed in the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was given in one article as 24 million, and in another article as 28 million. Both these figures, and numbers in between, and others in the same ballpark are given by historians and different sources as the death toll in that conflict. Conditions of a long, vicious war, with massive civilian casualties, and widespread deaths due to hunger, cold, and disease, among the population, along with a lack of today's level of sophisticated record keeping make it difficult to determine the exact numbers killed in that theater of World War 2, but all agree that the great majority of deaths in World War 2 in Europe were in the Soviet Union (see resources at wikipedia under "World_War_II_casualties.") [back]

2. See "Question: Does the Holocaust Justify the Dispossession of the Palestinian People?" [back]

3. The French surrender to the Nazis in World War 2, and Nazi expectations that Britain would capitulate as well, led the Nazis to anticipate "inheriting" and having access to France's extensive colonial empire. This formed a backdrop to the Nazi "Madagascar Plan," to deport the Jews of Europe to Madagascar—a French colony in Africa. [back]

4. See special issue of Revolution for documentation of the complicity of the U.S. in the Holocaust. [back]

5. Minor adjustments in these policies were made for some countries in Western Europe under Nazi domination, where there were small numbers of Jews, and where it was the assessment of Nazi diplomats and others that rounding up and killing all the Jews would have very negative consequences – this policy was applied in Norway, for example, but affected very small numbers of Jews. [back]

6. Even today, feudal and theocratic remnants like formal recognition of kings, queens, official state religions, and powerful "Christian Democratic" parties are integral to political life in modern Europe. [back]

7. See "Martin Niemoller and the Lessons for this Moment," by Toby O'Ryan, Revolution, Oct. 30, 2005, available at revcom.us. [back]

8. Today, evolution-deniers claim that Hitler's "theories" of racial superiority were derived from or rooted in Darwin's theory of evolution. The opposite is true–the theory, and reality, of evolution debunks theories of racial superiority. As Ardea Skybreak writes in her book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, "The main thing that evolution teaches us about race is that there is no such thing as truly distinct biological races of human beings!" (Insight Press, 2006, p. 166). What are called "races" are socially and culturally defined categories, with meaning in that sense, but not natural divisions of the human species. Throughout recent history, and down to the present day, oppressive forces have seized on what are actually fairly minor secondary characteristics of appearance like skin color, or the shape of the eyes, to create social categories of races—and on that basis to justify, and carry out, terrible oppression of whole peoples. For more on the actual nature of races, see "Evolution, Racist? No Way! The Creationist Big Lie," Revolution Feb. 15, 2009, available at revcom.us. [back]

9. Many German Jewish scientists were forced to flee Nazi Germany, and were welcomed by the U.S. – even as other German Jews fleeing Hitler were refused entry to the U.S. They were a factor in the U.S. developing the atomic bomb ahead of the Nazis. [back]

10. For example, Hitler's Secretary of State, Ernst von Weizsäcker, who claimed after the war that he had opposed Hitler, and who maintained some contacts at least with more actively pro-Western factions of the German military during the war, was not invited to the Wannsee Conference because Hitler's closest associates suspected he was not fully on board with the "final solution." [back]

11. For an in-depth and insightful exploration of the factors behind Hitler's anti-Semitism, and factors that led to the Holocaust, see Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? by Arno J. Mayer. [back]

12. See for example, "The U.S. ... Israel ... and Crimes Around the World," special issue of Revolution Oct. 4, 2010. [back]

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/700/largest-protest-in-history-across-israel-gaza-west-bank-en.html

Largest Protest in History across Israel, Gaza, and West Bank

| revcom.us

 

On May 18, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Israel, along with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, went on general strike and took to the streets protesting the Gaza war, the Israeli occupation, discrimination and violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the expulsions of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. It was one of the largest protests, if not the largest ever, within Israel—where there is a long history of Palestinian resistance to their oppression. 

For the first time in years, the protests involved Palestinians who face different forms of oppression under Israel: those locked down in Gaza, which functions like a massive outdoor prison; those subjected to constant abuse and terror in territories occupied by Israel in a war in 1967; and those living within Israel proper who are second class citizens in conditions similar to those faced by Black people in the Jim Crow South in the U.S. in the period before the civil rights movement:

Demonstrators gathered in central squares, waving Palestinian flags:

"Strike for Dignity" in Bethlehem, occupied West Bank. Credit: @yumna_patel

Signs, chants and speeches condemned Israel's apartheid-like oppression of the Palestinian people:

Ramallah, West Bank. Credit: @Lemapal

Brutal Israeli repression injured dozens:

 

The general strike followed days of worldwide protests:

 

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Protests Erupt Worldwide Against Israel's Brutal War on Palestinian People

| revcom.us

 

Protests against Israel’s brutal war against the Palestinian people have erupted around the world, sometimes drawing thousands of people. The mood has been marked by anger, outrage, and a sense that the oppression of Palestinian people must finally be ended.

These protests have gotten little coverage in the major media, and what there has been tends to give undue emphasis to minor clashes with small groups of pro-Israel protesters.

From press reports, it appears that most protests were primarily Muslim and/or Arab people—this must change! Protests continue in the U.S. and worldwide, and all people of conscience must turn out. As we said on May 14, this “is a ‘which side are you on’ moment for anyone who claims to care about humanity. Silence or equivocation in the name of ‘wishing the conflict would end,’ without calling out Israel’s crimes, is complicity.”

The following is a round-up of some of the protests worldwide since Israel began its latest attacks on the Palestinians. Revcom.us will continue to cover the ongoing protests--check back often for updates.

Tuesday, May 18

On the day that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank acted together in a “general strike” to denounce Israeli attacks, there were solidarity protests in other countries across the world. According to a report appearing on the Common Dreams website, “In dozens of cities across the U.S. and around the world Tuesday, demonstrators gathered to express solidarity with the Palestinians… In the U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace worked with local groups in cities nationwide to organize marches, rallies, and vigils…. In New York, protesters gathered at the Israeli Mission at the United Nations before marching to Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) home, the offices of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and Friends of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], and Golda Meir Square, which the group symbolically renamed…. Other rallies and vigils took place or were planned for Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, and other U.S. cities. Internationally, there were protests in Jakarta, Istanbul [Turkey], Beirut, and elsewhere.”


Jakarta, Indonesia, May 18.

Seoul, South Korea: Protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy, including Palestinian and Korean people, with signs saying (in Korean and English) “Free Palestine” and “Israel, Stop the Killing Now!”


Israeli Embassy, Seoul, South Korea, May 18. Photo: AP

In Dearborn, Michigan, home to a large number of people of Arab descent, more than 1,000 people gathered at a park not far from where Joe Biden was visiting for the day. According to an Al Jazeera report, protesters “booed at mentions of the Democratic president’s name.... ‘Joe Biden is going to hear from us today, one way or another,’ lawyer Amer Zahr told the crowd, who chanted, ‘free, free Palestine.’”

Houston, Texas: According to Houston Public Media, scores of protesters rallied outside the Israeli consulate, organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement. Then they marched through the streets.


2,000 people protest in Houston, May 18

Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Hundreds gathered downtown. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “They marched around the intersection at Broward Boulevard and Third Avenue, hoisted signs and Palestinian flags into the air and chanted in front of the federal courthouse.”

Los Angeles: Hundreds gathered outside the Israeli consulate in West LA to demand an end to Israeli air strikes in Gaza.


Los Angeles, May 18.

Monday, May 17

Sana, Yemen: According to AP, thousands marched to denounce Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Al Jazeera reported that since the current Israeli attacks on Gaza began, “Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities around the world, from New York and London to Cape Town and Auckland, demanding an end to deadly Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.” Their webpage includes a map and a list of cities around the world where protests supporting the Palestinian people have taken place.

Sunday, May 16


Chicago, May 16.

Chicago: From a revcom.us reader: Thousands of Palestinians and others from around the world gathered downtown and held a determined and beautiful out pouring of protest against the bombing of Gaza. The crowd that filled the streets, marching with hundreds of Palestinian flags, signs and banners, was made up of all generations and nationalities. There were busloads that came from southern Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. There were signs of support from Yemen, Armenia, Albania and Kashmir. Young people flying Palestinian flags hung out of cars, motor cycles and scooters. People climbed light poles and bus stops waving the Palestinian flag. Many of the people that came wore keffiyehs in support. Groups of young Palestinian women came together to join. Chanting in Arabic and English filled the air: “Free, Free Palestine,” “Hey Hey Ho Ho the Occupation Has Got to Go,” “The Nakba Is Ongoing, End the Occupation Now”! Among the crowd were posters from different groups expressing solidarity, including “Jews against ethnic cleansing” and “Mexicanos Unidos con Palestine.” The Revolution Club and revcoms went out into the crowd and got out over 1,000 copies of “A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution” and fliers calling for people to donate to the National Revolution Tour, and challenged people to be part of this REAL revolution.

Bangladesh:


Bangladesh, May 16. Photo: AP

Paterson, New Jersey: USA Today reported, “[A] massive rally of 4,000 in the streets of Paterson, New Jersey, marched and shouted chants of ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Occupation has to go.’ Organizers in one of the largest Arab and Palestinian communities in the United States asked people to call their elected officials to demand that they speak out for Palestinian rights and end unconditional aid to Israel.”

Palestine Rally in Paterson. Never seen it like this. Numbers are crazy pic.twitter.com/WPOe4q8ezd

— Taylor Valdmirovich Beans (@BrenesTyler) May 16, 2021

Greenville, South Carolina: People gathered downtown in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The call for the protest said, “Israel continues to advance and cement Israeli supremacy at a great cost to Palestinians—and we MUST come together to speak up against these atrocities.”

Miami, Florida: Between 1,000 and 2,000 people joined a protest organized by Palestinian, Jewish and secular groups, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported, “Local Palestinian, Jewish and secular groups organized the event in Broward County, where there is a larger Palestinian community, said organizer Lily Ostrer with the South Florida chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national anti-Zionist organization made up of Jews and non-Jews that organize in defense of Palestinian rights.”

Calgary, Canada: According to CTV News, there was a large car caravan in a third day of protests against the Israeli attacks on Palestinians. “Sunday's convoy, which made its way to City Hall, involved more than a thousand vehicles. ‘Today, we're all Palestinians,’ attendee Saima Jamal told CTV News. ‘This is about standing up for human rights. This is about standing up for the oppressed, for people who have no voice.’”

Saturday, May 15, 2021 (Nakba Day*)

Following 6 country reports are all from Al Jazeera:

Iraq: “Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in cities across Iraq to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. The demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and banners across five provinces in rallies called for by influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Protesters gathered in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the southern provinces of Babylon, Dhi Qar, Diwanieh and Basra in a show of support.”


Iraq, May 15. Photo: AP

Doha, Qatar: “Thousands waved flags and displayed messages in solidarity with the Palestinians.” “‘I am taking a stand against the genocide perpetrated by Israel in our country. We will do whatever it takes to free our country... Since we can’t be there in person, we are here at this protest today... I am very angry, very heartbroken by what is happening,’ Reem Alghoul, a Palestinian living in Doha, told Al Jazeera.”

Paris, France: “Hundreds converged in the Barbes neighbourhood in the north of Paris amid a significant security presence of some 4,200 officers. Paris police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the rally held despite a ban by authorities, who feared a flare-up of anti-Semitic violence during the worst violence between Israel and Hamas in years. A handful of garbage bins were set on fire and rocks and other projectiles were hurled towards police, but no arrests were reported.”


May 15, Bucharest, Romania. Photo: AP

Madrid, Spain: “2,500 people, many of them young people wrapped in Palestinian flags, marched to the Puerta del Sol plaza in the city centre. ‘This is not a war, it’s genocide,’ they chanted. ‘They are massacring us,’ said Amira Sheikh-Ali, a 37-year-old of Palestinian origin.”

South Lebanon: “Some protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks over the wall during a protest on Saturday in the Lebanese border village of Odayseh, where hundreds marched waving Palestinian and Lebanese flags, as well as the yellow banners of the Hezbollah group. Lebanese and Palestinians from around Lebanon have been heading to the border to protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza.”


Lebanese and Jordanian protesters infiltrated into occupied Palestine. Photo: Wafa News Agency

Srinagar, Kashmir (Under Indian occupation): “A number of people carrying Palestinian flags took to the streets in the main city of Srinagar after Friday prayers. The protesters raised pro-Palestine and anti-Israel slogans.

“The police said it ‘wouldn’t allow cynical encashments of public anger to trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder on Kashmir streets.’

“‘How can we be silent when they [Israel] are killing children in Gaza. Every human on earth should stand up for them. This is about showing humanity and solidarity, but we are not even able to do that due to fear,’ a 25-year-old resident of Srinagar told Al Jazeera.”

Police arrested at least 20 protesters.

United Kingdom: The Guardian reports on a very large protest outside the Israeli embassy in London. Organizers claimed 100,000 people there and that there were also protests in Birmingham, Coventry and Bristol in England, in Cardiff, Wales and in Edinburgh, Scotland. Major leaders in the out-of-power Labour Party spoke. Clashes with police led to at least 13 arrests.

Over 100,000 of us marched through London to stand with Palestine and say NO to Israel. This must be the biggest protest I've seen in a decade!

pic.twitter.com/RRpV91DIRN

— Hasan Abedi (@hazthesaz) May 15, 2021

Australia: The Guardian also reports on protests in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. About 5,000 attended in Sydney, where one protester raised the Palestinian flag over the Sydney Town Hall. “A young girl attended the rally with her parents holding a sign that said ‘Israel is killing children like me,’ as the large crowd chanted ‘From the river to sea, Palestine will be free.’”

In Melbourne, a Palestinian woman who had been coming to protests since she was a toddler told the Guardian: “I’ve been going to these things my whole life and I honestly don’t remember seeing such an incredible or significant turnout as I did today. We were there in the thousands and it was just really, really incredible to see.”

North America: Many press outlets estimated that a total of “tens of thousands” protested across Canada and the U.S.”

United States:

Los Angeles, California: KATC News reported that hundreds of protesters in shut down traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, calling for an end to Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Carrying “Free Palestine” signs and chanting “Long Live Intifada,” they marched from the Federal Building to the Israeli consulate.


Los Angeles May 15, at the Federal building in solidarity with Palestine.


Los Angeles, Revolution Club in march.

Boston, Massachusetts: KATC also reported that hundreds of protestors gathered in Boston’s Copley Square and then marched to the Israeli Consulate where a giant “Free Palestine” flag was unfurled atop the consulate’s awning. (France 24 reported that there were thousands in Boston.)

Brooklyn, New York: France 24 reported that about 2,000 people turned out in Bay Ridge, chanting “Free, Free, Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Bay Ridge has a significant Middle Eastern population, but importantly, some Jewish people joined the protest with signs that said “Not in my name” and “Solidarity with Palestine.”

