Revolution #551, July 9, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

To Do This, We Need To Know:

Why we need an actual revolution.
What we need to do now.
How we could defeat them.

Why We Need An Actual Revolution

An actual revolution does not mean trying to make some changes within this system—it means overthrowing this system and bringing into being a radically different and far better system.This system of capitalism-imperialism cannot be reformed. There is no way, under this system, to put an end to the brutality and murder by police, the wars and destruction of people and the environment, the exploitation, oppression and degradation of millions and billions of people, including the half of humanity that is female, here and throughout the world—all of which is rooted in profound contradictions built into the basic functioning, relations, and structures of this system. Only an actual revolution can bring about the fundamental change that is needed.

What We Need To Do Now

To make this revolution, we need to be serious, and scientific. We need to take into account the actual strengths of this system, but more than that its strategic weaknesses, based in its deep and defining contradictions. We need to build this revolution among those who most desperately need a radical change, but among others as well who refuse to live in a world where this system spews forth endless horrors, and this is continually “justified” and even glorified as “greatness.”

We need to be on a mission to spread the word, to let people know that we have the leadership, the science, the strategy and program, and the basis for organizing people for an actual, emancipating revolution. We have Bob Avakian (BA) the leader of this revolution and the architect of a new framework for revolution, the new synthesis of communism. We have the Party led by BA, the Revolutionary Communist Party, with this new synthesis as its scientific basis to build for revolution. We have the Revolution Clubs, where people can take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way, as they learn more about the revolution and advance toward joining the Party. We have the website of the Party, revcom.us, and its newspaper Revolution, which sharply expose the crimes of this system, scientifically analyze why it cannot be reformed, and give guidance and direction for people to work in a unified way for revolution. We have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA and adopted by the Party’s Central Committee, which provides a sweeping and concrete vision and “blueprint” for a radically new and emancipating society. People in the inner cities, and in the prisons, students, scholars, artists, lawyers and other professionals, youth in the suburbs and rural areas—people in all parts of society—need to know about this and seriously take it up.

Those who catch the worst hell under this system, and those who are sickened by the endless outrages perpetrated by this system, need to join up with this revolution. Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution. We have seen the potential for this in the protests that have taken place against police brutality and murder, and other ways in which large numbers of people have gone up against the established authorities and the political “rules of the game.” But this needs to be transformed, through struggle, into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization. The organized forces and the leadership of this revolution must become the “authority” that growing numbers of people look to and follow—not the lying politicians and media of this oppressive system—not those who front for the oppressors and preach about “reconciliation” with this system—not those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution. While many people will do positive things in opposing the crimes of this system, we need to approach everything—evaluate every political program and every organized force in society, every kind of culture, values and ways of treating people—according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression. We should unite with people whenever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.

While awaiting the necessary conditions to go all-out for revolution, we need to hasten this and actively carry out the “3 Prepares”: Prepare the Ground, Prepare the People, and Prepare the Vanguard—Get Ready for the Time When Millions Can Be Led to Go for Revolution, All-Out, With a Real Chance to Win. We need to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution—protest and resist the injustices and atrocities of this system, and win people to defy and repudiate this putrid system and its ways of thinking, and to take up the outlook and values, and the strategy and program of the revolution, build up the forces for this revolution, and defeat the attempts of the ruling powers to crush the revolution and its leadership. With every “jolt” in society—every crisis, every new outrage, where many people question and resist what they normally accept—we need to seize on this to advance the revolution and expand its organized forces. We need to oppose and disrupt the moves of the ruling powers to isolate, “encircle,” brutalize, mass incarcerate and murderously repress the people who have the hardest life under this system and who most need this revolution. We need to “encircle” them—by bringing forth wave upon wave of people rising up in determined opposition to this system.

All this is aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation: Where the system and its ruling powers are in a serious crisis, and the violence they use to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate. Where the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp—and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution. Where millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government that will be based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. That is the time to go all-out to win. That is what we need to be actively working for and preparing for now.

How We Could Defeat Them

“On the Possibility of Revolution” is a very important statement from the Party, which is posted on revcom.us. It sets forth the foundation—the strategic conception and doctrine—for how to fight with a real chance of winning, once a revolutionary people in the millions, and the necessary conditions for revolution, have been brought into being. Now is not yet the time to wage this kind of fight—to try to do so now would only lead to a devastating defeat—but ongoing work is being done to further develop this strategic conception and doctrine with the future in mind, and the following are some of the main things the revolutionary forces would need to do when the conditions to go all-out to make revolution had been brought into being.

  • When the revolutionary situation is clearly emerging, rapidly transform backbone forces of the revolution into organized fighting forces in key strategic areas, carry out the necessary training, obtain the necessary equipment and provide for the basic logistical needs of this revolutionary fighting force to start the all-out fight, while preventing the enemy from crushing the revolutionary forces at this crucial juncture. Back up these core fighting forces with millions more organized into powerful “reserves” for the revolution.
  • Initiate actions throughout the country, accompanied by a bold declaration to the world, which make clear that there is an organized force determined to defeat the forces of the old order and bring into being a new, revolutionary system. Upon completion of these initial actions, quickly regroup forces for “follow-on” actions and maintain the momentum of the revolution.
  • Counter the enemy’s superior destructive force by seeking to fight only on favorable terms, and actively avoiding decisive encounters, which would determine the outcome of the whole thing, until the “balance of forces” has shifted overwhelmingly in favor of the revolution. Utilize equipment captured from the enemy in ways that fit the fighting strategy of the revolution. Build up political and logistical bases of support, in key strategic areas, but do not attempt to openly control and govern territory, until the necessary “favorable balance of forces” has been achieved.
  • Maintain the initiative—or, if it is temporarily lost, regain it—through surprise and maneuver. Fight in ways the enemy does not anticipate. Carry out actions to keep the enemy off balance, disrupting the concentration and utilization of his forces and contributing to their disintegration. Always conduct operations and act in ways that are in line with the emancipating outlook and goals of the revolution, and turn the barbaric actions of the enemy against him—to win greater forces for the revolution, including those who come over from the ranks of the enemy.
  • Combine strategic direction and coordination for the fight as a whole, with decentralized actions and initiative by local units and leaders. Relying on mass support, the intelligence this provides for the revolution and the denial of intelligence to the enemy, counter the enemy’s efforts to find, fix and annihilate revolutionary leadership and key fighting units. Rapidly replace forces and leaders that are lost—continually train and deploy new forces and leaders.
  • Correctly handle the relation between this all-out fight and the situation—including the character and level of revolutionary struggle—in countries to the south (and the north).
  • When the “balance of forces” has shifted in favor of the revolution, conduct operations aimed at achieving final victory, while continuing to “calibrate” these operations so that decisive encounters are still avoided until the forces of the old order have been brought to the brink of total defeat—and then fully, finally, rout and dismantle the remaining enemy forces.

All this depends on winning millions to revolution in the period that leads up to the ripening of a revolutionary situation. The chance to defeat them, when the time comes—the chance to be rid of this system and to bring something far better into being—has everything to do with what we do now. Everyone who hungers for a radically different world, free of exploitation and oppression and all the needless suffering caused by this system, needs to work now with a fired determination to make this happen, so we will have a real chance to win.

 

Now is the time to spread these messages to all of society

"HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" is a companion to the Message from the Central Committee of the RCP, USA posted on www.revcom.us on May 16, 2016.  Get "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,” together with “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” out everywhere.  Now is the time to spread the word to all of society.

Download "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" HERE (36”x24” PDF): ENGLISH  | ESPAÑOL.  Download “Time to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” HERE (17"x 22" PDF): ENGLISH | ESPAÑOL.  Our suggestion is that they be printed on white bond paper and posted together in the appropriate ways all over the place. Here’s a rough picture of what this could look like.

“HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution” now in booklet form!

Printing Instructions:
The PDF of a booklet that includes “HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution,Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution” and the “Points of Attention for the Revolution”is now available. This booklet is 16 pages long. The size of the laid-out pages is 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". It can also be printed 6" x 9". There are two layouts here. 1) One is a single PDF with 16 consecutive, individual pages. 2) The second is a printer's spread; that is, the first spread is page 16 and page 1, the second is page 2 and page 15, etc., so that when it prints and is folded, the pages will be in order. Printers can tell you which layout they need. Readers should make plans for printing this 5 1/2" x 8.5" booklet, raising money, and getting it out in the tens of thousands everywhere as soon as possible.

ENGLISH:
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, single pages
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, printer spread

SPANISH:
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, single pages
Download 5.5x8.5 PDF, printer spread

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Commitment and the Process of Building a Movement FOR Revolution

June 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People need to be serious in whatever commitments they make—they need to follow through on such commitments—and we should set and struggle for this to be the standard and the actual reality. But getting involved in the movement for an actual revolution has a specific dynamic that differs, say, from joining a sports team or a music group. We should not demand “zero to sixty” right away—or, in any case, try to force a leap, rather than winning people to it as part of an overall revolutionary process. What we need to be building is a continually developing mass movement for revolution—yes, an actual revolution—with a vibrant “Ohio,”* through which exponentially growing numbers of people can be actively involved and continue to advance (not all, but many of them) through the dialectical interplay of contributing and learning in continually increasing dimensions. As for those who do reach the “advanced end” of this “Ohio,” again this raises the question of their becoming not only part of the Revolution Club but also making the further leap to becoming part of the communist vanguard; but here again as well, the question of commitment should not be approached (even if in a somewhat “backhanded” way) from the negative, defensive position that amounts to: “We have had people make commitments and then not keep them, and then disappear (‘ghost’) on us; so we are going to make sure you don’t (can’t) do that!” Rather, we should proceed with the recognition that commitment, while it involves and requires (repeated) leaps along the way, essentially corresponds to and is grounded in what aspirations have been awakened, or brought forward, in people, and what they are coming to understand is required in relation to that. So, again, while we do need to have a serious attitude with regard to people making and carrying through on commitments, this must be commensurate with what their understanding and sentiments are at a given point, and most essentially must be in the context of and contribute to the broader mass revolutionary movement that they are part of (or becoming part of) and, while not involving any tailing, should proceed from what they themselves have been won (yes, won through struggle, even at times sharp struggle) to see as a necessary and essential contribution to the revolution.

 

* The “Ohio” refers to the Ohio State marching band’s practice of marching in such a way as to spell out “OHIO” when viewed from above; in this process, band members who begin the first O, then move through the other letters of the word until they are at the last “O”. The point is that there is an analogous process involved in building any kind of progressive or revolutionary movement, in which people “move through” various levels of understanding and commitment, though this is not (“in the real world”) quite so linear and in lockstep as the Ohio State marching band!*

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Responses from Our Readers to the Questions Explored in “Commitment and the Process of Building a Movement FOR Revolution”

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What follows are different ways that people have responded to the questions posed and explored in “Commitment and the Process of Building a Movement FOR Revolution,” as well as earlier pieces setting forth ideas on building a movement for revolution. The first two are from younger revolutionaries; the third is from a veteran comrade.

One

This question of a movement—thousands leading millions—is not “OK, let’s cherry pick the ripe thousands and then work on the millions,” OR “let’s impact broadly and the ripe ones will come to us” (without us doing much work to really organize people), which is actually more of how we’ve been operating, but how do we grow in an all-around sense where we are forging the multifaceted machinery to go at this with a shot to win. NOW forging a revolutionary people, giving individuals ways to work on advancing the strategy at whatever level they are, modeling and projecting a different culture with different values and infused with the vibrant discussions required to change the world. This will make us a pole of attraction, by projecting ourselves as a viable alternative to this whole rotten system both because of the kind of world we are fighting for and because people should be getting a sense that we have our shit together and we are serious about actually building up the muscles to overthrow this system and that they have a role to play in all of this, that they are needed.

Becoming the new authority requires gaining legitimacy and respect, and part of that means giving people a sense that we have what it takes to run a new society in both the vision and the organizational means. In this regard, I was thinking about the importance of popularizing the strategy and giving people a sense that taking this out to people is part of announcing there is a viable alternative, and also the importance of taking ourselves seriously and setting standards for commitment (handling this well, not in the 0-60 way). That whole conception of building a movement starting now, and that broader definition of the “we” is much less linear and much more messy than I think we’ve envisioned and taken responsibility for.

Two

[Summarized from discussion notes] I’ve learned that the solid core can get lost, even if it is “in the mix.” BA has to be the central part of what people are engaging. We can have the BA clips playing, but they have to be incorporated into things in the right way. People do need to see a lot of different ways they can participate, but if we are going to build a movement for revolution, and not an alternative lifestyle, BA has to be what people are beginning to have a basic appreciation for.

This musician I know has watched some clips and films—he watched the whole BA Speaks: REVOLUTIONNOTHING LESS! in one sitting—and I learned from what he encountered, how he responded. He has a basic appreciation for BA, so while he doesn’t have a deep understanding of some of the key points of revolution yet, overall it’s already on a higher level than some others [who may know those particular points]. He got the point about “there’s leadership.”

People need to have a basic appreciation for BA and his works, wherever they engage on the road to be part of this movement. From there people should be informed how they can contribute. Or else, it can be like just another movement.

Three

[We have to be] carrying out work that is building a national mass movement for an actual revolution—a process where our work is from the outset (on the basis of the agitation we are doing) involving people and developing the ways and means to begin to knit them together with each other, to enable them to see that they are part of a larger process, becoming a pole where they are acting together and doing so as part of a national movement. So that we are not just accelerating the number of contacts we have but still proceeding one by one, but instead accumulating masses in a geometric way, becoming a social force. And, then in this context, in this process, there is a lot of individual work and follow-up that we have to do, and obviously acutely so at times.

See also:

Some Observations: We ARE Building a Movement for Revolution

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

What IS an Actual Revolution?

December 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

An actual revolution is a lot more than a protest. An actual revolution requires that millions of people get involved, in an organized way, in a determined fight to dismantle this state apparatus and system and replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a whole different way of organizing society, with completely different objectives and ways of life for the people. Fighting the power today has to help build and develop and organize the fight for the whole thing, for an actual revolution. Otherwise we’ll be protesting the same abuses generations from now!

 


 

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

How YOU Can Spread This Film

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

As the fascist regime continues to keep families separated from their children... as Trump promises, if he's not stopped, to lock in a fascist majority on the Supreme Court... as abuses and threats too numerous to name spew forth every day... the Trump/Pence regime is barreling full steam ahead.

Many are now beginning to confront the reality that this is a FASCIST regime... and that, yes, fascism can happen here. But the “nature of the beast” and, even more, what it will take to stop this, must be much more deeply understood. This underscores the urgency for millions to watch the talk from 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.

This film goes up against the fascists in power in a way that nothing else comes close to. It calls bullshit on the mainstream media mouthpieces who are normalizing fascism and channeling people’s anger into one or another dead end. And it does more than that. This film opens the door to the bigger questions of what kind of system SHOULD we live in and fight for... and is a better world actually possible? It introduces people to the most radical revolutionary in the world, Bob Avakian, the architect of the new communism.

Here’s how you can be part of putting this in front of thousands.

1. Watch the film yourself and watch the Q&As that follow at youtube.com/tuneintorevcom. Send comments and reflections to further the debate and discussion. Write to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

2. Spread this on social media, sharing posts from @tuneintorevcom on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Post clips and links in groups, reply to comments about the situation we’re in using video clips, send to people you know with larger social media followings. Send feedback, comments and questions about this to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

3. Make a financial contribution to go towards social media promotion of the film.

4. Invite friends and family over to show them the film. After the screening, talk with them about what they think of the film, what they learned, what stood out to them or surprised them about it. Talk with each other about the situation we’re facing, what it came out of, and what we have to do to stop it. Get their ideas on how others can see it.

5. Talk with your religious institution, community center, school class, or book club about organizing a screening. You can do this by talking with the main organizer about what this film is and why you think others should see it. Speak from the heart about what you learned from this film and what difference you think it can make in the current situation. Show them what others have said about this film. When you get a screening set up, write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com so we can help publicize it.

6. Check out The Bob Avakian Institute to find ways that YOU can volunteer to spread this and other works of BA, and to learn more about him and his work.

Write to us with your ideas and suggestions to go further. Be part of enabling people to make sense out of the seeming madness. Humanity is counting on us.

Poster: A Film of a 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</em> IS <em>Possible.

Watch—and share—entire film, trailer, Q&A, selected clips ➧


NEW!

Watch, download and share the twelve Q&A’s with Bob Avakian after the presentation in separate film clips HERE.

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

A Reader Shares Important Experience:

Cold Calling Churches to Set Up BA Film Showings

July 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Revcom.us has continued to emphasize the difference it makes for many more people to see and engage Bob Avakian’s latest filmed talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, especially at this very MOMENT when millions are being jolted awake.

I’ve done some cold calls to churches and want to share my experience to help propel forward an enthusiastic and radically simple movement around the country (and world) for this film to be out into society. It is an urgent intervention to transform the political terrain that BA provides at this potentially decisive juncture for humanity. Just about everyone can do cold calls to set up screenings by utilizing all the tools provided on revcom.us and RefuseFascism.org and by wielding the trailer and clips from the film itself.

The main ingredient is to firmly grasp what we have in this film, and in BA having done this—and why it matters for people to see it. It takes breaking with the notion that you need a pre-existing condition to do this—i.e., that you have to already know the people/entity you are approaching.

