Revolution #553, July 23, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 2018

LA counter-protest against fascist attacks outside Maxine Waters' offices

Standing Up Against Fascists... Not Letting Democrats Set the Terms

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

U.S. flag burning
The American flag was burned at Maxine Waters' office. People danced around it as it was burning while the Revolution Club led people in chanting “1 2 3 4! Slavery, genocide and war! 5 6 7 8! America was never great!” Photo: AP

 

On Thursday, July 19, over 100 people protested against fascist threats targeting Maxine Waters, a Black Democratic congressperson from Los Angeles.  The Oath Keepers, an armed organized group of fanatical thugs called for an “ongoing protest” at Waters' offices.  This came together with the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist threats against her along with calls to their fascist base to defend ICE. 

After people caught wind of the Oath Keepers' intentions to come to South Central Los Angeles, where Waters is based, anti-fascist counter-protesters from different organizations and different perspectives gathered in front of the offices to meet them when they arrived.

The Oath Keepers are foaming-at-the-mouth fascists itching to be unleashed.  They were seen heavily armed in Ferguson when people were rising up against the murder of Michael Brown and they were part of an armed standoff against the federal government by reactionary Cliven Bundy.  They said that they were doing this not only as “a protest against Maxine Water’s incitement of terrorism” but also “a stand FOR ICE and the Border Patrol…”

What did they consider “an incitement of terrorism”?—Waters' call for people to protest the representatives of the fascist regime wherever and whenever they appeared.  This was NOT a call for violence but for political protests—and these fascists have repeatedly lied and distorted her statement.

Oath Keepers back down... American flag lit on fire

South Central is a section of Los Angeles that is predominantly populated by Black and Latino people and has been a place of past upheaval against police brutality.  When the Oath Keepers realized that there was a mass of people waiting to meet them when they showed up, they canceled their protest and left. The police came over to the counter-protesters and announced that the Oath Keepers weren’t going to show up, but the crowd wasn’t going to take the LAPigD’s word for it and stuck around to make sure.

There were a few minor incidents as Trump supporters attempted to drive by or blend into the crowd and interview people.  When exposed they were driven away from the scene. At one point, a large truck attempted to drive by waving a large American flag and it got snatched away. The flag got lit on fire and people danced around it as it was burning while the Revolution Club led people in chanting “1 2 3 4! Slavery, genocide and war! 5 6 7 8! America was never great!” When someone else showed up with a large American flag in support of Maxine Waters people struggled with him about what that flag actually represents.

The demonstration itself was a powerful example of what it looks like to stand up against the fascists WITHOUT having the terms set by the Democrats, even as there was a lot of struggle around this.  Among the people who came out to protest were clergy members, a labor union, activists with Refuse Fascism, a handful of Black nationalist organizations and others, and predominantly basic people from the neighborhood where Maxine Waters' offices are. Within the protest, there was debate about voting vs. revolution, about what real revolution is, about the nature of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, whether Black people could or should just “ignore” this, and about whether the fact that the fascists were descending on South Central was just a matter for South Central.  The Revolution Club was in the midst of all this—waging a lot of substantive and sharp struggle, distributing HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution and getting into it with people about the need for all of us to build the struggle to prevent the consolidation of fascism.

Maxine Waters tries to outpatriot the fascists... why she and the Democrats can't be relied on to stop fascism

Fascist “news” outlets are now using the flag burning to double down their attacks that “Mad Maxine” is “inciting terrorism and violence” against Trump supporters and against the US itself.  First, this is bullshit and a distortion of reality. Maxine Waters does oppose the fascist regime and has stood up against it in some ways.  But she is working to resolve this contradiction on the terms of this system and by struggling to corral people into the framework and channels of this system.

This can be seen in her response to the protests of the Oath Keepers and the fact that she distanced herself from the righteous counter-protests against them. Two days after this important protest, Waters released the most defensive, spineless, driveling statement.  While there's a lot of bullshit to shovel in what she said, there are three main points we want to make:

First, in response to the flag burning, while she had to admit this is perfectly legal, she fell over herself to uphold this blood-soaked country.  “I do not take a backseat to anyone on patriotism,” she said.

Think about this!  What does it mean to vie to be the most patriotic in a country founded on genocide and slavery, with white supremacy running like a bloody thread through the whole fabric of America?  A country that has committed crimes more horrific than what our stomachs could take if we described them in their gory details?  And these aren’t just crimes of the past.  The power and wealth the U.S. has accumulated to this very day has been accumulated through the most brutal exploitation. The system of capitalism-imperialism that the US sits on top of continues to be enforced through the most cruel and vicious violence imaginable. From children forced to work in mines to extract the minerals that go into our cellphones to the children not only being ripped from their parents' arms, but literally ripped apart from bombs dropped by the US military forces or by the butchers they’ve installed to do their dirty work.  

Someone should ask “Auntie Maxine” what time she's thinking of when she talks about her patriotism?  During the founding in slavery and genocide?  Or Jim Crow?  Or when this country decimated Vietnam, murdering three million people?  Or today?  Hell no!  America was never great and everyone needs to break from this sickening American chauvinism.

Second, not only did she blame people who were there taking a righteous stand against the fascists for creating “fodder for partisan media outlets,” she tried to discredit people who put their bodies on the line by saying they just wanted “press attention” and “were not necessarily from the 43rd district.” This is just echoing the cry of “outside agitators” used by racists in the South to denounce people who heroically risked their lives in order to register Black people to vote. To make things worse, while taking this horrible stance towards people standing on the right side of things, she dangerously upheld and “honored [the] right” of the fascists who were going there to intimidate (and possibly kill) her, had the protesters not showed up.  

Third, to understand WHY she is doing what she is doing, you have to understand that neither the fascist Trump/Pence regime nor the Democratic Party that Maxine Waters is a part of represent the interests of the people.  Again, she is opposing the Trump/Pence fascists, but doing so on the terms of the very system that gave rise to them. She is trying to channel people's outrage at these fascists back into this very same system.

Join the struggle against fascism, and join the revolution to overthrow the system that gave rise to this fascist regime

The lines are being sharply drawn by the fascists and the Democrats—including Waters, upheld as one of those most standing up against Trump—are leading people to conciliate with fascism at every turn. If you have a heart for humanity, and any sense of the danger these fascists represent, we can’t fall behind those who call for “civility” in the face of a spiraling descent into fascism.  We can’t look to the representatives of this system, we need to confront the fact that beating this back is going to get harder and the sacrifices are going to be greater the more we leave it in the hands of those who have been running this system.  There is a monumental struggle that has to be waged right now to drive out the whole regime through massive, sustained political protests that must involve millions coming together from many different perspectives.  We urge everybody to get with refusefascism.org and get organized to do just that.

The Revolution Clubs will be there throughout that whole struggle.  We will be telling everyone to stop looking to the Democratic Party and whatever lying ass politician they tell you to vote for.  We will be telling people to look to the only party and leader that truly represents the interests of the people: the Revolutionary Communist Party and its leader, Bob Avakian (BA).  Fuck aiming to go back to what was before Trump. There is a truly emancipating society that we need to fight for which is envisioned and laid out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA. Fuck looking to the media that despite being attacked by Trump and his supporters refuse to tell people what they’re up against and what it will take to stop it.  There is a website that will not only tell people the truth about what is happening and where it comes from but leads people to fight back and get rid of the whole thing, revcom.us.

U.S. flag burning
Refuse Fascism was among the counter-protesters at Maxine Waters office. Photo: AP

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

 

The Fascists and the Destruction of the "Weimar Republic"…
And What Will Replace It

By Bob Avakian

July 16, 2018

Read more

 


Excerpt 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.

Read more

 

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Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

In the Week Since Chicago Police Killed Harith "Snoop" Augustus:

Defiance Against the Pigs...and People Drawn to the Revolution Club Organizing Center

From the Revolution Club:

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Saturday, July 14, Chicago pigs gun down another Black brother, Harith Augustus, known by many as Snoop. Snoop was murdered in a South Side neighborhood, three blocks from the Revolution Club Organizing 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.

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.

In the week after the police killed Snoop on July 14 on the South Side of Chicago, the Revolution Club has continued to get out in the neighborhood with the banner “This System Cannot Be REFORMED, It Needs to Be OVERTHROWN” and a bullhorn to organize people into the revolution. The people hanging out in the street, who sometimes put forward that they need to take care of themselves first, are now more open to talking about revolution, even if in brief conversations. People continue to express anger over the shooting. The defiance that you saw in the streets right after the pigs shot Snoop dead hasn’t gone away. There are people walking down the street playing Public Enemy’s cover of “Fuck the Police” out of their speakers—other people playing it out of their cars.

There’s been different demonstrations by different forces, some in the neighborhood, some outside of the neighborhood. There was one march that went to Mayor Emanuel’s house on Thursday, around 200 people according to news reports, demanding answers about the police killing of Snoop.

A vigil for Snoop was held on Wednesday in front of the barber shop where he worked. The Revolution Club attended the vigil and presented a bouquet of flowers with a poster card of BAsics 1:13 inside the card. A group of people then headed to the intersection where Snoop was gunned down to protest with linked arms.

The day after the vigil, Maya from the Revolution Club had a court hearing on her case, stemming from her totally unjust arrest in March at the University of Chicago for participating in 11 minutes of silence in support of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. The judge threatened to revoke the bail and held her in custody. The bond was reinstated due to the persistence of the attorneys.

That same day, three people were arrested at the intersection close to the scene of where the pigs murdered Snoop. The pigs were fucking with people and ended up jumping on somebody and beating them. The people in the neighborhood were in the face of the police, yelling at them—like, “we’re not letting this happen again.” The pigs got in the paddy wagons and got out of there pretty quickly.

The Revolution Club Organizing Center continues to draw people. People stop by the center or call club members to find out about future plans. Youth and adults have come in the office wanting to know the solution to police murdering Black people, and engaging in serious conversations about what is the problem and what is the actual solution. People are confronted with the seriousness of the fact that we do have a plan and the leadership for a revolution to overthrow the system—and are confronted with what will they do with their life.

There are people who are more consciously stepping in with the movement for revolution, but then there’s a broader sense that “the neighborhood is with you.” Obviously it’s not that literally everyone in the neighborhood is with this—but there’s a sense of more people seeing the center as “their place.” People are getting introduced to Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, through clips from the film of BA’s talk REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and the “BA through the years” clip and, of course, discussion off of the pamphlet How We Can Win—How We Can Really Make Revolution. One young woman who put on the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt during the first day of protest after Snoop’s murder was invited to the center and saw a clip from the film (“This System Has No Future for the Youth... But the Revolution Does“). She had a visceral, emotional reaction to the clip. She poured out her own experience with being a female, about oppressive family relations, and police brutality.

There has been heavy presence of pigs in the community harassing the masses—while at the same time Black cops are out there trying to play “Officer Friendly.” Pig cars have parked in front or by the center, and when Club members have been out organizing, there has been constant presence of pig vehicles.

As people begin to check out the solution for an actual revolution and raising their heads, some people, and other forces, don’t want the upheaval of revolution. Some people have made unprincipled bullshit attacks and slanders against the revolution. In response to these attacks and slanders, the Club put out “A message from the Revolution Club Chicago: It was right to stand up to the murdering pigs—What we need to do now is build the revolution we need to put an END to this shit.” The Club has been taking this message out and also postering it on poles and on bus stops. Pigs were seen tearing the flyer immediately afterwards. People came by to let the Club know about what the pigs had done and to find out more about the revolution.


Maya, the Revolution Club Chicago, and legal team.


At the Revolution Club Organizing Center.

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/552/read-spread-and-comment-on-todays-message-from-the-revolution.html

Revolution #553 July 23, 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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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/553/message-from-revolution-club-chicago-en.html

Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

A message from Revolution Club Chicago

It was right to stand up to the murdering pigs—
What we need to do now is build the revolution we need to put an END to this shit

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It was very righteous to stand up to the pigs who murdered Harith “Snoop” Augustus—to call out these murdering pigs—to demand justice for Snoop. When the police began swinging their clubs, hitting and brutalizing people—again it was very righteous that people defended themselves and refused to back down in the face of the violence the pigs were bringing down.

We need more of this—more of standing up and sending a message that we are not going to accept them brutalizing and murdering people. And we need to fight ALL the crimes this system does to people here and all over the world. But if our resistance just becomes a fight to try to REFORM this rotten system, our grandchildren will be fighting the same shit.

We need to STOP this.

This problem cannot be solved by working within this system—think about it—work within the system that is the source of your oppression? No. This problem can only be solved by overthrowing this racist, capitalist-imperialist system, and replacing it with a whole new system, a new socialist republic.

We have the strategy, the leadership in Bob Avakian, and the science and organization to do exactly that.

When we stand up and fight back, it has to be part of how people start to wake up and get organized for the revolution we need to actually PUT AN END to this shit. It has to be part of how we are applying the strategy for revolution, doing what we need to do now to prepare for revolution.

Some people are beginning to check out the real solution as they are raising their heads and standing up. This is very important. And some other people, and social forces, are getting freaked out because they don’t want the boat rocking too much. Some don’t like the injustices, but they think they can carve out a space for themselves within this system. They don’t want the upheaval of revolution. So they try to reform it, make the police a little kinder, make them say “excuse me” before they shoot you.

But to those attacking and slandering the revolution, making up all kinds of vile nonsense and refusing to get to the issues, one question: Do you stand for reform, or revolution?

We should unite with people when they want to fight the enemy, but they cannot be allowed to make unprincipled, bullshit attacks against the revolution. When you come across people doing that—call their shit out, tell them to stop because they are attacking what the masses of people need most.