A corporate strategist from Manhattan said, “I'm here because I want a Palestinian life to equal an Israeli life and today it doesn't. When you have a nuclear-armed state and another state of villagers with rocks it is clear who is to blame.”


About 2,000 people protested May 15 in Bayridge, Brooklyn, NY

There were also protests in New Orleans, Louisiana; Hartford, Connecticut; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Chicago, Illinois; Dearborn, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; and Washington, D.C.

Canada:

Montreal, Quebec: Several thousand reportedly denounced Israeli “war crimes” and violations of international law in central Montreal. There was also a protest at the Israeli consulate.


Montreal, Canada, May 15

There were also protests in Vancouver, British Columbia; Edmonton; Alberta; and Toronto; Ontario.

Friday, May 14 

Nairobi, Kenya: Reuters reported that “Police fired teargas to disperse a crowd of more than 200 people.” The protest began at a nearby mosque after prayers. One banner read: "Kenyans stand with Palestine." Human rights activist Boniface Mwangi said, “Apartheid in South Africa would not have fallen without international pressure...our silence justifies what Israel is doing.”

Jordan: Many of Jordan’s 10 million people are of Palestinian origin—some whose families were driven out of Israel when it was founded in 1948, others who had lived on the West Bank or in East Jerusalem, both of which were part of Jordan until they were seized by Israel in 1967.

Kfar Kila, Lebanon: The Lebanese state news agency reported that Israeli troops shot and killed a Lebanese man who was part of a protest of hundreds trying to cross over the border into Israel. Another youth was wounded as people expressed solidarity with Palestinians in Israel. According to Reuters, Israel said that its tanks had fired “warning shots” at the youth. Later they were dispersed by the Lebanese Army as United Nations “peacekeepers” looked on.

Dhaka, Bangladesh: Activists from an Islamic political party were joined by thousands of others in protest, carrying signs including “Boycott Terrorist State of Israel” and chanting “Down with Israel.”

Thursday, May 13


Vienna, Austria, May 13. Courtesy of the Austrian Union of Jewish Students.


Nairobi, Kenya, May 13. Photo: AP

Wednesday, May 12

Chicago, Illinois: According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a “massive group” of thousands of demonstrators marched through downtown for two hours, ending at the Israeli consulate. The protest was organized by the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine. One organizer told the crowd, “We’ve watched illegal land grab after illegal land grab while the world fell silent. The people of Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem and Gaza said, ‘No more!’ They turned on their phones and said to the world: ‘Are you OK with this?’” A 19-year-old Palestinian demonstrator said, “I’ve been seeing the injustice going on for 70-plus years. My grandma is older than the state of Israel. And it hurts me seeing kids dying, houses being blown up for no reason.”


Chicago, May 12. Photo: IG @vashon_photo

Germany: In Hanover, police said they broke up a protest of around 550 people and prevented two protesters from burning an Israeli flag.

Note: The governments in Germany and France have moved to publicly condemn and perhaps restrict anti-Israel protests, while Austria and the Czech Republic have officially raised the Israeli flag at government buildings in solidarity with Israel.

Spain: Haaretz says “nearly two dozen cities are hosting pro-Palestine protests this week.”


Thursday May 13, Milan, Italy, protesting the attacks on Palestinians.

Tuesday, May 11

New York City: A leaflet urged people to attend an “emergency rally,” wearing either a keffiyeh or a mask for COVID safety. Several hundred people came out to protest near the Israeli consulate, which had been evacuated. Haaretz reports that “Chants of ‘Long live Palestine’ could be heard from blocks away, people climbed city lampposts to raise Palestinian flags and drivers rode their vehicles up and down the wide 42nd Street block honking horns and waving flags out of the car windows, to cheers.” A young Palestinian woman said she’d been unable to sleep for three days, adding that “They make us out to be terrorists and we are far from terrorists. You always have people trying to speak for the Palestinians, as opposed to them speaking for themselves. The least I can do is be a voice for the voiceless.”


Madrid, Spain, May 11

Washington, DC: Alejandro Alvarez reports that hundreds marched in the streets from the State Department to the White House with a giant Palestinian flag and a large wooden “peace tank” adorned with flowers.

Los Angeles: The Daily News reports that over 100 people protested at the Israeli consulate on Wilshire Blvd.

London, England: Around 3,000 people (per Haaretz) protested outside the Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street, with placards reading “Free Palestine” and waving Palestinian flags.

South Africa: There were protests in at least two cities. In Cape Town, hundreds took to the streets chanting “Free, Free, Palestine” and “Down Israel, Down,” causing traffic jams. An older South African woman said that the treatment of Palestinians “reminds us of the brutality of police ... of the apartheid system that we used to have.” People also marched through Sandton, the wealthy business district of Johannesburg.


South Africans protest against Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, outside parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

Beirut, Lebanon: There was a protest in Mar Elias, a Palestinian refugee camp.

Amman, Jordan: Protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy, burning Israeli flags and chanting “Shame, shame the embassy is still there” and “Death to Israel.”

Sydney, Australia: A woman was charged with burning an Israeli flag at a protest in support of the Palestinian people.

There were also protests in Karachi, Pakistan; Ankara, Turkey; Rabat, Morocco; and Khartoum, Sudan.

 


* This day commemorates the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), the systematic, planned massacres of Palestinians, destruction of Palestinian villages, and rape of Palestinian women in 1948 that marked the birth of the state of Israel.   [back]

Right-click here to download Pamphlet (PDF)

The Case of Israel:
Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?

Read more

Revolution Responds to Question on Nature of Holocaust

Read more

Take the Quiz!
Israel: Perception & Reality

See also: "Palestine: Israeli Massacres Escalate, Palestinian Resistance Spreads"

 

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Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/700/israel-again-unleashes-terror-from-the-skies-en.html

As Israel — AGAIN — Unleashes Terror from the Skies, and Palestinians Resist: Historical Background and Orientation

| revcom.us

 

Some History:

Right-click here to download Pamphlet (PDF)

The Case of Israel:
Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?

The state of Israel is projected to the world as an outpost of democracy and tolerance in a sea of hostile, intolerant Islam bent on its destruction. To be considered a credible mainstream voice in U.S. politics, academia, or the media, one must present Israel as a front line of defense against Jihad, and a critical fortress defending "our way of life."

Read more


The U.S. ... Israel ... and Crimes Around the World

The state of Israel has functioned as a military bastion to defend and extend U.S. domination over the strategic area of the Middle East and worldwide—in the context of establishing U.S. supremacy over other imperialist powers. Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. support: in outright grants, military sales, and economic support.

Read on…



Palestinian family escaping the bombing in Southern Gaza Strip, 2008. Photo: AP



Learning from Rachel

An Interview with Cindy and Craig Corrie

"...When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the family's house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies.

"I'm having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach from being doted on very sweetly, by people who are facing doom. I know that from the United States it all sounds like hyperbole. A lot of the time the kindness of the people here, coupled with the willful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I can't believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry..."

Read on…

Basic Points of Orientation:

Bob Avakian on the current existential crisis confronting Israel:

From a Q&A with Bob Avakian after the talk Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

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

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28

 

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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/574/american-crime-case-30-us-armed-backed-massacre-in-gaza-en.html

American Crime

Case #30: Israel’s U.S.-Armed and -Backed Massacre in Gaza (2008-2009)

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian has written that one of three things that has "to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this." (See "3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.")

In that light, and in that spirit, "American Crime" is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

THE CRIME

From December 27, 2008 to January 19, 2009, Israel, backed by the U.S., brutally and viciously attacked the Palestinian people in Gaza—a Palestinian territory on a small strip of land 25 miles long and five miles wide on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Egypt on the south and Israel on the east and north. Overwhelmingly, the Palestinian people in Gaza were driven from their homes in what is now Israel. The violent expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland was most ferocious during the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) in 1948.1 Israel has kept more than 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza with no way out. (See the Revolution/revcom.us special issue, Bastion of Enlightenment…or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of Israel.)

The number of Palestinians killed during the 24-day assault, which Israel called “Operation Cast Lead,” has been estimated to be between 1,166 and 1,417,2 including 844 civilians, 281 of them children.3 More than 3,000 were injured during the invasion.4

The attack that initiated the slaughter was launched on a Saturday, shortly before noon, when most people would be in the streets. The Israelis used U.S.-supplied F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters to attack all of Gaza’s main towns, including Gaza City, Khan Younis, and Rafah, striking more than 210 targets in the first 24 hours.5 On that day, at least 225 to 230 Palestinians were killed and more than 700 injured. It was the deadliest one-day death toll in 60 years of conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian people call that day “The Massacre of Black Saturday.”6,7

During the first seven days, Israel pounded Gaza with bombs, artillery, and mortar shells, as Israelis sat on the hills of Sderot watching the mass carnage in Gaza below.8

Then on January 3, Israel launched a land invasion, sending thousands of troops into Gaza with tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery divisions.

Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert said this was “all-out war against the civilian population of Gaza,” and he said he hardly saw a military casualty among the hundreds of Palestinian bodies.9 The International Committee of the Red Cross discovered small children next to their mothers’ corpses and called the situation a “full blown humanitarian crisis.”10

Forty-two Palestinians were killed and another 55 wounded in a single attack on a United Nations school that was sheltering Palestinians who had been forced to flee their homes. Doctors said all of the victims were civilians, including many children. The Guardian reported that this “appears to be the biggest single loss of life of the campaign when Israeli bombs hit al-Fakhora school, in Jabaliya refugee camp, while it was packed with hundreds of people who had fled the fighting.” According to the Guardian, “Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out.”11

On January 19, when Israel knew a ceasefire was only hours away, they continued their assault, killing 54, including 43 unarmed civilians, 17 of them children in the last hours of the invasion.12

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report said that the Israeli military “repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital.” This violated international laws of war. The HRW report pointed out, “The dangers posed by white phosphorus13 to civilians were well-known to Israeli commanders, who have used the munition for many years. According to a medical report prepared during the hostilities by the ministry of health, ‘[w]hite phosphorus can cause serious injury and death when it comes into contact with the skin, is inhaled or is swallowed.’ The report states that burns on less than 10 percent of the body can be fatal because of damage to the liver, kidneys and heart.” The white phosphorus shells were made in America.

It was estimated that the Israeli assault destroyed up to 60 percent of the agriculture industry in Gaza, and that “13,000 families who depend directly on herding, farming … have suffered significant damage.”14 Ahmad Sourani, director of the Agricultural Development Association of Gaza, said,” What we have seen in large areas of farmland is the destruction of all means of life.” Peter Beaumont of the Observer reported that most of Gaza’s agriculture infrastructure was destroyed. The Ministry of Agriculture was targeted, the agriculture faculty at al-Azhar University in Beit Hanoun was largely destroyed, and the offices of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees in Zaitoun, which provides cheap food for the poor, was ransacked and vandalized by soldiers who left abusive graffiti.”15

The Israelis attacked and destroyed science and educational institutions. They destroyed al-Da’wa College for Humanities in Rafah and the Gaza College for Security Sciences. Six university buildings in Gaza were totally destroyed and another 16 damaged. Two buildings that housed the science and engineering laboratories of the Islamic University in Gaza were demolished. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza City that contained tons of emergency food and medicine was destroyed. Two floors of the al-Quds hospital were destroyed and the hospital set on fire. The fishing industry in Gaza was targeted where “Gaza’s 40,000 fishermen have been deprived of their livelihood.”16

The death and destruction in Gaza was overwhelming:

In total, more than 20,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Nothing was left untouched by the Israelis—schools, shelters, businesses, roads, and bridges.17,18

The Aftermath

Following the war, there was an increase of children born with birth defects. The number of blood cancer cases doubled, and Norwegian medics found traces of depleted uranium, a radioactive and genotoxic material used in some types of munitions, in some Gaza residents who were wounded. Soil samples showed that there were areas that contained up to 75 tons of depleted uranium.19

One year after the war ended, 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza remained displaced.20

In September 2009, a UN special mission, headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone, produced a report that accused Israel of “serious violations of international humanitarian law,” war crimes and crimes against humanity, and recommended bringing those responsible to justice.21

After the war, Israel, with the collaboration of Egypt and support of the Obama administration, imposed a draconian blockade that kept essential medical, construction, and food supplies from reaching Gaza. Israel even attacked civilian relief boats in international waters—murdering five people on one of them, the Mavi Marmara—in 2010, an act the Obama administration refused to condemn.22

THE CRIMINALS

President George W. Bush and his administration (2001-2009): On May 15, 2008, President George W. Bush, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, said, “The alliance between our governments is unbreakable.” In referring to Israel’s struggle with the Palestinians, he said, “…we applaud the courageous choices Israeli’s leaders have made. We also believe that nations have a right to defend themselves and that no nation should ever be forced to negotiate with killers pledged to its destruction.”23 Less than a month later and six months prior to the attack on Gaza, Israel began planning the war.

The main weapons (F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions) used in the Gaza Massacre were supplied to Israel by the Bush administration.24

The Bush administration blocked a UN vote for an immediate ceasefire the day the invasion started. Further, the U.S. voted against a UN treaty in December 2008 to regulate arms trade, and a resolution on “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”25

The Democratic Party-controlled 2008 Congress: Since the mid-1960s, Israel has served as a base, and an enforcer, for U.S. imperialism in the Middle East and beyond. By 2008, when the position of the U.S. atop a world of exploitation and oppression was being challenged and under stress from many directions, the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel was seen as all the more critical by the U.S. rulers—both Republicans and Democrats.

The Democratic Party-controlled U.S. Senate and House passed near unanimous resolutions giving full support to Israel and upholding its “inalienable right to defend against attacks from Gaza.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “We support the state of Israel, very strongly as a national policy, because it is in our national interest to do so.”26 Jerrold Nadler, a leading Democratic House member, said, “Israel has commendably made strenuous efforts to minimize harm to civilians, while Hamas has needlessly imperiled innocent Palestinians in Gaza.”27 A year later, top Democratic senator Chuck Schumer said, “[Y]ou have to force them [the Palestinians] to say Israel is here to stay” and “...to strangle them economically until they see that’s not the way to go, makes sense.”28

U.S. government and U.S. military: In their 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces made use of M-92 and M-84 “dumb bombs,” Paveway II and JDAM guided “smart bombs,” AH-64 Apache attack helicopters equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire guided missiles, M141 “bunker defeat” munitions, and special weapons like M825A1 155mm white phosphorous munitions—all supplied as American foreign aid. Israel is also allowed to spend 25 percent of military funding from the U.S. on weapons made by its own weapons industry.29

From 1949-2018, the U.S. has provided Israel with $135 billion in aid, with $95 billion being military aid. The George W. Bush administration supported Israel with $21 billion during its eight years, $19 billion of that going for military aid.30

Candidate and then President Barack Obama: When Barack Obama was running for president, he repeatedly made his support for Israel crystal clear. On July 23, 2008, standing in front of a local police station in Sderot, Israel, just a few miles from Gaza, Obama said, “If someone was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that, and I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”31

In October 2009, the Obama administration blocked the Goldstone Report from reaching the International Criminal Court in order to stop any legal proceedings against Israel for the war crimes it committed against the people of Gaza that are documented in the report.32 And, as noted earlier, Obama backed the vicious blockade Israel and Egypt imposed on Gaza after the war.