One church I cold called off of knowing their long reputation fighting against social injustices (those which are concentrated in the 5 Stops), confirmed by browsing their website. They had been attacked by Trumpster Nazis and had refused to back down. The staffer on the phone suggested I attend their Sunday service and speak with the minister about it. The minister had me get in front of the congregation and read what was on the palm card at the end of their service. A couple of their members immediately volunteered. Because it was a church member-sponsored event, it was a collaborative effort vs. one where they just loaned their space. We collectively shared responsibility to promote/organize via social media, do outreach at Sunday service, do logistics, etc.

Another church screening came off cold calling a list of 10 Unitarian Universalist churches in the area, as UUs are known for inclusivity. They responded by expressing skepticism but wanted their space to allow for this type of topic and speaker. Some churches I called raised the problem of their 501c3 nonprofit status, but the fact that the above churches, and other churches nationwide, have hosted film screenings argues against this reasoning. One of the churches observed that it is the regime itself that is making pulpits talk about politicians (e.g., Trump, Pence, Roy Moore). But the bigger question is the title and content of BA’s filmed talk—the actual stakes for humanity!

At both the above church screenings, there was a lot of debate over whether voting and the Democrats are the solution, even as some were intrigued about this revolution and BA. This is a good thing, because it means we are reaching broadly—beyond the breakwaters and the choir (pun intended). A key lesson is to make the case for those open to hosting screenings to watch the film themselves beforehand as it helps them to consciously fight for its importance, without making it an absolutist precondition to working together to screen it (i.e., some people want to see it with others at its screening). Others may want to host house parties among their friends and colleagues. All should pass the hat for Refuse Fascism.

Unity-struggle-unity is a living revolutionary process, and everyone can learn to listen and argue things out by following the way key questions are joined by BA and to wield his method and approach as you do this (and rewatch the film yourself). Don’t be surprised by, but be prepared for, lots of controversy after people watch the film. It’s a good problem to have. BA as well as this talk are contended questions! Take the cue from the film’s content when challenging people’s preconceived notions. People are prone to “blue wave” sleeping pills and look for easier answers, unaware of seeing the world through their Great Tautological Fallacy (GTF) blinders if left unchallenged. Some may foolishly say, “I’ve heard all this before,” to which we should ask, “Really? Where? When?” And, “Where do you stand on the GTF?” and on “order or justice?” The challenge is to have this filmed talk by BA reach such societal impact, where many people in all walks of life struggle over its content and learn about BA on their own as they are thinking and acting in big and small ways.

From an earlier article at revcom: Some people will just want to digest it and think it over. They may or may not spread it through social media or talk to friends about it... but whatever they do or don’t do immediately, it’ll be circulating in their minds as things continue to develop. Don’t underestimate the importance of that. Others are going to want to get active in Refuse Fascism—make sure that they have a way to do that. Try to find a way to stay in touch, even with those who are ‘too busy’ right now to get active.”

 

See Also:

This Film Can Make a Major Difference in How People See the Political Situation… and the World—Now, More Than Ever, It Must Be Spread

Film Showing at Church Provokes Discussion and Debate: “There was so much packed into the talk.”

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Three Points for the Coming Week

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

  1. This coming week will witness a major step towards the U.S. courts being put more firmly in the grip of the fascists. We will see the fabric of the “grand (imperialist) alliances” of the past 70 years being pulled apart and resoldered on an increasingly fascist and obscurantist basis. We will witness the rabid dog of xenophobia further unleashed on its worldwide gallop, and the carrying through of trade wars that reflect and prefigure deeper and larger conflicts. Through chaos and upheaval, the “new order” of fascism is more strongly and directly asserting itself. All this is way bigger than any hyped-up “blue wave” even promises, let alone intends, to deal with. In today’s context, normalization and notions of “long-haul struggle” are deadly.
  2. But let’s not forget: the old order—the still-existing order—is an order of horror, a reign and rain of terror. Both the old and the new are different forms of rule for the capitalist-imperialist system; the essence is the same. The lives and bodies of billions are ground up in sweatshops, mines, and plantations every day to serve a way of life for the few that never can be—and never should be—sustained. Whole peoples were and are brutalized and slaughtered, decade after decade right up to today, in the defense of that way of life. All through the empire, women and LGBTQ people were and are devalued, invisibilized, stigmatized, abused and worse, and overall treated as less than human. And in its homeland, the founding “sins” of genocide and slavery played out and still play out, with a viciousness yet untold, every single day.
  3. Still—there is a huge fight to wage right now against the imposition of fascism with the even deeper horror that this already is meaning—and the far worse it promises once it is fully implanted. There must be a monumental struggle to drive out the fascist regime in this country, and there is an urgent phase in that fight at this very moment.
  4. But as we wage the struggle to drive out this fascist regime, what should our aims be? To go back to the old? We don’t have to live this way...we do not HAVE to choose between two monstrous alternatives. The possibility exists for a radically different and radically better world. We need a revolution, an actual revolution, to get to that world; a revolution in which millions are led to go all-out, as conditions change, to overthrow the system. The basis, argument and vision for that world can be found in the work of Bob Avakian, BA, in The New Communism and other works. The framework and blueprint for a society working toward such a world has been concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA. There is a strategy in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. And the leadership for the momentous struggle to bring that world into being is here, as well, in BA and the Revolutionary Communist Party he leads. As you fight the regime... GET INTO THE REVOLUTION! AND GET INTO BA!

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

As Trump/Pence Regime Races to Consolidate a Fascist Supreme Court to Rubber-Stamp the All-Around Fascist Transformation of Society:

The Clueless Logic of “The Long Game,” and of Betting the Future of Humanity on the Midterm Elections

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

July 10: Since this article was written, Trump has announced he is nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court; we will have more to say on this in the future, but the essential analysis of the following article still holds.

As we post this, Donald Trump is preparing to announce his nominee for the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court being vacated by Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. All the candidates the Trump/Pence regime is considering come from a list of hard-right judges prepared by the reactionary Federalist Society, and Trump has made clear that all are committed to overturning women’s right to abortion. (Go here for more on this.)

There is a widespread feeling of a sense of emergency; suggestions from different quarters, even some who are into elections, that we can’t wait and millions are needed now in the streets. This is the orientation of Refuse Fascism, and the message that sounded in the streets in their July 7 demos. But in the midst of this crucial time, the “liberal opposition” of the ruling class is striking poses… the better to put people back to sleep.

Consolidating a Fascist Court—an Emergency? Or “Business as Usual”?

Imagine a crowded bus breaks down on the tracks at a train crossing. As the whistle of an approaching train wails, passengers begin to shout that they should get off the bus, and together push it to safety. The driver responds, “Calm down, everything is under control, the tow truck will be here in 20 minutes.”

This is exactly the clueless—and dangerous!—logic of a July 6 New York Times editorial: “Democrats: Do Not Surrender the Judiciary.” In spite of its defiant-sounding title, and its call for “progressives” to “go to the mattresses” (a reference to The Godfather meaning “put everything on the line to win a life-or-death struggle”), this editorial is in reality an open call to capitulate to the imposition of fascist control of the “highest court in the land” … which would be a MAJOR leap in a fascist lockdown of society as a whole that, once achieved, will be extremely difficult to reverse. And this editorial is right in line with the approach which the Democratic Party leadership and other liberal ruling class forces are promoting amidst growing public alarm. These people are the bus driver telling everyone to “calm down, we’ve got this, no reason to take extraordinary measures.”

Right out of the gate, the editorial says, “Barring some unforeseen development, the president will lock in a 5-to-4 conservative majority, shifting the court solidly to the right for a generation.” Here the Times is ruling “out of order” the kind of powerful mass protest that could prevent this from happening. A level of struggle that could compel ruling class forces to worry that jamming through a fascist nominee might delegitimize or even destabilize the whole regime. The Times rules this out even though we are in the midst of a broad, angry and powerful upsurge against the regime, an upsurge which reflects the feeling of millions that society is being reshaped in an utterly intolerable way, and their desire to act decisively to prevent that. This is shown not only in the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets to oppose the regime’s cruelty towards immigrants and refugees, but also in the ways people are increasingly breaking out of “business as usual,” by publicly confronting and shaming regime officials, occupying ICE offices and demanding its abolition, and the fact that growing numbers point to the parallels between Trump/Pence today and the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany 70 years ago, with prominent voices of conscience calling for people to act on this understanding of what is at stake for humanity.1

What’s at Stake—Fascist Remaking of Society, Not Mere “Policy” Shifts

From there the Times blandly poses the stakes in this battle by referring to the Court’s “ever-greater hand in policy areas ranging from immigration to guns to ballot access to worker rights.” As if nothing all that dramatic was going on, as if we are facing mere “policy shifts.” Missing entirely is the reality that these “policies” taken as a whole constitute the fascist remaking of all of society. On the table are:

All these moves and many more in the pipeline are not just a series of extremely bad things, but are integral parts of the fascist remaking of society as a whole—the fascists are bringing into being a different social order in which rights and principles that were at least nominally upheld no longer are, and in which women, minorities, immigrants and dissidents stand on increasingly perilous and ever-diminishing ground.

And very notably, the Times does not mention that the Court will rule on core issues of political power—on at least two levels.

First, there are dozens of highly repressive laws being passed on the state level that criminalize and impose harsh penalties on the forms of dissent and protest that have characterized the struggles of recent years against police murder, against the ravaging of the environment, and increasingly the movement in defense of immigrants and refugees.  The fascist Court will oversee the gutting of the legal right of people to protest in the streets or in any other way outside of elections.

Second, it is likely that, one way or another, the Court will rule on cases pertaining to the continued hold on power of the Trump/Pence regime—whether this is in the form of issues presented by the Mueller investigation, moves towards impeachment, or the outcome of contested elections. Let’s not forget that George W. Bush lost the popular vote, but was installed in power by a Supreme Court decision after the 2000 elections.

The New York Times Recommends… Surrender to Fascism Today, Spend the Next 40 Years Trying to Repair the Damage

The Times’ summation of this impending dramatic remaking of the legal and political landscape? Let’s really throw down… in four monthsin the electoral arena only: “On Nov. 6, voters will have their first chance to arrest Mr. Trump’s warping of the judiciary. Reversing the damage already done will require a much longer-term commitment.”

NO! This is dead wrong! People have their only chance right now to prevent the consolidation of a fascist judiciary. In four months—even with the most optimistic assessment of the outcome of those elections in the face of the fascists’ ability to shape, fake and rig them, and even leaving aside the Democratic Party’s unbroken record of accommodating, conciliating, and capitulating to the regime on every matter of important principle—in four months the qualitative leap in the Court, and really in the whole judiciary, will be a done deal. We will be fighting on much more difficult and dangerous ground, and—if there is not a huge social battle over the Court now—we will be fighting under conditions where accommodation, not resistance, has the initiative.

Even taken on its own terms, the Times doesn’t mention that the existing “semi-fascist” Supreme Court has refused to oppose the open moves by Republican-run state legislatures to shape the outcome of future elections (including the coming midterms) by purging the voter rolls and otherwise suppressing Black, Latino, poor and young voters, and through gerrymandering. A report from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice estimates that because of gerrymandering, the Democrats would have to win the 2018 popular vote by 11 percentage points—which no party has done in modern history—in order to gain control of Congress.

Beyond that, the electoral arena and the two major parties are instruments of imperialist rule. The people are given the choice between different oppressors – and for all of these politicians, the ongoing stability of the capitalist-imperialist system “trumps” everything else. This is why, for now, almost every Democratic candidate does not even mention impeachment—unless they go out of their way to oppose it. A situation must be created in which the legitimacy of the system is called into question by massive and uncompromising struggle from below and there is more risk to continuing with the status quo than there is by making change. This is why every single major concession that has ever been wrung from the rulers of this society has been won through massive struggle from below that compelled the ruling class to back up, even if temporarily.

“But there IS another way…”

One point the Times’ editorial makes is true though: “The fire now raging against Mr. Trump and his nominees can’t be sustained indefinitely.” As Coco Das of RefuseFascism.org pointed out, “We must recognize that the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward.” That is what happened with the Muslim Ban, the struggle around DACA youth and many more.

The key to dealing with this problem is not, as the Times argues, to essentially abandon the immediate field of battle and place our all our bets on a very long-term—and dead-end—electoral struggle. It is to elevate and transform the widespread resistance into one focused on driving this whole regime from power.

As Refuse Fascism’s Call to Action puts it:

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.


1. This aversion to determined mass struggle reflects the position of liberal ruling class forces who do differ with the Trump regime, fearing that it could end up weakening or destabilizing the capitalist-imperialist system, but who do not want the struggle over those differences to take forms which bring the masses of people onto the political stage as an independent force, pose big questions about the nature of U.S. society, and potentially destabilize the grip of the ruling class as a whole. Put bluntly, once millions of people take responsibility and take action to determine the direction of society—as happened in this country and many others in the 1960s—there is no telling how far things will go, particularly when there is scientific revolutionary leadership like that of Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party in the mix. The liberal forces in the ruling class consider such mass upheaval a greater danger than the consolidation of a fascist regime!  [back]

 

Why Controlling the Supreme Court Is Crucial for the Fascist Regime

The Supreme Court generally represents—and helps forge—the consensus of the ruling capitalist class as to how to interpret the Constitution and laws so as to best serve the needs of their system as the world changes and it confronts new challenges. Its interpretations and decisions in effect determine “law of the land”; it is the final authority on what is legal and what is not—on what will and will not be enforced by the state, with its monopoly on “legitimate” violence.

But for the last few decades the ruling class has been sharply divided, and “consensus” has been increasingly impossible. One section sees fascism—and particularly Christian theocratic fascism—as the way to meet the crises and challenges the U.S. rulers face, both at home and internationally. The other section thinks it is better—for their system—to preserve the old (often threadbare) framework of “democracy,” “inclusiveness,” “human rights,” and so on.

The fascist forces have been ascending for two decades; the election of Trump/Pence signified their rise to dominance. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Trump’s new justice will join four currently sitting fascist justices and provide a reliable fascist majority on the powerful nine-member Court, and will represent a major leap towards the consolidation of fascist rule.

It’s important to note that a hallmark of fascism is that it does not base itself, even in a formal sense, on “rule of law,” as indicated by Trump’s many declarations that he is above the law, “jokes” about being “president-for-life,” and so on. If fascism is consolidated, it will bully, ignore, overrule or even disband the Supreme Court if that is necessary to implement its program, just as it will openly rig or cancel elections if needed. But moves like that are very dangerous even for an established regime, and can easily trigger both infighting in the ruling class and upheaval from below. As we write this, the fascist Law and Justice Party’s attempt to remake Poland’s Supreme Court has brought tens of thousands of people into the streets for days on end, and has leading opposition figures warning of a coming “civil war.” So a compliant Court that provides legal cover and “constitutional legitimacy” for the regime’s monstrous crimes is of great importance.

See also:

How Do Things Really Change? "What Ended the Vietnam War?"

Stop the Draft Week: “From Dissent to Resistance”, Oakland CA, 1967 (Photo: AP)

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

New York Times Calls for “Going to the Mattresses” Around the Supreme Court Nomination... For a Nap!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 6, the New York Times Editorial Board sternly declared in the headline to their lead editorial “Democrats: Do Not Surrender the Judiciary.” They even invoke the line from The Godfather on “going to the mattresses”—that is, getting into an all-out gang war—to talk about the attitude the Democrats should adopt.

In fact, what they should have titled it was “Democrats: How to Surrender the Judiciary in a Way That Sucks More People Into Believing in the System, Rather Than Causing Them to Get Disillusioned.” And as for “going to the mattresses,” they seem more in the mood for an afternoon nap than a serious struggle.

Here’s the most honest part of it (and it calls to mind BA’s point that they’re manipulating you and telling you, “Hey, by the way, we’re manipulating you”):

The trillion-dollar question is whether Democrats can also use this battle to turn out their voters. This is not a given. If progressives wind up feeling as though their team didn’t fight fiercely enough against Mr. Trump’s nominee, they could be less inspired to show up at the polls.

First of all, fuck your cynical electoral calculations while the lives of women and LGBTQ people and others are on the line! This is some truly sick shit! Same motherfuckers that made a show out of all-too-briefly shutting the government down for the Dreamers, before they sold them down the river, and opposing the various cabinet nominations before capitulating, one after the other. And now they’re getting ready to do the same thing with Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, with even higher stakes!

The New York Times editorial does reveal a strategic weakness—the fear that people may not be in a mood to accept conciliation from the Democrats on this, especially after the Republi-fascists blocked the Obama nomination. Since the whole point of the Dems’ #resistance is not to actually stop this shit, but to build faith in the system and votes for the Democrats, it won’t be that easy for them to resist in a way that seems real. Plus, they will immediately run squarely into the rabid fascist monster demanding to be fed another Supreme Court seat and easily crumble in the face of it, just like Fuck Schumer did as soon as he was accused of denying the military its funding because of the shutdown. And the same electoral logic could also be used to justify abandoning the concerns of the “progressives” in the name of the “swing voters.” On the flip side, to the degree that they do resist, even in ways that they intend to be symbolic, it could provide openings for the masses to act in ways that could be difficult for them to control.

