Revolution #554, July 30, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/457/how-we-can-win-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/547/commitment-and-process-of-building-movement-for-revolution-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 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!*

 

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/366/what-is-an-actual-revolution-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 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!

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/554/100-handmaids-confront-pence-in-philadelphia-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org:

100 Handmaids Confront Pence in Philadelphia, Pledging:
This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

On July 23, 100 women dressed in the white bonnets and blood red cloaks of the dystopian Handmaid's Tale outfits, marched in pairs from the different points around downtown Philadelphia to converge in front of the hall where Mike Pence was attending a fundraiser. With heads cast downwards and arms outstretched, they stood in choreographed silence; a living tableau exposing and opposing the real-life Christian fascist Handmaid's Tale the Trump/Pence regime is aggressively hammering into place.

Then, in a powerful culmination, the women lifted their heads and worked together to remove each other's cloaks and bonnets, throwing them onto the ground, raising their fists high in the air, and reciting in unison the following pledge taken from the end of the RefuseFascism.org 2018 Call to Action:

WE PLEDGE that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself. Join us. Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we’ve got to demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go. In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

This was a much needed act of political defiance and resistance. It gave expression to the best and most defiant sentiments of people who are disgusted by Trump and Pence. The visual power and drama of the scarlet outfits was visceral, as are the vivid parallels between the nightmare future of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale novel—and now hit Hulu series—and the aggressive moves by Mike Pence and others in this regime to criminalize abortion and even assail women's right to birth control, as well as the regime's attacks on recently won rights of LGBTQ people. But most of all, the significance of this protest is that people dared to confront and act on the biggest lesson to be drawn from the Handmaid's Tale as well as the history of fascism in the real world: fascism must be stopped—it must be driven from power—before it is too late. Again, with fists raised, cloaks piled on the ground, and heads held high, these women chanted: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

Flash: RefuseFascism.org NYC has just announced that they will be mobilizing 100 Handmaids to bring the demand, “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” to confront Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen when they come to NYC this Tuesday, July 31. Find out more here.

The event broke into the major media all across the country, from the Hollywood Reporter to the Washington Post. An AP story ran in dozens of local papers from Jacksonville, Florida to Boise, Idaho, and in the UK, Australia, and Taiwan. Local TV stations ran major coverage including the Spanish-language station in Atlantic City. There were full-page color spreads (including a front page) in both of Philadelphia's main print newspapers, and viral video coverage on NowThis and other platforms. Footage of the action and shout outs to the women were tweeted by Margaret Atwood herself (author of The Handmaid's Tale), as well as Rosie O'Donnell, Lalah Hathaway, science blogger PZ Myers, and many others. Joseph Fiennes, who plays a patriarchal oppressor on the Hulu series, expressed admiration for the protest in advance.

 

 

People responded on social media with comments like, "Oh, I am with you. How can I join and get an outfit?" "Love this." "I must remember this. I show it to my family...they think I'm crazy on politics. 'Oh yeah? Seen these brave souls?' and I show them this vid." and “OMG! I was just thinking the other day that everyday the Trump administration is in power the more plausible it is that 'The Purge' and 'The Handmaid's Tale' could exist in reality. #scary #Dystopia Don't let the bastards grind you down!”

Off this experience a member of RefuseFascism.org who was one of the lead organizers of the action, fought for and got placed an op-ed in the main Philadelphia newspaper, Why I helped organize the 'Handmaids' protest of Mike Pence,” which further projected the experience and the message.

This experience needs to be spread even further and built upon. Those who took part and the many more who were inspired by it need to be organized into the RefuseFascism.org movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. The big questions that got opened up in the process of people coming together to pull this off—including how we got into this situation with real-world Christian fascists in power and what we must do about it—need to be dug into, debated, and answered as we all go forward together to stop this regime's crimes by driving it from power. And people everywhere need to learn deeply from—and take up—the approach of those who led in organizing this; they didn't start by trying to figure out what those they already knew could pull off, instead they put forward a bold vision that was commensurate with the danger being confronted and fought and struggled and united very broadly to bring forward the people and resources to make that vision real.

We encourage our readers to watch and spread this powerful video from NowThis [embedded above] that has been watched over 50,000 times, to look through the various other headlines and photos and excerpts, and to read and learn from this vivid account of the way the RefuseFascism.org Philly chapter involved a great number of people—including restaurant owners, other organizations, choreographers and many more—to pull this off together.

 


Op-Ed From philly.com (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Why I helped organize the 'Handmaids' protest of Mike Pence | Opinion

by Samantha Goldman, For the Inquirer

As soon as a friend and I put out the word that we were recruiting 100 women to protest Mike Pence’s visit by donning Handmaid’s Tale outfits—the red cloaks worn in a dystopian world where women are reduced to breeders—people began commenting about the symbolic meaning of these outfits. To me, the cloaks and white hats didn’t feel symbolic at all. Sure, we are not yet in a real-life Handmaid’s Tale ... but, isn’t the whole point of the book and the TV series is to show how such a nightmare develops and warn us to act before it becomes too late? As author Margaret Atwood wrote, “Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”

The stripping of women’s most basic right, the right to control when and if they bear children, is foundational to the Trump/Pence regime’s vision for society. Should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed to the Supreme Court, the right to legal abortion, which hangs by a thread in many areas, will be lost completely. One in three women has had an abortion. As I looked at the 100 women wearing the cloaks, I was struck by how 33 of these women would be considered criminal if Pence’s theocratic program is cemented.

In Atwood’s Gilead, the setting for The Handmaid’s Tale, the press has been savaged and shut down, there are no courts for redress if your rights are violated, and anyone caught dissenting is hung on the wall. No, we are not there yet, but who can deny that it is extremely ominous to have the president repeatedly refer to the press as “enemies of the people,” lead crowds to chant a demand for the imprisonment of political rivals, attack the courts when they rule against the regime, and simultaneously move to radically remake the judicial system. Whole sections of people have been denigrated by Trump as “animals”—then thousands of them have had their children torn from their arms and locked in cages.

In less than two weeks’ notice, an outpouring of women stepped forward to don the cloaks, donate toward costumes, make costumes, and recruit their sisters. As 100 women in red cloaks and white bonnets joined me in front of the Union League on Monday, the vice president declared, there is “only one way to sum up a year and a half of action, a year and a half of results, a year and a half of promises made and promises kept.” His words were chilling in their truth. But most chilling was Pence’s next statement: “And we are just getting started.”

In 18 months, we have seen the step-by-step hammering into place exactly the nightmarish vision Trump and Pence campaigned on.

This is why the costumes did not feel symbolic. One of the “handmaids,” Michele, said to me, “I protest for any person that feels that this administration is gunning to strip them of their rights and who live in fear as to what’s going to happen next.. I will not just calm down. I will not avoid what’s going on just because it hasn’t impacted my privileges.... yet.”

Women came from diverse perspectives and life experiences, most of us never having met before that day. We broke our silence, helping each other de-cloak and raised our fist in a pledge to struggle with all we’ve got to demand the Trump/Pence regime must go. We are determined this won’t be the last time you see us in the streets. Can we count you with us?

Samantha Goldman is an organizer with RefuseFascism.org, which coordinated a recent protest of Mike Pence . @SamanthaGoldm19

Published: July 27, 2018—12:54 PM EDT




Above: Philadelphia Daily News coverage – click to enlarge

From RefuseFascism.org:

Philly pop-up beer garden raises $1k for Handmaid’s Tale Protest Against Pence

Thursday, July 19, the owner of a South Philadelphia diner hosted a pop-up beer garden on their patio in support of the protest Refuse Fascism Philly was organizing for when Pence visited town on Monday, July 23, 2018. (Read about the important protest itself here).

People were told that the protest would raise the demand: “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” expose and oppose the fascist program of this regime, and organize people into the movement to drive them out through the power of the people. As part of this, 100 women were going to be dressed in Handmaid’s Tale costumes, based on the book and TV show, the Handmaid’s Tale, a story about a dystopian future where Christian fundamentalists hold power and women are forced to give birth against their will. Women from throughout the city have signed up to participate and have gathered together to sew costumes.

The fundraising event was organized primarily by the host who wore a NEVER AGAIN coat hanger shirt that she got made along with a button with Trump’s silhouette that read Lock Him Up. Refuse Fascism Philly assisted in promotion and supplying materials. Despite being a tiny crew of Refuse Fascism Philly, folks people were enlisted as volunteers on the spot and those who considered themselves a part of this movement increased right away. A woman arrived early to set-up after seeing a flyer about it and stopping by diner. She helped post Refuse Fascism signs and worked with a new Refuse Fascism person we met on July 7 to set up indictment panels. These indictment panels are enlargement of indictments against the Trump/Pence regime that document the crimes they have already committed on various fronts, including women, civil rights, the environment and to the people of the world.

