Revolution #552, July 16, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 2018

Revolution Books Salon:

What It Would Take to End This Country's Savage Oppression of Black People

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Nearly 30 people came together at Revolution Books in Harlem the other night to participate in a salon led by Carl Dix that focused around Bob Avakian’s powerful quote:

We began by watching “They’re Selling Postcards of the Hanging,” BA’s searing indictment of this system and a powerful illustration of the quote itself. Then Carl read the quote and posed the question: “Is it true? Would it really take an actual revolution aiming to emancipate humanity to end the savage oppression this country has enforced on Black people? And is it asking too much of Black people to say they should be among those in the front ranks of the fight to emancipate humanity?”

The discussion that followed was substantive, serious, and lively—people getting down on real questions in a serious encounter. Carl would step in every so often to respond to things on the floor, pose questions or reframe the terms, but this was a crowd that was mainly staying on point and had a lot on their minds that they wanted to speak on. I was struck by how much those who were answering Carl’s first question in the affirmative were also saying that no, it was not too much, it was necessary—with a younger Black woman emphasizing that there needed to be people of all nationalities in the revolution. At one point, someone spoke briefly to cite the following from HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution in a way that got at some of what was being “reached for” in the discussion:

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.”

This short quote hit with powerful effect. Every sentence spoke in some way to something that was either on the floor or just beneath the surface of the conversation.

The turnout was not the result of some major effort. According to Raymond Lotta of Revolution Books, efforts to build this were done through RB email and social media; announcements and publicity at the store, including people who had seen the BA quote up on the chalkboard that day and were intrigued; and other types of outreach that have been going on. The point is, this was not a major effort, built for weeks with mass leafleting, postering, and other forms. Such major efforts are, to be clear, sometimes critically important; but this indicates the basis to also do simpler things that do not have to be “major productions.”

I myself got into discussion afterward with a very serious young man who felt that he had really found something he had been looking for here, purchasing BAsics and making a donation. He was brought there by a friend who worked in the neighborhood (a number of people came in groups or were couples); and with an older guy who had been on the “outskirts,” as he put it, of SDS in the 1960s but hadn’t done much since—he said that he wakes up every morning infuriated about things and had run into the movement at Union Square, when Refuse Fascism had needed someone to help hold their banner at an anti-Trump demonstration a few nights earlier. All told, again according to Lotta, perhaps 20 of the people there were new to store programs.

Without developing some grand hypothesis, I think you could say that the turnout and content of the discussion here indicated an opening that we should be striving to seize in as many ways as we can. The salon described above can not only be replicated elsewhere at other centers or bookstores, it can be repeated, either around the same quote or different ones (BAsics 3:1 and 3:2—focusing on revolution vs. reform—come to mind).

I would also say that playing the full “Postcards of the Hanging” was an excellent introduction to the person who is the architect of the new communism and the leader of the revolution. Especially given the number of newer people there, but not only for that reason, it’s important to let people know about this leader and to give them a feel for who he is. We should be encouraging people to get the biography and reprints of “Watching Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian” so they can find out more.

It was good to wield HOW WE CAN WIN in the discussion; this added clarity at a certain point. In my view, it might have been good to have ended the salon a little earlier so that there could have been more time for both informal mingling and to directly organize those who were interested in fighting into the movement for revolution. To be clear—and this is important—not everyone there wanted to be organized; some people just wanted the chance to participate in a discussion of the questions addressed in BA’s quote, and it’s real important that there be space for that and that these salons not be reduced to organizing sessions. At the same time, there were also people there who did want to find a way to act. Plus, this was an evening salon, and people were there who had not yet eaten dinner or who had to wake up early the next day. But again—overall a very good thing and something we need much more of.

"They're selling postcards of the hanging." – clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003

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Revolution #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 2018

Chicago South Side: Pigs Gun Down Another Black Man—People Get into the Streets in Outrage:

“The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

People stand on the hood of a police car surrounded by others protesting against police murder.

Saturday late afternoon, July 14, the Chicago pigs shot and killed yet another Black man—37-year-old Harith Augustus—on the city’s South Side. Augustus, known as Snoop to people in the neighborhood, worked at a barbershop nearby, and he had a five-year-old daughter.

Immediately, a large crowd—100 and growing—gathered in outrage at this criminal act by the Chicago pigs. There were all kinds of people from the neighborhood, from the youth to older folk. This is the latest in a string of killings of people by the Chicago police—the third time in just the last two weeks they’ve shot someone. The police immediately mobilized a huge force to try to intimidate and squash the protest—one reporter said there were about 100 cops on the scene.

Members of the Revolution Club, Chicago were out in the protest almost from the beginning. Their organizing center is not far from where Snoop was killed, and members were out in the neighborhood taking out the revolution to people that very afternoon. Club members told revcom.us that among the people who came out into the street, there was a widespread feeling of “fed-up-ness” and “fuck all this” with the repeated police murders and terror. One older woman talked about how she worries all the time for her son and grandson—are they going to come home alive? “They don’t care about our youth,” she said. “Our youth need to be able to grow.”

In the face of people’s outrage, the police acted like the pigs that they are—repeatedly attacking the people, trying to force them back and scatter them. The cops stormed a parking lot where protesters had gathered, punching people, throwing them to the ground and hitting them with batons. At least four people were arrested. Lots of people videotaped the police attacking the crowd and tweeted things like, “CPD just charged their own barricade and attacked the peaceful demonstration at 71st & Chappell where CPD killed someone earlier today.” One woman said that the cops were attacking some people as they were trying to run away. A Chicago Sun-Times reporter tweeted, “I have my press badge on and identified myself as a reporter but I got shoved to the ground by two cops who smacked my phone out of my hand.” People shouted, “Murderers, Murderers!” There were chants of “The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

Revolution Club members told revcom, “People didn’t back down—they regrouped and came back. They were clear, ‘No, we’re not gonna take this.’” At one point, some protestors got up on the hood of a police car and were dancing on it in defiance. For some five hours through the evening, the people faced off against the police, and at 11:30 pm, they marched to the 3rd District police station. The next day, Sunday, there was another march through the streets.

Through all this, the Revolution Club joined with the righteous protest, and agitated and organized for an actual revolution. Ten or more people got the Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirts and put them on during the protests. The HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution pamphlet got into many hands. The Club brought out how the genocidal persecution, mass incarceration, police brutality and murder of Black and Brown people—along with other crimes of the rulers—come from the system of capitalism-imperialism, and the need for people to get with the revolution that aims to actually overthrow that system.

Revcom will be covering this situation further—so stay tuned.

People on the Southside of Chicago face off against police in protest of another police murder.

From HOW WE CAN WIN
How We Can Really Make Revolution
:

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.

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh—This Confirmed FASCIST Must NOT Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is often described by liberal pundits and Democratic Party leaders as threatening to “restrict women’s right to abortion” and “erode our civil rights and liberties.” This is wildly underestimating the danger. Kavanaugh’s outlook and legal positions are to a great degree in line with the Trump/Pence fascist regime and its campaign to “Make America White Again,” and in particular with the Christian fascist hostility to women being treated as full human beings, and their objective of implementing Christian theocratic rule.

As the fifth pro-fascist vote on the nine-member Court, Kavanaugh would, if confirmed, tip the highest court in the land into a compliant tool of fascist transformation. For this reason, the fight to block Kavanaugh’s confirmation—which to be meaningful has to be waged as part of driving the whole fascist regime from power—is one of life-or-death urgency for women and LGBTQ people; for Black, Brown, and other oppressed people; and for all who hope for a brighter future for humanity and for the planet we inhabit.

On July 9, Donald Trump announced the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a longtime and committed fascist, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Four of the Court’s nine justices are already reactionaries, and all of Trump’s potential nominees have been vetted by right-wing legal experts to ensure their “reliability.” So it was a certainty that whoever Trump picked would (if confirmed by the U.S. Senate) give the Court a pro-fascist majority that would profoundly alter the legal, social, and political landscape of the U.S.

For that reason, even before the announcement, there was widespread and heartfelt clamor from liberals and progressives for the Democratic Party to really throw down against confirmation, and to prevent Trump from putting anyone on the Court. There were calls for ongoing street protests; Michael Moore called for a million people to surround the Capitol building; others suggested that the Democrats could en masse boycott the Senate, preventing it from functioning. People sensed that this is an emergency and demanded that the people they currently look to for leadership act accordingly.

Instead, the Democrats initially responded with a “whaddya gonna do” shrug—Senator Dick Durbin rushed to say that there was basically no way to block Kavanaugh, and Senator Richard Blumenthal went so far as to say that “the Senate should do nothing to artificially delay the nomination”!

This elicited real anger from their base—that is, as Bob Avakian put it, the people the Democrats “try to appeal to—not that the Democrats represent their interests, but who are the people that the Democrats try to appeal to” (from BAsics 3:10). And the leadership quickly realized that they could lose their political grip on that base if they didn’t at least go through the motions of trying to block the confirmation. A senior Democratic aide told The Intercept: “If we don’t put up a fight, there’s going to be hell to pay.” So they went to “Plan B”—which mostly boils down to promising to ask “tough questions” during confirmation hearings, especially about Kavanaugh’s views on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion and that is right now hanging by a thread.

This is bullshit—it is a charade, like if the head of the National Rifle Association was nominated and the Democrats said they were going to ask “hard questions” about his position on gun control! Kavanaugh’s reactionary views on abortion (and a whole range of other issues) are quite clear. Confirmation hearings are just an opportunity for him to spread confusion about this (including by lying about what he will do), calm down progressives, and provide cover for wavering senators to vote for him based on his “performance” at the hearings.

What is needed is not “tough questions” but furious rejection of the right of this illegitimate fascist regime to consolidate its grip on the judicial branch of government, and intense struggle not only to block this, but to drive out the whole regime.

Who Is Brett Kavanaugh?

Behind the carefully tailored “aw shucks” humble pie bullshit and alleged concern for “diversity” and for women on display the night Trump announced his nomination, Kavanaugh is a hard-core fascist who doesn’t just want to turn back the clock to the 1950s but in significant ways to the 1650s, before Europe’s “Enlightenment” period.

In a September 2017 speech, Kavanaugh described how, as a Yale Law student in 1987, his “first judicial hero” was Chief Justice William Rehnquist. What did Kavanaugh admire about Rehnquist? First and foremost, that Rehnquist was one of two justices who dissented against Roe v. Wade, and that even after being defeated, Rehnquist battled to overturn Roe for decades.

It’s worth looking at this carefully. Kavanaugh repeats Rehnquist’s argument that abortion was an “unenumerated” right—that is, the Constitution does not explicitly grant it—and that the right to abortion is not “rooted into the traditions and conscience of our people.” And therefore, it should not be added into or inferred from the Constitution.

In other words, because a woman’s right to decide whether or when to have a child was not mentioned in the Constitution in 1789, and because it goes against the traditional values of “our people” (and really this means the conservative white Christians that the fascists look to as the “true” America), this right should not be recognized or enforced.

Here it is important to note that the legal basis for Roe v. Wade—which was that the Constitution has an implicit (i.e., not “enumerated”) right to privacy, and that government interference in the personal medical decision of choosing an abortion would violate that right—is the same basic argument that was used to legalize birth control in 1965 (Griswold v. Connecticut.) And birth control is every bit as much a target of the Christian fascists as abortion, because their real concern is not the “rights” of “unborn babies,” but the enslavement of women by reducing them to bearers and rearers of children. So once Roe v. Wade falls, it is very likely that Griswold will be targeted and overturned by the same logic.