The Israeli government: Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister and former prime minister, said the military operation in Gaza would expand and deepen as necessary. He said, “There is a time for calm and a time for fighting, and this is the time for fighting.... Right now, we have to hit Hamas hard.... I don’t see any other way for Hamas to change its behavior. Hamas is not just a terrorist organization. It actually rules Gaza.”33 Barak said that this was going to be a “war to the bitter end.”34

THE ALIBI

Israel claimed that they launched the all-out assault on Gaza because rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel. Those rockets were in response to Israel’s earlier attack on Gaza that killed seven Palestinians. That attack by Israel broke a six-month ceasefire. Israel excused that attack by saying they found a tunnel between Gaza and Israel.35,36

The officially stated Israeli goal of Operation Cast Lead was “to diminish the security threat to residents of southern Israel by steeply reducing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, weakening Hamas, and restoring Israel’s deterrence.”37

THE REAL MOTIVE

The Goldstone Report stated, “the (Israeli) operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support ... that what occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”38

“Wars” between Israel and Gaza are actually one-sided slaughters. Israel and its apologists defend the massacres by invoking rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel. This is an obscene pretext that denies the extreme one-sidedness of the death and devastation, and masks the real and fundamental factors involved, starting with the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people from their land.

The Palestinian people in the West Bank, in Gaza, within the borders of Israel, and in diaspora around the world have never stopped resisting being driven from their homeland, being dehumanized, and being subjected to genocide. And from its inception, Israel has dealt with that resistance through death, torture, and terror. That ongoing genocidal violence frames the specific situation in Gaza today.

In 2007, the Islamic fundamentalist organization Hamas gained political control in Gaza. Hamas and the trend it is part of are reactionary, based on a draconian interpretation of Islam. Nevertheless, the rise of Hamas posed a serious threat to Israel, including creating openings for the Islamic Republic of Iran—which the U.S. and Israel see as the top threat to their interests in the Middle East—to expand its influence in the region.

For the rulers of the U.S. in 2008 (and this is, if anything, even more true now), there was no ally like Israel in a region of the world critical to maintaining its position atop a planet of exploitation and oppression. The U.S. does pursue alliances with other countries in this region—Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for example. But the situation in those countries is much more unstable, and public opinion is much more inclined to identify with the Palestinian people. In contrast, that is not the case (at this point, at least) in Israel. Israel fills a role for the interests of the U.S. empire that no other ally in the region can. And this is, essentially, why the U.S. backed the massacre of the people of Gaza in 2008, and the ongoing crimes Israel commits against the Palestinian people.

 


1. Israeli historian Ilan Pappé carefully documented this in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, citing first-hand sources written by Zionists who established Israel and carried out the ethnic cleansing on which it is based.  [back]

2. “Gaza War (2008-2009),” Wikipedia.  [back]

3. Gaza In Crisis, Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé, edited by Frank Barat, Haymarket Books, 2010, p. 94.  [back]

4. Chomsky and Pappé, p. 95.  [back]

5. “Israel Unleashes a Massacre in Gaza,” revcom.us, December 29, 2008.  [back]

6. “Gaza War (2008-2009),” Wikipedia.  [back]

7. To read more about that first day, see “Israel Unleashes a Massacre in Gaza,” at revcom.us.  [back]

8. “Israelis Watch the Fighting in Gaza From a Hilly Vantage Point,” Charles Levinson, Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2009.  [back]

9. Chomsky and Pappé, p. 93.  [back]

10. “Gaza Children Found With Mothers’ Corpses,” Alan Cowell, New York Times, January 9, 2009.  [back]

11. “Gaza’s day of carnage-40 dead as Israelis bomb two UN schools,” Chris McGreal and Hazem Balousha, Guardian, January 9, 2009.  [back]

12. Chomsky and Pappé, p. 94.  [back]

13. White phosphorus ignites and burns on contact with oxygen, and continues burning at up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 degrees Celsius) until nothing is left or the oxygen supply is cut. When white phosphorus comes into contact with skin it creates intense and persistent burns. (See “Israel,” Human Rights Watch News, March 25, 2009.)  [back]

14. “Gaza desperately short of food after Israel destroys farmland,” the Guardian, January 31, 2009.  [back]

15. “Gaza desperately short of food after Israel destroys farmland”  [back]

16. Chomsky and Pappé, pp. 105, 108.  [back]

17. “What was the 2008 Gaza war?” ProCon.org.  [back]

18. “Effects of the Gaza War,” Wikipedia.  [back]

19. “Gaza War (2008-2009),” Wikipedia.  [back]

20. “What was the 2008 Gaza War?” ProCon.org.  [back]

21. “Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories,” September 25, 2009, UN General Assembly, aka Goldstone Report. (The report also cites some violations by the Palestinians. If true, they are miniscule compared to the egregious violations committed by the Israelis.)  [back]

22. “From A World to Win News Service: U.S. to Israel after the Gaza ship massacre: keep up the killing,” revcom.us, October 10, 2010.  [back]

23. Address of US President George Bush to the Knesset, May 15, 2008  [back]

24. “U.S. Arms Transfer and Security Assistance to Israel,” William D. Hartung and Frida Berrigan, World Policy Institute Report, May 6, 2002. (Several sources, including Wikipedia and the Guardian, report that the F-16 fighter jets made by General Dynamics and the AH-64 Apache helicopters made by Boeing, were the main weapons used during this war. The above report chronicles all the weapons—fighter planes, helicopters, missiles, rifles, grenade launchers, 50-caliber machine guns, and ammunition—supplied to Israel by the U.S.)  [back]

25. Chomsky and Pappé, pp. 92, 94.  [back]

26. “US Senate supports Israel’s Gaza incursion,” Reuters, January 8, 2009.  [back]

27. “The Democrats on Israel,” Adriana Kojeve, January 22, 2009, Counterpunch.  [back]

28. “Schumer Says It ‘Makes Sense’ To ‘Strangle [Gaza] Economically’ Until It Votes The Way Israel Wants,” Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress.com, June 11, 2010.  [back]

29. “Washington’s Military Aid to Israel,” Chase Madar, Huffington Post, February 10, 2104.  [back]

30. “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel: Total Aid,” Jewish Virtual Library.  [back]

31. Times of Israel blog.  [back]

32. “U.S. to block Goldstone Gaza referral to ICC,” Laura Rozen, Politico, September 23, 2009.  [back]

33. “Israelis Say Strikes Against Hamas Will Continue,” Taghreed El-Khodary and Ethan Bronnerdec, New York Times, December 27, 2008.  [back]

34. “War Over Gaza,” New York Times editorial, December 29, 2008.  [back]

35. “US to block Goldstone Gaza referral to ICC.”  [back]

36. “US to block Goldstone Gaza referral to ICC.”  [back]

37. “Israel and Hamas: Conflict in Gaza (2008-2009),” US Congressional Research Service Report, February 19, 2009.  [back]

38. “Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories,” September 25, 2009, UN General Assembly, aka Goldstone Report, pp. 406, 408.  [back]

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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


Palestinian family escaping the bombing in Southern Gaza Strip, 2008. Photo: AP


Israeli bombs strike Gaza Strip, 2008. Photo: AP

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

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:

 

Watch it, spread it, fund it

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/471/the-reality-of-israeli-settlements-escalating-ethnic-cleansing-of-palestine-en.html

The Reality of Israeli "Settlements": Escalating Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

December 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On December 23, in an unprecedented move, the United States allowed a resolution to be passed in the United Nations Security Council that condemns Israel for illegally building settlements in the West Bank region of Palestine. This is a region supposedly promised to the Palestinians by Israel and the United Nations. Those settlements are militarized encampments of heavily armed Israelis and are a key part of escalating ethnic cleansing of sections of Palestine. The "settlements" have grown dramatically during the Obama administration—today more than 500,000 Israelis live in them (See "Statistics on Settlements and Settler Population," B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.)

The U.S. move provoked a furious reaction from Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and from Donald Trump, who tweeted "Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!" (For background, see "Obama Abstains on a UN Resolution Condemning Israel... Trump Lashes Back: Not a 'Sign of Hope', a Preview of Incoming Horrors")

What does rapidly escalating "settlement building" by Israel mean for the lives of more than 4.5 million Palestinians who inhabit the West Bank? Below is a sampling of video testimonies that give a glimpse into this reality:

1) "Israeli settlers take part of Palestinian city"

This 2013 report from Aljazeera English tells how the city of Hebron (the Israeli name for the city known as Al-Khalil by Palestinian Arabs) has become a flashpoint for Israeli attempts to colonize and annex the West Bank. Fanatical Jewish fundamentalist settlers have been taking over houses and buildings, which then come under Israeli military protection. They are biting off parts of the city piece by piece, while the Palestinian residents are put under curfew and face constant violence and harassment.

2) "Israeli Illegal Settlements - What You Need to Know in 60 seconds"

A dramatic 2015 infographic video tells how 60,000 illegal Israeli settlements over the last few decades are changing the demographics in order to lay the basis for Israeli annexation of the whole West Bank. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been evicted and more than 15,000 Palestinian homes destroyed.

3) "Living in East Jerusalem - Zuheir a-Rajabi"

A Palestinian documents the encroachments by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, the traditional "Old City" home to Palestinians for centuries. He shows the violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers and soldiers.

4) "Living in East Jerusalem - Muna and Muhammad al-Qurd"

Two fearless Palestinian kids take us on tour through their East Jerusalem neighborhood, documenting how Israeli settlers are swallowing up Palestinian areas. Highlights include them playing in a playground reserved for settler kids, and confronting Jewish tourists who came to gawk at a Palestinian house that was grabbed by settlers.

5) "Living in East Jerusalem - 'Abd al-Fatah 'Abed Rabu"

A Palestinian farmer who has been evicted from his land to make way for Israeli settlements near East Jerusalem lives in a cave but still tends his land. He documents his daily work and his entanglements in an Israeli court where he is being prosecuted for his actions.

6) "Old Palestinian lady arrives home finds Jewish settlers have stolen her house"

This video shows the outrageous seizure of a house from a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem. The house was ordered to be expropriated by an Israeli court that ruled it was an illegal extension of the family's existing house. Arrogant Israeli settlers with sleeping bags push back an old woman who desperately tries to save her home.

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/537/michael-slate-interviews-author-activist-miko-peled-en.html

Michael Slate Interviews Author and Activist Miko Peled

“Palestinians are suffering from a regime of apartheid, a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide all at the same time”

April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is excerpted from an interview with Miko Peled, aired on March 16, 2018, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. The entire interview is available at themichaelslateshow.com.

Miko Peled is the son of an Israeli general, and Miko Peled himself served in the Israeli army. After his niece was killed by Palestinians in a suicide bombing, instead of responding with blind hate and revenge, Peled was driven to learn for himself why the Palestinian people were so full of outrage. Today he lives in the U.S. where he courageously speaks out against Zionism and Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. He is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.

The Michael Slate Show airs every Friday at 10 am Pacific Time on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. The show can be streamed live here and people can listen to or download archived shows here.

Revolution/revcom.us features interviews from The Michael Slate Show to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theatre, music and literature, science, sport, and politics. The views expressed by those interviewed are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere by Revolution/revcom.us.

 

Michael Slate: There’s a full-scale assault on the Palestinian people right now and it has been kept quiet and secret from the rest of the world. In February alone at least 1,319 Palestinian people were detained by the Israeli occupation forces and other assaults continue unmitigated. Yet so little is known to the rest of the world. What’s your assessment of the situation today?

Miko Peled: It’s funny, you know, because people always say to me, “So how are things in Palestine? It seems like it’s really nice and quiet there now, like nothing’s going on.” I’m thinking how in the world does anybody reach that conclusion? What in the world makes people think that everything is fine? Palestine is bleeding like an injured human being, bleeding to death. Bleeding to death at an unbelievable speed, an unbelievable speed. It’s a miracle that there’s any piece of Palestine that is still alive. It will require an enormous effort, enormous relief, to just bring Palestine back on its feet and that relief isn’t anywhere in sight. And so the patient is dying very rapidly, the bleeding is severe, and like you said, people go around the world thinking that everything’s fine because they don’t see it on the news.

Michael Slate: There’s a lot of assaults on the Palestinian people, but it really does look like what we’re looking at is ethnic cleansing. That raises things to a whole other level. Cleansing the Palestinians from Jerusalem, but also throughout the country as a whole.

Miko Peled: Yes, you know it’s interesting, too, because when you use terms like ethnic cleansing, like genocide, like describing Israel’s regime as an apartheid regime, people on the other side are always up in arms, they’re outraged: “How dare you say the Jews could possibly commit genocide? The Jews would never agree to impose apartheid on other people.” I think Nancy Pelosi once said it’s absurd to think the Jews would ever use apartheid against other people. First of all, Jews are like any other people; they can do what other people do, just as bad and just as good. But on the issue of Palestine, it’s very easy to show because the international community has defined these terms.

What is happening in Palestine is all of the above. It’s an apartheid regime and, again, international law describes exactly what apartheid is. It is ethnic cleansing. Again you can look at the definition of ethnic cleansing. And it’s genocide. Look at the Geneva Convention and the description of the crime of genocide and compare these three definitions to what has been happening in Palestine over the last seven decades and somebody come up here and tell me that it is not a perfect fit. It is genocide, it is ethnic cleansing, and it’s a regime of apartheid all at the same time. Again, the definitions are very clear so for some reason to come up and say oh no, it’s not this and it’s not that, it’s not the other―it’s complete nonsense. All you have to do is look at the definition that international law has given these terms, these crimes, and it’s a perfect fit.

Michael Slate: Let’s get into some concrete examples of what is actually happening in Palestine now.

Miko Peled: We have two million people in the Gaza Strip without access to clean water, without access to proper medical care. They have been subjected to bombing beyond belief and the injured from those bombings still have not been able to get medical relief. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people without access to relief. If you want to kill someone without shooting them, you can injure them, then let them die slowly, or you can deny them water, or you can deny them clean water and they will die from disease. So there’s clearly an intent here, a very clear intent, to see the people of Gaza die a slow death—and we’re talking about two million people.