An intern for the ACLU, who is choreographing the Handmaid’s Tale Brigade, arrived early and jumped in to set up music. She also worked throughout the night setting up bonnets involving kids and others in attendance. At the end of the night while she helped clean up she thanked us for including her. She shared that too often she signs up and never hears back or is just asked for money which she doesn’t have. She felt like her time and talent mattered.

The patio was set up with tables for people to sit, champagne punch, a keg, a table with an impressive wine and spirits raffle basket, a spread of snacks, hanging lights, and Refuse Fascism signs and indictment panels.

At the table when people came in we set up sign-up sheets, copies of the RefuseFascism.org mission statement/Call to Action, fliers for Monday’s action, big donation containers with clear labels, and stickers. As people entered they were greeted by a Refuse Fascism organizer who welcomed them, told them a bit about RF and Monday, collected donations, and encouraged people to sign up. Throughout the night about 80 people came. Worth noting that $700 of the total raised was from people putting $20 in donation jars. People entered excited, mainly in couples but also small groups of friends and a few individuals. Folks were drawn by wanting to DO SOMETHING to stop this regime and were interested in supporting Handmaid’s Tale Brigade. Many people put their Refuse Fascism sticker on right away, some put it on their skateboard, and shared who they were going to give their sticker to. One person who came early and was enlisted to help got people drinks after they spoke to RF organizer and changed the sign-up sheets when they were full.

There was a general appreciation that people were being brought together around this demand “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse To Accept A Fascist America” and that in particular the Christian fascism was being confronted. People really seemed hungry for this type of community and the patio buzzed with people making connections, encouraging each other to sign up, taking pictures of flier to post on social media etc.

The two core RF organizers that attended spoke at one point, both laying out the why and the what of protest but also what Refuse Fascism exists to do: the Trump/Pence regime is a fascist regime and we are preparing for the time when millions can be called into the streets, day after day, night after night, not stopping until the Trump/Pence regime is driven from office. And that everyone who does not want the cruel and brutal future this regime is hellbent on bringing into being should consider themselves a part of this movement. We walked people briefly through who Pence is in relation to overall regime and what it will take for them to driven out. People were invited to take stacks of fliers, get the Call to Action, get stickers, sign up to be a handmaid, throw money in the bucket.

At one point in the night, one of the women who had been sewing costumes arrived in the Handmaid’s Tale costume and walked around showing people. This helped recruit more people to sign up to participate and gave a visual of what donations were supporting. We connected with people who didn’t know about us before and re-connected with people who came out to the Pence protest last month.

Some people could not stay but stopped by just to make donations. One person who we had a lot of struggle over the Democrats with at our last meeting came out, threw in his first ever donation to RF, and said that he was so glad he came to this instead of the local Democratic Party event he was planning on going to. Another person who was just passing by and saw what was happening and came back to join was so glad to hear about RF and is eager to volunteer. At first he had a hard time grasping the idea that we aren’t working on calling our representatives but an organizer walked him through the difference it makes to call each other and mobilize the people to take to the streets to wage struggle for this demand. She referenced how driving out a regime through mass non-violent protest has been done all over the world and can happen here too if people fight for it. People left excited to spread the word, to post stickers around town, to hear from us, and to join us in the streets on Monday. They left feeling they were part of something with folks volunteering to help sew or come early on Monday.

The event raised over $1,000 [we are still totaling]. It is worth noting that mainly people came off of being customers or neighbors of the diner, the Eater article/instagram post, and Tattooed Mom’s instagram, 50 people signed up and hundreds of fliers got out.

See the Philly Voice article that appeared before the Pence protest

 

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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

From RefuseFascism.org:

Join 100 Handmaids to Confront Mike Pence & Kirstjen Nielsen to Demand:
This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Tuesday July 31, Noon, Meet at Bowling Green 4/5 Station. (Time and place subject to change—check the Facebook event for updates)

Register now to be one of 100 women wearing the blood red cloaks and white bonnets of the Handmaid’s Tale to protest Mike Pence and Kirstjen Nielson when they come to NYC.

Pence is a Christian fascist theocrat for whom the hellish world of the Handmaid’s Tale is a model society: women forced to bear children against their will, the Bible invoked to persecute LGBTQ people and tear immigrant children from their parents. Pence and Nielson are part of a FASCIST REGIME that is poised to do even worse – threatening war, even nuclear war, and destroying the environment for people the world over.

Nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop this nightmare. This protest is part of building to do just that – not by relying on channels that Trump/Pence have made clear they have no respect for, but relying on the strength of people in the streets in non-violent but sustained determined protest to demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

This action will build on the tremendous protest organized by Refuse Fascism Philly last week, when 100 Handmaids confronted Mike Pence and powerfully demanded: Trump/Pence Must Go!

We call on New Yorkers and everyone who can get to New York to join this struggle. Men are welcome, too!

The lesson of the Handmaid’s Tale is that fascism must be stopped before it’s too late. In the name of humanity, let us REFUSE to accept a fascist America.

*****


Philadelphia, PA, 7/23/18. Confronting Pence: "NO! Drive out Trump-Pence Fascist Regime"
Photo: Refuse Fascism.

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/554/haiti-inspiring-rebellion-against-imperialist-imposed-price-hikes-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

HAITI: Five Days of Inspiring Rebellion Against Imperialist-Imposed Price Hikes... and the Crying Need for Revolution

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In early July, Haiti was rocked by five inspiring days of rebellion—the most powerful in decades—against the deadly stranglehold of imperialism, in league with the corrupt and subservient Haitian government, which are making life increasingly unbearable for the great majority of Haiti’s 10 million people.

The trigger was the decision of the government of President Jovenel Moïse to carry out the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to withdraw government subsidies for fuel prices, which would drastically raise those prices. (The IMF is a U.S.-dominated political/financial institution that plays a key role in “managing” the economies of poor countries in the service of the big imperialist powers.) The IMF threatened to cut off $96 million in promised loans and grants if subsidies were not withdrawn. When they were, the cost of gas, diesel, and kerosene jumped by as much as 50 percent, gas prices went up to $4.75 a gallon, and at the same time the government increased the cost of public transportation by a similar amount.

Haiti’s people were already in a desperate situation, as a direct result of over 500 years of relentless plunder, exploitation, intervention, and invasion, first by European powers, and for the last 100 years, by the U.S. The minimum wage is $5 a day—or the cost of about a gallon of gas—and most people live on $3 a day or less. Haiti’s official unemployment rate is 14 percent, and youth unemployment is at least 36 percent. Millions are stalked by hunger and malnutrition and are now fighting for their very survival. In this context, the fuel hikes were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The government arrogantly tried to get over by making the announcement on Friday, July 6, while the popular Brazilian soccer team was playing in the World Cup—they even purchased 3,000 big-screen televisions (which cost millions of dollars) and set up public viewings in the hope this would distract people.

It didn’t work; the viewing sites became focal points of boiling anger, and thousands took to the streets in neighborhoods around the capital and in cities, suburbs, and towns across Haiti. In Petionville, Jérémie, Petit-Goâve, Cap-Haïtien, Jacmel, Gonaïves, and in the agricultural Artibonite Valley, burning barricades went up in the streets, blocking roads to airports and upscale neighborhoods. Symbols of wealth and power were attacked—luxury hotels, car dealerships, and tax offices—while small businesses were spared. In Gonaïves and in the capital’s huge working-class Carrefour area, two police stations were burned to the ground. Many protesters were armed with machetes; in some cities shots were fired.

As this volcano of outrage erupted, the government tried to retreat, announcing the—temporary—withdrawal of the rate increases just 14 hours after they were declared. It did no good. Protests continued on Saturday, now calling for the fall of the government. U.S. airlines canceled all flights to Haiti, the U.S. embassy ordered “non-essential” employees to leave, and the reactionary government of the neighboring Dominican Republic—which has a large population of Haitian and Haitian-Dominican people who came there to cut sugar cane—mobilized 5,000 troops to the border, fearful that the contagion would spread.

On Sunday, unions and popular organizations called for a general strike, and on Monday and Tuesday the capital and much of the rest of the country were shut down. Only on Wednesday—after five days of upheaval—did protests ebb, while the tension and anger remained. On Saturday, July 14, Prime Minister Guy Lafontant was forced to resign, in an effort to stabilize the crisis and save the Moïse government as a whole. However, strikingly, the IMF is continuing to insist that the government go ahead with the price increases, but do it in a more gradual way, and combine it with transportation vouchers for the poor in hopes of preventing further rebellions.

Given Haiti’s history of resistance and rebellion, its potential to be a tinderbox, and its proximity to U.S. shores, the U.S., in concert with international institutions like the IMF, has acted to ensure a measure of stability in Haiti within an overall context of subordination to the U.S. and imperialism. At times this has meant military invasions and support of brutal dictatorships, and at other times, emergency loans and concessions. These larger geostrategic interests and needs overall influence their response to events in Haiti.