And think about what other rights would not pass muster with these criteria. Were gay rights “enumerated” in the Constitution, and are they supported by the conservative white Christians today? What about the right of interracial marriage? The right of Black people to live, work, or for that matter walk, where they want, free from racist discrimination? Rehnquist’s—and Kavanaugh’s—reasoning is legal justification for the fascist vision of “Making America White (and Christian) Again” and of slamming women back into “their place.”

This legal logic (which Kavanaugh and other fascists call “originalism”) basically says that the laws governing people today should be grounded in the outlook and orientation of “the Founders,” the cabal of men—mostly slave owners—whose Constitution deemed Black people as three-fifths of a human being and did not grant women (or even white men who didn’t own property) the right to vote! (The “originalists” do accept—or at least pay lip service to accepting—the 14th Amendment, which passed after the Civil War and was supposed to extend full rights to Black people, and the 19th Amendment passed in 1919, granting women the right to vote. But this does not change the fact that their point of departure for shaping law today is an unambiguous celebration and idealization of a Constitution that provided an openly white supremacist and male supremacist framework for society.)

How fucked up does a society have to be for this to be a mainstream legal doctrine discussed with serious respect even by its liberal critics? And how terrifying is it that advocates of this theory are on the brink of securing control of the whole judicial system?

But Kavanaugh’s “appreciation” of Rehnquist does not stop there—he proudly points to Rehnquist’s support for prayer in school, and open opposition to the separation of church and state! Kavanaugh said, “Rehnquist was central in changing the jurisprudence and convincing the court that the wall metaphor [i.e., a “wall” separating church and state] was wrong as a matter of law and history.” This is a rejection not only of a principle that was expressed explicitly by Thomas Jefferson and which does rest firmly on the “original text” of the Constitution, but it is going against the whole thrust of the Enlightenment of 16th and 17th century Europe, when the domination of religious ignorance and the “worldly” power of the Church were rejected in favor of secular (nonreligious) government and the social authority of science as the way to understand reality. And it is right in line with today’s Christian fascist movement, which is at the core of the Trump/Pence regime and seeks to impose its brand of religious fanaticism on society as a whole. The achievement of that theocratic vision will be brought much closer by Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Kavanaugh’s Record as a Fascist Legal Hack and Jurist

Kavanaugh didn’t just “admire” Rehnquist, he was part of a reactionary movement in the legal arena (of which the Federalist Society is a major expression) to “retake” society with their reactionary ideology and program.1

For 20 years, Kavanaugh was at the legal forefront of almost every major battle the fascists waged. From 1995-97, he played a major role in the drive to impeach and remove Bill Clinton for having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. (Go here for an in-depth and still highly relevant analysis by Bob Avakian of this first major grab for power by the Christian fascist forces in the U.S. ruling class.) In this capacity, Kavanaugh insisted on the intimate, quasi-pornographic interrogation of Clinton about his sexual acts, which was later published in Ken Starr’s report. And Kavanaugh wrote the main legal arguments for impeachment.

In the spring of 2000, Kavanaugh represented Cuban-American reactionaries in Miami who were trying to prevent the return of six-year-old Elián González to his father in Cuba, after his mother’s death. In November of 2000, after the close election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Kavanaugh was on the Bush legal team that argued successfully before the Supreme Court to stop a recount of Florida votes, which essentially threw the election to Bush, even though Gore had won the popular vote. Also in 2000, Kavanaugh represented Florida governor Jeb Bush in a failed effort to divert public education money to support private religious schools.

From 2003 to 2008, Kavanaugh served as counsel and then as staff secretary to George W. Bush. During this whole period, White House legal staff were involved in crafting legal justifications for the administration’s practice of indefinite detention of “enemy combatants”—a made-up term used to get around requirements under U.S. and international law for humane treatment of prisoners of war—and of widespread torture of the detainees both at Guantánamo and at CIA secret “black sites” around the world. In testimony before the Senate in 2006, Kavanaugh claimed to not have participated and to know nothing about any of this, which was considered far-fetched at the time, and since then it has come out that he concealed at least one meeting he was involved in on these policies.

In 2006, Kavanaugh was confirmed as a federal appeals court judge in Washington, DC. His decisions, dissents, and other public writings and statements since then continued to reveal someone who is consistent in supporting expansive government power to torture and wiretap, while limiting government power to restrict corporate plunder and destruction of the environment. Kavanaugh has repeatedly ruled against the First Amendment rights of workers to protest, while affirming that “The First Amendment ... protects the right of individual citizens [i.e., very wealthy people] to spend unlimited amounts to express their views about policy issues and candidates for public office,” as well as the “First Amendment” right of conservative Christians to discriminate against gay people.

And very recently, Kavanaugh dissented from the DC court’s ruling to allow a pregnant teenager, an immigrant being held in detention by the federal government, to obtain an abortion. While this decision is too complicated to fully analyze here (see revcom article on the Supreme Court ruling in relation to this), two things stand out: first, while acknowledging that Roe v. Wade determines that the young woman has the right to an abortion, he repeatedly asserts the government’s “permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of the minor, and not facilitating abortion” without ever indicating any interest in the right of this young woman to choose not to have a child. And second, he says repeatedly—and sarcastically—that the decision to allow the abortion is “ultimately based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.” As if there is something wrong with young women caught up in the Trump/Pence regime’s assault on immigrants having access to crucial and liberating health care!

What comes through in this is the view of someone who is opposed to Roe v. Wade and looking for any argument to restrict it, but unable—from his position, at that time, on a lower court—to do anything to overturn it. If Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, he will no longer be bound by precedent, but will be in a position—along with the other fascist justices—to overturn old precedents and create new ones in line with their reactionary views.

A Staunch Defender of Presidential Power

The other “outstanding” position of Brett Kavanaugh is that he is way out there in supporting unfettered fascist executive power. In 2009, after serving in the George W. Bush administration, he did a complete turnabout from his aggressive role in going after Bill Clinton for sexual impropriety and wrote an article declaring that presidents should be protected—exempt—from all lawsuits or legal investigations. He argued that subjecting presidents to what he deemed “time-consuming and distracting” legal matters—to which every other person in the U.S. is subject—“would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.”

This article was written in 2009, before Trump was president. But in a legal opinion written in January of this year—well after Trump became president and was well along in the process of concentrating all executive power solely in his own hands, railing against any legal constraints and subordinating the independence of other federal agencies that are part of the executive branch—Kavanaugh wrote: “To prevent tyranny and protect individual liberty, the framers of the Constitution ... lodged full responsibility for the executive power in a president of the United States, who is elected by and accountable to the people.”

Taken together, Kavanaugh emerges as someone who will stand strongly against any efforts, either from Trump’s ruling class rivals or from broader sections of society, to “subject” Trump to the rule of law, or to limit his unprecedented accumulation of power, what was known in Nazi Germany as “Führer rule.”

At Stake—the Future of Humanity and the Planet

What is at stake with the Kavanaugh nomination is not an “erosion” of our civil rights and liberties, as it is often put by liberal commentators. While no one can say with absolute certainty what Kavanaugh will do, or how other forces will react, his confirmation to the Supreme Court is very likely to represent a major leap in the consolidation of a fascist regime, the solidification of Donald Trump’s position “above the law” and in particular in the slamming back into place of nightmarish conditions for women and LGBTQ people.

It is not acceptable to “go through the motions” of fighting this, all the while knowing that and basically telling people that he will be confirmed, as the Democratic Party is doing. What is needed is an all-out, determined fight involving growing numbers of people in the streets and fighting in many other arenas, and doing this as part of gathering strength to drive out the regime altogether.

Anything short of that is, frankly, capitulation to a fascist regime that will wreak a very heavy toll on humanity and on the planet.

1. To be clear, although it is not the subject of this article, the judicial system that people like Kavanaugh rebelled against was already quite reactionary. Among other things, it was the instrument for locking up millions of Black, Latino, Native, and poor white people in a thirty-year orgy of mass incarceration that aimed to control and suppress populations who had no future under this system. But even that was not reactionary enough for these fascists. [back]

We can’t be simple-minded if we’re going to actually do what needs to be done, especially if we are going to make the kind of revolution we need to make. You have to look at what’s been building in this society for quite a while now.

It’s helpful to look at it kind of like a pyramid....And if you look at this kind of pyramid thing, on the top of this pyramid is the ruling class and its different political representatives, which (even though it may be a bit oversimplified) we can look at as the Democrats on one side and the Republicans on the other. And for decades now these people who are grouped around Bush and the kind of people that they represent have been working and preparing a whole thing in society—a whole infrastructure you might call it—a whole structure within the society itself that could move this society in a whole different way towards a fascistic kind of thing when things come to that.

Look at this whole religious fundamentalist thing they’ve got. This is an effort to deliberately build up a base of people, millions and millions and millions of people, who are frightened by the idea of thinking—I’m serious—people who cannot deal with all the “complicatedness,” all the complexity of modern society, who want simple absolute answers to the complexities of this society....

On the other hand, here are the Democrats at the top of this pyramid (on the so-called “left”). Who are the people that they try to appeal to—not that the Democrats represent their interests, but who are the people that the Democrats try to appeal to at the base, on the other side of this pyramid, so to speak? All the people who stand for progressive kinds of things, all the people who are oppressed in this society. For the Democrats, a big part of their role is to keep all those people confined within the bourgeois, the mainstream, electoral process...and to get them back into it when they have drifted away from—or broken out of—that framework....

This is significant in itself but it also demonstrates a positive potential in terms of revolution. I’m not saying that we are on the threshold of revolution right now, but just looking down the road, and looking at the potential, one of the things that leads to a revolutionary situation is that millions and millions of people feel that something is intolerable. They want certain leaders at the top of society to lead them in doing something about it, but those leaders are not in the position to and don’t want to lead them in doing it—so whom do they turn to? The people who are willing and determined to lead them to do it and to take it somewhere. So this is a situation that’s full of great danger; but the same situation—or the other side of the contradiction—is that it holds much positive potential for struggle now and for revolution as things unfold.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:10

Ever Wonder How the Legal System Would Work After the Revolution with A Whole Different Economic, Political and Legal System?

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Bob Avakian on the Right-Wing Agenda

The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy… 
And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer
by Bob Avakian

Constitution, Law, and Rights – in capitalist society and in the future socialist society

This compilation brings a truly unique perspective to a subject that is of critical importance for all those concerned with social justice: Constitution, law, and rights.

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

“Campaign Style” Rallies My Ass...
Trump Is Organizing Fascist Lynch Mobs and Foot Soldiers

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump recently held a series of rallies, including in Fargo, North Dakota, on June 27 and in Great Falls, Montana, on July 5. While mildly critiquing some of Trump’s rhetoric, the media treats them as “campaign-style events” aimed at boosting Republicans in the midterm elections.

That’s like calling Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies “campaign” events “marred by biased characterizations of Jewish people”—as Nazi storm troopers were being galvanized and World War 2 and the Holocaust loomed.

Mobilizing and Organizing a Mass Fascist Movement... for Combat

Some people say the Trump/Pence regime isn’t fascism because there isn’t a mass fascist movement in the streets. But such a “weaponized” base is exactly what Trump is working to cohere and unleash with his reality TV/Nurembergian rallies.

