Revolution #539, April 16, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/512/see-and-share-this-talk-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

In this Film, Bob Avakian Analyzes the Deep Roots and Driving Forces of Trump/Pence Fascism and What Must Be Done to Stop It.

Watch It Here, and Spread It.

Updated April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Be part of bringing the most serious answers to the most urgent questions to tens and hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions.

This talk from Bob Avakian (BA) provides a scientific understanding of the roots of this fascist regime—in the history of the U.S. and the deeper roots in the system of capitalism-imperialism. He does so with passion, humor, humanity, and a deep sense of history. He cuts into the deepest, most agonizing questions, first in the speech and then in a wide-ranging Questions and Answers.

If more people watched this talk, it could change today’s political equation. But far too few have seen this talk, or even know about it. You are needed to be part of changing this.

Donate towards promotion of this film:

Scroll down for the film trailer, videos of the Q&A session following the speech, and clips from the film


Click to view the full speech.

The film and all video clips are also available for download HERE

For instructions to download this film click HERE

 

 

 

Questions and Answers with Bob Avakian

NEW:  Download, share, and watch each Q&A in a separate clip. To download these clips, click the "v" icon on the bottom right of the clip to get to the Vimeo page, and scroll down to the button for "Download"

Q&A: What do you say to the comedians who ridicule Trump/Pence but also run the risk of contributing to normalizing fascism?

Q&A: If we drive out the Trump/Pence regime, what will replace it?

Q&A: How can we sustain the massive movement required to drive this regime from power?

Q&A: What strategies are there to break through the mainstream news whiteout of Refuse Fascism?

Q&A: How can we protect immigrants targeted directly by this regime?

Q&A: What's the role of students in the movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

Q&A: The Democrats are supposed to be the lesser of two evils, but I don't want to vote for them. I know the system sucks, but what do we do in the interim?

Q&A: As a revolutionary Christian, I believe that we do need this revolution but how can you have religious people not feel alienated?

Q&A: What's the relationship between fighting fascism and making revolution?

Q&A: How can we overcome obstacles in reaching out broadly to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

Q&A: Millions hate what's happening with the Trump/Pence regime, but does that matter if they don’t act?

Q&A: Do you think that we need animal liberation?


Trailer and Clips From the Film:

Trailer

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

Clip: "What are we facing?"

Clip: "Order or Justice?"


Clip: "What Must We Do?"

Clip: "The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today"

Clip: "Why is it the Democrats can only try to resolve this on the terms of the system?"

Clip: "The Christian Fascists
Now In Power"

Clip: "The 'Unholy Alliance' Between Trump and Fundamentalist Christian Fascists"

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/avakian/film-trump-pence-regime-must-go/index.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

 

WHAT IS IN THIS FILM?

This talk from Bob Avakian (BA) provides a scientific understanding of the roots of this fascist regime—in the history of the U.S. and the deeper roots in the system of capitalism-imperialism. He does so with passion, humor, humanity, and a deep sense of history. He cuts into the deepest, most agonizing questions, first in the speech and then in wide-ranging Questions and Answers.

If more people watched this talk, it could change today’s political equation. But far too few have seen this talk, or even know about it. You are needed to be part of changing this.

WATCH THE FILM, CLIPS AND Q&As HERE.

WHO IS BOB AVAKIAN?

"If you don't have a poetic spirit—or at least a poetic side—it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state."
– Bob Avakian

Bob Avakian (BA) 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."

BOB AVAKIAN (BA) OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY HERE.


 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/a-plan-to-change-everything-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

BA, the New Communism, and the Challenge to Us: A Plan to Change Everything

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

April 16, 2018: We write this as Trump struts and preens for having bombed Syria (a conflict which the U.S. has stoked and maneuvered in from the beginning), supposedly to punish the deaths of nearly 50 civilians... while continuing to sponsor with money, arms, and training a Saudi war against Yemen that has taken the lives of thousands of children. We write this as the New York Times Magazine front-pages the fact that Black mothers and babies die at more than twice the rate of white mothers and babies, and as the drumbeat of police murder of Black and Latino and Native American youths continues. As the environment hurtles toward utter disaster. As immigrants and refugees are demonized, hunted, persecuted, imprisoned, and essentially murdered on the high seas and deserts, while the U.S. itself leads the pack on this. As the stories of abuse and degradation of women continue to fight their way out of every corner of the globe. We write this as fascism stalks the globe, with its champions in the White House—Trump on the offensive, with Pence and a whole Christian fascist movement as the backbone.

This world cries out for revolution. But what kind of revolution?

Revolution requires leadership. But what kind of leadership?

A little more than a month ago, revcom published a critical, and what must become a seminal, editorial, “THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF...” There, the challenge was sharply posed:

We revolutionary communists are supposed to represent and speak in the name of the interests of all of humanity. And we are supposed to do so on the basis of science and nothing less. On that basis, we can in fact have a great deal of certitude in stating that what humanity needs, more than anything else, is a communist world, achieved through a process of revolutions (of the right kind) to establish socialist societies (of the right kind) as a transition and road, and a base for advance, to that communist world. So it’s not just communism we are fighting for, it’s the right kind of communism, the NEW COMMUNISM....

There is nothing that would be more important to accomplish in this period of history than to succeed in breaking through some of [the] obstacles and getting the New Communism, as well as its architect, Bob Avakian [BA] (the person who has elaborated and developed this new synthesis of communism, and who himself stands as a concentrated expression of its core principles and scientific methods), widely known, engaged and appreciated throughout this society (and among all strata), and beyond that throughout the world. And it must also be said that, conversely, if we don’t succeed in doing THAT—if we don’t succeed in making qualitative and quantitative breakthroughs in fulfilling THAT mission—then not much at all will come out of anything any of us have done over the past decades, or continue to do today. All that hard work, and all that dedication, and all that sacrifice? It will all amount to a big fat zero if we do not succeed in broadly spreading the New Communism, getting it to take root and initiating a process of sustainable geometric progression.

The author then goes on to sharply lay out the crucial task before us: spreading the new communism much more broadly and widely and developing a situation where lots more people know about BA, and what he has brought forward; where lots more people are discussing, debating, contesting, engaging the new communism; and where this is all giving rise to a certain kind of geometric progression as it takes hold and spreads farther and farther day by day, reaching a great many people we could not possibly encounter directly. Going further: We need a situation in which significant new cohorts of genuine and motivated actual followers of BA and of the new communism are cohering into a real force—significant not simply in importance, but in actual numbers, and expanding societal influence, as well—all of which bodes well for the possibility of the new communism spreading and taking root to an unprecedented degree in the next period.

The plan that follows responds to this challenge. It is a plan to begin that “geometric progression,” now. Below we discuss the overall political terrain on which this takes shape. We examine in basic terms some relationships between different urgent tasks that have to be handled well. Then we get into some of the key components of the plan, while indicating where we need to do more work. Important elaborations of key points can be found in boxes that go with this plan.

This is a campaign to go out to masses of people. This campaign aims to involve many people who previously knew nothing about BA and the new communism but who—in this moment—can be moved, with the power of this revolutionary theory and leader, to take this up and be part of radically changing the world. Without that, it can’t really work; but with it, we can actually... change everything.

The Political Terrain on Which We’re Working and the Pathways to Transformation

We confront—and must transform—a highly fraught situation. A crisis, in the truest, fullest sense of the word. A fascist regime holds power in the U.S. and is right now attempting to fully implant its rule. One outrage follows another, with the latest shouldering the one before it out of the headlines in a dizzying procession. Conflicts rage around the world, with possibly catastrophic ones threatening to erupt. Meanwhile, the business of “capitalism-imperialism as usual” grinds on and accelerates, crushing the lives and mutilating the spirits of billions each day.

Yet the “division of opinion” is unfavorable. Most people cannot see beyond the bounds of the “proper channels” of the very system that is moving to implant fascism. People are anxious but also learning to live with the normalization of this—which immeasurably heightens the danger.

But within this lies a deep potential for radical change, either positive or negative. The stakes hold both extraordinary danger AND a high potential for people to search out, hear, and grapple with new ideas—and act on those ideas to transform the situation.

In truth, three possible futures contend in the current situation. One is that posed by the fascists—and yes, they can succeed in forcing this openly racist, misogynist, and xenophobic future down the throats of humanity and indeed almost certainly WILL succeed unless they are stopped by the massive, defiant, in-the-streets struggle of millions. There is the second future of “imperialism-as-usual,” represented by the likes of Obama and Clinton, in which some of the rights of the better-off sections of people within the imperialist countries are respected some of the time and lip service is paid to diversity of people and thinking... while billions worldwide and in this country are ground down daily to feed the system’s machinery and are crushed when they resist.

But there is a third future as well—of revolution, guided by the vision, ethos, and plan of the new communism. We need, most of all and ultimately, revolution—the right kind of revolution. Nothing else can end what we call the “5 Stops”—the wars for empire, the oppression of women, the oppression of Black, Latino, and other oppressed nationality people, the persecution of immigrants, and the capitalist plunder and destruction of the environment; nothing else can get us out of a situation of cycling between fascism and “normal” capitalist-imperialist oppression. In fact, spreading the word on the leadership of BA and the breakthrough elements of the new communism is a fundamental part of the strategy to make that revolution and of the process, right now, of preparing the terrain, the masses and the vanguard for the time when that could be correctly done with a real chance of victory. (See HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.)

Getting out word of this third future—spreading this everywhere—is the heart of this plan. At the same time, as we have written elsewhere, “At this immediate moment... ousting this fascist regime is a ‘stage we [the movement for revolution] have to go through.’”

The organization Refuse Fascism has united around a plan “to launch at the soonest possible time a nationwide movement of nonviolent political protests, in the streets and public squares, that don’t stop until the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from office is met.” The success of this plan in its own right is crucial, and we urge everyone reading this to read that plan as well, and to follow and support Refuse Fascism.

Refuse Fascism aims to radically reshape the political and social environment. Its success is critically important, very possibly decisive, for humanity. At the same time, the campaign to bring forward that geometric progression of influence of and followers around BA and the new communism will and should dynamically interact with the struggle against fascism (even as it won’t be limited to that).

The Critical Importance of BA’s Filmed Talk on the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime

Let’s take a minute to get into that. One key part of that interaction: Bob Avakian’s filmed speech from last fall, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. There is nothing comparable to the way this speech and the question/answer session that follows uncovers the deep roots and underlying dynamics of this regime; to the way it puts forth the compelling necessity to drive out the regime; to its engagement with what holds people back; and to the way it explicates the strategy to do that. More, there is the deep understanding of societal dynamics, the thorough internationalism, and the emancipatory methodology AND morality that ground this film—and the speaker who delivers it. If even 100,000 people were to see this talk in the next few months, it would make a huge difference in what they thought necessary and possible and it would compel many of those who watched into conscious activity toward Refuse Fascism’s goal of thousands (and ultimately millions) in the streets, day after day and night after night, in defiant mass political struggle.

At the same time, most people who see the film will “meet” BA for the first time. They’ll not only hear him make a crucial argument on the central issue of the day; they’ll be led to confront the horrific future that the Trump/Pence regime represents and its deep roots in the whole history of this country and structure of its society. This provokes big questions about the system we live under and if a better world is possible, which BA points to. So the film also, and crucially, opens the door to a whole further journey. That makes for a potentially powerful synergy between the crucial struggle to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime and the urgent necessity to bring BA and what he represents—the new communism, and the revolution to bring a whole new world into being—to millions.

As the talk becomes a point of reference in the debate around the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and as and if there is increasing defiance against the regime itself along the lines being fought for by Refuse Fascism and its allies, there will be a different level of projection of Bob Avakian into the “public square.” There will be new openings, which must be seized on, sometimes at a moment’s notice. There will be serious attacks of different kinds, which must be recognized and correctly countered... meeting each such attack with greater mobilization of masses.

So there is the immediate context of the fascist threat which we are working to radically transform as a stage of the overall process of making revolution. There is, as well, the overarching ideological terrain where sights are low and the possibility of a different world, of real and viable alternatives to this system, is not on the map. This too we must radically transform, wielding this plan. Indeed, without many thousands at least being exposed to a genuine communist critique of the current world and vision of a better one—to the new communism—and without a growing section taking it up, it is very unlikely that we can defeat fascism.

The Plan to Change Everything: Basic Components

How do we begin those transformations? What follows covers the period through early next year. For the next several months at least, BA’s filmed talk on the Trump/Pence regime is the main—but not the only—vehicle of this effort. This means ongoing, all-the-time work in taking the film out everywhere, and it also requires some focuses.

In this next period, these focuses include a national Take BA to Campus Week, April 30-May 4; and major showings in key metropolitan areas in the second half of May and early June. (See the accompanying box “Two Major Efforts.”)

At the same time, the talk must form part of a whole larger engagement with BA—with the new communism he has brought forward, and the revolution he leads. In line with the reality that it is the totality of the new communism that unlocks the door for humanity, there are three other key components to the campaign right now along with the talk. These include:

Create a Social Movement Around the Talk

Over the past weeks, revcom.us has highlighted some of the work that has been done with the talk (as well as with other elements of the BA “package”). This has shown a glimmer of the potential. But in light of the pivotal and multidimensional importance of the talk as we’ve been discussing it, the scale and scope of this effort must increase by several orders of magnitude, to a whole other level. This must become a social movement in its own right.

What are the keys to this?

Taking and connecting the talk to key sections of people. Right now, there are sections of people that are aroused and in a mood to fight; there are sections of people under attack but perhaps intimidated; and there are sections of people who need to be part of the fight, to influence everyone else. BA’s talk must reach all of them, in a range of creative ways. (See accompanying box “Who Must See This Talk.”)

How do we do it? We go to actions, to programs, to groups and organizations far and wide. We let no assumptions get in the way about who might or might not be interested. We grasp more deeply the acuteness of the situation and the potential power of the talk, and on that basis we conceive and carry out plans on a far greater scale than we have up to now.

A note: When we go out to people, we agitate. On the street, at a program, at a demo... we agitate. And we don’t confine our agitation to the immediate topic of the talk. We wage ideological struggle with people, in every corner of society, and spread the basic message in relatively brief and straightforward terms: who is BA, what is it he’s done that is so new, and so important (what has he done? why is it so important?), and that could change everything, if it is taken up (how could it “change everything”? What do you mean by “if it is taken up”?).

And if you or the people you’re with think the agitation is good, send it to revcom. Agitation can lay bare the real terms of things; it can present and struggle for a different framework of understanding; it can draw out the needlessness of this system, the need—and possibility—FOR revolution, and what we have in the understanding brought forward by, and leadership of BA. Let’s learn from the best, and then take it further.

Activating preexisting social networks. We should work with people to spread the film through their networks—their schools, political groups, religious congregations, families and friends, etc. And then we sum up the response with them. We listen to the contradictions they run into, and work together to solve them. For certain, we should prepare new people by going over “BA: A Contended Question” before they go out. We listen to their ideas on how to spread it and work with them to systematize them. In short, we should organize people, learning from them as we do and helping them identify potential links and levers to make this movement grow.

Make BA a much greater presence on social media. The more that we can learn the dynamics of social media and how to spread things on them, and the more that we can plug into social media with material that people can use, the more that BA can break out broadly. How to utilize the various platforms? There are volunteers who have taken on the job of leading this; if you have ideas, or if you know people who have ideas and expertise, or if you want to be part of this... write to revcom!

Connecting the talk, and BA, to people with (different kinds of) influence. There are artists, clergy, journalists and writers, public intellectuals, professors and scholars, political figures and activists who have already engaged the talk. Some have made public statements responding to it, others have called on people to get into it. It is vitally important that people who would want to go to bat for spreading this talk to be given the chance and consistently worked with to do that. This creates a whole public conversation on it, between BA and among the people commenting, it enables other people who have seen it to learn from how a variety of prominent voices responded to the talk, and it draws people broadly toward getting into it themselves.

This process should aim high in terms of people with a lot of influence but not be limited to people with a conventional “platform.” There are some people who may not be well known but who have particular insights on the film, or who may be from a group that, as a group, has “won the ear” of people more broadly; for instance, high school youths who became active off of Parkland, DACA youths, relatives of the victims of police murder, or others... What they have to say has importance in itself and, many times, their experience can lend texture and weight to their insights and cause others to check out what they’re talking about. And again, in every case—we should be using this process to open the door wide to BA and all that he represents and has brought forward.

More on Organization

Any serious effort at social transformation requires organization. People need a place to get and discuss—and argue over―direction, a place to contribute insights and figure out together how to combine efforts for maximum effect, a place to strategize and, sometimes, to just kick back and talk about the big wide world and what it’s all about.

The Revolution Club is one critical organization where that has to happen. The Revolution Club unites on the need for revolution and communism, and on that basis both spreads and takes up the new communism and mobilizes people to fight the power, and transform the people (including themselves), for revolution. The club, as active fighters for BA and the new communism, needs to bring forward many more active followers. This doesn’t happen automatically; it requires fighting for revolution among all sections of the people... and then when you do attract people, it requires a real plan for and a real systematic method of working with them.

This is something that Revolution Club chapters really need to think about: what is the culture, or atmosphere, of our chapter? How are people brought forward? How revolutionary is it—how much is it grounded in the orientation, and method and approach, of the new communism?

At the same time, there are people who may not at this point want to join the club but who DO want to help this campaign succeed. There needs to be a network for such people, and a way for them to come together as well in an organized way. This can mean volunteering for The Bob Avakian Institute (in places where the institute has an organized presence), or it can mean being part of a network that comes together at different times. But people don’t just magically come together without leadership. Thought must be given as to the forms this should take; while we’re not certain yet as to the specific forms this should take, we ARE certain that such forms will be needed... and we invite your thinking on this.

Revolution Books should both aggressively go out into society with programs and initiatives around BA that flow out of and feed into the whole campaign and in so doing draw in many new volunteers, sustainers, and supporters. The stores have to become political, intellectual, and cultural centers of a movement where the new communism is being engaged, applied, contended over, and connected with.

A key yardstick of this campaign: are the organizations growing and getting stronger?

Building for the Fall—and Summer—While Going All-Out Right Now

As touched on above, The Bob Avakian Institute recently announced a series of major programs, beginning in the fall, exploring major questions of the new communism.

But we can’t wait for the fall to build for those! Right now, we need to get the prospectus out on campuses and in conferences of various kinds, and made known to all who are trying to figure out how to change the world. This is nothing less than a major battle of ideas over how to understand the world, what is the problem we face, the goal of communism and the socialist road to get there, how revolution could win, and the question of leadership. This should be a major if secondary part of Take BA to Campus Week. Beginning now, we should be uniting with people who may not themselves be partisans of the new communism but who would like to see this debated to help build for this... even as we get into the new communism with them and the frameworks it’s contending with.

In a short time, we will be announcing plans for the summer. This will entail taking BA into the communities of the oppressed, as well as going to conferences, cultural events, and elsewhere with the film and the fall programs. Following up with these plans with those students who do come forward in this period will be critical.

It will be important during this whole next period that people have organized ways to engage the new communism. This may mean showings and discussions of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! (see “Showing the BA Film at the Revolution Club Organizing Center in Chicago”), study groups around THE NEW COMMUNISM, or forums on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, or single sessions on quotes from or chapters of BAsics (see “Discussion at Revolution Books in Berkeley: Revolution, Religion and Epistemology”).

At the same time, the Party needs to be transforming itself—qualitatively, in line with the “The New Communism Could Change Everything—If...” polemic, and quantitatively, through a growing stream of people coming forward to build and join this Party.

A Final Note

In the plan above, we’ve broken things down into components. We’ve mainly discussed things from the standpoint of the situation as we go online, April 16. But the world is more complex than that. Components form part of a larger, fluidly dynamic process. The larger world is constantly changing—with new phenomena emerging, other contradictions intensifying or receding, etc. We have to be ready for anything... alive to the changes, and seeking out the possibilities beneath the surface of those changes, for profound social transformation. This has to be treated as a living, dynamic plan.

To return to an earlier point, we have to be able to say “yes!” with real substance at every key juncture along the way to whether we are, for real, getting toward that needed geometric progression of the new communism, spreading and taking root to an unprecedented degree in the coming period.

Who will do this? You, who are reading this article... and the people whom you reach with word of this emancipating framework, the new communism, and the revolutionary leader who brought it forward, Bob Avakian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/mideast-history-trump-condemns-iran-russia-but-who-is-number-one-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Middle East History 101:

Trump Condemns Iran, Russia for Being Associated with Mass Murder, Supporting Brutal Tyrants... Yeah, but Who’s No. 1?

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Friday night, in justifying the illegitimate U.S., British, and French attack on Syria, Trump warned Syria’s sponsors:

To Iran and to Russia I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by supporting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.

The murder of innocent men, women, and children?! Supporting brutal tyrants and murderous dictators?! If you came in late and didn’t know who was speaking, you might have assumed someone was presenting a history of America’s actions in the Middle East over the last 70 years!

Russia and Iran are, no question, reactionary, bloodstained oppressors who no one should support. But when it comes to mass murder and backing ruthless tyrants, it’s “USA, USA, USA,” number one!

70 Years of Mass Murder and Supporting Brutal Tyrants

Trump spoke as if the U.S. would never think of committing any of the horrendous crimes he accused Syria of carrying out and Iran and Russia of supporting.

Yet for the last 70 years, from one end of the greater Middle East to another, that’s precisely what America has done. In the last two decades alone, it has carried out or backed massacres of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya.

The U.S. has funded, armed, and backed Israel’s ongoing, genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and its wars of aggression, from Israel’s founding in 1948 to today. America helped fuel the reactionary seven-year slaughter in Syria and has supplied the bombs for Saudi Arabia’s ongoing, genocidal war in Yemen. The U.S. has installed “murderous dictators” and CIA lackeys in Iran, Egypt, and Jordan, and backed them in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and beyond. It has threatened, intervened, blockaded, and bombed one country after another.

The U.S. rulers claim all these atrocities are carried out for the “greater good” of protecting or liberating suffering people. They’re lying. These ruthless crimes have been carried out to maintain and enforce American domination of the Middle East, a key cog in a ruthless global empire based on exploiting and oppressing literally hundreds of millions around the world.

American Carnage: Four Million and Counting, in Iraq Alone!

It would take volumes to chronicle every crime and atrocity the U.S. and its allies have carried out in the Middle East since the end of World War 2. But what the U.S. has done in Iraq alone makes Assad’s slaughters pale in comparison.

Add up the 3,000 to 5,000 members and supporters of the Iraqi Communist Party murdered in the 1963 CIA-backed Baath Party coup. The 105,000 Iraqis killed in the U.S.-fueled 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. The 100,000 and more during or immediately after the U.S.’s 1991 Desert Storm invasion. The estimated 1.2 million Iraqis, including 500,000 children, who died from starvation or disease during the 1990s due to U.S. sanctions and destruction of Iraq’s electrical and water systems. Then, add in the astronomical number of Iraqis who’ve been killed or died as a result of America’s 2003 invasion, occupation, and ongoing bombing: 2.4 million, according to the most accurate studies available! That comes to a conservative estimate of the blood of four million Iraqis on U.S. hands—and millions more whose lives have been shattered in countless ways.

