Revolution #556, August 13, 2018 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

To Do This, We Need To Know:

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

Why We Need An Actual Revolution

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

What We Need To Do Now

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

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

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

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

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

How We Could Defeat Them

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

What IS an Actual Revolution?

December 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

 


 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Commitment and the Process of Building a Movement FOR Revolution

June 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

 

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

 

 

 


 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution."

Excerpt from the section:
Forces For Revolution

Let’s dig further into the strategic approach to revolution. What are the main forces for revolution, and what are other groups in society where large numbers of people have to be won either to be actively involved, or to be supportive, or at least to have a stance of “friendly neutrality” toward the revolution (in other words, at least not opposing it)? Obviously, this relates to the point I was emphasizing before about not being encircled, surrounded, and crushed. What are key contradictions that have to be confronted—where necessity has to be transformed into freedom and initiative for the revolutionary forces, in significant ways—to create the basis to go all-out with a real chance of winning?

First, it is important to recognize that revolution can not and will not be made by just spreading the idea of revolution around, and perhaps getting some positive responses. (Hey, thumbs up on Facebook!... Tweet out a message in favor of revolution!) Yes, it is very important to propagate the need for revolution, in a living and compelling way; but here is a point that needs to be emphasized: Accumulating organized forces for revolution is, and must be, a key objective in building toward an actual revolution; and whether or not real advances are continually being made in accumulating such organized forces is a key measure of progress—or lack of progress—in building the movement for an actual revolution. Here we can take something from Marx and adapt it to the current point: Accumulate, Accumulate, Accumulate!—Accumulate more and more capital!—that, said Marx, is the Moses and prophets for the bourgeois. Well, we can say for the proletarian revolution: Accumulate, Accumulate, Accumulate!—Accumulate organized forces for this revolution!—that must be a crucial commandment and guide!

And it’s not just accumulate over here, off in some corner. We could put it this way: It’s accumulate, impact; accumulate further, impact more; accumulate further... and on and on—even while taking into account the larger picture of what’s happening out in the world at large, as is pointed to at the beginning of Part 2 of Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity. What do I mean by accumulate, impact? I mean that when you have organized forces, you can have a magnified impact on political situations and on the political terrain overall. To just take an important but relatively small-scale example, compared to the society as a whole, imagine if, in these upsurges in Ferguson or in Baltimore, you had an organized force of revolutionary communists of even a hundred people who were able to come on the scene, putting forward that program and organizing people around that program in the midst of that upsurge—think of the way that you could change all the dynamics in that situation. Whereas, if you have a few people there, who are even doing very good work, your ability to impact that situation is gonna be so much more limited. Now, you still have to try to impact it to the maximum degree—and, to do that, one of the things you have to do is to get very good at agitation, which is something we really need to strengthen and develop. But imagine if you could have a major impact in situations like this.

I was watching this thing on CNN when Don Lemon was out in the street interviewing somebody in the aftermath of the massacre of Black people in that church in South Carolina. Now, someone portrayed Don Lemon this way, and I think this really captures something about the role he plays: “I’m Don Lemon—I’m not really a Black man, but sometimes I play one on TV.” That gets to an important aspect of the role he plays as a puppet for the powers-that-be. But, in any case, Don Lemon was out interviewing somebody, playing his usual Uncle Tom role, and this Black woman came up behind him and started yelling, and they were live so it was hard for them to cut away, it took them a while to cut away. She started yelling, “Talk about the anger, Don. Don’t talk about the forgiveness, talk about the anger, talk about the anger, Don. Obama’s an Uncle Tom, too, Don. Talk about how Obama’s an Uncle Tom, Don. Talk about the anger. Are you talking about the anger, Don? Don, you’re an Uncle Tom.” Now, this is one woman standing behind him. Imagine if you had a hundred people, not saying exactly what that woman was saying but even more impacting the situation with compelling agitation proceeding from a revolutionary communist understanding. Then it changes everything. It changes the whole terrain—even with that number of organized forces, you’re changing the whole terrain. And then every force in society has to react differently.