At these rallies Trump doesn’t just stoke racism, misogyny, hatred, blood lust, and revenge, though he does do that. He’s also painting his fascist regime as the victim of left-wing and Democratic Party violence and preparing his followers for the possibility of actual combat against his enemies (whether the fascist regime feels they have to “go there” or whether they think the sheer intimidation of nascent lynch mobs will be sufficient).

With immigrant children being ripped from their parents, Trump not only escalated his Nazi big lies that immigrants are all drug dealers and violent gang members. He also painted Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the victim of attacks by “left-wing activists trying to block ICE officers from doing their jobs, and publicly posting their home addresses, putting these incredible people and their families in harm’s way,” and called on his followers to “defend” the ICE officers. And just days after a white reactionary (reportedly influenced by the alt-right) murdered five journalists in Maryland, Trump stoked hatred of the media—calling them fakes and liars.

Trump didn’t just repeat his racist smears of Black congressperson Maxine Waters as a “low IQ individual”; he threatened her directly by lying that she was “telling people ... to assault” administration officials (she’d called for nonviolent protest). Trump threatened Waters to “be careful what you wish for.” Waters was then deluged by death threats, including from the deputy district attorney of San Bernardino County who said, “Being a loud-mouthed c* in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this b* by now.” (See Coco Das of Refuse Fascism, for more on what Trump said at these rallies.)

Trump warned that “Democrats want anarchy, they really do, and they don’t know who they’re playing with, folks.” And he concluded by declaring: “We won’t back down, we won’t give in, we will never, never back down, we will go forward to victory. We are Americans and our hearts bleed red white and blue...”

Trump’s rallies aren’t the only way fascist forces are being whipped up, organized, and hardened for battle. Trump just pardoned some of the Oregon militia ranchers who inspired the armed takeover of Malheur Wildlife Preserve two years ago. The alt-right fascists recently received a permit to stage an anniversary “Unite the Right” rally. Meanwhile, the phenomenon of being “assaulted while Black” by white supremacists has escalated into a nationwide epidemic (recently a Black family and dozens of mourners were driven out of church during a funeral for their mother by a white preacher).1

The Trump/Pence fascists aren’t merely trying to “maximize their leverage during this election cycle,” or while the “pendulum” is swinging their way. They’re out to break the “pendulum” and permanently lock in their fascist rule! And a key element of fascists consolidating their rule overall, as Bob Avakian analyzes in “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It,” is the destruction or forced capitulation of their liberal bourgeois opponents in the ruling class and media.

As Trump Prepares for War, the Democrats Are “Eager to Work with the President”

The Democrats cannot and will not stand up against this. While Trump is whipping up and steeling his followers for violent struggle against his opponents (including against efforts to indict or impeach him), the Democrats are criticizing righteous anti-regime protests and calling for “civility.” After Trump repeatedly attacked her, Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp dismissed it as "election-year politics" and said she was eager to work with Republicans, "including with the president." Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership counsels people to reach out to, “understand,” and conciliate with Trump’s base of racist, misogynist, America-First fucks.

As Bob Avakian digs into in BAsics 3:10 and 3:11, while the fascists are quite willing to whip up and unleash their base, the Democrats are terrified of doing likewise with their base. These Democrats prefer order and preservation of the empire to mass upheaval, even if it’s the order of fascism. They’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The Old Order Is Not Coming Back—What Will Replace It Is Up to Us

The Democrats cannot and will not lead people in standing up against fascist thuggery. But if a core of people DO stand up against these OVERT and broadly recognizable expressions of fascism—as people did last year in Charlottesville and Boston as well as at Revolution Books in Berkeley—it can galvanize and draw forward broad support, and it can be part of beginning to really change the dynamics of the whole political situation.

Things do NOT have to go the way of fascism. There is a real and urgent need to stop this fascist regime in its tracks, to drive it out through truly massive, nonviolent political struggle. But, as we said last week:

...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.

...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.

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!


1. The Washington Post and other outlets report people have been harassed or assaulted for

couponing while Black
graduating too boisterously while Black
waiting for a school bus while Black
throwing a kindergarten temper tantrum while Black
drinking iced tea while Black
waiting at Starbucks while Black
AirBnB’ing while Black
shopping for underwear while Black
having a loud conversation while Black
golfing too slowly while Black
buying clothes at Barney’s while Black
or Macy’s
or Nordstrom Rack
getting locked out of your own home while Black
going to the gym while Black
asking for the Waffle House corporate number while Black and
reading C.S. Lewis while Black
...among others.  [back]

We can’t be simple-minded if we’re going to actually do what needs to be done, especially if we are going to make the kind of revolution we need to make. You have to look at what’s been building in this society for quite a while now.

It’s helpful to look at it kind of like a pyramid....And if you look at this kind of pyramid thing, on the top of this pyramid is the ruling class and its different political representatives, which (even though it may be a bit oversimplified) we can look at as the Democrats on one side and the Republicans on the other. And for decades now these people who are grouped around Bush and the kind of people that they represent have been working and preparing a whole thing in society—a whole infrastructure you might call it—a whole structure within the society itself that could move this society in a whole different way towards a fascistic kind of thing when things come to that.

Look at this whole religious fundamentalist thing they’ve got. This is an effort to deliberately build up a base of people, millions and millions and millions of people, who are frightened by the idea of thinking—I’m serious—people who cannot deal with all the “complicatedness,” all the complexity of modern society, who want simple absolute answers to the complexities of this society....

On the other hand, here are the Democrats at the top of this pyramid (on the so-called “left”). Who are the people that they try to appeal to—not that the Democrats represent their interests, but who are the people that the Democrats try to appeal to at the base, on the other side of this pyramid, so to speak? All the people who stand for progressive kinds of things, all the people who are oppressed in this society. For the Democrats, a big part of their role is to keep all those people confined within the bourgeois, the mainstream, electoral process...and to get them back into it when they have drifted away from—or broken out of—that framework....

This is significant in itself but it also demonstrates a positive potential in terms of revolution. I’m not saying that we are on the threshold of revolution right now, but just looking down the road, and looking at the potential, one of the things that leads to a revolutionary situation is that millions and millions of people feel that something is intolerable. They want certain leaders at the top of society to lead them in doing something about it, but those leaders are not in the position to and don’t want to lead them in doing it—so whom do they turn to? The people who are willing and determined to lead them to do it and to take it somewhere. So this is a situation that’s full of great danger; but the same situation—or the other side of the contradiction—is that it holds much positive potential for struggle now and for revolution as things unfold.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:10

These right-wing politicians (generally grouped within the Republican Party) can, will, and do actively mobilize this essentially fascist social base...yet, on the other side, the sections of the ruling class that are more generally represented by the Democratic Party are very reluctant to, and in fact resistant to, mobilizing...the base of people whose votes and support in the bourgeois political arena the Democrats seek to gain. This (Democratic Party) side of the ruling class generally is not desirous of—and in fact recoils at the idea of—calling that base into the streets, mobilizing them either to take on the opposing forces in the ruling class and their social base or in general to struggle for the programs that the Democratic Party itself claims to represent and actually in some measure does seek to implement....

As an amplification of the basic point here, it is important to recognize this: Within the framework of the capitalist-imperialist system, and with the underlying dynamics of this system, which fundamentally set the terms, and the confines, of “official” and “acceptable” politics, fascism—that is, the imposition of a form of dictatorship which openly relies on violence and terror to maintain the rule and the imperatives of the capitalist-imperialist system—is one possible resolution of the contradictions that this system is facing—a resolution that could, at a certain point, more or less correspond to the compelling needs of this system and its ruling class—while revolution and real socialism, aiming toward the final goal of communism, throughout the world, is also a possible resolution of these contradictions, but one that would most definitely not be acceptable to the capitalist-imperialist ruling class nor compatible with the imperatives of this system!

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:11

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

The Fascists and the Destruction of the “Weimar Republic”...
And What Will Replace It

by Bob Avakian

July 16, 2018 | Originally posted July 24, 2005 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

EDITORS’ NOTE (July 16, 2018): We are giving prominence to this article to draw the lens back on questions that are right now very sharp and which are being covered in this week’s revcom.us issue. The following is part of a series of excerpts on various subjects drawn from conversations and discussions, as well as more formal talks, by Bob Avakian—from the period of the George W. Bush presidency, in which the threat of fascism took a leap... a leap which the Trump/Pence regime has now taken further. It has been edited for publication and footnotes have been added.

 

These reactionary religious fundamentalists in the U.S., whom we have very correctly identified as Christian Fascists, are actually calling for things to be done in society, and by the government, that many people still believe would not or could not really be done in a country like the U.S. “They could never really be serious about doing that,” many people will say, speaking of things like literally applying what the Bible says about homosexuals—that homosexuals must be put to death. Well, people had better realize how serious these Christian Fascists are, what they actually intend to do, and how serious the situation is. Among these Christian Fascists, including ones who are very influential and powerful, and powerfully connected, there is very definitely an intention of imposing “biblically based morality,” including things like the execution of homosexuals, as “the law of the land.”

Or take another dimension of this: the institution of marriage. In the dispute around gay marriage, some of the people defending the right to gay marriage have tried to answer the argument that gay marriage will undermine the institution of marriage by saying: “If you are really worried about the future of marriage, why don’t you do something about divorce?” Well, as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for!” I doubt very seriously if those who make this argument by way of defending the right to gay marriage—or at least the great majority of them—actually want to see a situation where divorce is outlawed. But, once again, people better realize how serious this is—and that there are powerful forces who are very serious indeed about outlawing divorce. The fact is that, in Louisiana and some other states, there is already a law providing for “covenant marriages.” There are two kinds of marriages in those states now: in addition to “regular” marriage, there is “covenant marriage,” which, as its religious overtones imply, is based on provisions taken from the Bible. These “covenant marriages” eliminate “no fault divorce,” they make it much more difficult for those who have entered into these marriages to get a divorce. At this point these “covenant marriages” are entered into voluntarily, and there is still the alternative of “regular” marriages— at this point! But these (for now voluntary) “covenant marriages” are part of a very definite and determined drive by Christian Fascist forces to get rid of divorce altogether—to outlaw it outright—and, in a male supremacist society like this, everybody knows, or should know, what that would mean. It would mean that millions and millions of women will be trapped in oppressive—and even physically and sexually abusive—marriages.

Claudia Koonz pointed out in her book The Nazi Conscience that, among the Nazis in Germany, there was a kind of “division of labor”: at times at least, Hitler would sound a more reasonable, and even at times conciliatory, tone—while his followers would be agitating and taking action around the most openly vicious and brutal measures, directed against Jewish people, communists, homosexuals, and others whom the Nazis regarded as an abomination and a blot upon German society. And all this laid the basis for the mass round-ups and executions, and the literal genocide, that followed under the rule of the Nazis. Similarly, the 21st-century American equivalent of Nazis, the Christian Fascists and others generally in the same camp, have their hitmen (and women), including those like David Horowitz, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter, who are openly foaming at the mouth with attacks on those they see as standing in the way of their program. And, besides attacking people who are genuinely opposed not only to this fascism but to the capitalist-imperialist system as a whole, one of the main lines of their assault is (to use a very relevant analogy) viciously going after the Weimar Republic (the bourgeois-democratic republic in Germany after World War 1, which was replaced and forcibly abolished when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in the 1930s). We have to understand the meaning and significance of this, and the purpose behind it.