As it says in the strategy for revolution, HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make 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 wherever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.

As for the police and those who are working with and working for the police—either openly or secretly—slandering and attacking the revolution, what we have to say to you is: FUCK YOU!

For everybody else who wants to see an end to this system, get this statement out everywhere: Post it up and pass it out, and come by the Revolution Club Organizing Center to talk seriously about HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution.


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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/508/bob_avakian_a-country-ruled-by-white-supremacists-since-when-is-that-acceptable-en.html

Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A Country Ruled By White Supremacists—Since When Is That Acceptable?

by Bob Avakian

 

This article was originally published at revcom.us in September 2017. In light of Donald Trump's rants about "shithole" countries, we are re-posting this sharp and timely piece and urge readers to spread it broadly.

 

Jemele Hill, a commentator at ESPN, tweeted that Donald Trump is a white supremacist, whereupon White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Hill to be fired. (She has not been fired but had to issue an apology, saying she should not have implicated ESPN in her comments.) And then there is the comprehensive and compelling case made by Ta-Nehisi Coates, in the current issue of the Atlantic, that Trump’s defining ideology is white supremacy. Here it must be sharply raised:

What does it mean, and what does it require people to do, if an overt white supremacist is sitting in the White House, if this whole administration (regime) is based on white supremacy, if not only Jemele Hill’s comments, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ argument in his Atlantic article, is accurate—which is the case? Is this something people just have to accept—that overt white supremacists are now ruling the country? Is it something that can, or should, wait until some future election (2018 or 2020) to see if it gets “worked out”? And who will cause this to “work out” in a good way, if their moral and political standard is that it is alright, or something people just have to accept, that the country is being openly ruled now by white supremacists?!

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/1255/avakian_clinton_right_wing_conspiracy.htm

Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

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

November 10, 2016 | Originally posted October 17, 2004 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

EDITORS' NOTE (updated March 6, 2017): Two pieces by Bob Avakian shed a great deal of light on the current political juncture: its roots, its dynamics, and what must be done in response. "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" was published in 1998 and it concerns the impeachment of Bill Clinton. The other, "The Fascists and the Destruction of the 'Weimar Republic'...And What Will Replace It," was published in 2005, shortly after the re-election George W. Bush.

It should be noted that Mike Pence, Trump's vice president, is the same kind of lunatic yet "legitimate"—and deadly serious—fascist as Pat Robertson, whose outlook and program are discussed by Bob Avakian in "The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy..." But Pence is actually even more dangerous because he has been "legitimized" as the vice president.

We strongly recommend that our readers get into these, get them out and discuss them. It really has to be said that there has been nothing close to this analysis in its prescient and penetrating character (even as Bob Avakian draws on a wide range of sources to make this analysis).

"The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer" was originally published anonymously and so the author, Bob Avakian, is referred to in the third person; and also note that it was originally published during the presidency of Bill Clinton and so, unless otherwise noted, when "Clinton" is referred to this means Bill, and not Hillary, Clinton.

 

There is in fact a right-wing conspiracy. There is a concerted effort by the Christian Right and those allied with it to "get" Clinton--to force him from office. But more essentially and more importantly, there is a determined, many-sided effort by powerful forces within American society to put into effect an aggressively reactionary and repressive political and social agenda. Despite its fervent condemnations of "Big Government," this program actually involves a broad extension of Big Brother intrusion into people's everyday lives and a police-state battering ram smashing down supposed Constitutional rights and protections. All this has been justified--and "sanctified"--through a highly orchestrated crusade for traditional values and a professed moral righteousness represented by old-time religion.

While, on the one hand, Clinton has been a target of the most undisguised and vociferous right-wing forces--and in particular those associated with "The Religious Right"--the truth is that, to a large degree, the Clinton Presidency has been about promoting, and implementing, much of this program and its "moral-religious" rationalizations. And, even where they have had real differences--and at times bitter conflicts--with the self-proclaimed Right, Clinton and the Democrats have continually given ground to the Right and increasingly accepted the terms set by the Right as the "common ground" on which to differ and contend.

This is not because of the much-discussed "realities of electoral politics." Nor is it merely because all mainstream politicians are beholden to powerful financial interests. More fundamentally, it is because those who occupy seats of political power must, and can only, serve the economic and social system of which that political power is an extension. And, in the present period and the present "global environment," the requirements of the capitalist economic and social system not only demand that the lords of capital be able to carry out their supreme commandment, "let us prey," in a more unrestrained and more "mobile" way, on a world scale. They also demand, within American society itself, a slashing of major social programs and a heightening of the repressive powers of government, along with the fostering of a repressive social atmosphere. They demand what the organization Refuse and Resist! has called the politics of cruelty, or the politics of poverty, punishment, and patriarchy.

On this, the mainstream of the bourgeois body politic is in agreement, even while they differ and at times battle sharply over some of the terms, over the pace and the specific forms, with which to implement this politics--and the extremes to which it should be carried at any given time.

This whole politics can be opposed--very powerful opposition to it can be built--but it can only be done by refusing to be bound by the terms set by this system and the political framework within which all of its political representatives think and act. It can be done, not by trying to rely on Clinton and the Democrats, but by relying on and rallying the truly vast numbers of people who have a real interest in opposing this whole program--vast numbers of people among whom there is a stirring and a growing sense, if still largely undeveloped and untapped, that there is a need to stand up against and defeat this program.

A Presidency Under Fire from the Beginning

In the early stages of the "Monica Lewinsky scandal," Hillary Clinton made a foray into the media to proclaim that there was "a vast right-wing conspiracy"--which was not only behind the attacks on her husband then but which had targeted his Presidency from the start. This idea has been widely subjected to ridicule and criticism--including, not surprisingly, by those she was speaking of as the conspirators. And, as the "Lewinsky scandal" and the overall "Presidential crisis" has unfolded, the growing chorus from the powerful and influential has been that there should be more repentance and less accusation from the Clinton camp. But the question remains: Is there such a conspiracy? On one level, the answer could be given in single word: "Duh!" But it is necessary to get more deeply into what is represented by the contending political forces in the current "Presidential crisis" and where the interests of the people lie in relation to all this.

To begin with, it is worthwhile recalling the remarks of Jesse Helms, "Senior Senator from North Carolina"--and long-time father figure for southern lynch mob-ism--shortly after Clinton took office. Helms made statements to the general effect that Clinton was unworthy to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces; and Helms explicitly warned the President that he was so unpopular on the military bases in North Carolina that "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a body guard." This was actually quite extraordinary, but what is very significant is that it was treated, by the mainstream media and the political establishment, as rather ordinary. Not only did Helms "get away" with this (and, after all, if such a public statement had been made by an "ordinary citizen," it would almost certainly have been pursued by the authorities as a criminal threat on the life of the President), but, in the aftermath of this, there was no reduction whatever in Helms's power or "prestige"--if anything just the opposite.

On the part of powerful forces grouped in and around the Republican Party, there has all along been not just intense opposition but seemingly visceral animosity toward Clinton and his Presidency--and a willingness to diminish the "stature of the Presidency" overall in order to go after the particular President--which has no parallel in contemporary U.S. history. (Even the crisis that brought down Richard Nixon did not involve, on the part of his establishment opponents, the kind of public displays of contempt for the President--and a certain delight in dragging the President, and the Presidency along with him, through the mud--as has been exhibited by Clinton's most fervent adversaries.) From the beginning of the Clinton administration, and not just in the latest crisis, the basic stance of these forces has been that Clinton is unfit for the office of President and the Clinton Presidency is "illegitimate." In short, there has been, on the part of these forces, a continuing attempt to "get Clinton"--to discredit him within ruling class circles and in his public image--aiming, at a minimum, to deprive him of political clout and initiative, and if possible to force him from office.

For a number of years now, and particularly over the past year, the Starr investigation has been a main vehicle for this effort--leading up to the present crisis, where the question of impeachment (or resignation to head off impeachment) has come directly and immediately on the agenda. Besides the obvious and well-documented connections between various "conservative" (or "ultra-conservative") forces driving the effort to oust Clinton, Starr himself has ties with a number of these forces, including not only Jesse Helms (and his colleague Lauch Faircloth) but also those linked closely with Linda Tripp and her agent Lucianne Goldberg, and with the Paula Jones lawsuit against Clinton. (The NYT Magazine article by Andrew Sullivan, mentioned below, describes a number of the links among the various "conservatives" who have taken aim at Clinton. Also extensively tracing many of these connections is "The Young Person's Guide to Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy," which appeared recently in a Chicago anarchist publication, the Lumpen Times.

The Starr report itself, while it made legal arguments, was mainly, and rather overtly, crafted to "get" Clinton by embarrassing him politically (as well as personally). As noted by Clinton's defenders (and others as well), the Starr report--and its immediate dissemination through the various mass media--with all its "lurid and lascivious" detail, was aimed at creating a situation in which Clinton would be so discredited (or "disgraced") that he could no longer continue as President. (The reasons why Clinton's enemies were able to proceed in this way, and to get as far as they have, goes beyond and goes deeper than the fact that the Republicans have a majority in both houses of Congress--this is a question that will be returned to later.)

What Is the Right Really After?

On one level, it might seem somewhat curious--or simply demented--that these forces have made Clinton a target in this way. As pointed out in a major article in the New York Times Magazine : "Bill Clinton, arguably the most conservative Democratic President since Truman, becomes, for these conservatives, the apex of 1960s liberalism. The fact that he balanced the budget, signed welfare-reform legislation, has shredded many civil liberties in the war against terrorism, is in favor of the death penalty and signed the Defense of Marriage Act is immaterial to his conservative enemies." ("The Scolds," NYT Magazine, October 11, 1998. As an indication of his own stance, the author of this article, Andrew Sullivan, not only makes a point of saying that "I still think [Clinton] should resign" but goes on to profusely praise Ronald Reagan and to contrast Reagan's "good" conservatism with the "bad" conservatism of those now seeking to "get" Clinton.)

To this list of "achievements" of the Clinton Presidency cited by Sullivan must be added, among other things, the escalation of the war on immigrants, including a further leap in militarizing the border with Mexico, a move to dismantle public housing, and aggressive support for an "anti-crime" policy that involves rampant police brutality and murder and the criminalization of a whole generation of young Black males (and increasingly females) as well as Latinos and others in the inner cities. Sullivan's article further elaborates: Clinton is "a President whose economic policy is designed to please bond traders, who bombs Sudan and Afghanistan without warning [and, it should be added, who continues the combination of `economic sanctions' and the use as well as the threat of military attack against Iraq, which results in the deaths of thousands and thousands of Iraqis, especially children, every year] and who declares that the era of big government is over." And yet, as Sullivan puts it: in the view of his "conservative" adversaries, Clinton serves as "simply a cover for liberal radicalism." Again, and more sharply, the questions have to be posed: Why? And what are those leading this attack really after?

To get into this, let's return to the circumstances surrounding Jesse Helms's attack on Clinton at the start of his presidency. This was the time when, right after assuming office, Clinton announced his "gays in the military" policy--which, for the first time, would have explicitly allowed same-sex relations among people in the military (a policy from which, before long, Clinton retreated, adopting instead the current "don't ask/don't tell" standard). Clinton not only appointed unprecedented numbers of Black people and other "minorities" and women to positions of prominence within his administration and to posts in the federal government overall; he not only made Maya Angelou the keynote poet of his first Inauguration; Clinton also appointed an unprecedented number of gay people to White House staff posts and nominated an openly gay person for an ambassadorship. And, reversing the stand of the two previous Presidents, the Clinton administration has opposed attempts to make abortion illegal, even while conceding considerable ground--in moral as well as political terms--to those determined to have abortion treated as a sin as well as a crime (about this, more later). Along with that, during the 1992 election campaign, while making clear his support for the mass slaughter in Iraq carried out by the Bush administration, Clinton did not repudiate his opposition to the Vietnam war; and in some aspects he has identified himself with cultural expressions that are broadly seen as an outgrowth of the '60s (as manifested in a number of ways during Clinton's inauguration and, in a lighter but not insignificant symbolism, Clinton's appearance on the Arsenio Hall show, playing the saxophone, during that Presidential campaign).

All this makes Clinton a symbol--as well as a foil--for the political leaders and forces who insist that "traditional morality," as embodied in the patriarchal family as well as "right or wrong" patriotism--and rationalized in terms of fundamentalist Christianity--must be the basis for maintaining the cohesion and solidity of American capitalist society and the dominant position of imperial America in the world arena. In the vision these people profess, contemporary America--not just the government but the society as a whole--is in cultural and moral decline. More, it is in danger of disintegration and destruction. It is an America that, as formulated in the title of a recent book by Robert Bork, is "Slouching towards Gomorrah."

As Andrew Sullivan characterizes it, the viewpoint of Bork--whose nomination for the Supreme Court touched off sharp controversy in Congressional hearings, with the result that Bork did not get the Supreme Court seat--has evolved from that of being "the prophet of judicial restraint" to the point where "The only hope, Bork posits, is `the rise of an energetic, optimistic and politically sophisticated religious conservatism.' " Bork, and others like him, invoke the imagery and tone of Old Testament Prophets warning God's favored nation that, because it has deviated from the way of the Lord, it is incurring the Lord's wrath and stands on the precipice of devastation as the price of its sins. They argue that only a "moral revival"--based on what is proclaimed as a literalist- absolutist reading of the Bible and public policy dictated by such "biblical truth"--can save America from decline and damnation and preserve its position as the preeminent power in the world.