When are these figures ever reported in the U.S. media? Very, very rarely, because they might call into question the relentlessly promoted myth that America is a force for good in the world. That it may make “mistakes,” but it doesn’t deliberately commit crimes and atrocities on a massive scale.

Mass Chemical Warfare, American Style

Trump self-righteously justified attacking Syria in the name of upholding the global ban on using chemical weapons—because, he declared, they’re “uniquely dangerous, not only because they inflict gruesome suffering, but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.”

Chemical weapons are a gruesome horror, but even if Assad has carried out all the chemical assaults he’s accused of, his crimes would still be a shadow of the chemical horrors the U.S. facilitated, supplied, and directed during the Iran-Iraq war.

At the time, the vampire imperialists ruling the U.S. wanted to make sure Iraq didn’t lose. So the U.S. and its European allies supplied Hussein with the makings of chemical and biological weapons. One report detailed 70 shipments of biological agents from the U.S. to Iraq, including anthrax, botulism, and E. coli bacillus. The U.S. sent Iraq chemicals needed for nerve gas. These death merchants also supplied the tools, equipment, helicopters, and shells to make and deliver them. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officers secretly provided detailed intelligence to Iraq to guide and “calibrate” its mustard gas attacks on Iranian ground troops. The toll of those suffering agonizing deaths and injuries: between 50,000 and 100,000, including many civilians, according to Iranian estimates.

After the war, Saddam used those same chemical weapons with horrendous effect on Iraq’s Kurds, massacring as many as 60,000 people, including as many as 5,000 in one gas attack at Halabja, according to an Iraq scholar. A DIA officer told the New York Times that the Pentagon “wasn’t so horrified by Iraq’s use of gas. It was just another way of killing people—whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn’t make any difference.”

Again, America’s toll in Iraq is but one example of the death and suffering it has inflicted—and continues to inflict—across the Middle East and beyond.

That includes continuing to use banned or deadly chemical and antipersonnel weapons. The U.S. fired depleted uranium shells in the 1991 Persian Gulf War that sickened thousands of Iraqis for years after. In 2004 during its siege of Fallujah under General “Mad Dog” Mattis (now Trump’s secretary of defense), the U.S. rained down cluster bombs, which explode into hundreds of antipersonnel bomblets that children can unsuspectingly pick up, and dropped white phosphorous—a chemical firebomb that can melt skin and burn right down to the bone. And today the U.S. and Britain are supplying Saudi Arabia with cluster bombs that murder and maim “innocent men, women and children” in Yemen.

Trump/Pence—Threatening Mass Murder on a Global Scale

As barbaric and horrendous as America’s Middle East toll has been, the Trump/Pence regime is poised and driven to take its crimes to a whole new level, a level that could imperil millions in the region, and possibly lead to a catastrophic global confrontation, one that could go nuclear.

Trump has already uncritically praised and supported murdering tyrants like Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. He’s hailing and arming the medieval beheaders ruling Saudi Arabia. He’s removed restraints on U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan—and civilian casualties are skyrocketing. He’s vilified Muslims and refugees, targeting and threatening hundreds of millions around the world. And now he and his war cabinet have Iran and North Korea in their gunsights.

Come to grips with this history. Face this potentially existential danger represented by the Trump/Pence regime. Break with the notion that America is a force for good in the world and start resisting its crimes!

Stop Thinking Like Americans, Start Thinking About Humanity!

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/speech-official-launch-for-the-refuse-fascism-call-to-action-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

We Are At a Crossroads:
The Stakes Are the Future of Humanity

Talk by Andy Zee at the April 11 official launch of the Spring, 2018 Refuse Fascism Call to Action

April 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The following is the text of a talk given by Andy Zee—spokesperson for Revolution Books and a co-initiator of Refuse Fascism—as part of the April 11 livestream of the announcement of the new Refuse Fascism Call to Action and plans for the coming weeks and months.

 

We are approaching a fork in the road. Tonight, Refuse Fascism puts before the world the stark truth that the Trump/Pence regime is a fascist regime that is step by step bringing about a fascist America. And, that there is a way, a road that requires courage, conviction, and determination, to stop it. The stakes are high and acutely posed as we meet this evening because the Trump/Pence regime is on the verge of TWO MAJOR LEAPS THAT ALSO POSE FORKS IN THE ROAD FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WITH STAKES FOR ALL OF HUMANITY.

One, should Trump act to fire special prosecutor Mueller, demonstrating that the Trump/Pence regime regards itself as above the law, this will challenge the people of this country to decide whether or not they are willing to go down the road to fascism. Accepting such a move by Trump—even if by just going out into the streets for a day and then going back to business as usual—will signal to the Trump/Pence regime and their powerful backers that they can tear up the rule of law. That we won’t stand in the way of their consolidating all power in their hands as they move to impose a fascist America on the world. Trump already feels the heat and should he fire Mueller he will face tremendous pressure to move fast to suppress opposition at the highest levels of government and throughout society. Will we meet this challenge?

Two, Trump has cleared out all the vacillating, less obedient members of his inner circle, forging a fascist War and Torture Cabal seriously heightening the danger of war—even nuclear war. Gina Haspel, his nominee to head the CIA, is a war criminal, a torturer, who ordered cover-ups of her crimes. Mike Pompeo, the Trump/Pence nominee for secretary of state, is a fascist “Tea Party” leader known for his vicious hatred of Islam and his advocacy of war and torture. Then, there’s John Bolton, who is the new national security adviser, who was a key architect of the Iraq war and the lies that justified it, and is a blood-thirsty war monger who advocates pre-emptively “eliminating” North Korea, even putting forth a bogus “legal” theory to justify such a war crime. Bolton also wrote in the New York Times: “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” The Trump/Pence regime is determined to scuttle the Iran deal, to further unleash Israel and Saudi Arabia as attack dogs in the Mideast, all of which greatly increases the danger of even wider, more deadly wars. Do you, do we, have any conception of and responsibility to, the horrors such acts would mean?

Yet, in the wake of these cabinet appointments, there has been no protest. Zero: when it is not even an “open secret” that the Trump/Pence regime is plotting for major war... it’s in their sights and what they are planning for.

SO, HERE TOO IS A CROSSROADS FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY: ARE YOU, ARE WE, GOING TO ACCEPT THE LOGIC AND LIES THAT WILL BE USED TO JUSTIFY THE KILLING OF POTENTIALLY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE? This is a human cost that John Bolton has explicitly said would be worth it if the U.S. could take out North Korea’s weapons. Or, is your morality so poisoned by the ideology of “America First,” or by the comfort of your life, that you will not STAND UP AND ACT? Do we believe that American lives are worth more than the lives of other people? Are We Going To Rise to What History and Humanity Demand of Us and Take to the Streets to Demand that These Moves Towards and Acts of War Must Stop and that the Trump/Pence Regime Be Removed from Power?

The 2018 Call to Act from Refuse Fascism which we are about to present says straight up: “If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, DO NOT ASK HOW THE GERMAN PEOPLE COULD HAVE ACCEPTED NAZISM IN THE 1930s.

These two crossroads—the possibility that Trump will make a decisive move to assert that he and his regime are above the law, and the present danger of escalated WAR, interact with and feed off each other. The question is: WILL WE ACCEPT IT? OR, WILL WE UNITE—COMING FROM MANY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND POINTS OF VIEW—TO STOP THIS THROUGH MASSIVE NON-VIOLENT PROTEST THAT DOESN’T STOP UNTIL THIS ILLEGIITMATE, ILLEGAL, and IMMORAL FASCIST REGIME IS REMOVED FROM POWER?

For over 14 months REFUSE FASCISM has put forth, backed by substantive analysis, that what we face is a REGIME, not the worst of reactionary Republican administrations, but a regime that is radically remaking society in a fascist direction. And that the only way to stop this is through massive, non-violent, sustained protests in cities and towns across the country—protests that don’t stop until the Trump/Pence regime is removed from power.

But, the millions of people who deep in their hearts abhor this regime are being told by the Democratic Party leadership and those who front for it, that there is an easier way to stop Trump: elect the Democrats to Congress. We pose to you: if this is your strategy you don’t understand that this is a fascist regime. If you see the horror of Trump as just a swing of the pendulum, and the midterms as the answer, you will necessarily mute protest. Your blue wave will carry you crashing into the rocks of a regime that will stop at nothing.

More, if you did elect a Democratic House, then what? The Democratic leadership has taken impeachment off the table. They have no answer to what to do about Pence and the whole fascist movement. And, let’s get down to the real deal, for the Democratic Party leadership, their dispute with Trump and Pence is over how to rule and advance the interests of the American Empire. Do you really think that if the U.S. launches bombing in the Mideast or against North Korea that these leaders of the Democratic Party will do anything other than be a part of, or vie for leadership of a wave of American chauvinism? When they do, this will further clear the path for the Trump/Pence regime to further consolidate its power. Recall that every leading Democrat has vowed to “work” with Trump where they can. NO! You Don’t Work With and Normalize Fascists.

We are not calling it fascism to hype anyone into action. But consider: What do you call it when people are demonized and attacked for who they are: immigrants, Black people, women, LGBTQ people, refugees, Muslims, Jewish people, the disabled, Native Americans—any and everyone who opposes the regime’s White America First rule. What do you call it when civil liberties and basic democratic rights are cast aside? You call it fascism. We must not shirk from it, but confront the truth and unite to say NO! Go to RefuseFascism.org to learn more, to donate, to sign the Call, and to get involved.

In closing, I reiterate, we are at a crossroads. The stakes are the future of humanity. Right now the Trump/Pence regime faces increasing necessity—domestically and internationally—to radically restructure U.S. governance and international relations, shattering norms. They have made great progress ramming into policy their “America First” and “Make America Great Again” fascist agenda. The danger of war, potentially nuclear war, and of this regime “dropping the hammer” with new, more draconian laws that take away democratic and civil rights means there must be real urgency to our organizing and forging unity. We cannot predict when the Trump/Pence regime will have made a qualitative leap in consolidating fascism. Yet, we recognize that what they have already set in motion requires that everyone who REFUSES to Live in a Fascist America unite with Refuse Fascism and together we must bend every effort to mount the kind of struggle that is put forth in the 2018 Refuse Fascism Call to Act. And, as part of getting to that point, everyone, every organization, must not allow this regime to launch a war, a massive bombing, or subvert the rule of law by firing the special prosecutor, and take to the streets.

This Nightmare Must End, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/534/the-new-communism-could-change-everything--if-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF...

March 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following are excerpts from a document written by a leading comrade of the Revolutionary Communist Party and circulated among Party members and supporters. Footnotes have been added here.

 

Let’s speak frankly now. Let’s be willing to honestly confront and be blunt and grapple with the problems of the revolution, including with people outside our own Party. Let’s start by stating some simple basics about the current reality:

We revolutionary communists are supposed to represent and speak in the name of the interests of all of humanity. And we are supposed to do so on the basis of science and nothing less. On that basis, we can in fact have a great deal of certitude in stating that what humanity needs, more than anything else, is a communist world, achieved through a process of revolutions (of the right kind) to establish socialist societies (of the right kind) as a transition and road, and a base for advance, to that communist world. So it’s not just communism we are fighting for, it’s the right kind of communism, the NEW COMMUNISM.

The new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA) really is a total game-changer, which objectively represents and constitutes the opening of a whole new chapter in the historical evolution of communist theory and practice. IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. But this will happen only IF the New Communism of BA becomes widely known, takes root, and spreads ever more broadly, in a kind of geometric progression, throughout this society and also throughout the entire world.

But right now the objective situation is such that hardly anyone has even heard of the New Communism, hardly anyone is even searching for that kind of solution to the world’s problems, and the so-called educated or “progressive” and “enlightened” people here and around the world remain primarily mired in moribund and paralyzing retrograde frameworks of the past (standard bourgeois democracy, social democracy,1 variations on Ajithism,2 etc.) and by and large are stubbornly (and sometimes snarkily, with significant vitriol) refusing to explore and engage anything that might be radically new and inspiring but which might actually require them to question and break out of the relative stability and comfort they can still typically benefit from (especially in the U.S.) thanks to their objective acceptance, accommodation and ultimately complicity with the dominant and ruling exploitative and oppressive frameworks, in all their vile and brutally violent incarnations (including their increasingly fascist directions) here and throughout the world.

So the external objective/subjective conditions we are dealing with are difficult to say the least. And, relatedly, the revisionism that has plagued the ranks of communists everywhere in recent decades, including in our own Party,3 has posed especially significant obstacles to waging the necessary struggles to break through any of this. So overall this is a very challenging time.

But one thing is crystal clear: There is nothing that would be more important to accomplish in this period of history than to succeed in breaking through some of these obstacles and getting the New Communism, as well as its architect, BA (the person who has elaborated and developed this new synthesis of communism, and who himself stands as a concentrated expression of its core principles and scientific methods), widely known, engaged and appreciated throughout this society (and among all strata), and beyond that throughout the world. And it must also be said that, conversely, if we don’t succeed in doing THAT—if we don’t succeed in making qualitative and quantitative breakthroughs in fulfilling THAT mission—then not much at all will come out of anything any of us have done over the past decades, or continue to do today. All that hard work, and all that dedication, and all that sacrifice? It will all amount to a big fat zero if we do not succeed in broadly spreading the New Communism, getting it to take root and initiating a process of sustainable geometric progression.

If we don’t succeed in this, there really is no point to any of the other things we do. If we don’t succeed in this, then even important things like: the website (and associated social media) outreach and leadership; particular “Fight the Power...” conjunctural initiatives around any and all of the 5 Stops4 (including genocidal police brutality and murder); particular emergency-worthy and strategic “nodal point” initiatives (such as Refuse Fascism); particular attention paid to international developments (and to revolutionary-minded forces in other countries) and to struggling against the stranglehold of jingoism and national chauvinism among the people in this country; particular attention paid to realizing the two maximizings (developing work among both the most oppressed social base and educated youth in particular); particular attention to vigorous recruitment and the developing of a newly revitalized Leninist party on the basis of the New Communism (and not something else or lesser than that...), none of our dedicated work in any of these spheres will ultimately amount to anything more than perhaps a minor footnote in history, unless...

Unless we do manage to fulfill our core mission and accomplish what we should all recognize as being our single most crucial and critical strategic goal, and daily preoccupation: which, again, would mean breaking through the assorted obstacles to get BA and the New Communism he has brought forward WIDELY known, engaged and appreciated throughout society. 

Managing to do that should be understood to be our foremost, most singular and critical, strategic mission and objective (for all of humanity and its future, if it is to have any kind of future worth having). 

In line with all this, let’s once again take a hard look at BA’s previous interventions of recent years—what he himself accomplished, vs. what did or did not come out of it in terms of the #1 objective.

Much of this is familiar to all of us, of course. To be blunt once again: they have ALL been, to a very large extent, criminally squandered.

But first, to speak to the positives: Simply put, in addition to the many invaluable published works and audio and video compilations, we have in recent years been treated to an unbelievable series of public and semi-public direct interventions by BA in person. These have consistently been incredible, world-class-level presentations of new communist theory, propaganda and agitation, all put forward with great depth, and substance, and heart, and all done in such a way as to serve as a living laboratory of scientific methods applied to the problems of human society. All done in a manner that is widely accessible to a wide variety of audiences, and which concentrates many different levels of precious lessons for everyone, ranging from brand new people, of different backgrounds and strata, to the most experienced communist “veterans,” including top leadership of our own Party, including, of course, ourselves.

Isn’t everything I just said here true? Just think of direct interventions like the 7 Talks,5 or the talks that gave rise to the 2003 Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About film; or the talks that gave rise to the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! film; or the series of internal leadership seminars a few years ago which drilled home the importance of scientific methods and the need to break with the mass line,6 reification,7 populist epistemology,8 etc. carried over from earlier stages of communism; or the thrilling (and contended) public Dialogue at Riverside Church with Cornel West, and the film that came out of that; or the series of internal seminars which ultimately fed into the process of BA’s writing the seminal book THE NEW COMMUNISM; or the most recent semi-public (and only one-hour long!) 2017 talk which is a truly masterful concentration of both current conjunctural (fascism on the rise) and deeper historical roots analyses (how did we get to this point and why?), along with leadership being given to what to do about all this, all while never failing to reveal and confidently proceed back from the largest and most strategic objectives of the New Communism, while also providing a school of method and principle, plus an outlining of the basic pathway forward in practice for those with whom unity can be forged in the current conjuncture even if they don’t yet share (and might never share) those ultimate communist objectives. A model of solid core, with lots of elasticity based on the solid core. A model of unite all who can be united, on the right basis and with the right methods. A model of calm confidence and certitude based on science. A model of decency, of morality, of approachability, of humor and compassion, and yes of hope, all the while not falling into the slightest bit of tailing or ass-kissing and instead waging ferocious polemical struggle with the masses of different strata to work on those living contradictions and challenge and bust through the obstacles and the confining and paralyzing frameworks of this period. And all in an hour. Wow! And then with it the Q&A, with all its intangibles, substance, remarkable scientific ease and liveliness on full display “off the cuff”–Wow yet again!

So all that is great and inspiring, but here’s the rub: ALL these more or less “direct” interventions by BA have been remarkable and world-class in terms of both form and content. ALL of them have been schools of method, for everyone. ALL of them are objectively priceless in and of themselves, and I am quite sure that they will ultimately “bear fruit” in a way commensurate with their quality—at least I expect this to happen over the longer term, if somehow humanity manages not to drive itself to literal extinction in the near future. I certainly am confident, on a scientific basis, that any decent future for humanity would necessarily have to be carved out by “going through” the new synthesis of communism brought forward by BA.

Because of all that I have said here (about the longer-term future in relation to the entirety of BA’s body of work, including all these interventions), it would be totally and obscenely wrong to conclude these interventions have been wasted efforts because they were, ultimately, squandered in the aftermath. But at least in the shorter term, to put it quite crudely, “what has come out of these interventions?”

BA did his part(s), but what have the rest of us succeeded in doing in the aftermath of these BA interventions that we could point to and honestly say: “This has really helped to spread the New Communism much more broadly and widely; you can see that, thanks to this intervention, lots more people now know about BA, and what he has brought forward; that lots more people are now discussing, debating, contesting, engaging the New Communism; that this is all giving rise to a certain kind of geometric progression as all this is really beginning to take hold and is spreading farther and farther day by day, reaching a great many people we could not possibly encounter directly. Very significantly, there are now clear indications of the emergence of significant new cohorts of genuine and motivated actual followers of BA and of the New Communism–significant not simply in importance, but in actual numbers, and expanding societal influence, as well—all of which bodes well for the possibility of the New Communism spreading and taking root to an unprecedented degree in the next period.”

Unfortunately none of this has happened.

Again, BA has done his part, in every single instance. But the “toxic combination” of recent years, characterized by the predominance of anti-scientific revisionism in both our own Party and the international movements, combined with the frustrating degree to which masses of all the different strata have NOT been correctly identifying the source of “the problem” confronting society and all of humanity, or have not been in any serious way looking for this kind of “solution” (for all the reasons we have previously discussed and which I won’t belabor here)—this “toxic combination” has resulted in a situation where it is today incredibly difficult and dislocating for even the best of the current communist leadership to create the necessary conditions for these BA interventions to take place on an even remotely correct basis (appropriate audiences, appropriate security, etc.) and, even beyond that, in every instance, there also does not seem to have been a sufficient material basis and/or sufficiently grounded ideological orientation to enable even the best of current leadership to “come out the other end” of these BA interventions in such a way that seeds of New Communism could really be broadly planted and then harvested on any kind of significant scale

So, we have to confront this reality, and yet figure out ways to not let it defeat us. Acknowledge the reality that all that incredible effort gets put into things but, in this period at least, not a whole lot actually “comes out of it all” in terms of really making significant progress in meeting that #1 strategic objective. Again, it will all likely bear fruit in a more commensurate way somewhere down the line, but at least in this period, in a period where the fragile flickering light of the New Communism could still so easily be extinguished, I don’t think we have succeeded in creating anything like the necessary material basis within which these remarkable direct interventions could actually be properly harvested, with the goal of unleashing that process of “geometric progression” of spread and societal influence we so desperately need to effect.

One of my recurring frustrations is also that every one of these interventions has produced incredibly valuable materials (books, films, etc.) which themselves provide so much of what we need to “spread” BA and the New Communism broadly throughout society, but we are always so busy doing other things that we barely make use of these most valuable tools for harvesting and spreading.

But of course this does not mean that the current situation (the repeated squandering) is acceptable, or could never ever be transformed (!), or that, no matter what we decide in the particular, we should not do all that is in our power to figure out how to spread the New Communism far and wide and work to have it take root. This does need to happen! It does need to be our #1 strategic objective.

For one thing, we need to revive the whole orientation around barefoot doctors9 and Huxleys.10 We need everyone, from leading people to Party members and supporters broadly, to serve minimally, or at least in some capacity, as barefoot doctors. Can you call yourself a communist if you’re not in some fashion doing at least that? To engage in at least the simplest tasks that can help spread the New Communism and BA (including by distributing BA literature and showing BA films as well as advertising the existence of the website, etc.). The original barefoot doctors in China during Mao’s time (largely peasant masses who were given basic medical knowledge and training) may not have had the basis to provide advanced medical theory or conduct complex medical interventions (they did not and would not have been allowed to try to do so, as this could have done more harm than good) but they provided an invaluable service by tirelessly going out far and wide, by trying to reach as many people as possible, by doing so repeatedly and consistently, and by bringing very basic medicines and treatment and basic medical education (the equivalent of spreading literature and films) to all sorts of places and people who had never had access to even such basics. An invaluable service. So is there anyone who really cannot or should not serve minimally as a barefoot doctor in relation to BA and the New Communism?

In conjunction with that we need Huxleys to actually be, and function as, HUXLEYS(!!). To do so correctly, consistently, and with the understanding that this is their PRIMARY mission, not just something they do alongside everything else they do. I don’t care how many direct interventions BA does, or of what quality, or with what conjunctural timeliness—if we don’t have a crew of ardent and motivated Huxleys, who see themselves first and foremost as followers of BA, and who consistently see their primary mission as what I referred to as our #1 strategic mission overall, and then act in accordance with that in everything they do, including by actually acting in society primarily as Huxleys, then we will never have the material basis to not squander BA’s works and interventions, and we will never develop fresh new cohorts of motivated followers of BA and the New Communism. We might recruit one or two fresh faces here or there, but we will never be able to regroup, re-ascend and revitalize an actual Leninist party that actually corresponds to and can implement the core objectives and methods of the New Communism.

At the same time, I know one thing: If this fascism of the Trump/Pence regime gets consolidated and this really becomes the widely accepted “normal” of this society, not only will this have disastrous consequences overall, but more specifically, we, as communists, are going to have an even much harder time getting anywhere, including with the spread and promotion of the New Communism and the works of BA and the development of open and motivated active followers of BA dedicated to getting all this to take root and spread even more. So the mission of Refuse Fascism, and whether it spreads and gains traction and committed adherents and stays on the right track, and so on, really is not “just another good initiative or good thing to be doing.” And in relation to our strategic communist objectives, the failure of what is represented by Refuse Fascism might well end up putting the final nail in our coffin.