This scene in Gaza after a 2014 Israeli airstrike calls to mind the reality that Peled addresses: "...two million people in the Gaza Strip without access to clean water, without access to proper medical care. They have been subjected to bombing beyond belief and the injured from those bombings still have not been able to get medical relief. ... So there’s clearly an intent here, a very clear intent, to see the people of Gaza die a slow death...." Photo: AP

We know very well as a result of the relief organizations that are able to do some work there that a child with a curable disease—a curable cancer—inside the Gaza Strip will die. A Jewish-Israeli child a mile away on the other side of the border with the exact same disease will live, and it’s only because Israel denies the health care, the proper medical care, to the Palestinian child. So that is two million people in the Gaza Strip.

We have hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Negev Desert who are denied clean water, with infant mortality rates that are off the charts and without any comparisons to mortality rates among Israeli Jews. We’re talking about the Bedouins in the Negev Desert, Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. Children are dying because they have no access to clean water, so they’re admitted to the hospital with diseases that you never see Israeli children, Jewish children, being admitted with these diseases. They don’t have those problems, they have access to clean water, they have access to health care immediately.

With Palestinians in Jerusalem who are losing their homes at an alarming rate, losing the right to live there ... you know, I was born and raised in Jerusalem—I can come and go as I please. I’ve been gone for 20 years—I go back, I’m a citizen. Palestinians in Jerusalem are—first of all, they’re not citizens, they’re “alien residents” even though several of the families there go back very far. And if they leave, then they lose their ability to return, they lose their alien resident status, and their property is taken away. This is happening at an alarming rate, plus home demolition, plus entire communities in the periphery of Jerusalem, which used to be attached to Jerusalem, Palestinian communities, Palestinian towns that have become complete ghost towns. You see the brand-new buildings—businesses, homes—completely abandoned because the people have been subjected to ethnic cleansing.

And the list goes on and on and on—in Galilee, in every part of the country, Palestinians are suffering from a regime of apartheid, a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide all at the same time.

Michael Slate: This is pushed underneath everything else so a lot of people don’t know about it at all. Gaza in particular really reminds me of the Warsaw Ghetto. There’s a certain irony there given who’s actually reigning over what’s happening in Gaza right now. But the fact that it does look like and remind one of the Warsaw Ghetto is pretty heavy

Miko Peled: Yes, it’s horrifying, it’s beyond horrifying. The fact that the world is allowing that to happen, and again—we’re not talking about some remote mountaintop in the middle of Afghanistan where there’s no access. We’re talking about Palestine, we’re talking about a country where there’s plenty of access—or where there could be plenty of access to clean water, to the best health care ... people are educated. It is a three-hour flight from Paris. I mean, for God’s sake, you know, it’s half an hour from Tel Aviv, from Jerusalem—cities where you wouldn’t dream of seeing Israeli Jews live like this, and nobody cares. There are no protests, there are no demands that the siege on Gaza be stopped.

If this was any other place you’d have the [U.S.] Sixth Fleet there forcing the siege open and giving basic humanitarian care to the people there, but they won’t do that because it’s Israel. Eventually what needs to happen is the Sixth Fleet needs to force that siege open instead of collaborating with the state of Israel, which is what the U.S. military is doing now on a huge scale, and for some basic relief for the two million people of Gaza.

By the way, the crime of genocide as it is defined by the Geneva Convention also speaks about complicity with genocide, and that’s where the United States government and the European government hopefully will one day find themselves—in a court of law—because they are complicit with the genocide of the Palestinians.

Michael Slate: Miko, there’s a specific role of U.S. imperialism here, and it’s been ongoing. But it’s taken a leap since the ascendancy of Trump to the top of the regime. You look at, for instance, just the recent thing with Jerusalem and the U.S. embassy being moved to Jerusalem, which is a declaration that the U.S. stands solidly behind the genocide that the Israeli administration and government is bringing down on the Palestinian people.

Miko Peled: Yes, without a doubt Trump has emboldened Israel in a way that was hard to imagine, because we all thought this was as bad as it’s going to get. This move—putting the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem—was, first of all, reckless. But it was also a move that was designed as a slap in the face to all the Arab and Muslim world. It was a personal, political gift to Benjamin Netanyahu, because Netanyahu and Trump have become BFFs. And now they brought into the equation the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who is a criminal, who is conducting a horrifying campaign of killing and slaughtering in Yemen, and was just given billions of dollars’ worth of weapons by the Brits and a complete license to continue this by the Americans. And the price he has to pay is, of course, normalized relations with Israel, and there is every reason to expect that there will be normal diplomatic relations between the two countries before long.

So this is a very dangerous, very dangerous, time. I think it is more dangerous than anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. And the people who suffer the most as a result of this are the Palestinians, because Israel has been emboldened—they are even more violent and more brutal towards Palestinians and Palestinian children than they have ever been before.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/103/israel-quiz-en.html

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/700/rnl-show-episode-53-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 53 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

A Plan for Real Revolution; Bob Avakian for Black Liberation; Free Palestine, Free All Humanity

 

As the U.S.-backed Israeli slaughter of Palestinians escalates and resistance to this spreads around world, the urgent need for real revolution and the new communism forged by Bob Avakian is more urgent than ever.

In this episode:

** Andy Zee will wield “A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution,” and break down the rare moment we are in when revolution could be made, bring alive the urgent need to get organized for this NOW, and address the question, “What is the plan?” He will share segments of Bob Avakian's historic speech, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, and invite you to attend in-person screenings of this film this weekend in New York City and Los Angeles, or around the country online (details here).

Also: Get ready to MARCH on June 12, 2021 in Los Angeles to declare, “REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!” and make a leap in putting this revolution on the map, drawing more people into the organized forces for revolution, and working to get in position to actually make revolution at the soonest possible time.

** "Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity," Segment 5.

The RNL Show has been serializing this important article, which can be found at revcom.us and which brings alive how:

Bob Avakian (BA), from the time he worked closely with the Black Panther Party in its revolutionary days in the 1960s, has made the liberation of Black people a defining part of his life’s commitment and work. As he developed as a revolutionary communist, and emerged as the foremost revolutionary leader and thinker in the world, this commitment has become even deeper and has been strongly interwoven with a dedication to the emancipation of all humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation.

Segment 5 of this series goes into some of Bob Avakian's works on these topics.

** Free Palestine, Free All Humanity! The slaughter and displacement of Palestinians by Israel is a genocidal crime that is backed by the United States. It is not some “age-old conflict” that no one can understand. These are not “clashes” between two sides that just can’t get along. This is about oppressors and oppressed. Right and wrong.

So, what is the real nature of the state of Israel? Why does every U.S. president back Israel—whether it’s Republican fascists like Trump or Democrats like Obama and Biden? Does the Holocaust justify the crimes Israel is committing against Palestinians? And what will it take for Palestinians, and all of humanity, to finally get free?

This segment will answer these questions.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/leaked-video-exposes-la-state-pigs-tortured-ronald-greene-to-death-en.html

After Two Years, Leaked Video Exposes How Louisiana State Pigs Tortured Ronald Greene to Death

| revcom.us

 

May 10, 2019, outside Monroe, Louisiana, Ronald Greene, a 49-year-old Black barber, does not pull over for an unexplained traffic stop. Instead, he takes off. He is chased by Louisiana State Police (LSP) and finally pulls over. Ronald Greene is then brutally tortured—beaten, punched, tased three times, and dragged by the shackles on his legs. He’s left face down for nine minutes, He is never given medical treatment and dies in police custody.

But because the perpetrators were the only witnesses, for over two years the LSP blocked release of the body-cam footage from any of the six murderers, and the coroner’s report as well. The initial state police report does not mention troopers using force or arresting Greene. His family was told he died in a car crash after a high-speed chase. But a doctor who was told by police that Greene died as a result of a crash concluded that made no sense, since the prongs from the taser were left stuck in Greene’s skin. After the LSP Criminal Investigations Division looked into the in-custody death, the LSP released a one-page statement saying Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital.

Pig Body-Cam Video Leaked to the Press

But on May 19, 2021, the Associated Press released the 46-minute body-cam video from one of the pigs that had been leaked to them—which shows the grotesque torture and murder of Ronald Greene. The 46-minute clip shows nothing less than a lynching (the video clip at the top of this article is a 2+ minute excerpt released by AP).

One trooper is seen wrestling Greene to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and punching him in the face while another can be heard calling him a “stupid motherfucker” as Greene cries “I’m sorry. I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!” The video shows Greene being stunned three times with a taser. He is shown bleeding profusely. In one scene he is being held up, unresponsive. Instead of giving him medical aid, the troopers leave him face down and moaning for more than nine minutes while they wipe his blood off their hands and faces. “I hope this guy ain’t got fucking AIDS,” says one pig. In one of the scenes, Greene can be seen being dragged by ankle shackles. When he tries to roll on his side, a white officer pushes him back face down into the dirt with his boot. A cop says, “I beat the ever-living fuck out of him. Choked him and everything else.” Greene died on the way to the hospital.

Greene’s daughter filed a wrongful death suit against the murdering pigs a year ago. She told CNN that her father had battled cancer for two years and had recently entered remission before his death. He was traveling to Florida from Louisiana to reunite with his wife on the night of his murder.

For over two years Greene’s mother has agonized over his death, never believing the official story. After watching the video, she said: “They murdered him. It was set out, it was planned. He didn’t have a chance. Ronnie didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t going to live to tell about it.” The ACLU of Louisiana said:

We now know what Louisiana State Police have been trying to hide: Ronald Greene was tortured to death by officers who denied him life-saving aid for more than nine minutes. What we are witnessing on this video is a brutal killing—a killing that was committed by cops but also condoned by our laws, perpetuated by white supremacy, and encouraged by a culture of impunity and violence.


Ronald Greene

RACIAL OPPRESSION CAN BE ENDED—BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

Read more

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/los-angeles-sheriffs-department-part1-en.html

LOS ANGELES SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Racist Murdering Thugs in Uniform and Nazi-like Prison Guards; Murderous Enforcers of THIS System

A History of Casual Murder, with No Restraints under This System

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: As we approach June 12 and the march to Show the World: We Are Getting Organized Now For REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS, we thought it helpful for our readers to have some background of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), its history, and its role as a concentrated manifestation of the murderous enforcers of this system.1 (In LA, the June 12 march goes from Southwest College to the South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station.)

June 12 represents planned political actions of the revcoms in relation to impacting the terrain and accumulating forces for revolution:

We need to wield this growing revolutionary force to stand up to this system and its murderous enforcers and to change the whole “terrain” (the political, social and cultural situation and “atmosphere”) throughout society, in order to weaken the hold of this system over people, win people away from acting to strengthen and enforce this system, and create the best possible conditions for this revolution to succeed. (From A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution)

 

For at least 50 years, oppressed people in LA County have grown up with a terror of the LA Sheriffs—the kind of terror that you hear about from older Black people who came up in the South when KKK torture and lynchings were a constant fear.

David Diaz, a 69-year-old lifelong resident of East LA, told the Guardian that he and almost every man in his family has been arrested and booked by the sheriffs, and that at least nine friends had been killed by police. Diaz says this dates all the way back to the time of the Chicano Power Movement of the 1960s and ’70s when sheriffs seemed to be competing to arrest as many people as possible. That was a time when Mexican-Americans were starting to rise up against constant racist humiliation, discrimination, and oppression they faced as a people. On August 29, 1970, this took expression in the Chicano Moratorium, a peaceful march of about 30,000 Chicano people against the Vietnam War, which was violently attacked by hundreds of LA Sheriffs and LAPD cops, leading to the deaths of four people. Prominent Chicano journalist and Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar was sitting in a café when a deputy fired a tear gas canister at his head, killing him. (We will have more on this in Part III of this series.)

Paul Rea’s mom, Leah Garcia, recalls that in 2008, when Paul was only seven, cops pulled them over for a traffic stop and Paul began screaming “Please don’t take my mom.” By that time Leah had already lost the father of another child to the sheriffs. Eleven years later, in June 2019, Paul was the passenger in a car pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign. Deputies threatened to kill the driver. Paul took off running. One deputy opened fire, killing Paul.

A year later, on June 18, 2020, a sheriff shot Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Salvadoran-American, six times. A whistleblower in the LASD reported that this killing was done to gain approval from one of the white supremacist gangs that are a powerful element of LASD.

Then less than two months later, in August 2020, deputies shot Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man, 15 times in his back, continuing even after he was lying still. They suspected him of violating vehicle codes while riding his bike.

These killings were nothing new. Just a small sample, an example of the murderous enforcement of this system, of its institutionalized white supremacy and police terror, brutality, and murder:

In August 2018, deputies fired 13 shots into the back of Anthony Vargas, and then lied that he was charging at them with a gun.

On June 6, 2019, deputies shot Ryan Twyman, a 24-year-old father of three, 34 times as he sat, unarmed in his car. That same day law enforcement killed three other people in LA.

In 2016, they chased down 31-year-old Donta Taylor and shot him a dozen times alongside a canal because they said he was wearing “gang colors.” He was unarmed and not even suspected of a crime.

In January 2016, they shot Nicholas Robertson, 28-years-old, 33 times, firing, reloading and firing again as Nicholas tried to crawl away. Then they left his body lying out uncovered for 13 hours.

If you’re Black or Brown, even a position of wealth or authority won’t protect you. In August 2020, Aja Brown, the Black mayor of Compton was driving with her husband and her infant daughter when sheriffs pulled her over for an alleged traffic violation. At least seven sheriff’s vehicles descended on the scene. Brown was ordered out of the car and searched as her daughter screamed. Brown said “They terrorize the community...” In July, Jermelle Henderson, a successful restaurant owner, was pulled over at gunpoint and handcuffed, detained in the patrol car and then released without any explanation.

Since 2000, LASD has killed at least 330 people.

Out of all these killing, there has been one deputy indicted!

The rulers of this system give LASD the responsibility to “maintain order,” and especially to keep control of the most oppressed, marginalized, and rebellious sections of people. LASD has been given the power of life-and-death over the people, and it has shown, time and again over many decades, its willingness to wield that power with complete ruthlessness and outright sadism. They behave straight up like an occupying army of racist murderous thugs... which is exactly what they are!

And the system backs them up, virtually every time—for they are a manifestation of the murderous enforcers of this system.

 

Coming Soon: Parts II and III of this exposure on the LA Sheriffs Department... follow revcom.us

 

1. Background: With an annual budget of 3.3 billion dollars, 9,000 deputies and 13,000 other paid employees and civilian volunteers, the LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is the largest sheriff’s department in the U.S. It patrols 42 cities and 153 unincorporated areas in the 4,751 square miles of LA County, home to millions of people, mainly Latino, Black, Asian, and Indigenous. It also runs the largest jail system in the world, with 200,000 people held at some point every year. [back]


August 29, 1970, about 30,000 Chicano people took part in the Chicano Moratorium, a peaceful march against the Vietnam War, which was violently attacked by hundreds of LA Sheriff’s deputies and LAPD cops, leading to the deaths of four people.