IMF “Model” of Development

In the eyes of the IMF, Haiti must implement the price hikes in order to show itself to be a “reliable partner” to international capital, “fiscally responsible,” willing and able to properly handle and make payments on the loans and investments that keep it afloat.

But it is the IMF that has played the dominant role for decades in shaping a Haitian economy that is completely dependent on international capital and addicted to loans in order for the government and economy to even function. (Major natural disasters like the earthquake of 2010 and the hurricanes of 2016 and 2017 have also contributed to this.)

Through the 1970s, Haiti, though poor, produced 80 percent of its own food, with farms marketing staple foods like rice, as well as corn and sorghum. This self-sufficiency was made possible by high tariffs on imported food; the tariffs provided a limited measure of protection against foreign competition. But in 1995, under tremendous pressure, Haiti implemented the IMF’s “structural adjustment program,” which all but eliminated the tariffs. At the same time, the U.S. flooded Haitian markets with U.S.-grown rice that could be sold cheaply because its production was subsidized by the U.S. government.

The rationale was “the international market will provide cheap rice for Haiti’s people,” which in the short term was true. But the overall result was the devastation of Haiti’s agricultural economy, which at that time employed the majority of Haitians. Haitian rice could not compete with the cheap imports, and large numbers of farmers were bankrupted, lost their land, and flooded into the cities seeking work. Unemployment was driven up, poverty deepened, and Haiti now imports 80 percent of its food, which means it must have foreign currency in order for its population to have food.

And the influx of displaced peasants into the cities was in turn fuel for another IMF/U.S. “solution”—setting up garment factories and other manufacturing plants that were subsidiaries to and fed into international production chains. Haiti’s “draw” for such investment was the poverty and desperation of its workers who were willing to work like slaves for a few dollars a day, with which they must feed not only themselves but other people close to them who are unemployed. But for decades the U.S. has opposed any increase in the minimum wage, arguing that if workers were paid even six dollars a day, manufacturers would close up shop and go elsewhere. So while on the one hand, these factories produce goods to be sold abroad, and profits for their owners, the main thing they “produce” for Haiti is... more poverty!

Yet to the imperialists and the IMF, the road forward is to draw yet more such foreign investment, in industry, in agriculture, in tourism.

But for Haiti to develop in this way, to be “inviting” and “a good investment,” certain things have to be done—ports and roads have to be built; enclave neighborhoods and business districts have to be built up to provide “First World” amenities to foreign and Haitian elites running all this; reliable electricity and water must be provided; political and economic stability must be maintained.

And these things in turn require large amounts of capital outlay that have to be covered through loans—loans to build infrastructure; loans to maintain the police and army to repress the people; loans to pay for schools and other social services to prepare, sustain, and pacify the workforce. And to get those loans, the government has to prove to those who provide them—international banks, investors, imperialist governments, and “donor” organizations like the World Bank—that it will do whatever it takes to pay them back, no matter how much suffering this may entail, and that it can “handle” the political blowback.

And that brings us back to the fuel price hikes. The IMF is demanding that the population be squeezed in order to improve the government’s financial stability so that more loans can be made, more debt incurred and the population squeezed even further. As Haiti’s minister of finance put it after the rebellion broke out, “It’s difficult for you to be asking your international partners to give you budgetary assistance or support and at the same time you have revenue that you are not capturing.”

Another Model

There is no way around this within the framework of capitalism and imperialism. As Philip Alston, a UN official who is somewhat sympathetic to the suffering of the impoverished masses, put it: “The one thing that is not a real option for a relatively powerless country like Haiti is to say ‘IMF go to hell.’ The IMF remains the single most powerful player in all of these negotiations. It sends the signals to all the others in the international community.” In other words, if an oppressed country doesn’t meet the IMF’s demands, no loans, no grants, no investments... and no way for a capitalist economy to function.

This is why revolution—and specifically, communist-led revolution (which in today’s world means revolution based on the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian, BA)—is the only way out of the hell that the imperialists have created in Haiti, breaking imperialism's shackles on Haiti and opening the possibility of a radically different society and system aiming towards a world free of all exploitation and oppression, and all the other needless horrors caused by the capitalist-imperialist system.

In 2011, BA issued a statement on the mass uprising in Egypt (also available in French) that had brought down the hated Mubarak dictatorship there. In this statement, while Avakian extended “heartfelt support and encouragement to the millions who have risen up,” he drew on the crucial historical experience of the Russian Revolution—the first communist revolution, which took place in 1917 and established a liberating power that lasted for almost 40 years. He pointed out that what was new and world-historic about that revolution was:

[T]here was a core of leadership, communist leadership, that had a clear, scientifically grounded, understanding of the nature of not just this or that ruthless despot but of the whole oppressive system—and of the need to continue the revolutionary struggle not just to force a particular ruler from office but to abolish that whole system and replace it with one that would really embody and give life to the freedom and the most fundamental interests of the people, in striving to abolish all oppression and exploitation.

And BA pointed out that even though that revolution was ultimately reversed and Russia is now a capitalist and imperialist power, this crucial lesson remains valid:

When people in their masses, in their millions, finally break free of the constraints that have kept them from rising up against their oppressors and tormentors, then whether or not their heroic struggle and sacrifice will really lead to a fundamental change, moving toward the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, depends on whether or not there is a leadership, communist leadership, that has the necessary scientific understanding and method, and on that basis can develop the necessary strategic approach and the influence and organized ties among growing numbers of the people, in order to lead the uprising of the people, through all the twists and turns, to the goal of a real, revolutionary transformation of society, in accordance with the fundamental interests of the people.

Given this, BA stressed:

[W]hen people massively break with the “normal routine” and the tightly woven chains of oppressive relations in which they are usually entrapped and by which they are heavily weighed down—when they break through and rise up in their millions—that is a crucial time for communist organization to further develop its ties with those masses, strengthening its ranks and its ability to lead. Or, if such communist organization does not yet exist, or exists only in isolated fragments, this is a crucial time for communist organization to be forged and developed, to take up the challenge of studying and applying communist theory, in a living way, in the midst of this tumultuous situation, and to strive to continually develop ties with, to influence and to ultimately lead growing numbers of the masses in the direction of the revolution that represents their fundamental and highest interests, the communist revolution.

Crucially, he goes on to say:

In my writings and talks, in Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, a Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and in other major documents of our Party, we have striven to draw as deeply and fully as possible the critical lessons from the historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—the very real and great achievements, and the serious errors and setbacks—and to learn from the broader experience of human society and its historical development, in order to contribute all we can to the advance of the revolutionary struggle and the emancipation of oppressed people throughout the world. As the Constitution of our Party states:

The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA has taken the responsibility to lead revolution in the U.S., the belly of the imperialist beast, as its principal share of the world revolution and the ultimate aim of communism....

The emancipation of all humanity: this, and nothing less than this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate our lives.

The July uprising in Haiti was heroic and determined, and it won a significant victory. But its greatest importance is that it shows both the potential and the necessity for a powerful revolutionary force to arise in and utterly transform Haiti... if and as the necessary communist leadership emerges to forge and guide that revolutionary process. Forging that leadership is the most essential task of all those who yearn and dream of an end to the life-stealing oppression of the Haitian people, and of people all over the world.


Thousands in Haiti took to the streets to protest the enormous jump in the cost of gas when Haiti’s president decided to meet the demands of the IMF to withdraw government subsidies for fuel. (Photo: AP)

Imperialism means huge monopolies and financial institutions controlling the economies and the political systems—and the lives of people—not just in one country but all over the world. Imperialism means parasitic exploiters who oppress hundreds of millions of people and condemn them to untold misery; parasitic financiers who can cause millions to starve just by pressing a computer key and thereby shifting vast amounts of wealth from one place to another. Imperialism means war—war to put down the resistance and rebellion of the oppressed, and war between rival imperialist states—it means the leaders of these states can condemn humanity to unbelievable devastation, perhaps even total annihilation, with the push of a button.

Imperialism is capitalism at the stage where its basic contradictions have been raised to tremendously explosive levels. But imperialism also means that there will be revolution—the oppressed rising up to overthrow their exploiters and tormentors—and that this revolution will be a worldwide struggle to sweep away the global monster, imperialism.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:6

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 #554 July 30, 2018

Israel’s “Jewish Nation-State Law,” Escalating U.S.-Israeli Crimes Against the Palestinian People, and Threats of War Against Iran

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On Thursday, July 19, Israel’s Knesset (parliament) passed a new law proclaiming that Israel is the “Nation-State of the Jewish People.” This bill legally enshrines—and heightens—the racist oppression and subordinate status of Israel’s 1.9 million Palestinian citizens. And its declaration that only Jewish people have the right to “national self-determination” and its call for more settlements ominously opens the door to accelerated ethnic cleansing, even genocide, of the Palestinian people.

A Palestinian member of the Knesset wrote in the Los Angeles Times (July 20) of the new law:

It threatens to set the country on a course to full-blown Jewish theocracy.