Something like the recent 2017 talk by BA, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible—which speaks powerfully to the immediate, urgent importance of bringing forward masses of people in nonviolent but sustained political mobilization to drive out this fascist regime, and the crucial relation between that and our fundamental revolutionary objectives—really needs not to be squandered! This film needs to be used (a lot!!) and there needs to be an active approach on our part to have all its positives made full use of and broadly projected and injected into everything, etc. I get frustrated that still not enough of this is going on (and that the film still seems to get sort of “tacked on” to other things). With that particular intervention and film, if we don’t keep putting enough leading attention into it even now, in the aftermath, then we will suffer the consequences (yet again) of unconscionable squandering (including in failing to fulfill both some important aspects of our #1 objective to promote and project BA and the New Communism, and also failing to take full advantage of this talk’s ability to positively influence the development of the necessary anti-fascist trajectory). All this would be bad enough, and we really should try very hard to make full use of everything that could be accomplished through broad promotion and dissemination of that talk—I think we have barely scratched the surface!

I will end here by simply restating the obvious:

BA himself really does actually concentrate the best of what is the New Communism, and his various works and interventions are themselves the best possible “advertisement” for this new synthesis of communism—there are no better tools for the spread and popularization of the New Communism than BA’s various works and interventions “in their own right,” free of any intermediary distortions or re-castings or reinterpretations.

But—and this is a critical but—regardless of what BA himself is or is not able to personally undertake, everything that is represented by the New Communism—which really does have the potential to “change everything!” in the interests of all of humanity—will never spread broadly enough and will never take root deeply enough unless there develop legions of motivated, inspired followers—genuine, motivated and inspired followers—of the New Communism, and of BA himself as a concentration of all that. So, one way or another, bringing that into being really has to be our primary preoccupation and objective, increasingly in its own right, as well as within everything we do.

 

 


FOOTNOTES

1. Social democracy refers to a political trend that envisions a form of “socialism”—actually, some variant of state ownership of some industries and extensive welfare measures—that would come to power through bourgeois elections. It denies the need to meet and defeat the violent repressive power of the bourgeois state through massive all-out struggle for power involving millions and millions, and opposes revolutionary trends that recognize this necessity. This began as a serious trend in Europe, where the usually unspoken basis for it was the spoils from the continued plunder of colonies and neo-colonies. Today it is a significant force in Latin America (Lula in Brazil, Bachelet in Chile, etc.), as well as elsewhere, and takes shape in the U.S. in groups like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and others. [back

2. Ajithism refers to the trend concentrated in the pamphlet “Against Avakianism,” written in July 2013 by Ajith. This trend is analyzed and extensively criticized in the article “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past,” published in the online journal Demarcations. This polemic with Ajith is a critical work that goes into and demarcates the new synthesis from what has gone before on a range of questions, focused on Bob Avakian’s breakthrough in epistemology. The authors make the point that “To the extent that there were errors in the communist movement, including in the thinking of its greatest leaders, this should neither make communists shrink in horror nor adopt an ostrich-like defense of secondary weaknesses. But what were mistakes in one historical context, when championed, canonized and developed as Ajith does, become transformed into a qualitatively different project for society.” “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past,” page 80. [back]

3. Revisionism refers to schools of thought and political trends that claim to be communist, or Marxist, but revise the revolutionary heart out of communism. The character of revisionism today has been gone into in many works—most especially Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, RCP Publications, 2008 and THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Bob Avakian, Insight Press, 2016. Essentially, revisionism draws on some variant of bourgeois democracy, or a fixation on certain incorrect and wrong lines in the first stage of the communist revolution (the period from the writing of the Communist Manifesto in 1848 to the overthrow of socialism in China in 1976), or both to oppose the further advance of communism, as crystallized in Bob Avakian’s new synthesis. Both these works go deeply into the Cultural Revolution within the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA—the content of the lines that have contended with the new communism, the course of the struggle, and its crucial character in determining whether or not there will be an actual vanguard, a revolutionary... communist... party in this country. [back]

4. STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!
STOP The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!
STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!
STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!
STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet! [back]

5. 7 Talks. These talks were given by Bob Avakian in 2006 and covered a wide range of topics. Some of the material in these talks were drawn on for other works, including Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2008 and Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Bob Avakian, Insight Press, 2008. These talks include: “Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today... And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution”; “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy”; “Communism: A Whole New World and the Emancipation of All Humanity—Not ‘The Last Shall Be First, And the First Shall Be Last’”; “The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters”; “Communism and Religion: Getting Up and Getting Free—Making Revolution to Change the Real World, Not Relying on ‘Things Unseen’”; “Conservatism, Christian Fundamentalism, Liberalism and Paternalism ... Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton ... Not All ‘Right’ but All Wrong!”; “‘Balance’ Is the Wrong Criterion—and a Cover for a Witch-hunt—What We Need Is the Search for the Truth: Education, Real Academic Freedom, Critical Thinking and Dissent.” [back]

6. Mass line was a method developed by Mao that set the heart of the communist method as taking the scattered and unsystematic ideas of the masses, concentrating what is correct in them, and returning what is correct to them in the form of policies that they can take up and act on. Bob Avakian analyzed the problems with this principle in his 2014 talks [“The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution” and “The Strategic Approach to Revolution and Its Relation to Basic Questions of Epistemology and Method”]. Such a method relegates communists to essentially holding a mirror up to and confining themselves within the limits of whatever the sentiments of the masses are at any given time, as opposed to scientifically analyzing what must be done at any juncture and then struggling and working with masses to take this up. The “mass line,” however, became enshrined for decades as a more or less unchallenged principle prior to BA’s forging of the new communism; and, in fact, “mass line” was a method, as BA points out, that Mao himself did not follow at certain critical junctures in the revolution. [back]

7. Reification refers to the view, predominant in the communist movement before the new synthesis, that proletarians by virtue of their class position, have a special purchase on the truth; in particular, that they have within them the means to grasp the historic role of the proletariat as a class and will “instinctively” gravitate toward that view. This confounds the position of the proletariat in society as a class and the consciousness of individual proletarians. In fact, an understanding of the historic role of the proletariat in relation to ending all forms of exploitation and oppression came out of scientific study of the whole course of social development, and analysis of the underlying and generally hidden dynamics behind that development. Anyone who wishes to understand and play a role in leading the communist revolution has to study it as a science, whatever their class background (and people of all backgrounds can and do take this up). At the same time, everyone in society, no matter their class origin, is both influenced by the pulls of living life in a capitalist system and subject to being trained in, and spontaneously taking up, all sorts of unscientific and, indeed, antiscientific methods. For more on reification, see “Ajith—A Portrait of the Residue of the Past.” [back]

8. Populist epistemology refers to the notion that what people think ultimately determines reality, or at least that communists should “factor in” what the majority of people think in arriving at the truth. Truth, however—including the truth about objective reality and whether particular analyses or policies correctly reflect that reality and the path forward toward transforming it in a revolutionary direction—is independent of what anybody thinks. Darwin’s theory of evolution would be true whether anybody thought it was or not; as are certain fundamental truths about society and what kinds of transformations are necessary to change it, as well as more immediate things that can be determined to be true or not. This notion has done and continues to do tremendous damage, leading communists to opportunistically tail behind and fail to challenge backward sentiments and beliefs and outright wrong and even reactionary paths among masses of people. The correct understanding is captured in BAsics 4:11: “What people think is part of objective reality, but objective reality is not determined by what people think.” BAsics: from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011. For more on this, see “The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution” and 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, Insight Press, 2015. [back]

9. “Barefoot doctors” were peasants in China who, during the period when China was revolutionary and in particular during the Cultural Revolution, were given very basic training in medical science and sent among the masses to minister to basic health needs. While they were not fully trained in medicine, they could still do good by spreading certain basic scientific understanding about the human body and health. By analogy, barefoot doctors are those who may not have the most developed understanding of the science of communism but who want to help spread it as they are learning more, and while they may not be able to contend with other outlooks and modes of thought, can still do a great deal of good. [back]

10. Thomas Henry Huxley was a champion for Darwin’s theory of evolution. While Darwin for various reasons did not focus on debating the truth of the theory in public venues, Huxley played the role of going everywhere to fight for Darwin’s breakthrough. He was known as “Darwin’s bulldog.” By analogy, people who do gain a more developed understanding of the new communism should be out taking on all proponents of contending viewpoints and modes of thought. [back]

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/515/what-people-are-saying-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

What People Are Saying About This Film

Updated June 24, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Click to watch the film

 

The following is taken from a document written by a leading comrade of the Revolutionary Communist Party. To read more click HERE.

On BA's Talk on the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime: "Wow!"

[This talk] is a truly masterful concentration of both current conjunctural (fascism on the rise) and deeper historical roots analyses (how did we get to this point and why?), along with leadership being given to what to do about all this, all while never failing to reveal and confidently proceed back from the largest and most strategic objectives of the New Communism, while also providing a school of method and principle, plus an outlining of the basic pathway forward in practice for those with whom unity can be forged in the current conjuncture even if they don’t yet share (and might never share) those ultimate communist objectives. A model of solid core, with lots of elasticity based on the solid core. A model of unite all who can be united, on the right basis and with the right methods. A model of calm confidence and certitude based on science. A model of decency, of morality, of approachability, of humor and compassion, and yes of hope, all the while not falling into the slightest bit of tailing or ass-kissing and instead waging ferocious polemical struggle with the masses of different strata to work on those living contradictions and challenge and bust through the obstacles and the confining and paralyzing frameworks of this period. And all in an hour. Wow! And then with it the Q&As, with all its intangibles, substance, remarkable scientific ease and liveliness on full display “off the cuff”—Wow yet again!

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A New York City graphic designer

“Unbelievable is a word I often use for the programs, initiatives, and assaults that come out of this administration. Of course, nothing is unbelievable now. I have watched/listened to the Bob Avakian video. He is impressive in a number of ways. He's very knowledgeable and seems sincere. Although not surprising, the historical overview of the U.S. patriotic mindset and the description of the rise of fascism he sets forth is alarming. It's also accusatory, as it should be. I recognize myself to a shameful extent in the description of the non-ruling liberal class.”

Libya Pugh, Educator and Artist

“I've seen the Avakian film on fascism and the Trump/Pence regime, and it is a very valuable video for the world to see. As an educator I think It is especially important for teachers and students to see this film, because it focuses on history and the people’s struggle by showing us how fascism has affected our societies.”

Reverend Cecil L. “Chip” Murray, Los Angeles, California

“People must be exposed to this film. It is not an option. Here is one who is prophetic, speaking to those who are pathetic. Now is the 21st century. We can no longer afford to be pathetic....”

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“People must be exposed to this film. It is not an option. Here is one who is prophetic, speaking to those who are pathetic. Now is the 21st century. We can no longer afford to be pathetic. We may have to labor at being prophetic, that is the only way we can transcend self-destruction. No longer can we toy with weapons, now we have discovered the ultimate weapon that which ended World War 2, and which can start the end of the world, period. No longer is it just Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacked, now the whole world can be attacked so that when North Korea ‘threatens’ the most powerful nation, the leader of that nation who is called up to lead us, but we are being led by his pathetic response of ‘if you attack us, we will blow you off the planet.’ The essence of Bob Avakian’s film https://vimeo.com/238240664 THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible was a description and challenge on the need for a prescription of where we need to go from here. Any intelligence would have to agree with him because he described the world situation, what we will be involved in if we don’t fix it now.”

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Jean Krasno, Lecturer in the Department of Political Science; Director, Multilateralism and International Organization Initiative at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at City College of New York; Distinguished Fellow at the Center for International Security Studies at Yale University

“Whether you agree with everything Bob Avakian professes or not, the power of his words will shake you into a profound reexamination of your core beliefs....”

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“Bob Avakian: a powerful message
‘Refuse to Accept a Fascist America’”

“Bob Avakian’s film profoundly challenges us to open our eyes and examine the underbelly of what we think of as ‘American Exceptionalism.’ As Americans, we want to see America as the bastion of democracy where equality, the rule of law, and justice for all permeates our lives. But Avakian forces us, with the power of his words, to rip away this false blanket that hides the truth and asks us to remember our exploitive and violent history, our long story of repression expressed through slavery and the genocidal treatment of America’s indigenous peoples. We may defend America by saying we have evolved; we have grown away from our past and have embraced justice and tolerance. Avakian’s words slap us out of this complacency. The ugly face of white supremacy is darkly slouching across our land, cultivated by the current administration’s obsession with hatred for all those who may look or speak differently. We are precipitously growing close to the brink of Fascism.

“Whether you agree with everything Bob Avakian professes or not, the power of his words will shake you into a profound reexamination of your core beliefs. America First and American Exceptionalism are devolving into America Isolated and America Alone, a frightening image in a world where no country acting alone can solve the global challenges we face. We are losing the trust and confidence of our allies and friends. And every act, negative or positive, reverberates in even the farthest corners of the world causing repercussions we cannot imagine. Fascism here begets Fascism elsewhere. Bob Avakian asks us all to take action and rescue America back from the brink and end this march toward Fascism.”

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Cornel West

“The spirit of resistance and commitment to revolution are always so inspiring in Brother Avakian!”

Dr. David I. Orenstein, Professor of Anthropology, Medgar Evers College/CUNY

“Do not sleep through this revolution! Avakian’s speech, when focusing on the Trump administration’s anti-humanistic actions and policies, demands that we remain awake. It demands that we take action to stop Trump’s allies, enablers, racists and evangelical apologists from making good on their dystopian ‘Making America Great Again’ slogan. It demands that civil society act against the attacks on modernity; the poor; those in the LGBTQ community, on scientific truth, on the rule of law; on press freedom; on healthcare and on refugees and immigrants. Watch this film. Get angry! Use this anger and channel it into resistance. And most of all VOTE for change.”

Claudia, a classical musician

“The film presented a strong affirmation of what I already was processing, that the regime is a malicious regime with an insidious agenda—and if it unfolds will just be catastrophic, in global proportions. Fascism never supports the masses... always a select few. This should be addressed immediately....”

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“The film presented a strong affirmation of what I already was processing, that the regime is a malicious regime with an insidious agenda—and if it unfolds will just be catastrophic, in global proportions. Fascism never supports the masses... always a select few. This should be addressed immediately.

“Thank you for presenting this to me. The speech is well-loaded with a plethora of information which needs to be distributed among as many people as possible... millions! But really, the driving point—and I have to go back to exactly what he was saying—was that this is a fascist regime. I felt, ‘Aha! Instruct me, I’m getting it.’

“He was so crystal-clear. He didn't sugar-coat. He didn’t say, ‘Oh well, if this doesn’t happen then maybe the next presidential election...’ Like trying to sweep it under the rug, like ‘this too shall pass.’ No, this needs to be addressed! And that’s what really lured me in, and now I’m hooked.”

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A second year masters of social work student

"I highly recommend the work. In discussing these issues through the film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! as many people have become so complacent and so isolated but also not aware of what's happening in the world right now and how crucial of a point of period in history that this is and what we can actually do to mobilize to have these discussions to tackle these themes and ultimately to dismantle these systems of oppression that for so many years have controlled our lives and have impacted every facet of our lives and now it's time to mobilize and to work towards bringing humanity together to figure out and to tackle systems of oppression that have been impacting us."

Donna Schaper, Senior Minister Judson Memorial Church, New York City

"Bob Avakian must be hoarse so long and well has he argued for basic human rights in the United States. His latest video summarizes the severity of the Trump/Pence crisis with vigor and a necessary outrage."

David Gunn Jr., son of Dr. David Gunn, the first abortion doctor to be assassinated by antiabortion extremists

“In posing the question, ‘Which is more important: order or justice?’ Bob Avakian addresses a key impediment to an overwhelming outpouring of nonviolent resistance to the Trump/Pence regime... There is no better time for non-violent resistance than now. Through the application of justice, it is time to forge a new order: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!...”

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"In posing the question, ‘Which is more important: order or justice?’ Bob Avakian addresses a key impediment to an overwhelming outpouring of nonviolent resistance to the Trump/Pence regime. Namely, do we quietly acquiesce to this administration’s offence upon offence against our republic specifically, and humanity generally, due to a need for the opioid-like calm of order; or, do we insist upon an application of justice that holds the administration accountable for its tyrannical, inhuman, and felonious conduct, but disrupts and upsets that same precious order people nurture and desire? Obviously, Avakian encourages us toward the latter, to be courageous, and take action now before everyone, even those who remain dedicated to the current order, is impacted by the true horrors of this administration. There is no better time for non-violent resistance than now. Through the application of justice, it is time to forge a new order: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

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Peter Switzer, Photographer

"To act in the interest of humanity, we truly need to break from this American chauvinism and instead listen to, and act according to science, not in spite of it.... This is a must watch, more than once, there is so much here to absorb, it deserves to be studied."

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"The first time I watched this talk it opened my eyes to the many serious contradictions in our society and how they routinely become normalized and are soon just after-thoughts, if thought of at all.

"To act in the interest of humanity, we truly need to break from this American chauvinism and instead listen to, and act according to science, not in spite of it.

"Avakian clearly shows why we can no longer count on a political candidate, the Democrats, or the hope that we will somehow resolve the urgent and immediate life changing issues facing us all, including the rise of American Fascism, within our present system.

"This is a must watch, more than once, there is so much here to absorb, it deserves to be studied.

"'In the name of humanity, the Trump/Pence regime must go!'"

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Gloria Pinex, member of Revolution Club, Chicago, whose son was murdered by Chicago police

"Hi. I’m Gloria Pinex and I’m a member of the Revolution Club. I’ve been a member of the Revolution Club for seven years. I immediately became a member after listening to Bob Avakian and how he gets down speaking the truth."

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"Hi. I’m Gloria Pinex and I’m a member of the Revolution Club. I’ve been a member of the Revolution Club for seven years. I immediately became a member after listening to Bob Avakian and how he gets down speaking the truth.

"Now, about this film. I listened to the film and he’s actually teaching you, step by step on what the regime, the fascist regime is about and what we are actually living. So I urge everyone to listen to the movie, come and watch the movie. Don’t take my word for it. The man is on point with everything he says. So, come watch the movie with us. I guarantee that you’ll like it and you will learn something from it. That’s it."

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Rafael Angulo, Clinical Professor, School of Social Work, University of Southern California

“Bob Avakian is speaking against apathy and for the need for courage... and for hundreds of thousands and millions to be out on the front lines. I’m glad to see an atheist quoting a religious pastor, Martin Niemöller—who spoke out against Nazi Germany and on behalf of the Jews and those in the resistance. Too often communists and those religious haven’t united in a potential partnership with the same end-point, and it gives me a sense of hope to hear and see Bob Avakian seek that partnership. The Trump presidency calls into question the deepest meaning of our religious claims and values and we have a greater impact when we work in partnership rather than live in silos. All people of good will, unite!”

David Zeiger, director of Sir, No Sir!

“If you hate and fear what is happening in this country today, you owe it to yourself to watch Bob Avakian’s speech. Set aside your assumptions and, dare I say, prejudices, and listen with an open mind. There is too much at stake.”

Pastor Doris Johnson

“I had a group in in my church tonight because I know this is very important... [W]e are really up against something bad with this Trump/Pence regime... [T]his film that we saw tonight... so many people that commented, we learned from each other. So whoever sees this, I appreciate if you would try to have this in your church and your organization, to show this film. Very educational, and very enlightened... things that I didn't even know...”...

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“I'm Pastor Doris Johnson, and this Trump/Pence regime must go. I had a group in in my church tonight because I know this is very important. So many people do not know about what is going on in the world. And I am a people person, and I like to get out and let people know what we are up against. And we are really up against something bad with this Trump/Pence regime. And I just want everyone to know that this film that we saw tonight, it's so many so people that commented, we learned from each other. So whoever see this, I appreciate if you would try to have this in your church and your organization, to show this film. Very educational, and very enlightened, things that I didn't even know. So I'm asking you to please show this film in your church.”

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From Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor, Echo Park United Methodist Church, Los Angeles

“Too often, we decide to vote for Democrats because they are the lesser of two evils. But, of course, I am left to wonder when we will finally get to vote for people who are not evil—people whose policies and politics we can wholeheartedly endorse. In this sense, Avakian’s advice that we should not vote for the lesser of two evils because it is evil cuts very close to home.”...

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Thoughts Provoked After Watching Bob Avakian Answer the Question:

“Unfortunately, as a Democrat it has long been determined that you vote for the lesser of two evils, right? Either the Dems or the Republicans. But it has gotten to the point where both of them are just as worse—one is cancer and one is HIV. So you don’t want to vote for either one of them... I know the system sucks, but what are you supposed to do in the interim?” (Part 3 of Q&A session)

* * *

I never previously thought about Avakian’s corollary, but I think it’s correct. Trump’s volunteer may have gotten fired for saying that if you’re not succeeding then you’re not doing things right... that you’re not working hard enough. But that’s just the opposite side of the coin from President Obama saying that if you work hard in America and do all the right things then you will be successful. They both say essentially the same thing. It’s just that one says it positively while the other says it negatively... one is spoken with hope while the other is spoken without hope.

* * *

I’ve gone through a process of disillusionment with the Democratic Party. I’ve been a Democrat since I first registered to vote at the age of 18. Still, I’ve become more and more troubled by Democratic politicians pursuing policies that I personally find abhorrent. Obama did not end rendition as he promised when he was elected. His administration maintained the CIA black sites; they continued to torture. Police killings didn’t stop during the Obama years. In fact, they almost seemed to become more frequent and more blatant. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was pushed by the Democrats and the Obama administration, would undoubtedly have meant increased exploitation for workers like the tin miners in Indonesia. And then, there was Obama’s reputation as the deporter-in -chief. Things have gotten worse under Trump, but the truth is that the Obama administration deported more migrants and refugees than any previous administration.

Even before Obama, the Clinton administration pushed what was described as welfare “reform,” which has caused a great deal of harm to poor and mostly ethnic communities. Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act has proven to be one of the leading underlying causes for today’s crisis of mass incarceration. Even before this, we have what I would call the “Kennedy Synthesis”—in which America made the conscious political decision to embrace the role of policeman for the world—this in spite of Eisenhower’s dire warnings about the emergence of the military-industrial complex.

Too often, we decide to vote for Democrats because they are the lesser of two evils. But, of course, I am left to wonder when we will finally get to vote for people who are not evil—people whose policies and politics we can wholeheartedly endorse. In this sense, Avakian’s advice that we should not vote for the lesser of two evils because it is evil cuts very close to home.

* * *

On the issue of gun control, I think a little differently than some of my colleagues. I understand and agree with the movement to control access to guns... to require real background checks... to ban certain kinds of guns and ammunition. But, I am also deeply troubled by the fact that this society is producing people—especially young men—who are even capable of becoming mass murderers. How did we become a society that glorifies violence in such a way that shootings in schools, theaters, malls, places of worship, and... even become thinkable. Media like NPR tell us that the problem is mental illness, but mental illness is not the issue. The problem is that our society is sick. Our system is sick. The NRA loves to tell us that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” And, they are partly right. It takes a person to pull the trigger. But that doesn’t let gun manufacturers and gun lobbyists off the hook. They feed off of and they feed into the sickness of a society that places its trust in violence rather than community. They are a major part of our society’s deep moral sickness.