The key thing is that we lead masses of people to act independently of these weasel politicians (exposing them and their system in the process) to actually stop this fascist nomination as part of driving out this fascist regime—or better yet, drive out this fascist regime that is the source of one horror after another, thereby stopping the nomination. And even more, that we constantly bring out that the problem resides within this capitalist-imperialist system itself, that this can only be fundamentally resolved through an actual revolution, and that we work to hasten the development of a revolutionary situation. “Where the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp—and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.

 

The Democrats, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc., are seeking to resolve the crisis with the Trump presidency on the terms of this system, and in the interests of the ruling class of this system, which they represent. We, the masses of people, must go all out, and mobilize ourselves in the millions, to resolve this in our interests, in the interests of humanity, which are fundamentally different from and opposed to those of the ruling class.

This, of course, does not mean that the struggle among the powers that be is irrelevant or unimportant; rather, the way to understand and approach this (and this is a point that must also be repeatedly driven home to people, including through necessary struggle, waged well) is in terms of how it relates to, and what openings it can provide for, “the struggle from below”—for the mobilization of masses of people around the demand that the whole regime must go, because of its fascist nature and actions and what the stakes are for humanity.

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

Watch the whole Talk and the Q&A's.

“What Kind of Leadership Do We Need?”

A clip from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – Nothing Less! In the fall of 2012, Bob Avakian gave a series of talks in different cities. This is a film of one of those talks. Watch the whole film and other selected clips at RevolutionTalk.net

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

"This is my second time out with the Revolution Club and this is not my last time. This is it for me, I know where to come, I know my place."
—participant at an anti-July 4 picnic

Calling Out America's Crimes, Getting Into Revolution and Building Community: Anti-July 4 Picnics Rock!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Photos from Anti-July 4 Picnics

The “America Was Never Great” picnics on July 4 marked a real step forward for the movement for revolution. Several hundred people in four cities came out to mark the day the way it should be—calling out America’s great crimes and getting into the revolution. The spirit of Bob Avakian’s quote on “imagining a world without America” (BAsics 1:31) ran through it all—as did a collective sense at the core of the picnics that we ARE building a movement for an actual revolution. New members of the Revolution Club in Los Angeles received badges, new supporters everywhere put on the T-shirts, and the sense of something growing and dynamic—even if still in a very beginning way—was everywhere.

New York City

The people in NYC who stepped forward to put on Revolution--Nothing Less t-shirts.

At Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, over 100 people came out for an afternoon of agitation, spoken word, song, and getting into the revolution. A good number were meeting the revolution for the first time. Others had recently run into—or run with—the revolution. Even with pigs outrageously hovering nearby, people joined in throughout the afternoon.

The Revolution Club opened with a fiery welcome: if you hate what America does here and around the world, you’re in the right place! A Club member held up HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution and said: “This system has no right to exist and this tells you how we can finally put an end to this system.” BAsics 1:31 and 3:1 were read, bringing alive the need for revolution.

Carl Dix followed: “Some people say tearing children apart is un-American. It’s not un-American—it’s as American as apple pie!” He told people: “I’m here to recruit you into the revolution,” then invited everyone to break into smaller groups and wrestle with how new people can step into the revolution, contribute in meaningful ways, and overcome the obstacles this system puts in their way.

After 30 or 40 minutes, the discussion was still going strong. People suggested ways to spread the revolution—and raised different ideas about the revolution itself. One revolutionary summed up: “The revolution isn’t separate from your life; you can do things for the revolution as you’re going through your life. Simple things like taking a picture of a poster and sharing it on Instagram. Giving out BA palm cards, getting in a discussion and sharing how it went. Staying in touch with revcom.us.”

It felt important to put the problems of the revolution before people this way. You couldn’t say the questions posed were resolved by any means, but people got to know each other, gained a deeper sense of what this revolution is about, and felt a beginning, but tangible, sense of community and connection.

Abiodun Oyewole, a founding member of the pathbreaking spoken-word group The Last Poets, welcomed people to the second half of the picnic with a reading of his powerful poem “Rain of Terror” beginning, “America is a terrorist!” Refuse Fascism delivered a passionate call to be in the streets on July 7.

Then, standing on the American rag and holding up the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt, the Revolution Club said: “When you put on this T-shirt, you’re representing something real, even if you’re doing it in a beginning way... Who is going to come up here and put on one of these T-shirts right now and represent for the revolution?”

When the first person stepped forward, applause broke out, and it grew as several others quickly followed. Eight people put on the shirt for the first time. Talking with some afterward, it was clear the basic message of revolution had resonated. Some had been drawn in these past weeks after hearing revolutionaries agitate on street corners in Harlem, coming across a block party at Revolution Books, or joining their contingent at Pride.

A middle-aged Black man told revcom: "I've been oppressed all my life and I finally found a way out... This is my second time out with the Revolution Club and this is not my last time. This is it for me, I know where to come, I know my place.... My first time was on 125th Street in Harlem... I heard a young lady speaking on an orange bucket... It startled me and I stood there for two hours, and I started helping her give out some of her pamphlets... It caught me when she said Donald Trump had kids in concentration camps, because I have kids, and she said he was stealing babies away from their families and this government was corrupt. I knew this government was corrupt, but I didn’t know how to go about changing it. But now I have people with me... It felt good, real good [to put the shirt on]. I don’t think I’m going to take it off today. It felt good to be part of a team, everybody striving for one goal... that all people should live under good humanity... I’m fighting for the rest of my life.”

Afterward, a woman artist felt inspired to give a beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” It felt especially fitting.  [back to top]

New York City

Standing on the American flag.

 

Discussion group at NYC picnic.

Chicago

Our picnic drew a diverse mix of 40-45 people to a Lake Michigan beach on Chicago’s predominantly Black Southeast Side, not far from the Revolution Club’s Organizing Center. A young white woman came alone via train and Uber from a town about 40 miles away. A Latino family met only days before came from the Back of the Yards neighborhood. A Black woman, who had bumped into a picnic the Revolution Club held four years ago, came with her family from Indiana after getting a text the day before. She said she had been looking for something like this to do on the 4th of July. One supporter of the club came “dressed for the occasion” with an American flag attached to the bottom of each of his sneakers. With every step he took he was desecrating the red, white and blue. A young couple who had met us at our picnic on Memorial Day came after having put up posters in their neighborhood for the revolution. Some people who were in the park also joined in including a crew of Black teens who participated in the flag burning ceremony at the end of the program.

In our picnic, we had been aiming to keep the program tighter and shorter in order to focus more on aspects of the picnic that could involve newer people in the revolution. One way we did this during the program was that everyone who came to the picnic was handed a printout of one of the cases of the revcom’s American Crimes series, and after playing the clip from BA on “What to the slave is the fourth of July: from the past to the present” and reading the BAsics 1:31, we called on people to come up to the mic and read their American Crime case. This was a moving way that involved people and got people realizing the scope of what it means to say “America Was Never Great.” One newer person, after reading their American Crime case, commented about realizing how much America has gone around the world to destabilize other countries and being very glad that on this day this is what people here were coming together to talk about.

One Club member did a powerful performance art piece entitled “Have You Ever Been To Vietnam” and another on the red, white and blue. Maya from the Club talked about her own legal case and the series of recent attacks on the Revolution Club by the police and how the authorities don't want “you” hooking up with the revolution and she talked about HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW). Jazz musician Ted Sirota of Degenerate Artists Against Fascism told people about Refuse Fascism and called on people to participate in the July 7 protests.

At the end people were encouraged to take selfies standing/kneeling on the American flag and to gather around the grill to burn several smaller American flags. Then new people came together in a circle, and a representative of the Revolution Club told people about two problems the revolution faced, and asked them to be part of working on solving them: 1 is that many people don't even know about the revolution, and 2 is that many people who are supportive of the revolution don't see how they could be part of it. So the Revolution Club rep asked people how they found out about the revolution, why they came to the picnic, and what they thought they could be part of doing to work on the revolution. We read some of HWCW together to start it off, and then went in a circle. People had a number of different things to say about how they ended up there together, and most people were seeing that it would be meaningful if they contributed to solving that first problem by spreading materials and posters so many more people could even know about the revolution. This did help give people more of a sense of spreading the word as a meaningful part of working on a larger process of revolution, and at least got people thinking about how people like them could be part of it (even if people were very new and unsurprisingly had difficulty thinking of many different ways to take this up). Most came off this with assignments around how and where to spread the word about the revolution, and some got Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirts.  [back to top]

 

Chicago

Kneeling on the American flag.

 

Revolution Club group photo.

Oakland

Reading the Points of Attention.

Great ANTI-4th of July picnic today in Oakland! Many people barbecuing and walking around Lake Merritt spotted our signs saying “Anti July 4th Picnic—America Was Never Great.” People took selfies with the signs and got copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. A Revolution Club member stood on the stars and stripes, and invited people to dance on it with her. Some people danced on the flag, some stepped carefully around it. A group of young women carrying American flags trailing on the ground hung out briefly. About 40 people stayed for significant parts of the afternoon, spreading blankets out, sitting on the grass, browsing the Revolution Books booth’s selection of literature. The Bob Avakian Institute had a TV set up for people to watch BA’s recent talk about the roots and dynamics of Trump/Pence Amerikkkan fascism and what to do about it. Volunteers made a bunch of delicious food, including a new guy who showed up with homemade Ethiopian food!

After about an hour of hanging out, eating, and getting to know each other, we kicked off the program. We started with some agitation about the real history and reality of this country, why this system must be overthrown, and why people are in the RIGHT place on this 4th of July. Then we played the clip from Bob Avakian on “What to the slave is your fourth of July?” A few people read poems. Someone read a piece she had written that morning on “What to the children of the world is your fourth of July?” A young woman new to the Revolution Club read a poem about this system: “‘Countless Schemes’ for killing off Black people.” Another young woman in the Club read a poem about the horror for immigrants on the border and the fight for a world without borders.

Several other people came up to stand on the flag and speak out, starting with the father of a young man who was murdered by police in Richmond. Someone else who works with the Revolution Club spoke powerfully on police murder and why this system can’t be reformed and must be overthrown, calling on young people to hook up with the Club. A woman from Mexico spoke in Spanish about the terror against immigrants, the parallels with Nazi Germany, and why we have to drive the Trump/Pence regime out of power. Someone from Refuse Fascism called on everyone to come this Saturday to the nationwide demonstration demanding, “The Trump/Pence Regime Must GO!” Finally the Revolution Club read the Points of Attention and called on people to run with us, to the join the Club, and gave everyone ways they could be part of the revolution, including by donating! There was a good spirit of new people taking responsibility in beginning ways for the revolution, representing for it and spreading it to others. A number of people stepped up in meaningful ways to cross the threshold from being a spectator to being an active participant in the revolution!

We picked a great place for the picnic. Not only was it a beautiful spot right on Lake Merritt, there was a constant flow of people passing by, many of whom stopped to listen and picked up HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. When we were agitating about the many crimes the U.S. has committed here and around the world, a Black woman stopped to interject that we shouldn’t forget to talk about the Chinese Exclusion Act. A number of people sat down to watch clips from BA’s film, and everyone got a great introduction to the leadership we have for this revolution listening to BA’s powerful revolutionary message in response to Fredrick Douglass’ famous speech.  [back to top]

 

Oakland

 

Los Angeles

Burning the American flag in LA.

The Revolution Club, LA held an Anti-4th of July BBQ in South Central. Many different people came to the picnic—young and old, and from many different strata. At least 60 people attended what was a very lively and spirited BBQ. There was lots of great food, and company to match. There was music, and dancing, and celebration. But this BBQ was celebrating something else.

The Revolution Club welcomed people to the BBQ and gave a short presentation a couple times throughout the BBQ, drawing heavily from the pamphlet HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW). We played the clip of BA on “What to the slave is your fourth of July?” and the “What if” clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian. Someone spoke on the crimes of the United States and the horrors it still unleashes today. And we made sure to make a pitch for funds trying to draw from HWCW. There was a “patch ceremony” where new members of the Revolution Club came up and said a few words about why they are joining the Revolution Club and why others should as well. There was an open mic, where various people from the picnic came up and stood on the U.S. flag and said why they came. And when we burned the american rag, people celebrated.

People came for many reasons. Some felt that this isn’t a time for celebrating, given everything that is happening right now with immigrants, but think that America could change and become better. Some very much agreed with us that America was never great and could never become great. Everybody to some degree or another was interested in revolution, even if some in very contradictory ways. Some people brought food, some brought donations. People picked up literature, bought REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts, visited The Bob Avakian Institute booth.

The BBQ also had an effect on the people around us. Many different people related to us. Some people came in right off the street and walked up to the BBQ from seeing our flyers posted up around near the park. Others in the park came over to see what we were all about. We took the opportunity to get into it with them and talk about why we were having this BBQ and HWCW.  [back to top]

 

Los Angeles

Standing on the American flag.

 

The 5 Stops Display.

 

The Los Angeles Picnic.

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Sights and Sounds from July 7 Protests to Demand: This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

July 7, 2018 – 9:45pm | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 7, people in at least a dozen cities took to the streets responding to a call from Refuse Fascism: “Immigrants and refugees terrorized, mass detention camps, thousands of children still separated from parents... The Supreme Court on the verge of a fascist majority for generations... Take to the streets in cities and towns nationwide TO DEMAND: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” In New York City, Andy Zee, one of the initiators of Refuse Fascism addressed the crowd, saying, “The world as we have know it is being torn asunder... The old order is, as Bob Dylan said, rapidly fading. This is important to understand, why it is we think that the only way to stop what is happening here is for people to start organizing now, so that the people who are here start organizing for the time when thousands can take to the streets in cities around the country and stay in the streets, day after day, night after night.... so that there is a political crisis in this country such that the powers that be are forced to remove this Trump/Pence Regime.”

These actions were important: People stepping out to protest all the horrors of the fascist Trump/Pence Regime AND demanding that the whole must regime go! With urgency, determined to organize and mobilize people nationwide so that millions can take to the streets, day after day, night after night to drive out this regime. As the Refuse Fascism call for the protests says, “We—the masses of people—must act to stop this whole fascist program and demand that this illegitimate, immoral, regime be removed from power. This cannot wait until November. The Trump/Pence Regime will not be bound by the normal political process—they are shattering norms, remaking the courts, radically altering the whole political and global landscape. The Democratic Party will not stop this. For them, empire and order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism.”

These are photos and videos from these protests. Check back for updates and if you were at these actions, send your photos, videos, reports and observations to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

New York City

Sunsara Taylor speaking as protesters form human chain around military recruiting center in response to Trump plans to house 100k immigrants on military bases.

Andy Zee speaking at the rally in NYC.

Los Angeles, California

Cleveland, Ohio


Photo: Special to revcom.us

Atlanta, Georgia


Photo: Refuse Fascism

Seattle, Washington


Credit: Twitter/@davidstoesz

San Francisco, California


Speakers at the rally included: Refuse Fascism; Steve Rapport from SF Indivisible; La Collectiva (immigrant women from the Mission District); attorney and writer Christina DiEduordo; and the Revolution Club. At the open mic people got up to make statements including members of El/La Para TransLatinas. Photo: Special to revcom.us

Marching to ICE

Chicago, Illinois

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Houston, Texas


Credit: Twitter/@amarporashona

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org:

How to Respond to Trump's Fascist Rally in Montana

by Coco Das

July 6, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump’s speech at Thursday night’s fascist rally in Montana was not the speech of a man who fears his days are numbered. To all those who are sitting back, still waiting for Trump’s imminent defeat at the hands of a blue wave, the Mueller investigation, nonexistent checks and balances, or a Democratic Socialist congressional candidate, watch this speech and tell me Trump is not utterly, arrogantly, and confidently triumphant.

This speech was especially vile, especially violent, and especially sickening in light of what has come out in the last two weeks for the whole world to see. Children in cages, 3000 children separated from their parents and transported all over the U.S., concentration camps being prepared on military bases, heartless cruelty and abuse by agents of this fascist regime, and on top of those horrors, the Supreme Court rulings upholding the Muslim Ban and Christian fascist fake pregnancy clinics. Trump gloated about his Supreme Court victory, both the ruling upholding “The Trump Travel Ban” and Kennedy’s resignation, and why shouldn’t he gloat? He’s winning, delivering what he promised—a ban on Muslims, a country without brown immigrants, a white, Christian Fascist America.

There are plenty of articles quoting this speech. You can find them. In short, Trump escalated his attacks on political opponents from the Democratic Party, inciting the audience to chant “Lock her up” yet again, calling African-American congresswoman Maxine Waters a “low-IQ individual,” saying that a vote for Democrats is a vote to “let MS-13 run wild in our communities.” He went after “fake news,” just days after a shooting at a newspaper in Maryland, made what really has to be taken as a rape “joke” in reference to Elizabeth Warren, and called the brave protester who scaled the Statue of Liberty a “clown” who was endangering law enforcement and said the police should have just put out a net and seen if she landed on it.

We must oppose these attacks fiercely, which all too few people have. There were a few hundred people protesting outside of the rally, and that is very important. But where was everyone else? A few critics have seized on some of the more disgusting excerpts from Trump’s speech, but we need to grasp the big picture that Trump’s blustering speech in Montana clearly illustrates. Trump is the fully fascist leader of a fully fascist movement, and right now, his approach to critics is to double-down. He is getting things done even while there is opposition – in reality an opposition that is so easily thrown off course it’s laughable. Scott Pruitt’s resignation gives us the latest wobbler. Yeah, Scott Pruitt resigned. So the fuck what? Wheeler, his replacement is every bit the climate change denier and environmental plunderer that Pruitt was, just without so many scandalous pigtails to pull on... this removal is not even a speedbump for the regime. Trump, Pence, the biggest stalwarts of the regime, all the agencies set up to violently enforce the regime’s policies, all of the institutions of government increasingly purged of non-fascists, and a rabid fascist base, are still intact.