The so-called “Jewish nation-state” bill formalizes in Israeli law the superior rights and privileges that Jewish citizens of the state enjoy over its indigenous Palestinian minority, who comprise roughly 20% of the population. It demotes Arabic from one of two official languages to a mere “special” status, deepens racial segregation by directing the government to “encourage and promote” Jewish settlement, and declares that the right to self-determination in Israel is “exclusive” to the Jewish people, denying the history and ancient Palestinian roots in this land. It also prioritizes the Jewishness of the state over its democratic character, omitting any reference to “democracy” or “equality.”

Israel’s founding 1948 Declaration of Independence promised all its inhabitants “complete equality of social and political rights” regardless of religion, ethnicity, or sex. And for decades the U.S. imperialists—Democrats and Republicans—have hailed Israel as the Middle East’s only “democracy.”

In reality, Israel has been a thoroughly reactionary state serving the interests of Zionism (a movement for creating a Jewish state through U.S.- and European-backed colonization) and imperialism—a reliable bastion and backer of U.S. domination in one of the most strategically significant parts of the world. The Palestinian people—including the 1.9 million who are Israeli citizens (21 percent of the country’s population)—have never had anything close to equality or basic rights. Israel’s very existence is based on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population—more than 700,000 were driven from their homes and lands when Israel was founded. Since then, Palestinians inside Israel have faced racism and apartheid-like conditions (including some 50 laws specifically favoring Jews). In the West Bank and Gaza (outside Israel’s formal and often expanding boundaries), Palestinians have been subjected to draconian and often murderous military occupation aimed at crushing any possibility of their national self-determination.

Yet as bloody and horrendous as this history has been,1 the passage of this new “basic law”—which legally supersedes Israel’s founding Declaration of Independence and other laws—drops even the pretense of equality for all citizens and represents a very dangerous fascist leap. It literally obligates the state to discriminate against non-Jewish citizens, and to enshrine and expand Israeli apartheid. It raises the specter of Palestinians and other non-Jewish Israelis being stripped of their citizenship and further brutalized. The law calls building Jewish-only settlements on occupied territory a “national value”—raising the specter of accelerated ethnic cleansing, even genocide. (See also “The Genocidal Implications of Trump’s Embrace of a ‘One-State Solution’ for Palestine.”)

While things have been moving this way for a while, this move represents “the official beginning of fascism and apartheid,” as an Israeli Arab legislator described on Twitter (emphasis ours).

Trump/Pence Regime Endorses Israeli Fascism

Israel’s new law—and the escalation of its murderous brutality against the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza—have been uncritically backed by the Trump/Pence regime and leading Democrats, whose profound silence in the face of this fascistic outrage speaks volumes.

Fundamentalist Christian fascist forces, now key backers and forces in the Trump/Pence regime, are rabid supporters of Israel, with a great ideological affinity for its extreme right-wing Jewish fundamentalists. As we’ve written, these Christian fundamentalist fascists “see the clash with fundamentalist Islamic Jihad as a continuation of a historic global conflict between the white Judeo-Christian West, and Islam as a whole, with Israel on the ‘front lines’ of that clash of civilizations.” For more on this, see Bob Avakian’s work—in particular, “The Pyramid of Power And the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down.

The week this fascist legislation was passed, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, together with other Trump operatives including the U.S. ambassador to Israel, published opinion pieces in the Washington Post and at CNN blasting Hamas—the Islamic fundamentalist party which is currently the dominant Palestinian political force in Gaza—as solely responsible for the barbaric, subhuman destitution suffered by the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza.

“Life could significantly improve in short order for the Palestinian people if Hamas allowed it,” Kushner and his cohorts claimed. “The world is moving forward, but bad choices are causing Palestinians to fall further and further behind.... Hamas leadership is holding the Palestinians of Gaza captive.”

While Hamas is a reactionary and oppressive, not emancipatory, force, Kushner’s charges are monstrous lies—and the height of hypocrisy—to justify monstrous crimes. Seventy percent of the Palestinians now living in Gaza are refugees. They did not make the “bad choice” to have imperialist-backed Zionists violently expel them from their homes in 1948. They didn’t make the “choice” to have Israel impose a crippling, sadistic blockade that leaves Gazans with two hours of water and electricity a day, no materials to rebuild their homes and cities devastated by Israeli bombs, and life-threatening poverty and unemployment. And the Palestinians didn’t “choose” to have Israeli snipers murder 140 overwhelmingly unarmed protesters and wound another 12,000 this past spring for the “crime” of demonstrating on their own land to end Israel’s siege and for the right to return to their stolen homes. And it’s Israel—not Hamas—that has literally built, and now patrols, the walls of the open-air prison of Gaza, where Palestinians are held captive.

Israel, Imperialist Maneuvering, and the Threat of War on Iran

Israel’s new law was passed at a moment when it may be preparing for another murderous assault on Gaza, and when it and its imperialist backers—mainly the U.S., but also Russia—are maneuvering to isolate, squeeze, and perhaps attack Iran, a reactionary theocratic power that America’s and Israel’s rulers consider their most dangerous regional adversary.

Trump pinpointed “the security of Israel” as the first in a list of things he discussed with Russia’s Vladimir Putin at their recent summit in Helsinki, Finland. “We discussed Israel and the security of Israel, and President Putin is very much involved now with us and the discussion with Bibi Netanyahu on working something out with surrounding Syria,” Trump said, “and specifically with regards to the security and long-term security of Israel.”

All that Trump and Putin discussed is a carefully guarded secret. One item, according to the Washington Post, was reportedly a deal between Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to prevent Iranian forces in Syria from being deployed near Israel’s border.

But there clearly are bigger and more ominous things afoot. Israel has been calling for a more aggressive posture, even war and regime change, against Iran for over a decade. Now the Trump/Pence regime has pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal the U.S. and other global powers negotiated with Iran, is re-imposing sanctions, and has stepped up its threats and denunciations against Iran’s Islamic Republic. (See “Alert: U.S. Ratchets Up War Threats Against Iran.”) There are also reports of high-level White House meetings on Iran and the possibility of U.S. strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. To understand the larger contradictions and overall necessities driving the U.S. imperialists and Israel toward conflict with Iran, see “Trump Says Iran Violating Nuclear Deal: An Ominous Move, A Gangster Escalation.”

Why Does America Support Israel No Matter How Many Crimes It Commits?
Why Is It Once Again Threatening War on Iran?

WHY has the U.S. continued to support Israel no matter who is in the White House—Democrat or Republican—and no matter how many towering crimes Israel commits, from the terrorist ethnic cleansing of 1948, to the war of aggression and conquest in 1967, to its barbaric blockade and slaughters in Gaza in recent years? Because Israel is America’s most reliable bastion and powerful military outpost in the Middle East. This murderous settler state is one of America’s deadliest weapons in maintaining its stranglehold on this region. And dominating this energy-rich region, whose location is key to global trade and military power, is critical to U.S. global power—and to the functioning of its entire capitalist-imperialist system. These are also the very reasons the U.S. is once again threatening to unleash a cataclysm of death and suffering—this time against Iran—in order to maintain its global empire of exploitation and oppression.

U.S. and Israeli (and possibly Russian) moves towards inflicting further horrors on the Palestinian people and stepped-up aggression or war against Iran must be resisted as part of building a movement in the U.S. for an actual revolution to get rid of this system, which by its very nature and workings gives rise to unending horrors. Building such a movement, and then actually making revolution when the necessary conditions have emerged, would change the whole dynamic in the Middle East—now characterized by the clash of outmoded, reactionary forces—and open up whole new possibilities for human emancipation.

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

1. For much more on this, see Revolution Special Issue: Bastion of Enlightenment… or Enforcer for Imperialism: The Case of ISRAEL. [back]

 In the West Bank and Gaza (outside Israel’s formal and often expanding boundaries), Palestinians have been subjected to draconian and often murderous military occupation aimed at crushing any possibility of their national self-determination. Here, a Palestinian man inspects  damage from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City July 15, 2018. (Photo:AP)

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

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28


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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

Ugly American Anti-Immigrant Offensive Continues to Ramp Up

Immigrant prisoners forced to choose between separation from kids or indefinite detention together, as government prepares military bases for concentration camps

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The whole world watched in horror in June as the Trump/Pence regime showed what “zero tolerance” looks like in the hands of sadistic, cold-blooded fascists. The images of terrified immigrant children torn from parents who’d just been arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border were seared into the minds and hearts of people everywhere.

Faced with a mounting international political crisis, Trump issued an executive order on June 20 saying that the Department of Homeland Security would “maintain custody of immigrant families” while waiting for their cases to be heard in court, a process that can take months or longer. In other words, rather than separating families, they would hold the entire family in detention indefinitely.