* * *

The Democratic Party is deeply rooted in what I would call the sin of white supremacy. It was founded by slave owners like Thomas Jefferson. It was shaped by racists like Andrew Jackson who advocated policies and implemented acts of genocide against Native Americans. During the years following the Civil War and up to the middle of the twentieth century, Democrats were the most outspoken and powerful advocates of segregation and Jim Crow. Things only really began to change during the Johnson administration when Johnson made a practical, political decision to yield to some of the demands of the civil rights movement, which had become increasingly vocal and activist during the years following World War II. But, the party has never totally been able to escape its white supremacist origins. The DNA is still there.

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Thoughts and Questions from a Reader in Kansas

“From the film, I see why instead of ‘Make America Great Again,’ it needs to be let’s ‘Make Humanity Great Again.’”...

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We received the following letter:

I watched the filmed talk by Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, and had the following thoughts and questions.

He says the problems in this society go back to its founding; modern Western society was founded on genocide, oppression/exploitation, white supremacy, and sexism. He points out the appropriate slogan of “White silence is violence” by some protesters to say that doing nothing is a choice, and an action (the action of inaction) which perpetuates violence.

He powerfully illustrates that if Capitalism is not the highest form of societal organization, then the U.S. has to explain to the rest of the world why it was forced down their throat upon pain of death. My opinion is that the U.S. will never admit that Capitalism doesn’t work. It will go down with that particular ship.

Avakian’s mention of the “Southern Strategy”* —I wish he would have elaborated a little more on this. I’ve heard of it, but am not familiar with the particulars, or how this fits into the bigger picture. He does make clear how American Fascism = Christian Supremacy and how global Manifest Destiny is America’s ultimate goal, under the guise of “spreading democracy” (religious domination hiding as secular morality).

I thought his “Order or Justice” question is a great point! Is order worth the absence of justice, or vice versa? I believe justice, even at the (temporary) loss of order, is worth it! On his challenge to free oneself of the “Great Tautological Fallacy”—I thought it is another great point, with multiple examples he gives to clearly illustrate this. His example of how the U.S. having nukes is being seen as OK while North Korea trying to have them is seen as wrong was particularly on point.

From the film, I see why instead of “Make America Great Again,” it needs to be let’s “Make Humanity Great Again.”

I do have a question (and will watch the Q&As soon to see if this came up from others): How can a large, widespread protest be sustained indefinitely? Do we quit jobs, stop paying bills, camp out with families in the streets for months or possibly years? Do we alternate who, how many, and when people are protesting? Do we crowdsource funds to make this possible? How do millions of poor marginalized people (like myself) accomplish this and sustain their basic needs?


* * First developed by Richard Nixon, the "Southern Strategy" of the Republican Party nakedly appealed to the racism of unrepentant reactionary Southern whites who had historically voted Democratic because the Republican Party had been—in the mid-19th Century—anti-slavery. In this way the Southern Strategy won most of these forces to the GOP banner, gave them political legitimacy and initiative, and established the GOP as the party of more or less open white supremacy. —Editors

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Father Luis Barrios, Holyrood Church/Iglesia Santa Cruz, NYC

“I am very strong recommending, Bob Avakian, my brother, in a prophetic way he highlights real issues that are happening in the U.S. ... a prophet is the one with the capacity to first identify problems; second have the capacity and the courage to denounce the problem. But more important, to change that reality of oppression into a liberating experience.”...

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Hello my name is Father Luis Barrios, priest in charge of Holyrood Church, Iglesia Santa Cruz. In this film that I am very strong recommending, Bob Avakian, my brother, in a prophetic way he highlights real issues that are happening in the U.S. When I say in a prophetic way, it is because I am trying to use the religious language, that a prophet is the one with the capacity to first identify problems; second have the capacity and the courage to denounce the problem. But more important, to change that reality of oppression into a liberating experience.

So the film is like a wake-up call, but more important than a wake-up call, it’s a call to action, that we need to get together, people who believe in God, people who do not believe in God, using the common denominator—justice. So we come together, so we can fight, resist, organize, mobilize against this fascist regime that we have in the U.S. This combination of Trump/Pence can’t stay. We need to get rid of this.

I want to close with this: The movie when you look at this on my invitation not only to see the movie but also to follow the invitation Bob is giving us, the parallels of Bob and Saint Oscar Romero―I was thinking about this when I was watching the movie―and it is: Oscar Romero always said, and of course that was the reason why they killed him: “The main source of my sermon is that I care about people. I care about humanity.” And that is the big message that Bob is giving us in this film. God bless.

The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name Of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible!

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Ernesto de la Loza, Street Artist ‒ Muralist - “The Ghetto Rooster”

“Bob Avakian is a man living in truth... Avakian's talk... was so penetrating, convincing and compassionate... We need more people who are like-minded, a frontline, no backstep, side by side.”...

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“Bob Avakian is a man living in truth. This man doesn’t blink. Avakian’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO... was so penetrating, convincing and compassionate. He’s clear minded and I see―I feel―his worth. Avakian gives me a lot of hope. And, I can imagine how evil speaks—the powers want to silence him. He shows capitalism is a great deception, reveals the racism and jingoism... and the genocide. This is the 21st century—a crucial time for human existence—yet we live in an Orwellian world and it affects all of us, all of human kind. We have to step it up and it’s not an overnight deal. We need more people who are like-minded, a frontline, no backstep, side by side. It’s good Avakian is reaching out to the people with this talk—he has a gift: everyone can watch the THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO and can comprehend this. It is very clear to the everyday person. Let’s ourselves assume responsibility, and be in alignment, and use this talk to deal with the fear factor, the apathy, the propaganda machine, the distraction and dumbing down to the max. Instead, refuse to live on the dark side and be focused on stopping this fascism. There is a rainbow coming through the storm.”

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Dongping Han, historian and author

“This is a powerful speech. It destroys all the deception the elite has been using to deceive the people. I hope that more people in the U.S., in China, and in the whole world can watch it. People need to wake up to the dangerous possibility of a new type danger in our country and in our world.”

David Meyerhof, educator/poet

“My parents and grandparents escaped from Nazi Germany and survived the Holocaust. I know what happens when people do not resist fascism. Now is the time to watch, listen and learn from a leader who is showing us the true picture of the Fascism in America and what we must do to stop it. Watch The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! A Film of a Talk by Bob Avakian.”

Arturo O’Farrill, Grammy-winning musician

“Avakian's message is clear and very inspiring.”...

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“The talk given by Bob Avakian was spot on in recognizing the grave danger we have put ourselves in by normalizing the ‘presidency’ of one of the biggest con artists to come from the cesspool of New York real estate/show business. His incompetence is topped only by his evil and unmistakable grab for fascism to the benefit of he and his billionaire cronies. The solution is clear, mass disobedience and ultimately a dismantling of this administration brought about by the will of the people. Mr. Avakian’s message is clear and very inspiring.”

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Maggie Brown, Vocal Artist and Activist

“...Everyone who loves Mother Earth must watch this film and must seriously consider joining this movement to bring forth a better world”...

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“The description of multi levels of human suffering at the hands of those in political and economic power has never been articulated clearer than by BA in the film, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Everyone who loves Mother Earth must watch this film and must seriously consider joining this movement to bring forth a better world.”

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Isabel Cardenas, Salvadoran-American Activist

“Bob Avakian is the only one who has got the guts to say things as they are—that The Regime Must Go... that this is a nightmare. EVERYONE should see Bob Avakian's film. ...it's a 'wake up' film .... Bob Avakian is calling on us to act, not to cross our arms.”...

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“I think the Revolutionary Communist Party is the only organization that dares to stand up for humanity. This is necessary, humanity needs help. I admire the work and commitment of the RCP—how they stand up for our brothers and sisters, no matter their religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. Bob Avakian is the only one who has got the guts to say things as they are ~ that The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go... that this is a nightmare. EVERYONE should see Bob Avakian’s film. Just stop and carefully listen to what he is saying. Listen to his call to action for everyone. And read the books he has written, he says things as they are.  That film ~ THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible ~ is a must see.  It’s a ‘wake up film’ to see what’s really going on and to do something about it. People are getting used to fascism, accepting it as an everyday way of living. You can see it now—people are blind to it. NO! We must not rely on politicians to do the work for us. No, we have to do it. Bob Avakian is calling on us to act, not to cross our arms. The elections coming up? No, we need to do this—and the longer it takes the worse it becomes. Bob Avakian has the New Communism—I’ve read a little but I haven’t gotten fully into it yet. I really do want to find out about it!”

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Matthew Shipp, Musician and composer

“Avakian skillfully weaves together the unique challenge we confront with the very specific brand of American fascism we face with Trump, the white nationalist Christian fascism of Pence, together with a historical context of how we got here—while issuing a very specific call to action now because this is a true worldwide emergency.”

Herb Boyd, Author, journalist and activist

“Whether on film or in person, Bob Avakian is a compelling advocate for real social change, and the more his voice and vision are exposed—and the film, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! ..., is a powerful vehicle—the more I’m convinced that others will feel a need to join him on the ramparts.”

Jim Vrettos, Professor—John Jay College, NYC; host of The Radical Imagination TV show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (cable)

“[T]he viewing of Avakian's film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! [is] a must see for progressives and others of whatever political ideology and persuasion.”...

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“Whether you agree or disagree with his scientific analysis of the objectives realities of our world, you shouldn’t doubt Bob Avakian’s lifelong, uncompromising dedication and commitment to the fight to liberate the oppressed, exploited and wretched of the world.

“That alone in the Age of Trump makes the viewing of Avakian's film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! a must see for progressives and others of whatever political ideology and persuasion.”

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A Black woman from Detroit

“He is very knowledgeable... spoke on crimes in Middle East and the consequences—where's humanity in all of this! More people have to WAKE UP and act in the interest of humanity!!!! And stay WOKE”...

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From a Reader:

03 January 2018

I suggested to an old friend, a Black woman from Detroit, that she watch BA’s speech. She did and sent me this comment immediately after watching it.

She wrote:

In response to Bob Avakian’s speech

He nailed it! Such a powerful speech!!! He called out the “christian fascists.”

So much truth about genocide, racism, slavery, bigotry—he called it like it is! True that since 1960s fascism has greatly accelerated! Reality is that the “church” had it done its job of preaching love for all mankind, slavery would never had taken place!!! So much in his speech that—I could go on and on.

We are in a disastrous and frightening situation!!!! The scary part is that so many people are unaware of what’s actually taking place society is fragmented—purposely pitted against each other because if unified this could not be happening!!! I do believe that there are many others like Bob who are as outraged as those who are affected!!! Even spoke on myth that America is the leader of the “free” world—I mean he touched on every conceivable injustice !!!!

He is very knowledgeable... spoke on crimes in Middle East and the consequences—where’s humanity in all of this! More people have to WAKE UP and act in the interest of humanity!!!! And stay WOKE

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Paul DeRienzo, Host Trump Watch on WBAI-99.5 FM

“I heartily endorse this video and encourage radicals everywhere to check it out.”...

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“Bob Avakian is an important leader in the struggle to stop the Trump fascist juggernaut. Avakian's lifelong commitment to revolutionary change and his opposition to the imperialist state's torture establishment should interest all those burning with a desire to see justice in this world. As the U.S. careens towards war under the most avowedly fascist government in its long and bloody history of domination of weaker people including a legacy of 400 years of enslavement of African people—the voice of real revolutionaries cries out to be heard. I heartily endorse this video and encourage radicals everywhere to check it out.”

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From a Reader:

“Avakian is not looking at this with world-weary, determinist "realism" but with an approach of seeing these as contradictions rooted in an underlying reality”...

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“Avakian is not looking at this with world-weary, determinist ‘realism’ but with an approach of seeing these as contradictions rooted in an underlying reality—a reality that is in motion and going through convulsive change—and a recognition that the stability people are going to great lengths of self-deceit to maintain—is also coming to an end and where abrupt changes that people tend to see as ‘it couldn't happen here’ can happen very quickly. These are contradictions that can be worked on—and must be—but the freedom in this necessity is not clear without a method that digs down into the foundations of the underlying reality.

“If you look back at this speech you can see BA approaching this not with determinist realism, cynical realpolitik, or tailing the outlook of the middle classes but struggling with people (in this speech he speaks to different sections of the people) with strategic confidence, with a lot of heart and compassion, and very wide arms. And that is BA applying the new synthesis he has been the architect of—putting the living science of communism back on its scientific foundations.”

Read more

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/barefoot-doctors-at-edge-of-highway-in-a-black-and-latino-neighborhood-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Barefoot Doctors at the Edge of a Highway in a Black and Latino Neighborhood

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From readers of Revolution newspaper:

Two of us went out for an hour to broadly distribute the palm cards of the BA talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. We set up on a busy freeway off-ramp that leads into a predominantly Black and Latino proletarian neighborhood that has a long history of resistance. We put up oversized poster displays of the BA talk, the “The Biggest, Ugliest Shithole” meme from revcom.us, and the meme of ICE handcuffing immigrants with the Spanish caption “With Fascists you cannot wait and see...” We got out 500 cards, 76 copies of Revolution newspaper, and collected $48 in donations. People coming off the freeway saw our displays and had their hands out the window to get the materials, some had their dollar bills ready to put in our donation buckets.

People were angry—a common expression was, “I can’t stand Trump—we gotta get that motherfucker out!” We only had a minute before the light at the bottom of the ramp changed. We told people, “This is an EMERGENCY! It’s suicide to expect the Democrats and elections to stop this fascist regime. The most important thing you can do is watch this film online, and tell others in your neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, churches to watch it too—and get organized and resist! This revolutionary Bob Avakian talks about why this is happening and what we have to do to stop it. Take extras of these cards and get them out.”

When we had more time we told people, “You need to know this most radical revolutionary, BA, who gets into how we got here and how humanity can get out of this nightmare.” And, “There are no saviors, not the Democrats, not Mueller... Only the people can stop this nightmare and we need you.”

Some people took up stacks of cards. One was a young woman who works at a science museum and really feels the urgency of resisting the assault on the environment. Another was a young guy going to a university who said, “I’m feeling I have to hurry up and get my degree... but you’re right, I can’t ignore what they are doing, or wait to act.” He took 25 cards to get out.

Forty-five of the 76 copies of Revolution distributed were to immigrants from Mexico and Central America. We could see them studying the display, “You cannot 'wait and see' with fascists—They will do what they promise to do....” Even though the cards are in English, many took the paper in Spanish and a few cards for family and neighbors. Many cars had passengers and the cards got passed out among them. I stressed, “You can watch this talk on your phone”—this is the main way many immigrants connect with the internet.

Many took extra cards and thanked us for being out there. But we put it back on them: “You have a role to play, help get the word out on this film.”

We summed up from this experience that many people in this neighborhood find this situation intolerable and are looking for ways to act. It was significant that so many eagerly took extra cards to distribute and it underscores the real potential for a social movement around the film to take root. Thousands watching this film today and spreading it can truly make a difference, a way for people to act in meaningful ways that can lead to a better future for humanity. We decided we should make a suggestion to do a screening in this community so people can engage BA at a higher level.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/a-night-at-the-museum-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Barefoot Doctoring: A Night at the Museum

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Recently, I went to a free monthly open house party and social at a major museum in my area to get the word out about Bob Avakian’s film, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, about a screening we were holding the next day, and about RefuseFascism.org overall.

I wore all black with the plan to put bright orange stickers all over my body that said, “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and the Refuse Fascism (RF) website, to become a walking billboard and point of attraction—and it really worked!

In the main entrance area they have music, drinks, and mingling... hundreds of people hanging out. As soon as I started stickering up, people started coming over. A 20-something Black man with a huge smile left his group of friends and wandered over to ask for a sticker and express his enthusiastic agreement. A middle-aged white man with his wife walked up and said, “Do you need donations?” and handed us a $50 bill. His wife compared the current situation to how the Nazis progressed and they listened as a friend who is an organizer with RF explained RF’s mission and invited them to view the upcoming livestream launching RF’s new Call to Action later that week. I told them about the film—they were very interested and left us with their cards (he is a chief surgeon at a major hospital). As we were still getting stickered, another person gave $20 and another gave $5.

We spent the night looking at some of the exhibits, mingling with people who approached us, and going up to groups of people. I led with the film—telling people what it is about and who BA is and then often one or another of my friends would follow up about the launch of the new RF Call. As the night went on, we all got bolder about inviting/challenging others to step in—drawing people out more and telling them directly that they have a responsibility to act on what they know is wrong, and that the Democrats and Mueller are not going to solve this problem for us, and that they need to watch the film and join with RF even if it’s not the kind of thing they’ve ever done before. People took us very seriously.

Almost no one had yet heard of BA (something we urgently need to change!) and almost everyone was very interested, both on the topic and in hearing about who he is. Several people, including a queer teenager from San Francisco there with her biracial family, brought up the analogy to Nazi Germany and Hitler. This teenager detailed how Hitler won his election by a tiny margin, didn’t have broad popular support and so people underestimated him—but step-by-step he fired those who disagreed with him and consolidated total power, just like Trump is doing. The mother had heard of RF and they were excited to know there is a chapter in the Bay Area. A gay Haitian man who was there with his boyfriend from a different Caribbean country brought up the word genocide (the surgeon’s wife brought up genocide as well), focusing his concern mainly on the treatment of immigrants. Other folks mentioned abortion and LGBTQ issues (including one museum employee who, rather than stopping us from flyering, really wanted one too), racism, and immigrants. No one mentioned the threat of wars, which is a stark problem and reflection of exactly the kind of American chauvinism that is so deeply promoted in this country and is challenged so powerfully by BA in his speech, but—and this we need to much more fully seize on—most responded very deeply when we called out the threat of war. Many just had all-around, nonspecific outrage and hatred for the president and regime.

I’d say, “It’s much worse than you even think—you have to watch this film from BA. He gets into the roots of this regime in the history of the Confederacy, the whole Christian fundamentalist fascist movement that has been building for decades concentrated in Pence, and the deeper dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism and the challenges it is confronting in the world right now...” and people would respond to, and show interest in, every part of that. Some would deeply agree this has to do with slavery and white supremacy—the Caribbean friend of the Haitian man said, “They’d like to make us all wear a symbol, like the Jews wore the yellow star, and force us back onto the plantations—literally, we will be forced to pick cotton again.” The Haitian friend kind of scolded him—half indicating this was an exaggeration, but also half indicating that it was too disturbing and he didn’t want to think that. But the friend persisted, “Don’t think it can’t happen. Nazi Germany happened in living memory to people alive today; that was just a minute ago. There are people alive still today who have tattoos on their bodies. Don’t think that times have changed so much it couldn’t happen again!”

I’d get into how BA goes at what we need to do—our responsibility in the name of humanity to REFUSE to accept a fascist America! I’d pose that this is possible, but BA shows it won’t come from the Democrats or through the elections. People loved the slogan “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!” Several repeated parts of it back to us: “That’s right, we can’t accept a fascist America!” Some posed they were really banking on the elections, it just has to work—but they were open to hearing that it would require more and several seemed like they might have pretty much suspected that was the case but hadn’t really “gone there” even to themselves. A young Asian man insisted that the elections really matter, but it can’t be “just the elections, we also need resistance.” Two people raised their fear that if we get rid of Trump, we’ll be stuck with Pence and he is even worse. We emphasized again the driving out of the whole regime—and rather than push back (which happened a lot, for example, from adults at the March for Our Lives), they said, “Yeah, that sounds right.”

I would tell people that if you don’t know who BA is, that needs to change—he is the most radical revolutionary leader alive today and the architect of the new communism. Watch the talk and you’ll get an understanding you need to refuse a fascist America, and you’ll also be introduced to this leader, and you can find more about him on that same website. There was no snark or cynicism among those we were talking to (aside from one idiot not worth even writing about)—a lot of “thank you” and “seriously, thank you” and “please don’t stop what you are doing.” Several folks asked if they could take our pictures (remember, we were covered head to toe in bright orange “Trump/Pence Must Go!” stickers)—they wanted to show their friends, put on social media, etc.

We met a Black youth who said he knew us, he had come to RefuseFascism.org’s November 4 protest in our area and was so excited to see us again. He was wearing an anti-Trump button and wanted a sticker so badly (another young Black man got a sticker to put on his skateboard)—we talked for a while and he said he was going to come to the film showing and got on the RefuseFascism.org email list.

A woman brought up the Madeleine Albright op-ed from the New York Times. She was really shook up by it and also very appreciative of it. This op-ed, and Albright’s book Fascism: A Warning, which was about to be released, is a big deal—having a generally positive effect on people feeling like a warning is being sounded and compelling them to think about fascism as a real and present danger. But, not surprisingly coming from a war criminal like Albright, her book really promotes what BA calls the “GTF” (the Great Tautological Fallacy about America supposedly being a force for good in the world). This is something more broadly we are going to have to relate to—seizing on the freedom it opens up, but also sharply contending and struggling with people over the depth of the problem and what the actual solution is.

There are other stories. In reflecting on it, we should’ve gone even deeper with some of the folks we talked to, but we can do this going forward. We got out about 400 palm cards of the film and several hundred of the RF flyers. We definitely need to go back next month and, in addition to going inside all decorated (including some with the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts), set up a big table outside with some kind of listening/viewing station (and by next month it will be much warmer with lots of people mingling outside). But also, this experience is an indication of the existing openness of a lot of people right now—far beyond the “usual suspects” of people at protests and political events. While we have to go to all sorts of events, there is something to being in places where people are hanging around and mingling, looking for actual conversation. Repeatedly we would go and insert ourselves into groups of people who were talking, sometimes outright interrupting people in the middle of telling a story, and not one person was bothered—almost all of them said thank you and talked with us.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/the-bob-avakian-institute-program-series-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

The Bob Avakian Institute Program Series

At a time when the world cries out for a radical and fundamental alternative to the current order...

There is a NEW Communism...and this could change everything.

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Millions flee from country to country, drowning or shot down or starving as they run… genocides and the threat of genocide in every corner of the planet… the trajectory toward environmental destruction accelerates… and fascist regimes consolidate themselves all over the planet, including within the U.S. Even in the face of struggle and protest—the oppression of Black and other oppressed peoples, of women, of immigrants, of LGBTQ people intensifies, with threats of much, much worse.

The brave new world of globalization and "the end of history," the supposed triumph of a reformed capitalism with a human face, has brought us here—to the age of Trump and Pence. Yet there IS an alternative to the twin dead-ends of the outright fascism rising around the world and the "neoliberal" capitalism (or its more polite cousin "democratic socialism"), which both enforce the exploitative system of capitalism-imperialism.

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 on that basis, 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.

In the face of this huge need, the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian has brought forward a new synthesis of communism—a new communism. Bob Avakian is the most radical revolutionary on the planet—someone who has been leading struggle against this system and developing revolutionary theory, especially at key junctures, for nearly 50 years. This new communism 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.

As Bob Avakian himself has emphasized, the new synthesis of communism—

represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.

ANNOUNCING A SERIES OF MAJOR PROGRAMS ON THE NEW COMMUNISM

Beginning this Fall and extending through the Winter, The Bob Avakian Institute will sponsor major programs on this new communism. We are inviting people from all viewpoints who have engaged Bob Avakian's work to submit papers or apply to be discussants on the topics below. The sole requirement is serious, honest engagement with this work.