These people are deadly serious--and they are very powerful. During most of the current "Presidential crisis," they have had the initiative within the ranks of the conservatives and within the mainstream vehicle of openly conservative politics in America, the Republican Party. In the words of Andrew Sullivan: "even those conservative thinkers who still argue for a low-tax, small-government philosophy have been unable to make headway with their peers without cloaking their case in the austerity of moral revival." And while the very latest "conventional wisdom" is that this may no longer be the case--that, in the wake of the recent elections, "fiscal conservatism" is "in," as opposed to an emphasis on "social" conservatism and "morality"--a more sweeping analysis, looking beyond the pragmatic "spins" accompanying any immediate turn of events, shows that the advocates of "moral revival" have gained considerable ground over the past two decades, that they have succeeded to a considerable degree in setting the terms of the current "Presidential crisis," and that they continue to be a formidable force, highly connected and highly financed.

Deeper, More Decisive Contradictions

Why have these forces--and why has "conservatism" generally--gained so much influence and initiative within the dominant structures and institutions of American politics? The Chairman of our Party, Bob Avakian, has spoken to this in some recent writings on morality:1

"It is not surprising that, in the face of changes which tend to undermine or cause upheaval within [the prevailing capitalist] system--to say nothing of direct challenges to it--the ruling class of this society more aggressively asserts the authority of its `traditional morality' along with sharpening and more ruthlessly wielding its swords of repression. Thus, it is not only William Bennett and other `Conservatives' who are waging a holy crusade for `The Family' and `Family Values,' but they are joined and rivaled in this by the Democrats and `Liberals' of the ruling class.

"The fact is, however, that in this crusade, and more generally these days, the `Conservatives' have the initiative over the `Liberals.' Why? There are a number of underlying factors: major geopolitical changes, in particular the disintegration of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union; changes in the world economy--involving the further internationalization of production and of speculative and other parasitic activity by capital--together with changes in the U.S. economy, including significant shifts in the composition of the work force away from `blue-collar' jobs; and a huge increase in debt associated with the unprecedented U.S. military build-up during the 1980s (the cost of `winning the cold war').

"So the waning of liberalism must be seen against a broad canvas. On the one hand, economic and social shifts--like `downsizing' of industry and the decline of unions, suburbanization and the fracturing of the old-line urban political coalitions--have weakened the traditional social props of New Deal politics. On the other hand, intense global economic pressures and looming fiscal crisis are forcing drastic restructuring of government spending and social programs--this following years of restructuring in the private sector. This is an era of `lean and mean' and ever more mobile capitalism. It is about cheapening production, depressing wages and benefit levels, and creating a more flexible and `disposable' labor force. And it is about massively slashing New Deal/Great Society-type social spending--now decried as `unproductive cost burdens.' (Wasn't it the Democrat Clinton who coined the phrase, `end welfare as we know it'?) These and related factors have cut the ground from under the `New Deal consensus' and the concessionary programs (`war on poverty,' etc.) which have been the basis for Democratic Party administration of capitalist rule in the U.S.

"At the same time, many of these same factors, together with the struggle waged by the women's movement, have resulted in a situation where large numbers of women have not only the necessity but also the possibility of working outside the home. All this has been accompanied by a great deal of turmoil and upheaval, and one of its most important consequences has been that, from a number of angles and among various sectors of the population in the U.S., the basis of the traditional patriarchal family and the `traditional family values' associated with it has been significantly eroded. And yet all these changes are taking place within the confines of the same system--on the same foundation of capitalist economic relations.

"This is potentially a very explosive contradiction, and in many aspects this explosiveness is already erupting....

"The polarization and bitter struggle around the right to abortion has been a concentrated expression of this. Clearly, the essence of the anti-abortion `movement'--which from its inception has been led and orchestrated from `on high' (I am referring to the role of powerful ruling class figures, not the alleged inspiration from god)--has been to assert patriarchal control over women, including to insist on the defining role of women as breeders of children."

(From Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones: The Reality Beneath William Bennett's `Virtues,' Or We Need Morality, But Not Traditional Morality.)

Clinton represents an attempt to deal with these acute and potentially explosive contradictions by giving a certain expression to "inclusiveness"--to "diversity" and "multi-culturalism"--while retaining and fortifying the white supremacist and male supremacist relations that are an integral and indispensable part of the structure of U.S. capitalism-imperialism. In line with this, Clinton has promoted a less absolutist version of the "traditional values" and the "Judeo-Christian tradition" which has justified and reinforced the exploitative and oppressive relations on which this system is built.

But, in the view of Clinton's conservative and particularly his fundamentalist opponents, Clinton's program will not work and will only undermine the historically established girdings of the system, both in its economic base and in the superstructure of politics, culture and ideology--it will lead to the unraveling of the legitimating social "consensus" and social "cohesion" necessary to maintain this system. And the fact is that there are today in the U.S. broad numbers of people who, yes, participated in or were influenced by the movements of the '60s and have a corresponding commitment to social justice and equality, and who are unwilling to go along with the notion that America has some inherent moral right and obligation to bully its way around the world and impose a world order under its domination. At the same time, there is the phenomenon that, in some important aspects, the "recovery" of the U.S. economy that has taken place during the Clinton administration, and the more highly "globalized" and "flexible" production that has been a marked feature of this "recovery," has also contributed to "undermining the traditional family." And it has fostered the florescence of an outlook, particularly (though not exclusively) among more highly paid professionals, that involves no small amount of self-indulgence and, related to that, a weakening of some "traditional values," including old-style patriotism and the willingness to sacrifice for the officially defined and proclaimed "national interest."

In some significant ways, what was written 150 years ago in the Communist Manifesto,concerning the consequences of unfettered bourgeois commodity relations, is assuming a pronounced expression among sections of the U.S. population in the context of today's "post-Cold War" world capitalism. The following phrases from the Manifesto have a particular and powerful resonance: "the bourgeoisie, wherever it has gotten the upper hand...has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous `cash payment.' It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value....In a word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation." There is a great irony here: the very "triumph" and "triumphalism" of capitalism in today's circumstances has produced effects and sentiments which tend to undermine, among significant sections of the U.S. population, the willingness to make personal sacrifices for "god and country"--that is, for the interests and requirements of the imperial ruling class, within the U.S. itself and in the world arena. In reaction to this, the "conservatives," with the Christian Right playing a decisive role, are attempting to revive and impose precisely "the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism"--to resurrect a situation where worldwide exploitation that is unsurpassed in its brutality is at the same time "veiled by religious and political illusions."

In this regard, there is a very interesting--and in some ways provocative--article, "The Erosion of American National Interests," in Foreign Affairs magazine (September/October 1997), by Samuel P. Huntington, a "conservative" who criticizes Clinton particularly for his promotion of "multi-culturalism" and "diversity." Huntington warns that the "disintegrative effects" of the end of the Cold War (in particular, the "loss" of the Soviet Union as a powerful enemy and serious rival for world domination), compounded by multi-culturalism and ethnic particularity within the U.S. itself, could lead to a lack of unity around "national interest" and undermine the necessary projection of American imperial power internationally. Huntington even goes so far as to say: "If multiculturalism prevails and if the consensus on liberal democracy disintegrates, the United States could join the Soviet Union on the ash heap of history." Clinton's Presidency is contributing to this, Huntington argues, because Clinton "is almost certainly the first President to promote the diversity rather than the unity of the country he leads."

Andrew Sullivan points out that, in the view of Robert Bork and other like-minded "conservatives," what is needed in order to bind together American society and prevent its disintegration or destruction "is either a fundamentalist religious revival, or a sobering great depression. (Bork seems to welcome both possibilities.)" And, adds Sullivan, another influential "conservative" writer, David Frum, advocates limiting government "not to expand personal freedom, but to so rob the middle class of financial security that they would have little choice but to return to the social mores of the 1950's."

A Lunatic Yet "Legitimate"—and Deadly Serious—Fascism

Not only are the politics and ideology of such people obviously reactionary, but in some cases they express ideas and advocate positions which, by contemporary standards of rationality, might well constitute certifiable insanity. (See, for example, any of the writings of Pat Robertson.) In one book, Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions , Robertson declares that Satan is responsible for most of the suffering in the world and that much, if not most, of the disease in the world is caused by sin. He insists that Karl Marx was "demonized" and a "satanic priest." Robertson also writes that "It is possible that a demon prince is in charge of New York, Detroit, St. Louis, or any other city." He argues that not only "satanists" but also "fortunetellers, spiritists, witches, warlocks" are "themselves consumed by satan"; that seances, ouija boards, transcendental meditation (and invocation of "names of Hindu gods") and even the game Dungeons and Dragons are all "potential sources of demon possession." Robertson also recalls that at one occasion, while in the Seattle-Tacoma area, an "awful depression seized me" and "I realized I was under demonic attack"--although, Robertson relates, he was able to defeat this attack by declaring: "Satan, in the name of Jesus, I cast you forth." This is the same Pat Robertson who writes: "When you look at the holy books of other religions, you find fantasy and bizarre supernatural events that do not commend themselves to reasonable people. But the Bible is actually authenticated by history." And it is the same Pat Robertson who attacks the well-established scientific fact of evolution--which even the Pope has come around to accepting, while attempting to "reconcile" it with "biblical truth.")

Yet people like Pat Robertson and others with the same basic viewpoint and program have not been pushed to the margin of social and political life in America. They are not only treated as legitimate participants in the political process, they are seriously contending for the predominant position in the political power structure and the running of society. Robertson himself made a bid for the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party in 1988.

At the least, the rise of people like Robertson signals that, in the corridors of finance and power, at this point there is not a well defined and broadly accepted consensus on the specific forms and means for exercising control in this period--which our Party has characterized as one of major transition with the potential for great upheaval. But there clearly is a fairly broad consensus among the ruling class that the social and political program of the fundamentalist reactionaries is an important element now in the "political mix." And, beyond the "hard-core" of the fundamentalist forces themselves, there are clearly powerful groupings who share the view that circumstances could arise which might call for the implementation of the fundamentalist program on a much more sweeping basis than at present.

What is also important to recognize is that within the armed forces there has been, for some time now, the development and cultivation of a situation in which the outlook of the fundamentalist reactionaries occupies a prominent place, including among higher level officers. In the book Making the Corps (which, as the title suggests, focuses on the Marine Corps but also discusses other branches of the American military) the author, Thomas E. Ricks, notes that "the military increasingly appears to lean toward partisan conservatism." Ricks cites a number of statements from people in the military illustrating this viewpoint, and he quotes a typical denunciation of "`cultural radicals, people who hate our Judeo-Christian culture...[whose] agenda has slowly codified into a new ideology, usually known as "multiculturalism" or "political correctness," that is in essence Marxism translated from economic into social and cultural terms.' " Ricks goes on to observe that this "reads like fairly standard right-wing American rhetoric of the nineties," such as might be expected from Robertson or Pat Buchanan, but its significance lies in the fact that its authors were two Marine reservists and William S. Lind, "a military analyst who has been influential on the doctrinal thinking of the Marines"; and, as Ricks expresses it, their "startling conclusion" is that "the next real war we fight is likely to be on American soil."

It must also be understood that, within the overall program of these forces, there is not only a repressive social and political agenda in general but, towards the masses in the inner cities, there is an outright genocidal element. And this is true despite the efforts of such forces to "clean up their image" in terms of racism--"apologizing" for a record of racism over a number of years, and declaring that they are opposed to racist oppression...as it took form in the past (for example, Jerry Falwell saying he was wrong in his vigorous opposition to the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and '60s)--all the while continuing to aggressively champion a program that is not only extremely oppressive but, again, actually genocidal in its implications. This comes across, for example, in the discussion by Pat Robertson of crime and punishment, in particular capital punishment, in his book Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions . In that book--and, significantly, in a section of the book entitled "Christians and Government"--Robertson argues, in effect, for scrapping the current approach to the penal system in America and replacing it with one that applies "the biblical model" of ancient Israel--where "there were no prisons" and "public whippings were also administered to criminals." It is worth quoting Robertson at some length here:

"Today we place criminals in penitentiaries--places of confinement in which the offender is supposed to become penitent or sorry for his sins [note: not just crimes but `sins']. In truth, these places are breeding grounds for crime. In even the best of them, 85 percent of the inmates will be incarcerated again.

"Society must pay for the anguish suffered by the victims of crime, then pay again each year to hold the criminal in prison, a cost equivalent to an Ivy League college education. The biblical model is far wiser. The perpetrator of lesser crimes was returned to society where he was made to make restitution to his victim. The hard- core, habitual criminal was permanently removed from society through capital punishment. In neither case was society doubly victimized as we are today."

What might be lost in reading this--but is highly significant--is that, while Robertson says capital punishment is "a necessary corrective to violent crime," he does not limit himself to saying that people who commit crimes such as premeditated murder should be subject to capital punishment. Instead he uses the phrase "the hard-core, habitual criminal." And, in this discussion of capital punishment, Robertson writes the following in praise of the "biblical model":

"In ancient Israel, it was believed that blood shed in murder would defile the land and that shedding the blood of a killer was restitution to the land."

"Those who were considered incorrigible, who had committed unseemly acts that turned Israel against God or destroyed the fabric of society, had only one alternative--capital punishment. Through capital punishment, society was rid of that offense, and the land was cleansed of evil."

Here Robertson begins by speaking of murder, and he never specifically identifies any crime other than murder, but the fact is--and obviously this is well known to Robertson--in ancient Israel many acts besides murder brought the death penalty. As Robertson himself points out: "the same law that included the Ten Commandments also had clear provision for capital punishment for specific offenses." But, also very significantly, Robertson avoids saying what those offenses were. For they included not only murder but also the alleged crimes of homosexuality, practicing witchcraft and magic, worshipping idols and gods other than the god of Israel, adultery and fornication--which, for women, meant any sex outside marriage--and rebelliousness, or even disrespect, on the part of children toward their parents. As shown in these examples (and many others that could be cited), in ancient Israel capital punishment was meted out for a number of things which, according to long-established standards of bourgeois society, are not even crimes, or certainly are not crimes deserving capital punishment.