Days later, a federal court ordered the government to reunite the families they had torn apart—beginning with the 100 infants and toddlers under the age of five they had taken away. What was revealed through all this is that the monsters running the U.S. government do not give a damn about the lives they are destroying. They do not even have the records needed to reunite many of the children with their parents. The parents of 38 of the 100 children can’t be found because they were either deported or were released and can’t be located. Now the government admits the parents of at least 450 children were deported back to their home countries without their children, and with no way to reunite them. And as of July 26, the court-ordered deadline for reuniting the families, the government said they still had in custody 711 children who had been separated from their parents.

It has been the law since the 1980s that the government cannot forcibly hold children in detention facilities beyond 20 days. But a July 9 ruling by a federal judge said that “parents may also affirmatively waive [give up] their children’s rights to prompt release and placement in state-licensed facilities.” What this means is that the government can arrest parents with their children, and hold them together in custody for up to 20 days. At that time the parent(s) must choose: to be separated from their children, and watch them be released and put into a state facility or turned over to a sponsor or to waive the child’s right to be released and keep the child with them in the detention camp indefinitely.

Internment (Concentration) Camps for Undocumented Immigrants

Days before issuing the June 20 executive order, Trump declared: “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility. Not on my watch.” But the reality is that it could become a land of concentration camps for immigrants.

Trump’s executive order also authorized Secretary of Defense James Mattis to “take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law.” The military has been called upon to provide 20,000 spaces to hold immigrant families on military bases. Three bases in Texas—the Army’s Fort Bliss and the Air Force’s Dyess and Goodfellow—have already been inspected for “fitness” by the Department of Health and Human Services. Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas is also being considered.

If the plans to use these military bases move ahead, it would not be the first time that U.S. imperialism has put people in this country in concentration camps in massive numbers. In 1942, the U.S. rounded up and imprisoned in concentration camps 120,000 citizens and immigrants of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast for four years, even beyond the end of U.S. involvement in World War 2.

Slamming the Door on Asylum Seekers

On June 11, Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, declared that he was eliminating two huge categories for political asylum that many of the refugees have sought refuge under: domestic violence and gang violence. It was not until 2014 that the highest U.S. immigration court—the Board of Immigration Appeals—decided that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras can be eligible for asylum as a specific category of victims of persecution. Sessions just spit on this ruling, and 30 years of precedent along with it, knowing full well that thousands of women in fear for their lives because of domestic violence will be forced to return to their countries of origin, possibly facing death. And Sessions’ declaration that those fleeing gang violence in countries like Guatemala—especially teenage men and women, who face persecution by gangs and their ultimatums to join or die—are ineligible for asylum will be a death sentence to thousands of these youths if they’re forced to return.

In short, far fewer asylum seekers will be granted a “credible basis for asylum,” and far more will be deported, far more quickly. This regime is perfectly willing to force thousands and thousands of refugees to their deaths, in the name of cutting the “backlog” of those awaiting asylum hearings.

Don’t be fooled by the Trump/Pence regime’s seeming “fits and starts” in ratcheting up the extremely vicious persecution of immigrants. They are putting into place and acting on their fascist plans. And Trump and Sessions have systematically poisoned the atmosphere toward immigrants—demonization to the point where the most ugly government actions (and those by the “unofficial” fascist forces being mobilized by this regime) against not only undocumented immigrants but all immigrants are being grotesquely justified. This is a key and leading edge of the fascist agenda of open white supremacy and ugly “make America great again” chauvinism.

The question that must be raised—and answered with the truth—is: Why are so many thousands of people putting their lives and those of their children on the line to make the dangerous trek across the border into a country where they are treated as criminals? Because they are desperate to flee the hellish situation created in their countries BY the U.S. imperialists. The great majority of immigrants now being put into the detention (concentration) camps are poor people from Central America. In the 1970s and 1980s, U.S.-backed reactionary regimes and wars drove hundreds of thousands from their homes in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Many came to the U.S., where the youth found themselves in inner cities gutted of worthwhile jobs, at the same time as police terror and mass incarceration were being ramped up under the “war on drugs.” This situation, along with the dog-eat-dog morality of capitalism, stoked the huge growth of gangs in places like Los Angeles, and many people driven from Central America became caught up in this.

Then when the U.S. deported thousands of these same Central American youths in the name of a “war on gangs,” they were forcibly sent to devastated countries they hardly knew. The “gang culture” that began in the U.S. was taken into these situations, and took root in ugly ways in the crowded and extremely poor and devastated Central American barrios. And this has had huge impact on the small and already impoverished countries, where much of the countryside had been laid to waste and the economies ruined. Continued U.S. intervention has served to keep a series of reactionary client regimes in power. Horrific gang violence, including battles among different sections of the police and armed forces allied with various gangs, has brought many among the masses of people to feel that their only hope for survival is to flee to the U.S. and seek asylum. These are the people that the U.S. rulers, with the fascists now at the top, are treating like animals.

The U.S.’s open backing of right-wing death squads and reactionary regimes in these countries is coupled with continued economic domination and devastation of countries south of the U.S. border—a border that is itself a result of wars of conquest by the U.S. The workings of this capitalist-imperialist system have led to a great lopsidedness between the imperialist countries of the world, the “First World,” and the vast number of oppressed nations, the “Third World.” This generates massive migrations from the Third World of people looking for refuge and livelihood, now further exacerbated around the world by devastating wars and climate change. Faced with this, the rulers rely on more and more militarization of borders and deportation of immigrants as their answer to what they perceive as “the problem.” This is why, before Trump and the fascist regime brought anti-immigrant attacks to new levels of criminality and viciousness, Obama was the “Deporter-in-Chief” responsible for a far greater number of deportations during his tenure in office than his predecessors—while always touting “border security.” The fascist sections of the ruling class of this system, such as Trump, Pence, and Sessions, further promote extreme forms of demonization of immigrants, relying on and reinforcing the white supremacy that pervades this society, as most of the immigrants are Central and South Americans.

The demonization, criminalization, and deportation of immigrants is rooted deeply in and flows from the system—the system of capitalism-imperialism. The Democratic Party, as demonstrated by Obama, is not the answer, because it represents and enforces the very same system—and relying on them is worse than useless: it contributes to shoring up this whole oppressive setup. To actually move fundamentally beyond this intolerable situation—and get to a far better society and world—this system must be OVERTHROWN by an actual revolution, to be replaced by a radically different society and system, aiming to end all of the social divisions world wide, the oppression and exploitation of this system, that give rise to this problem in the first place. And from this perspective, it is even more crucial that we wage fierce resistance against these escalated attacks on immigrants, uniting with the tens of millions whose consciences are shocked by the scope and nature of these acts of the Trump/Pence regime.


Mother and her child from Honduras being taken into custody where they are likely to be separated, June 2018. AP photo


Washington DC, June 26: U.S. families with children protest the forced separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border. AP photo

 

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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

“Lock Her Up!”: Jeff Sessions Whips Up America's Hitler Youth

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions—the most powerful law enforcement official in the country—smiled and joined in when hundreds of Trumpian high school students broke into chants of “Lock her up!” “Lock her up!” during his July 24 speech. Sessions was at a national conference of right-wing students organized by a group called Turning Point USA. Afterward, Sessions said, “I like this bunch, I gotta tell you. You’re not going to be backing down. Go get ’em. Go get ’em.”

“Lock her up!” became a Trumpian fascist battle cry during the 2016 election, aimed at Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and was chanted by tens of thousands of rabid reactionaries who flocked to stadiums to see Trump perform live. These “Lock her up!” chants were brimming with threats of extrajudicial, lynch-mob violence. They were fascistic declarations that the prevailing ruling class “norms” of at least appearances of due process and “bipartisanship” were no longer to be respected. Trump was saying outright that he wouldn’t just defeat Clinton at the polls, he’d have her (and perhaps any other opponents) arrested and jailed.

“Lock her up!” was also a declaration of the open, vitriolic misogyny that is a core element of the Trump/Pence fascist program. Hillary Clinton was responsible for many war crimes as Obama’s secretary of state. And in the 1990s, she was a key member of the Bill Clinton White House that greatly stepped up the mass incarceration directed largely at Black and Brown youth. But that’s certainly not why Trump supporters had such hatred for her—it was precisely the fact that she is a woman that stoked their patriarchal rage, expressed in T-shirts (“Trump that B...*”) and homemade posters of her in prison garb that were themselves a kind of sick, semi-pornographic assault.

The DOJ Has Never, NEVER Been About Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) that Sessions now heads has never been an instrument of, by, or for the people. It’s part of the dictatorship exercised by the capitalist-imperialist ruling class to enforce laws that uphold and maintain the functioning of their system of exploitation and its oppressive production and social relations. That’s why under Obama, the DOJ never prosecuted any killer cops—not the murderers of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, or Michael Brown; not the killers of any of the hundreds of other people, disproportionately Black and Latino, who were killed by police on Obama’s watch.