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

David Horowitz’s latest book is called Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left.In looking it over it is clear that it is yet another diatribe that insists that the “liberals” and the left in the U.S. are at least objectively in the same camp with the Islamic fundamentalists and on the wrong side of the “war on terror.” This should be taken very seriously, including because Horowitz has ties with prominent and powerful Republican Party politicians and functionaries, right up to the White House. If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, at this point his main line of attack is not against radicals and communists, such as our party—his attacks are not so much directed against actual leftists all that much—but are much more directed against the mainstream ruling class liberals, because again one of the ways that fascism triumphs is by tearing down “the Weimar Republic”—going after bourgeois-democratic forces in the ruling class—attacking their decadence, their weakness, their inability to defend the national entity, etc. And this is a phenomenon that’s been developing over some time in the U.S., and is now very acute. Ann Coulter recently wrote a book with the explicit title: Treason. These people are out there creating public opinion around this, while Bush still maintains, much of the time, a posture of “inclusiveness” and willingness to work with other ruling class forces, at least on certain terms. Bush didn’t say, during his debates with Kerry, for example: “You are a traitor, and ought to be put to death.” But there are many people, aligned with and supporting Bush now, who are very definitely, and repeatedly, saying these kinds of things. When that is not repudiated by Bush and others in power, what does it mean? What are the implications of this?

The answer is not to seek to defend and maintain the “Weimar Republic” (bourgeois democracy—the “democratic form” of capitalist dictatorship 1) as such. That does not offer a real solution, and certainly not one in the interests of the masses of people and the great majority of humanity. But we should recognize and not be blind to what it means when these fascists put the “Weimar Republic”—by analogy, the liberals in the ruling class—in the camp of enemy, and go so far as to label them traitors, and go after them in that way. What is that preparing the ground for, what are the implications of that? The point, and our objective, once again, is not to defend the Weimar Republic—tailing and upholding the “liberal” section of the imperialist ruling class—but to fully recognize, and oppose in a radically different way and toward radically different ends, the seriousness of these attacks and what this all represents. In previous talks and writings I have spoken to this phenomenon of the unraveling of what for some time has been the “cohering center” of the society and the rule of the bourgeoisie in the U.S.—and how we are already seeing manifestations of that. 2 I have emphasized that all of this will not, by any means, be positive in the short run, and left to itself—and it is not the role of communists, it is not meeting our responsibilities, to simply stand by and celebrate all the unraveling of the existing cohering center and form of capitalist rule and think it is going to mean that something positive is bound to emerge from this and in fact is just going to “fall into our lap.” We have to take up the tremendous challenge of repolarization — repolarization for revolution.

The “Weimar Republic” does need to be replaced, and superseded. The bourgeois republic—the rule of capitalism and imperialism, in its bourgeois-democratic form—is in fact a repressive system of rule, rooted in a whole network and process of exploitation and oppression, which brings untold, and unnecessary, suffering to millions, and literally billions, of people, throughout the world, including within the republic itself. It needs to be replaced and superseded, however, not by an even more grotesque and more openly murderous form of the same system, but by a radically new society, and a radically different kind of state, that will open the way and lead finally to the abolition of all forms of oppressive and repressive rule and all relations of domination and exploitation, throughout the world.


NOTES:

1. In a number of places, including in the book Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That? and a recent talk, “Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism,” Bob Avakian explains and examines how societies like the U.S., even where they may not be ruled through open, undisguised repression and terror, and even with all their talk of “democracy for all,” are in fact bourgeois dictatorships—rule over society by the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie, based fundamentally on a monopoly of armed force (and in particular “legitimate” armed force) by that capitalist class and its “right” and ability to use that armed power, including the police and armed forces as well as the courts and bureaucracies, to put down, as brutally as it sees fit, any opposition or resistance that poses a serious challenge to its rule.

[Return to article]

2. See the article “The Pyramid of Power and the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down” (Revolutionary Worker #1269, February 27, 2005). Also see previous articles in this current series by Bob Avakian, including “The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era” (RW #1274) and “The Center—Can It Hold? The Pyramid as Two Ladders” (Revolution #4), all available online at revcom.us)

[Return to article]

 

 


 

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Revolution #552 July 16, 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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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Protests Disrupt Mike Pence’s "America First" Rally in Chicago Suburb

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

On July 13, Mike Pence came to speak at an "America First" rally in Rosemont, a Chicago suburb. His speech praised Republican governor Bruce Rauner, who had been keeping some distance from Trump but at this rally called him "one of the greatest leaders in America's history." Pence was disrupted no less than 5 times, and 100-150 loud and diverse protesters lined the road across from the hotel.

Almost as soon as he began to speak, Pence was interrupted by protesters from Refuse Fascism, agitating about 'Humanity First, Not America First' and waving a banner that read "Trump and Pence Must Go." As they were escorted out, with the crowd chanting "USA, USA", other protesters jumped out, including a woman yelling " Do you want babies in jail?"

Across the street, protesters led by Refuse Fascism chanted, "In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse a fascist America, No, no, no, no, no!"; "Women's rights are not for sale, we won't live the Handmaids Tale;" and "Kids in cages, no way, no how, Never Again is here and now." There were several women and men in red-caped Handmaids Tale costumes. Giant puppets rose over the crowd, including one of Trump wearing a "fascist" sign, and one of Pence with praying hands labeled "Theocratic Fascist." Eight huge panels, indicting the Trump/Pence regime for crimes against humanity, faced the road. There were many home-made signs, like one made by a young woman with a picture of Anne Frank, that read: "The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law, the people who killed her were following it." Along with Refuse Fascism "NO!" signs, other signs in the crowd included "We Won't Go Back" and "Stop Trump Separating Families: No Child Concentration Camps."

The crowd was extremely diverse. Refuse Fascism initially called the protest, and possibly in response to Rauner's new, more open embrace of Trump, some Illinois Democrats called a second protest. The two protests merged. Representative Christian Mitchell, the new interim executive director of the Illinois Democratic Party spoke, saying: "We are here to resist," and calling the Trump regime "openly racist and misogynist," while his takeaway was urging people to vote and mobilize everyone possible to vote. Relying on the electoral process was a contested issue at the protest, as Refuse Fascism organizers repeatedly agitated points from their call: "The Democratic Party leadership will NOT lead us out of this...If we think that the normal processes of the 2018 or 2020 elections, or the Mueller investigation will, by themselves, redress the situation that humanity faces, we are not understanding the determination of these fascists in power to shatter norms —even though they have been doing so for over a year," but there is a way to do this, through persistent, mass non-violent protests of people in their millions. Jon Hahm, a retired professor, spoke about the example of South Korea, how the people, millions in the streets consistently over five months, drove out a corrupt and hated president, in prison now for abuse of power. While there was positive response to Refuse Fascism's agitation and participation in their chants, and many in the crowd were inspired by the quarter of a million people in the streets to protest Trump in London, organizers distributing the Refuse Fascism Call often had to struggle with people over why waiting for a Democratic Blue Wave to wash away the Trump regime is illusory and dangerous. The Revolution Club did agitation on why the whole system responsible for this fascism must be overthrown through revolution, and got out copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.

People came from several other organizations including Friends Who March, a suburban activist organization; Planned Parenthood; Illinois Democratic Women; union locals United Food and Commercial Workers local 881 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308; and various Indivisible chapters. Speakers included Magda Castaneda, President of the Pilsen Alliance; Reginald Sawyer of the Chicago Two Spirit Society (Native American LGBT); and Ronald Jackson with BLM America. High school students came from nearby high schools and Indiana; a group of student journalists came from the Columbia College Chronicle newspaper; Latino families brought their children. Musicians from Degenerate Artists Against Fascism provided a powerful and lively musical presence.

There were people in the crowd at their first Refuse Fascism protest (and some at their first protest, period.) One person, a writer, said: "Although many of us have heard that we are at a turning point in history, I think that turning point looms larger now for me than any other "political climate moment" of my life. Furthermore, when I am alone and fearful of how bad things could get in the United States and the world, my fears are more likely to spiral out of control. In a community, I feel less alone and more hopeful."  New people got involved on the spot, including leading chants, wearing Handmaids costumes, and holding up banners and Indictment panels. And numbers of people signed up with Refuse Fascism and took materials home to get out.

Both the inside and outside protests received good media coverage, including by ABC television, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times, WGN TV, and suburban newspapers the Daily Herald and Journal/Topics.

The July 13 protest against Mike Pence shows the potential to build the kind of broad, diverse and determined struggle to drive out the Trump regime that is so urgently needed. But the hour is late, as one of the chants said:

"Rise up, drive out
the fascists and their hate.
November is too late.
The world can't fucking wait."

 

 

 

The Daily Herald News reported: “Almost immediately after Pence took the stage, protesters inside the Westin O'Hare grand ballroom made their presence known. In total, Pence's speech was interrupted five times by protesters, who were escorted out of the building by police.”

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

The Outrage of Being Criminalized for Swimming While Black

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader in the South:

If you’ve turned on the news or logged onto social media in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen them: videos of fucked-up, racist white people calling the cops on Black and Brown people for the offense of cooling off at the pool!

This shit has become so widespread that the hashtag #SwimmingWhileBlack has appeared all over social media. A number of videos have appeared within the last two months showing white people threatening, physically attacking, and of course calling the police on Black people for the “crime” of swimming in a fucking pool! Here are just a few of the incidents (caught on video):

An Ugly History...

This psychotic racism has a history. To take one of the worst examples, go back to 1919, in Chicago.

In 1919, an African-American teenager was drowned in Lake Michigan for “violating” the unofficial segregation of Chicago’s beaches. He was murdered by a group of white youths hurling stones at him while he struggled to keep his head above water. Black residents were outraged, not only by the murder, but by the refusal of the police to arrest the white man who instigated it.

This led to a weeklong series of racial attacks by whites in league with the police force and self-defense by the Black masses, resulting in the deaths of 15 whites and 23 Blacks, with more than 500 people injured. One thousand Black families were left homeless with their homes torched by whites.

Battles over integration of pools happened beginning in the 1930s, when the federal government built pools, and through the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Attempts to integrate were met with rioting, beating, hurling rocks and bricks at Black people, and violent arrests by the pigs when called in. A well-known photograph shows a white motel owner pouring acid into a pool when Black and white protesters were swimming in it.

...Now Being Continued

So there’s a history to these white people with their racism caught on videos gone viral, garnering widespread disgust among broad sections of people. But many of them claim to be the victims, howling about being called racist and the impact it has had on their personal and professional lives! Boo-fucking-hoo.

It is outrageous—but ask yourselves why these racist shitheads feel so emboldened today. This is Trump’s fascist America. These people are being told from the White House (no pun intended) that they are the victims, the “forgotten people.” Finally, their messiah, an orange fascist who promises to “Make America Great White Again,” sits at the helm of the most powerful country in the world. Everything he does tells them that it’s their time and he has unleashed these racists to run wild.

The whole future direction of society is on the line in thousands of ways. The reassertion of the white “right” to police Black people out of public spaces—and to literally to use the police to do so—now being so aggressively reasserted, is one significant expression of that. What kind of future we get will be up to us.

June 24, Summerville, South Carolina: "Pool Patrol Paula" on the internet, physically assaulted a 15-year-old Black boy at a private community pool, exclaiming, "Get out, little punks!"