There is only one demand that is an answer to this danger. Trump must go and take his entire illegitimate regime with him. We are in the middle of the biggest upsurge in resistance since the protests of early 2017. This is extremely important, we must not let up. We must not give any of them a moment’s rest, but any demand short of removing the man at the helm of all this is at best unrealistic and at worst, a mistake that will lead to unthinkable horrors. The horrors right now are intolerable enough. No more chances, no more triumphant speeches from this monster.

This upsurge in resistance is important. It can grow and disrupt the fascist program, but we can’t just slow it down. This regime has shown it can absorb protest and bounce back harder. We have to stop it. Millions of lives are at stake. Children’s lives. Not just in this country, around the world. We have to stop celebrating flimsy victories and start working for a real victory, the end of this fascist regime.

Refuse Fascism has the strategy and plan to do this: a different kind of protest—massive, sustained nonviolent protests in the streets of cities and towns across the country 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. This is the crisis that the regime hasn’t faced yet. It is possible and realistic. We have the power and the responsibility to do this, together. Everyone with a heart for a humanity, everyone who just can’t tolerate this another minute ... let’s go.

 

 

See locations

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Susan Faludi: It’s Time to Cast off Magical Thinking and Prepare for Struggle!

by Sunsara Taylor

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 5, Susan Faludi, a longtime feminist author who has made important contributions to understanding and fighting the oppression of women, wrote a New York Times column called “Senators Collins and Murkowski, It’s Time to Leave the G.O.P.” In it, Faludi imagines a world where nominally pro-choice Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski could “halt the whole charade, and alter the course of history, with a press release.” The idea being that they would announce to the world they were dropping out of the Republican Party and refuse to approve Trump’s next Supreme Court pick in order to protect women’s right to abortion.

To this I can only respond: WAKE UP! With Roe v. Wade—and so much more—on the line with the impending appointment of a new Supreme Court justice and the cementing in place of a fully fascist Supreme Court... Now is NOT the time for magical thinking.

The Christian FASCIST movement that has been built up over decades and is now dominant in every branch of the government at every level is NOT going to be stopped by a press release or by two senators switching parties. This Christian fascist movement has bombed clinics, killed doctors, shamed women, and passed hundreds of punitive and medically harmful restrictions on abortion. They have mainstreamed LIES about abortion and women’s health. They have gutted healthcare programs all over the world that are right now costing the lives of thousands if not millions of women in order to gag healthcare providers from even letting women know where they can access safe abortions. And they’ve done all this not because they give a single fuck about babies—but because they have always been motivated by their desire to CONTROL WOMEN.

This violent reassertion of PATRIARCHY—backed up by religious lunacy of one kind or another—is an international phenomenon bound up with, and forward driven by, profound and intractable yet massively intensifying contradictions facing the entire global system of CAPITALISM-IMPERIALISM. These contradictions include economic shocks, global rivalries, and massive migrations driven by capitalist globalization, environmental devastation, and imperialist and other reactionary wars—as well as profound demographic and economic changes right within the borders of the United States which powerful ruling class forces fear will unravel this country if they are not violently reversed. This is what underlies the fascism that has been rising in this country for decades and which, with the establishment of the Trump/Pence regime, now holds power across many major institutions and every branch of the United States government. Their program includes not only violently slamming women and LGBTQ people into a real life Handmaid’s Tale, but also Making America WHITE Again—ethnically cleansing and building concentration camps for immigrants, police executions of Black people coupled with virtually lynch-mob incitements by Trump, banning Muslims—as well as ramping up environmental plunder, America First terror against the people of the world, and so much more.

To act as if all this were some passing or shallow phenomenon that could be diverted with a parliamentary trick—even if Murkowski and Collins were inclined to make the switch you so wish for—is to believe and to spread deadly delusions which humanity can ill afford.

The fascist Trump/Pence regime and its deadly program for billions of people is NOT going without an ENORMOUS FIGHT. Two Republican senators who approved the cabinet appointments of KKK Wizard Jeff Sessions and fascist biblical literalist Betsy DeVos are CERTAINLY NOT going to be the ones to stop this... again, even if they wanted to.

ONLY A MASSIVE, SOCIETY-WIDE STRUGGLE WAGED BY MILLIONS CAN STOP THIS FASCIST AMERICA.

There IS a force that can do this. It is NOT coming “from the top.” It can ONLY come from BELOW—from the people. We have seen the potential for this in the massive protests that have swept the country again in recent weeks. But this needs to go much further, with sights set much higher—on driving out the whole regime. This means going into the streets not just for one day, but in sustained and massive outpourings that demand: THIS NIGHTMARE MUST END! THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! These outpourings must not stop until that demand is met. This is what RefuseFascism.org is organizing and fighting for. This is what many, many more people need to join with.

It is harmful to spread false hopes that keep people passive in the face of catastrophe. Stop believing in schemes, gambling the future of humanity. It is time to cast off magical thinking and prepare for struggle.

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

No End to Trump/Pence Regime’s Depraved and Deliberate Cruelty Toward Children of Immigrants

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The Trump/Pence regime’s sadistic inhumanity toward immigrants is at its ugliest in its treatment of children coming across the southern border. The numbers are staggering—the regime claims to be holding 11,800 minors in custody, the majority of them teenagers who risked their lives to get to the border on their own. Three thousand of those children in custody came with their parents or guardians but were torn from them the moment they were arrested—and scattered to holding pens all over the country. Government officials now admit 100 of those children taken from their parents are under the age of 5!

In the face of national and international outrage and protests, a U.S. district judge in southern California issued an order on June 26 giving the government 30 days to reunite the families they have separated, and until July 10 to reunite parents with children under age 5. Department of Homeland Security officials are now claiming the records linking children to their parents either disappeared or were destroyed, while Health and Human Services reported it will only be able to reunite half of those 100 children under the age of 5 by the court deadline. Why? Because they cannot find the parents of 38 of those children! The U.S. has already deported the parents of 19 of these small children back to their countries of origin. And the parents of 19 more had been released from custody but now cannot be located.

And now the government has redefined “reunification” to mean placement of separated children with any long-term sponsor—whether with their parents, another family member living in the U.S., a family member residing in their home country or in a long-term foster care setting. And it must not be forgotten that as long as the Trump/Pence regime continues its “zero tolerance” policy—criminalizing every family that crosses the border—any reuniting of separated immigrant families will be done within the prisons or internment camps the government is preparing to erect on military bases across the country.

“[My son] is not the same since we were reunited”

More is coming to light about the conditions that children and parents are being forced to endure and the damage being done by the Trump/Pence regime. A lawsuit just brought against the government by Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia included over 900 pages of declarations, including personal accounts of the harm done to parents and children by this regime. One woman, separated from her 1-year-old son for 3 months before she could get him back from custody, said:

...he continued to cry when we got home and would hold on to my leg and would not let me go. When I took off his clothes he was full of dirt and lice. It seemed like they had not bathed him the 85 days he was away from us. [My son] is not the same since we were reunited. I thought that, because he is so young he would not be traumatized by this experience, but he does not separate from me. He cries when he does not see me. That behavior is not normal. In El Salvador he would stay with his dad or my sister and not cry. Now he cries for fear of being alone.

Eight children who were separated from their families and held in detention were interviewed. As told by the interviewer:

The place was freezing... the girls placed their mats in the floor very close to one another, since there was not enough space to fit them more comfortably. Girls as young as 3 years old were detained in this place and without their mothers. [One girl, age 14] felt hungry most of the time she was there because the food they provided her wasn’t good in quality or quantity. She couldn’t sleep through the night.

And a woman separated from her two children from May till the end of June wrote that she was kept in a cell with nearly 50 other mothers. She said, “The officers told them that they could not eat because they were asking about their children. There was a pregnant woman who fainted from hunger.”

All this is not a matter of “incompetence.” The Trump/Pence fascist regime knows what it is doing—the horror it is creating for millions of immigrants is no accident. Dehumanizing those they have declared “unwanted” and “criminal” is the policy of a regime that has made ethnic cleansing a core element in achieving their fascist program.

When Your Government Conducts DNA Tests on Immigrant Children...

In yet another ominous move, the government plans to use DNA testing on all of the separated children now in custody, to be compared with that of the parent before they will be reunited. Immigrant rights advocates and civil rights attorneys objected immediately. How are children with no legal guardian in any position to object to this invasion of their privacy and violation of their legal rights, and that of their parents as well? And who believes that Homeland Security will not hang on to this invasive information on a distinct section of the people in this country they consider a ‘danger’? Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law made this observation, reported by NBCNews: “ To apply it categorically to an entire population of people who have been separated by the government—that is a new addition to what the Trump administration is doing to immigration law enforcement.” Establishing a different set of laws to be applied solely to a separate group of children and their families captured at the border is a serious step toward a new fascist order.

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Cheers to Martina Navratilova:

“We complain about Boko Haram taking the girls in Nigeria, and here we are doing it to these women and men.”

July 9, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Cheers to Martina Navratilova, one of the top tennis players of all time and the top-ranked woman player during most of the 1970s and ’80s, for calling out America’s crimes on the border. Here is what she told the New York Times in a retrospective on her July 7, 1978 victory at Wimbledon, her first major title:

What’s happening at those detention centers in Texas is unconscionable, just beyond belief. All these people who are lying through their teeth, saying, “The kids are O.K.—it’s like summer camp.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?”

We complain about Boko Haram taking the girls in Nigeria, and here we are doing it to these women and men. And the kids are marked for life. Some will never be reunited. Some parents will never know what happened to their kid.

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

We Need to Overthrow This System, Not Try to "Democratize" It: AMLO, the EZLN and the Revolution We Need

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Mexico City—"Humanity needs revolution and the new synthesis of communism."

 

Revcom editors’ note: On July 1, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, won the election for president in Mexico. The following is a translation of an extensive pamphlet put out by the Revolutionary Communist Organization (OCR), Mexico, in April of this year, before the election. Much of the pamphlet is a polemic against AMLO. These latest developments could be part of further sharpening the very intense contradictions between U.S. imperialism, now headed by the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and Mexico.

We live in a world of unjust wars that kill and dislocate millions of people. Half of humanity is submerged in crushing poverty. Women are cruelly oppressed and subjected to male supremacy. Inequality is becoming increasingly abominable. The ecosystems that sustain life on our planet are being destroyed. Mexico and other countries are facing capitalist and imperialist projects to expand mining, pipelines, fracking, tourist development, and luxury condominiums that lead to the expulsion of indigenous peoples, peasants, and the poor in general, and devastate the environment. The Mexican State commits and covers up murder and disappearances. It tortures and unjustly imprisons hundreds of thousands of people, especially people at the bottom of society and those who oppose this system’s crimes.

How can we fight against these horrors? How can we put an end to all this unjust and unnecessary suffering?

How can society be changed? Should we “take power” in the existing State, as some people argue, or “change the world” without taking power, as others claim? Or will it take a real revolution?

In response to the question, how can we change society, sometimes there is some debate between two relatively different positions: “take power” in the current State, or try to achieve changes “without taking power.”

Partisans of “taking power” from within or “changing the government” say that the existing State can be “democratized” and political and economic reforms achieved by changing the person and party or group heading the current State. Previously this was expressed in trying to elect Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of the PRD [Party for the Democratic Revolution]; now they seek to elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and candidates of his Movement for National Renewal (MORENA).

Other people, like the leadership of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), assert that instead of “taking power” what’s needed is to organize autonomous or alternative projects “from below” to achieve “good governance” and certain political and economic reforms. They argue that those who “rise to power” become oppressors of the people. Under the current State, they have a point, as can be seen in the many cases of people, even some originally with good intentions, who by joining the State apparatus became part of the problem, not the solution.

Supporters of AMLO and MORENA answer that those who don’t seek to “take power” only contribute to everything staying the same and can’t change anything important in society, and they, too, have a point. If the State is left as it is now, it will continue killing, disappearing, torturing and oppressing people, among other horrendous crimes.

What these two positions have in common is the terms of the argument: whether or not to come to power within the existing State. Neither talks about the need to destroy the existing reactionary State. Neither talks about overthrowing the existing predominantly capitalist system. Both seek change within the present economic system. This is more obvious in the case of AMLO and MORENA, who, as we can see, have assured the big Mexican and imperialist capitalists that they will respect and promote their interests. Despite its somewhat “anti-capitalist” rhetoric, however, the EZLN’s position of not fighting to put an end to the current State would also necessarily mean not putting an end to the economic and social relations in force that this State maintains and protects. As we will see, this position seeks to pressure the capitalist State not only “from below” by expanding and spreading “autonomous or alternative projects” but also “from above” through alliances meant to force the State to tolerate their existence and grant reforms within the deadly current system without a fundamental change in the situation of the vast majority of people. So, both positions accept the continuation of the existing political and economic system and only seek changes in that context.

Therefore, and regardless of the intentions of the defenders of these positions, the latter are not going to achieve any meaningful change, because the horrors and fundamental problems in this society are due to the nature and dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system reigning in the world and the predominantly capitalist system, under imperialist domination, that reigns in Mexico.

This system can and needs to be overthrown and replaced by a new socialist system through the revolutionary struggle of millions of people, which succeeds in overthrowing the current State, which defeats and dismantles it. This is the necessary precondition for establishing a new revolutionary State, completely different from the capitalist State, together with a new economic system, new political and social relations, and the corresponding new ideas and culture to eliminate all forms of exploitation and oppression, so as to finally emancipate humanity throughout the world. This is the only way to achieve a fundamental change.

As Bob Avakian, the architect of the new communism, points out,1“You want people not to be shot down on the streets, time and again, by the police, with the killers then being exonerated in one form or another—usually outright, ‘justified homicide’? You want that to stop? You have to have a different state power. Why do we want state power? Why do we keep talking about it? Because we don’t want these outrageous things, and everything that they are a concentration of, to keep on happening to people—when it’s totally unnecessary as well as outrageous and egregious. You want to put a stop to rape, you want to put a stop to impoverishment of people, all the other horrors in society and the world today? You have to have a different set of social and economic relations, and you have to have a different set of power relations that corresponds to and backs that up and furthers it. You have to have a different culture and ideology. And you’re not going to have them if you don’t have a new state power—yes, a radically different state power, but state power. It’s that basic.”2

Karl Marx, who developed for the first time a scientific understanding of the development of human society, summed up important teachings on the problem of the State. From the experience of the bourgeois revolutions of the 19th century and the experience of the Paris Commune, the first proletarian revolution, he summed up the need to break, smash the “bureaucratic-military machine” that is the bourgeois State. He emphasized that it is necessary “no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is essential for every real people’s revolution."3

Why can’t we seize the current State and use that power to change society or pressure “from below” on that State so it acts in the interests of the people?

On the one hand, because that State is and has been since its inception a dictatorship of the big capitalists and landowners over the masses of people. Take the example of the armed forces and police, the backbone of this dictatorship. Among many other crimes, they treacherously killed and drowned in blood both Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa and their armies to establish this State, massacred the students in 1968, mounted the “dirty war” of the 1970s, as well as the massacres in Acteal, El Charco, Aguas Blancas and many more. In recent years and in collusion with drug traffickers, they have carried out a real war against the people under the cynical banner of “combating organized crime” with countless murdered, disappeared, and tortured, as in Ayotzinapa, Nochixtlán, Tlatlaya, Tanhuato, and so many more cases. Is it possible that such institutions, organized, trained, and indoctrinated to exercise reactionary violence against the people in the interests of the ruling classes, serve, on the contrary, to defend the people’s interests against those ruling classes? Of course not. It’s only necessary, in the words of Marx, to break such institutions and create new and qualitatively different armed forces through the actual revolutionary struggle of the people to overthrow this system and build another radically different and much better system.

But the most fundamental reason is that the State (as well as the social relations, the prevailing culture and ideas, etc.) correspond and have to correspond to the economic relations that are the basis of society and set the framework for everything else. The State exists to maintain and defend the functioning and stability of the economic system: in this case, a predominantly capitalist economy, dominated by imperialism, and the interests of the classes that are the owners of the main means of production (the big bourgeoisie, imperialists and landowners). For example, why does so much poverty persist after so many alleged campaigns against poverty? It is not simply because of the State’s actions and the corruption of the authorities, but because of the functioning of the predominantly capitalist economic system. In short, the majority of the people are poor for the same reason that the capitalists are rich: because they exploit us. If it were to implement policies and laws that undermine the functioning of these economic relations and the stability of the ownership and power of these ruling classes, the system would stop, there would be convulsions and crises, and there would be a serious clampdown to re-impose and reinforce the “law and order” of capitalism. The only alternative in the real world is to overthrow the State by means of an actual revolution, confiscate the properties of the ruling classes, and create new socialist relations.