Obama’s DOJ worked to derail the powerful “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” movement against police murder and terror that erupted after Michael Brown was murdered by pig Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, with phony expressions of concern and promises they would bring justice. Instead, they sided with Michael Brown’s murderer, refused to charge him with any crime, and even tried to discredit and reverse the truth that Michael had his hands up when he was shot dead.1

But now, putting the DOJ in the hands of the white-supremacist KKKlucker Jeff Sessions, as part of the Trump/Pence fascist regime overall, marked a terrible leap toward even greater horrors and injustices. We’ve already seen Sessions turn all border crossers—a great many of them refugees seeking asylum—into felons. Without hesitation, he has separated thousands of children from their parents. He has threatened criminal action against Democratic Party political opponents such as the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, who warned of a series of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids aimed at immigrants just before they were launched.

But when Sessions takes up the chant “Lock her up,” it signals that past norms, even the rule of law, are being further torn up and that the instruments of state repression can now be turned against any opponent of this regime, not just the ruling class opponents of the Democratic Party, but more broadly among the masses of people. It’s a green light to extralegal, lynch mob-style violence. And it’s yet another sign that the DOJ has become an instrument for implementing a fascist program, locking in unchecked Trump/Pence rule, and punishing those who stand in the way.

Organizing Hitler Youth on Campuses

Turning Point USA operates the “Professor Watchlist,” which organizes right-wing students to identify, publicize, and attack professors whose scholarship, curricula, and role as public intellectuals stand in the way of the agenda of America’s fascists. It pumps large sums of money into campus elections with the goal of having its candidates become the future leaders of campus student organizations. All this is part of an overall campaign to crush critical thinking, censor and reverse scholarship on America’s actual history, role in the world, or treatment of the oppressed within its own borders, and “Nazify” the universities.2

Turning Point USA’s conference was part of their efforts to organize an American version of the Hitler Youth, and Sessions echoed their assaults on liberal universities, claiming they were “coddling” students and creating a “generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes.” And his “Lock her up!” encouragement to these students was aimed at fostering an aggressive, get-ready-for-civil-war-and-violent-repression-type mentality in the youth—including to “take back the universities.”

(The liberal bourgeois New York Times' coverage of the conference normalized and prettified these fascist or fascist-leaning youths, characterizing them as “conservatives” or “right-leaning.”)

The Fight for the Future Cannot Be Avoided—and Must Not Be Shrunk From

Sessions, other members of the Trump/Pence regime who spoke at the conference, and fascist organizations like Turning Point USA, are aggressively organizing youths to fight for the future—a fascist future of violent white and male supremacy, Nazi assaults on immigrants, the plunder of the environment, and “America First” wars and domination.

There IS a tremendous struggle for the future unfolding right now which cannot be avoided—and should certainly not be shrunk from. The question of what KIND of future will be fought for is on the table.

It is tremendously important to oppose the foul crap being whipped up by the Klucker Sessions and the Trump/Pence regime and the all-around fascist assault that will make the hell America has always been for millions and millions even more excruciating and intolerable.

But the fact is that America was NEVER great and has always been a living hell for the oppressed here and worldwide. Why would we want to go back to a society that even on its “best day” was saturated with white supremacy, misogyny, and the most vicious chauvinism toward people around the world... the kind of society that not only breeds sewer creatures like Trump and Sessions but makes them “respectable” and powerful leaders?

A far better and truly liberating future is possible, thanks to the work Bob Avakian has done over decades to bring forward a new synthesis of communism—the new communism—which is embodied concretely in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Readers can dig into this new communism and the breakthrough for humanity that it represents, on the Bob Avakian portal at revcom.us. This visionary, viable, and revolutionary alternative to the horror that is capitalism-imperialism—whether bourgeois democrats or fascists are in charge—must be spread far and wide, and become a real pole throughout society.


1. See “DOJ Report: Coverup for the Police Murder of Michael Brown.”  [back]

2. See “‘Professor Watchlist’—Targeting Critical Thinking and Dissent in the Universities.”  [back]

As I have said a number of times: These reactionaries should not even be allowed to use “conservative” to describe themselves. We should say, “Conservative, my ass, these people are Nazis.”

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:26

Clip: "What are we facing?"

See and share the whole Talk and the Q&As!


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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

“Reform or Revolution?” Digging into Bob Avakian’s Essay at Revolution Books

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received this report from a reader on a recent discussion at Revolution Books in Berkeley:

After introducing the bookstore and Bob Avakian (BA) to people, I started by posing the contradiction between the magnitude of the problems humanity faces and the pathetic reform “solutions” we are offered. For example, we face systematic and systemic police murder of Black and Brown people, yet are told to rely on police review boards, body cameras, and more Black elected officials! We face catastrophic environmental destruction, yet are told to “solve” this problem by recycling our personal products, eating organic, and green capitalism! The richest 42 people in the world own more wealth than the poorest half of humanity, etc. I emphasized the importance of digging into the question of reform and revolution, proceeding from what it’s really gonna take to solve these monumental problems.

A couple of Chinese students spoke about how they were intrigued seeing that there is a Revolutionary Communist Party in the U.S. They were skeptical about the idea of revolution, but wanted to learn more. A USC student said she’s very concerned about the environment and is starting to see the limits of reforms. She’s become disillusioned with environmental nonprofits, but is still unsure of revolution because she “doesn’t like violence.” A UNC student who is studying business but doesn’t really believe in it, has had her eyes opened by traveling around the world, and wants to learn more about revolution. What stood out was people’s seriousness in engaging these questions, which continued throughout the discussion, and their openness to revolution.

We read the essay from Bob Avakian’s BAsics, “Reform or Revolution: Questions of Orientation, Questions of Morality,” aloud together. I asked what people thought of the analogy BA lays out about the plague and antibiotics being hoarded and guarded by armed thugs and only distributed for profit, and the two alternatives in that situation—putting wet towels on people’s foreheads to ease their suffering, or organizing people to storm the compound to seize the antibiotics and distribute them among the people.

One of the Chinese students said this made him wonder whether, even if the “antibiotics” were liberated, there would be enough for everyone: Is the problem that things are only distributed for profit, or is it lack of resources? A young European woman said that she wants to seize the “antibiotics” but worries the armed guards will turn it into a bloodbath, so maybe there’s some way they could be convinced, or some compromise could be arranged. A couple of people thought the main obstacle standing in the way of people rising up and seizing the “antibiotics” is not armed thugs, but media propaganda and brainwashing. Others agreed with the analogy and united with the need for revolution, especially a woman from the Middle East.

I talked about the fundamental contradiction in the world: the globalized networks of production and vast socially produced wealth on the one hand, and the private ownership and private appropriation of that wealth on the other hand. This causes totally unnecessary suffering, some of which I brought alive through vivid agitation. The material basis exists to have a common abundance if that contradiction is resolved through an actual revolution. I also referred people to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. In terms of how the armed thugs could actually be defeated, I referred people to HOW WE CAN WIN.

I asked people why they thought BA focused on the question of morality in relation to the question of reform or revolution. The woman from the Middle East spoke very powerfully to the moral responsibility we have for revolution, including because “who knows if there will be any Middle East left” if things keep going as they are. She said people in her country are locked out of access to information about the revolution like we were getting into and that people living in this country who have access to this knowledge have a responsibility to act on it in the interest of the whole world.

After the main discussion was over, a bunch of the students stuck around, excited and eager to keep talking. A couple of them wanted to hook up with the Revolution Club right away. Others wanted to stay connected to Revolution Books and learn more. A couple of the Chinese students, who really wanted to sort out what happened with communism in China, and learn more about the new communism developed by Bob Avakian, picked up the interview with Raymond Lotta, “You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future.” The woman from the Middle East commented that she liked the frankness of the discussion and directness of the revolutionaries. She had been in a European country where she said there is a tendency for political discussions to be very polite and shallow, where harsh truths are covered over. She also said she liked that we were talking about the whole world.

BAsics, from the talks and writings of  Bob Avakian

There is nothing more unrealistic than the idea of reforming this system into something that would come anywhere near being in the interests of the great majority of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:2

"You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics."  Find out more here

 

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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

Fighting for the Thousands to Lead Millions to Make Revolution

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Snapshots of a day with the NYC Revolution Club in Harlem

The following are a series of excerpts from different people who took part in an outing led by the New York City Revolution Club to spread and organize people into the movement for an actual revolution.

A Revolution Club member oriented people, emphasizing that we are organizing the thousands today to get into the revolution and hasten and prepare for the time to lead millions to go all out for revolution. She showed the new sign-up form that quoted at the top from HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW) on organizing thousands, and then said something like, “Yes, I want to be one of those thousands nationally.” And she highlighted the passage from HWCW about becoming the authority the masses look to, not the lying politicians, and drew lessons from the recent experience of the Chicago Revolution Club leading and organizing people into the revolution on the spot in the struggle against the police murder of Harith “Snoop” Augustus. She showed the banner that masses could sign to send a message of support to the revolutionaries and masses rising up in Chicago.