1964: The manager of the Monson Motor Lodge in Florida was photographed pouring muriatic acid into the hotel "whites only" pool trying to force out protesters for integration.

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Aggressive Move to Deprive Naturalized Citizenship for Immigrants—Part of Trump/Pence Fascist Program of Ethnic Cleansing

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a West Coast reader:

One of the little-known but highly ominous prongs of the anti-immigrant battering ram of the Trump/Pence regime now underway is its intensified moves to take legal status away from immigrants who have acquired naturalized U.S. citizenship and make them deportable. Aggressive denaturalization is now part and parcel of the comprehensive fascist program of xenophobic ethnic cleansing, along with ending DACA; instituting the Muslim ban; zero tolerance for border crossings; family separation replete with baby jails; refusing asylum seekers and refugees; and targeting non-white nationalities in general—to make America white again.

A new office is being created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It was announced in June that this office will house a brand-new task force with the specific goal of going after what they consider “bad” naturalization cases. USCIS says that it is hiring dozens of lawyers and immigration cops to comb through cases.

This marks the first time the government will have an entire office dedicated to identifying individuals and stripping them of their citizenship. In January 2017, just as the Trump/Pence regime was being inaugurated, the USCIS set up a pop-up office in Los Angeles as its national headquarters to search out supposed “fraudulent fingerprints.” Since then, at least 2,536 cases have been flagged for additional review.

USCIS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can denaturalize someone through a criminal or civil bureaucratic process. Civil cases are based on a lower standard in which the government is not required to provide a lawyer, nor is there a right to a jury trial. The government has been pursuing more of these cases of late. Among civil codes, for someone to be eligible for denaturalization, are ones vaguely labeled “crimes of moral character.”

USCIS could act against anybody they deem to have provided false information or alleged to have committed a later-discovered crime before they were naturalized. “Moral character” has extreme importance for naturalized citizens subjected to this administrative process. Drug crimes involving more than 30 grams of cannabis and “damaging a marriage through an extramarital affair” are also considered important factors on whether someone can be denaturalized through nullifying previously accepted “moral character.”

The inclusion of “an extramarital affair” means criminalizing a violation of the Christian code (as “sin”) since marital infidelity is not (yet) a crime in the general society. This is very much in line with the views of the great many Christian fascists surrounding Trump, such as Pence and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch and their minions, whose actual goal is establishing a theocracy.

In June 2017, the Supreme Court, in the case of Maslenjak v. United States, ruled that “the Government must establish that the defendant’s illegal act played a role in her acquisition of citizenship.” The Trump/Pence regime’s position was that even minor “lies” can lead to loss of citizenship, based on their fascist agenda and definition of what is true or false. As one immigration lawyer in San Diego, California, said: “What the government wanted was for any lie or misrepresentation to be enough to denaturalize you.... If they could prove you lied about anything, that could be enough.”

The Department of (IN)Justice now under rabid pig Jeff Sessions won its first denaturalization case against a native of India, Davinder Singh, in January 2018. His immigration status was reverted from naturalized citizen to lawful permanent resident, making him subject to deportation at the whim of DHS and ICE. The case was part of a new government initiative called Operation Janus. This initiative will target 315,000 people supposedly based on missing fingerprint data from centralized digital fingerprint files. It seems that because USCIS failed to use fingerprint records effectively, those who have been granted citizenship without proper fingerprint records, that is, before fingerprints were digitized, may now be subject to having their citizenship revoked.

Operation Janus is a large-scale campaign to denaturalize people. While conceived and launched in 2016 under Obama, it has been qualitatively ramped up under the Trump/Pence fascist program to truly unprecedented draconian heights. The executive director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center points to the alarming implications of the regime’s denaturalization initiative: “To go after people who have been citizens for years—and for what seems like very insignificant reasons—is a McCarthy-like witch hunt ... prioritizing xenophobia... I find this very distressing.”

ICE manuals also say that citizenship can be revoked “within 5 years after naturalization, becoming a member of or affiliated with an organization in which membership or affiliation at the time would have precluded naturalization,” or “refusing, within 10 years after naturalization, to testify as a witness before a congressional committee concerning subversive activities.”

It is possible that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, could be stripped of their citizenship through Operation Janus in the not too distant future. There had been a systematic campaign for decades to distance the supposedly “good immigrants” (who went through the whole process of having or getting papers/legalization) from “bad immigrants” (who are undocumented and deemed “illegals,” deserving all kinds of abuse and assault). Yet the new push to denaturalize citizens makes clear that laws will be made or broken by the imperialists themselves to suit their global and domestic interests at any given time. And what or who was legal yesterday may be illegal tomorrow, and quite literally.

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Revolution #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 2018

The Criminal System Behind the Nightmare of NYCHA Housing

and What Is Possible in a New Socialist Society

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Picture this scene: Families shiver all winter in apartments where 80 percent of tenants lost their heat. Huge swaths of asthma-triggering mold suffocate nearly every floor, roaches infest the walls, and rats create mazes of burrows. Broken elevators trap elderly and disabled residents in their apartments, forcing some to sleep in lobbies. In more than half the buildings, chips of lead paint badly harm the physical and mental development of children. A social worker finds her client hallucinating because 90 percent of the walls and ceiling in her apartment are covered in one to two inches of black mold.1

Surely this must be a vision of hell. And it is—a hell in New York City, for the roughly half a million people in public housing, or NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority).

It’s not that the tenants said nothing. It’s not that nobody, including the big “reform” mayor Bill de Blasio, knew. Oh, they knew. Between 2013 and 2016, NYCHA got 260,000 work orders for roaches, 90,000 for mice, and 36,000 for rats.

And they didn’t just ignore it—they covered it up and went so far as to instruct the project workers on how to cover it up. In fact, the NYCHA website provided “Quick Fix Tips,” on how to hide violations. When inspectors came, NYCHA workers shut off the water to hide chronic leaks. They built false plywood walls to hide dilapidated rooms. NYCHA falsely certified that lead paint inspections had been conducted in 55,000 potentially tainted apartments—literally sentencing children in those 55,000 apartments to intellectual disability!

This is criminal—far more criminal than what 90 percent of the people now in prison were found guilty of. In a just world those responsible—both de Blasio and the federal government under both Democrats and Republicans, now trying to shift sole blame to de Blasio—would be held accountable. But the crime goes deeper than that. The crime is a crime of this system.

Destruction of Public Housing

In the 1950s and ’60s, prison-like high-rise public housing went up in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and New York City. This was a conscious effort by the U.S. government to effectively segregate hundreds of thousands of poor Black people in these projects and neighborhoods. (See sidebar on “Public Housing and Segregation.”) But in the late ’70s and ’80s, government policy began to shift in the wake of urban Black rebellions of the late 1960s. A major government study of the “causes of the riots” saw a need to “break up concentrations of poverty,” and a change from “traditional publicly built slum based high rise projects to smaller units on scattered sites.”2

This gave way to government efforts to get rid of much of public housing—in 1998, 100,000 apartments were razed under the Federal Hope VI Program. In some cities, like Chicago, high-rises were left to rot and fall apart and then demolished. In New York, the high-rises were not destroyed, but left to deteriorate to the point where apartments are uninhabitable and inhumane. Meanwhile, NYCHA has seen $2.7 billion cut since 2001. And now Trump is calling for the deepest cuts to HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) in almost 40 years. Some say this would be the most radical attack on federal housing aid since public housing began in 1937, and would lead to the eviction of millions of low-income families.

Trump Regime and NYCHA

With Trump, who made his early millions by using federal money to build white-only housing complexes and whose entire political life has featured the most open and venomous racism imaginable as a cornerstone, this is all getting much worse.

The head of HUD, Ben Carson, who once asserted that poverty is largely “a state of mind,” said, “I have a strong desire to get rid of programs that create dependency in able-bodied people.” He wants to raise rent for public housing from 30 to 35 percent of people’s income and require people work at least 15 hours at a minimum wage job. This would affect more than 4.5 million families. Carson says this will “incentivize people” and give them “a way out of poverty.” In other words, the Trump regime is saying to poor people, “Fuck you, you’re just lazy and we’re not going to help you anymore.”

All this provides context for the federal government’s 80-page civil complaint against NYCHA, issued on June 11—the results of a federal investigation that began in 2015, under Obama and continued under Trump. Three Trump officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, EPA head Scott Pruitt (who has since been forced out of his position), and Ben Carson at HUD were directly involved in the complaint and settlement.

The complaint accuses NYCHA of carrying out systematic misconduct, indifference, and outright lies to cover up the criminal treatment of tenants. New York City isn’t contesting these allegations, making a deal rather than face trial. It signed a consent decree—admitting to the accusations, submitting to federal oversight, and agreeing to spend an additional $1 billion on NYCHA over the next four years.

This might seem puzzling. For decades now, the government has worked to get rid of public housing. So why is the fascist Trump/Pence regime scolding NYCHA for not maintaining its buildings? A few things to consider:

Democratic presidents, including Clinton and Obama, have presided over much of this criminal handling of public housing, and this is yet another way for Trump to attack the Democrats and what he calls “the swamp.” Holding local governments responsible for repairs is also a way to make a big cut in the federal budget—NYCHA says it needs $31.8 billion to fix decaying buildings. And the consent decree is at least in part a way to do damage control—to make it appear the feds are concerned and doing something about this problem and to channel people’s outrage into hope for small reforms.

In recent years, after nationwide protests against police murder and brutality, a number of local police departments were put under federal consent decrees. Reports detailed brutal, murderous, and unconstitutional behavior by cops and then addressed this with totally ineffective crap, like “better training” and body cameras. But this didn’t do anything to stop pigs, including those under consent decrees, from continuing to murder people. Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions has criticized these decrees as bad for the morale of police. Now this same shit is being implemented for the NYCHA criminals.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

New York City may repair some apartments. But the fact remains that this system of U.S. capitalism/imperialism is incapable of providing decent housing for poor people because this isn’t profitable. As Raymond Lotta wrote about the crisis of decent and affordable housing in U.S. cities:

This could be easily solved. The materials and resources exist; countless numbers of socially committed architects and urban planners want to contribute their know-how to a better world; there is a vast reservoir of basic people in the oppressed communities who are locked out of jobs or whose skills are not utilized, and millions of young people burn with a desire to change the world. But under this system, people and resources are not brought together and people are not mobilized to solve the housing crisis—because profit rules and housing is an object of investment and global speculation... while 6,300 people are evicted from rental households every day in the U.S. This is absurd, this is cruel, this is totally unnecessary.

Bob Avakian has stressed the significance of Marx’s comment that “Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.” This means that under capitalism, the right of people to have decent housing does not and cannot rise above the “right” of the capitalist system to make profits and accumulate capital.

But IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is a concrete and visionary blueprint for a radically new society that would be built after the revolutionary overthrow of this system. It says:

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)

Under socialism, the rights of the people would be commensurate with a whole different economic and political system that is NOT based on profit. Humanity could free itself of exploitation and suffering, including homelessness and horrendous housing conditions created by capitalism.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America outlines how it will actually be possible to build a new liberating society, including on the question of housing:

In light of the egregious crimes, oppression and injustice perpetrated by the former ruling class and government of the United States of America against various minority nationalities, to give expression to the voluntary union and growing unity of the various peoples within the New Socialist Republic in North America, and to give the most powerful effect to the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution, discrimination against minority nationalities, in every sphere of society, including segregation in housing, education and other areas, shall be outlawed and prohibited, and concrete measures and steps shall be adopted and carried out, by the government at the central and other levels, to overcome the effects of discrimination and segregation, and the whole legacy of oppression, to which these peoples have been subjected. (p. 51)

While instituting the socialist principle of payment for work, the socialist state strives, step-by-step, to reduce wage and salary differences. It leads struggle against backward values of competitive gain and self-enrichment and promotes the outlook of “serving the people” and advancing the revolution. It expands the sphere of distribution of goods and services, like housing and health care, according to social need and through more collective means (in workplaces, neighborhoods, etc.). (p. 86)

The state in the New Socialist Republic in North America and the planned economy under its direction take special measures for “raising the bottom up.” This principle serves the crucial task of overcoming historic inequalities affecting the formerly oppressed nationalities, and other profound disparities in society. The whole of society will be mobilized to overcome these inequalities. Priorities in distribution of needed social goods and services (like health and housing) will be guided by this principle. The socialist economy also gives priority to overcoming gaps between the more developed regions and areas and the less developed. (p. 83)

With a fundamentally different economic structure, a different culture, a different political structure, the people will most of all, have the right to revolutionize society as part of emancipating humanity worldwide. To bring about this new society, we need a real revolution to overthrow the capitalist system and here too there are concrete answers for how this could happen. Check out HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.


1. U.S Department of Justice press release, June 11, 2018 and New York Daily News, July 5, 2018  [back]

2. The Kerner Commission Report, 1968.  [back]

 

Public Housing and Segregation

Public housing in the U.S. was first built in the mid-1930s during the Great Depression, as part of the concessions made by the New Deal to stave off rebellion. With World War 2, workers were needed by factories to pump out goods for the war, so public housing was expanded.

Even then, this housing was segregated, with Black people intentionally herded into the worst of the housing with few facilities of any kind. Then, in the decades after the war, the federal government made loans for housing available to white American workers and middle-class people, who moved out of the public housing and in many cases out of the cities altogether. This same federal government—under the Democrats, mind you—refused to guarantee any loans in neighborhoods with any concentration of Black people or sometimes any Black people at all. (See Color of Law by Richard Rothstein.)

Public housing—first a concession, then a stopgap for factory workers—changed again. Beginning in the 1950s, public housing became a way to contain poor Black people. During the Great Migration (1916-1970), six million African Americans came to the cities in the North. Searching for a better life and a way to escape KKK terror, they were pulled to cities like Chicago and New York by the demands of growing capitalist industry—which offered Black people the hardest and lowest paying factory jobs. But beginning with automation in the 1950s and ’60s, the government consciously reinforced segregation by building prison-like high-rise projects and effectively segregating Black people in those projects and in those neighborhoods.

In this way, public housing was a way to maintain segregation and reinforce the ideological glue of white supremacy among whites, including (or especially) poorer and working class whites, and to increase the isolation and pariah status of Black people. As author Richard Rothstein wrote, “The purposeful use of public housing by federal and local governments to herd African Americans into urban ghettos had as big an influence as any in the creation of our de jure system of segregation.”

Let’s talk about work and housing together. Look at all these neighborhoods which under the rule of the capitalist system have been allowed and even encouraged to rot. Look at the youth and others just hanging out on the street corner with nothing to do or no way to do anything that doesn’t get them into one kind of trouble or another. Imagine changing all that because now we have the power over society—we go to these youth and we say, “Here, we’re going to give you training. We’re going to give you education. We’re going to bring you materials. We’re going to enable you to go to work to build some beautiful housing and playgrounds and neighborhoods here for yourself and those who live here.” Imagine if we said to them, you can not just work, you can be part of planning all this, you can be part of figuring out what should be done for the benefit of the people to make this society better and to contribute to making a whole different and radically better world. Imagine if for these youth, they could have a way, not just to make a living, building housing, hospitals, community centers and parks and other things people need, but at the same time, they could have the opportunity and the dignity of working together with people throughout society to build a whole better world. There’s absolutely no reason why these things aren’t possible except that we live under this system which makes them impossible.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 2:6

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Revolution #552 July 16, 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 #552 July 16, 2018

Chicago South Side

Out Among the People Protesting Police Murder—Organizing for an ACTUAL Revolution

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a Revolution Club correspondent

Around 5 pm on Sunday I noticed a text from a club member who had been out of town. I tried to reach her and let her know I could drive her to our organizing center. I got no answer. I turned on the 5 pm news before I headed out. The top story was the protest in South Shore against the police murder on Saturday of 37-year-old Harith Augustus.  People were starting to gather. There on my screen was the club member I had tried to call who was clearly already there. The news camera panned the crowd: a lot of Revolution—Nothing Less! (RNL) T-shirts, and the reporter said, “the Revolution Club is here,” then comes a great interview with Lucha Bright from the Revolution Club, looking sharp in her Club gear.

Heading for the Revolution Club Organizing Center, I hit a massive traffic jam right where Lakeshore Drive (a 26-mile thoroughfare that runs the length of this city along Lake Michigan) ends and runs into the South Side community of South Shore. The traffic came to a dead stop at what is normally not a busy area. It did not move for quite a while.

The night before club members had been in the thick of it for hours in a major outpouring of hundreds of people confronting the police in response to the murder.  I had watched the videos on Twitter but wasn’t there myself. The police were vicious, clubbing people and they had their automatic rifles out. But the people were defiant, at times dancing on top of police cars. Many copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW) got out in the midst of this. Out in the front lines, and when people, including club members, briefly stepped back from the front lines to catch their breath, club members held “lightning on-the-spot organizing meetings” going over key points in HWCW, to enlist people into the revolution. One person had to run back to our organizing center in the midst of all this to get more RNL shirts and HWCW pamphlets.

When I got to the Revolution Club Organizing Center, which is only a few doors away from the barber shop where Harith Augustus, the Black man gunned down by police the day before, worked, I learned why the traffic was so backed up. A protest of about 200 people, which began a few blocks away from the Organizing Center, near the spot where this police murder occurred, had attempted to get onto Lakeshore Drive and had been prevented from doing so by the police.

Instead the march had been pushed east on 67th street right past “the Parkways,” a large (and notorious) low-income housing complex that extends for several blocks where, as one neighborhood resident put it, “the youth are at war with the youth on East End.” East End is another area of the neighborhood not far from our Organizing Center. I later learned from a Club member in the march, that youth from “the Parkways” had poured out and joined the march for a few blocks.

Not long after I got to the center we got a call from a club member in the march saying it was going to come right by us. We gathered up some large posters and banners and, in our RNL T-shirts, stepped outside the center to greet the people as the march approached.

The marchers were in the street and a long line of pigs was on the sidewalk. (Kind of a reverse of the norm here where the police block the street forcing the protests onto the sidewalk.) Joey Johnson was on the bullhorn announcing that they were passing our office and leading the chant, “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution—Nothing Less.”  People in the march put their firsts in the air and we chanted in unison with them “Revolution—Nothing Less.”

The march was a mix of people from around the city and community people. A young man in the lead, whose photo with his fist in the air hit the front of the Sunday Chicago Tribune, had been a close friend of Paul O’Neal (a teenager who was killed by the police in South Shore the summer of 2016) and had led protests against the murder of his friend back then.

After the march passed by there was a long line of cars backed up on the street outside the Center. I went up to the people in the cars to get them copies of HWCW. As I approached the second car, the young woman in the passenger seat held up her copy of HWCW and shouted out, “I am with you,” to a roar of cheers from those of us outside the center.

A middle aged Black man in a T-shirt for CPAC (community control of police group) shouted out “Power to the People” to Joe Veale and stepped out of the march to give him a high five. He had seen Joe at a gathering of activists earlier in the day. At that gathering, Joe spoke about his history with Black Panthers and how back then we didn’t know how to make a revolution but now with Bob Avakian we have the leadership, the strategy and the plan, and told people he was “enlisting them in the revolution.” (See video of Joe on this page.)

The march continued back where it started a few blocks away and then club members and a number of people I had never met before, all in RNL shirts, converged on the center. A woman and her 5-year-old grandson, both in RNL shirts, came in with a Revolution Club member. It turns out the woman lives right near our center and had been watching us for some time from a distance but when all hell broke loose the day before, she said she wanted to join us and got a shirt. Her grandson looked great in the women’s small. She was expressing great pride in one of her children, a 20-year-old, who had danced on a police car in their RNL T-shirt on Saturday night.

A couple in their 50's came in, joined a discussion of HWCW, watched some clips from Bob Avakian and got shirts. The man had just that day discovered he knew the man who had been killed by police, when his full name, Harith Augustus, was made public. He said when he heard, “Snoop” he thought it was one of the tall thin longhaired teens on the block, who looked some like the rapper Snoop Dog. When he discovered it was Harith he was devastated. He told me he first met Harith in 2002 when he was in a shelter where Harith worked. He said Harith was the nicest person you’d ever meet and had given him a free haircut when he was getting his certification from barber college.

I looked outside the center and saw three or four young people, also in Revolution—Nothing Less! shirts hanging out and went out to talk to them and get them copies of HWCW (which it turns out they already had). The first person I spoke with was a young man around 20. He told me he’d joined the club the day before. His brother, Maurice Granton, was killed by the police last month. Harith was his barber and he had been in the streets in protest for the past two nights. Another man, in a shirt, came by telling one of the young women they had to leave, so I didn’t get to talk with either of them.

A friend of the club from the neighborhood stopped by with his wife. He said he had lots of photos and film from the night before, including of the police with their automatic rifles out. He said he would send them to revolution.reports@yahoo,com. He had heard that people were once again gathering on the corner that had been the scene of the outpouring on Saturday night. A couple of us went down to check this out, but things were quiet.

Three women, two in their early teens, had gone into the center and were getting down inside with club members about HWCW. Before they left, those of us remaining at the center took a picture with them all in our RNL shirts. I saw it on our Twitter page this morning.  A club member who often staffs the center, remarked that it is becoming a true “organizing center.” (A correspondence about this should be coming soon.)

 


See also: Chicago South Side: Pigs Gun Down Another Black Man—People Get into the Streets in Outrage "The whole damn system is guilty as hell!"

Editor’s note: Tyisha Miller was a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car, resulting from a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdering her. Bob Avakian addressed this.

If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 2:16

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Four Points on the Past Week: Fascist Moves, Talk of “Treason,” and the Real Interests of Humanity

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Trump’s summit with Putin, especially coming right after his nomination of a fascist to the Supreme Court and his bullying at the NATO conference, has administered a shock to the established political order.  How should those who oppose the outrages of the present system—all of which have intensified under Trump—understand this?  And what must be done by revolutionaries, in this situation, to move things forward?

1

Trump represents and fights for a fascist section of the ruling class that aims to radically remake U.S. institutions and policies.  This group believes that the “world order” that the U.S. has headed for 70 years no longer serves U.S. imperialist domination.  And let’s be clear: this old order was one of war, of environmental destruction, of the oppression of whole peoples as well as gender oppression, and of war and occupation.  No country in the world comes anywhere close to the total blood shed by the U.S. empire over the past 70 years.  But the fascists now in power, headed by Trump and Pence, want the U.S. to go even harder, against both oppressed nations and allies, making it more a matter of direct one-on-one contests between countries, in which the strongest gets even more.  This requires them to break up or radically re-set terms for all previous agreements.  The previously dominant section of the ruling class thinks this will lead to disaster for U.S. imperialist interests and have been trying to at least constrain the fascists.  While their differences over what best protects and advances the interests of the U.S. ruling class as a whole in the contentious global system of imperialism are sharp, what is more fundamental for all of them is their unity in defending the interests of U.S. imperialism.