By phrasing things as he does--by what he says and does not say--Robertson leaves the opening to include not only those convicted of things like first-degree murder, but many others as well, in a very broad and "elastic" category of people who should be executed because, in the judgment of reactionary theocrats like Robertson, they somehow "defiled the land" through "unseemly acts" that turned god against his favored nation or "destroyed the fabric of society." And it is necessary to place this in the context of American society today, in which, through conscious government policy as well as the "normal operation" of the laws of capitalist accumulation and competition, whole sections of people are being consigned to the ranks of "unemployables," people for whom the only viable alternative within this system may be participation in the underground economy. With this in mind, we cannot avoid recognizing that the logic of Robertson's call for applying "the biblical model" for crime and punishment involves an unmistakable suggestion of a "final solution" against the masses of people in the inner cities as well as preparation for the use of extreme repression, and even execution, to punish a broad array of activities which today are treated as minor offenses or as no crime at all.

Here, too, the question must be posed: however much things might be framed in terms of "crime" and "criminals," given the reality that it is increasingly Black people, along with Latinos, who make up the prison population in the U.S., and given the whole reality of white supremacy and all the atrocities that have accompanied it throughout the history of the U.S., is it possible to believe that policies of mass extermination--through state-sponsored execution and/or in other forms--would be limited to those sections of Black people, and other peoples of color, who have actually committed what today are regarded as serious crimes? It is relevant to reflect on the implications of the statement by a speaker at a "conservative conference" in 1997 who, as Andrew Sullivan reports, not only denounced abortion and birth control but also "bemoaned that nonprocreative trends among white Europeans was leading to `race death.' " This blatant white supremacy--and the view that white women are breeders for the "white race"--is consistent with the logic of race war openly preached by Christian paramilitary forces and Nazi skinheads. And (to borrow Richard Pryor's phrasing) "the logical conclusion of the logic" of race war is genocide. In thinking about all this, it is worth keeping in mind that the "legitimate"--and prominent--fascists in America today include not only theocrats like Pat Robertson but also old-line, unreconstructed and unrepentant southern white supremacists, such as Jesse Helms.

The Theocrats and the Democrats—More in Common than in Conflict

Based on a serious examination--not only of their approach to crime and punishment but their overall politics and ideology--our Party has identified the fundamentalist theocrats like Robertson as Christian fascists. Their ideology and program, without exaggeration, amount to NAZI-ism dressed in religious robes and tailored to contemporary American society in the present world context. Today they are sharply at odds with Clinton and some aspects of the program he is advancing.

But in recognizing the horrific nature of these Christian fascist forces and what they are aiming to impose on society and the world, it would be a grievous error to overlook or underestimate the degree to which Clinton and the Democrats in general not only have agreement with but are actually implementing significant aspects of the same program and, where they are not actually taking the lead in this, are following, or giving way to, the initiative of the self-proclaimed Right. This stands out very sharply with regard to policies most directly affecting the masses of proletarians, and particularly those concentrated in the inner cities. To quote again from the essays on morality by Bob Avakian:

"The changes in the U.S. and in world economics and geopolitics have meant that millions of people on the bottom of American society, particularly those in the inner city ghettos and barrios, face the prospect of being more or less permanently `locked out' of any meaningful, or gainful, employment--except in the `underground economy,' centering largely around drugs, which has become a major economic factor and a major employer in every major urban area (and many smaller cities and towns and even rural areas as well).

"Here again, the need of the powers-that-be is to contain and maintain ultimate control over this situation--and over the masses of people on the bottom of society--and to erect and fortify barriers between them and other sections of society (`the middle class'). This explains the continuing increase in funds and forces devoted to crime and punishment--the police and prisons, the wars against these masses in the name of `war on drugs' and `war on crime'--on the one hand; and, on the other hand, the fact that these wars are never `won' but are always ongoing.

"All this sets the framework and the `tone' for ruling class politics in the U.S. It demands that the `leading edge' of this be an aggressive, mean-spirited assault on those on the bottom of society and the slashing of concessions to them--a war on the poor in place of a supposed war against poverty--along with an equally aggressive and mean-spirited crusade to promote and enforce `old-fashioned values' of patriarchy and patriotism as well as good old white chauvinism (racism).

"One after another, all kinds of `theories' and `studies'--claiming to show that there are innate and unchangeable differences between races and genders and other groupings in society which explain why some have and really should have a privileged and dominant positions over others--are spread and legitimized throughout the mass media. This, it is claimed, provides the `scientific explanation' for why programs that purport to overcome such inequalities are doomed to failure and must be gutted. What it actually provides further scientific proof of is the utter bankruptcy of a system and a ruling class that is abandoning even the pretense of overcoming profound inequalities and instead is inventing `profound reasons' why they cannot be overcome. And in all this, while the `liberals' have a role to play, the initiative belongs to the `conservatives.'"

Along with the fact that the Clinton administration has moved to implement much of the actual program of poverty, punishment, and patriarchy--including the gutting of concessionary social programs--where Clinton and the Democrats have differed with the "conservatives," they have offered lukewarm defenses while back-pedaling, as in the case of affirmative action. And, again, on the issue of abortion, they have taken positions which cede the moral and political initiative to the other side (abortion should be "legal but rare"--which implies that it is, at best, some kind of necessary evil). At the same time the Clinton administration has taken no real initiative to reverse the situation in which increasingly, for very large numbers of women, particularly poor women, young women, and those in rural areas, abortion is effectively unavailable even if still legal.

And if there is one area in which Clinton has boldly taken the initiative and refused to be outdone by his "conservative" opposition, it is in the sphere of repression and police-state measures. No leading political figure in America today--not even Rudolph Giuliani, Republican mayor of New York City, whose draconian and murderous police-state measures have provoked outrage among the masses and criticism from prestigious human rights organizations but have been profusely praised and put forward as a model by the political power structure and mainstream media--none has outdone Clinton. Clinton has consistently and aggressively supported and presided over the increasing use of the death penalty. He has (to recall Andrew Sullivan's formulation) "gutted civil liberties" in the name of "the war against terrorism." He has intensified the war against immigrants and the militarization of the border with Mexico. He has presided over a continuation, and even an escalation, of the criminalization of whole sections of people, in particular the youth in the inner cities, and the situation where increasingly funds are going to prisons instead of schools and, for growing numbers of inner-city youth, prisons instead of schools are the formative institutions and the face of the "future," if they have a future at all.

As one police chief recently observed, "never before has local law enforcement had such a powerful voice in Washington." And what does this mean "on the street" and in the neighborhoods where the people who are the targets of this "enforcement" are concentrated? It means unbridled harassment and insult, brutality and murder at the hands of the police. The Stolen Lives Project (a project of the Anthony Baez Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, and the October 22nd Coalition Against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation) has so far brought to light over 1000 cases, just since 1990, where people were killed by the police, prison guards and the border patrol. The majority of these people were unarmed, murdered in cold blood, or in circumstances which were, at the least, highly suspicious--and in almost none of these cases have the killers been indicted for any crime.2 All this has become so flagrant that, for the first time in its history, Amnesty International has launched a major campaign focused on a Western country--the U.S., where, in the words of Amnesty International, police forces and the criminal and legal systems have engaged in "a persistent and widespread pattern of human rights violations."

Along with all this, Clinton has actually put forward a political standard and rationale for treating whole groups of people as second-class citizens who do not have the same rights that are promised to others. One of the main expressions of this has been the formulation that Clinton has repeatedly used in speeches, press conferences, etc.: "If you abide by the law."

In this formulation we can see the exclusion in Clinton's "inclusiveness." If you abide by the law--and only if you abide by the law--then you have the right to compete for a place in the virtual bright new world that lies ahead, over that "bridge to the 21st century" of which Clinton also continually speaks. In this, subtly and insidiously, Clinton is installing a criterion which in practice reverses the supposed principle of "innocent until proven guilty"--applying instead the principle that it is only on the basis of proving that you are "innocent" that you are entitled to certain basic rights, such as due process. And, as all this is actually applied, there are whole groups of people--in particular the youth but also the masses more broadly in the inner cities--toward whom the "presumption of guilt" is in effect and for whom due process and related "Constitutional protections" do not hold. This is illustrated by such things as court decisions exercising "prior restraint" against inner-city youth, prohibiting them from doing things like hanging out together on the corner because they have been identified by law enforcement as "gang members." And in cities all over America there are "gang indexes," compiled by police, which establish the basis for treating youth as criminals merely because they are Black (or Latino) and may associate with "known gang members" or even may be declared "potential gang members." (Further exposure of this--including the fact that, in some cities, the police have admitted that such a "gang index" includes a majority of Black youth in certain age groups--is found in a series of articles in the RW : "Black Youth and the Criminalization of a Generation," RW Nos. 971-974, August 30, September 6, 13, 20, 1998. These articles are also available as a pamphlet.)

A graphic illustration of all this is the fact that, going beyond "three strikes laws," the Clinton administration has instituted a policy towards people in public housing which has been called "one strike and you're out" because it stipulates that people may be evicted from public housing if anyone in their household (or even a guest) is accused--not convicted but accused--of committing a `violent or drug-related' crime! This is part of an overall move to force people out of public housing and ultimately to dismantle public housing altogether. But, beyond that, it is part of the larger program of casting whole groups of people--and, above all, masses of proletarians who cannot even be profitably exploited through the "regular functioning" of capitalist society in this period of history--into a category of "criminals unless and until they can prove otherwise"...without due process...people who are destined for concentration camp life in prison--where they may be profitably exploited and/or face execution. And, given the whole history and essential nature of capitalist society in America, which has institutionalized white supremacy and cannot survive without it, it is hardly surprising that those who are being cast into this "criminal" category are largely, and increasingly, people of color.

To justify all this, Clinton has joined in the preaching about "personal responsibility." As utilized by Clinton as well as the "conservatives," this theme of "personal responsibility" is an ideological weapon which serves the function of blaming the people for the failure of bourgeois society to live up to principles and promises it proclaims, and in particular blaming those in the inner cities for the impoverished and oppressed conditions into which they have been cast and confined. It seeks to locate the cause of this situation--and the actions of people forcibly maintained in these conditions--in some alleged "moral failing" on the part of the people themselves, and to deny and obscure the real cause: the workings of the system itself and the policies of the powers- that-be. (Did the people in the ghettos and barrios "de-industrialize" the cities and forcibly segregate housing, or for that matter did the people in the rural areas bring about the domination of corporate and banking capital over the farm economy?) "Personal responsibility" adds insult to injury--and, more than that, "personal responsibility" serves as the "moral sermonizing" to accompany the politics of punishment, the pious words pronounced by the executioners.

False Friends—and Well-Laid Traps

To quote one writer, a self-described "old-school fan of the public sector," it has "become difficult to feel any enthusiasm for a government whose activism seems to consist mainly of harassing and jailing citizens. Those who hoped that a Clinton administration might slow or reverse this trend have been bitterly disappointed." (William Finnegan, Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country ) Yet, in the face of the mounting onslaught from The Right--both in general and more specifically in the current "Presidential crisis"--there are a number of people who might share a sense of bitter disappointment with the Clinton administration and the Democrats generally, yet are nonetheless rallying behind them. In the context of the recent elections, this support has largely been channeled into the electoral arena. In the days leading into the election, Clinton made a concerted effort to mobilize Black voters in particular. As he put it, in an appeal to Black clergy: "If you feel in your heart that you are part of my Presidency, then I ask you just one thing: Realize this is an important election." And, indeed, among Black people, including some influential figures in the arts and other fields, the sentiment has been voiced that Black people do have a special stake in Clinton's Presidency.

Of course, Clinton is not the first president about whom the claim has been made: he has shown some real commitment to the concerns of Black people. (This was also said about previous presidents, such as John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt, and even Lyndon Johnson.) But beyond this, it is argued that Clinton is intimately familiar with Black culture and comfortable with Black people. And more, the argument has been made (for example, in an article by Toni Morrison in The New Yorker ) that Clinton is "our first black president"--"Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime"--because "Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas" and is being persecuted and "put in his place" on precisely this basis. Now, it is true that Clinton, who after all is a consummate bourgeois politician, has exhibited the ability, when he has found it expedient, to affect a certain affinity for aspects of Black culture. At the same time, when he has found it personally expedient or politically important for larger reasons, Clinton has indulged in symbolism designed to appeal, subtly or none too subtly, to white racism--such as his deliberate distancing of Jesse Jackson; his gratuitous attack on Sista Souljah during the 1992 campaign; his treatment of his own nominees and aides like Lani Guinier and Joycelyn Elders; and, very significantly, his seizing on photo opportunities to express support for the re-institution of chain gangs in southern prisons.

But even if Clinton were Black--"culturally" or actually--the fundamental point would still be this: If you take a cold, hard look at the reality of what the Clinton administration has done with regard to the masses of Black people and other oppressed people, including youth, poor women and others at the base of society, the only reasonable conclusion is that Clinton and his program represent a vicious and many-sided attack. As the saying goes, with friends like this, who needs enemies? And, in some important ways, Clinton has made a more effective enemy--has played a more effective role for the ruling class in its attacks on the masses of people--by posing as a friend. Many people have pointed out, for example, that had a Republican president signed into law the "welfare reform bill," it would likely have given rise to much more widespread and determined resistance. But much of this resistance was paralyzed because, as far as parties with their hands on the levers of political power in the present society, the alternative to Clinton and the Democrats is the Republicans, who are well-known and in many cases unabashed and openly belligerent enemies of progress for Black people, as well as for women and for oppressed people generally. Within the confines of bourgeois politics, there is no way out of this well-laid trap.