********

The agitation hit hard at the horrors and unreformability of the system, while calling for people to step forward today as part of the thousands and getting ready to lead millions to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. It projected the strategy for an actual revolution in HWCW, made it clear that this is a national movement for revolution, and got into the great strength we have in the leadership of Bob Avakian as architect of the new communism and someone who has solved the biggest problems of the revolution. It called on people to get his official biography  that was available on the table. This was part of the deal, too, we had a much bigger and more serious-looking table than in the past with a lot more materials stacked on it—making clear visually that they were there to ORGANIZE people.

********

Two young Black women joined in approaching strangers with copies of HWCW. I came near just in case they ran into questions and heard an older woman from Eastern Europe telling them, “Well, yes, things are bad but communism is not the answer.” The young women began agreeing. I interrupted them and challenged them to interrogate where those ideas come from and who is served by having a population that thinks that the only real alternative to the capitalist system is a nightmare: the capitalists themselves! I told them about how the new communism  is a breakthrough that has been developed through critical analysis of the historic communist project and how one big summation point is that communist revolution is actually the way in which all the horrors that people see and live today can be put an end to. I told them about the interview with Raymond Lotta on “You Don’t Know What You Think You ‘Know’ About...The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation.”

The younger women started wrestling with how people’s thinking is shaped by the rulers, including their own. We talked about what is capitalism, and what would be a different way of organizing society, including in regards of police because this is a big concern of theirs, “The murders by police have to stop!” They were thinking about coming the next day to the bookstore to get deeper into all of this. It will be important to read with them “You Don’t Know What You Think You 'Know'...” and HWCW, and work with them to be barefoot doctoring back home.

********

Signing the banner gave a sense to people that this is a national movement, that when they write a message, it is part of something larger. One of the ways new people who joined on the spot were helping out was to ask other new people to sign the banner. It was definitely an entry way for people.

********

An older Latino guy who was inspired by the agitation said: “What she is saying is that she wants to stop what is happening to people right? I think that is good!” We talked about what a revolution is and how precious it is that there is a plan to carry it out, but that people don’t know about it. We talked about planting a pole in society where people who hate what is happening to people can look to revolution. He took a marker and wrote, “Alto a la brutalidad policial” [Stop police brutality] on the banner. He helped hand out HWCW pamphlets for about an hour on the street and took another four HWCW in Spanish to give to his co-workers in construction.

********

People liked the stickers of “America Was Never Great” and we gave people the sense that spreading it in social media, or wearing it, or putting it up, was part of doing meaningful revolutionary work because the website revcom.us is where people go to learn about the overall movement for revolution, what is going on in different parts of the country, how do we need to understand what is going on in the world from the perspective of humanity and not from the perspective of the ruling class.

 

Photos from an outing led by the New York City Revolution Club to spread and organize people into the movement for an actual revolution.

 

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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

A Reflection from a Translator for Revcom

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

We received this letter from someone who has been volunteering to translate revcom articles into Spanish:

After translating more than 10+ articles for revcom from English to Spanish, I was shocked (but at the same time, not surprised) at the injustice that the United States has brought to its own people. As someone who is very education oriented, the article on Literacy in Detroit reminded me why I am pursuing a career as an Educator. Writing for revcom has been a way of educating the Spanish-speaking public. I saw a post on social media not too long ago that said: “Education is the crown jewel of the privileged, and has often been withheld by oppressors to keep marginalized and impoverished peoples under their control.” The revcom website helps these same people who are not able to receive a formal education, by sharing free content that everyone in the world is able to access.

I don’t consider myself a communist nor do I believe I have strong communist beliefs to be considered a revolutionary, but I am a liberal who believes in humanity and I do consider myself a firm believer of the truth. I think the principal reason why we write, share, and translate these articles is not only to shame our country on the errors of the past but to make the citizens of the present aware of the errors that were made in the past in order for our country to progress.

I believe that reading these articles have always influenced me to read more, and to learn about the corrupt ways of other countries besides the U.S. This has led me to become a more compassionate human being in my everyday life. We do hear and watch (for those who listen to the radio or watch TV), or read (for those who enjoy reading) about all the evil in this world, and the least we could do is to be a decent human being who has respect towards others. This should encourage us to have good intentions with everyone who we interact with on an everyday basis.

 

Your creativity, energy and skills can count for something very great indeed. Volunteer time with revcom.us, even as you look deeper into what this is about.

I want to volunteer with revcom, what can I do?

 

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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

by Bob Avakian

 

July 15, 2019: In light of Donald Trump's racist comments on Sunday, July 14 about the Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, we are reprinting the following piece from Bob Avakian, originally written in 2017 but at least as timely today... and certainly as urgent.

 

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 #554 July 30, 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 in 1998 | 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.

[Return to article]

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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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/009/avakian-fascists-destruction-weimar.htm

Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

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

by Bob Avakian

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NOTES:

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

[Return to article]

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

[Return to article]

 

 


 

Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/554/yale-students-others-blast-school-officials-for-praising-trump-pick-of-kavanaugh-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

Yale Law Students, Alums, and Professors Blast School Officials for Praising Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Kavanaugh

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

If Trump’s nominee to the open seat on the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed, he will be the fifth pro-fascist vote on the nine-member panel and clearly tip the “highest court in the land” into a compliant tool of the fascist transformation of the U.S. One thing Kavanaugh’s backers tout (and even his critics in the Democratic Party acknowledge) is his supposed legal “pedigree”—he is a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School. After his nomination, Yale Law School issued a statement touting Kavanaugh, including a quote from Dean Heather Gerken: “I can personally attest that, in addition to his government and judicial service, Judge Kavanaugh has been a longtime friend to many of us in the Yale Law School community. Ever since I joined the faculty, I have admired him for serving as a teacher and mentor to our students and for hiring a diverse set of clerks, in all respects, during his time on the court.”

In a righteous and much-needed response to this craven praise for a fascist judge, dozens of Yale Law School students, alums, and professors issued an open letter on July 10 addressed to Dean Gerken and the school leadership, exposing Kavanaugh’s reactionary record and positions on different issues, and condemning the school officials’ endorsement of him.

The open letter said the school’s press release on Kavanaugh “obscures the true stakes of his nomination and raises a disturbing question: Is there nothing more important to Yale Law School than its proximity to power and prestige?”

The letter then says:

Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency—for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country. His nomination is not an interesting intellectual exercise to be debated amongst classmates and scholars in seminar. Support for Judge Kavanaugh is not apolitical. It is a political choice about the meaning of the constitution and our vision of democracy, a choice with real consequences for real people. Without a doubt, Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the most vulnerable. He is a threat to many of us, despite the privilege bestowed by our education, simply because of who we are.

The letter digs into Kavanaugh’s dangerous position against the right to abortion:

Since his campaign launched, Trump has repeatedly promised to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Overturning that decision would endanger the lives of countless people who need or may need abortions—including many who sign this letter. Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is a reliable way to fulfill his oath. Just a few months ago, Judge Kavanaugh ruled to deny a detained immigrant minor her constitutional right to abortion. Decades-old Supreme Court precedent makes clear that the government may not place an undue burden on a pregnant person’s access to abortion. But Judge Kavanaugh clearly did not feel constrained by precedent: what could be a greater obstacle than a cage? The minor had never wavered in her decision to seek an abortion and had received a judicial bypass from a state judge who found that she was competent to make the decision. Yet Kavanaugh condescendingly and disingenuously held that she must wait weeks until she was in a “better place” to make a choice about her own bodily autonomy—at which point she might not be able to have a legal abortion. Further, Kavanaugh argued that to require immigration authorities to stop blocking her from accessing this right would force the government into complicity.

The letter follows that with exposure of Kavanaugh’s reactionary position on access to contraceptives and other health issues and rights of LGBTQ people:

The judge employed similar spurious reasoning in a 2015 dissent arguing that the ACA’s contraceptive mandate violated the rights of religious organizations, even though those organizations were granted an accommodation that allowed them to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage. Kavanaugh’s opinions give us grave concern that he will consistently prioritize the beliefs of third-parties over the rights of the oppressed—not only when it comes to abortion and contraception, but also regarding other forms of medical care (including care for transgender patients), family privacy, and sexual liberty. Litigants harness this same logic when arguing that institutions have a religious right to discriminate against LGBT people—an issue the Court is certain to take up in the years to come.

The letter goes on to break down Kavanaugh’s positions on a number of other important issues. The Yale students, alums, and professors close their open letter by saying:

Now is the time for moral courage—which for Yale Law School comes at so little cost. Perhaps you, as an institution and as individuals, will benefit less from Judge Kavanaugh’s ascendent power if you withhold your support. Perhaps Judge Kavanaugh will be less likely to hire your favorite students. But people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it. Please use your authority and platform to expose the stakes of this moment and the threat that Judge Kavanaugh poses.

The open letter in its entirety, including signatories, is available online here.