Some of the topics we intend to focus on include:

At a Time When the Very Notion of Objective Truth Is Under Attack from Both Right and Post-modern "Left"… How Do We Know What Is True and Why Does It Matter?

Even among the most progressive, the framework of "standpoint epistemology"—the assumption that truth is determined differently for each individual or specific oppressed grouping and that analysis of the overall and most determining dynamics of society is "totalizing," oppressive, and necessarily too incomplete to be accurate—holds sway. The new communism by contrast maintains that it is both necessary and possible to make an objective scientific analysis of any given society—the main dynamics that drive it forward, the relations between different contradictions within a society, and, most crucially, the underlying and most determining causes of oppression and the path to emancipation.

In waging this struggle, Bob Avakian has upheld and carried forward the gist of Marx's scientific breakthrough, but he has also ruptured in significant ways with problems of past communist methodology, including positivism and empiricism, religiosity and teleology, and reification of oppressed groups (including the notion that specific forms of consciousness are inherent in specific social groups and the individual members of those groups). In particular, he has radically advanced what the search for truth has to do with getting free, to a world beyond "might is right," beyond antagonistic social divisions, oppression and exploitation. All of these dimensions will be explored.

Can the Problems That Plague Humanity Today Be Solved Through Reform of Capitalism? Or Is Revolution Necessary?

Is there something intrinsic to capitalism that not only gives rise to horrors like the threat of nuclear war, the plunder of the environment, the systematic oppression of whole nations, nationalities and "races," gender oppression, and the worldwide persecution of immigrants and refugees, but also makes their elimination impossible within that system? Or can reforms fundamentally solve these problems? Bob Avakian has taken the pathbreaking insights of Marx and Engels on this further. Avakian's analysis of the compulsive dynamics of the capitalist mode of production, as well as how it relates to relatively discrete and historically evolved social contradictions, such as the oppression of women and the oppression of minority nationalities, marks a leap beyond previous communist theory and experience—both in analysis of these interconnected relations, the problem, and the solution, what it will take in revolutionary processes to get beyond all of them.

In a highly integrated world, how is communist revolution a world process, and what is the relation between (and contradictions inherent in) making revolution and advancing socialism in one country, overcoming exploitation, inequalities and oppression, and at the same time supporting revolution worldwide? In a country like the U.S., atop "the international food chain," how does communist revolution help break down the lopsidedness between the "first" world of imperialist countries and the "third" world of oppressed nations? The new communism carries further and in crucial ways breaks with previous conceptions and experiences.

Can There Be a Society On the Road to Eliminating Exploitation, Social Inequalities, and Oppression Which Also Has an Unprecedented Level of Dissent, Debate, and Experimentation?

Even the best of the previous socialist revolutions did not fully have the right synthesis of these two great needs of what would be a society truly on that road. Bob Avakian's Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, an application of the new communism, poses not just a thought-through and affirmative answer to this—but a real breakthrough. It is the concretization of over 40 years of work on this problem. What social contradictions does this Constitution address, how does it do this, and does it provide—as stated—the visionary and concrete blueprint for a transition to a world without the oppression of one section of people by another? As a critical component of this: Avakian's concept of "the solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core."

Is a Real Revolution—the Seizure of State Power—Possible Within the U.S.? Is It Desirable?

The dream of revolution that animated the most advanced political movements of the 1960s is now widely thought to be impossible. The argument, in brief, is that the powers-that-be are too strong, the middle class is too well-off, and the people most directly in need of such a revolution, who should be inclined in that direction, are caught up in other things right now and would be isolated and outnumbered even if they were to want to act. There is a further argument that any such revolution leads to disaster in the form of revolutionaries going off-track, including becoming oppressors themselves in the course of fighting this system. Bob Avakian has developed deeply considered and scientific answers to these questions.

On the Absolute Necessity for—and Problems Inherent In—Leadership: What Is To Be Done?

A leaderless social movement is possible, but the much-touted leaderless revolution is impossible. Yet successful revolutions have been defeated, such as in China and the Soviet Union, with sections of leadership "going bad." Why does this happen, and how should we deal with this? Why do you even need leadership, what is communist leadership, and what is the right way to conceive the relationship between leaders and led, a thorny contradiction for this era? Avakian's new communism comprehends a different synthesis and conception than in the past revolutions, charting a different process towards communism.

* * *

Bob Avakian's new communism is based on nearly 50 years of theoretical work and participation and leadership in the struggle for revolution. This new communism provides answers to the questions above and a framework for further exploration. Given the centrality of those answers to the fate of humanity, this new synthesis needs to be engaged, discussed and debated. We invite you to be part of doing so.

First program: Fall 2018, New York

 

If you are interested in submitting a paper or abstract, but have not yet read Avakian's work, we suggest The New Communism—The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation. Go here for suggested readings on the topics above.

 

To submit a paper or abstract for consideration, or for more information, write to programs@TheBobAvakianInstitute.org

Advisory Board in formation. if you are interested in volunteering for the Program Committee write to programs@TheBobAvakianInstitute.org

 

The Bob Avakian Institute is a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes. Its mission is to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/537/this-nightmare-must-end-the-trump-pence-regime-must-go-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Call to Action From Refuse Fascism:

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We are horrified and angered at the shocking damage already done to lives here and around the world by the Trump/Pence regime. We recognize that they are poised to do far worse, including threatening WAR, even nuclear war. Through an unrelenting barrage of daily outrages and Twitter outbursts, the Trump/Pence regime is radically remaking society—step by step hammering into place a vicious American fascism. This is not insult or exaggeration, it is what they are doing.

Therefore, WE RESOLVE that nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop this nightmare.

There is a way to do this. To do so,we must cast aside illusions and self-delusions:

All too many people think and act as if what we face is just the worst of pendulum swings between Republicans and Democrats. NO! This regime, if left in power, will effect a thoroughly reactionary restructuring of society.

If we think that the normal processes of the 2018 or 2020 elections, or the Mueller investigation will, by themselves, redress the situation that humanity faces, we are not understanding the determination of these fascists in power to shatter norms—even though they have been doing so for over a year.

If we think that the heightened activism of the past year, either by itself or together with the elections will stop this regime, we are missing how much harm this regime has already done, absorbing individual protests as it rapidly moves its agenda forward on multiple fronts.

If we are not as outraged and motivated to act today as we were right after the election, we are on our way to accepting a great horror that builds daily. If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, do not ask how the German people could have accepted Nazism in the 1930s.

An American Fascism

We must not reassure ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. It is. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny—”America First”—wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.

This regime denies truth and objective evidence, and yet it has its hands on the most powerful military and nuclear arsenal in history and is preparing and threatening to use it! Millions of immigrants live in terror fearing their loved ones will be ripped away. People’s humanity is viciously denied. Women are poised to lose the right to abortion. Trump and Sessions have instructed police to “take the gloves off,” further brutalizing people of color. LGBTQ rights recently won are under assault. Damage done to the environment by this regime in just 14 months could be irreversible.

Fascism rules by organized repression and terror by the government: civil liberties are stripped away, law re-written, dissent criminalized, the courts packed with fascists, and the separation of powers and of church and state ultimately eviscerated. As part of radically remaking society, the Trump/Pence regime must sharply attack those in positions of power who oppose them. Fascism also mobilizes mobs of vicious thugs as we’ve seen with Nazis marching and murdering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Trump/Pence Regime has not yet been able to implement their full program. But they are advancing. It might only take a single serious crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer.

Don’t Normalize... Don’t Accommodate... Don’t Conciliate... Don’t Collaborate...

People all over the world are counting on us to STOP this nightmare. The different strains of fascist demagogues and movements in this country see in Trump and Pence their “last chance” to achieve their reactionary program. They will not listen to facts or reason; they have already and will continue to change rules, manipulate elections, and they will not give up.

The Democratic Party leadership will NOT lead us out of this. They are about maintaining order for their whole set up. For them, order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism. After Trump’s election, President Obama said of Trump, “We are all on the same team... We are now all rooting for his success.” NO! If Trump succeeds, it will be catastrophic!

But there IS another way. A different kind of protest. We need to organize now for the time when we can launch massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns across the country—protests that continue day after day and don’t stop, creating the kind of political situation in which the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power is met.

Everyone who recognizes that the Trump/Pence Nightmare Must End is invited to join in and prepare for launching this great act of sustained resistance.

Imagine tens of thousands beginning in several cities and towns, with marches, candlelight vigils, rallies—students, religious communities, immigrants, everyone with a heart for humanity in the streets and not backing down—growing from thousands to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions. Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want—in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The whole world will take heart.

This will shake millions awake, with many losing their adjustment to life under this regime. The international credibility of the regime will be undermined. A determined struggle that doesn’t yield and won’t be provoked can create a serious political crisis. Those in power who are themselves now under attack by the regime but conciliating with it would be compelled to respond to our struggle from below, leading to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.

This would be hard, but possible. Possible because millions of us feel the horror of Trump and Pence. Many have righteously protested different outrages, but now we must rise to another level of determined resistance.

We must confront the reality that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America.

WE PLEDGE that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself. Join us. Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we’ve got to demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.

In the Name of Humanity,

We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Go to:
RefuseFascism.org
to add your name to this statement

 @RefuseFascism on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/what-are-you-going-to-do-if-trump-fires-mueller-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Staring into the Abyss of Fascism...
What Are You Going to Do If Trump Fires Mueller?

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the past week, an investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel charged with examining Trump’s campaign’s ties with Russian agents, has been lurching closer to Trump. Trump has lashed out in response. He has made repeated threats to fire Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, the Department of Justice official who appointed him.

A Fork in the Road

The fascist Trump/Pence regime is confronted with immense and intense challenges, globally and domestically. Conflict over the Mueller investigation is sharpening at the same time as the regime has launched attacks on Syria. In early April it began “war games” in South Korea. Trump has assembled a “war cabinet” around him, adding longtime fascist warmonger John Bolton, Christian fascist Mike Pompeo, and torturer Gina Haspel to his inner circle. As Andy Zee said at the launch for Refuse Fascism’s new Call to Action, “We are approaching a fork in the road.”

People must recognize Trump’s attacks and threats on the Mueller investigation for what they are—a big step towards the consolidation of fascism. As Revolution/revcom has written, “Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as ‘enemies,’ ‘undesirables,’ or ‘dangers to society.’”

Trump’s attacks on Mueller are aimed at establishing his ability and that of his regime to shred and disregard the law. They are aimed at sweeping aside and crushing opposition, even when it comes from within the ruling class.

To consolidate fascism, the Trump/Pence regime must attack and shatter the norms, laws, and institutions that cohere bourgeois democracy in the U.S. Even in “normal times,” while the masses of people have some democratic rights, this takes place in the context of an overall class dictatorship of the capitalist-imperialists, in which the terms are set by the imperialists and backed up by the state’s monopoly on the use of force. It is not a matter of indifference—indeed, it is a matter of grave consequence—if a fascist form of rule is consolidated. It will wreak an even greater degree of suffering on the masses and make the fight for any kind of better future much much more difficult.

The need to shatter those norms is a central reason Trump keeps assailing the press, and appointing Christian fascists to the federal judiciary. He also continues to attack and degrade sections of the ruling class who oppose his program and his efforts to establish unhindered authority of the executive (presidency). His attacks on the Mueller investigation are an attempt to shatter the constitutional “separation of powers” that has been a core principle of this country since its founding.

Bob Avakian, in his article “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... and What Will Replace It,” made this important and highly relevant observation about fascism and its attempts to consolidate power:

Besides attacking people who are genuinely opposed not only to this fascism but to the capitalist-imperialist system as a whole, one of the main lines of their assault is (to use a very relevant analogy) viciously going after the Weimar Republic (the bourgeois-democratic republic in Germany after World War 1, which was replaced and forcibly abolished when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in the 1930s)....

Going after the equivalent of the Weimar Republic in the U.S. today, the Democratic Party and the “Liberals” and so on—attacking them as nothing less than traitors―is part of an overall program aimed at silencing and outright suppressing, including through the force of the state, any group or section of society, even within the ruling class, that would pose an obstacle to the implementation of the program that the Christian Fascists, and forces in the same general camp with them, are very seriously seeking to impose on the U.S. (and indeed throughout the world). There is, and for some time there has been, a very definite, conscious and concerted effort by the forces in that general fascist camp to systematically attack not just communists, or anarchists and other radicals, but liberals, mainstream ruling class liberal politicians—attacking them as having been nothing less than traitors, from the time of the cold war to the “war on terror.” [bolded emphasis in original, italicized emphasis ours]

Trump is not just demolishing these norms; he is moving to establish fascist norms in their place. If he moves to fire Mueller, people must get in the streets and stay in the streets in protest. It will not be enough to vent our anger and opposition once, and go home. The fascist regime would absorb the protest, and move on to carry out further suppression of opposition—within the ruling class, and broadly in society.

This is a challenge the people must rise to, and meet. An attempt by Trump to shut down or cripple the Mueller investigation must become a moment when masses of people express—in the streets—a determination to not go any further down the road to fascism. We must protest, and persevere in sustaining that protest as our numbers and determination grow.

Acting in the Interests of Humanity

Different forces in the ruling class are clashing sharply over how to proceed in this situation. Democratic senator Chuck Schumer, addressing Trump, said, “For the sake of our country, we plead with you. Don’t put this country through a constitutional crisis, whether by firing Mueller, Rosenstein or otherwise impeding this investigation from going forward. The rule of law is paramount in this country. No man—not even the president—is above it.” Some leading Republicans have also warned against Trump’s threats to shut down Mueller’s investigation. Senator Lindsey Graham, usually a Trump ally, said that if Trump moved to fire Mueller, “that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency.”

Meanwhile, Steve Bannon, back from rallying white supremacists in Europe, has been huddling with other fascists, including congressional representatives and White House staff. They are reported to be hatching a plan to protect Trump and put an end to the Mueller investigation by firing Rosenstein and stopping Trump’s “cooperation” with Mueller.

Pleading with fascists, as Schumer argues for, will not help. In fact, it can only do great harm, by raising illusions that the Democratic Party can somehow be relied on to stop fascist consolidation, and by demobilizing people from the struggle that must be waged to prevent fascism from consolidating its grip on power. But millions of people acting on this crisis in the interests of humanity, not “our country,” as Schumer puts it, is in fact the only way many, many people who look to Schumer and other Democrats for leadership can become part of an effort that actually derails the fascist juggernaut. And that is what humanity, and the planet, urgently need.

Revolution will continue to analyze this rapidly developing and highly volatile situation.

Points of Orientation

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/protests-hands-off-syria-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Protests Across the U.S. and Around the World Demand: Hands Off Syria!

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the weekend following the April 13 bomber and missile attacks on Syria by the U.S. along with its imperialist allies UK and France, people across the U.S. and around the world marched and rallied to denounce the criminal aggression and demand an end to the air strikes.

In the United States, there were protests in major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, as well as smaller ones like Boulder, Colorado, Sacramento, California, and Tucson, Arizona, demanding that the U.S. keep its hands off Syria. The actions were called by the ANSWER Coalition, Refuse Fascism, Code Pink, and others. Protesters rallied in front of the White House, and at the Trump Tower in Chicago. In San Francisco, Code Pink protested outside the homes of top Democrats Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi to demand that the Democratic Party leaders “speak out against the bombing and the continued war,” and then joined other demonstrators downtown.

Protests across the world included:

Athens, Greece: Thousands gathered at Syntagma Square in the center of the city and marched to the U.S. embassy, chanting anti-U.S. slogans and carrying banners. Some wrote on the pavement in red paint: “Americans, murderers of people.” Haifa, Israel: Several hundred Palestinians protested in front of the U.S. consulate, and American flags were burned. London: People protested outside Prime Minister Theresa May’s residence to demand that the UK stop joining with U.S. and Trump in the attacks on Syria. Kolkata, India: Protesters burned an effigy of Donald Trump with drawings of French premier Macron and British prime minister May stuck on it. They held up signs with messages such as “Rise up, protest against U.S. missile attack against Syria.” Cyprus: Activists protested at the gates of a British Royal Air Force military near Limassol. Mexico City, Mexico: Protest banners and signs were hung on the fence surrounding the U.S. embassy. Santiago de Chile: Demonstrators held a rally outside the U.S. embassy. They were confronted by the Chilean police and some protesters were arrested.

Around the world, and especially within the U.S., everyone should speak out and be in the streets against the U.S.-British-French attacks on Syria, which are outrageous, criminal acts of imperialist aggression.

Protest in Chile against US attack on Syria
Santiago, Chile. Photo: Piensa Prensa

Protest in Hamburg, Germany against US attack on Syria
Hamburg, Germany. Photo: Special to Revolution/www.revcom.us

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/attack-on-syria-a-crime-of-imperialist-monsters-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

U.S., Britain, France Attack Syria:
THIS Is a Crime of Imperialist Monsters!

April 13, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Tonight the U.S., along with British and French forces, launched bomber and missile strikes on Syrian facilities that the Trump/Pence regime claims are linked to chemical weapons production. It’s not known at this writing how many Syrians have been killed or wounded, but there are breaking news reports that at least one strike, on the science institute in Damascus, hit a densely populated area.

This attack is an outrageous, naked act of imperialist aggression.It’s a war crime. And it’s an extremely dangerous escalation of the Syrian war, that has the potential to turn into a regional, even global conflagration.

The U.S. and its imperialist allies have no right to swagger across the planet, like global Mafia bosses, to violently dictate and impose their reactionary interests and agendas on the rest of the world.

EVERYONE should speak out against U.S. aggression and war moves, and join protests taking place this weekend across the country. Click HERE for protests being organized by RefuseFascism.org.

Who Are the Real Monsters?

This attack comes a week after reports, on April 7, of an apparent chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, outside the Syrian capital Damascus, that reportedly killed dozens and injured several hundreds more. The Trump/Pence regime immediately blamed the reactionary regime of Bashar al-Assad and threatened action.

Trump and Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis went on TV to justify their assault in the name of upholding international conventions and deterring the use of chemical weapons.

Since when have the U.S. and other imperialists given a flying fuck about international laws and conventions, or abolishing chemical weapons for that matter? When they supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons in the 1980s? When they flagrantly violated conventions against torture after 9/11? When they violated international law by launching a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003 based on lies about weapons of mass destruction?

Tonight Trump said Syria’s reported chemical attacks aren’t “the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.”  Assad is a monster. He and his Russian and Iranian sponsors are butchers who have carried out atrocities against the Syrian people and all contributed to the staggering, criminal toll the 7-year long, reactionary Syrian war has taken.

But Assad’s crimes and monstrosity pale in comparison—in fact there is no comparison—next to the monster imperialists—the U.S., Britain and France—who have carved up, exploited, plundered, and carried out one bloody atrocity after another against the peoples of the Middle East for the last century, including helping fuel the reactionary bloodbath in Syria. And this continues right up to the present day! As Trump bellowed about crimes and monsters, the U.S. was backing Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen and supporting Israel when it shoots down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators—like it did again today.

And Assad is no comparison to the monster now in the White House who calls for openly reinstituting torture, murdering families of suspected “terrorists,” launching war on Iran and a nuclear holocaust on North Korea, and who poses a threat to the whole planet and the future of humanity!

Tonight’s attack was carried out to advance the imperialist interests of these monsters and to reassert their increasingly contested stranglehold on the Middle East—not to end the scourge of war, weapons of mass destruction or to aid the Syrian people.

This situation is extremely dangerous. What does it mean when Trump declares this an ongoing, sustained response? What happens if U.S.-led attacks on Syria lead to a direct clash between the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, with Russia and/or Iran? This would have the potential to spiral into a regional or global cataclysm that could end up taking many thousands, even millions of lives!

The Trump/Pence regime will also, no doubt, use this attack to tighten its grip on power, and push forward its efforts to consolidate fascism.

All this underscores the urgency of taking up and spreading RefuseFascism.org’s call and plan to organize to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power.

Stop Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America

Stay tuned to revcom.us for more coverage of this U.S.-led attack on Syria.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/palestinians-defy-israeli-bullets-and-tear-gas-for-third-straight-week-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Friday, April 13, Gaza:

Palestinians Defy Israeli Bullets and Tear Gas for Third Straight Week

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For the third week in a row, thousands of Palestinians turned out at five different protest sites along Gaza’s border with Israel. These demonstrations are part of the ongoing “Great March of Return” protest demanding the Palestinians’ right to return to land stolen from them by Israel and an end to the confinement of over two million Palestinians in the open-air concentration camp that is the Gaza Strip. April 13 was “Flag Friday,” with Palestinians burning or stomping on Israeli flags while waving the red, white, green and black Palestinian flag. Defying and dodging Israeli gunfire, some youth ran toward the border fence in bold assertion of their right to return to their lands. 

For the third week in a row, these courageous, unarmed Palestinians were met with deadly live fire from the Israeli side—some of the protestors were 100 yards away from the border fence, on Palestinian land! One protester was murdered, and 233 were wounded. The Israelis injured over 700 more with volley after volley of choking tear gas. They even fired at families with children who had gathered more than 300 yards from the fence. So many are being shot and wounded that Palestinians have set up field hospitals in their protest encampments and started burning tires so the thick, dark smoke would obscure the view of Israel’s snipers.

Over these past three weeks, 35 protesters have been killed and 3,000 have been injured—including 1,000 shot by live ammunition and another 300 hit by rubber bullets. Over these weeks, there have also been a number of protests in the occupied West Bank in solidarity with the “Great March of Return,” and dozens more injured.

These shootings are outrageous crimes against humanity. Israel is an illegitimate settler state created by violently expelling the Palestinian people. Now it shoots those it dispossessed and justifies it with the genocidal, Nazi-logic of Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman: “There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”  

The U.S. has backed Israel and its genocidal ethnic cleansing since its founding in 1948. For decades, Israel has functioned as a military bastion to defend and extend U.S. domination of the Middle East and worldwide.

Today Israel’s massacre is being fully backed by the Trump/Pence regime—which blocked a UN inquiry into the killings—and by the Democratic Party leaders, who overwhelmingly have refused to speak out against Israel’s blatant murder. U.S. military aid has been increased to $3.8 billion a year, while humanitarian aid to the Palestinians has been slashed!

These brave, massive protests show that the Palestinian people still burn with the hope and desire for national liberation. These hopes, and these protests, are totally just and righteous.

At the same time, this should not be conflated with and seen as just flowing from the Islamist program and outlook of Hamas, which is now the dominant political force in Gaza, and a major force in the current protests. As background, there are a number of political calculations in this context, such as the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah (the Palestinian party that runs the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited governmental power--under overall Israeli dominance--on the West Bank), and their consequent need and aim to be seen as the legitimate representative of the oppressed and occupied Palestinian people. And most critically, there’s the escalated hostility of the U.S. Trump/Pence fascist regime against Iran, which supports Hamas. Two points on this:

First, the protests of the Palestinian people, given their history and current reality, are just.

Second, Hamas, as an influence in these protests, and its potential leadership role, is NOT a force for liberation from oppression and does NOT represent a radical alternative to imperialism and the apartheid policies of its enforcer Israel. In fact, quite to the contrary, Hamas’s political, social and ideological program is utterly reactionary, and opposed to the fundamental interests of the vast majority of Palestinians and the world’s peoples. Its Islamic fundamentalist and obscurantist outlook call for religious rule and the subjugation of half of humanity, women, among other sections of the people.