This trap has also ensnared a number of feminists who criticize some aspects of Clinton's "record for women's rights" but still see in Clinton not only "an ally in the White House" but "the first president elected by women," as a statement by the Feminist Majority puts it. Clinton's position of opposing attempts to outlaw abortion is often cited as an indication of how important his Presidency is for women. And it is true that abortion is hardly a question of secondary importance. In fact, in the present circumstances in the U.S., it is a concentration of the battle against patriarchal oppression and tradition's chains. This is definitely recognized, from their side, by the Christian fascists and those allied with them--as indicated, for example, in the comments of William Kristol, a leading figure among these "conservatives" (who not only appears regularly in the mainstream media but who also edits The Weekly Standard , a magazine founded by none other than media monopolizer Rupert Murdoch). Kristol is quoted as follows in the Andrew Sullivan NYT article: "Roe and abortion are the test. For if Republicans are incapable of grappling with this moral and political challenge; if they cannot earn a mandate to overturn Roe and move toward a post-abortion America, then in truth, there will be no conservative future."

Sullivan also cites the remarks of a "conservative" who, along with Kristol, spoke at a conference in Washington, DC in 1997. As Sullivan describes it, this speaker not only denounced abortion but also birth control "as the `homosexualization of heterosexual sex.'" Here, in this one statement, we see a concentrated expression of a number of key things: the connection between these people's opposition to abortion and to homosexuality; why opposition to abortion is so pivotal to their whole reactionary outlook and program; and why the basis on which they oppose abortion logically extends to birth control and generally to reproductive freedom for women. And, more than that, the underlying basis for all this comes through: the patriarchal family is above all a property relation--a crucial part of bourgeois property relations overall--in which the wife is in effect the possession of the husband, and her essential role is that of a breeder of children, above all male children, who can continue the lineage of the man and in particular inherit his property; and, in all this, the overriding and quintessential purpose of sex--"in the marriage bed"--is procreation. (It is also worth underlining that these remarks denouncing birth control as well as abortion as "the homosexualization of heterosexual sex" were made by the same speaker who "bemoaned that nonprocreative trends among white Europeans was leading to `race death.' ")

But what have been the dynamics of the struggle around abortion, particularly during the time that the Clinton administration has been in office? The forces striving for "a post-abortion America" have, through a combination of tactics--including unrelenting harassment of abortion clinics and providers, and arson, bombings and other attacks, as well as outright murder--made tremendous gains in effectively denying abortion to large numbers of women and in undercutting the training of new generations of potential providers. Beyond that, they have gone a long way in gaining the political and moral initiative and in setting the terms of the debate and struggle. And, it must be frankly admitted, they have succeeded in confusing and disorienting significant numbers of people, including many young women. (They have even made some headway in deflecting identification with the Nazis from themselves and onto abortion providers, through the perverted claim that abortions amount to a "holocaust.")

As pointed out in Bob Avakian's writings on morality: "It is one of the most outrageous ironies of the battle around abortion that the anti-abortionists have raised the specter of the Holocaust to characterize the abortion of fetuses, when their agenda, with regard to women and more generally, parallels very closely that of the Hitler fascists, who in fact attacked abortion--and restricted and criminalized it--as something contrary to the essential `motherhood' role of women." Meanwhile, the effect of having a "pro-choice" president (and Vice- president)--or, more accurately, the effect of falling into the notion that defending the right to abortion should essentially be reduced to dependence on Clinton (and Gore)--has been to render many of the forces in the women's movement passive and defensive, largely immobilized and paralyzed, in terms of mounting any mass mobilization in support of the right to abortion and in opposition to the attacks of the anti-abortion stormtroopers, and in terms of taking the moral and political offensive.

Real Opposition and a Real Alternative

There is no question whatever that the program and actions of the Christian fascists and those allied with them is something that must be decisively and urgently opposed. This is true not only in general but also specifically with regard to how they have framed the terms of the latest "Presidential crisis." Without overlooking the sexually exploitative indulgences for which Clinton has become notorious, the fact remains that, in terms of bourgeois politicians--including presidents who have been made into virtual icons (think of Kennedy, for example)--there is nothing new about all this... except that the President's enemies within the ruling class have decided to make this--and have been successful in making this--a public scandal and the pivot of a political crisis. As pointed out in a previous article in the RW on this crisis: "Talk of defaming the hallowed halls of the White House with sex is laughable--as the whole history of the U.S. power structure shows. Even more so when the great critics of lying under oath are the very people who supported the likes of Oliver North and the entire Reagan administration which lied to Congress and broke the law in the Iran/Contra affair." ("Scandal as Power Struggle in the U.S. Ruling Class: The Starr Report," by Redwing, RW , September 20, 1998).

That these forces have succeeded to the degree they have in creating and shaping this crisis seems to be due not only to their own efforts but also to other factors, including an apparent feeling among other sections of the ruling class (for example, those whose voice is the New York Times ) that Clinton has acted recklessly and has violated some principle of accountability to ruling class structures and procedures and has damaged the larger interests of system and empire that above all the president is supposed to uphold. There also seems to be, at this point, an absence of a "patrician force" within the ruling class capable of "rising above sectarian and partisan disputes" and acting as a "cohering center" upholding those larger interests--an absence that was lamented in a commentary, "Lack of Wise Men leaves the nation wanting," in USA Today (October 15, 1998). Although there have been a few efforts by some prominent people to at least partially play the role of such "Wise Men" in this crisis, none has so far succeeded in exerting sufficient influence to bring about a resolution that will be accepted by all sides. As this article is being written, the situation is still in flux.

In the aftermath of the recent elections--which have been presented as a serious setback for the Republicans and, more specifically, a decisive failure to get a "popular mandate" to oust Clinton (with this setback, in turn, being a significant factor in the "downfall" of Newt Gingrich)--there seems to be an increased likelihood that Clinton will be able to finish out his term, that some resolution will be found which leaves him in office. But, even if this proves to be the case, it will not eliminate the fact that, among those vying to run things, there are some very serious contradictions; it will not erase the fact that these conflicts erupted into an acute and bitter confrontation; it certainly will not change the sentiments of those who consider that Clinton is, and always has been, unfit to be president. Nor, despite the fact that these elections are now being portrayed as a victory for the "moderate center," will it change the fact that The Right--and in particular the Christian fascists and their allies--have been able to seize a great deal of initiative and to have a significant impact in defining the terms of not only the immediate "Presidential crisis" but bourgeois politics generally. (The very fact that politicians like the Bush Brothers are now being presented as representatives of the "moderate center" is itself an indication of how the "center" of "mainstream politics" is being continually moved to the Right in these times--and the fact that Clinton can be grouped together with Republicans like the Bush Brothers as part of the present "moderate center" is very telling.)

In relation to the current "presidential crisis," the forces openly identified as "Far Right" have been able, for a considerable period of time, to act as a driving force in an Inquisition which, among other things, aims to enshrine reactionary fundamentalist morality as a political standard--with powerful figures, like Senate majority leader Trent Lott, giving voice to that morality. This Inquisition has utilized and attempted to legitimize procedures and precedents, legal and otherwise, which involve spying on and prying into the personal lives of people and persecuting and legally prosecuting them on that basis, and generally trampling on supposed constitutional rights and protections in the process--and, as we (and others) have pointed out, if this can be done to the President what protection will ordinary people have?!

This Inquisition, and the ideology and politics bound up with it, is profoundly opposed to the interests of the people and should be resolutely resisted and repudiated. But, here again, even in seeking to defeat the attempt to oust him from office, Clinton in large part takes up the terms of his opponents. He makes a point of publicly declaring, "I have sinned "--which can only have the effect of strengthening the notion that Christian fundamentalist principles are a legitimate basis on which to judge political leaders and political programs and a legitimate basis for political decision-making. And, again, as we and others have pointed out, one of the great ironies of the effort to oust Clinton is that his enemies have used against him many of the civil-liberties-gutting laws and precedents he himself has aggressively established and enacted. If opposition to this Inquisition is reduced to the terms set, or accepted, by Clinton--and if it is primarily channeled into, or even limited to, the electoral arena and voting for Democrats (or, what is the same thing, voting against Republicans)--then the effect will be to weaken the resistance to the whole repressive and reactionary program which Clinton and the Democrats, and not only the Christian fascists and other "conservatives," have played a major part in promoting and implementing.

As to participation in the bourgeois electoral process, our Party has made clear our understanding that this process is an instrument of capitalist rule--an instrument of what is in fact bourgeois dictatorship. Which candidates are to be regarded as "serious contenders" and, more importantly, the terms of debate and contention and the "political alternatives" that are treated as legitimate and "realistic"--all this is determined within the ranks of the ruling class itself. Elections only offer the people the opportunity to choose among those alternatives. And one of the primary purposes of such elections is to give the appearance of a "popular mandate" to whatever reactionary policies are implemented by the ruling class through its governmental structures.

This understanding not only puts the dynamics of bourgeois politics in their true light but also highlights what is wrong with the notion--which is generally propagated around election time and has been put forward with particular intensity in relation to the recent election, including by some people who might be expected to know better--that if you don't vote, then you have no right to complain, or even no right to have a voice, in regard to how the country is run. This amounts to arguing that, if you have come to see that the bourgeois electoral process is part of the apparatus of oppressing the people, and that one of its main purposes is to politically misdirect people and dissipate their political energies in order to more effectively oppress them, then you have no right to oppose that oppression! What kind of logic is that, and whom does such logic serve?

It is also important to reject and refute the much-propagated notion that what shapes political decisions is that politicians are motivated primarily by the ambition to get elected (or re-elected) and they make political decisions on the basis of "reading the pulse of the electorate." This turns things upside-down and inside-out and in effect blames the people for the reactionary policies that are adopted by the government.

The truth is that political decision-making in a country like the U.S. is dominated by a class, the capitalist class, whose economically dominant position enables it to monopolize political power as well as the mass media and other means of disseminating ideas and culture. Of course, politicians in a bourgeois political system are motivated to a significant degree by personal ambitions, and they do seek to pursue those ambitions through the political structures and processes of that system. But even in this regard, getting elected and advancing your personal career as a bourgeois politician depends above all on getting big money support and getting favorable treatment in the mass media which, again, are controlled by the same big money interests.

In actuality, political decisions and government policies are arrived at through contention as well as collaboration within the ranks of the ruling class and its representatives. Through all this a general consensus is forged (and when necessary reforged on new terms) in regard to major questions and major developments in society and the world, including revolutionary wars and other struggles against the system--and, in fact, the inability to achieve such a consensus through the "normal" functioning and channels of the system is an indication of a serious crisis. In conformity with this process of decision-making and the consensus that is reached, orchestrated and many-sided propaganda campaigns are carried out through the mass media to shape public opinion around all important issues. (This includes the entertainment as well as the "news" media. For example, notice how repeatedly the need to be "tough on crime and criminals," and to use all necessary measures to "defeat terrorists," is dramatized, and how "family values" has recently become a major theme, not only on television but also in movies produced by that "Sodom of liberal decadence," Hollywood).

These dynamics of class rule and class struggle, rooted in the underlying economic compulsions and social relations of the system, are the basis for all government policy. This is the basis on which the New Deal was adopted by the American government in the context of the 1930s Great Depression. It is the basis on which the "war on poverty" became government policy during the upheavals of the 1960s. And it is the basis on which the New Deal and the "war on poverty" have now been abandoned, as discussed earlier in this article. It is the basis on which concessions were made to the struggle of Black people in the 1960s and the basis on which the government has backed away from and undercut many of these concessions. This is also the basis on which the U.S. got into the Vietnam war--and the basis on which it got out. It is the basis on which laws were changed (or the Constitution interpreted) in ways that vitally affect women, including particularly around abortion--and the basis on which the right to abortion is now under attack from powerful forces, in and out of government, and why even the those in government who claim to "defend" this right have cast it in a defensive and negative light (as expressed in the formula: "legal but rare"). In none of these cases--nor in countless others that could be cited--has the bourgeois electoral process been the decisive and determining thing.

It has been widely acclaimed that, in the recent elections, "minorities, women, and union members made the difference." It may be true that these votes made a difference in determining that the Democratic Party gained a few seats in Congress, but such votes did not and could not "make the difference" in determining the overall direction of government policy or in derailing the whole program of poverty, punishment, and patriarchy, on which the Democrats as well as the Republicans are fundamentally united. Once again, the range of programs and policies that all politicians must conform to, if they wish to remain in office, is determined not in the voting booths but within the ranks of the ruling class. And the result is, first of all, that the "choices" people have in voting have been "pre-selected" for them by those with the real power in society and, regardless of the outcome of any particular election, those with the real power will determine among themselves what political decisions will be made and what policies will be carried out on all important issues. This, more than anything else, explains why politicians consistently lie and go back on election promises. It also explains why reality never conforms to the notion that if oppressed people vote overwhelmingly for one bourgeois political party, then that party must somehow "deliver to them." How many times, for example, have Black people voted overwhelmingly for Democrats only to have the Democrats betray campaign "pitches" made to get those votes; and, within the confines of bourgeois electoral politics, what can Black people do to "punish" the Democrats for this repeated betrayal- -vote for the Republicans?!3

All this does not mean that the masses of people can have no effect on politics. They can have a great effect, even while the society is still ruled by the capitalist class--to say nothing of the profound effect they can achieve through the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system and the radical transformation of society as a whole. But they can only have the most powerful effect by refusing to be confined within the framework set by the bourgeois electoral process and by mobilizing in political struggle that breaks out of the terms and limits set by those who dominate that electoral process.