Read also:

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

Read more

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/553/swedish-students-courageous-stand-up-protest-stops-deportation-of-afghan-immigrant-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 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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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/554/new-york-city-still-subjecting-incarcerated-youth-to-torture-en.html

Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

Despite Ban, New York City Still Subjecting Incarcerated Youth to Torture

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Three years ago, New York City banned solitary confinement for prisoners younger than 22—but today, the city is still finding a way to subject young people to this completely inhumane confinement.

Internationally, human rights groups have condemned solitary confinement as torture. Psychologists say the effects on young people are particularly devastating because the brains of adolescents are undergoing major structural growth. Boston psychiatrist Stuart Grassian points out that “even a few days of solitary confinement will predictably shift the EEG pattern towards an abnormal pattern characteristic of stupor and delirium.” This can literally drive an adult insane. For juveniles it is even more shattering.

But New York City has found an end run around its own supposed ban on solitary confinement of youths—transferring many young prisoners to facilities that don’t have this restriction. Such transfers have increased since 2015, and this year alone, at least 10 youths were transferred and eight ended up in solitary confinement in an upstate jail.

The ban came after damning exposure of what was happening to youths in solitary confinement on Rikers Island—the huge New York City jail that holds an average of 14,000 prisoners every day, overwhelmingly Black and Latino, hundreds of them teenagers, and over 40 percent suffering from diagnosed mental illnesses. One of the most horrific cases was Kalief Browder, who in 2010, at the age of 16, ended up on Rikers after being accused of stealing a backpack. Browder spent three years on Rikers waiting for trial, much of it in solitary confinement. Prosecutors eventually had to release him because of lack of evidence. Then two years later, Browder committed suicide—the result of having suffered mental and physical abuse in prison.

Mr. “Reform” de Blasio and other Democrats like to paint themselves as trying to do something about mass incarceration. First, Bill Clinton presided over the “war on drugs” which condemned so many Black and Latino people to decades, if not life, in prison—and accelerated the phenomenon of mass incarceration. Obama did absolutely nothing to address mass incarceration, while symbolically pardoning a few people at the end of his second term. He contributed to the continued demonization of Black youth, starting with his lecturing Black youth to “pull their pants up” and advocating the politics of personal responsibility and declaring how there are “no more excuses” (See “Barack [and Michelle] Obama, of All People, Did More Harm to Black People Over the Last Eight Years”). On the related horror of police killings of Black and Latino youths, his Department of Justice brought no criminal charges against the police who murdered Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and the many, many others who were killed by cops during his administration.

Now, Mayor Bill de Blasio—who says jail reforms have been partly inspired by what happened to Kalief Browder—is defending how the city is sending youths to face the same horrific conditions that led to the Browder’s death.

Steven Espinal, 19 years old, said that after he was transferred out of Rikers, guards at the new prison beat him so badly when he arrived that he lost hearing in one ear and passed blood in his urine. According to Espinal, as the guards beat him they kept saying, “This ain’t New York City. We do what we want.” After being hospitalized, Espinal was sentenced to 600 days in solitary confinement. (New York Times, July 22, 2018)

This isn’t just happening in New York. In fact, teenagers, even very young kids, are put in solitary confinement throughout the United States.

Author Nell Bernstein, who has interviewed hundreds of incarcerated youths, says about a third of young people locked up are put in solitary confinement. She said, “It’s called ‘ad seg,’ or ‘special housing unit’—or, my personal favorite, ‘reflection cottages.’ But, really, what happens—what the kids described to me was, for instance, a girl asserts that she’s feeling suicidal. The equivalent of a SWAT team rushes into her cell, strips her naked and throws her into an even more barren cell with only, like, a single, rough blanket to cover her. It’s used to respond to suicide threats. It’s used as punishment for aggressors. It’s used to protect those who are imposed upon by those aggressors. It can be used because there’s a shortage of teachers, and they can’t let the kids out of their rooms.... Fifteen hours is the maximum for adults under their standards. But I met kids who’d been in solitary for months.” (NPR, Fresh Air, June 4, 2014)

What kind of a fucked-up system puts youth in such horrendous, inhumane conditions? A system that has no future for millions of youth. A system with white supremacy built into the very marrow of its bones—that subjects especially Black and Latino youth to police murder and brutality, puts them in impoverished situations and locks them up away for decades. There are millions of reasons—but this alone is argument enough to sweep this system off the face of this planet.


Click to download and print as poster (PDF)

See also:

Kalief Browder

Statement by Carl Dix
Kalief Browder's Life Was Stolen By This System

June 11, 2015

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Revolution #554 July 30, 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 #554 July 30, 2018

ALERT: Fascists Openly Threaten to Run Amok in DC; This Must Not Be Allowed!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On August 12 in Washington, DC, fascist thugs will celebrate the one-year anniversary of their white supremacist action in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.  This action featured violent attacks on counter-protestors and the murder of one of them, Heather Heyer.  The celebration of this ugly viciousness cannot go unchallenged and must not rear its head again.  And indeed, many are righteously pledging to go there and confront these Nazi shitheads.

White supremacy is baked deeply into capitalist America, which amassed its great wealth first on the genocide and slavery that drove its “founding” and then on the imperialist domination of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Today the violent and aggressive restoration of blatant, openly vicious white supremacy has been a key feature of the Trump-Pence fascist regime.  This must be opposed and defeated, in whatever form it raises its head – and especially in this lynch-mob type shit.  And in fact the whole regime for which this is a spearpoint must be driven out, by massive nonviolent action.

This racist disease, so deeply stitched into capitalism-imperialism, can only be eliminated through revolution to end all oppression.  The movement for revolution must be there in DC on the 12th to be part of waging the needed struggle AND to bring forward, and actively organize people around, the solution to this madness: revolution, involving millions, to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time.

Be there! Represent!

 


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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

North Korea Returns Remains of 55 U.S. Soldiers

Kim Jong-un Asks Trump for American Aid in Putting Korean War Dead to Rest

 

Following North Korea’s return of the remains of 55 U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950–53 Korean War on Thursday, it has been reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has written President Trump asking for U.S. aid in locating and identifying the remains of those North Koreans killed by America’s forces who’ve never been buried or accounted for.

One anonymous U.S. official told a major national newspaper that the administration would certainly consider Kim’s request and would like to help as a sign of American good faith, but cautioned that such an effort would be difficult to carry out. 

For one, he said, “While the U.S. keeps a meticulous record of American casualties, North Koreans were then viewed as subhuman—for instance the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Hanson Baldwin described North Koreans as ‘locusts,’ ‘Nazis,’ and ‘vermin’—so you can understand why we didn’t pay much attention to keeping records of their dead.”

According to this official, the task would be further complicated by the enormous number of North Koreans killed—an estimated two million civilians and 500,000 soldiers. “And that’s not even counting the 900,000 People’s Republic of China volunteers who were also killed in the war,” he added.  In addition, many North Koreans were killed by the half-million tons of bombs or the 32,557 tons of napalm dropped by U.S. forces. “You have to remember,” the official said, “we destroyed every North Korean building over one story high, so those casualties would have been dismembered by the blast or buried in rubble. And those hit with napalm would be even more of a challenge because those folks would have been literally burned to ashes. So certainly I think the public would understand why we’d have real difficulty in identifying these North Korean remains even with our most advanced forensic techniques.” 

“Finally, we have to be concerned about a political backlash here in America,” the official concluded, “which is why we haven’t released the full contents of Kim’s letter to the public.  Many patriotic Americans may see Kim’s request as an insult and affront to our great country. Democrats and Republicans all understand that American lives are far more important than others, including Koreans. So even suggesting there’s some equivalence between our 55 ‘great and beloved missing fallen,’ as President Trump tweeted, and the 2.5 million North Korean dead, or that America should spend precious time and money accounting for North Korea’s dead would be seen by millions of Americans as an outrage.”

So, this official concluded, all this would make Kim’s request very difficult for this country to fulfill, even as the Trump/Pence administration was striving to “Make America Great Again!” 

Marines in village street with prisoners.
Korea was devastated by the end of the war. Millions were killed and in the North, every building over one story was destroyed. Here, in September 1950, early in the war, U.S. Marines take prisoners from one bombed village. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense/U.S. Marine Corps/S. Sgt. John Babyak, Jr.)

 

 

Find out more:

American Crime Case #93: U.S. Invasion of Korea—1950

Take the Korea Pop Quiz: What do you REALLY know about Korea?

 

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Revolution #554 July 30, 2018

Today's Message from the Revolution

October 26, 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.

 

 

October 26, 2019

1. Trailer for THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, a talk by Bob Avakian

This regime is a threat to humanity.
Now more than ever, it's time to end this nightmare: Trump/Pence Must Go!

Watch the whole film & share the link broadly: vimeo.com/238240664

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2. There is a place where epistemology and morality meet...

revcom.us/avakian

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3. What IS fascism?

#OUTNOW

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