The fundamental interests of the Palestinian people are NOT represented within the dynamic between the imperialist U.S. interests, now in fascist form with the Trump/Pence regime, with its enforcer in Israel on one side, and the Islamic fascists represented by Hamas and its backer in Iran on the other—an overall dynamic captured in this quote from Bob Avakian:

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. (BAsics 1:28)

Palestinians have suffered immeasurably, are rising and standing up heroically, and deserve and cry out for a whole other, liberating way. 

These weekly protests are continuing and will culminate on May 15—the day after the 70th anniversary of the 1948 founding of Israel through the violent uprooting of three-fourths of the Palestinian population. Palestinians mark May 15 as the Nakba—the Catastrophe.

The massive, heroic outpourings of so many thousands of Palestinians is an important, welcome breath of fresh air, especially at a moment when the Trump/Pence regime and Israel are escalating their threats and assaults across the region. These protests—and the Palestinian people—should be energetically supported! 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/michael-slate-interviews-asaad-abu-sharkh-on-the-great-march-of-return-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Michael Slate Interviews Asaad Abu Sharkh on the Great March of Return:

“We want to live in honor and dignity. We cannot be reduced to subhuman... with Israel killing us every day”

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is from an interview with Asaad Abu Sharkh, a member of the organizing committee of the Great March of Return, aired on March 13, 2018, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. The entire interview is available at themichaelslateshow.com. 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: On Friday, March 30, Israeli military forces opened fire on thousands of unarmed Palestinians at a non-violent protest along Gaza’s border with Israel. Fifteen protesters were killed by Israeli troops; over 1,400 were injured by bullets, tank rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. On Saturday, March 31, 49 more unarmed demonstrators were wounded by Israeli gunfire. A week later thousands of Palestinian people protested again, demanding their right to return to lands that had been stolen from the Palestinian people. Israeli troops answered with vicious gunfire and 10 more Palestinians were killed and 1,000 more wounded.

In two days, 30 Palestinians were killed and 2,500 were wounded and injured. But in the face of this, the Palestinian people will not back down—demanding the right to return to the land that was stolen from them by the Zionist settler regime. A movement drawing in tens of thousands of Palestinian people was launched with a plan to have a series of marches culminating in a million strong march in mid-May to correspond with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Israeli settler regime, the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and Nakba, the day that marks the theft of Palestine by the Zionists in 1948.

Joining us to talk about all of this is Asaad Abu Sharkh, a member of and spokesperson for the organizing committee of the protest known as the Great March of Return. Asaad, welcome to the show.

Asaad Abu Sharkh: Thank you very much.

Michael Slate: Let’s talk first about what is the Great March of Return.

Asaad Abu Sharkh: This Great March of Return is organized by the Palestinian people, the Refugee Committee, university professors, trade unions, workers, academics—all sections of the Palestinian people, including schools, women’s organizations. Everybody in Palestine, they organize this Great March of Return. As the name may suggest, to return to the land and properties from which they were evicted and uprooted by the Zionist gang in 1948. There has been dreaming and wishing to return to these lands and properties ever since. Let me remind the whole world that the United Nations in 1948 adopted Resolution Number 194, which calls for the return of all refugees who were driven out by the force of arms by the Zionist gang.

Yet Israel never implemented this resolution. Israel ignored totally such a resolution and it fell on deaf ears. The Palestinian people have been yearning and longing for return ever since. This is why they are asking the international community, the peoples of the world, the democracies of the world, the parliamentarians of the world—an intervention of all of the world in order to help them redress the wrongs committed against them and allow them to return to their land and property and to live in peace and justice and equality in their property, their homes, in Palestine. This is very, very important for peace and stability in the Middle East.

The Right and Dream of Return

Asaad Abu Sharkh: The Palestinian people, various sectors of the Palestinian people—families with grandfathers, fathers, sons, daughters and wives from the Palestinian society in Rafa, in Gaza Al Hanoun, in many Palestinian villages, towns and refugee camps—marched towards the border or the truce line imposed by the settler Zionist regime. And they go there and sit in these camps. They dance Dabke, they sing, they chat, they eat, they demonstrate, they look at their towns and villages which they lost in 1948, the land from which they were driven by the force of arms in 1948, in order to breathe in the cool breeze of the country in order to see it and in order to send a message and outcry to the whole world that the Palestinian refugees cannot forget and will never forget their right of return. Each and every Palestinian has a dream, the dream of return, the dream of living in peace—not Pax Israel, not Pax America—peace with justice and equality, and their ancestral lands and their homes from which they were driven out to the desert by the Zionist gangs at that time.

So these are non-violent, peaceful demonstrations modeled after Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and all those great leaders who were demonstrating and marching for freedom in order to get their own rights. We are human beings like any other human beings. We want to live in honor and dignity. We cannot continue to live miserable lives, to be reduced to subhuman, to animals in such refugee camps, deprived of everything, under occupation, under hermetic, medieval siege with Israel killing us every day. By the day they are committing massacres against us with the whole world unfortunately giving us a deaf ear and with the United States of America giving unlimited support, protecting them [Israel] in the United Nations by using their veto and giving them state-of-the-art arms in order to commit more massacres. Israel, so far, has committed more than 40 massacres against the Palestinian people, documented by Ilan Pappé and other Israeli historians.

This is why we cry to the whole world to do us justice, to treat us as human beings, to impose sanctions on Israel, to try the Israeli leaders as war criminals, to divest from Israel and to use BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions), as they did with South Africa in order to force Israel to allow us to return, and return to our lands to live in honor and peace and dignity. We are ready to live with Jews, with Christians, with Moslems, with all sorts of people in order to do our part to contribute toward welfare, civilization, progress—to live as human beings because the Palestinian people are a dynamic people and we can contribute a lot if there is peace and security.

However, if there is no peace and security for the Palestinians there will be always be viciousness and insecurity in this part of the world because we are quite determined. We are resolved to have our right of return, especially as the United Nations adopted this Resolution many times and the world tried to put pressure on Israel. Yet the Israelis ignored all these resolutions and instead they build more settlements, they bring more Jews, they pump out more Palestinians, they commit more massacres. They commit genocidal wars, to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people. They use the following strategy: One, they committed genocide against the Palestinian people, genocidal war—then ethnocide, then memorycide, politicide, then sociocide, urbacide—every cide. These kinds of crimes committed by the Israelis were reported by Israeli historians and these actually are crimes against humanity, which must bring all Zionist warlords to the international criminal court to be tried for the massacres and the crimes that they have been committing against the Palestinian people ever since 1948.

When the Palestinian people, when we go towards our borders the Israelis are given orders to shoot to kill, shoot to maim and to use maximum violence, even against photographers, as in the case of Yaser Murtaja. This is a clear case. He was holding a camera with “Press” marked on his back, yet they killed him simply because they don’t want this image to be conveyed, to be transmitted to the whole world, in order to hide their crimes against the Palestinian people.

So the Palestinian people continue these marches on and on until the siege is lifted and until our right of repatriation is implemented, and until justice is done and we enjoy living in honor, security, equality, justice in our own homes and in the property from which we were driven in 1948.

Gaza: “Life and Death, Death and Life”

Michael Slate: What are the conditions that the Palestinian people are being forced to live under in Gaza?

Asaad Abu Sharkh: Well, the best description of what’s happening in Gaza is a T.S. Eliot description—life and death and death and life. Gaza is a wasteland now, a land of waste. It’s a life of misery and refugee camps. We are deprived of everything. We are dispossessed. There is not enough food. There are not enough drugs. We cannot move. We are denied to travel. At the coast Gaza now is totally sea. It suffers from hermetic, medieval, strangulating siege. Students, for example, cannot leave for their universities. Even university professors cannot go, for example, in any exchange program. Patients cannot find drugs and people die. Hundreds or thousands of people have died because of this siege. And we are talking about the rate of unemployment in the Gaza Strip is well over 70 percent. And electricity cuts, we have only three hours of electricity every day, only three hours—imagine to have three hours of electricity.

Gaza is overly crowded. We are in Gaza now around well over two million in an area, which is no more than 365 square kilometers [about 140 square miles]. This is the most crowded, overpopulated area in the world. There are social diseases. There are all sorts of diseases, from cancer onward and we live in such misery to the extent that one can say, this is a concentration camp, which is in total oblivion and nobody cares. Nobody comes over, for example, crossing points, which have been closed for years now. Nobody comes to help the Palestinian people regain their own rights. The situation in Gaza, which is overly crowded, is miserable and miserable and miserable. It is dehumanizing, denigrating. The distortion is miserable in the full sense of the word. It is, as I said, life and death and death and life.

Great March of Return

Michael Slate: What was the response from the people when they heard about the call for this Great March of Return and all the actions building up to that?

Asaad Abu Sharkh: The response of the Palestinian people, all of the Palestinian people, in refugee camps, in towns, in the countryside—wherever they might be, all of them, in thousands, hundreds of thousands, marched, participated in the march towards the truce line, taking their children, whether they are young people, university students, young children, children, old people, very old people, women, men—all sectors of the Palestinian people moved and there are pitched camps, white tents along the border from Rafa to Beit Hanoun, which is around 45 kilometers [about 28 miles]. This is a border and they go there, as I said, they dance Dabke, they eat, they listen to lectures, they demonstrate, they walk, they meet. They talk about their dreams because, as I said, every Palestinian has a dream. They cry now, “I have a dream!”—a dream of return, the return to the land from which I was driven out, the land usurped, stolen by Hitler-Zionists in 1948. And after that, for all the Palestinian people, inside Palestine, even the Palestinians outside Palestine, they pray for us, they look with their own eyes toward the border. They dream of the right of return, for all Palestinians.

And this is why I think this March of Return is going on and on and on. I think all refugee camps, wherever they might be, if they are allowed the chance, whether in Egypt, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Jordan, in the West Bank. If they are allowed by the regime, they will also organize marches and pitch tents around Palestine, in order to send their message to the whole world: We are fed up with this life of misery!

All we need, all we call for, is to see our rights of repatriation implemented. And this is in accordance with United Nations Resolution 194, and with United Nations Resolution 3236, which calls for our right of return, our right to self-determination without external interference, our right to statehood, our right to independence, our right to sovereignty—that is to say, to live as a human being. That this life of dehumanization, this life of animalization will not continue. We'll not accept it. This is why we hope our call will not fall on deaf ears, and the whole people of the world will rise up to their responsibilities, put pressure on Israel, force Israel to withdraw from our land, to lift its siege, and to give us our own rights. And then we call on the international community to bring those war criminals to accountability for crimes against humanity, which they have committed against the Palestinian people.

Israel’s Genocidal Strategy

Michael Slate: The Zionist regime says these protests are “terrorist gatherings hell-bent on violence.” They claim the Palestinians “have mounted a military attack against us, and so we're going to go all out with everything we have to attack them.” What do you say about this, and what has been the actual response from the Israeli military?

Asaad Abu Sharkh: The Israelis all the time, keep lying and lying and lying. These are heaps of lies, naked, against the Palestinian people. All we ask for is to implement UN resolutions. These resolutions were adopted by the international community. There are many resolutions taken that Israel has ignored, Israel of course being supported by the United States of America, protected by the United States of America, given the most important destructive weapons, from F-15s to F-16s, to whatever, in order to annihilate the Palestinian people. Israel has committed massacres against the Palestinian people. For example, there are many resolutions asking Israel to withdraw from our land. Israel so far rejects withdrawing. They build more settlements. They expand the border. They expand the settlements. They bring in more Jews, pump out more Palestinians, simply because the Zionist project is based on the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

I just listed the strategy used by the Israelis against the Palestinian people, from genocidal wars to massacres, to killing by the day and every day. And I'd like to remind you that one of the Israeli generals said, “If we do not kill and over kill, we cannot remain to exist.” And [Israeli Prime Minister Menachem] Begin once said, without the [1948] Massacre of Deir Yassin, there couldn't have been the state of Israel. This is the statement of Sharon, Netanyahu, [Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor] Lieberman, who gave orders, “Shoot to kill; shoot to maim.”

... Every day, every minute, the Israeli warplanes, Israeli drones, are watching everything, and they are even sending their spies. They use their psychological warfare. They use all means of psychological war, military weapons, in order to annihilate, wipe out the Palestinians, wipe them off the map. Because this is the strategy of Hitler-Zionism, Hitler-Colonization, which is based on ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people, not only from the Gaza Strip, but also from Jerusalem, from the areas occupied in 1948, from Mandate Palestine. Unfortunately, they have been supported by the various and many U.S. governments, from Truman to Trump, and Western governments. Now they are being supported by the Trump administration, which thinks of giving them what they call the package, or the deal of the century, in order to deny us all our rights, and to perpetuate our misery and the occupation of our land....

Michael Slate: These protests are set to culminate with a Great March of Return on May 15, which is, as you said, the anniversary of the theft of the Palestinian homeland, the Nakba, or the Catastrophe, and the establishment of the settler state of Israel as an outpost of U.S. imperialism. What can people expect to see?

Asaad Abu Sharkh: Remember the 15th of May, 1948. The 15th of May every year marks the Palestinian Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by the Zionist regime. And this is why the Palestinians, wherever they might be, and we are trying now, here, and are in contact with the Palestinians everywhere, whether in the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan, around Palestine, in order to demonstrate, non-violently and peacefully toward the border of Palestine, all the Palestinians in unison, under the Palestinian flag, to tell the whole world that we will return.

Our right of return is individual, is collective, is legal, is legitimate, is inalienable as stated by the United Nations. Our right of return is our right of return, and we want to tell the whole world that the whole Palestinian people, wherever they might be, are dreaming of this right of return. We will tell the whole world there can never, ever be peace or stability in the Middle East as long as we remain refugees, homeless, displaced, in this wilderness living in miserable conditions while Israel brings in more Jews to take more land to enjoy life in our land and to dehumanize us and to make us live in such miserable dehumanizing concentration camps.

Now, this is going to be the climax. However, these marches will continue, and continue, and continue, until we obtain and attain our right of return, as stipulated by UN resolutions and human rights resolutions, and by the international humanitarian law, and supported by all peace-loving people, all freedom-loving people throughout the world. This is why we have a particular cry, and call on our American friends, American people, to put the pressure on Trump, on Congress, put pressure on the government, in order to do us justice.

 

 


 

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Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Michael Slate Interviews Ann Wright on the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla:

“I see what's happening and my humanity says I have to speak out”

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following is an interview with peace activist Ann Wright, aired on March 13, 2018, on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK Pacifica radio. The entire interview can be heard at themichaelslateshow.com. 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: I am really pleased to welcome back to the show Ann Wright. Ann is a retired U.S. Army colonel and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned from the U.S. government in 2003 in opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq. Ann is a deeply committed peace activist and she became active in Palestinian solidarity issues after visiting Gaza in 2009 after the 27-day Israeli war on Gaza. Ann has sailed on three of the more than two dozen Gaza Flotillas including the more recent 2016 Women’s Boat carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Ann is going to talk with us now about what’s going on with the new Gaza Flotilla scheduled for sometime this summer. Ann, welcome back to the show.

Ann Wright: Thank you Michael! It’s a pleasure to be with you.

Michael Slate: Let’s get into this. What is the Freedom Flotilla Coalition and the upcoming 2018 Gaza Flotilla?

Ann Wright: Well, we are going to have a flotilla. Last year we had two boats—one of them just didn’t work as we were taking off from Spain so we ended up with one boat, the Women’s Boat to Gaza. This time we’ll have four and two of them will be starting out in Scandinavia because part of this is to have educational events all the way to Gaza, all through Europe so that we can continue to talk to people about the horrific, horrific conditions in Gaza and mobilize support for Palestinians. By the year 2020, only two years from now, the World Health Organization says that Gaza will become uninhabitable because of the lack of water, the lack of electricity, the sewage problems that are going on there. The blockade of Gaza has just been horrific for those people, those two million people in there. So we sail to educate people about what’s happening and to let the Palestinians in Gaza know that we’re not forgetting them, that we are going to sail boats and hopefully we’ll be able to get in there.

Michael Slate: Now this year it looks like you’re planning on a bigger kind of outreach where people and boats are coming from a lot of different directions on the way to Gaza. And there is even one grouping of boats that are going up rivers through Europe and then coming out and meeting up with the other people off of the Gaza shore. Let’s talk about that.

Ann Wright: Sure, we hope to have four boats, that’s what we’re planning on, and two of them will come down the waterways from Scandinavia going through Central Europe, through the waterways, rivers, canals. They’re shallow draft boats as one would expect but that really gives us the opportunity to reach more people that live along the waters, the rivers and canals. And then we’ll have two boats that will be going on the outside of Europe, going in the Atlantic Ocean and then making port visits on Atlantic ports in Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Spain and then coming on in to the Mediterranean where the two boats will meet up eventually and then head to Gaza.

Michael Slate: Can you give people a sense of the horrendous conditions facing the people in Gaza? A lot of people only know what they see on the news, but they don’t really know, for example that, as you pointed out, it will be uninhabitable in less than two years. People need to really know about the conditions the people in Gaza are facing.

Ann Wright: Yes, since 2007, now 11 years ago, the Israelis put a blockade, a land and sea blockade around Gaza—which is only 20 miles long and 5 miles wide. The southern border abuts Egypt but the other three borders are totally controlled by the state of Israel as an occupying power so they are the ones that have the authority to stop anything coming in there. This includes food. In fact several years ago one of their ministers of health was quoted as saying, “We’ve put the people of Gaza on a diet. We’re only letting in a certain number of caloric quantities for each person and we’re lowering those quantities.” Right now, less than 4 hours of electricity are coming in per day. The Israelis control all of the electricity that comes into Gaza. It controls all of the water. It controls all of the telephones. It really has Gaza in a squeeze.

And on the naval side, the ocean side, the Mediterranean side, there is a port in Gaza City and 40 years ago the people in Gaza were able to export products and import products but for the last 40 years the Israelis have refused to allow international boats to come in. Although, in 2008 there were two little boats that came in carrying 44 internationals and that then took out some Palestinians that needed health care and some students that had scholarships and couldn’t get out. But really, since late 2008 there have been no international ships that have been allowed to get in. The Israeli Navy has been very brutal in stopping these boats. If you remember in 2010 they stopped our six boats. I was on one of them. The Mavi Marmara is the one where they used lethal force and killed nine people, executed them, unarmed civilians on a ship in international waters and they executed nine people and another person subsequently died from his injuries from his bullets. They wounded over 50 more on the Mavi Marmara. Every one of our boats, including two cargo ships was boarded forcefully. People were tasered, they were beaten up, windows blown out with percussion grenades. And then we were all arrested, taken against our will to a country we didn’t want to go to, Israel, and put in prison, then deported with a 10 year deportation so that now we cannot go into Israel, therefore we cannot go into the West Bank. They keep the boats, they steal the boats and this is larceny on the high seas. This is piracy, what they have been doing is piracy.

We sail to bring attention to what’s happening in Gaza though. That’s our purpose. We don’t want people to forget that they (the people in Gaza) are living in an open-air prison!

Michael Slate: There is an important difference between what's going on this year and what has been going on in the past. Let's talk about the theme this year, because it's not so much that you're trying to get into Gaza, but you're actually making a statement with the boats and the way that they're coming in, and what they're highlighting is the life, or the killing of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Ann Wright: Well, that's right. Can you imagine living in this tiny little place? It's one of the most densely populated places in the world. Two million people live in this tiny, tiny little area. They have no real control over their lives. Israel can turn off all the electricity any time they want to. They have 24-hour-a-day drones over Gaza. Any time they want to they can push a button and blow up a car that they say, well there was somebody in there that was going to threaten the state of Israel. But when you look at it, the numbers of innocent people who are killed in all these attacks are horrendous.

And right now, with the third Friday of the Great Return March, where Palestinians are non-violently approaching a fence that is set off by 1,000 feet of their own territory, which the Israelis have claimed is the buffer zone. But it's Palestinian territory where there should be agricultural products. But Israel has said, if you come in here we'll shoot you—rather than putting a border on their own land—use their own land if they want to have a border area.

But no, they put up a free fire zone, a kill on sight zone, and they have remote controlled machine guns that are set up so they can cover all of that territory. In fact a couple of years ago, it was a women's military unit that were the machine gun killers. They sit in air-conditioned rooms and watch videos of the area, just kind of like a drone pilot, and then they see someone—and they can do facial recognition. They know every single person there is in Gaza, because they know every building. They know every telephone there because it's an Israeli telephone exchange. So they just kill at will.

It's a horrific situation. The statistics are that half the kids in Gaza are having emotional problems—I would say it would be like 95% of the kids in Gaza—because of the horrific oppression that every single day you don't know whether your house is going to be blown up, or if you have a car it's going to be blown up, or what's going to happen. Because you hear these assassin drones above you. I've been there several times, like eight times, and you hear this hum-mmm-mmm-mmm. And you may not even be able to see it up above you, but you can hear this thing, and then all of a sudden, a flash, and that Hellfire rocket comes down and blows up a building.

Michael Slate: When I'm listening to you, it really does emphasize that there's a genocidal thing going on against the Palestinian people. People are just being wantonly killed. The Palestinian people are human and demanding that the world recognize that. Is that a big part of what's motivating folks like yourself to go to Gaza on this ship?

Ann Wright: Indeed it is. And in fact, our campaigns over the years, several of them have been named “Stay Human.” You stay human as an international thing; I see what's happening and my humanity says I have to speak out. I have to do something to bring world attention to what's happening to the Palestinians. And for the Palestinians to be non-violent in the face of the violence against them. Of course, there are some militant groups that have fired rockets into Israel, that's for sure. But look at the massive, massive Israeli military forces used against essentially an unarmed civilian population, how the Israelis kill at will, and are trying, as your earlier speaker said, trying to get the conditions so bad that people will be forced to leave because they cannot have any clean water, they can't have clean air. The concentration of fecal material in the air in Gaza is one of the highest in the world because the sewage plant is always the first facility that Israel goes after and blows up. And then they won't let spare parts come in to get it fixed. So, raw sewage is everywhere, and it dries, so the fecal material is in the air. And then the waters where fishermen, to try to get some protein for the people of Gaza, are forced to stay within, it varies from three to five miles offshore, having to fish in this polluted water because the Israelis have boats out there that will blow them up, kill the fishermen if they come out any further to try to get in cleaner water.

It is a horrific, terrible, nasty situation. The Israeli government is really conducting slow genocide on the people of Gaza.

Michael Slate: Can you tell people how they can get involved?

Ann Wright: The boats will sail from mid-May, and then be coming through Europe all through May. If you go online, we have a Facebook 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, US Section. We've got information there. Or if you go on NationBuilder, 2018 Gaza Flotilla, we've got lots of information there. So the ability of people to make monetary contributions is great. Writing about what you feel about Gaza is important. And if you happen to be in Europe any time during the summer and want to help out and be on a ground crew and even possibly on one of the legs of this massive voyage, get in touch with us through NationBuilder and we'll talk to you about perhaps helping us out in Europe.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/the-case-of-israel-part-1-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Bastion of Enlightenment... or Enforcer for Imperialism:

The Case of ISRAEL

Part One

Posted April 16, 2018 | Originally published October 10, 2010 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Case of Israel – Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?”

What is the history of the Israeli State?

What role does Israel play in today’s world?