These fascists also believe that certain basic democratic traditions of U.S. political system and rule of law, no matter how ineffectual, violated, limited, hypocritical and bitterly contested they may be in actual practice, stand as barriers to the extreme, open and unbridled white supremacy, national chauvinism, and patriarchy that the fascists require to reorder society.    Trump’s actions in the last ten days are not “inexplicable” but represent attempts to further super-charge all those policies and directions.  Whether Putin does or does not “have something” on Trump is not the heart of the matter—Trump’s approach to Russia is part of a larger policy of breaking up the previous way in which the imperialists carried out their interests and replacing it with a radically different one.  The accusation of “treason”—about which more shortly—by the former Obama CIA director and similar accusations by mainstream talking heads and Democratic politicians show the depth of the conflict. 

2

These actions of Trump are in fact extremely dangerous for the masses of people, here and worldwide.  The logic of Trump’s foreign policy increases the likelihood of war, including catastrophic nuclear war.  The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court signals the onset of much more vicious attacks against the people and destruction of the rule of law, including as it might apply to Trump and his minions, and through all this sadistic ethnic cleansing against immigrants—concentrated in the separation of children from their parents at the border—has continued.  However, the terms of most of the opposition to Trump focus on Trump’s supposed betrayal of American interests and traditions, and his supposed sullying of “hallowed American principles” by lauding “that tyrant Putin.”  Through this, people are being trained to think in dangerously distorted, upside-down ways, and being led to go against their best aspirations and clearest understanding.

Such selective outrage ignores the way in which the U.S. not only “meddles” in elections (including in Russia in the 90’s when it backed Boris Yeltsin) but has carried out or backed violent coups in places like Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Indonesia, Honduras, and elsewhere which have cost more than a million lives, and assassinations (Lumumba in the Congo, Allende in Chile, etc.) when the candidate favored by the U.S. lost.  Russia may have been behind the recent attempted assassinations of two Russian citizens and two British citizens in Britain, though this has not been proven... but at the same time, the US admits to assassinating hundreds of people a year through drone strikes, none of whom receive due process!  And Putin’s murder of domestic dissenters?  Fucked up to be sure, but do people really not remember the proven role of the FBI (an institution now being drooled over by people claiming to be liberals or progressives) in the outright assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton while he slept and the at least indirect and possibly direct roles played by it and the CIA in the assassination of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, George Jackson, etc.?  The Great Tautological Fallacy pinpointed by Bob Avakian (BA) in this clip—a fallacy which seriously distorts people’s understanding and hamstrings their ability to effectively fight—is in full bloom here.

The question is NOT whether Trump has been “treasonous” to the empire, but what humanity needs and what fascism threatens.

3

Bob Avakian has also said the following:

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way.
BAsics 3:8

Whoever has ruled this system, it has been an utter disaster for humanity.  The “interests” of America have always required war and occupation; the most horrendous white supremacy (savagery unequaled in the world, as Frederick Douglass put it, which still rages); the subjugation of women in both modern and Dark Ages form, along with LGBTQ people; the persecution of immigrants; and the plunder and destruction of the environment, to the point where life may become unsustainable.  Neither the fascists nor their opponents have any fundamental answers to these howling outrages.  As we say in every issue of revcom.us: we need a revolution, “an actual revolution, which... means not some minor changes within this system but the actual overthrow, yes overthrow, of this system, through  actually defeating its armed forces of oppression and repression, when the necessary conditions (a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions) have been brought into being (as set forth in HOW WE CAN WIN), dismantling the institutions of this system and building a whole new society on a radically different economic and political basis; that this is something we (continually involving new people in geometric advances) must be actively working toward, from right now forward; that this system of capitalism-imperialism can be replaced by a far better system—one that is truly emancipatory—as embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America; and that there is the basis, in the new communism and the leadership of BA,  to make all this a reality.”

4

Right now, both because it is a critical battle to defend the interests of humanity and as part of working for an actual revolution, revolutionaries need to support, participate in and strive to give leadership to a movement really aiming to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.  The terms of this struggle must be the interests of humanity—NOT the interests of “America,” interests which have always meant disaster for masses of people all over the world and right here.  This means plunging into the midst of what people are doing right now, bringing out the true interests of the people as outlined above, and supporting the work of Refuse Fascism in this, while not failing to promote what is needed.

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org

Trump’s Summit With Putin: A Leap Towards Fascism

by Refuse Fascism

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What the world saw this week with Trump at the NATO meeting and then at the press conference following his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was the shredding of the alliances, political protocols, and norms that the U.S. first put together after, and has used for decades since, World War II to strengthen and enforce the U.S.’s dominant position in the world. What we witnessed from Trump was the Trump/Pence regime’s America First fascist program being further bludgeoned into place – working to rip up what has been a multi-lateral approach (NATO, UN, etc.) of asserting U.S. world dominance couched in lofty terms of cooperation, spreading democracy, etc., and moving to replace this with a zero sum game of the open assertion of the gangster logic of raw power. Trump’s aggressive assertion of “compete and conquer” and “win or lose” global relations is a high stakes situational dog-eat-dog arrangement that heightens the danger of even greater wars than those already going on, like in Yemen for one example.

Trump and the powerful forces who back him and his regime and who now dominate the Republi-fascist Party regard the complex web of 70+ years of U.S. assumed “responsibilities” for Europe and the world as a hinderance and obstacle to the U.S. being “free” to forcefully and unilaterally assert even greater economic and military power in the world.

RefuseFascism.org’s 2018 Call to Action makes two powerful and highly relevant statements:

“The Trump/Pence regime is radically remaking society – step by step hammering into place a vicious American fascism.”

And, “The world as we have known it is being torn asunder…”

This accurately describes the extraordinary events of the last week. Which is why we say: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

RefuseFascism.org needs to be in the midst of the struggles of people shocked and outraged by the radical reactionary moves of the Trump/Pence regime, bringing to these protests the understanding that what we are witnessing is the further cementing of a fascist America First approach to the world. People need the RefuseFascism.org Call to Action that says, “WE RESOLVE that nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop this nightmare.”

The Trump/Putin Summit and the NATO visit come on the heels of a week that also saw the appointment of an extreme right wing Supreme Court nominee whose record shows he will almost certainly vote to uphold the fascist prerogatives of Trump/Pence regime if he is confirmed. The future of women’s fundamental right to control their own reproduction through access to abortion and even birth control, marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights, environmental protections and much more hang in the balance. Meanwhile, the Crimes Against Humanity committed by this regime against immigrants with mass detention camps and thousands of children separated from their families continue.

Yet the Trump/Pence regime’s monumental crimes against immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, the environment and the people of the world are being pushed from the public eye and all too many who are sickened by this fascist regime are being bamboozled and lined up by MSNBC, the Democrats and a section of the intelligence and federal police forces (the CIA and FBI) to instead become the strongest flag wavers and supporters of U.S. raw power. Those who are leading the people to cry “treason” are out to line you up to support wars and unjust actions by the U.S. These are the very same forces who for decades operated behind the scenes as part of the arms of the U.S. government that staged military coups, interventions, widespread election manipulations, and more in far flung countries around the world. And, yes, these most vociferous voices who carried out these crimes are now calling Trump “treasonous” because they see what he is doing as endangering the U.S. empire. But people who care about justice for humanity are being played by this – not just for mid-term electoral partisan advantage, but for something much worse: the jingoism they are being enlisted into will leave them and lead them with no ground to stand on when the Trump/Pence regime embroils the U.S. in still greater crimes and wars around the world.

The Trump/Pence regime must be opposed not by trying to be more “America First” and jingoistic than Trump himself, but by standing with all of humanity against the fascism he and his regime are imposing.

The outrages of the last week – the incredible onslaught of fascist policy and words – should impel everyone outraged to find the ways to work together, to unite, behind the demand:

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

All this underscores the importance of:

[1] Reading, signing, and spreading very broadly the RefuseFascism.org Call to Action.

[2] Popularizing – on posters, social media, stickers, t-shirts, and beyond – these two slogans:

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

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

[3] Spreading the RefuseFascism.org Indictment against the Trump/Pence Regime for Crimes Against the People of the World.

[4] Watching and sharing on social media and in person the clip, “Free Yourself from the GTF!,” which challenges people to break out of jingoism and America-First thinking from Bob Avakian’s talk, “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America – A Better World IS Possible!”

 

 

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Read, spread and comment on "Today's Message from the Revolution"

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

"Today’s Message from the Revolution" is a new feature on revcom.us. Everyday, we’ll be posting three things for you to read, discuss with others, share with friends and on social media.

This is a part of developing a mass movement for an actual revolution. HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution lays out the strategy for revolution, how to get to a time when millions can be led to go all out to overthrow this system—with a real chance to win. It says there, “Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution.” Today’s Message is one way for this to happen.

It provides a way for you to stay connected to what’s happening in the revolution with people working across the country with the same mission and goal. And to get into key questions from the leadership we have for this revolution with quotes and video clips from Bob Avakian, the most radical revolutionary on the planet and architect of a new communism.

Wherever you are... whether you’ve just learned about the revolution or have been following it for a while... this is an organized way for you to step into the revolution and to be part of building this revolution, even as you’re learning more about it. HOW WE CAN WIN also says, “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.”

When you post the links in Today’s Message, a quote or video from BA... reports from the Revolution Club or key questions of the day, you are not only impacting what people think and do with the substance of the message, but you are spreading the word about the leadership for this revolution. Some people are gonna like it and want to learn more, they’ll follow it and be part of this too, in whatever way... some people are gonna look at it and not be sure exactly what they think, but it’ll be circulating in their minds... and you may get some shit from people who are still sleepwalking, wanting to defend this system or argue against revolution. Right now, most people aren’t gonna be with revolution, and we know that. But the ones who are need to be organizing, spreading the word to everyone else, and preparing for, and hastening the time, when things suddenly change... and they can.

Here’s the way HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution speaks to all this: “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.

So, here’s your chance to be part of that whole process. Write to us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com or on social media @tuneintorevcom with your suggestions, questions, and thoughts about all this. What you’re learning and what people are saying.

Click on image for "Today's Message"

 

Look for "Today's Message from the Revolution" in the navigation bars at top left of the masthead, or in the navigation drop-downs under "Revolution Newspaper" and "What you can do."

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Two Days at the Chicago Revolution Club Organizing Center

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: while the Revolution Club has been right in the thick of the ongoing protests against the police murder of Harith Augustus, they have also continued to keep the organizing center open. The following correspondence is from someone who has been at the center.

Saturday, July 14, Chicago Pigs gun down another Black brother, known by many as Snoop. Snoop was murdered three blocks from the center and he worked at a barber shop three buildings down from the center.

The Revolution Club had, earlier in the day, been at that intersection organizing and recruiting people into the revolution. As the club was en route to another event, we immediately turned around and headed to the scene, where the masses had already gathered in anger of the murder.