In August 2020 deputies shot Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man, 15 times in his back, continuing even after he was lying still. They suspected him of violating vehicle codes while riding his bike.

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/supreme-court-to-hear-mississippi-case-on-restriction-of-rights-en.html

The Stakes of and Dangers for Women's Right to Abortion

Supreme Court to Hear Mississippi Case on Restriction of Rights

| revcom.us

 

“... And the fascist section of the ruling class has, over a number of decades now, waged a relentless attack on Constitutional rights, and mobilized their social base of religious fundamentalist fanatics, to forcefully and often violently assert ‘traditional’ patriarchal oppression—with the assault on the right to abortion, and even birth control, a major focus of this attempt to essentially enslave women.”

—from New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

In an ominous move, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a case concerning a Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It’s not possible to predict how the court will rule on this case.

But the stakes here are very high.

For many decades now, Christian fascist and reactionary anti-abortion forces have been passing numerous state anti-abortion laws—with expectation that legal challenges to such laws would eventually result in a Supreme Court ruling that would either outright overturn or drastically gut the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. Just this month, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed a law prohibiting abortions after as early as six weeks. This is one of more than 60 new state restrictions on abortion enacted just this year.

The Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will likely be heard in the Supreme Court’s next term, starting in October. A decision is expected to come in the spring or early summer of 2022. The case concerns a Mississippi law enacted in 2018 that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy—which is about two months earlier than Roe v. Wade allows states to largely ban abortion. After the Mississippi law was enacted, the state’s sole abortion clinic sued, saying the law was in violation of Roe v. Wade. Lower courts ruled the law was plainly unconstitutional under Roe, which forbids states from banning abortions before fetal viability—the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or about 23 or 24 weeks.

The Christian fascist-dominated Supreme Court could use this case as an opportunity to directly attack Roe. But even if it doesn’t do this, there are other scenarios where a ruling could seriously undermine a woman’s right to abortion. For example, by coming up with some reasoning to uphold the Mississippi law, the court’s ruling could set a precedent upholding other laws banning (not just putting restrictions on) abortions before viability.

Actually, if the anti-abortion forces had it their way, “viability” would be defined as anything after conception! And the real issue here is not fundamentally about a fetus or a “baby.” It is about the right of women to control their reproduction and to be able to equally participate in all aspects of society. That is why all anti-abortion groups also oppose birth control. Let’s be clear: Fetuses Are NOT Babies. Abortion Is NOT Murder. Women Are NOT Incubators! And forcing women to have children against their will is a form of enslavement.

Increasing Supreme Court Restrictions on Abortion

Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court has increasingly narrowed the basis for which women have a right to an abortion, thus expanding the scope of restrictions allowed against abortion. For example, in its 1992 ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court for the first time ruled that states could restrict abortion at all stages of pregnancy (through things like mandatory counseling and waiting periods, parental consent laws, etc.) and that abortion could be restricted for reasons other than women’s safety. The court also changed the legal standard for abortion restrictions. No longer would those proposing restrictions be required to prove a “compelling state interest.” Instead, those challenging new restrictions would be required to prove that the restrictions placed an “undue burden” on women’s access to their rights.

The Casey decision represented a significant attack on abortion rights. While upholding the constitutionally established right to an abortion, the court enabled states to enact a wider range of restrictions on abortion that have closed down clinics and put medically unnecessary obstacles in the way of women accessing abortion, like mandatory waiting periods, parental consent laws, and much more. And now, a ruling in favor of the Mississippi law could go even further.

For many years now, the Supreme Court has included several justices who are clearly anti-abortion. Then in September 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was pro-choice, died. And she was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a religious ultra-conservative who has repeatedly spoken out against “abortion on demand.” Barrett believes all abortion is immoral and “barbaric.” While she refused to answer at her Senate confirmation hearing whether she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, she made clear that she was open to doing that.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “The consequences of a Roe reversal would be devastating.... Over 20 states would prohibit abortion outright. Eleven states—including Mississippi—currently have trigger bans on the books, which would instantaneously ban abortion if Roe is overturned.” Lawyers for the Mississippi clinic wrote that the new law “places a complete and insurmountable obstacle in the path of every person seeking a pre-viability abortion after 15 weeks who does not fall within its limited exceptions. It is unconstitutional by any measure.”

What is concentrated in these developments is both a manifestation and part of what Bob Avakian (BA) has sharply posed:

The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.
from BA’s New Year’s Statement, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

 


Standing up for abortion rights at a performance of Les Misérables in Los Angeles, June 2, 2019.


Rally defending the Jackson Women's Health Organization in August 2013, during the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride.

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/texas-fascists-move-to-outlaw-abortion-en.html

Texas: Fascists Move to Outlaw Abortion, Enforced by Vigilantes

| revcom.us

 

On May 19, the Christian fascist governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed a law that outlaws abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. This is, as a writer at Vox.com put it, “a de facto (in fact) ban on nearly all abortions” in the state.1 At six weeks, many pregnant women have not even learned about their condition—which means that under the new law, these women will find themselves in a situation where it would be illegal to have an abortion by the time they become aware of their pregnancy. The law contains no exceptions for women who were violently impregnated through rape and incest.

Anti-scientific ignoramuses claim that “fetal heartbeat” can be heard at six weeks of pregnancy—Texas is among states that have passed or are attempting to pass “heartbeat” laws against abortion using that claim. Let’s first make clear a scientific fact: a fetus is not a baby. It is a group of live cells that has a potential to become a human being but has no life of its own yet. It is not yet a separate life from the life of the woman who is pregnant.2 At six weeks, what exists inside a pregnant woman’s body is not even a fetus but is considered an embryo—only about a quarter of an inch (6 millimeters) long, the size of a grain of rice.3 As Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, explained, at six weeks of pregnancy, the heart of the embryo is nowhere near fully formed, and no so-called “heartbeat” is audible.4

And, very importantly: When a woman who does not want to continue a pregnancy, for whatever reason, has an abortion, she is NOT committing “murder” but is making a choice that should be her right as a human being.

A Sinister Twist

There are no criminal penalties in the Texas law Abbott signed. Instead, according to the Austin National Public Radio station KUT, “the law allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.”5 What this means is that the law invites and encourages fascist vigilantes to hound and punish women getting an abortion, and those who support them.

Not only doctors and staff at an abortion clinic but a rape counselor informing a woman who becomes pregnant after being raped about where to get an abortion … a family member or friend who provides money to a woman who needs to end a pregnancy … a co-worker who tells someone in her office about a nearby clinic … an Uber driver who takes a woman to a provider—all these and more could be sued by anyone who claims they “aided and abetted” an “illegal abortion,” with penalties that start at $10,000. Those bringing the lawsuits don’t even have to be located in Texas.6

As Josh Blackman, a professor of Constitutional Law at South Texas College of Law Houston said, “Every citizen is now a private attorney general. You can have random people who are against abortion start suing tomorrow."7 This police-state law—written, approved, and signed by ultra-patriarchal Christian fascists—could serve to unleash an army of women-hating anti-abortionists to enforce it.

The Texas law is scheduled to go into effect in September. Opponents are planning to oppose it in the courts. But the fascists who crafted this law made lawsuits to overturn it more difficult to pursue, because the state is not responsible for enforcing it. If the law does withstand challenges, it will possibly lead to shutting down the remaining abortion clinics in the country’s second most populous state.

This hateful law is part of a deluge of anti-abortion measures in Texas and nationwide. This year the city of Lubbock, in West Texas, passed an ordinance that will outlaw abortion within the city limits as of June 1.8 Twenty towns in the state have declared themselves “sanctuaries for the unborn” and passed ordinances to punish abortion providers.9 As of March 2, 384 anti-abortion measures have already been introduced in 43 states this year.10 The U.S. Supreme Court—dominated by fascists—recently agreed to hear arguments on a Mississippi law that directly seeks to undermine and gut Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

The Texas law adds a sinister new twist—mob enforcement of women’s repression—to the onslaught. All these hateful measures seek to rip away the most basic rights—and the humanity—of women in this country.

The hour is very late.

 


1. What Banning Abortions at 6 Weeks Really Means, Vox, May 19, 2021.  [back]

2. See “What Is an Abortion and Why Women Must Have the Right to Choose: Life Cannot and Should Not Always Be Preserved,” by A.S.K., revcom.us.  [back]

3. Embryonic & Fetal Development, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  [back]

4. Is a ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Really a Heartbeat at 6 Weeks? Live Science. According to this article:

…at six weeks of pregnancy, an ultrasound can detect "a little flutter in the area that will become the future heart of the baby," said Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. This flutter happens because the group of cells that will become the future "pacemaker" of the heart gain the capacity to fire electrical signals, she said.

But the heart is far from fully formed at this stage, and the "beat" isn't audible; if doctors put a stethoscope up to a woman's belly this early on in her pregnancy, they would not hear a heartbeat, Aftab told Live Science.  [back]

5. Texas’ New Anti-Abortion Law Could be Tough for Providers to Challenge in Court, KUT Austin, 5/19/21.  [back]

6. Texas Anti-Abortion Legislation Paves Way for Every Right-to-Lifer to Sue Abortion Doctors, NBC News, 5/6/21.  [back]

7. Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law one of nation’s strictest abortion measures, banning procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, Texas Tribune, May 19, 2021.  [back]

8. Planned Parenthood Sues City of Lubbock for Abortion Ban, The Texan, 5/18/21.  [back]

9. The Tiny American Towns Passing Anti-Abortion Rules, The Guardian, 4/27/21.  [back]

10. The Danger Ahead: Early Indicators Show States Will be the Main Abortion Battleground in 2021, The Guttmacher Institute, 3/2/21.  [back]

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/whitewashing-history-brainwashing-youth-stifling-debate-en.html

Whitewashing History, Brainwashing Youth, Stifling Debate
Texas's Indoctrination Project

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

For millions of children in Texas, the school day begins with the recitation of these words: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”1

Texas’s history is one of slavery, genocide, theft, rape, and lynching; of Jim Crow, “No dogs or Mexicans allowed” signs, and openly celebrated white supremacy. Now several laws working their way through the legislative process in the state aim to take unquestioning acceptance of the supposed “greatness” of the U.S. and Texas even further, erase altogether or minimize any reference to its deeply racist history, and drill into the state’s five and a half million public school youth—73 percent of whom are people of color2—acceptance of and obedience to the status quo.

These proposed measures include such things as limiting or preventing teachers from explaining the way deeply engrained white supremacy has shaped the state’s laws; stripping “more than two dozen requirements to study the writings or stories of multiple women and people of color”; preventing teachers from teaching “a series of race-related concepts” as they relate to the state’s development, and others. The bills under consideration specifically prohibit teachers from using the “1619 Project” to discuss how slavery shaped U.S. history.3

What all this would mean explicitly was explained by a sponsor of one of the laws: “(this bill) is about teaching racial harmony by telling the truth that we are all equal, both in God’s eyes and our founding documents.... Do you want our Texas kids to be taught that the system of government in the United States and Texas is nothing but a cover-up for white supremacy? Do you want them to be taught a souped-up version of Marxism?”4

Fuck the Alamo

The Alamo, in downtown San Antonio, is Texas’s most famous landmark, and has long been a focal point of hot contention. For white supremacists, it is a symbol of Texas independence.

One bill sponsored by 10 fascist Republicans would bar historical markers at the Alamo from citing any reasons for Texas’s war against Mexico that weren’t mentioned in the Texas Declaration of Independence. As the president of the “This is Texas Freedom Force,” a fascist group that has held armed demonstrations against protesters at the Alamo bellowed, “If they want to bring up that it was about slavery, or say that the Alamo defenders were racist, or anything like that, they need to take their rear ends over the state border and get the hell out of Texas.”5

The exact final form the laws will take is not yet clear. But with a state government completely dominated by Christian fascists, the passage and signing of a law that will concentrate a major leap in legitimizing fascist, white supremacist indoctrination of youth, and declaring to the world Texas’s open defense of white supremacy, is all but certain.

The 1836 Project

One of the measures in the House version of the law calls for an “1836 project.” Its sponsor says this project would “promote patriotic education and increase awareness of the Texas values that continue to stimulate boundless prosperity across this state.”6 Leave aside, for now, the hypocritical, lying b.s. about “boundless prosperity” in a state infamous for its sprawling urban wastelands in every major city, and a border region that is one of the most impoverished areas of the country.

What is the “1836” project? 1836 is the year Texas seceded from Mexico and became an independent country. The great myth—the big lie—is that Texas was founded by “freedom loving frontiersmen.” The reality is that the white colonists who founded Texas, mainly from the Southern U.S. states, brought their slaves with them and established the vast area as a slave territory—despite the fact that Mexico had abolished slavery in 1829. This, along with the theft of that land from Mexico, and genocide of the Plains Indians who lived there, is what is celebrated in the Alamo.

When Texas seceded from the U.S. to join the slavery-defending Confederacy, it declared it was doing this as a “commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery—the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits—a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time.” (emphasis added).

These are precisely the “Texas values” today’s fascists uphold, and seek to impose and perpetuate “in all future time.”

“Texas Values”

Over the years, these values have embraced:

Institutionalizing White Supremacist Instruction

These and countless other similar incidents are little known today—and are the kind of thing the law taking shape will banish forever from the Texas curriculum. Even more, these laws are designed to prevent young people from digging into why such abominations happen over, and over, and over again, and to instill blind acceptance of the status quo and obedience to authority.

Laws like this are shaping up most prominently in Texas, but also in many other states under Republi-fascist control. They would mark a major leap in institutionalizing the development of a fascist, openly white supremacist core of indoctrination for millions of children and youth.

 

1. Pledge of Allegiance to Texas State Flag [back]

2. State of Texas Demographics, Students, The Texas Tribune [back]

3. The 1619 Project is a series of articles by the New York Times to explore and dig into the multi-faceted history of Black people in this country, including their oppression and their resistance to that oppression, and how deeply it has been a part of the country’s history, culture, and institutions since the arrival of the first African slaves on the shores of what is now the U.S. in 1619. Material from the project has since been used in the curriculum of schools across the U.S. This article in Revolution began an examination of that series and its significance. [back]

4. Texas public schools couldn’t require critical race theory under bill given House approval, The Texas Tribune [back]

5. Alamo renovation gets stuck over arguments about slavery, The Texas Tribune [back]

6. The 1836 Project is the wrong past for our future, Houston Chronicle [back]

7. Paris is Burning: Lynching and Racial Violence in Lamar County, 1890 – 1920, East Texas Historical Journal [back]

8. William D. Carrigan and Clive Webb, Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States, 1848-1928 [back]

9. Jesse Washington Lynching, Waco History [back]

10. Houston (TSU) Riot (1967), BlackPast [back]

11. July 24, 1973: 12-Year-Old Santos Rodriguez Killed By Police, The Zinn Education Project [back]

12. Murder of James Byrd, Jr., Encyclopedia Britannica [back]

13. Death Row Information, Texas Department of Criminal Justice [back]


Henry Smith, Paris, Texas, 1893.