Avakian has illustrated this with the example that under capitalism, there can’t be a “right to eat,” because the dynamics of capitalism create unemployment and poverty, and if you do not have money, you cannot get the food you need. Therefore, “So even right down to something as basic as ‘the right to eat’—people don’t have that right under capitalism. If you were to declare it as a right, and people were to act on this and simply started going to where the food is sold as commodities and declaring ‘we have a more fundamental right than your right to distribute things as commodities and to accumulate capital—we have a right to eat’—and if they started taking the food, well then we know what would happen, and what has happened whenever people do this: ‘looters, shoot them down in the street.’”4 People do not have a right to eat, and the capitalists do have the right to only pay a salary when there is profit for the employer, and to throw people out in the street when it suits them.

Some argue that important changes are possible following the example of governments like Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Lula da Silva in Brazil, etc. These social democratic governments in different degrees have been “uncomfortable” for imperialism (especially the U.S.) and sections of the big bourgeoisie (of the private sector) in those countries. To an important degree, these governments have been based on the development and export of oil and natural gas, which temporarily provided more resources to the State that allowed for the expansion of social programs and temporarily improved the standard of living for a section of the poor. But capitalist exploitation continues to operate, within and dependent on the world imperialist capitalist system, without any rupture with this system, and therefore there can be no fundamental change in society. As we have seen, there are economic crises that are endemic to capitalism, and in particular the fall in oil and gas prices caused upheaval, unemployment, and high prices in those countries. Relying on fossil fuels for “national development,” in addition to deepening dependence on the imperialists5 (for investment of capital, loans, technology, and markets) and increasing imbalances and the impact of economic crises, also contributes to aggravate global warming that is already destroying ecosystems and human lives and will lead to catastrophic consequences for life on the planet if the use of these fuels is not drastically reduced. (And their use is a central element of the AMLO program, as we will see shortly).

If we really want to change the world, we do have to take the power—but not the old power of the current ruling classes. That power must be shattered, to erect a new revolutionary State, a new socialist economic system, and new corresponding social relations to eliminate the horrors and great inequalities of this system. With this revolution, it will be possible to fight to eliminate the oppression of women, indigenous peoples, Afro-Mexicans, LGBTTI6 people, overcome the differences between the countryside and the city, between intellectual work and manual labor, and class distinctions in general, as well as supporting this same revolution in other parts of the world. Without this revolution, the same system will continue to destroy human lives and the planet in which we live.

2018 Elections: Neither with AMLO will there be any fundamental change

The constant bombardment of the “spots” of the candidates and the “news” of the media try to make us think that nothing more important happens in the world than the presidential election. All the institutions of the system want to coax you to vote, to “participate” in the electoral process, so that you act and think only within the “options” of this system; so that you do not see the dictatorship of the ruling classes, disguised as the “free expression” of “the people’s will.”

The truth is that all the candidates and parties represent this system; they contend to be the male head (or female head) of the State of this capitalist system under imperialist domination, winning the support of important sections of the ruling classes. That is why we see the presidential candidates López Obrador [MORENA], Ricardo Anaya Cortés [PAN, National Action Party] and José Antonio Meade Kuribreña [Institutional Revolutionary Party; PRI], appearing in all the important meetings of associations of big businessmen and interviewing the most influential circles—each one trying to convince them that they represent the best “offer” to defend their economic and political interests, who is better able to provide security, stability, efficiency, and “prosperity” for this system and the classes that rule.

In his third presidential campaign, Andrés Manuel López Obrador has gained greater acceptance among important sections of the ruling classes, and the attempts to disqualify him in the media (“Putin’s protégé,” “Mexico’s Maduro,” etc.) have so far backfired more against the slanderers than affecting AMLO. The anger with the government of the current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and the PRI, and to a lesser extent with the PAN (through the former government of Felipe Calderón), is so widespread and so deep that AMLO maintains a considerable advantage in the polls just three months before the election. The investigations of some imperialist banks concede that given the society’s “fedupness,” perhaps the AMLO victory would be the best option to contain the widespread indignation and maintain “stability”. Even Antonio Solá, advisor to the Calderón campaign in 2006 who invented the slogan that AMLO “is a danger to Mexico,” declared that “he is no longer a danger.” In addition to the changes in the political situation since 2012, AMLO has also modified his proposals: for example, he now says that he will not revoke the energy reform, but only review the contracts and act in courts in cases where they detect corruption.

The difference with other representatives of the capitalist-imperialist system is that López Obrador represents a section of the big bourgeoisie that wants to modify a bit the way in which the economy operates. But like the others, this will not make any change in the basic relations of ownership and power, exploitation, and oppression of the vast majority of the people. As is well known, he proposes less privatization in the energy sector, more oil refining and gasoline production in the country, more social programs, more austerity in government and less corruption (which will be more a slogan than a reality, in the light of the corruption that characterized his government in Mexico City). Because of these partial differences with the policies that have prevailed in the last decades, this arouses concerns among other sections of the big capitalists on the one hand and hopes for an important change among sections of the people, on the other. These false illusions will be truncated if AMLO gets into the presidency, and it’s best to cast off these illusions once and for all.

His campaign so far illustrates that an AMLO government would not represent any break with this system, but would loyally serve it. First, there is the alliance with the Social Encounter Party, a fundamentalist evangelical party that opposes the right to abortion, contraceptives, gay marriage and their right to adopt, and other rights for LGBTTI people. This type of alliance with openly reactionary forces is not only to try to win the elections but is also necessary to be able to govern in this society. In addition, AMLO has said that there are no “substantive differences” with this fundamentalist force, thus legitimizing the attacks and hatred that this party incites towards women and people of different sexuality. AMLO himself promotes the morality of the Bible, which is patriarchal to the core, in addition to justifying slavery, the killing of your enemy’s babies, and all kinds of horrors.7 Throughout the world, the growth of religious fundamentalism in these times of social crisis is considerable, with the support of powerful sections of the ruling classes that seek to reinforce the oppression of women under patriarchal authority, as the cornerstone of the “union” of the society under its rule. López Obrador also says that issues of abortion rights, reproductive freedom, and the rights of LGBTTI people should be submitted to “popular consultation,” giving openings to the Catholic church, evangelical fundamentalist churches and other reactionaries to try to suppress these recently gained minimal fundamental rights and reinforce structural oppression and hate crimes against women and LGBTTI people.

López Obrador’s cabinet proposal includes several very direct representatives of the big bourgeoisie, whose presence assures that class that their interests will be protected. The appointment of Víctor Villalobos Arámbula as the Secretary of Agriculture (Sagarpa) is a big blow against the peasants and the fight against transgenic corn. As an official of PRI and PAN governments and as an official since 2010 of the agricultural body of the Organization of American States (OAS), Villalobos has been an attack dog for Monsanto and other transgenic companies, as well as big synthetic biology companies and agribusiness.

AMLO appointed Alfonso Romo as coordinator of his “2018-2024 Nation Project,” and he is the main operator to connect López Obrador with the big capitalists and the imperialists, and to convince them to support him. Romo is a big Mexican businessman who sold his seed company to Monsanto in 2005, remaining in charge and working for Monsanto for a while. He then invested his fortune in Synthetic Genomics, a transnational synthetic biology company that, among other looting, took unique microorganisms from Mexican national waters.

The presence of these two representatives of the big bourgeoisie in his campaign leaves no doubt that an AMLO government would promote agribusiness and would probably open the door to transgenics, as other supposedly progressive governments have done. “On the issue of transgenics in Latin America, the governments that have most pushed their use are the governments of Lula da Silva in Brazil, Kirchner in Argentina and José ‘Pepe’ Mújica in Uruguay.”8

Alfonso Durazo, private secretary of Vicente Fox while the latter was in the Presidency, and also his spokesman, was appointed to the Ministry of Public Security. He heads the “Advisory Council to Guarantee Peace,” in charge of developing López Obrador’s security proposal, with the participation of Manuel Fastlicht, entrepreneur of the big bourgeoisie, father-in-law of Televisa’s president, Emilio Azcárraga Jean, and Alejandro Gertz Manero, Secretary of Public Security in the Vicente Fox government.

Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, Secretary of the Interior under former President Ernesto Zedillo, who was responsible for launching a military offensive against the EZLN during the negotiation period with the federal government in 1995, and currently president of the Azteca Foundation, would be in charge of the Ministry of Public Education.

As Secretary of Tourism, the proposal is Miguel Torruco Márquez, a tourism entrepreneur, the Mexico City Secretary of Tourism under Mancera, and father-in-law of the kids of Carlos Slim.

All these nominations indicate that an Andrés Manuel López Obrador government will represent the same ruling classes and the same imperialist capitalist system, despite the limited changes it might be able implement. If some followers of Morena feel betrayed by these decisions, it is important that they learn that it is not that AMLO changed, that he had just “betrayed” what he previously represented, but that they had been fooled by the sugar-coated phrases and promises of AMLO, because they did not detect that the content behind these statements corresponds to the interests of the big bourgeoisie and the imperialists, to the continuation of the same system.

A good example of López Obrador’s misleading phrases is the justification for his promise of a “clean slate” for Enrique Peña Nieto and his current government in general. The objective is to reassure those who have been their opponents in the ruling classes that there will be continuity without ruptures for the system. At the same time it is an attempt to agree with those who have committed big crimes against the people, not only to be allowed to win the election, but also to be able to govern. AMLO is absolving not only corruption on a big scale, but also blood crimes such as Ayotzinapa, Nochixtlán, Tlatlaya, Tanhuato, and countless other crimes by State forces; he promises absolute impunity for these assassins and their godfathers in power. Then he tries to disguise this complicity of not prosecuting them, with the justification that “revenge is not my forte” and “I do not hate anyone.” It’s really a vile arrangement, for the good of the system. Putting Enrique Peña Nieto on trial for his crimes would not be revenge, it would be justice.

In addition to promising impunity for the atrocious crimes of the current government and incorporating recognized reactionary businessmen and politicians in his cabinet proposal, López Obrador has welcomed into Morena all sorts of vile bourgeois politicians from the PRI, PAN, and PRD. All these deals and haggling by AMLO and Morena with the other electoral parties, big businessmen, and influential forces in general are the daily bread of bourgeois politics, both to win the elections and to govern in the current system.

AMLO, Head of Government of the Federal District, Good Servant of the System

If the AMLO government in the Federal District in 2000-2005 is examined, there is abundant evidence that it served the needs of the system and big capital, and did not change anything fundamental for the oppressed.

In his campaign now, AMLO says repeatedly that he will not use the armed forces and the police to repress the people. However, under his government and the policy of “Zero Tolerance” that he adopted, the police repressed time after time, as do the forces of the State in every society based on exploitation. To mention just a few examples:

AMLO promises that when he gets into the presidency, he will put an end to impunity. However, it was precisely impunity that characterized the actions of his prosecutor’s office in covering up the political murders of Digna Ochoa and Pavel González. They discarded all evidence of murder, declared that they were “suicides,” and decreed “non-existence of criminal doing.” Digna Ochoa was a courageous defense attorney for environmental peasants in Guerrero (and other cases of political repression), who had suffered previous attacks on her life. The most likely executioners of Digna would be thugs of the cattle overlord, drug-trafficker, and illegal logger, Rogaciano Alba, at the request of the army, or assassins of this armed body; because Digna was the first lawyer who managed to interrogate soldiers of the army in a civil trial, that provoked the military’s anger. Pavel González was an activist and student of the UNAM [Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México], whose body was hung from a cross in El Ajusco, with traces of torture caused before his death. Although the first forensic doctor who examined his body refused to comply with the “orders from above” to describe his death as “suicide,” it was so decreed by the authorities of AMLO’s capital government. He had been threatened with death previously by “thugs” of the extreme right and El Yunque.

Why do capitalist governments, including the AMLO government, almost always conceal the political assassinations committed by State forces and other reactionaries? Because the capitalist system needs to terrorize the oppressed and its opponents to maintain “order.” The murderers are following orders for this purpose, and that is why they are protected. It is hypocrisy and complicity if one denounces this type of crime against the people when they are committed by the governments of the PAN and the PRI, and is silent when they are committed by an AMLO government.

His supporters argue that AMLO increased social programs, which is true—and it is also true, as he himself admits, that the other parties of the big bourgeoisie emulate several of these programs. In reality, repression and social programs are, after all, two sides of the same coin: they are two forms used by the rulers coming from all the bourgeois political parties to try to maintain control over the exploited and oppressed majority in this system dominated by a handful of big foreign and Mexican entrepreneurs. AMLO showed this in No. 19 of his Compromisos [Commitments] with the big businessmen: “We will fight poverty for humanitarian reasons and to avoid frustration and outbursts of hatred and resentment.”9 Among politicians of this system, the “war against poverty” is as eternal as poverty itself, and is reduced in fact to certain crumbs, certain social programs that have precisely the purpose of “avoiding frustration and outbursts of hatred and resentment” by the poor, who are poor for the same reason that the big businessmen are mega-rich: because they exploit them. Social programs and repression are, in short, “the carrot and the stick” that are used to defend the current system of big inequalities and injustices.

AMLO’s capital government greatly favored the big imperialist and Mexican capitalists, despite his rhetoric at that time of “the poor come first.” As the business group “Despierta México” [Wake Up Mexico] emphasizes by confirming now its support for his candidacy to the presidency, “Andrés Manuel López Obrador... turned the Federal District into a leader in direct foreign investment...”10 And so it was that: “...in 2006, 41.2% of the companies with foreign participation registered in Mexico were in the Federal District... In this regards, the countries with the highest investment in the Federal District in that year were the United States (62.4%), Spain (16.7%) and Holland (7.31%).”11

An example of what AMLO calls “incentives for private investment” (both foreign and Mexican investment) was “the granting of discounts of between 25 and 100 percent on the payment of taxes on payroll, property, property acquisition, and registration rights in the Public Registry of Property.”12 The much-vaunted “Renovation of the Historic Center” [of Mexico City] was made based on creating conditions to make attractive for big capital that area of the city. This “renovation” meant advantages and lucrative profits for big businesses like Carlos Slim’s CICSA and Sheraton hotels, while street vendors, franeleros [people who watch your car while you go about your business], small businesses, and other “undesirables” were expelled and repressed.

Responding to the interests of construction companies and other interested companies, and with the usual justification of “attracting more investment,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador gave the go-ahead to the current real estate boom by issuing Proclamation 2 that allowed constructing buildings in “four demarcations with the idea of making the city grow vertically” (Proceso, No. 2134). Then this was extended to the whole city under other supposed “leftist” governments of Marcelo Ebrard and Miguel Ángel Mancera.

The incessant capitalist competition among the construction companies in Mexico City has led them to build increasingly taller buildings, due to the high price of land. (The land becomes more expensive due to the over-centralization of the productive apparatus and the population characteristic of capitalist development.) Both governments and companies ignore the verifiably unstable subsoil in the former lake area where Mexico City is built, because the dynamics of capitalism do not allow for taking into account the nature or the welfare of the people. This does not enter into the earnings and growth calculations; what dictates is the needs of capitalist accumulation.

All this set the stage for a much bigger tragedy with the earthquake of September 19, 2017. It was mainly the tall buildings, several of which were recently built, that collapsed, causing hundreds of deaths in Mexico City and other states in the central part of Mexico. From the point of view of the interests of the people, it is madness to “vertically grow” a city in an earthquake zone; but from the point of view of the ruling classes and the functioning of the capitalist system, it is completely “rational.” To make matters worse, several of these buildings were built with materials of very poor quality, yielding higher profits for construction companies but homes and workplaces much more dangerous for people.

The government of López Obrador in the Federal District was the government of a political representative of the ruling classes that met the requirements for such a government: create conditions conducive to the accumulation of big capital and keep the masses under the domination of the predominantly capitalist system through a combination of repression and social programs. There is nothing surprising here: The very dynamics of the capitalist economy and the structure and nature of the State that defends and promotes it demand that this be the case, whoever is in charge of that apparatus.

The Elections Under This System Are a Trap

Elections are like a card game with the deck fixed. If you play, you cannot win, because the ruling classes control the whole process. As we have pointed out, the State has to serve the economic base of society and has to protect the political system and the social relations and ideas that correspond to the economic relations (or the mode of production), so that the system works and does not tear up the society. That is why the ruling classes control the whole process of electing the head of State and the other political representatives of the system.

Who chooses the candidates? People and groups that have power and a lot of money and play an important role in the system. They decide to support some and oppose others. Huge amounts of money for advertising (and vote buying) flow to the “chosen ones.” This was admitted by Alfonso Romo, right-hand man of López Obrador, at a meeting of executives of companies, diplomats, and academics convened by the Mexican Council of International Affairs (Comexi). Speaking of the victory of the PRI in 2012, he said, “And look where we are. And I ask: Is not this also the fault of the private sector? Who were we who put him (Enrique Peña Nieto) in?” (Proceso No. 2156, page 23, our emphasis.)

The main media (which are propaganda organs of the ruling classes) present some positively and others negatively, spread scandals about some and silence others, and often State institutions intervene directly to disqualify one and shore up another (like the attempt to deflate AMLO in 2006 or the threat of investigating Anaya for corruption now). In addition, the institutions that organize the elections and the courts that certify them are part of the State apparatus, which has the purpose of maintaining the system and the monopoly of power of the ruling classes.