A dramatic illustration of the reality and the principles involved here is provided by looking at two Presidential elections during the Vietnam war--one near the beginning and the other toward the end of that war. First, in 1964, a major theme of the campaign of Lyndon Johnson was that it was crucial to re-elect him as President because his Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, had made clear that he would dramatically escalate the war in Vietnam. Johnson won in a "landslide," and no sooner was he re-elected than he himself presided over a massive escalation in the war. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese people, north and south, continued to wage a revolutionary war of resistance against U.S. aggression, and within the U.S. itself (as well as other countries) opposition to this aggression was mobilized on a greater and greater scale. After nearly a decade of U.S. attempts to impose its will on Vietnam and of increasing resistance to this, in 1972 the American Presidential election was said to involve a decisive choice between the "hawk" Richard Nixon and the "dove" George McGovern (many even argued that in order to end the war it was necessary to elect McGovern). Nixon won the election, with a huge margin of victory, and yet within a short time after this election, the U.S. government was forced to accept defeat and make a retreat out of Vietnam. The decisive thing in all this was obviously not the U.S. presidential elections but the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people against U.S. aggression and an increasingly powerful anti-war movement in the U.S., in the context of other major developments in the U.S. and internationally, including powerful revolutionary movements, struggles, and wars. Clearly, had the masses of people who opposed U.S. aggression in Vietnam based their political vision and involvement on the terms and "choices" offered by the American electoral process, they would have had a far less powerful effect on crucial events in Vietnam, in the U.S. itself, and in the world as a whole.

We recognize that, under the present circumstances, many people--including many who are disgusted by the whole politics of poverty, punishment, and patriarchy and want to defeat it--do vote in these bourgeois elections. Once more, it is important to emphasize that the decisive question now, in terms of taking on this whole reactionary offensive, is not whether people vote or refuse to take part in this electoral process but whether we accept, or refuse to accept, the terms set by the ruling political parties and the interests they serve.

It is extremely important to step back from the immediate situation and the terms in which things are presented to us, and ask: How did we get to the situation where the choices, the framework and limits we are supposed to accept are marked at one end by outright fascists and at the other end by someone who, as even a mainstream columnist describes him, is the most conservative Democratic President since Truman, who heads a Democratic administration that has served as an aggressive and effective instrument in a many-sided reactionary offensive against the basic masses and broader sections of people? Where will we be, before long, and what will the future look like, if people, especially those who see the need to oppose this reactionary offensive, nevertheless are convinced to confine their political objectives and activity within the logic and dynamic that has led us to the present situation? And, most importantly, how do we get out of this situation? The answer is that it must and can only be done by mobilizing broad ranks of people, uniting people from many different strata and walks of life, to build determined resistance to this whole reactionary program and to transform the whole terms of political contention and struggle, the whole "political terrain"--resistance that is not limited to and does not rely on the very political structures, institutions and processes that are the means through which this reactionary offensive is being carried out and given "legitimacy."

Taking Back the High Ground—Politically and Morally

A crucial part of doing this is, in fact, to directly and uncompromisingly take on the theocratic Christian fascists and those allied with them--not only in their political program but also in their ideological-religious rationalizations--and to pose a powerful positive alternative to this. These people attempt to seize the "moral high ground" by portraying themselves as the upholders of a tradition-steeped moral certainty, in opposition to moral relativism and self-indulgent degeneracy. They proclaim that they stand for a literal and absolute interpretation of "biblical truth" and adherence to biblically based commandments and law. But the truth is that the moral and ideological principles they proclaim are wildly in conflict even with what can be accepted in bourgeois-democratic society, to say nothing of a communist society in which all relations of exploitation and oppression have been eliminated and uprooted. And for that reason, the leading figures among them, who are above all conscious and calculating political operatives, do not and cannot insist on a literal and absolute application of biblical laws and commandments. To do that would actually undermine their political objectives. Instead, they "pick and choose" themselves which of these laws and commandments to insist on, and which to avoid or "explain away," according to the circumstances.

To cite one of many examples, in a full-page ad in the USA Today (August 26, 1998) a group of Christian fundamentalists praised the Southern Baptists for their stand on marriage: "Southern Baptists...you are right!" According to this ad, these Southern Baptists were "right" because they insisted that wives must "graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership" (!) and because they recognized that "the family was God's idea, not man's, and that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman for a lifetime.... Most importantly, you are right because your statement is based on biblical truth!" But the "biblical truth"--what is actually put forth in the bible--is that many, if not all, of the great patriarchs of ancient Israel had more than one wife (leaving aside the instances where such patriarchs slept with a wife's slave-maid in order to produce children, specifically male children, for the patriarch); and the great monarchs of that nation, such as David and Solomon, had scores of wives and concubines; and moreover, in the "Mosaic law" that is set down in the bible, provision is made for husbands to have more than one wife; and provision is made for the husband, though not the wife, to get rid of a spouse through divorce. So, we see that these Christian fundamentalists have not in actuality applied a literal and absolute reading of the Bible. Instead, they have "reinterpreted" such "biblical truth" to suit their objective of promoting monogamous patriarchal family bonds which correspond, not to the oppressive social relations enshrined in the Bible, but to those of contemporary capitalist society.

In the same way, someone such as Pat Robertson, or the heads of the Christian Coalition, do not insist today that, in accordance with "biblical truth," homosexuals as well as adulterers, fornicators, and rebellious children, along with fortune-tellers, witches, and so on, must be put to death. They do not insist that if a man accuses his wife of not being a virgin when they marry, her parents must provide physical evidence of her virginity (a blood-stained cloth) before the male elders of the town--and if they cannot provide such proof, the men of the town shall stone the women to death. They do not insist that, if a man rapes an unmarried woman, he must pay recompense--to her father--and must marry the woman he has raped. They do not insist that anyone who calls for worshipping any god other than the god of Israel (or who secretly conspires to promote such worship of "false gods") shall be put to death. They do not openly declare that it is not only permissible but glorious for god's chosen people, when they wage war on their enemies, to wipe out whole cities, to rape women and carry off any virgins they desire as war prizes, and to bash in the heads of the babies (although people like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and the rest have consistently supported the military of the U.S. and those allied with it when they have committed such atrocities). Yet all the practices, procedures, and punishments mentioned here are part of the "Mosaic laws and commandments"; and (we are told in Deuteronomy as well as elsewhere in the Old Testament) these laws and commandments are to be followed diligently and exactly, without the slightest deviation.

Once again, the leading Christian fascists do not insist on applying these and many other biblical laws and commandments because, under present circumstances, it would not be politically expedient for them to do so--it would be seen as barbarous by the great majority of people, even in bourgeois society, and it would actually undercut their political objectives. (However, if at any given time, they should decide that calling for, or even carrying out, such barbarous acts would be politically expedient, they would not hesitate to do so--as indicated by the fact that, at one point not long ago, William Bennett openly called for the beheading of drug dealers.)4 What they do is to set themselves up as the authorities, the "interpreters" and the "arbiters" of "biblical truth," who can and should decide, not only for themselves but for society as a whole, what in "God's absolute laws and commandments" and "absolute moral principles" can and must be applied and what must be ignored or explained away at any given time. This is why it is correct and necessary to identify them as theocrats: they do, in fact, seek a form of rule which is based on religious, and more specifically Christian, authority--as represented by people like themselves--in the service of the American capitalist-imperialist system. It is not necessary to be atheists, as we revolutionary communists are, in order to recognize the atrociously reactionary nature of such a political program and the need to vigorously oppose it.

But the opposition to these theocratic Christian fascists must go beyond merely insisting that they have no right to impose their particular interpretation of "biblical truth" on others and on society as a whole. Nor is it realistic, or correct, to make it a principle that people should keep their "private" or "personal" beliefs to themselves and not bring them into the public and particularly the political arena. People's political views will naturally be influenced by their ideological outlook. The essential question, with regard to all political programs, policies, and actions--and all beliefs and ideologies--is what is their content, what interests do they uphold and further, what effect do they have on society and the people? The world outlook and the political views and actions of the Christian fascists must be opposed because they serve to uphold and fortify horrendous oppression, exploitation, and plunder, of women, of whole peoples and nations, and of the masses of working people throughout the world. And, for that matter, the same applies to the political views and actions of Clinton and others who are in contention with the Christian fascists for predominance within the ruling structures of the American capitalist imperium.

At the same time, as necessary as it is to expose and oppose the whole reactionary political offensive, and its various ideological rationalizations, it is also necessary to bring forth political principles and values and culture which represent a real alternative to this reactionary onslaught.

As for our Party, our goal is the radical transformation of society, and of the world, to eliminate all oppressive and exploitative relations among people and to abolish all class distinctions and national antagonisms and barriers, to bring about, as the final goal, a freely associating community of human beings, worldwide. The morals and ideology we uphold and strive to apply are in accordance with that objective and are, at any given point, an expression of the link between the current struggle and the final goal. In this way, our outlook and principles, as well as our political program and actions, are in the most fundamental opposition to the Christian fascists and at the same time to all forms and expressions of bourgeois rule and bourgeois ideology. But we also recognize, consistent with our outlook and principles, that there is a need, and a basis, for building a broad unity in struggle against what has been referred to as the politics of poverty, punishment, and patriarchy and in general against the ways in which the masses of people, in the U.S. and throughout the world, are subjected to exploitation, oppression and plunder.

And we believe that, together with building this political unity in struggle, there is also a need and a basis to forge broad unity, among diverse forces, around values and cultural expressions that promote and celebrate equality, between men and women, and between peoples and nations; that stand against oppression and against violence which furthers and enforces such oppression; that oppose imperial domination by one nation over others and military bludgeoning to impose that domination; that foster relations among people based on an appreciation for diversity but also for community; values and culture that prize cooperation among people in place of cut-throat competition, that put the needs of people above the drive to accumulate wealth, that actually promote the global interests of humanity as opposed to narrow national antagonisms and great-power domination.

The development of unity around such values and cultural expressions, like the furthering of political unity in struggle, will be an ongoing process. Building this unity is a challenge that must be taken up by all those who recognize the horror of what is represented by the fundamentalist reactionaries and the implications of this for the masses of people; who refuse to accept that the only "alternative" to this is one which shares essential things in common with it; who recognize the need to confront--and to offer a positive alternative to--the whole politics of poverty, punishment, and patriarchy and the ideological rationalizations for this politics. It is a challenge that must be boldly and urgently taken up.


NOTES:

1These writings on morality have been published as a book: Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality,Banner Press, May 1999.

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2 The Stolen Lives Project has now documented over 2,000 cases of people killed by law enforcement in the 1990s. The Project also reports that there has been a marked rise in the number of killings by law enforcement nationwide since September 11, 2001.

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3 For a fuller discussion of the role of elections in capitalist society, see Democracy, Can't We Do Better Than That, by Bob Avakian.

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4 More recently, during the current U.S. occupation of Iraq, the beheadings of hostages by Islamic have been loudly condemned as barbaric acts not only by progressive people but by the powers-that-be in the U.S.--in particular the Bush administration, which counts William Bennett among its most powerful supporters.

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Revolution #553 July 23, 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.

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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)

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Revolution #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 2018

From A World to Win News Service

“Hey Trump what do you say,
how many kids did you cage today?”

Mass protests repudiate Trump visit to the UK

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 


Protest against Trump's visit to the UK, Trafalgar Square, July 13. Photo: Sipa USA via AP

July 17, 2018. A World to Win News Service. As Trump landed in Britain on 12 July following the NATO summit where he had shaken up the post-WW2 liberal-democratic imperialist consensus by aggressively asserting his America First program, every political force in the UK took a stand.

The prospect of a visit by the American fascist-in-chief had aroused fierce infighting among the British ruling class and revulsion among millions when it had first been announced, shortly after Trump took office in 2017. Trump had postponed planned UK visits on three occasions since then in the face of announced mass protests. He had even said that he didn’t want to come until he “felt welcome.” But that day never came—and he was here anyhow.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had originally invited Trump for a state visit, meaning a meeting with the Queen in Buckingham Palace and a royal carriage procession through central London. That was cancelled in the face of the certainty of huge protests, and the visit was downgraded to an “official visit.” But even that had to be seriously curtailed, and in the end Trump avoided central London almost entirely, limiting himself to helicoptering into the heavily fortified U.S. Ambassador’s estate in the middle of one of London’s royal parks, Regent’s Park, to spend one night. Even there almost 1,000 protesters spent the evening at the Ambassador’s gates—there was widespread determination that Trump would not go anywhere without facing visible noisy opposition.

The next day 150,000 to 200,000 demonstrators took to the streets of London as Trump flew from the Prime Minister’s country estate to the Queen’s Windsor Castle home well outside London, where he was also met by thousands of protesters. Many tens of thousands of others also marched in Manchester, Edinburgh, and other cities around the UK.

Trump arrived amidst great turmoil in the British ruling class in the wake of the June 2017 referendum that approved the country’s departure from the European Union (“Brexit”). Leading up to the referendum, the nationalist, anti-immigrant stand at the heart of Brexit had gained significant support from on high, in particular from reactionaries who looked to the “special relationship” with the U.S. and were less keen on staying with the Germany-led European Union. But the shock of Brexit was followed soon thereafter by the shock of Trump’s victory—and many lukewarm Brexiteers now got cold feet at the prospect of leaning more heavily on a U.S. regime led by an outright fascist aggressively implementing an America First program. How would that jibe with their own reactionary program of “Put the ‘Great’ back in Great Britain”?!