James Byrd, Jr., Jasper, Texas, 1998.

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/699/urgent-need-for-many-more-to-demand-free-all-irans-political-prisoners-en.html

From the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners:

Political Prisoners Still Facing Trial, Dire Conditions
Intensifying Wave of Vicious Political Repression Across Iran
Ariel Dorfman Joins Others in Signing Emergency Appeal—Urgent Need for Many More to Demand: Free All Iran's Political Prisoners!

| revcom.us

 

We received the following update from the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners regarding a recent press release from Mariam Claren, daughter of political prisoner Nahid Taghavi. The press release announces a new trial date but it is currently unclear if this will involve only Ms. Taghavi or if she will appear with other defendants as happened on April 28. Please check this website as well as freeiranspoliticalprisonersnow.org again soon for further news and updates, which we will post as soon as these are made available.

May 18, 2021: Press release from Mariam Claren regarding Nahid Taghavi, 66 year old innocent German citizen arbitrarily detained in Iran since 16 October 2020. After 43 days in solitary confinement, Nahid Taghavi was transferred back to the women's wing in Evin prison. New trial date scheduled for June 13, 2021.

 

 

Editors' Note: We received the following from the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners.

She should imagine thousands of people in the court room, standing next to her and demanding: #FreeNahid.

Mariam Claren on what she told her mother, political prisoner Nahid Taghavi, before her April 28 court appearance in Iran

Rallying those “thousands of people”—and more—across the world to demand freedom for Nahid and ALL Iran’s political prisoners is the mission of the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners and its Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now!

It was heartening and important that this week, Ariel Dorfman, the world renowned novelist (Death and the Maiden), playwright, essayist, academic, and human rights activist signed the Emergency Appeal.

He joins over 1,500 people who’ve endorsed it (and an earlier Statement), including 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, social justice activists, artists, academics, faith leaders, medical professionals, many ordinary people and very importantly those directly involved in the Iranian prisoners’ cause, including 13 former political prisoners, and relatives and advocates for current political prisoners in Iran. A partial list of signers is posted at FreeIranPoliticalPrisonersNow.org.

The Emergency Campaign’s mission grows in urgency and importance by the day, and it is very important that this Appeal gain new, significant signatories and then be published, bringing this issue more prominently into the public square.

April 28 Sham Trial

On April 28, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) held a court proceeding for a number of political prisoners. (See April 24 update.) The regime reportedly announced these prisoners would face the court again, but didn’t announce that trial date.

Nahid Taghavi, a 66-year-old German-Iranian dual citizen, and Mehran Raoof, a 64-year-old British-Iranian dual citizen and labor activist, appeared in court and were then reportedly remanded back to prison and solitary confinement.

These people (Taghavi and Raoof) should not be in jail to begin with,” Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told Sunsara Taylor on her We Only Want the World program on WPFW radio in Washington, DC. He went on to say, “The situation of both prisoners, in both cases their health is critical, they are both in their mid-60s, they are suffering from serious illnesses.”

The fascistic Islamic Republic treats prisoners as guilty before trial, allows them little if any access to legal help, often tortures prisoners to try to force confessions, and severely restricts lawyers’ access to clients or the court documents needed to mount a defense.

As our Emergency Appeal clearly states, “The lives and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners are in imminent, mortal danger.”

An Ongoing Wave of Intensified Political Repression

The Emergency Campaign was inspired and formed in solidarity with a call from supporters, friends, and families of Iran’s political prisoners and the “Burn the Cage, Free the Birds” movement (BTC) in Europe to free Iran’s political prisoners. This campaign is based on the assessment that the 2017 and November 2019 uprisings in Iran were extremely significant, and “oxygenated all of Iranian society,” as the BTC wrote. Iran’s reactionary theocrats took them as a grave, potential threat to their whole system and responded with murderous violence.1

Then, beginning in October 2020, as the anniversary of the 2019 uprising approached, the IRI launched a massive new wave of arbitrary arrests against labor, women’s, and human rights activists; dissident intellectuals and artists; protesters and revolutionaries; and members of religious and oppressed minorities.

This wave of intense repression is continuing. As the April 28 court proceeding took place, widespread, near daily reports of outrageous IRI arrests, brutality, and torture continued to pour out. “The number of persecutions and prosecutions of peaceful activists in Iran from all walks of life has been increasing tremendously,” Ghaemi says.

This savage repression includes arbitrary executions: Iran executed at least 246 people last year, according to an Amnesty International report, including juveniles, political opponents and journalists.

It includes wantonly putting the lives of prisoners of conscience in grave immediate danger:

Female political prisoners in Iran increasingly face psychological torture, including being arbitrarily moved far from their homes and families. “There is a lack of drinking water, and lots of illnesses and contagious diseases,” a prison activist told the Guardian. “The guards intentionally plan for non-political prisoners to attack them.”

Intensification of targeting and persecution Bahá'ís. Bahá'ís are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran, numbering some 300,000. They’ve been systematically persecuted for years, but now they’re under intensifying assault, including raids on their homes, baseless arrests—even demanding they bury their dead in the graves of those massacred in the 1980s for their opposition to the Islamic Republic.

Students demand justice for imprisoned colleagues: Hundreds of students and graduates of Tehran’s Sharif Technology University reportedly signed a letter demanding imprisoned Sharif University students Ali Younesi and Amirhossein Moradi receive a fair trial. Younesi (who helped Iran’s national team win a gold medal in the 12th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics) and Moradi were arrested in April 2020 for allegedly having ties with anti-regime organizations and charged with “corruption on earth,” which can carry the death penalty. They’ve been subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of abuse and exposed to COVID while in prison.

Prisoners’ Lives Still Hang in the Balance

All this and much more shows that the lives of Iran’s political prisoners still hang in the balance and it remains crucial to come to their aid by signing, circulating and publishing our Campaign’s Emergency Appeal: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now!

This Campaign is important not only in stopping a grave injustice, but in defending courageous Iranian resisters and strengthening the possibility of a better world and better future for the people of Iran. As BTC wrote, “it is very vital to stop this machinery of cruel persecution of the masses and political, social and literary activists.... It is imperative for revolutionaries and all social movements in Iran to defeat this and future waves of state repression ... because with the continuation of this repression, none of the just struggles will thrive and develop.”

Standing with the people of Iran is especially important for people in the U.S. given this country’s history of threatening, intervening and attacking Iran, and at this particular moment. The U.S., Iran and other global powers are now engaged in talks to revive their 2015 nuclear agreement, and there is speculation in the media that Iran’s political prisoners may be used as pawns or bargaining chips in various ways by the different parties involved.

That makes the Emergency Appeal’s stance all the more timely and important:

The governments of the U.S. and Iran act from their national interests. And, in this instance, we the people of the U.S. and Iran, along with the people of the world, have OUR shared interests, as part of getting to a better world: to unite to defend the political prisoners of Iran. In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.

All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW!

We say to the Islamic Republic of Iran FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW.

We say to the U.S. government NO THREATS OR WAR MOVES AGAINST IRAN, LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS.

 

1. Hadi Ghaemi of CHRI told Sunsara Taylor, “The security and the armed forces who were brought to meet the protesters began shooting from moment one—and they shoot to kill, that’s what has shocked the people of Iran. In November 2019, the purpose was to kill as many people as possible, so they were shooting at the head and chest directly, I personally believe, talking to people in Iran, given this happened in 90 small and big towns spontaneously, and the response was the same.” [back]


Some of Iran's many political prisoners whose lives hang in the balance.

 

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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/631/american-crime-case-12-the-1921-tulsa-massacre-en.html

American Crime

Case #12: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the Destruction of Black Wall Street

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian has written that one of three things that has “to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this.” (See “3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.”)

In that light, and in that spirit, “American Crime” is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

Oklahoma’s statehood in 1907 coincided with the discovery of oil, and the boom years that followed saw its population grow from 10,000 in 1910 to 100,000 a decade later. This included a significant number of Black people, looking for a better life, and hoping to escape the worst of Jim Crow Mississippi, Georgia, and other states of the Old South. In 1921, Tulsa was strictly segregated; Black people could work in town, but all Black residents were required to live and shop in the Greenwood District of Northern Tulsa. In time, Greenwood’s segregated economy, self-contained and self-sufficient, was so successful that it became known nationally as the “Black Wall Street.” About 11,000 Black residents lived in the Greenwood neighborhood. Black-owned grocery stores, banks, libraries, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and more lined Greenwood Avenue.

THE CRIME

On May 30, 1921, Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old Black shoe shiner working downtown, entered the elevator of the only building with a restroom Blacks could use in the area. Sarah Page, a white 17-year-old, was the elevator operator. When the door closed, Page cried out, and Rowland ran off. The most common explanation is that Rowland just stepped on Page’s foot. But Rowland was alleged—without evidence—to have assaulted Page. He was arrested the next morning and held in a jail cell above City Hall.

That afternoon, the Tulsa Tribune ran the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator,” suggesting that Page had been raped, and editorialized: “To Lynch Negro Tonight.” Within an hour of the paper hitting the streets a lynch mob in the hundreds descended on the courthouse.

Word spread throughout Greenwood that whites were storming the courthouse and Rowland was in danger. After debating how to respond, at 9 pm a group of 25 armed Black men, some veterans of World War 1, drove to the courthouse determined to stop the lynching. They got out with their rifles and shotguns, and offered their support to the local authorities. Their offer was refused, and they left.

But the white mob was incensed, and grew into the thousands in no time as word spread, more and more coming with weapons. At 10 pm a group of 75 Black men returned to the courthouse after new rumors that a lynching was imminent. They marched single file to the courthouse steps. Again, their offer of help to protect Rowland was refused. A white man approached an armed Black army veteran and demanded he turn over his gun. A fight broke out, and a gun went off.

Historian and author Scott Ellsworth wrote: “While the first shot fired at the court house may have been unintentional, those that followed were not. Almost immediately, members of the white mob—and possibly some law enforcement officers—opened fire on the African American men, who returned volleys of their own. The initial gunplay lasted only a few seconds, but when it was over, as many as a dozen men, both black and white, lay dead or wounded. Out numbered more than twenty-to-one, the black men began a retreating fight toward the African American district, with armed whites in close pursuit.”1

“They tried to kill all the black folks they could see,” a survivor, George Monroe, recalled in the 1999 documentary The Night Tulsa Burned.

Shortly after the fighting broke out at the courthouse, a large number of whites—many who’d been part of the lynch mob—gathered outside police headquarters nearby. There, as many as 500 white men and boys were sworn in as “Special Deputies” and told to “Get a gun and get a nigger.” Weapons were passed out by other deputies from a sporting goods store across the street. White rioters began firing on Blacks and setting fire to Black-owned homes and businesses late into the night.

“Tuesday night, May 31, was the riot, and Wednesday morning, by day break, was the invasion.” (Unidentified observer to a reporter)

As dawn approached, thousands of armed whites—some estimated as many as 10,000—gathered in three locations on the edges of Greenwood. A siren sounded at daybreak, and the mobs of white terrorists launched their invasion.

These armed white mobs included over 150 Tulsa police. They set about systematically killing, looting, and burning the entire district of Greenwood, block by block. Armed whites broke into Black homes and businesses and forced the people outside, where they were led away at gunpoint to internment centers set up by the authorities. Anyone who resisted was shot. If guns were found inside, the occupant was shot. The homes and businesses were looted, then set on fire with torches and oil-soaked rags. House by house, block by block, Greenwood was demolished. Airplanes were used to shoot Black people from the air and drop kerosene bombs on buildings, setting them ablaze.

Throughout this assault, Black Tulsans, while tremendously outnumbered, fought back. Riflemen took positions atop the belfry of a newly built church to temporarily halt the advance of the white invasion. But the church was burned to the ground. These attempts at resistance could not be maintained because the deputized police and the National Guard units arrested 6,000 Greenwood residents. Black Tulsans did not go down without a fight, but they were out-gunned and out-numbered. “Survivors recounted black bodies loaded on trains and dumped off bridges into the Arkansas River and, most frequently, tossed into mass graves.”2

By noon on June 1, these white mobs had murdered more than 300 Black Tulsa residents. They had turned 40 square blocks of Greenwood into a scorched wasteland. This included 1,256 homes destroyed, along with virtually every other structure—including churches, schools, businesses, even a hospital and library. “Not one of these criminal acts was then or ever has been prosecuted or punished by government at any level, municipal, county, state, or federal.” (Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921)

After order was restored, the Black people who’d been detained were released, but only if signed for by a white person, who also had to agree to accept responsibility for that detainee’s subsequent behavior. More than 10,000 residents were left homeless. Thousands of Black Tulsans spent the winter living in tents. Many left for good, having had enough of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

THE CRIMINALS

The racist mobs of thousands of white Tulsans were directly responsible for the horror inflicted on the people of Greenwood.

The Tulsa police chief and Tulsa deputies had a direct hand in arming, deputizing, and directing the mobs from the very start of the killing of Black Tulsans.

The Tulsa city officials played a decisive role by refusing to take any action to stop the racial massacre. And shortly afterwards, these same officials passed a zoning ordinance that made it too expensive for the Greenwood residents to rebuild their homes.

The local units of the National Guard, by arresting every Black resident of Tulsa they could find and taking them into “protective custody,” left Greenwood property unprotected and aided the “special deputies” who came to burn it. The after-action reports by the local guardsmen show they saw their job not as protecting the people of Greenwood, but putting down the supposed “Negro uprising.”

The Oklahoma State Troopers did not arrive from Oklahoma City until the annihilation of Greenwood was over; arriving earlier could have prevented some of the worst crimes from taking place.

The governor of Oklahoma, from the very start, treated the events in Tulsa as a Black “insurrection.”

The extent of the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement and possible lead role in this heinous act of terror hasn’t been proved, but “Tulsa’s atmosphere reeked with a Klan-like stench that oozed through the robes of the Hooded Order.” (Tulsa Race Riot report.) At that time many of the city’s most prominent men were Klansmen, including the lawyer assigned to represent Dick Rowland. Photographs of the Tulsa massacre were made into postcards, including a close-up of a charred Black body; and another of the Greenwood District in ruins.

THE ALIBI

The blame for the Tulsa Massacre was, from the very start, fully put on Greenwood’s Black residents—calling it a “Negro Uprising,” or “Insurrection.” A grand jury investigation organized by Oklahoma’s governor in the days after the massacre concluded:

We find that the recent race riot was the direct result of an effort on the part of a certain group of colored men who appeared at the court house on the night of May 31, 1921, for the purpose of protecting one Dick Rowland ...There was no mob spirit among the whites, no talk of lynching and no arms. The assembly was quiet until the arrival of armed Negroes, which precipitated and was the direct cause of the entire affair.