What is the true history of the Palestinian people, and their dispossession from a land they had lived in for centuries?

What is the relationship between the U.S. and Israel?

In the past few weeks, courageous protests of Palestinian people in Gaza have been viciously suppressed by heavily armed Israeli forces. At least 30 people have been killed, and over 2,500 wounded. The protests continue, and are building towards May 15, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel through the violent uprooting of three-fourths of the Palestinian population and the theft of their land. Palestinians mark May 15 as the Nakba – the “Catastrophe”.

In the context of these protests, Revolution begins a serialization of a special issue from 2010, “The Case of Israel – Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?” The questions it addresses are more important than ever.

 

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."

When Israel carries out acts that are simply indefensible under international law, such actions are defended by the U.S., rarely noted in the media, and allowable criticism in the U.S. is constrained to mildly taking issue with Israel's "disproportionate response" to what is always branded "terrorism."

To take just one recent example: In May of this year, the Israeli army violated international law by boarding the Mavi Marmara in international waters. This ship was part of a flotilla bringing relief supplies to Palestinians and challenging Israel's illegal and inhumane blockade of the Palestinian area of Gaza. Israeli military forces killed nine passengers in storming the ship.

An investigation of the deaths on the Mavi Marmara by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights determined: "The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution." The report found that two passengers, including a 19-year-old U.S. citizen, "were shot at near range while the victims were lying injured on the top deck." Four others "were shot on the bridge deck while not participating in activities that represented a threat to any Israeli soldier. In these instances and possibly other killings on the Mavi Marmara, Israeli forces carried out extralegal, arbitrary and summary executions prohibited by international human rights law, specifically article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council voted to endorse this report with a single "no" vote—cast by the United States. The report received extremely limited press coverage in the U.S. (See "UN Report finds Israel 'summarily executed' U.S. citizen on flotilla," by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, October 1, 2010.)

* * *

What is the essential nature of Israel? How does one understand what seems to some to be a paradox of a country founded to make up for a great crime itself committing great crimes? And what defines the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel?

Answering these questions is not about "competing narratives"—the question here is what is true... and what is just. To get into this, we will examine the history of Israel to understand the actual dynamics that led us to today's situation, and we will analyze the role Israel plays in today's world.

Zionism—A Colonial Project Seeking Powerful Sponsors

For many centuries most of the Jewish people in the world lived as an oppressed people in Eastern and Central Europe, spread out across a wide area stretching roughly from the modern-day countries of Russia through Poland and Lithuania to the eastern part of Germany. In 1900, about three fourths of the world's 11 million Jews lived in this region, with the bulk of the remainder living in the U.S. and Great Britain—countries to which there were large waves of Jewish immigration in the preceding two decades. Jewish people in much smaller numbers lived throughout western and southern Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia.1

Jews in Europe were constantly hounded and persecuted, severely discriminated against in almost every sphere. They were often deprived of the right to own land, segregated from society, and frequently were the targets of murderous pogroms. These pogroms were outbreaks of mob violence, usually sponsored and organized by the authorities, and in any case the product of prejudice and hostility promoted by the ruling royalty and feudal landowners. Those oppressive exploiting classes were served by the channeling of the anger of the oppressed towards the Jews.

As an oppressed people, the Jews of this part of Europe sought many solutions. For most this meant seeking integration into the larger society (often accompanied by immigration to Western Europe or the U.S.). For many it involved getting into projects for universal human emancipation—that is, seeking an end to the oppression of the Jewish people as part of seeking freedom for everyone. Many were attracted to the cause of socialist revolution. For a minority it meant the Zionist movement, focused on building a separate Jewish nation-state for all Jews.

The founders of Zionism, most notably Theodor Herzl, formulated the Zionist ideology in the late 1800s. This was a time when the European powers, along with the U.S. and Japan, were entering the age of imperialism. Within these countries, capitalism had become increasingly dominated by monopolies, and these monopolies merged with banking capital to form huge financial blocs. These powers increasingly exported capital itself to the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America in the form of super-profitable investments in those countries. Going with that, they began a feverish competition to dominate these areas of the world. These capitalist-imperialist powers carried out terrible military aggression against these areas; for example, the U.S. waged war against the Philippines in the early 1900s and murdered hundreds of thousands of people. And these powers increasingly contended with one another.

Herzl overtly "marketed" a Jewish state to these rising colonial powers, especially to England, as a colonial outpost. "England with her possessions in Asia should be most interested in Zionism, for the shortest route to India is by way of Palestine. England's great politicians were the first to recognize the need for colonial expansion. That is why Great Britain's ensign flies on all the oceans. And so I must believe that here in England the idea of Zionism, which is a colonial idea, should be easily and quickly understood in its true and most modern form."2

The early Zionist movement continued to tailor its aims to the ambitions and perceived needs of various imperialist powers. At one point, for example, when the British were considering the advantages of a Zionist settler state in their east African colonies, a major world Zionist conference seriously considered a plan for a Jewish "homeland" in what is presently Uganda (that project was abandoned before it came to fruition). Also at the instigation of the British, Zionist leaders considered establishing a Jewish "homeland" in British-controlled South America. And discussions took place between Zionist leaders and the rulers of Germany over a possible Jewish "homeland" in German-dominated Madagascar.

Britain Backs a "Loyal Jewish Ulster3" in Palestine

The very dynamics that led Britain and other European powers to carve up and plunder Asia and Africa, brought them into sharp conflict with each other. In 1914 this contention erupted into World War 1. 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.

One of the focal points of the post World War 1 contention between the victorious imperialists, particularly on the part of Britain and France, was the oil-rich and strategically located Middle East. This part of the world was pried loose from the defeated Turkish Ottoman Empire. France seized Syria and Lebanon. England established control over much of the rest of the region, including Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine.

As noted, the leaders of the Zionist movement—starting with Herzl—had pitched a Jewish state in Palestine as a strategic beachhead for imperialism in the region. In the wake of World War 1, the British ruling class moved more decisively to seize on the prospect of a Zionist entity. The famous Balfour Declaration of 1917 declared, "His Majesty's Government view [sic] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

The Balfour Declaration stated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." But Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British military governor of Jerusalem, was more candid about England's aims. He wrote that England's support for the Zionist "enterprise was one that blessed him that gave as well as him that took, by forming for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism."

The Palestinian People Were There First!

The mythology of the Zionist movement claims that Palestine was "a land without a people for a people without a land." But the main obstacle to the establishment of this "little loyal Jewish Ulster" in the Middle East was the fact that Palestine was already inhabited by the Palestinian people!

When modern Zionism emerged in 1880, and began to attract the interest of imperialist powers, 24,000 Jews lived in Palestine among 450,000 Palestinians. Palestinians owned and farmed virtually all the land. The small Jewish population was composed of some whose roots in the area went back centuries and more. Others were orthodox Jews from Europe who had migrated to the city of Jerusalem for religious reasons. Altogether, Jewish people made up 5 percent  of the population of Palestine. By 1922, several decades of Zionist-sponsored Jewish immigration from Europe had only raised that percentage to about 11 percent, according to official British census figures.

In the period before and during World War 1, the Palestinian nation emerged out of people who had lived in that part of the world for centuries. A nascent national economy began to cohere among the Palestinians, with different social classes. Most Palestinians were Muslim, but a substantial minority—about 11 percent—were Christian. Palestinians shared a common culture and language (Palestinian people speak a dialect of Arabic), and a developing commercial infrastructure and authority, driven by the development of capitalist export agriculture and beginning industry (particularly olive oil production for the global market). This Palestinian nation was further forged in national resistance to the Ottoman Empire, and later in opposition to British colonial rule. As with all the emerging nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America in this period, the national development of Palestine was distorted and suppressed by the domination of the world by imperialism with its powerful monopolies, control of global commerce, and military force.

In the 1920s and 1930s, between the two World Wars, there was intense political polarization in Europe. There were growing revolutionary movements, along with the rise of vicious reactionary movements. In addition to Hitler and the Nazis in Germany, other fascist movements gained influence in Eastern Europe, with virulent anti-Semitism a leading edge. Under these circumstances, there was both pressure on Jewish people to emigrate out of Europe, as well as the "pull" to move to Palestine afforded by the Balfour Declaration. So there was increased Zionist emigration and both purchases and thievery of Palestinian lands. There were armed conflicts between the Zionists and Palestinians, and the emergence of a powerful Zionist paramilitary.

Further, the imperialist world was wracked by a huge economic crisis—the Great Depression—and this heightened both the political polarization within the imperialist powers and it exacerbated the conflicts between them. All this set the stage for what would be the decisive turning point: World War 2.

 

1. American Jewish Year Book Vol. 1 (1899-1900), p. 285, available at www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/1899_1900_7_Statistics.pdf; Swatos, Jr., William H., Editor, Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, available at hirr.hartsem.edu/ency/jews.htm. [back]

2. Theodor Herzl: The Complete Diaries, cited from Abdullah Schleifer, The Fall of Jerusalem (New York: 1972), p. 23 in Our Roots Are Still Alive, chapter 2. [back]

3. For centuries, England—now the United Kingdom (UK)—maintained bloody and overt colonial domination over Ireland. England built up sections of Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Ulster, as a more industrially developed region with a substantial section of people who identified with and fought for the interests of British colonialism. Following Irish independence in 1922, Northern Ireland (Ulster) continued to be occupied by the UK. [back]

 

 


 

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Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Beginning Some Organized Study and Discussion of Bob Avakian’s Essay
“ ‘A Leap of Faith’ and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods”

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the staff of Revolution Books and a member of the Revolution Club

At Revolution Books we recently kicked off a two-part discussion of Bob Avakian’s essay about two radically different worldviews and methods in understanding the world. Watching Bob Avakian’s film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!... at Revolution Books in NYC has stirred some people to want to get more deeply into Bob Avakian’s work. So we decided to organize some study and discussion of issues of epistemology. One of the great things about BA’s essay “‘A Leap of Faith’ and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods” is that it goes at those “two very different leaps” in a way that is both highly rigorous and highly accessible... and that gets people “thinking about thinking.”

This first session was very lively and filled with curiosity. One of the participants is a young person, from the basic people, who has experienced homelessness and been trying to “get his life together.” The other is a high school teacher. This is their first real exposure to communist theory. A member of the Revolution Club and someone from the staff of RB helped lead the discussion.

We began by talking about the stakes of the battle over epistemology (the theory of knowledge, how we come to know the world, and what is true). We discussed BA’s statement in BAsics 4:10 that for humanity to get beyond a state where “might makes right” will as a crucial element require an approach to understanding things which recognizes that reality and truth are objective—and don’t depend on who has the power to decide or on people’s different narratives. That what is true is what corresponds to reality.

We set the stage by distinguishing materialism from idealism—two opposed approaches to grasping reality. People appreciated this. One of the participants expressed how her understanding of the two concepts had been more that of the popular misconception—that “materialism” referred to a narrow and superficial quality of human beings wanting more things, and idealism referred to people who have big and noble ideals. People asked for examples of influential idealist and materialist thinkers. We talked about dialectical materialism, that the universe consists of matter in motion, and the “changingness” of the natural and social worlds. And then we asked, well what about ideas and consciousness, they do exist, and we touched on how the brain is the material organ of thought. Heads were spinning... in a good way.

When we dove into the essay, starting with the leap from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge, the younger person and teacher articulated in their own words what the leap consisted of. The young person said that the leap is when people are able to reach and express a conclusion based on the sum and analysis of evidence. “Well, we said, let’s walk through an example.” We went to the experience and understanding of being homeless.

He thought for a bit and talked about the different kinds of perceptions he had of homelessness when he was 9 and when he was older. During those times he was trying to figure out the reason for his situation. Maybe it was just that he and others were losers, bums. But, he said, he also realized (perceived) that many homeless people in fact have skills. But still they were poor, and didn’t have the opportunity to work. Someone said many immigrants can’t get work because of language and can’t buy or rent places to live, while high prices throw more people into the streets and shelters.

So we were dealing with a lot of perceptual knowledge. Rational knowledge would enable people to understand the cause of this, the why. And we got into why there is homelessness in the richest country in the world—what it has to do with the nature of the economic system, where profit rules, where luxury housing gets built but decent, affordable housing doesn’t (because of profit), where the right to invest in what is profitable is protected while there is no right to decent and affordable shelter. This is getting toward deeper scientific understanding. It was pointed out that BA has developed the scientific approach for understanding the workings of the system and how we can change this capitalist society through revolution.

Reflecting on the essay and the course of the discussion, the teacher pointed out that we are constantly making leaps from perceptual to rational knowledge in our everyday lives but barely know what process is going on in the brain. She walked through the example in BA’s essay of the leap from perceptual to rational knowledge in how a jury reaches a verdict in a trial—weighing evidence and testimony. She found this very helpful. She asked, “But where does intuition fit in...you have this feeling about something or somebody.” It was interesting and we got into some examples and how you can’t decide the verdict that way. On the other hand, there is what in the real material and social world is feeding into intuitions, like a woman who feels unsafe walking down a dark alley. And we got deeper into evidence-based thinking.

She said that even though she is religious-minded, she could still weigh the evidence in a trial. But having studied the essay, she wondered how theology actually reaches the conclusion that this or that theory is true—and whether any perceptual to rational process is involved. “Maybe, I’ll put that to my minister,” she said.

This led to some beginning discussion of the scientific method, the process of examining facts and evidence, discovering patterns, drawing conclusions, testing and applying them, and gaining deeper knowledge which corresponds to reality at deeper levels—and that faith-based thinking doesn’t work that way. It was an opening round, and we’re going to get into this in a major way at our next discussion.

People were excited to dig into the concepts that BA presents and explores in the essay. It was very new to two of the participants. But the essay invites people in, provides essential understanding, and brings people back to why all this matters—what it has to do with getting free of oppression. Both of the new people want to get others involved in this kind of organized discussion of BA.

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/report-exposes-strategy-and-practice-of-us-border-patrol-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Report Exposes the Strategy and Practice of the U.S. Border Patrol That Has “Disappeared” Thousands of Immigrants

April 16, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

“There is a crisis of disappearance in the Southwest borderlands.” With this introduction, a recent joint report by two humanitarian groups in Arizona—No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos—examines the connection between the policing strategy and practice of the U.S. Border Patrol today and what they describe as “the disappearance of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in the expansive wilderness north of the US-Mexico border.” Their chilling report—“Disappeared: How the U.S. Border Enforcement Agencies are Fueling a Missing Persons Crisis”—rips through the lying, chauvinist propaganda that sanctifies the cold-blooded crimes of the U.S. Border Patrol, and treats the lives of immigrant border crossers as worth nothing.

Prevention Through Deterrence

The introduction to the report describes the “Prevention Through Deterrence” strategy first instituted along the U.S. border in 1994 when Bill Clinton was president. Until that time, deaths at the border were relatively low, usually caused by border crossers being hit by cars. But in the past two decades the figures have steadily increased, with the Arizona Desert and Upland and the South Texas Brush littered with the bodies and skeletal remains of human beings whose only “crime” was crossing the border to escape the poverty and violence that revcom.us/Revolution has shown is caused by U.S. imperialist exploitation and domination of Mexico and the countries of Central America (for example, see here). In the border area near Tucson, the number of deaths per 10,000 apprehensions increased in the eight years ending in 2015 by 500%. On top of that, in 2015 alone La Coalición opened over 1,200 cases of people who were unaccounted for after trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The focus of this report are the thousands and thousands more who have been “disappeared” as a result of the deliberate practices of the Border Patrol, most of whose lives, and deaths, are not counted. This is what “deterrence” looks like to those who run this country.

Why are these areas in particular filled to overflowing with the corpses of border crossers? Because deterrence is accomplished by making crossing the border as difficult and as dangerous as possible, with the piled up bodies, and the grief of the thousands of families whose loved ones are never found, intended to send the message “Don’t even try to cross ‘our’ border.” The tens of millions of dollars poured into the technology of border enforcement, the extension of the border walls, and the build up of the number of Border Patrol agents have “funneled” border crossers into the most remote, treacherous sectors of the entire Southwest border. The Sonoran Desert, with its brutal temperature shifts between day and night, can kill through dehydration in the 100-plus temperatures in daytime, while 25 degree temperatures at night cause death by hypothermia. It can now take immigrants four days to a week, and more—to get to safety, meaning those who do survive will have been without water for days and days. The main cause of death has now become exposure to the elements.

The report sums up: Extreme heat and bitter cold, scarce and polluted water sources, treacherous topography, and near-total isolation from possible rescue are used as weapons of border enforcement.”  Since the 1990s the estimate of the numbers killed crossing the border is 8,600. In addition, because of this terrain, within weeks someone can be reduced to bone fragments, or completely disappear. “The region has been transformed into a vast graveyard of the missing”

Because the desperate conditions in the countries immigrants are fleeing continue to drive immigrants to risk the increasing dangers of escape to the north, “deterrence” is torturing, killing, and disappearing more border crossers than ever. The report concludes, “If the Border Patrol’s goal of prevention is an illusion, then the means of contemporary border policy amounts to a campaign of state violence against migrating peoples.”

How the Border Patrol “Routinely” Causes Death and Disappearance

With this introduction, the report identifies three different ways the routine actions of the Border Patrol are responsible for the disappearance and death of thousands of immigrants. Two of the three parts have so far been released, beginning with “Deadly Apprehension Methods: The Consequences of Chase & Scatter in the Wilderness.”

Chase

With border crossers driven into the most remote, dangerous terrain of the Southwestern border, Border Patrol agents chase them using helicopters, SUVs, all-terrain vehicles, horses, and dogs along with agents on foot, to corral them by forcing them into chokepoints. Being chased long distances through cacti, trees, shrubs, cliffs, canyons and barbed wire fences, injuries are common, and many die and disappear during the chase: falling off cliffs, drowning in the Rio Grande and California's American Canal, and dying of dehydration and exhaustion. At night the immigrants can see nothing, while the Border Patrol has night-vision equipment. As one immigrant described:

We run as if we were blind, as if we had a cloth over our eyes. Border Patrol can see everything though, and they know where the fences and the cliffs are. They will chase you towards them.

And then there is injury and death due to Border Patrol violence, including beatings, dog attacks, tasers, assault with vehicles, and the use of deadly force. Nearly every chase ends with this brutality. And as the report points out, their well-known record of abuse, which includes beatings, rapes, and shootings, makes those who encounter agents more likely to flee into the wilderness, not just to avoid being caught, but to escape the violence of their pursuers.

Scatter

Nearly all border crossers travel in groups, and when they are chased they scatter in all directions – “like quail” according to one agent. Those not captured often become separated from their companions, their guides, and their personal belongings, including their water bottles. This is especially true at night. Often left behind alone in the backcountry are the very young, the sick, the very old, and the injured. This scattering by the Border Patrol causes people to become disoriented, lost, and empty-handed, with many dying and disappearing due to prolonged exposure to the elements. Since 1999, the Pima County medical examiner’s office in Arizona has handled over 2,800 sets of remains of people who were attempting to cross their sector of the U.S.–Mexico border. The authors call driving people into rivers, over cliffs, or deep into the desert to die and disappear state-sanctioned disappearance.

Interference with Humanitarian Aid

Part 2 of the report, just released January 17, 2018, identifies another way in which the deliberate actions of the Border Patrol are directly causing death and disappearance: “Interference with Humanitarian Aid: Death and Disappearance on the US-Mexico Border.”*

Think about the following, and ask yourself what kind of system creates monsters capable of this: “In the desert of the Arizona–Mexico borderlands, where thousands of people die of dehydration and heat-related illness, Border Patrol agents are destroying gallons of water intended for border crossers.” La Coalición de Derechos Humanos, in a three-year study ending in 2015, found water gallons vandalized 415 times, an average of more than twice a week. Witnessed by border crossers, photographed, and watched on YouTube by over 350,000 people, Border Patrol agents systematically stab, stomp, kick, drain and confiscate the bottles of water that humanitarian aid volunteers leave along known migrant routes in the Arizona desert—intentionally condemning border crossers to suffering, death, and disappearance. 

No More Deaths, studying the period between from 2012 to 2015, found at least 3,586 gallon jugs of water destroyed in a desert corridor near Arivaca, Arizona. If this is not enough, Border Patrol agents in the Arizona borderlands routinely intimidate, harass, and surveil the humanitarian-aid volunteers to interfere with their efforts to save the lives of border crossers.

“The known disappearance of thousands of people in the remote wilderness of the US–Mexico border zone marks one of the great historical crimes of our day.” (see article from The Guardian)

Everyone Must Stand Up Against the Intolerable Crimes on the Border

The calculated, cold-blooded violence against the men, women, and children risking everything to cross the U.S.-Mexico border comes from the working of a system—the system of capitalist-imperialism. As Bob Avakian points out:

Now I can hear these reactionary fools saying, “Well Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why to people come here from all around the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?”…Why? I’ll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power. (BAsics 1:14)

And now the Trump/Pence regime is taking this to a whole new horrific level and unleashing far greater terror on the border. Using their fascist propaganda machine, they are branding immigrant people as less than human, in a genocidal way – calling them “animals, rapists, gangsters, drug dealers and violent criminals” threatening the “American way of life” and America's “sacred” borders.

Everyone in this country, especially those who are not immigrants, must look squarely at these unspeakable crimes being committed at the border, take a stand, and act on it—in the interests of humanity. What is happening on the Southwest border—and to immigrants overall—is intolerable, and it cannot be tolerated one day more.

 


* Part 3, on the obstruction of humanitarian-aid efforts, has not yet been released. [back]

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/university-of-chicago-police-shoot-student-and-charge-him-with-assault-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

University of Chicago Police Shoot Student and Charge HIM With Assault

April 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Tuesday night April 3, University of Chicago police shot a U of C student who was having a mental health crisis. The student, Charles Thomas, survived the shooting, but has been CHAINED TO HIS HOSPITAL BED with a broken shoulder and collapsed lung, and HE is being charged with multiple felonies. Students at the University of Chicago have been protesting his shooting, demanding that the university provide better mental health services, and condemning the UCPD for a known history of racism and violence.

Charles, who is Black and Asian and 21 years old, was walking in an alley off-campus with a metal rod and had allegedly smashed some windows with it. UCPD cars drove up on him, saying as they approached him that he was “a mental.” A pig jumped out of the car yelling “drop the weapon” and “don’t come at me,” and when Charles ran toward the pig, yelling at him, the pig shot. The university president issued a statement saying the UCPD followed protocol.

This police shooting has become a social question in the city, getting extensive media coverage, and on the U of C campus. The University of Chicago is a prestigious private university, known in some quarters as “The Harvard of the Midwest,” located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Four members of the U of C faculty wrote an open letter to the school newspaper condemning the shooting and the role of the university police. They were unequivocal in their opposition. “As we write, many factual details regarding this incident remain unclear. As more details emerge, many in the observing public may focus on adjudicating the facts of the case and whether the shooting was justified. As tends to be the case in police shooting incidents, there will be divergent interpretations of police accounts and body camera footage. We argue that many of these details—whether the student charged the officer, whether the officers ordered him to drop the pipe he was holding—are in fact irrelevant to the undisputed facts and the crucial concerns they raise for our community. Three officers approached a civilian who was not armed with a deadly weapon, and they fired a gun at him, endangering his life. This horrifying fact should be the center of our discourse, and our efforts going forward should be focused on ensuring that such a thing can never happen again.”