If it turns out that in certain circumstances the elections get off track and a male head (or female head) of State comes to power who takes measures that are not acceptable for the dominant sections of the ruling classes (and in oppressed countries like Mexico, especially for U.S. imperialists), they launch economic and political attacks to isolate and undermine the candidate, and often resort to the Armed Forces to remove the candidate. Look how these “knights-errant” of democracy have no objection to organizing coups d’état to remove “duly elected” governments, if they pose obstacles to imperialist interests! So they removed Salvador Allende in Chile, Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran, Sukarno in Indonesia, and they are trying to do it now with Maduro in Venezuela, although none of these rulers actually proposed getting out of the current world capitalist-imperialist system. Recently, the (former) U.S. secretary of state, Tillerson, from Mexico called for a military coup in Venezuela to remove Maduro, in the name of “restoring democracy,” that is, to restore a form of bourgeois dictatorship more to his liking.

Elections Do Not Determine the Basic Decisions of the Government, Nor the Direction of Society

The electoral propaganda and debates center on frivolities and empty promises, while evading all analysis of essential questions. When has an electoral debate been seen about the systematic and brutal structural oppression of indigenous peoples, or of women? On the murders of young people and the absence of any encouraging future for them? How about a debate on the imperialist domination of Mexico and the world and the role of the Mexican State as an attack dog for this domination, especially for the United States, hunting Central American immigrants, or besieging uncomfortable governments for the United States? Global warming and the destruction of the environment? The systematic torture, arbitrary detention, forced disappearance, and murder carried out by the police and the Armed Forces? The deep collusion of the Mexican State, and the United States, with organized crime? Never. But they insist, “You can decide the country you want.” No, you can only choose between candidates who represent keeping all this.

In addition, the elections do not determine what the government is going to do. Let’s take a look:

Important decisions are not made through elections. They are taken by the head of State, in consultation with other fat cats in the ruling classes, and in particular under pressure from the U.S. government, in accordance with the needs of the system and the policies they consider best to maintain and strengthen it.

Elections Serve to Legitimize the System

Elections are the main mechanism to legitimize the system and the State that represents it. They pull us into a process in which all options represent the same system and the same monopoly of political power by the capitalists, imperialists, and landlords. If you let yourself be fooled that this way you can change things, in reality you are only contributing to prolong and validate the continuity of hell itself. Think of all the ways they try to get us involved in their electoral circus. “You can decide the government you want;” “If you care about your country, you have to vote;” “If you don’t participate, you can’t complain;” or if you voted for the candidate that ended up winning, you can’t complain either, because “you elected him.” In addition to the massive propaganda that tries to deceive people, many people are forced to vote (among the more than 25% of the population that is enrolled in government programs), on pain of losing the meager allowances or services that they receive.

Why do they care so much that we participate in the elections? Because this is how they train us to think within the limits of this system and involve us in a process that gives them a stamp of approval on all the injustices and atrocities that they commit. They tell us, “This person at the head of the State represents the will of the people, and what they do is what the majority wants.”

The elections are disguised as a government “elected by the people’s will,” which in reality is a dictatorship of these ruling classes. Whoever wins the presidency shall act in accordance with the functioning and dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system, and all the unnecessary and inadmissible horrors that this entails will go on and on.

“Change the World, Without Taking Power” Will Not Dismantle Capitalism or Change the World

Unlike those who seek positions in the current State, as we have already pointed out, the leadership of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and others maintain that they do not take power but organize, “from below,” autonomous or alternative projects to achieve “good government” and certain economic and political reforms. They affirm or suggest that by adding more and more autonomous localities, the needed change can be achieved without defeating the forces of the current State and sweeping away the capitalist system. Since they do not propose overthrowing the current reactionary State, their efforts are aimed at pressuring the State to accept the existence of “autonomous and alternative” projects and to grant certain reforms within the current deadly system. For more than a decade, the EZLN has declared itself “anti-capitalist,” but never proposes another mode of production that would replace capitalism; at the same time, they continue to affirm that the problem is “bad government” and the solution is “good government,” which they try to create within the same system, “from below,” with the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (JBG; Boards of Good Government) and autonomous municipalities, but also “from above,” as we will see below. While AMLO, as we have mentioned, is a political representative of a wing of the ruling classes, the EZLN and other supporters of not taking power hold an intermediate position representative of the middle classes: They criticize and denounce the “bad government” but they are not in favor of going to the “extreme” of fighting to overthrow it.

After all, they share with the supporters of positions in the current State the basic goal of trying to “democratize” and reform the bourgeois State and the predominantly capitalist system in Mexico that this State defends and protects. In fact, from the beginning the EZLN has claimed the historical slogans of the 18th century bourgeois revolution of “Democracy, freedom, and justice,” and continues proclaiming them today.

As Engels says, “The great men, who in France prepared men’s minds for the coming revolution, were themselves extreme revolutionists... Now, for the first time, appeared the light of day, the kingdom of reason; henceforth superstition, injustice, privilege, oppression, were to be superseded by eternal truth, eternal Right, equality based on Nature and the inalienable rights of man.

“We know today that this kingdom of reason was nothing more than the idealized kingdom of the bourgeoisie; that this eternal Right found its realization in bourgeois justice; that this equality reduced itself to bourgeois equality before the law; that bourgeois property was proclaimed as one of the essential rights of man; and that the government of reason, the Contrat Social of Rousseau, came into being, and only could come into being, as a democratic bourgeois republic. The great thinkers of the 18th century could, no more than their predecessors, go beyond the limits imposed upon them by their epoch.”13

Those who seek to democratize and reform the capitalist system even in the 21st century also fail to get beyond the limits of thinking of three centuries ago. Never mind that never, nowhere, has any capitalist State, no matter how democratic, ceased repressing and killing people, defending and strengthening the oppression of women and oppressed nationalities. It does not matter that the current capitalist-imperialist system, in addition to the exploitation, poverty, misery, and reactionary wars that have ALWAYS characterized it, has taken humanity to the precipice even of its possible extinction, either by the rampant global warming and destruction of the world environment, or because of nuclear war. No! You will have to keep trying to reform the capitalist system so that it meets its democratic promises, although three centuries of trying precisely to do that have always ended in failure!

As Bob Avakian points out, “In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about ‘democracy’—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no ‘democracy for all’: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality.”14

“Democracy” on the basis of capitalist relations, no matter how democratic the forms, will always be bourgeois democracy, democracy at most for the ruling classes to govern, oppress, and suppress the workers, peasants, and middle classes, as happens, not only in Mexico but also in the most “democratic” capitalist republics. The liberation of the people will never be achieved through attempts to reform and democratize the current State but by breaking, shattering that old State, and establishing a new proletarian State, through the revolutionary struggle of the masses led by a revolutionary communist party, to emancipate the formerly oppressed masses and serve the advance of the world revolution, as well as suppress attempts at capitalist restoration.

Further, it’s a farce and a trick to proclaim yourself “anti-capitalist,” when in reality you are fighting to reform and not get rid of the capitalist system. The only real “anti-capitalism” is to fight to abolish all capitalist economic relations. This struggle also requires struggling to overcome the division of society into classes, along with all the corresponding social relations (like the oppression of women, oppressed nations and peoples, the division between manual and mental labor, etc.) and the corresponding ideas (male chauvinism, national chauvinism, the “me first” outlook, etc.). Marx scientifically showed, and experience since his time has confirmed, that the only path to achieve this is communist revolution that leads to establishing socialism as a transition, along with the advance of the world revolution, until reaching communism, a society with no classes or exploitation or oppression of any kind in the whole world.

Although this struggle is difficult, particularly in the current world situation, it is with this ruler that the EZLN and all political forces must be judged, because, frankly, the only way to escape from the horrors of the capitalist-imperialist world is to put an end to capitalism-imperialism with the goal of a communist world and the emancipation of all humanity.

A fundamental problem with the position of the EZLN and others that propose to fight for a change without taking power, is that it leaves the current criminal State intact, and therefore it can’t stop the horrors that the system throws down; it can’t liberate indigenous peoples and the people in general, it can’t liberate women, it can’t eliminate poverty among the majorities, it can’t stop the destruction of the environment, nor achieve a fundamental change for humanity. This only leads to prolonging the predominantly capitalist system in Mexico and the capitalist-imperialist system in the world, with all the unnecessary suffering this entails, in exchange for achieving, at best, some limited improvements for a small group of people.

The problem with the EZLN’s position is not autonomous projects in themselves but the idea that their proliferation can lead to basic change without the need to overthrow the reactionary State, confiscate the property of the ruling classes, and establish socialism as a transition to communism.

The Zapatista project for an autonomous Chiapas and autonomous municipalities such as Cherán in the State of Michoacán, and community guards and police in Ostula, Michoacán, and in the mountains of Guerrero, among others, have arisen from the righteous resistance of indigenous people and peasants, their need to defend themselves from the attacks of the system just to stay alive. They have taken back some land, curbed the cutting down of some forests, and resisted and stopped (or postponed) some attempts by big capital to dispossess communities and destroy the environment. They have defended themselves, to some extent, from organized crime and the forces of the State, and to not let themselves be smashed by the war of extermination that capitalism-imperialism is waging against the native peoples. These struggles are brave and provide important lessons, and insofar as they continue fighting against the ravages and injustices of this system, they should be supported by all those who hate oppression and want radical change.

Nevertheless, wrenching some autonomy on the local level under this system is not a solution. Self-government projects will not make the predominantly capitalist system disappear. It will also continue assaulting indigenous peoples. It will continue killing and destroying until it is overthrown.

Any autonomy that affects the interests of the system and the ruling classes will be attacked by them, and they won’t stop until that autonomy is disrupted and made to serve their needs, or forcibly destroyed. The State and its paramilitary gangs have unleashed murder, imprisonment, and continuous harassment against the autonomous municipalities and police forces. For example, in Ostula in 2010 and 2011, organized crime working in collusion with the State murdered an average of one community member every two weeks.

It’s very good to organize self-defense and self-government when the conditions make it possible to do so as part of resisting the system, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking it would be possible to spread “self-government” throughout Mexico until the fall of the State and the disappearance of the capitalist system of exploitation. The capitalists, imperialists, and big landlords will never give up their property and power peacefully, and the State, which is their instrument of repression, can never be reformed to take the side of the people.

In addition to being under military siege, the autonomous municipalities are politically and economically “bombarded” by the system that has them surrounded. Very few changes can be implemented as long as capitalism continues to dominate all of Mexico: The main means of production remain in the hands of the capitalists, who continue exploiting and destroying, they continue dominating everyone with their political and military power; and oppressive relations and the capitalist ideology continue to predominate in society in general. Under these conditions autonomous projects can only involve very small sections of the people. As they try to keep their footing in the sea of capitalist exploitation in which they exist, the State uses coercion to force them to cooperate in some way and not “get out of line” by fighting against the system.

Therefore, focusing on maintaining a “self-government” within the confines of the current system is in contradiction with exposing and consistently fighting against all the crimes of the system and especially with fighting for a revolution that is the only thing that can put an end to all these crimes. Why? Because if you fight consistently against the system, the system will come to try to wipe out the limited autonomy that it has tolerated for some time.

One example of this is what the EZLN did in February 2001, when they were on their way to Mexico City for the Cocopa Law to be approved in Congress. At the same time, there was very brutal repression ordered by the Presidential General Staff on the protesters against the World Economic Forum and the imperialist globalization in Cancún. The EZLN did not say one single word against this repression, although they made public pronouncements every day when it occurred. Keeping silent about this crime meant not bothering the then Mexican President Vicente Fox, who introduced the Cocopa Law for approval, or the congressmen who were called on by the EZLN in its Fifth Declaration “to legislate for the benefit of all Mexicans. To rule by obeying the people... by means of approving the Cocopa Law.” As Miroslava Breach (a journalist murdered in 2017 for exposing the collusion of political authorities with organized crime) said, “silence is complicity.” Furthermore, calling on the Congress of the Union to “rule by obeying the people” is an example of trying to reform the current State, and refusing to recognize that in fact the deputies and senators do “rule by obeying,” but by obeying the ruling classes.

Since shortly after the 1994 Zapatista uprising, there has been an agreement, at least tacitly, where the State tolerates, without granting the EZLN official recognition, the Zapatistas’ Boards of Good Government in return for the EZLN limiting itself to “civil and peaceful struggle.” This doesn’t mean that the State is no longer harassing them. The State has continued to attack them in various ways, such as giving more benefits to surrounding communities, and arming, training, and whipping up paramilitary bands to attack and murder Zapatistas. The EZLN, in turn, works with the reactionary State in matters such as organizing elections, reporting or turning over “criminals” to the authorities, and turning in “smugglers” of migrants who fail to heed a first warning. (The Zapatistas label “smuggling” migrants a “crime against humanity”.)15

As is known, in 2016 the EZLN organized a National Indigenous Congress and convinced it to participate in the 2018 presidential elections with an indigenous woman as its independent candidate. They declared their aim was not to win the elections and “come to power” but to generate “a process of combative reorganization, not only of native peoples but also workers, peasants, employees, tenant farmers, teachers and students, all the people whose silence and paralysis is synonymous not with apathy but the lack of a call to action... A movement could be generated in which all the downtrodden converge, a great movement that will shake up the whole political system.”16

Why call on “all the downtrodden” to gather signatures for the National Electoral Institute (INE) and participate in elections instead of organizing to expose and resist the atrocities committed by this system, independent of and in opposition to the electoral process? Why aim to “shake up the whole political system” instead of unmasking and resisting the whole capitalist economic and political system in struggle that is independent of the system’s institutions, struggle that contributes to forging the consciousness, organization, combativeness, and leadership necessary for both strengthening the independent resistance and making the necessary preparations for a real revolution?

Seeking to have an independent candidate on the ballot and participating in the presidential election is sending the ruling classes a clear message that the EZLN continues to commit itself to staying within the system’s rules of the game for “political struggle.” This is why the ruling classes welcomed the EZLN’s campaign. It was very remarkable how the politicians (except AMLO and Morena) praised this campaign, the bourgeois media gave it favorable publicity, the Navy came very quickly to attend to the injured in the car accident in Baja California, and then President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed his condolences right away for the death of the young activist. On the other hand, this effort at electoral campaigning pulled people who were already looking with disgust at the bourgeois elections to return to participate in the electoral process, or to apply for their voter’s credential and to get into it for the first time, thus contributing to give more legitimacy to this circus.17

María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, the independent candidate for the presidency, elected to represent the Indigenous Council of Government, explained, “This is a proposal that we are carrying out, of governing differently and that it will be the organized people whom that government obeys. Only if we organize ourselves can we win, otherwise, we can’t; they will continue destroying us, they will continue dispersing us, and they will continue imposing those deadly projects which is what they have brought to our peoples... It was necessary to participate in this celebration of the rich, but not to come and be like them, but to demonstrate to them that indigenous peoples want to continue living and we want them to respect us, and we want them to not keep intruding in our territories to harm us, to exterminate us.”18

It is necessary to organize ourselves and resist, but it is a false illusion to believe that if we are simply organized, we can prevent them from continuing to “impose those deadly projects,” among many other crimes, or to make the “rich... respect us.” The competition among the capitalists themselves forces them to continue expanding their businesses and projects, under penalty of being defeated in the competition among themselves and going bankrupt. At times the organized struggle of the people can wrench certain concessions from the class enemy. One example is the physical, nonviolent defense of Atenco [a small community near Mexico City whose members waged a mass struggle to stop the expropriation of their lands to build an airport in 2002]. That struggle won broad support throughout society and was able to halt the airport project, an important victory. But before long the combined forces of the three levels of the State [with the PAN in the presidency, Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI as the governor of the State of Mexico where Atenco is located, and the PRD, in which AMLO was still active on the municipal level] took vengeance, killing two people and raping two dozen women, and now they’re coming back with a new airport plan. Also, even if an attack in one particular place is beaten back, the system continues driving an enormous number of peasants and indigenous people from their land in other places.

As many people have pointed out, the situation for indigenous peoples is worse now than in 1994 [at the time of the Zapatista uprising]. Big capital, organized crime and the State’s armed forces are intensifying the plunder of natural resources and the expulsion of the peoples from their land, and autonomous projects face brutal repression. All this is true. It’s indispensable to organize and strengthen the resistance, but if that’s done based on reformist illusions, that will only disarm the people, weaken their capacity to resist, and lead to demoralization.

If the resistance is really going to strengthen the fight for emancipation, it must be guided by the simple truth that “The State isn’t negligent, it’s criminal” [in opposition to the claim that the State should be pressured to assume the responsibilities it is now neglecting, like protecting people’s lives] and casting off the illusion that somehow the State can be made to obey the people [as stated by the Zapatista slogan that the State should “rule by obeying the people”]. Instead of begging the ruling classes to “show us respect,” we should be driven by and spread the spirit of “fuck the whole system.” What’s needed is resistance that is really independent and aimed at the system and its State. And the revolutionary communists should work to clearly explain to everyone just why the State is committing and covering up these crimes, and how these are rooted in the nature and functioning of the capitalist system. Such resistance can win partial and temporary victories, it can inspire and educate the people and create much better conditions for revolution, but it can’t bring an end to all this system’s horrors. We have to tell the people the truth, and explain that it is possible to stop all these atrocities if and only if there is a communist revolution. That’s why we say, “Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution.”

The EZLN Fights to Reform the Current State and Capitalist System

Throughout its history, the EZLN has stated that the problem is “bad government,” and the solution is a “good government,” and it has tried to achieve “good government” both “from above” and “from below,” within the capitalist system itself.