Saturday, Day 1—In front of the organizing center, we put out an A-frame with HWCW (HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution) on one side and the poster for Bob Avakian’s talk (THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible) on the other, as well as a poster of Pigs Kill Again! How Many More Lives Will Be Taken By This System? We Need REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! with the pictures of Korryn Gaines and Paul O’Neal on it, two young people killed by police within days of each other in 2016. Paul O'Neal was murdered just blocks away from where Snoop was killed. The role of the police poster (BAsics 1:24) was posted on a window and a table with a stack of HOW WE CAN WIN pamphlets.

The murder of Snoop was on everyone’s lips. You could hear people passing by talking about having just got a haircut by him, and having been his customer. People spoke in outrage. Youth who normally hang outside the center, expressed outrage and being tired of it all and were open to discussion, even with disagreement of the solution. One male youth was so infuriated, he was putting forward revenge as the solution. A challenge was put forward about the need to overthrow the system but he was clearly too enraged for an ideological struggle...right then. This was the mood of people—a visceral anger!

As the protest erupted, most of the club went out to join; a few of us stayed back to keep organizing. Passersby expressed anger, despair, disbelief, and a sense of “this has to stop.” A couple who weren’t aware of the center even though they had lived in the area for years were attracted by the signs outside. They were welcomed inside and a discussion about HWCW ensued. Conversation with the masses was mostly outside due to the hot weather and people didn’t want to just sit down and talk. It was a different mood where the masses had enough. People were in and out of the protest.

Day 2

From the time the office opened until the time it closed, some six hours later into the night, the organizing center was buzzing with activity. People stopping by were directed to join the Revolution Club at the corner where they were organizing people into the revolution. A couple of people stayed back to watch the talk by Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO ! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, which had been scheduled earlier in the month. It was decided that it was important to continue with the showing while we also had a team out in the neighborhood, and people we had met the day before joined us.

People would stop by to get Revolution Nothing Less! T-shirts and learn more about the revolution. Throughout the day, people stopping by the center were introduced to the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Bob Avakian by using clips from his speeches as well as BAsics, and HOW WE CAN WIN. There was no mistake that we ARE organizing for an actual revolution and have a strategy, plan and leadership and are recruiting them to do THAT.

One of the highlights was when the protest marched by the center. The march had about 100 people, with the Revolution Club in the mix. As the march passed by, a Revolution Club member used the bullhorn to introduce the people to the organizing center—this is where you come to learn more about the movement for an actual revolution and Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution. A group of Revolution Club members along with Joe Veale, a leader of the revolution, stood outside the center and greeted the march with a huge poster of (Home of the thief...) and HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution. The crowd cheered, raising their fists, and the Revolution Club led the chant, Who are we? Revolution Club.

After the demonstration, the Revolution Club organized a few people from the march and walked to the center. A few others stopped by and joined the informal discussion. People spoke to why they participated in the march. One older woman said she no longer could stay at home and had to come out. Two young women, one age 13, spoke about their own experience being harassed by the pigs. All expressed anger and wanted to know how to end it.

The clip—the role of the youth—from the talk by Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, was shown. People would shake their heads in agreement. People began thinking of who they can bring forward into the revolution, and one person put forward doing a barbecue to raise funds. All of them took HOW WE CAN WIN pamphlets and were to come to the center the next day to join the march, which they did. A woman next door to the center played a key role in organizing people. She put on the Revolution— Nothing Less! T-shirt day one and brought forward others to the center to get their own T-shirt. She didn’t bring them to get a “free” T-shirt. She mentioned that they had to make a donation for the shirts. Donations ranged from $3-$7 for T-shirts. She also got one for her toddler son and teenage daughter. This is an example where people can change overnight and can begin organizing right away with limited understanding of revolution.

The center has been an actual organizing center. The Revolution Club was known in the neighborhood, but this time it has a different vibe. There is a sense—the potential—of the Revolution Club becoming the authority that people look at. People that never stepped inside the center are now interested in learning more, others who never knew about the center are stopping by. People just curious about the Revolution Club also stop by. The center has been open late into the night with the first day closing at 10 pm because people continued to stop by. It has also been beautiful seeing people with Revolution–Nothing Less! T-shirts in the midst of the neighborhood casually wearing it, not just at the protest. Stay tuned for more developments.

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!

by Perry Hoberman, reprinted from Counterpunch 

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Perry Hoberman is a Los Angeles-based artist and activist, a research professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and a spokesperson for RefuseFascism.org. The following article is reprinted from Counterpunch and RefuseFascism.org.

 

I’ve been noticing a increasing phenomena on MSNBC and other mainstream media outlets: as the Trump/Pence regime resorts to ever more outrageous behavior, the various pundits — when asked to explain this or that monstrous action or statement — just shake their heads and admit that they’re simply baffled as to why anyone would do something so irrational, so clueless, so counterproductive, so cruel. There’s an unspoken implication that the regime can’t possibly understand what they’re actually doing — which in turn suggests that this can’t go on forever, that the whole thing will implode due to their painfully evident incompetence and/or thoughtlessness.

The first thing to point out is that the regime’s words and actions, insane as they might appear to any rational human being, are not arbitrary, and they’re not just bluster. These guys mean exactly what they say. From the very beginning, we’ve been told to take Trump’s words “seriously but not literally”, that he’s just “communicating with his base”, and that he’ll be reined in by the “adults in the room”, or maybe by our (increasingly mythical) “checks and balances”. These lines of reasoning start from the premise that Trump is just another corrupt far-right politician, deploying exagerrated rhetoric merely to get attention, while in fact staying within the boundaries of agreed-upon norms of civilized behavior. If we’ve learned anything in the last year and a half, it’s that this regime has no shame, no scruples, and no limits.

Fascist tendencies in right-wing politics are of course nothing new; it’s just that they were usually (mildly) disguised by coded language and “dog whistles”, allowing plausible deniability for politicians and their racist, xenophobic followers. But this regime is different. They’re not hiding it any more. This allows them to keep upping the ante. One consequence of this is that it leaves no middle ground: this is because anything short of driving them from power essentially means acquiescence and acceptance, and paves the ground for further atrocities.

The media’s failure to recognize these obvious facts points to some glaring limitations of their blinkered world view: they can’t understand, because they can’t let themselves understand. If they did, they would have to grapple with two simple facts: first, that the country is headed inexorably into full-on fascism; and second, that a massive sustained public uprising is the only thing that could stop this nightmare.

I know, I know: the midterms are only four months away, the blue wave, take back the house, that’s what we have to focus on. I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. There’s five simple words that refute this course: You can’t vote out fascism. While it’s true that some of our commentariat are finally admitting that, hey, maybe these guys really are fascists, none of them can seem to make the mental leap to what that might imply as far as a viable strategy.

Look around, and ask yourself: what are these dirtbags willing to do to stay in power? The answer is obvious: anything. How did they achieve power in the first place? By cheating: gerrymandering, fraud, hacking, disenfranchisement, etc. Now they’ve been there for nearly two years. The Democrats won the 2016 election by three million votes, and look at where we are; do you really think 2018 is going to be any better? (And I won’t get into how ineffective the Democratic leadership has been; that’s a whole other can of worms.)

You know what a ratchet is, right? It’s got teeth that only allow motion in one direction. Try to go the other way, and nothing happens. That’s how fascist politics work. As long as everything is headed in the direction they want, they can keep up the pretense that nothing has changed, that this is still business as usual. But the minute that they start losing — in the courts, in the media, in elections, whatever — they pull out every trick in the book — and nothing is off limits.

We can see this everywhere: in the Supreme Court battle (Merrick Garland? Never. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh? It would be unfair to delay confimation for one instant), the Muslim ban, immigration, the EPA, everywhere. Any battle they win, no matter how ugly and lethal the outcome, no matter how unpopular, it’s settled, let’s move on. Anything they lose? That can’t stand.

Remember: a rachet only goes one way.

While it’s heartening to see a new level of dissent and protest, we can’t lose sight of the fact that fascists don’t give a damn what you or the public thinks — or who or what they vote for.

They will continue until we force them to stop. And that’s not going to happen through normal channels.

So what can we do? How do we stop this nightmare? Is it even possible?

I don’t want to sugarcoat it: it’s not going to be easy, and there are no guarantees of success. But it is possible. Millions of people — almost certainly the majority of Americans — hate this and are agonizing over what this regime is doing to our country, the world and the planet itself.

Imagine if all of those people — everyone — took to the streets and stayed there, demanding that the regime be removed from power. What would happen? Nobody knows exactly, but there are a number of historical examples that we can give us a few hints. Although each uprising has its own particular circumstances, each shows us an instance where this strategy — where an ever-growing number of people took to the streets and didn’t go home — has actually worked.

In Egypt in 2011, Hosni Mubarak, who had been in power for thirty years, was forced out in less than a month of mass protests, civil disobedience and general strikes. In South Korea in 2016, President Park was finally impeached and convicted when first hundreds of thousands, then millions of people took to the streets. And this year in Armenia, mass civil disobedience and a national strike forced out Serzh Sargsyan after a corrupt power grab.

What did these uprisings have in common? They were massive, diverse, nonviolent, sustained and determined. Each grew to become large enough that the powers-that-be were forced to respond to their demands. Obviously this is not a strategy of first resort; in more normal times, it would be difficult to rouse enough people to create this kind of a crisis. But these are not normal times. What this regime is doing is shaking people to their very core; we can see evidence of this in the massive protests, in huge outpourings of support for and donations to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other groups.

The disgust and outrage that people feel is real. Right now, most of it is being channeled towards the midterms. But let’s face it: the Democrats are not going to stop this. The Democratic leadership has actively hobbled its progressive wing; its few principled congresspeople have been disparaged as mavericks and loose cannons, lacking “civility”. Impeachment — which should be a no-brainer given the monstrous crimes of the regime — is “off the table”. Sure, maybe we’d be better off with the Democrats in control of the house and senate (unlikely as that may be). But even that wouldn’t fix this — and if people’s energy is channeled into paths that are almost certain to fail, it could lead to disasterThis has simply gone too far. The Democrats’ inevitable strategy of “finding common ground”, of compromise and capitulation — when faced with fascism — is unconscionable.

Politicians will only do the right thing if they are forced to do the right thing. While we do have to acknowledge that nothing so far has been even close to what it will take, there is deep potential — but if and only if it is transformed and infused with a sober and honest understanding of the depth of what we are actually confronting and a real path to drive it out.

This is what the group Refuse Fascism is for. They are the only group that has raised the single unifying demand that The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! I urge you to read their call,  to join, to donate, to talk to your friends, families and colleagues, to be one of thousands now, leading to tens and then hundreds of thousands, and finally millions, taking to the streets — and staying there — until the demand is met: In the Name of Humanity, This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

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Revolution #552 July 16, 2018

Today's Message from the Revolution

February 16, 2019 | 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.

 

 

February 16, 2019

1. Why is it the Democrats are CONSTANTLY conciliating with the Trump/Pence fascist regime? Why can they ONLY try to resolve this on the terms of this monstrous system?

Bob Avakian answers.

To understand the roots and dynamics of this fascist regime & what it will REALLY take to stop it, watch Bob Avakian's full talk:

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible.

vimeo.com/238240664

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2. Read, comment, share.

revcom.us/avakian

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3. "You Think You're Woke...But You're Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare—

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!"
The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

revcom.us/a/582/the-get-organized-for-an-actual-revolution-tour-en.html

Supporters of the movement for revolution are building meetings where people can find out more about and discuss the tour in several cities. Find the updated schedule here:
revcom.us/a/582/organizing-meetings-around-the-country-en.html







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