Sure enough, just as the above open letter predicted, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has a major piece in the Sunday print edition, “Frame by frame: Take aways from a careful look at the U of C police shooting video,” arguing that this shooting is justified. He ends his article by saying, “An email Thursday from the Revolution Club Chicago branded Tuesday’s shooting as ‘outrageous.’ I dissent. What’s outrageous is a knee-jerk response to all police shootings that ends up blunting the message and confusing the issue when police do cross the line.”

Well, Eric—the Revolution Club challenges you to a debate about this OUTRAGEOUS police shooting. Open up your column to us and others, and let’s get at the truth of the matter.

The day after Charles was shot, two previously planned protests against the university condemned the shooting as part of their actions. This included the protest demanding dropping the charges and ban against Maya, the Revolution Club member who was attacked by this same police force on March 1 after holding 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants and has been indicted with two felonies. Supporters of Maya held 11 minutes of silence and spoke out in front of the building of the university president’s office. The other protest the same day was for a graduate student union, where 200 students chanted outside a discussion the university president was having on “free speech.”

The next day, more than 100 students attended a protest called directly in response to the shooting of Charles Thomas. Students spoke out, and those in the crowd were listening with tears streaming down their faces from students suffering from mental health issues. As a white student cried, she spoke about how the shooting of Charles Thomas going through a mental health crisis could well mean she could be shot. Students also spoke out against the UCPD being one of the largest private police forces in the world. People brought out the human life of Charles Thomas who needed help but was dealt with by police with guns.

The Revolution Club has been at all these protests taking out our statement on police murder and calling on people to get into Bob Avakian and to watch and promote the film The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible. We have also been linking this outrage to the UCPD’s attack on Maya and the battle to get her charges dropped. Both Maya and Charles Thomas are facing felony charges from the same campus police force.

A statement has been issued by a friend of Charles that reads in part, “Anyone, student or faculty, on this campus will tell you about the intense amount of emotional stress put on individuals to succeed. Charles was no stranger to this feeling, and with pressures mounting at the end of his undergraduate career, he did what he could to get himself help by visiting the Student Counseling Service at the end of winter quarter. Rather than being provided with a regular counselor on campus, SCS referred Charles off campus.”

The president of the university has justified this shooting as being a part of “protocol.” What kind of institutional protocol is it when the police are required to shoot down people who are suffering from a mental breakdown? What kind of system is this where police are called to the scene of someone in a crisis needing help and shooting him? Instead of offering critical care to someone who needs help, the enforcers of a worldwide system that bombs hospitals and access to clean water, shoots down protesters and intervenes with coup d’etats, and terrorizes whole peoples with its military might and wars for empire releases its thugs to bring down people, particularly of color, by shooting them. Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California. Decynthia Clements in Elgin, Illinois. Quintonio Legrier in Chicago. There are so many more names of people, many of them Black, who were suffering and when they needed help were instead gunned down by the police.

What kind of system is this where the shooting of a victim is put forward as a justifiable and reasonable solution? This has got to stop! As the Revolution Club, Chicago began in our recent statement: “How long will pigs keep murdering and walking free? How long will they enforce this system with its murder, brutality and oppression? UNTIL WE MAKE REVOLUTION TO GET RID OF IT! Get With the Revolution Club and Start Getting Ready for Revolution.”

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/538/statements-of-support-for-revolution-books-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Statements of Support for Revolution Books, Berkeley, against Fascist Threat to Burn Down the Bookstore

April 12, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Revolution Books in Berkeley has been the target of fascist assaults 10 times in the last six months. On March 3, 2018, two fascists threatened to burn down the bookstore. The outrageous attack was video-taped and posted on a number of online media sites, and was viewed 2.7 million times on Now This Facebook alone.

Support has poured in from around the country. Below is a new statement from PEN America, as well as earlier statements from bookstores, authors and other prominent individuals in March.

 

PEN America:

Threats Against Leftist Bookstore Go Beyond Free Expression

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 10, 2018

NEW YORK—Revolution Books and its employees must be free to operate without fear for their safety, PEN America said in a statement today.

Revolution Books in Berkeley, an independent bookstore that is affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist Party, a political party within the United States, and that specializes in selling books from a leftist political standpoint, has been the target of a sustained protest campaign by right-wing activists for the past several months. This campaign has at points flared into threats and violence.

Most recently, on March 3, a group of right-wing activists protested the store. During a verbal altercation caught on video, one protester exclaimed “We’re gonna burn down your bookstore, you know that right?” In a previous protest, captured on videotape, a person protesting the bookstore elbowed a bookstore supporter in the face. In recent months, Revolution Books employees have also reportedly been “doxed” (their personal information shared online without their consent) and received threatening phone calls.

“Political disagreements are one thing. Threatening to burn down a bookstore is another, and is unacceptable,” said Summer Lopez, Senior Director of Free Expression at PEN America. “While protests and calls to boycott are of course free and protected speech, that is no excuse for threats, violence, or sustained harassment. Now more than ever, we need to recognize and cherish the right of bookstores to offer books with diverse points of view from across the political spectrum.”

The protests against the store reportedly began in September 2017, when—after a visit from right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to University of California, Berkeley resulted in protests against his speech—a group of 30 to 40 people stormed Revolution Books and confronted shoppers.

Originally posted at the PEN America website.

 

Nation Books

“Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” 
—Heinrich Heine

We were distressed—but not, unfortunately, surprised—to learn that Revolution Books has been targeted by far-right groups over the last several months. On March 3, fascists threatened to burn down the store.

Here at Nation Books, we are committed to giving voice to under-reported stories and under-represented writers who speak truth to power. We know that these are precisely the ideas that are most feared by far-right groups. Our authors know this, too. In the past year alone, they have been targeted by hate groups and Twitter mobs, and threatened with racist symbols and speech.   

Our authors will not be silenced. But we can’t get our books into the hands of readers without bookstores like Revolution Books. If they are under threat, oracles to knowledge is under threat.            

Don’t let the fascists win.      

Stand strong, Revolution Books, because we stand with you.      

In Solidarity, the Nation Books team

 

Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. Senior Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church      

I am in support of Revolution Books' resistance to the threat of violence from the latest attack on Revolution Books. Under these circumstances, the statement of support that I made in the wake of the initial attack on the bookstore still holds.

 

David Gunn Jr.

Last weekend I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a Now Hear This video documenting a rabid band of Trump supporters aggressively confronting the volunteer staff of a Revolution Books storefront in Berkeley, CA. As I watched the MAGA crowd’s anger intensify, and as it became evident that their actions were motivated by a combination of fear, political intolerance, nativist hatred, misogynistic oppression, and just plain racist thinking, I was struck by two things: 1) the courage and restraint of the bookstore’s volunteer staff; and 2) the explosive rage of their assailants. I have seen this exact type of intolerance before. It is the exact type of intimidation used by anti-abortion protestors. The absolute hatred it fosters is the same type of uncontrollable rage that led Michael Griffin to murder my father. It is dangerous when unchecked, and it typically ends in real violence and death.

Obviously, these people, motivated and encouraged by the Trump regime and the fear of political dissent it engenders, want to eliminate anything and everyone they see as “other.” They want silence. They crave supplication. They want conformity. Today I stand with the staff of Revolution Books in Berkeley, and the larger anti-Trump resistance, and say fuck no we will not conform, be silent, or prostrate ourselves to Trump or his deranged supporters. We must all stand with these courageous volunteers and say No to the Trump/Pence regime and the MAGA extremists. Failure to resist makes us complicit and it dishonors the volunteers’ courage and sacrifice.

Thank you to the staff of Revolution Books in Berkeley for your dedication. Your refusal to kowtow to extremism and your service to freedom and liberty is beautiful and righteous.

David Gunn Jr. is the son of Dr. David Gunn, the first of several abortion doctors who have been assassinated by anti-abortion extremists.

 

Peter Coyote:

Hey, everybody. My name is Peter Coyote, and I’ve got a lot of friends at Revolution Books. As a matter of fact, there’s no one I like to argue with better than people at Revolution Books.

And it’s with humor, and it’s fundamental. But, we don’t agree about a lot of stuff. But there’s one thing we do agree about, and that’s the importance of the First Amendment. And no serious, dedicated intellectuals — who operate a wonderful bookstore, by the way — should ever have to receive the vitriol, the cursing, and the direct threats of physical violence that Revolution Books is receiving.

It’s time to stand up and be counted. You don’t have to be a communist, or a socialist, or a liberal Democrat to understand the importance of a politically free and open bookstore, and the necessity of protecting other people’s right to free speech. If this was a fascist bookstore, I’d hold my nose, but I’d be saying the same thing, as long as they’re expressing their opinions in a peaceful and non-aggressive manner, that’s their right under the Constitution. And anyone who denies it, is basically acting in an anti-American fashion—even if they’re wearing a hat that says “Make America Great Again.”

Thanks for everybody who showed up tonight; I’m sorry I can’t make it. But this is not a local Berkeley issue, this is a national issue. With the press itself under attack, facts themselves under attack, we need to get together, help one another.

Thank you so much.

 

Media Alliance      

Media Alliance is committed to both the free flow of information and the physical and emotional safety of the people of the Bay Area. We believe that it is both possible and necessary to protect freedom of speech while understanding that freedom extends to both the speaker and the audience. We condemn any threat to burn down a bookstore because of fear of the ideas inside or to harass, undermine or intimidate the owners, employees or users of Revolution Books. We also state for the record that hate is not an idea and we reject freedom of speech claims that extend the idea of freedom to statements or actions that impede the freedom of others to live and feel safe in their own community. Your freedom stops at my ability to live and participate in society on an equitable basis, regardless of my race, ethnicity, skin color, immigration status or personal beliefs. The threats to Revolution Books are reprehensible.

 

Northern California Independent Booksellers Association   

The NCIBA encourages open and peaceful dialogue conducted in an atmosphere of respect and civility concerning ideas and philosophies, especially when it relates to free speech. Bookstores of all stripes are repositories and channels for ideas and must be protected.

 "Light often arises from a collision of opinions, as fire from flint and steel" - Benjamin Franklin, 1760      

Please, let's keep the collision to opinions only, that the light may shine.

 

From Vegas Tenold, author of Everything You Love Will Burn:

A little more than a year ago I was interviewing Richard Spencer in a coffee shop in DC. He was loudly explaining how, if it were up to him, women would not be encouraged to enter higher education. The table next to us was occupied by a group of young women, one of whom got up and came over. Without letting him speak, she explained to him, patiently, as one would to a child, how he was the last person on earth who should voice an opinion on what women should or shouldn’t do, and that his garbage ideas and opinions were not so much offensive as they were laughable. I watched as the woman reduced the infamous Richard Spencer to a blushing, stuttering boy and when she was done she left him staring into the remains of his tea. We sat there for an awkward five minutes because Spencer said that if he left now, the woman would think she had won. It didn’t matter. He could have sat there for five years. She had completely demolished him without breaking a sweat. When fighting racism, bigotry and hatred, we should never forget that our arguments are much, much better than theirs, and that when they threaten us with violence it is because they know they can’t beat us with words. The way to defeat the far right is with knowledge and opinions loudly voiced. It is by gathering and organizing. It is by creating a movement where everyone involved, particularly women and people of color know how powerful they really are. To do that we need places like Revolution Books. I really wish I could be there today, but I’m so glad that you guys are doing what you are doing, and I’m in awe of your badassery facing these people. See you next time I’m in Berkeley.

 

Kevin Ryan, Green Apple Books, San Francisco   

We live in troubling times when the centers of our community that function as conduits of discourse come under attack.  When bookstores, libraries, universities and other places that serve the marketplace of ideas are threatened by mobs that would shut down the full spectrum of dialogue, or by a government that would try to stifle dissent, then civil society itself is threatened.   

Green Apple Books stands in solidarity with Revolution Books

 

From Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland:

As an independent bookstore owner I support Revolution Books right to free speech and their right to refuse service to disruptive, ignorant, abusive,  foul-mouthed,  right-wing protesters.

We are living in scary times.

We have a president who has made name-calling, lying and bullying the national norm.

I stand with Revolution Books and hope others join me. 

Sincerely,

 

City Lights Booksellers and Publishers   

All of us at City Lights Books were disturbed to hear of the recent attempts to intimidate and shut down Revolution Books for exercising their First Amendment rights. We stand in solidarity with our fellow booksellers, and with all those who exercise their rights to think freely, publish and advocate for their beliefs. And we stand firmly against those who would try to stifle dissent.

 

Alexander Akin, Bookseller  

As a fellow bookseller, I prize the freedom to disseminate literature of all sorts - particularly that which challenges the status quo. The threat to burn down a bookstore is a direct assault on the First Amendment. The widely circulated video of the group that threatened Revolution Books reveals a mob mentality almost comical in its stupidity, but no less alarming for its potential consequences. As Heinrich Heine wrote, "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" - "Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people."

 

Bill Petrocelli, Book Passage   

I have just viewed the portion of the video in which a protestor threatened to burn down your bookstore.   I’m appalled. Given the previous threats against your store from what appears to be the same group, this is the type of threat that cannot be ignored. This is the worst kind of attack on free speech, and it is intolerable.  I think you know that other bookstores will be standing with you as you fight these kinds of threats. Please keep us  up to date on anything else that occurs and how we can lend  our voices in support.

 

Luan Stauss, Laurel Book Store, Oakland   

Book stores are exceptionally important pieces of our shared community and culture.  

Whether you agree with the ideas that a particular store chooses to stock its shelves with or not, an attack on any book store is an attack on free expression and open minds.   

Those who have attacked and threatened Revolution Books are attempting to restrict what others are allowed to read, evaluate, and discuss. That is not the value of the American people.  Rather than choose not to shop there, these people are threatening harm not only the stock and staff of the store, effectively proving that they do not value ideas other than their own. Nor do they value the independent thinking of each member of the community.   

I support the protection and value of Revolution Books and condemn those who threaten their existence.

 

Chris Doeblin, Book Culture, NYC   

All of us here at The Book Culture stores in New York hope to encourage the staff of Revolution Books, East and West to stand firm for your right to promote and sell books and ideas as you see fit. Shouting down voices that don’t reflect our own point of view is far too acceptable at this political and social moment. Whether left or right or center, all points of view have the right to be held, published, spoken and sold in book form. It is something that all booksellers must stand together to assert to our fellow Americans. Any attack on a bookstore is an act of censure and any censure that is tolerated is an acceptance of a move away from our sacred democratic values and towards a totalitarian state.   

No Censorship! Book stores must be defended!

 

Danny Caine, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kansas   

The answer to discourse is not violence. To threaten a bookstore is to threaten the community it serves, as the best bookstores (like Revolution Books) are defined by the communities they serve. It is never appropriate to threaten to burn down a bookstore. To threaten the printed word with fire is to imitate the most oppressive and violent regimes throughout history. We must avoid that road. To threaten ideas with violence is to undermine the fabric of our society.

Please keep up the good work!

 

Richard McNeace, Publishers’ Representative, Faherty & Associates   

I appreciate the work that Revolution Books does to educate the public about issues of race and class, and to encourage liberation from oppression.   

I am dismayed that someone who has wrapped themselves in the American flag is not only trying to impinge upon your Constitutional freedom of speech, but is also invoking the Nazi threat of burning books. Thank you for defending the store against them.   

We, in publishing, have to remember that "first they came" for the smallest, the weakest, the least protected. Any bookseller, any publisher, any author, is threatened by what you are facing. Every bookstore - no matter how small or how large - needs to be defended.   In solidarity with you, Richard McNeace

 

Middle East Children’s Alliance   

The Middle East Children's Alliance stands with Revolution Books in opposing fascism in all its forms. This bookstore has been a critical resource for all those in the Bay Area and beyond who are fighting for a more just world.

 

Ula Taylor, Chair of African American Studies, UC Berkeley   

Revolution Books is more than a book store!  It's a place that encourages critical thought and transformative love.  We have to support, protect and advocate for Revolution Books! Their struggle is our struggle!

 

Sahar Delijani, author of Children of the Jacaranda Tree   

An attack on a bookstore is an attack on all of us, on our minds and souls and ideas. It is never to be taken lightly. We applaud the courage of everyone at Revolution Bookstore and stand on your side.

 

Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of the City of Berkeley   

The fear of books and ideas, especially those defending the rights of the underprivileged (justice), and the suppression of them is a mark of tyranny and has no place in a country that pretends to democracy.

 

Marc Sapir, retired East Bay primary care and public health physician   

Though not a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, I agree that the far right attacks on Revolution Books are a derivative and dangerous reflection of the fascism that Trump represents.  On the other hand I also think these militant rightists are a sides-show.  The U.S. today has a Cabinet and President bent upon destroying the foundations of social democracy in the U.S.  Concomitantly, the Trump movement is white supremacist (even if some people who still support Trump have yet to notice what he stands for).  Every single person leading an important Cabinet department of government is hell-bent (and put there by Trump) in order to destroy the purpose for which that department was founded and exists.  From Zinke to Pruitt to de Vos et al they are paranoid destroyers who make these "anti-antifas" look like kindergarteners with their baiting and gamesmanship.  The cabinet people are attacking public institutions and rights fought for by public protest and put in place by Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives and centrists alike over the past century. Those who go after Revolution Books have no problem ignoring that fact to ply their lines.  Refuse fascism, RCP and Revolution Books are right to resist the intimidation of these clowns, but I also think it's best not to allow their behaviors to distract from the broader efforts to resist and uproot the fascists currently in power and reverse their devastating impacts on our country.

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/sunsara-taylor-disrupts-appearance-by-james-comey-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Sunsara Taylor: "why I disrupted @Comey's only public book event"

April 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution newspaper and co-initiator of Refuse Fascism, disrupted an April appearance by James Comey (ex-FBI head), as seen through tweets below:

 

Thread on why I disrupted @Comey's only public book event.
[1] It is not normal for the commander-in-chief to threaten to imprison his fired FBI head (Comey) or his political opponent (Hillary). These are the moves -- along with much more -- of a fascist Trump/Pence Regime. pic.twitter.com/q2xnPJCD5L

— Sunsara Taylor (@SunsaraTaylor) April 19, 2018

 

[2] The Trump/Pence Regime is a FASCIST REGIME. It poses a catastrophic danger to humanity.
But, Comey is NOT going to save us -- he tells us to wait for the elections. But the elections won't stop a fascist America.#Comey #ComeyBook pic.twitter.com/Tv2a76YCKg

— Sunsara Taylor (@SunsaraTaylor) April 19, 2018

 

[3] Only an unprecedented struggle from below can stop a fascist America -- 1000's taking the streets in cities nationwide, staying day after day in nonviolent political protests, growing to involve millions who don't stop until our demand is met: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! pic.twitter.com/FjBneOWlFK

— Sunsara Taylor (@SunsaraTaylor) April 19, 2018

 

[4] This is what https://t.co/UFM0ZOGjlH is preparing for. EVERYONE who refuses to accept a fascist America is invited & urged to come together now with this movement before it is too late.
IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY, ONLY THE PEOPLE CAN STOP A FASCIST AMERICA!

— Sunsara Taylor (@SunsaraTaylor) April 19, 2018

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/539/police-murder-diante-yarber-en.html

Revolution #539 April 16, 2018

Barstow, California

Police Murder Diante Yarber with Barrage of Gunfire

April 20, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On the morning of April 5, Diante “Butchie” Yarber, a 26-year-old Black man, drove a few friends to Walmart in his hometown of Barstow, California. While Diante was still driving through the parking lot Barstow pigs pulled up on him. Within seconds they unleashed a barrage on the car. Witnesses told reporters that it sounded like the police fired over 30 shots.

Within moments, Diante Yarber was bleeding to death. The cops critically wounded 23-year-old Mariana Tafoya, then cuffed her and put her in a police car before finally getting her medical attention. A man in the car was also wounded, and the other passenger was “taken into police custody,” according to news reports.

Police Concoct Story Full of Lies

Police claim they had received a “call of a suspicious vehicle.” Then they claimed that they wanted Diante Yarber “for questioning” in a stolen vehicle case. Then they claimed that the unarmed Yarber accelerated his car in reverse into the police.

All this is bullshit. The cops have produced no evidence to back up their claims. Diante was driving a car that belonged to his cousin, who was a passenger in it. The car had not been stolen, or reported stolen. He was going away from the cops, in reverse in a parking lot, when they unloaded their guns on him.

Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing Yarber’s family, wrote on his Facebook page that “Diante Yarber was profiled, stalked and murdered by Barstow PD officers. While waiting for one of his passengers to return from shopping at Walmart, Diante and his passengers were labeled ‘suspicious’ and targeted for harassment by the BPD. When officers, lacking reasonable suspicion for stopping Yarber in the first place, attempted to box his vehicle in, Yarber maneuvered his car around the police vehicles. Video footage of his car reversing slowly away from law enforcement was captured by a pedestrian, just before officers began to shoot into the vehicle. ... in a crowded parking lot, police officers decided to halt Yarber’s vehicle by unleashing over 30 rifle rounds in the windshield and driver side door.”

Brittany Chandler, mother of Yarber’s 19-month-old daughter, said, “The police took him away for no reason. The police should be held accountable for this... They are sick people for them to be able to shoot someone down in broad daylight.” Ruby Hawkins, Yarber’s sister, told the Guardian newspaper that Barstow police often targeted her brother. “They are the biggest criminals. They are bullies with badges ... I don’t know how you can fear for your life with a person that is moving away from you.”

Justice for Butchie!

On April 10 about 100 people rallied and marched in Barstow, a desert town about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, to protest the murder of Diante Yarber. Many people wore T-shirts with pictures of Diante, and carried signs saying “Justice for Butchie.” A woman who spoke at the rally in front of Barstow City Hall told the crowd, “We are here to say, Stop killing us!”

Alice Brown, a relative of Diante’s, said “There were no firearms found inside the car. Police still haven’t said what even led to them pulling him over in the first place. We need answers.” The cops who shot Diante Yarber have not been charged with anything as of this writing. All the cops at the scene of the cold-blooded murder have been put on “paid administrative leave.”

We Don’t Have to Continue Living This Way

In the past few weeks: Stephon Clark, gunned down by police in his grandmother’s yard in Sacramento. Saheed Vassell, shot and killed by cops on a street in Brooklyn. The police killers of Alton Sterling, murdered while selling CDs in Baton Rouge, not charged with any crime after a bullshit 21 month cover-up called an “investigation.” And now, in Barstow, Diante Yarber.

This kind of state-sanctioned murder is a 21st century continuation of the days of slave catching posses. The courts and their rulings that uphold the killer cops over and over and over are a 21st-century continuation of the Supreme Court ruling in 1857 that a Black man had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

It is unacceptable. People in Barstow are right to get in the streets, and people across the country need to get in the streets in protest of the police murder of Diante “Butchie” Yarber, and all the police murders of Black, Brown, and Native American youth.

As Carl Dix said recently at a Brooklyn rally protesting the murder of Saheed Vassell, “We cannot continue to live this way, and we don’t have to. There is another way. An important part of getting out of this madness means taking this fight against murder by police even higher, and joining the movement to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power before they are allowed to consolidate their fascist rule. And doing all this while digging into and getting organized for an actual revolution.”