To make this clearer, let’s look briefly at its political history:

In the real world, it’s impossible to put an end to repression and all the other horrors we experience and build a new economic and political system without exploitation unless the old system ruling over us is destroyed. Only a revolutionary people’s war can win the liberation of the people and lay the foundation for a new liberating society that would be a base area for the world revolution. Subcomandante Galeano [the Zapatista leader formerly known as Marcos] calls “dogmatic” and “sectarian” anyone who says this, but it’s the truth, and it’s what we all have to do if we want real emancipation for the oppressed and ultimately all of humanity.

In turn, the vision “Change the world, without taking power,” or as the EZLN says, “we are not fighting to take power,” is deception. What’s really at stake is not how best to reform the current system, but how to make a revolution of millions that overthrows the old State, creates a new revolutionary State, and a new economic and political system that is no longer based on exploitation; is no longer governed by the savage competition of the big capitalists for maximum profit, but by the fight to overcome all the contradictions inherited from class societies, and finally to emancipate all humanity. Not fighting for power in this sense means accepting the permanence of the current system with all its horrors and only seeking to mitigate them a little for a small minority of the people.

In this era of global warming and nuclear weapons, of great deprivation and misery alongside affluent wealth, of enormous and advanced means of production that operate with the work of millions but are monopolized by a few, the future of humanity depends on finally overcoming the historically antiquated capitalist-imperialist system. The very development of this system has laid the material foundations for a higher and much better society, and the intensified contradictions of the system have no other resolution in the interests of the vast majority.

This is an arduous and difficult struggle, but in it we have the new communism developed by Bob Avakian on the basis of summing up the big positive lessons as well as the errors of the past socialist revolutions, analyzing new conditions and learning from other spheres of knowledge to achieve a qualitative advance in the scientific method and approach for making revolution and emancipating humanity, laying the basis for a new stage of communist revolution that is so urgently needed by the oppressed masses.22

The Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico, is fighting to apply this new communism and has established the strategic orientation and initial basic program for the liberating revolution Mexico needs.23

It’s time to cast off the false illusions that it’s possible to democratize and reform this outmoded and inhuman capitalist-imperialist system whether by working inside or outside the bourgeois State. What’s needed is to devote ourselves to the urgent and most basic need of the oppressed masses, a real revolution to sweep away this system and finally contribute to the emancipation of all humanity.

Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

April 28, 2018

 

1. Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and a leader in the international communist movement. [back]

2. Bob Avakian, Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, “Part 1: Revolution and the State,” available at revcom.us. [back]

3. Karl Marx, “Letter to Kugelmann,” April 12, 1871. [back]

4. Bob Avakian, op. cit.; also quoted in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, p. 15. [back]

5. For example: “Venezuela accounts for some 12 percent of the U.S.’s daily oil imports, and plays a certain strategic role in the U.S. ability to project power in the world. But the other side of the equation is more telling, illustrating an aspect of Venezuela’s structural dependency: that 12 percent share of U.S. oil imports accounted for by Venezuela represents 60 percent of Venezuela’s total oil exports!” Source: Revolution #94, July 1, 2007, available at revcom.us. [back]

6. LGBTTI = Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersexual. [back]

7. For further documentation and scientific analysis of the Bible, monotheistic religions, fundamentalism, and morality, see Bob Avakian, AWAY WITH ALL GODS! Unchaining the mind and radically changing the world. Insight Press, Chicago, 2008. Available from Insight Press. [back]

8. Silvia Ribeiro, “Party politics, transgenics and peasant communities,” December 19, 2017, in Spanish. [back]

9. “Commitments of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, pre-candidate to the Presidency of the Republic, at the Business Forum in Saltillo, Coahuila,” January 17, 2012, at www.babeldelnorte.com. Our emphasis. In Spanish. [back]

10. Cited in “The second wind of López Obrador,” February 12, 2012, jenarovillamil.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/el-segundo-aire-de-lopez-obrador/. In Spanish. [back]

11. Jorge A Schiavon, “Local diplomacy of the Federal District (2000-2007),” in Working Document Number 172. CIDE, August 2008. In Spanish. [back]

12. Miguel Ángel Vite Pérez, “Reflections on the social development of Mexico City, in Intersticios, Revista Sociológica de Pensamiento Crítico, Vol. 5 (2), October 2011, pp. 290-291. http://www.insterticios.es. In Spanish. [back]

13. Frederick Engels, “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific,” C. Marx, F. Engels, Selected Works, Volume III, Progress Publishers, Moscow. [back]

14. Bob Avakian, BAsics, 1:22, RCP Publications, Chicago, 2011, p. 17. [back]

15. Subcomandante Marcos, “Read a video,” cited in La Jornada, August 24, 2004. In Spanish. [back]

16. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. A story to try to understand. November 17, 2016. (enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/11/17/una-historia-para-tratar-de-entender/). In Spanish. [back]

17. Under certain exceptional circumstances, at times it can be necessary to participate in bourgeois elections as a subordinate part of exposing the falseness of bourgeois democracy and the need to overthrow the whole system. This is what the Bolsheviks did at certain points in the Russian revolution, for instance, when the 1905 revolution had been defeated and elections were instituted for the first time in the country’s history. There is no such necessity to participate in the 2018 Mexican elections at a time when broad sections of the people are repudiating all of the bourgeois parties as the same crap. On the other hand, the participation of the EZLN in these elections was not intended to expose the electoral farce and the whole system but, as mentioned, it objectively contributed to legitimize it. [back]

18. “Words of Marichuy in the Meeting with the Mayo People in Cohuirimpo, Sonora,” January 13, 2018. In Spanish. [back]

19. The pamphlet Revolution, Yes! Elections, No! documents this in detail. Pamphlet in Spanish by the People’s Research Center, 1994. [back]

20. “On the EZLN, The People Need Proletarian Revolution, Not the Democratization of the Existing State,” Aurora Roja No. 13, February 2006, page 11, in Spanish. It can be downloaded at aurora-roja.blogspot.com. [back]

21. See “The Bourgeois Character of the Constitution of 1917,” Aurora Roja No. 13, in Spanish. [back]

22. See Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for a, actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation. [back]

23. See Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico, The Liberatory Revolution, Strategic Orientation and Basic Program, Editorial Flor de la Sierra, Mexico, 2015, in Spanish. [back]

Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

Now, that doesn't mean we don't unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution. We definitely need to do that. But the proffering of any other solution to these monumental and monstrous problems and outrages is ridiculous, frankly. And we need to be taking the offensive and mobilizing increasing numbers of masses to cut through this shit and bring to the fore what really is the solution to this, and to answer the questions and, yes, the accusations that come forth in response to this, while deepening our scientific basis for being able to do this. And the point is: not only do we need to be doing this, but we need to be bringing forward, unleashing and leading, and enabling increasing numbers of the masses to do this. They need to be inspired, not just with a general idea of revolution, but with a deepening understanding, a scientific grounding, as to why and how revolution really is the answer to all of this.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:1

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Federal Court Rules:
There’s No Right to Literacy Under This System

How They Look at Education... and How We Will, After the Revolution

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Some years ago I had a friend in Detroit who taught elementary school, and struggled every day to try to help her students rise above the horrific conditions in the schools. Every week she took part of her salary and bought toilet paper to bring to the school, because otherwise there would be none. Once a month she and her husband drove to a discount bookstore in the suburbs to buy books so her students would have them in their classroom.

I thought of her when I read that the Federal District Court in Michigan ruled last week that “access to literacy is not a fundamental right.” The court issued an order dismissing a class action lawsuit brought by the Public Counsel law firm and others on behalf of students in Detroit, a lawsuit requesting the state be required to provide evidence-based literacy instruction in all schools, and to provide the teachers, training, and tools to do so.

What are the conditions in the Detroit schools that led to this lawsuit? Detroit has the lowest literacy rate for elementary-age children of any city in the country. Of the six schools highlighted in the lawsuit, at least 90 percent of the students read below levels for their age, and at one school 100 percent of the sixth graders read below their levels. One of the lawyers for the lawsuit wrote when it was filed:

At the schools we feature in our Complaint, students returned from summer break to find that there were no teachers in many core curricular subjects, no books for them to use individually in their classrooms or to take home to do homework, classroom temperature hovering around 100 degrees such that school had to be dismissed early on the first day and students and teachers threw up and passed out. We have documented that, in some of these schools, individual teachers had to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars from their meager salaries just to stock their classrooms with basic supplies. The teaching of seventh and eighth grade math classes was assigned to an eighth grader. Teachers were provided a handful of battered history textbooks dated 1998 when the president was Bill Clinton, and during winter students had to huddle in overcrowded classrooms wearing layers of winter clothes, shivering and seeing their breath if they spoke. (Statement of Mark Rosenbaum, available at www.detroit-accesstoliteracy.org)

The class action complaint documented these conditions and much more, and included pictures from classrooms with roaches and feces, and with water buckets catching the rainwater coming through the ceiling. The lawsuit argued that the differences between conditions at these schools with largely Black and Brown students, and the nearby wealthy and mostly Caucasian community of Grosse Pointe, constitute racial discrimination that reinforces and exacerbates the inequalities between the communities.

How did the court answer this? After acknowledging that such conditions cause tremendous harm, it compared the problem to those who have no sanitary place to live, or live in abusive homes, but do not have a fundamental right to have those conditions dealt with.

There is so much wrong here it is hard to know where to begin. But for the purposes of this letter, think of the horror, in terms of the human potential of tens of millions of children—to learn, to create, and to think critically—squandered, suppressed, and snuffed out, embodied in the oh-so-logical reasoning of the judge. This is the reasoning of monsters—or more accurately, the tools of a monstrous system.

Bob Avakian has often referred to Marx’s comment that “Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.” In a capitalist-imperialist economic structure, the right of all people to learn how to read does not rise above the most basic right of the capitalist system—the “right” of the capitalists to accumulate ever more capital. There is no right to literacy and decent education—just as there is no right to decent housing, to meaningful jobs, to being free of sexual violence and degradation, to being free from racism and national oppression, etc., etc.

Marx’s statement also applies to socialist society. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—a concrete and visionary blueprint authored by Bob Avakian for a radically new society that would be built after the revolutionary overthrow of this system—says that:

The most basic right of the proletariat, together with the broad masses of people, in the New Socialist Republic in North America is to be enabled to have the fundamentally decisive role in determining the direction of society, and to join in struggle with others throughout the world, in order to finally abolish relations of exploitation and oppression; and to bring into being, and increasingly play the determining role in regard to, government which will be an instrument toward those ends. (p. 63)

So how will a revolutionary socialist society answer the question, “Is there a right to access to literacy?” Because it is proceeding from abolishing all oppression and exploitation, and the political and cultural structures that enforce oppression and exploitation, it answers the question with an emphatic “YES”! From the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America:

1. Education in the New Socialist Republic in North America shall be based in accordance with, and contribute to, the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution. All education shall be public education, provided for financially through the allocation of funds from the central government and other levels of government, under the overall direction of the Executive Council of the central government.

Education providing not only for literacy and other basic skills and abilities but also for a grounding in the natural and social sciences, as well as art and culture and other spheres, and in the ability to work with ideas in general, shall be provided, at government expense, and shall be compulsory for all youth (both citizens and residents) within the New Socialist Republic in North America, in accordance with policy and guidelines that shall be adopted by the appropriate government bodies for this purpose. Advanced education, combining specialization with the continuance of overall, well-rounded learning, shall also be provided at government expense for those who meet the criteria and standards for this more advanced education, as set forth in policy and guidelines developed by the appropriate government bodies, in accordance with the principles and objectives embodied in this Constitution. And, on the basis of and in tempo with the development of the socialist economy and society overall, it shall be the orientation of the state to provide such advanced education to increasing numbers of the adult population. In furtherance of these ends, museums relating to history, natural history and science, art, and other spheres, as well as other institutions and programs, shall be developed in accordance with the basic principles and objectives set forth here, and shall be made available widely to the population as a whole....

Overcoming, in society (and ultimately the world) as a whole, such antagonism relating to the division between mental and physical work, which is deeply rooted in the development of societies marked by oppressive and exploitative relations and which is itself a potential source of such relations, shall be a concern of the state overall, and attention shall be paid to this in all spheres of society. (pp 31-32)

YES! When there is a fundamentally different economic structure, a different culture, a different political structure, there would indeed be “a right to literacy.”

One example that I’ve cited before...is the question of the “right to eat.” Or why, in reality, under this system, there is not a “right to eat.” Now, people can proclaim the “right to eat,” but there is no such right with the workings of this system. You cannot actually implement that as a right, given the dynamics of capitalism and the way in which, as we’ve seen illustrated very dramatically of late, it creates unemployment. It creates and maintains massive impoverishment. (To a certain extent, even while there is significant poverty in the imperialist countries, that is to some degree offset and masked by the extent of parasitism there; imperialism “feeds off” the extreme exploitation of people in the Third World in particular, and some of the “spoils” from this “filter down” in significant ways to the middle strata especially. But, if you look at the world as a whole, capitalism creates and maintains tremendous impoverishment.)

Many, many people cannot find enough to eat and cannot eat in a way that enables them to be healthy—and in general they cannot maintain conditions that enable them to be healthy. So even right down to something as basic as “the right to eat”—people don’t have that right under capitalism. If you were to declare it as a right, and people were to act on this and simply started going to where the food is sold as commodities and declaring “we have a more fundamental right than your right to distribute things as commodities and to accumulate capital—we have a right to eat”—and if they started taking the food, well then we know what would happen, and what has happened whenever people do this: “looters, shoot them down in the street.”

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:20

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

American Crime

Case #38: The U.S. Backs El Salvador’s Death Squad Government, 1980 to 1992

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

THE CRIME

Throughout the decade of the 1980s into the early 1990s the U.S. government backed, trained, and financed the reactionary government and military of the Central American country of El Salvador in its murderous counterinsurgency war that killed tens of thousands of workers, peasants, students, intellectuals, artists and others and forced hundreds of thousands to flee into exile.

El Salvador was dominated by U.S. imperialism in league with a few Salvadoran families who controlled the vast majority of the country’s land and wealth, while millions of peasants, workers and others lived in extreme poverty. They had no democratic rights and during the 1960s and 1970s their political protests were violently suppressed. In 1977, the Salvadoran military killed hundreds peacefully protesting voter fraud. The Salvadoran government unleashed paramilitary vigilante groups or “death squads” against its opponents, kidnapping and murdering leaders of labor unions, peasant organizations, political parties, and guerrilla groups, as well as priests and lay religious workers who sided with the poor.

Starting in the 1950s, the CIA and U.S. military built up, trained, funded, organized, and helped guide the Salvadoran military, police, and death squads. U.S. advisers even provided them with target lists.

In October 1979 young military officers seized power in a coup against El Salvador’s president, General Carlos Romero. The coup leaders called for some reforms, but old-line officers supported by the U.S., co-opted the regime and intensified repression against the population. As a result, many more, including former liberals, joined the growing armed resistance.  (In October 1980, a number of guerrilla groups joined to form the FMLN - Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front—which was backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba and became the main force fighting the U.S.-backed government.)

As 1980 began, civil war was brewing. In late January a government crop duster sprayed DDT on protesters marching in the capital. When the demonstrators reached a central plaza, military snipers started firing, killing 21 and seriously wounding 120.  On March 17 a general strike was called and the government responded violently, killing 54 in the capital city of San Salvador alone.

A week later, the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, who had called upon U.S. President Carter—“Christian to Christian”—to end aid to El Salvador’s military, was gunned down inside his church.  In his last sermon, he had addressed the security forces with these words: “I beseech you I beg you, I order you, in the name of God: stop the repression.” The Archbishop was the 11th priest murdered in El Salvador in three years. The architect of Romero’s murder was a U.S. trained intelligence officer and leader of El Salvador’s fascist Arena party, Roberto D’Aubuisson.

At the funeral of the martyred archbishop a bomb was thrown among the mourners followed by rifle and automatic fire leaving at least 40 people dead and hundreds injured.

During the early months of 1980, the Salvadoran government, under guidance from the U.S., enacted a so-called “agrarian reform” which was actually part of its counterinsurgency campaign. A member of the Instituto Salvadoreño de Transformación Agraria who witnessed the “implementation” of the reform later testified: “The troops came and told workers the land was theirs now. They could elect their own leaders and run it themselves. The peasants couldn’t believe their ears, but they held elections that very night. The next morning the troops came back and I watched as they shot every one of the elected leaders.”

On December 2, 1980, four Catholic missionaries from the United States working in El Salvador were raped and murdered by five members of the El Salvador National Guard.

In December, 1981, a unit of the Salvadoran military carried out a horrendous massacre in the village of El Mozote intended to terrorize the population. After entering the village men, women, children, and the elderly were separated in groups around the town plaza. The men and women were tortured and shot. Young women were taken up a hill, raped, and murdered. One hundred forty-six children from ages three days to 14 years, were brutally killed.

Soldiers smashed the skulls of small babies and decapitated older children. Pregnant mothers were shot, then had large rocks dropped on their stomachs to kill the fetus. Soldiers then set fire to the church where the children had been killed. Guerrillas who entered the smoldering town the next day recalled seeing animals pick at decapitated heads, strewn about, as smoke rose from charred bodies. About 1,000 people, almost the entire town’s population, were tortured and slaughtered in El Mozote. The military unit that carried out the massacre, the Atlacatl Battalion, was specially trained by the U.S. military at the infamous School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

The response of the U.S. to these events was a massive increase of military aid to El Salvador’s military and police. From 1980 to the early 1990s, U.S. provided an estimated $6 billion in military aid to the Salvadoran regime. Its military grew from an estimated 7000 to 12,000 men in 1979, and jumped to more than 22,000 by 1983, with an additional 11,000 civilian security forces. Three years later the total forces spiraled to 53,000. The equipment made available to them included advanced and deadly military aircraft.