The ensuing infighting over how to deal with Brexit has been ripping apart Britain’s two main parties, Labour and the governing Tories. Only days before Trump’s arrival two leading Brexiteers, including Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, resigned from the Cabinet, threatening to bring down the government for an attempt at compromise with the European Union. In an unprecedented breach of diplomacy, Trump, who labelled the EU a “foe,” gave an interview to the Sun (linked to Fox News in the U.S.) where he said the UK would have to turn its back on the EU completely if it wanted “a deal” with the U.S. Trump went on to say he’d advised May on how to do Brexit, but, he added patronizingly, “she didn’t listen to me.” He then proclaimed his support for his “friend,” May’s arch-rival Johnson, to replace her as Prime Minister—only hours before he was to meet May. The powerful right-wing tabloid media exulted, proclaiming “Trump’s right!,” swelling the already powerful tides of nationalism and xenophobia surging through Britain—but also arousing furious reaction from other quarters.

There was another force active too: the hundreds of thousands who reject Trump’s message and opposed his visit, up and down the country, and hate the British government’s accommodation of Trump and his program. Confronted at a press conference with the immensity of the protest, Trump declared that most people in Britain actually liked him, and in particular that “I think they agree with me about immigration.” Coming in the wake of the images of toddlers torn from their immigrant parents’ arms and cowering before America’s armed border guards, this was a cold-blooded appeal to call out the worst in people. Fiercely rejecting this, one popular chant at the mass protests was, “Hey Trump what do you say, How many kids did you cage today!”

A wide range of different forces pulled together for the protests against Trump: a distinct Women’s March brought many thousands onto the streets. An LBGTQ contingent gathered, alongside Trans against Trump, Trumpets against Trump, and many others. Many people from the U.S. took part—several carried signs proclaiming their outrage at the U.S. Embassy’s ridiculous warning to Americans in London to “exercise caution” during Trump’s visit lest they be accosted by the English—instead of warmly embraced, as they were in fact.

There was an atmosphere of celebration of diversity in the protest that many consciously conceived as a clear rejection of Trump’s politics of division, white supremacy, misogyny, and nationalism. But also notable was a growing awareness of the very real danger represented by Trump, and like-minded fascist forces in Britain and throughout Europe. A recognition of Trump’s fascist character, and as one sign put it, the “clear and present danger” he presents to the very existence of humanity, while still resisted by many on the parliamentary left, was more widespread than at earlier demonstrations.

The reality of this fascist danger was brought home vividly on Saturday: hard-core fascist groups, organized in the English Defense League—whose supporters burst into mosques and chant “Muslims go home—England for the English”—staged a march to support Trump and defend one of their imprisoned leaders. While prior to Trump’s election it was rare to see more than 50 or 100 fascists at such gatherings, this time, riding on Trump’s message, some 2,000 showed up in central London. They were met by a similar number of anti-fascist protesters.

Over the course of the three days of protest, a multinational team of supporters of Bob Avakian’s New Communism raised banners and posters with slogans such as “Drive out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime in the Name of Humanity” and “Overthrow the capitalist-imperialist system that gives rise to such monsters, through revolution.” Some 3,500 copies of a flyer that ended with a call to check out BA’s analysis of the Trump regime and to engage with the New Communism were distributed at the three days of protests. Alongside them supporters of the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) also carried a three-meter banner proclaiming, “Down with Imperialism! Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran! Long Live the Socialist Republic of Iran!” This was an important reminder of the Trump/Pence regime’s growing threat to attack Iran. There were similar scenes at an earlier march of several thousand people against the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump’s first stop in Europe.

Flying in the sky above the London march and other protests was a huge balloon depicting Trump as a baby in nappies (diapers). While there was concern among many that this minimized the very serious danger the Trump regime represents, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, a major Labour Party figure and one of Trump’s most outspoken critics, was criticized for allowing this “insult” to a visiting dignitary by politicians and commentators—most of whom could not muster a single word of condemnation for Trump’s Muslim ban, his child separation policy, or any of the rest of his fascist program.

While many people were receptive to the message in the flyer that the “normal channels” of parliamentary democracy were not going to stop Trump, that what was urgently needed was sustained mass protest from below, when the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, took to the stage to address the protest rally of 100,000+, there was near-universal cheering. This was a sobering sign of powerful tendencies, among even the best of those opposed to Trump and what he represents, to seek shelter from the rising fascist storm under the protective wings of powerful forces high within the existing system. It once again demonstrated the urgent need to bring together those with a clearer understanding of how the capitalist system works, how the point is not to fight the fascists from the perspective of returning to the “Weimar Republic”—the “normal” liberal-democratic system of governance of capitalist-imperialism—but from the perspective of bringing forward a revolutionary alternative. (See Avakian on “The Fascists and the Destruction on the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It” at www.revcom.us.)

 

On March 17, 2017, A World to Win News Service (AWTWNS) announced its transformation into a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. Read its “Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS” here.


London, July 13. Photo: A World To Win News Service


Protest against Trump's visit to the UK, Trafalgar Square, July 13. Photo: Sipa USA via AP


London, July 13. Photo: A World To Win News Service


London, July 13. Photo: A World To Win News Service

Also from A World to Win News Service:

“We need not reform,
but revolution!
Trump's coming –
No business as usual!”

Read more


London, July 13. Photo: A World To Win News Service

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Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

From A World to Win News Service

“We need not reform,
but revolution!
Trump's coming –
No business as usual!”

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

July 17, 2018. A World to Win News Service. Following is a leaflet by the Revolutionary Communist Manifesto Group given out during Trump's visit to the UK.

***

Trump’s coming to assert his “America First” programme, normalize his position as fascist-in-chief of U.S. imperialism, and strengthen fascist forces in Britain and throughout Europe. The most reactionary U.S. Supreme Court in generations isn’t going to stop him, nor is the U.S. Congress. Nothing less than an unprecedented outpouring of mass sustained resistance has a chance. But the Trump-Pence regime is not just “America’s problem”: Trump’s an American Hitler, with nukes – think about what that means for the world! This regime is vigorously promoting fascist forces from Italy to Poland, Hungary and beyond.

How did humanity reach this point? There’s a system giving rise to these monsters – a capitalist-imperialist system whose workings have led to the unravelling of the post-World War 2 liberal democratic governance, and now to the rise of fascists fighting to take their place. It is a system that can be ended only through revolution to overthrow capitalism and take humanity to a world free of all social divisions where humans cooperate and are organised in a sustainable way with the rest of nature – communism. Sound unrealistic? What’s unrealistic is thinking that this system can be reformed to make it come anywhere near being in the interests of the great majority of oppressed humanity.

The Trump-Pence regime is rapidly transforming the U.S. towards fascism. Armed U.S. border guards rip toddlers out of their parents' hands in the name of “America First”; women are increasingly treated like Handmaid’s Tale breeders, and LGBTQ rights threatened; Trump praises Ku Klux Klan thugs as “fine people” and gives the cops the green light to sow racist terror in the ghettos; he threatens nuclear terror to intimidate U.S. rivals and beat nations into submission; the existing pitifully inadequate environmental protection is shredded even as Earth moves ever faster towards planetary meltdown…. Everything reactionary and abhorrent about what U.S. capitalist-imperialism has done for generations is being ramped up, even threatening the future of humanity itself.

Prime Minister Theresa May and the Tories back the U.S. on almost every major issue internationally. Enough said! Many hope Labour will “stand up” to Trump – but take a closer look. Labour opposes a “state visit”, with a royal carriage ride down the Mall, but argues that, given the “special relationship”, sooner or later there must be an “official visit”! But what is this “special relationship” but a relationship where Britain partners U.S. imperialism in plundering the world's oppressed!? Labour decries how Trump is opposed to “British values”. But what values are these!? Values that have seen two decades of imperialist war ravage the Middle East? Or Britain's bombing of Syria, contributing to devastation that has driven millions of Syrians into exile, refugees who are then brutally turned away from Fortress Britain and Europe! Fighting Trump and his blood-soaked programme of “Make America White Again”, xenophobia and misogyny through normal channels under the Union Jack will only lead to arguing over what’s best for “our” nation, “our” imperialism, and ultimately to accommodation and conciliation with fascism.

No! Learn from the stand taken in the U.S. by Refuse Fascism: In the name of humanity, drive out this fascist regime. Check out refusefascism.org, and join this Friday 13th in an outpouring of resistance that gives heart to resisters in the U.S. and worldwide.

We revolutionary communists recognise the giant danger posed by the Trump-Pence regime and the incalculable harm it can do to the planet and its people, and support every effort to drive it out before it’s too late. But we refuse a return to “normal” liberal democratic capitalism, a horror for most of the world’s people. We need a revolutionary alternative to a world divided into social classes, with wealth and power on one side and exploited labour and poverty on the other, where a few nations feed on the rest, where women are subordinated to men, and all its other divisions and social and racial inequalities. There is the understanding of how to go beyond this through a real revolution – the overthrow of the capitalists and the existing state and their replacement by a revolutionary power based on a class of proletarians with nothing to lose but their chains. A power that acts as a base area to free the world of all such divisions and enables humanity to forge relations based on conscious cooperation. The new communism developed by Bob Avakian flows from his synthesis of the experience of the first wave of socialist revolutions in the 20th century. Go to revcom.us and watch Avakian's analysis of the Trump regime and how to fight it at revcom.us. Share this with everyone you know. And contact the revolution here: rcmanifestogroup@gmail.com

 

On March 17, 2017, A World to Win News Service (AWTWNS) announced its transformation into a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism. Read its “Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS” here.

Also from A World to Win News Service:

“Hey Trump what do you say, how many kids did you cage today?”
Mass protests repudiate Trump visit to the UK

Read more


London, July 13. Photo: A World To Win News Service

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Revolution #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org

Updated June 2018:
The Trump/Pence Regime: INDICTED!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The following indictment of the Trump/Pence regime presents the evidence and makes the case that, in the words of the Call to Action from Refuse Fascism:

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

Visit RefuseFascism.org to donate, to read these indictments online, to download printable PDFs (including 11x17 and 7 foot enlargements), and to learn how you can help raise funds to further develop the digital version, to print these indictments as booklets, posters and giant panels, and to enable them to have a huge impact throughout society.

  • Crimes Against Muslims
  • Stripping Away Civil Liberties, Criminalizing Dissent, and Ramping Up Repression and Terror
  • Crimes Against People of the World
  • Waging War on Women and LGBTQ People
  • White Supremacy, Police Brutality, and Mass Incarceration
  • Waging War on Truth, Science, and the Environment
  • Terrorizing and Attacking Immigrants and Refugees

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/552/brett-kavanaugh-this-confirmed-fascist-must-not-be-confirmed-en.html

Revolution #553 July 23, 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

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Revolution #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 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 #553 July 23, 2018

American Crime

Case #37: December 26, 1862: The Lynching of 38 Dakota Men―The Largest Mass Execution in U.S. History

| 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

On December 26, 1862, in the midst of the U.S. Civil War (April 1861-May 1865), and in the same week that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 38 Dakota Santee Sioux men sent to the gallows in Mankato, Minnesota. They were hooded and hanged simultaneously from a single scaffold, surrounded by 1,500 Union troops and a howling lynch mob of 4,000 white settlers. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

The 38 had been taken prisoner after the Dakota people rose up against the U.S. government on August 17 in the Dakota Uprising of 1862. The Dakota people had been under relentless assault for 10 years—with deceitful and broken treaties, their reservations encroached on, their annuities unpaid, promised goods late or never delivered, price gouging and other abuses by the U.S. government and their agents. In 1858, the government took half the Dakota people’s reservation and opened it to white settlement. During the 1850s, over 160,000 settlers flooded the area, seizing and clearing the Native Dakota people’s lands to the point where their hunting and fishing virtually ended and starvation loomed.

On August 15, when half-starved Dakota people asked for food from a well-stocked warehouse, the government food trader Andrew Jackson Myrick replied: “[I]f they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung,” which was cited by Dakota Chief Little Crow as the last straw in provoking the Dakota to revolt. Myrick was one of the first killed and his body found with his mouth stuffed with grass. The uprising was sparked off when four starving Dakota youths, on an egg-stealing foray, impulsively killed five white settlers.

The 38 condemned men were told of their impending deaths on December 22 while shackled in pairs and bolted to the prison floor. They were among the 303 condemned to die in a mass trial of 392 Dakota men. Each defendant had five to 10 minutes in which to defend himself before a military court. On one day alone, 40 were tried, charged, and convicted for “murder and outrages.” A law professor later noted: “Most of them did not speak English. They did not even know they were being tried for crimes. Most also did not have counsel defending them.” Little evidence of their “crimes” existed. So the U.S. government used some defendants, who faced charges and execution themselves, to testify against other Dakotas in multiple trials. One such defendant-turned-witness provided evidence in 55 cases.

After the mass lynching, the bodies of the Dakotas were thrown into a mass grave. It was dug up that night, and the bodies were distributed to doctors for use as medical cadavers. Later, small boxes supposedly containing skin removed from the bodies were sold in Mankato.

There was never an official count of the settlers killed in this war. Accounts of the death toll in the 37 days of fighting vary widely, from 77 U.S. government troops, 29 citizen-soldiers or militia, and 300-800 settlers as well as some 29-150 Dakota warriors. After the uprising, more than 1,600 Dakota men, women, and children were exiled to a concentration camp on Pike Island, Minnesota, where living conditions were so bad that infections killed more than 300. In April 1863, the U.S. Congress abolished the Dakota reservation, declared all prior treaties with the Dakota null and void, and expelled the Dakota people completely from Minnesota. To this end, a $25 bounty was put on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state. U.S. General Oscar Malmros offered a bounty of $200 to independent scouts for each Dakota Sioux scalp.