THE REAL MOTIVE

The economic success of the people of Black Tulsa—including home, business, and land ownership—fueled resentment, fear, and jealousy within the white community. Many of Greenwood’s Black residents were living more successful lives than white Tulsans. In a community, and a country, where white supremacy was taken for granted—and counted on—the success of the people of Greenwood was seen as a provocation.

The Tulsa Massacre, and the 1919 “Red Summer” of anti-Black violence that preceded it (see American Crime Case #15), took place at a time when the U.S. rulers needed to maintain the brutal oppression of Black people and white supremacy under changing conditions. The beginning of the Great Migration saw Black people leaving the rural South to find work in the cities of the North. Among them were Black veterans of World War 1, returning with a defiant spirit and less willingness to put up with open Jim Crow degradation and terror. Those in power faced the “need” for Black people to be beaten into submission through terror, their defiant spirit suppressed, and white people (including oppressed white people) enlisted to serve and identify with the exploitative, white supremacist order.

Resources:

 


1. “The Tulsa Race Riot,” by Dr. Scott Ellsworth, an essay in Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.  [back]

2. Washington Post, September 18, 2018.  [back]


Systematic killing, looting, and burning of the entire district of Greenwood during Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921.


House by house, block by block, Greenwood, Tulsa was demolished.


A black man being burned on a bed of lumber during the Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. Photo: Unsourced Archive


Mt. Zion Baptist Church burns during Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. Photo: Historical Society and Museum

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/700/self-delusion-and-political-flim-flam-as-the-planet-heats-up-en.html

Self-Delusion and Political Flim-Flam As the Planet Heats Up...
Rebecca Solnit Puts on a Happy Face About Capitalism and Climate Change

by Raymond Lotta

| revcom.us

 

Rebecca Solnit is an influential author and activist who has written on social change, feminism, indigenous history, and the environment. A recent piece by Solnit in the May 1 issue of the Guardian is titled “Dare We Hope? Here’s My Cautious Case for Climate Optimism.” It is a tortured and toxic celebration of what Solnit sees as a brave new, carbon-free world now opened up by “the growth of solar power in cheapness, proliferation, and possibility,” and a Biden administration that is “regularly doing things that would have been all but inconceivable in previous administrations.” It is a stance that is all too emblematic of a disturbing trend among a section of prominent environmental thinkers, including Bill McKibben and David Wallace-Wells.

Solnit pays lip service to what science tells us about an accelerating, cascading climate crisis approaching irreversible tipping points. But lest we get too worked up, she warns against “alarmism.” Who could have imagined, she giddily reports, that an incredible new situation would be unfolding before our eyes, citing a climate journalist that “the end of oil is near.” Yes, she tells us, we have to keep up the pressure of environmental activism from below, but things are headed in this positive new direction: “That we cannot see all the way to the transformed society we need does not mean it is impossible. We will reach it by not one great leap but a long journey, step by step.”

There’s just one minor problem with Rebecca Solnit’s new-found optimism: it is utterly and completely out of touch with the reality of the profit-driven workings and planetary plunder of the capitalist-imperialist economic system that rules society and the world... that has brought us to this existential climate brink... and that is the main obstacle to addressing this crisis with the urgency and on the scale required.

Five retorts to Rebecca Solnit’s misbegotten optimism—or why the climate alarm must be sounded even louder, but why there can be hope on a scientific basis.

ONE: Some salient facts about capitalism-imperialism, fossil fuels, and imperialist geopolitics that give the lie to Solnit’s comforting narrative of technological advance and policy change.

Solnit argues early in her essay that the “technological solutions and the success of the organizing to address this largest of all crises have ... grown by leaps and bounds” and extols “countless new [policy] initiatives around the world” by governments at different levels—and goes on to say that “they do not get us to where we need to be, but they are the foundation for further shifts.” In Solnit’s telling, the “foundation” is set and the writing is on the wall: fossil fuels are on the way out.

So let’s look at the state of energy production and consumption. Fossil fuels (as of 2019) still provide 80 percent of world energy needs. The U.S. is the top oil-producing country in the world, a position it has held for 12 years! The vast majority of the world’s cars, including in the U.S., are gasoline-powered. In 1990, carbon-emitting coal and natural gas powered 65 percent of the electricity mix in the U.S.; in 2020, it stood at 60 percent—a mere five percent drop, even as clean energy has grown by multiples. Natural gas remains highly profitable—and a third of all newly constructed power plants in the U.S. in 2019 were powered by this fossil fuel. Indeed, while technological advances have cheapened solar energy, advances in fracking technology have cheapened natural gas production and enhanced its competitiveness in the world market.1

Solnit declares, in reference to the growth of solar power capabilities, that “if you change how we produce energy you change our geopolitics.” Leaving aside the imperio-chauvinist “our” in geopolitics, Solnit glosses over the strategic role of oil and natural gas—and, again, the position of the U.S. as the world’s top oil producer—in great-power rivalry, maneuvering, and bullying. For instance, the tremendous expansion of U.S. oil production has bolstered the U.S.’s ability to impose sanctions on major suppliers of oil, like Iran, with which U.S. imperialism is in conflict while, at the same time, limiting the economic fallout (by filling the supply gap) for countries in the U.S. orbit that rely on Iranian oil. Another example: U.S. imperialism is using its strength in natural gas production to challenge Russia’s market power in Eastern and Southern Europe. Oil also happens to be foundational to the U.S. military and its global reach (about which more in a moment).

Solnit hails how the U.S. has “made a huge U-turn” in climate policy with the Biden presidency. Certainly there is a change since Trump, when climate denialism reigned supreme. But how does Biden’s “U-turn” stack up against what is actually needed to deal with the climate emergency and the urgency of doing so? Dismally.

Take the recent and greatly hyped Earth Day Summit convened by Biden—with its high-sounding pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions (carbon and methane). Climate Action Tracker forecasts that even if all the announced carbon reduction targets by the major carbon-emitting countries were met (and note that none are binding and there are all kinds of loopholes), the world would still be on track for global heating of 2.4 degrees centigrade, which is beyond the threshold of catastrophic climate breakdown.2 This is nothing to feel “optimistic” about.

TWO: The workings of the capitalist market are not, as Solnit suggests, destined to put an end to fossil-fuel-based production nor put the fossil-fuel industry out of business.

Solnit salivates about a new day: “If we see how impossible our current reality might have appeared 20 years ago—that solar would be so cheap...that fossil fuel corporations would be in freefall—we can trust that we could be moving toward an even more transformed and transformative future.” But there is no market magic of cost cheapening to “trust” in, that leads to a fundamental draw-down from fossil fuels.

Let’s look at ExxonMobil, the largest non-government-owned energy company in the world. Has this global corporation responded to calls for saving the planet by getting out of fossil fuels? Obviously not. Has the steep reduction in costs of generating solar and wind power compelled ExxonMobil to rethink its oil/natural gas foundations? No. So how has this giant unit of profit-maximizing capital responded to the perils of an ever-warming planet and competitive renewable energy challenges?

Essentially in three ways: a) dropping projects that were not performing well and focusing production and investment (we’re speaking billions of dollars) in the more productive fossil-fuel basins that straddle Texas and New Mexico and pouring huge amounts of investment capital into newer, potentially highly profitable, oil and gas fields off the coasts of Guyana, Mexico, and Mozambique; b) cutting costs by downsizing and laying off workers; and c) moving aggressively into carbon capture and storage technologies—unproven but potentially lucrative technologies—that will enable oil/natural gas companies like Exxon to continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere while supposedly “balancing out” these emissions with the promise of removing an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere at some future date.3 This is not fossil fuel in “freefall,” as Solnit describes.

Yes, solar-based technology is advancing rapidly and energy companies in Europe are putting more capital into solar and wind. Yes, there are tremendous market pressures on the fossil-fuel sector (and so too for solar!). But the global oil-natural gas sector is not disappearing, nor are carbon emissions being reduced in any way close to what is needed to avert catastrophe. In fact, global energy-related carbon emissions in 2021 are on course to their second-largest increase in history! Solnit’s “long journey, in small steps” is at once delusional and obscenely out of sync with the state of global warming.

In the case of the U.S., there are huge investments in the fossil-fuel sector—technology, oil-field development, etc.—that must be recouped (and this includes bank loans underwriting these investments). And fossil fuel is deeply embedded in the infrastructure of the U.S. economy and U.S. imperialism’s highly profitable supply chains of global exploitation. More solar energy is entering into the energy grid of the U.S. But to make the larger-scale changes that are necessary for the wide adoption of solar and wind power, not to mention a transition to an actual zero-fossil economy, the energy transmission and storage infrastructure of the U.S. would have to be massively overhauled and new infrastructure built... far beyond any current government proposals.4

And let’s return to Solnit’s proclamation that “the end of oil is near.” Now that the U.S. economy is rebounding from the pandemic, oil prices are rising and that is a market incentive for continued drilling and exploration.

The larger point is this: The expansion of solar and wind power capacity is NOT, in and of itself, bringing about, and will not bring about, the rapid reduction and actual elimination of fossil fuels that is so urgently needed. Why?

In a capitalist-imperialist economic and political system—the foundation of which is privately owned, competing blocs of capital that exploit laborers worldwide—there is no society-wide means, no direct mechanism, no governing power to set rational priorities... to allocate resources according to social need and environmental sustainability. Here’s the cold truth about fossil fuels and global warming: To seriously deal with climate change, you would have to put the oil companies out of business, seize their assets, and leave most of the oil in the ground.

For that to happen and for society to interact with nature in a sustainable way, you need a socialist revolution. A revolution to overthrow this system... to create a new state power and socialize ownership of the means of production and forge a planned socialist economy—the radically different economic foundation—that makes it possible to utilize society’s resources collectively and to unleash people to go to work on the environmental emergency in the interests of world humanity and protecting the planet.

THREE: In Solnit’s feel-good story of inexorable progress towards renewable energy, the oil-powered U.S. military is conspicuously missing.

I’m speaking of America’s massive machinery of death and destruction in the service of empire. America’s military is the single largest institutional consumer of oil in the world and history’s greatest carbon polluter. An important 2019 study of the U.S. military’s “massive hidden impact on climate” points out that the military’s dependence on fossil fuels is built-in, given the U.S.’s “open-ended operations around the globe with the life-cycles of existing military aircraft and warships locking them into hydrocarbons [fossil fuels] for years to come.”5 Not that any person of conscience should want this U.S. military to now operate “renewably.”

FOUR: Some “dirty little secrets” about “clean energy” under profit-maximizing capitalism-imperialism that Solnit ignores.

Solnit waxes enthusiastically about a “stunning” report from the think tank Carbon Tracker that describes, in her words, how “current technology could produce a hundred times as much electricity from solar and wind as current global demand; prices on solar continue to drop rapidly and dramatically; and the land required to produce all this energy would take less than is currently given over to fossil fuels. It is a vision of a completely different planet.” No, this is techno-utopianism grafted on to an intolerable capitalist-imperialist planetary status quo.

Let’s be clear. Saving and protecting the planet requires the massive, rapid transition to renewable energy sources. And solar power will be critical. But that must be part of a radical transformation of how we live, work, and produce the necessities of life, what we consume, how we move about. It requires putting an end to imperial domination and plunder of the oppressed countries of the global South, whose populations are suffering the greatest consequences—right now—of climate change caused by this expand-or-die system of capitalism-imperialism.

As for Solnit’s “vision of a completely different planet” driven by new technologies, consider electric vehicles (EVs) that are so much the rage. The lithium-ion cells that power most EVs rely on raw materials like cobalt. Mining cobalt produces hazardous waste that leaches into the environment. Extracting the metals from their ores causes harmful air pollution. Some 70 percent of the world’s cobalt supply is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where workers, including tens of thousands of children, are subjected to horrific, life-destroying working conditions in so-called “artisanal mines.”

Or consider that the world’s lithium is either mined in Australia or regions of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. This mining draws down water available to indigenous farmers and herders. Now there’s investor pressure to seek out profitable new sources, like deep seabeds... with all the attendant threats to the health of the oceans. All this to perpetuate the monumentally irrational and wasteful private-auto-based economy and culture—with its long-distance, highway infrastructure, with its logic of vehicles taking precedence over people in urban space. No wonder General Motors is such a champion of the EV.6

This is not a solution to climate change!

FIVE: Hope on a scientific basis. Confronting the reality and enormity of the climate emergency, and acting on it in the interests of humanity and protection of the planet. Revolution, nothing less.

In the face of this unprecedented planetary emergency, the choice is not, as Solnit would have us believe, between fatalistic “passivity into the collapse” of a planet that some see as too far gone to save, or her upbeat foolishness about capitalism-imperialism that masquerades as “cautious optimism.”

The situation is not hopeless. But time is not on our side, so let’s not squander it.

If we come to grips with the actual problem—this system... if we take up the real solution—the revolution to overthrow the U.S. imperialist colossus and create a society and world in which humanity can flourish and become fit caretakers of the planet... then there is hope on a scientific basis. Bob Avakian has developed the new communism, which is the scientific method and approach, the strategy, and the vision for this revolution. He has authored the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America that maps out what to do right after the seizure of power, so we can actually go to work on building a whole new emancipating society and saving the planet. There are no guarantees that we can reverse this climate crisis... but this is our only chance.

As A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution puts it: “We need a revolution—a real revolution. And this revolution is possible.”