The U.S. bore the cost of training Salvadoran military personnel in the U.S. and the Panama Canal Zone as well as in El Salvador. Further training was provided in the earlier years of the war by Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay at U.S. behest. Substantial military aide was routed through Israel.  Considerable evidence surfaced of a U.S. role in the ground fighting as well, including a CBS news report of U.S. advisers “fighting side by side” with Salvadoran government troops.

In 1984, Amnesty International received regular reports identifying Salvadoran regular security and military units responsible for the torture, disappearance and killing of non-combatant civilians from all sectors of Salvadoran society.  One Salvadoran Army deserter told the New York Times in 1982 that he attended a class in which severe methods of torture were demonstrated on teenage prisoners. He stated that eight U.S. military advisers were present at the time.

Death squad executions, military massacres and modern U.S. weapons employed against guerrillas and those suspected of supporting them, led to as many as 75,000 deaths. Fearing for their lives and those of their families, hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans fled north seeking refuge. Between 1980 and 1990, the Salvadoran immigrant population in the United States increased from 94,000 to 465,000. When the U.S. refused to grant asylum to many of these refugees, immigrant rights groups and churches aided the refugees coming into the U.S. and a Sanctuary church movement took hold in the U.S. In 1985 San Francisco, California became the first city to declare itself a City of Refuge.1

THE CRIMINALS

Jimmy Carter: Days before his term ended in January, 1981, Carter ordered a total of $10 million in military aid along with additional American advisers to be sent to El Salvador, an action characterized by one observer as “President Carter’s foreign policy establishment’s last convulsive effort to evade responsibility for having been ‘too soft’ in dealing with Salvadoran rebels.”

Ronald Reagan: When Ronald Reagan became president in early 1981 he immediately expanded direct U.S. involvement in the war in El Salvador. Under Reagan the U.S. sharply escalated U.S. military spending, began a public relations campaign to put a human face on the military junta and a campaign to convince the U.S. public and the world that the Salvadoran opposition had no legitimate cause for rebellion.

On January 28, 1982, two months after the massacre at El Mozote, Reagan certified to Congress that the El Salvadoran government was “making a concerted and significant effort to comply with internationally recognized human rights” and that it was “achieving substantial control over all elements of its own armed forces, so as to bring to an end the indiscriminate torture and murder of Salvadoran citizens by these forces.” These were deliberate and outrageous lies.

The U.S. CIA and military funded, armed, trained, and advised the Salvadoran military and its death squads.

THE ALIBI

President Reagan said the U.S. was acting in El Salvador “to halt the infiltration into the Americas by terrorists and by outside interference and those who aren’t just aiming at El Salvador but…are aiming at the whole of Central and possibly later, South America and, I’m sure, eventually North America.”

THE REAL MOTIVE

The U.S. imperialists had long considered Central America part of their “back yard,” and for decades had installed despots and military juntas that enabled U.S. capital to plunder the region’s labor and resources. In the 1980s, however, the rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, by then an imperialist power, for global dominance was sharply escalating, and the central focus of U.S. strategy was confronting the Soviets and rolling back their influence. This included viciously crushing the anti-U.S. uprisings and guerrilla struggles rocking Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala which the Soviets and their Cuban allies were supporting. Especially under Reagan the U.S. unleashed a bloodthirsty war against the Salvadoran people with the aim of thoroughly crushing any forces aligned with or sympathetic to the Soviet Union, as well as any resistance to the extremely oppressive, U.S.-backed order. 


Sources:

Blum, William. Killing Hope. Common Courage Press, 2004

Roberto Lovato, “El Salvador’s Gang Violence: The Continuation of Civil War by Other Means,” The Nation June 8, 2015

Jon Santiago, “Revisiting American Involvement in El Salvador: The Massacre at El Mozote,”

Huffington Post, May 25, 2011.

Raymond Bonner, “Time for a US Apology to El Salvador,” The Nation May 9—16, 2016.

Migration Policy Institute, “Salvadoran Immigrants in the United States,” January 5, 2010


1. Today in the U.S. there are 580 cities, counties, and states that have declared Sanctuary.  [back]

American Crime

American Crime Case #91: School of the Americas—Training Ground for Mass Murderers and Torturers, 1946-Present

Death squad victims in San Salvador, El Salvador, 1981
In El Salvador a right-wing government backed by the U.S. suppressed a leftist rebellion in a 12-year war beginning in 1980—killing and torturing more than 70,000 people in a country with a population of about six million. Above: "Death squad" victims in San Salvador, El Salvador, 1981.

See all the articles in this series.

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:3

Operación Rescate (“Operation Rescue”) was part of the “anti-guerrilla campaign,” but there were no combatants in El Mozote. The villagers (some shown here), completely unarmed, were massacred during the Reagan administration.

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Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Protesters in the Streets Around the Country Denounce Trump's New Fascist Supreme Court Pick

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

July 9—Donald Trump announced the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh—one of the list of candidates who were all from a list of hard-right judges prepared by the ultra-reactionary Federalist Society—to replace Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. This is a major step in the U.S. courts being put more firmly in the hands of the fascists, part of how the “new order” of fascism is more directly and strongly asserting itself (see “Three Points for the Coming Week”). Protests around the country kicked off hours before Trump made his announcement and continue as we post this short report.

In Washington, D.C. hundreds of protesters mobilized on the steps of the Supreme Court, updating their chants within minutes of Trump's announcement: “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Kavanaugh has got to go.” In Anchorage, Alaska, 75 people rallied at Republican Senator Murkowski's office, one protester with a sign saying “Without Roe v. Wade, women will die.” In Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) protested with a great sense of urgency, saying “Let's be clear. With this Supreme Court vacancy, Indiana is considered a high risk state for banning abortion because hostile, anti-abortion extremists control the legislature.” That same day PPINK had been forced to close their clinic because of intimidation and harassment by ant-women's groups.

Refuse Fascism organized protests in a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, often joining forces with other organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Indivisible, and more. As Refuse Fascism wrote in announcing the protests: “There is no electoral road to stopping Trump from locking in a fully fascist Supreme Court with his next pick, so the people must step outside normal political channels and refuse to accept a fascist America!”

July 10: Protests continued on Tuesday, July 10 against Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  Refuse Fascism joined scores at New York’s Union Square for a protest called by actor and now gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and Indivisible, an offshoot of the Democratic Party, to defend Roe v. Wade and demand Kavanaugh not be confirmed.  Refuse Fascism was there raising the slogans, “A woman’s place is in your face, Trump & Pence Must Go!”  and “We can’t let #Kavanaugh be confirmed! Only power of people can stop this nightmare.” 

Dozens of pro-choice NARAL activists turned out to defend women’s right to choose and support an anti-Kavanaugh Senator in Maryland.  There were also protests in Seattle, Washington and in Houston, Texas by #PantsuitRepublicHouston.  Indivisible organized a number of protests across the country aimed at pressuring Senators to vote no on Kavanaugh and to defend Roe v. Wade, but also promoting the deadly trap of organizing for and focusing on the November mid-term elections. 

Check back at revcom.us in the coming days for more on the Supreme Court and the protests.

 

See also:
Trump/Pence Regime Races to Lock In a Fascist Supreme Court:
The Clueless Logic of "The Long Game," and of Betting the Future of Humanity on the Midterm Elections

Now that we have the announcement of Trump's Supreme Court nominee, you need to understand the "unholy alliance" between him and the Christian Fascists.

Watch, comment and share this clip from the talk, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible.

Go to revcom.us to watch the whole film.

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Chicago, Illinois


Photo: Refuse Fascism

San Francisco, California


San Francisco, Photo: Refuse Fascism

Houston, Texas


Houston, Texas. Photo: special to revcom.

 

 

 

Washington, DC and Maryland


Washington, D.C. in front of White House. Photo: Twitter/@HenryGunn


July 10, NARAL called demonstrations to support right to abortion. Photo: Twitter/@NARAL

New York City, New York


New York City, Photo: Twitter/@asheresque


July 10, New York City, demonstrators gathered in Union Square — "A woman's place is in your face, Trump & Pence Must Go!".

Seattle, Washington


Seattle, Washington. Photo: Twitter/@RadRevSusan

Honolulu, Hawai'i


Honolulu, Hawai'i. Photo: special to revcom.us

Anchorage, Alaska


Anchorage, Alaska. Photo: AP

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/today/index.html

Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

Today's Message from the Revolution

September 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution says, "Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution."

Be part of those thousands across the country. Check here every day. Spread these on social media. Join in with the Revolution Clubs on the ground and on social media. Report back with your thoughts, responses and suggestions at revolution.reports@yahoo.com.

 

 

September 18, 2018

1.  How does capitalism function?

It controls, dominates, manipulates and mangles humanity, the lives of people all over the world... 

This system must be OVERTHROWN.

See the whole film at http://revolutiontalk.net

 

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2.  
Never Again should mean Never Again to any people anywhere!

Read, comment, share.

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3. Stop U.S. and Israeli Murder and Rampage in the Middle East!

Standing against the crimes of Israel is not a crime. Anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism, it is anti-IMPERIALISM!

 

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Earlier messages

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/551/michael-slate-interview-with-rev-frank-wulf-and-ramona-toliver-en.html

Revolution #551 July 9, 2018

The Michael Slate Show on KPFK, July 13, 2018, interview with Rev. Frank Wulf and Ramona Toliver of the Faith Task Force of Refuse Fascism.

“The faith community must find its voice, to say
‘No! There cannot be a fascist America.’”

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From The Michael Slate Show:

Q: We’re coming together to talk about a lot, and there’s a lot to talk about, but there’s an event coming up which is extremely important. It’s initiated by the Faith Task Force of Refuse Fascism, and it says, protests must continue and grow, in the name of humanity, stop terrorizing immigrant children. Frank, what are you talking about here?

Frank Wulf: What’s going on here is that faith has played a major role in the politics of the United States. It’s done this for years, and as often as not, faith has been used to justify absolutely appalling policies. One of the most recent of those, of course, is the separation of children from their parents, and then subsequently the incarceration of families together, and there’s a whole mess around the “no tolerance” policy of the Trump administration. Faith has been used as a tool to justify these kinds of abhorrent policies over the years, and we are feeling a really important need. For those of us who are part of the faith community, who do not believe in these kinds of policies, and who believe in justice, and who believe in the kind of world where everyone can live safely and fairly and justly together, that we need to start speaking up. We can’t just simply remain silent and allow the kinds of policies that we’re seeing done in the name of faith to continue to be done. We’ve just got to stand up and say “No!” as much as anyone else has to stand up and say “No!”

We’ve seen times in the past where the religious communities remained silent, where fascist forces begin to rise to power. That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s and we’ve seen it in Italy at that same time, and we’ve seen it in other places around the world where the church has maybe not said “Yes” to fascism, but it has also not said “No!” So because of its failure to stand up and make a clear “No!” it has in some ways made itself very complicit. So we’re saying we’ve got to be part of helping the faith community to find its voice, to say “No! There cannot be a fascist America.” And that we’re going to join in the struggle to make sure that the Trump/Pence regime must go. We have to do it because we are called by our faith to love our brothers and our sisters as we love ourselves. And we can’t do that and allow the kinds of things that are happening in the name of the Trump/Pence regime to continue. So we’re having this event on Sunday, to help bring the religious community of Los Angeles together around that, and to talk very seriously with one another about how we as a faith community can become involved in the struggle to bring an end to this fascist regime and to say “No!” at this time.

Q: Ramona, what brought you into this, and what’s the importance of this?

Ramona Toliver: I got involved in this because I grew up in the South, in Virginia, a child of the Civil Rights Movement, and as a child, I saw the role the religious community played in righting so many wrongs back then. And I kind of actually stayed on the outskirts of becoming politically involved in any way through my adult life. But when we got to the point where I was listening day after day about the atrocities against the Muslims, and against the LGBTQ community and against women, it was like, wait a minute, I should join in with the people who are taking a stand.

And coming from a faith background, my father was a Baptist minister, and having seen what went on in the Church, it was like, let me approach this from a point that’s meaningful to me. So when I met Frank and some other religious leaders, and I said, there is power in numbers. And we don’t want to go along any longer in the religious community with the silence means consent perspective. Because actually if you don’t speak up, you are giving consent to what is happening. I just felt like the time is now to try not just within my religious community, but to take action to pull all of the different religious communities together. Because there is strength in numbers. So as part of the group, our idea was, let’s have events that would allow the different groups to come together, to explain things from their perspective, and to figure out what we can do. Because we don’t need hundreds of people. We need millions of people to stop the wrongs that are being done under this administration.

Q: In this country, religion is being cited by and used as a cover by some of the most heinous people ever in the history of the country. You have Jeff Sessions, talking about biblical scriptures to justify all their deviant behavior and twisted beliefs. Let’s talk about that. Because people can see various people of faith coming together, and then you see somebody like Sessions and Trump, all of these people who are actually upholding and mobilizing a vast Christian fascist organization.

FW: You know, Jeff Sessions and I actually share a religious tradition. He’s United Methodist just as I am. And I don’t say that with a great deal of pride, obviously. Jeff Sessions cited the 13th Chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans as a place that calls for us to obey the laws and to obey the powers. And it’s amazing when you stop and think about it, that for those of us who call ourselves Christians, and not all of us in the Faith Task Force do, but for those of us who do, we follow Jesus, who was actually convicted, tortured, and executed as a criminal because of what was perceived as opposition to the status quo and opposition to the laws of the land and the powers at that particular time. So at the very core, the very heart of our faith is resistance to the tyranny of the powers, in particular to the Roman Empire at that time. And I would say that that resistance continues up to the present day.

Now the people like Jeff Sessions, who are in power at the moment, and who are calling for us to give in to the call to follow wherever the Trump administration leads, and to embrace whatever religious kinds of interpretations they bring, they’ve got something to gain, to accomplish their goal, in citing scripture in a particular way. But I think we have to be clear, we have to be faithful to our faith traditions, which are not primarily calling us to simply bow down and to give in to the call to fascism, that are not calling us to violate the fundamental principles of our faith—and all religions have similar fundamental principles, and the fundamental principles being to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, that’s key. You see that again and again and again. If you read even deeper in the scriptures of the Christian tradition, the Book of Leviticus, chapter 19, which is also the Jewish tradition, says that we should love the immigrant as we love ourselves because we too were immigrants at one particular time, and that we should treat them as citizens.

So there is an alternative, a competing narrative within the scriptures, one that calls us to stand up for right over against what is wrong, even when what is right is not popular, even when it’s not part of what those in power are wanting us to do, and to be willing to suffer the consequences of standing up and opposing the unjust policies of governments like the Trump/Pence administration.

So that second narrative is not a narrative that is well known at this present time in history. We tend to hear the fundamentalists, the Franklin Grahams, these kinds of folks who are telling us that the scripture means one thing, and it’s closing down any real thinking about what the scriptures really say, and as a consequence, it’s forcing us into the belief that to be a true Christian, to be a true Jew, to be a true whatever, that we have to follow wherever this government is leading us. I don’t think that’s a real interpretation of scripture. And we have to engage that conversation.

Follow-up questions by Refuse Fascism...

Q: How do you see the current moment—the horrible things going on at the border to immigrants, Trump adding another fascist to the Supreme Court, etc., and the potential for thousands to take this up?

RT: The racism is rampant and the hate crimes are up and soon everyone will know someone affected by this. They need to be stopped and there is potential, because when people feel strongly enough about something they can take action. Instead of fear, and instead of waiting for others to solve the problem, when people realize and feel strongly enough they can and will take up the cause.

Q: Why do you think that people of faith have the potential to “Stay in the Streets” and how do you see the role that people of faith can play in motivating not just the religious communities but all kinds of people?

RT: We are in the religious community but we know others and we need to reach out to others who are not. What is happening and what to do should be on everyone’s lips—it has got to be constant and it has to be everybody. Because whatever people call this—fascism, or something else—it is happening.

Q: What resonated with you, and what made you decide that RefuseFascism.org’s approach to the Trump/Pence fascist regime was something that you wanted to be a part of?

RT: People were being taken away—fathers right in front of their children—by ICE last year and now. ICE was doing this in front of schools for example, where fathers and mothers were dropping off their children. This reality resonated with me—that is one thing that motivated me, maybe the #1 thing at the beginning—families being torn apart by the Trump regime. Also, the Muslim Ban. When the Muslim ban started, I thought “this is not the end of the story, it is the beginning of the story...” And then there are all the other actions the Trump/Pence regime has taken—including tearing up democratic rights and replacing them with one-man rulership. I care what is happening to everyone, Muslims, LGBTQ—everybody. With regards Refuse Fascism, I agree we cannot wait until the midterm elections, we have to act now. The Trump/Pence regime is replacing what has existed in the U.S. with a situation where everyone is going to suffer.

I Am My Brother’s Keeper:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go

Sunday, July 15 at 5 PM–7 PM
Centenary United Methodist Church
Downtown Los Angeles
300 S Central Ave
Los Angeles, California 90013
Read more. | Facebook Event

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