Little Crow escaped capture until July 3, 1863, when he and his son left their hidden camping spot to pick raspberries. Two settlers shot and killed Little Crow. His body was dragged down the main street of Hutchinson and firecrackers were put in his nose and ears. His scalp, skull, and remains were put on display in St. Paul, Minnesota, until 1971. Two other Dakota leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, had escaped to Canada but were captured, drugged, returned to the U.S., and hung in 1865.

THE CRIMINALS

President Abraham Lincoln (March 1861-April 1865). Lincoln oversaw the breaking of treaties and the robbing of the Dakotas and other Native peoples of their land, livelihood, and often their lives. And he sent troops to crush their resistance. Lincoln made clear his white supremacist views. Speaking in February 1860, he asked “[W]hy did Yankees almost instantly discover gold in California, which had been trodden upon and overlooked by Indians and Mexican greasers for centuries?” He also argued that phonetic writing was what separated whites from “savages,” and that this ability had given rise to the fruits of civilization—government, culture, etc. In 1863, Lincoln said: “Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren.”

U.S. troops and their commanders who were sent to put down the Dakota uprising. Companies led by Capt. Joseph F. Bean, Capt. David D. Lloyd, Capt. Calvin Potter, Capt. Mark Hendrick, and elements of the 5th and 6th Iowa Militia. Col. Henry Sibley played a pivotal role in the 1851 treaty negotiations that cheated the Dakota of their land, and then led U.S. troops to suppress their 1862 uprising. Sibley also oversaw the military tribunal that convicted the 38 as well as the punitive expeditions against the Dakota of 1863. Gen. John Pope was sent by Lincoln to command the 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiments and openly stated: “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. They are to be treated as maniacs and wild beasts.”

Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey exiled the entire Dakota Santee people, offered bounty for their scalps, and said: “The Sioux Indian must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the State. The public safety imperatively requires it. Justice calls for it. The blood of the murdered cries to heaven for vengeance.”

Thomas Galbraith, Andrew Myrick, and other traders who withheld cash payments, food, and other trade goods owed to the Dakota people causing their increasing hunger, hardship, and anger.

The New York Times sensationalized stories of how settlers died and wrote racist depictions of the Dakota prisoners, fueling mass hysteria and bloodlust: “It was a sad, a sickening sight, to see that group of miserable dirty savages, chained to the floor, and awaiting with apparent unconcern for the terrible fate....”

THE ALIBI

The Dakota men were executed for the killing of innocent white settlers, and Lincoln was being lenient by hanging only 38 of the 303 who were tried and condemned to death by the military court.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

The Dakota Uprising was a just uprising and one of many by various Native tribes throughout the U.S. against the genocide being committed against them by the U.S. government and white settlers. During the 1860s, many Native peoples like the Dakotas were compelled to rise up by years of exploitation and oppression, including imminent starvation.

Lincoln explained to the U.S. Senate: “Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I ordered a careful examination of the records of the trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females.” Given only two men were found guilty of rape, he expanded the criteria to include those who had taken part in “massacres” of civilians rather than just “battles.” In contrast, Lincoln did not indict or execute any Confederate soldiers for such crimes.

It also may have been important to make an example of the Dakota people and their uprising because, despite having few fighting forces, little equipment like canons, and being outmatched in guns and ammunition, they fought very effectively against the U.S. military. For example, U.S. forces suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Birch Coulee on September 2, 1862, where a three-hour firefight ended with 13 U.S. soldiers dead and 47 wounded, while only two Dakota warriors were killed.

During this period, the Union, representing the interests of the capitalist class centered in the North, was waging the Civil War. At the same time, railroads were being built across the country and settlements vastly expanded. The robbery of the huge land mass from coast to coast occupied by the many Native tribes, the defeat of any resistance to this historic colonial expansion, and the outright genocide carried out against Native peoples were foundational to the growth and development of U.S. capitalism and the later rise of the U.S. empire.

 

Sources

BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian, 1:2, RCP Publications, 2011

Bury My Heat at Wounded Knee, An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown, Chapter 3, “Little Crow’s War,” Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970

Dakota War of 1862, Wikipedia

Sham Trials: The Traumatic Truth of What Happened to the Dakota 38,” by Konnie LeMay, Indian Country Today, December 26, 2015

The Dakota Conflict, documentary aired January 27, 1993, produced by KTCA, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lynching of 38 Dakota (Santee Sioux) men, December 26, 1862.

Excerpt on Native Americans, from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)


Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the RCP

C. Native Americans.

1. The conquest, domination, plunder and life-stealing exploitation carried out by European colonialism in the Americas–including by the European settlers who founded the United States of America and expanded its reach on the North American continent through force and violence, as well as deception and other means–had a massive genocidal impact, decimating and devastating the populations of the first inhabitants of the Americas. As the boundaries of the USA were continuously expanded through conquest–and huge numbers of Native Americans were killed or died off due to this armed expansionism and the destruction of their way of life, the spread of diseases common among Europeans for which the Native Americans had no immunity, and other factors–most of the Native Americans who survived were forced onto reservations that were encircled and controlled by the forces of the imperialist state.

2. The defeat of this imperialist state has opened the way to overcoming the effects and legacy of this terrible history. As one key expression of the importance it attaches to this, the New Socialist Republic in North America shall ensure that the right of autonomy of Native American peoples within this Republic is upheld; and, beyond that, wherever autonomous regions of Native Americans may be established, in the general vicinity of the historical homelands of the various native peoples, the central government will also act to ensure that these autonomous regions not only have the necessary territories but also the resources that will enable a real flourishing of these peoples, within the overall framework of the New Socialist Republic in North America. The central government of the New Socialist Republic in North America will provide special assistance and support to any Native American autonomous regions, on the basis of the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution.

3. This special assistance and support shall be especially important with regard to Native American autonomous regions, but also with regard to concentrations of Native Americans in urban areas and other parts of this Republic–where autonomous Native American areas may also be set up–and with regard to the Native American population as a whole.

Such special assistance and support will also be of great importance, and shall be extended, to all the formerly oppressed peoples, and any autonomous regions and areas of these peoples, within the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Check out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) and order it online.

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less?

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:31

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Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

Alert: U.S. Ratchets Up War Threats Against Iran

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Sunday night, July 22, the Trump/Pence regime ratcheted up its gangster threats against Iran to new, even more dangerous levels. In response to the Iranian regime’s warning against the U.S.’s moves toward war, Trump tweeted out that Iran would “SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.” Trump was threatening Iran and its 80 million people with war and mass murder. This came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo compared Iran’s Islamic Republic to the “Mafia” and threatened a “pressure campaign” against it.

Iran’s regime is repressive and reactionary. But who has been—and is—the world’s number one oppressor, its biggest war monger, mass murderer, and promoter of ignorance and repression? Who is the number one threat to the future of humanity? The United States of America!

The U.S. imperialists have oceans of Iranian blood on their hands. In 1953, the CIA overthrew Iran’s nationalist government and installed a barbaric puppet—the Shah—who ruled with an iron fist for two and a half decades, arresting, murdering, and torturing opponents. From 1980-88, America fueled a war of bloody slaughter between Iran and Iraq—to weaken both—which left a million dead or wounded. This included tens of thousands of Iranians killed by Iraqi gas attacks that the U.S. directed. In 1988, the U.S. warship Vincennes “accidentally” shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board.

And now, once again America is threatening to unleash war and spill even more blood. In May, the Trump/Pence regime took the belligerent step of unilaterally pulling out of the nuclear deal that the U.S. (and other world powers) negotiated with Iran in 2015. Since then, the Trump/Pence regime has been moving to strangle Iran’s economy with tighter sanctions—bringing great hardship to the masses of people in Iran—and launched a campaign to foment “unrest” in Iran. In the face of this, Iran’s president warned the U.S. against starting a war—and Trump with his all-caps tweet, claimed it was Iran that was threatening the U.S.!

No! U.S. imperialism is the most aggressive, predatory “Mafia” power on the face of the Earth. The U.S.—with a monstrous fascist regime at the helm—isn’t targeting Iran to liberate anyone; it’s targeting Iran to strengthen its own gangster death grip on the Middle East and the planet. As Bob Avakian has said, “These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.” (BAsics 1:7)

What we pointed out in the wake of Trump’s summit with Putin also applies to ramped-up threats against Iran: “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 U.S. war threats against Iran must be broadly condemned and actively resisted, as part of a movement to actually drive out the Trump/Pence regime through massive, sustained, nonviolent political protest before they can carry out even greater horrors against humanity than they already have. The heightened possibility of a U.S. war on Iran also underscores, once again, the urgency of organizing for an actual revolution aimed at overthrowing this capitalist-imperialist system, which spawns endless wars and carries out towering crimes against humanity—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—How We Can Really Make Revolution.

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

 

 

What's wrong with saying "I really don't like these wars, but we have to do something about groups like ISIS and the fundamentalists?" In THE NEW COMMUNISM, Bob Avakian challenges people to see the unjust and predatory character of wars the U.S. wages against people around the world.

Read excerpts from the sections: "Internationalism and an International Dimension" and "Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism."

Pre-publication PDF of entire book available here.

 

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Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

From Refuse Fascism.org

Handmaids to Pence in Philly: The Regime Must Go!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On Monday, July 23 vicious theocrat/Vice President Mike Pence went to Philadelphia. Refuse Fascism initiated a protest to send the message through word and deed we refuse to accept a fascist America. This nightmare must end! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Pence is one of the most dangerous reactionary figures in modern history. Not only has he instituted the most anti-women, anti-science, and anti-LGBTQ policies while Governor he has dutifully supported and been instrumental in every Trump policy since they made their unholy, “holy” alliance to bring Christian Fascism to to the heart of this regime. He is a key figure in ushering in a theocratic society right out of the Handmaid's Tale. A Christian Fascist, he has made it his life mission to terrorize women and the LGBTQ community and people of color. Read RefuseFascism.org Indictments of the Trump/Pence Regime.

It is only fitting that Pence was confronted by 100 women dressed as handmaids, along with hundreds more protesters. The handmaids were a visual representation of Pence’s end game of women totally stripped of their rights and humanity.

It was a protest that broke into mainstream media, both in Philadelphia (print and online), and nationwide. The story was syndicated by the Associated Press and printed – among other places – in the Hollywood Reporter – a publication with a readership of millions who follow, or are involved in the entertainment industry.

The protest projected the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want – in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. And part of building a movement to drive out this regime the only way it can be: through people taking to the streets and refusing to go until the regime is removed.

The protest was co-hosted by Refuse Fascism Philly, Philly Up, NOW Philly Chapter, and DelCo NOW.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

More photographic coverage from Philly Voice here

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Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

Swedish Student's Courageous "Stand-up" Protest Stops Deportation of Afghan Immigrant

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On Monday, July 23, a man originally from Afghanistan was on a plane waiting to take off at the airport in Gothenburg, Sweden—being deported back to a war-torn and devastated country after being denied political asylum by the Swedish government. Then a young woman—a student at University of Gothenburg—got on board the plane and then declared that she was refusing to sit down until the asylum seeker was taken off the plane so that he would not be deported. The student, Elin Ersson, live-streamed her protest—and the video has gone viral, receiving millions of hits.

As some passengers and crew reacted with hostility, Ersson walked up and down the aisle explaining why she was taking the action. She said, “I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight. I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane.” When one passenger upset by the delay tried to grab her phone, Ersson said, “What is more important, a life, or your time? ... I want him [the asylum seeker] to get off the plane because he is not safe in Afghanistan. I am trying to change my country’s rules, I don’t like them. It is not right to send people to hell.”

Other passengers made clear they supported her. A few minutes into the protest, Ersson said, “There’s a Turkish guy helping me out, telling me what I am doing is right. Some people are really applauding all this what I am doing. There is a football team standing at the back. As long as they are standing, this plane is not allowed to go.”

Finally, a flight attendant announced that the asylum seeker would be taken off the plane—thus stopping the deportation for now.

Ersson, who is part of a group in Sweden fighting against deportation of immigrants and refugees, told the British Guardian after the protest, “People [in Afghanistan] are not sure of any safety. They don’t know if they’re going to live another day. As I’ve been working and meeting people from Afghanistan and heard their stories, I’ve been more and more in the belief that no one should be deported to Afghanistan because it’s not a safe place...”

She said about the action she took, “I hope that people start questioning how their country treats refugees. We need to start seeing the people whose lives our immigration [policies] are destroying.”

This courageous action by a single protester had a big impact—at a time when all across Europe and in the U.S. there are sharply rising attacks on immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers by governments as well as by fascist groups openly spewing out white-supremacist poison and carrying out physical violence.

 

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Revolution #553 July 23, 2018

Today's Message from the Revolution

June 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.

 

 

June 16, 2019

1. How many more times will police gun down Black people & walk free? How long will we allow these pigs to say "Not a big deal"?

If this were the ONLY thing wrong with this system, it would be reason enough to overthrow it!

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2. This system has no future for the youth, the REVOLUTION does!

revcom.us/avakian

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3. On the Righteous Rebellion Against Police Murder in Memphis

How Long Will We Bury Our Own?
Until We Bury This System!

From the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour & Revolution Club

revcom.us/a/599/on-the-righteous-rebellion-against-police-murder-in-memphis-en.html

Carl Dix & Tour in Memphis now.

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