 

1. U.S. Energy Information, Energy Power Administration,” Electricity Explained: Electricity in the United States, March 18, 2021; Stephanie Tsao, Richard Martin, “Overpowered: Why a U.S. gas building spree continues despite electricity glut,” S&P Global Market Intelligence, December 2, 2019. [back]

2. Climate Action Tracker, Warming Projections Global Update, May 2021. [back]

3. “’Is Exxon a Survivor?’ The Oil Giant Is at a Crossroads,” New York Times, December 10, 2020. [back]

4. Solnit in her article, for example, lauds “the astonishing news that on the afternoon of Saturday 24 April, California got more than 90% of its energy from renewables.” What she does not say is that, while this day is notable in progress, as an LA Times column noted, the peak “94.5% figure—... was fleeting, lasting just four seconds.... [It did not] include Los Angeles, Sacramento and several other regions. It came at a time of year defined by abundant sunshine and relatively cool weather, meaning it’s easier for renewable power to do the job traditionally done by fossil fuels. [And, at the same time] California ... was also burning a bunch of natural gas and exporting electricity to its Western neighbors.” As the LA Times column acknowledged, even while cheering this like Solnit, “It’s impossible to say exactly how much of the Golden State’s own supply was coming from renewables.” (emphasis added) Electricity can’t yet be stored at large enough scale, and mainly has to be consumed as soon as it’s produced. While fossil fuels are a form of “storage,” renewables most often lack that form of storage and the electricity they generate goes into the grid upon production. Massive transformations and investments in the transmission (grid) infrastructure are therefore needed to facilitate the large-scale—and sustainable long-term—shift needed from fossil fuels to renewable energy, to meet current demand within the framework of the existing capitalist-imperialist system.   [back]

5. Oliver Belcher, Patrick Bigger, Ben Neimark, Cara Kennelly, “Hidden carbon costs of the ‘everywhere war’: Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon boot-print of the US military,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 2019. [back]

6. See Hiroko Tabuchi and Brad Plumer, “How Green Are Electric Vehicles,” New York Times, May 4, 2021; Tara Lohan, “Will the Race for Electric Vehicles Endanger the Earth’s Most Sensitive Ecosytem?,” The Revelator, March 10, 2021 (Center for Biological Diversity); Farhod Manjoo, “There’s One Big Problem With Electric Cars, They’re Still Cars,” New York Times, February 19, 2021. [back]


The worst-case scenarios for Thwaites are grim. It is the widest glacier on the planet, holding enough ice to raise the sea level by more than two feet. Below, satellite images of the western portion of the Thwaites ice front on March 2, 2019, and on March 6, 2019, after a large section of what had previously been called "ice shelf" crumbled into a flotilla of icebergs. Photo: Courtesy of Rob Larter/ British Antarctic Survey


The United States military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. Every year, U.S. armed forces consume more than 100 million barrels of oil to power ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations. Above: Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Suez Canal, 2019. Photo: AP

Bob Avakian, "Not fit caretakers of the earth"

 

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On the Five Retorts to Rebecca Solnit

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

After reading over the important Five Retorts to Rebecca Solnit, “Self-Delusion and Political Flim-Flam As the Planet Heats Up...Rebecca Solnit Puts on a Happy Face About Capitalism and Climate Change” by Raymond Lotta, I wanted to comment briefly on two aspects:

First, I want to comment a little more on the question of electric cars, which is gone into in “Retort Four” of the Solnit polemic, “Some ‘dirty little secrets’ about ‘clean energy’ under profit-maximizing capitalism-imperialism that Solnit ignores.” As the article emphasizes, electric cars are widely touted as a big part of the solution to the climate crisis. (Biden’s climate plan puts electric vehicles at the center of its “solution.”)

As part of a radical and liberatory restructuring of today's global capitalist-imperialist economy and system—after it is overthrown through revolution—electrically powered vehicles (EVs) could play a potentially positive role in a new transport system. But under the conditions of this system, which rests on the exploitation of three billion laborers and the plunder of the planet, electric cars are NOT a solution. The production of the materials—especially lithium and cobalt, used in the lithium-ion batteries that make these cars possible—is incredibly damaging to the environment. And cobalt in particular comes from horrific child labor (along with viciously exploited adult labor).

The environmental and human devastation caused by extracting lithium and cobalt in this profit-based system of capitalism-imperialism is only a piece of an even bigger problem.

Second, even IF all cars were completely electrically powered, and even IF all of the electricity in those cars were sustainably generated (both of which are VERY far from the case right now, as Lotta’s article sharply points out), having tens of millions of people driving around in their own “individual” electric cars would NOT contribute to ending the environmental crisis. It would in fact reinforce the irrational and wasteful structure of economic and social life rooted in the workings of this capitalist-imperialist system that has brought us to this tipping point of environmental emergency.

Why?

The whole way of life in the U.S., the “standard of living,” the way people live and eat, the way they work and move through the world, has developed on the basis of, and is dependent on, a massive global network of exploitation and environmentally catastrophic resource extraction. The sheer disproportion is striking: “With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, ... per person use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.”1,2

Hundreds of millions of workers are brutally deployed in imperialism’s “supply chains” producing the clothes, food, computers, other electronic products, and everything involved in this standard of living, including cars. Further, the whole structure of America’s internal transportation system, specifically its dependence on individuals and families owning, driving, and investing great emotional value in powerful and dangerous and environmentally damaging cars, can’t exist without this global network of imperialist exploitation. The whole system has to go, through revolution; and the whole way people live, including the system of transportation, has to be radically transformed. These are my thoughts, hope it contributes!3

 

1. Use It and Lose It: The Outsize Effect of U.S. Consumption on the Environment, Scientific American, September 14, 2012. [back]

2. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (a U.S. government agency), people in Tanzania consumed 3.42 million BTU of energy per person in 2018 and people in the U.S. in 2018 consumed 309.56 million BTU per person (about 90 times more in the U.S.). The point is not to “go back” to some pre-industrial stage of livelihood, but to measure fully against what humanity needs, and recalibrate accordingly, under a radically different mode of production—and consumption. [back]

3. A socialist society in which these changes are encompassed is envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and in Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development. [back]

The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism, by Bob Avakian

An excerpt from Why We Need An Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution, a speech by Bob Avakian

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/lee-evans-remenbrance-en.html

Lee Evans—Track Great and Humanitarian

Remembrance from a Reader

| revcom.us

 

I was saddened to learn about the recent death of track great Lee Evans, who I saw run many times. Besides being one of the greatest 400 meter runners of all time, Lee was a humanitarian, who cared about the people of the world.

Lee ran track at San Jose State with Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Along with them, he was a founder and organizer of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) that advocated the boycott of the 1968 Olympics to protest the oppression of Black people in this country. The boycott did not happen, and all three ran in the Olympics. Smith and Carlos were thrown out of the Olympics after raising black-gloved fists on the 200 meter victory stand. Carlos advised Evans to stay and run his 400 meter race. This was a bit controversial, as some Black activists felt Evans should have left with Smith and Carlos. About that, Evans told sportswriter Dave Zirin, “I had a tough time because Black people thought that I didn’t do enough and the whites were just mad. I got it from both sides.” Evans won the Olympic 400 meter race in a world record time. On the victory stand, Evans raised a clenched fist and wore a black beret to signify his support for the Black Panther Party. He received death threats for his actions prior to and during the Olympics.

It was after his running career where Evans should be most remembered. He was a true humanitarian. He was a Director of Athletics for the Special Olympics International. His greatest desire was to work with athletes who did not have the opportunities that he had as a world-class runner, so he went to those countries that needed a track coach. He coached the national teams of Qatar, Cameroon, and Nigeria. In his interview with Zirin, he said, “As soon as I learned about what Jim Crow meant and I found out that my ancestors were Africans, I wanted to go back to Africa. So that’s what I did.”

Lee stayed in Nigeria and was coaching high school track when he died on May 19. During the 1980s, he worked on the Madagascar Project, which includes providing a fresh water supply, power, electricity, farming, and transportation for people in Africa. In 1991, he was a recipient of a Nelson Mandela Award given to those who “stood for the values of equality and friendship and respect of human rights, against apartheid and any form of racism.”


Lee Evans after winning gold in the 400m at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Photo: U.S. Olympic Archive

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/revolution-books-nyc-100-years-since-the-tulsa-massacre-en.html

| revcom.us

 

"I could smell the smoke and hear the screams"*

100 YEARS SINCE THE TULSA MASSACRE

These Racist Horrors Must End,
Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution

A Major Talk by Carl Dix
at Revolution Books, Harlem
Malcolm X Blvd @ 132nd St, NYC

Tuesday, June 1, 7:00 pm

In-store and live-stream event.
Masks and distancing required in-store. Watch the livestream on YouTube or Facebook Live.

*107-year-old survivor of the Tulsa Massacre who recently testified before Congress

The 100th anniversary of the massacre will be marked at Revolution Books with a special in-person and live-streamed talk by revolutionary leader Carl Dix, along with a stunning short documentary film on the suppressed story of the Tulsa Massacre, followed by audience discussion (in store and virtual).

Watch the livestream on YouTube or Facebook Live.


100 years ago, on June 1, 1921, a racist white mob burned down the vibrant Greenwood community of 10,000 Black people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Black Wall Street. Over 1,000 businesses, homes, schools, churches, a hospital and a library were destroyed. Firebombing was carried out from the air. Black WWI veterans organizing armed self defense were overrun by the lynch mob which included National Guard troops, deputized white merchants, and 150 Tulsa police, incited by the supposed insult of a white woman by a young Black man.

At the end, over 300 Black people were murdered and thousands had fled for their lives. How fitting that Trump chose Tulsa in June 2020 for the ugly mass Nazi-KKK-style rally to launch his presidential campaign.


Come to Revolution Books on June 1st – or tune in – because:

~ The flames of the Tulsa massacre have burned for 400 years in America, with horrific attacks like this perpetrated on Black people since the first Africans were dragged to these shores in slavery chains. The Tulsa survivors have fought for justice for 100 years now and been denied at every turn.

~ Carl Dix will speak to why these attacks happen repeatedly and how they can indeed be ended, but not under this system. And why revolution can end this horror, and other horrors of this system.

~ You will find out about Bob Avakian (BA), the leader who has broken through in how to end these horrors once and for all through the revolution to overthrow this system and create a far better society and world.

~ You can get connected to the movement for this revolution that Bob Avakian leads to make that happen.

Revolution Books is where we get into the roots of the injustices and horrors of Amerikkka... and the revolution to emancipate humanity.


Carl Dix is an advocate of the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian, and part of The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. Carl has been on the front lines of the fight against America's imperial wars and police murder and mass incarceration of Black and Latino people.


Give to Revolution Books —
Bookstore for a whole new world

Give here with credit card OR
• Venmo @RevBooksNYC
• CashApp $RevBooksNYC
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Revolution Books / Libros Revolución
437 Malcolm X Blvd @132nd Street, New York, NY
We are OPEN! Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun, 2pm to 7pm
revolutionbooksnyc.org | 212-691-3345

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/bob-avakian-lee-evans-black-liberation-and-revolution-en.html

LEE EVANS, BLACK LIBERATION,
AND THE REVOLUTION THAT IS URGENTLY NEEDED
TO EMANCIPATE ALL HUMANITY

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Reading the “Remembrance from a Reader” about Lee Evans (“Lee Evans—Track Great and Humanitarian”)* not only heightened my own sense of sadness in learning about Lee Evans’ death, but also took me back again to the times when Lee Evans was part of a very broad radical upsurge that swept the world in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

As that “Remembrance” points out, Lee Evans was a world-class track athlete. For a number of years, he held the world record for the men’s 400 meters. He was the men’s 400 meter champion at the famous 1968 Olympics in Mexico, where he was also part of a protest, particularly among African-American athletes, against the oppression of Black people.

I remember a conversation I had with Lee Evans shortly before that Olympics, when we both happened to be at the apartment of a mutual acquaintance in San Jose, California, where Lee Evans was then training. Knowing that there was talk and debate among Black athletes about boycotting the Olympics—and having a sense of what a powerful blow this would be against this system that was murderously oppressing Black people in this country, people in Vietnam and other people throughout the world—after some casual back and forth, I asked Lee straight up: “Are you guys going to boycott the Olympics?” He answered: “We’re thinking about it.” “You better!” I blurted out. Lee repeated that they were seriously considering it, and we went back to more casual conversation.

As it turned out, there was not a widespread boycott of the Olympics, although Lew Alcindor—now Kareem Abdul Jabbar—and (as I recall) Mike Warren (who also played basketball at UCLA) did actually boycott. And there was the well-known powerful action by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raising their gloved fists on the victory stand. Lee Evans also protested, by raising his fist on the podium after his 400 meter victory while wearing a Black beret—part of the uniform of the revolutionary Black Panther Party, and broadly a symbol of Black liberation. Those protests—which were carried out in the face of serious threats and then severe reprisal by the authorities in sport and more generally—made a significant contribution to the radical upsurge of that time.

As powerful as those radical movements were—involving large and diverse sections of the people, particularly youth, who were motivated by revolutionary sentiments—there was, however, no revolution in this country at that time. But some of us who came forward through the great radical upsurge of that time have persevered on the road of revolution and dedicated ourselves to forging the path forward on that road. A great deal has been learned in the time since then—including from the experience, positive and negative, of revolutionary struggles throughout the world and the historical experience of the communist movement—and, of crucial importance, through the work I have continued to do there is a further development of the scientific method and approach to revolution: the new communism. Now, when the contradictions of this system are taking an acute and increasingly extreme expression, and this is one of the rare times and circumstances when revolution is actually possible in a country like this: for those of us who were part of, and all those who have been inspired by, the radical movements and revolutionary sentiments of those times—and for all those, young and old, who yearn for the kind of radical emancipating change that so many in those times were striving for—it is up to us to act, together, to bring about the revolution that is urgently needed, and is possible, in order to open the way to the actual liberation of Black people and all the oppressed people of the earth, aiming for the emancipation of all humanity from all relations of oppression, exploitation, degradation, and the destruction of people and the environment.

 


* The article “Lee Evans—Track Great and Humanitarian, Remembrance from a Reader” is available at revcom.us. [back]


Lee Evans after winning gold in the 400m at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Photo: U.S. Olympic Archive

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/701/rnl-show-episode-54-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 54 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

1 Year Since Police Killed George Floyd; 100 Years Since the Tulsa Massacre; Now: Organize for Revolution!

 

It's been one year since police murdered George Floyd. It's been 100 years since the Tulsa Massacre and Destruction of Black Wall Street. No More! Now is the time to join with the Revcoms in organizing for REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!

In Episode 54 of the RNL – Revolution, Nothing Less – Show:

** Bob Avakian speaks searingly to why it is impossible to abolish white supremacy without overthrowing and abolishing capitalism-imperialism and summons us to revolution to make this real in an excerpt from his film, Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution.

** Andy Zee takes you to a press conference by the Revolution Club at a hated Sheriff station in South Central Los Angeles announcing a march being called by the Revcoms on June 12 to “Show the World: We Are Getting Organized Now For REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!” and to declare: “WE ARE FIGHTING TO EMANCIPATE ALL HUMANITY – For a World Free of All Oppression and Exploitation. No More Antagonistic Divisions Among the People. THIS SYSTEM CANNOT BE REFORMED—IT MUST BE OVERTHROWN!”

Featuring interviews with Noche Diaz, national spokesperson for the Revolution Club, and Michelle Xai of the Los Angeles Revolution Club.

** Sunsara Taylor discusses the real lessons of the one year since the police murder of George Floyd and the beautiful rising that brought together people of all races and genders across this country and around the world and how this revealed the potential for a real revolution.

** American Crime #12: THE TULSA MASSACRE AND DESTRUCTION OF BLACK WALLSTREET. A powerful short video documentary created by filmmaker David Zeiger for The RNL Show exposing the largest white racist massacre of Black people in U.S. history. This segment was produced in 2020 when Trump went to speak in Tulsa on Juneteenth and is being re-broadcast now on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre.

For more on this American Crime, go here.

 

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