Or think about this: Every time the masses rise up now, you have this situation where—here they come again—these “community leaders,” which is an updated version of what the ruling class and its mouthpieces used to call “Responsible Negro Leaders.” They are mobilized by the ruling class: religious figures of various kinds (not all of them, but too many of them), so-called community leaders, and others, including some who claim to be on the side of the people—they come out there in the situation where the people are angry, they’re in the street and they’re confronting the police, and these forces form a line, linking arms together, and they face the people. Now imagine if you had a force of even 30 people in that situation that came out there and said, “You motherfuckers are facing the wrong way! If you’re supposedly standing with the people, you should be forming a line opposing the pigs. Those are the ones harming the people. Turn around and face down the pigs!” You change the whole terms—and then the Don Lemons really have to “go to commercial!” You are affecting the terrain by having organized forces united around a revolutionary line. Even in a situation like that, it goes out to the world, especially in this age of the internet. It goes all over the place. And then people do want to know: Who are those forces that did that? Who are those forces that stood with the people and stood between the police and the people, facing the police and not allowing the police to attack the people? Who are those people who, while they were doing this, said, “We’re doing this for revolution, to get rid of this brutality and murder, and all the other shit that people are going through in this country and around the world”? See, when you have organized forces moving like that, then you seriously impact the situation, and then you draw more forces. It’s not that they all join up with you right away, or that you should bring them fully into the ranks of revolution right away, before they even have a chance to get a basic understanding of what this revolution is all about. There’s work and struggle that has to go on. But you’re able to get this dynamic going where you’re growing, you’re wielding your organized forces for revolution in a way to significantly impact society and drawing people to you, and through struggle accumulating more organized forces... and then you are able to do more to affect the situation, once again through a lot of struggle. This is the dynamic we have to advance while, once again, not narrowing our sights to just that dynamic, but looking at the whole world and how we affect the whole world toward the goal of revolution. But this is why we have to be seriously working to accumulate organized forces for revolution and to wield those forces to impact the terrain, and accumulate and impact more, while not approaching that in a narrow and linear way (as if everything will just go forward, from advance to advance, in a simple straight line, directly out of what we’re doing).

This is the correct basis for the point that’s made, and for correctly understanding the point that’s made, in “On the Strategy for Revolution,” about the “thousands” and their relation to the “millions.” It’s not just some vague notion of “thousands of people” who sort of go “thumbs up” on the idea of revolution (or even are very enthusiastic about it). If you’re talking about leading millions, you need an organized force of thousands of people, a growing number of people, in the thousands, who are oriented, organized, trained and led to be an actual revolutionary force and pole of attraction—not some vague bunch of electrons floating around with no real solid core.

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Excerpt from SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership

March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of 2015, over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak. A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women's Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. This interview was first published online at www.revcom.us.

This excerpt from the interview, “A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership,” is a ‘must-read-and-review’ for all those concerned with making revolution and bringing into being a radically different and far better world.

Q: I think that that’s a really important point, and it relates to something you said a minute ago, that you felt BA really came across as a statesman in this Dialogue1. And maybe you could explain that a little bit more, because I think that’s a really important point and I know you were saying earlier that you felt like you really got a sense being at this Dialogue, experiencing it, that this is the leader of the revolution, this is somebody who could lead the future society. So I don’t know if you wanted to speak a little more to that.

Ardea Skybreak Science and Revolution excerpts A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What Is New in the New Synthesis? The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic--A Visionary and Concrete Application of the New Synthesis Serious Engagement with the New Synthesis--The Difference It Could Make An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

AS: Yes, the reason I felt the statesman aspect, too, is that I think we live in a complicated period, that there are a lot of challenges in this period to actually advance the revolutionary struggle, to deal with the actual fight–the “fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution” aspect of things is going on right now in a way it hasn’t for some time, in particular around the police murders. And, look, BA leads the work of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and there’s not a single initiative, I’m sure, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, that doesn’t have the stamp of leadership of BA and of the top leadership of the Party on it, in terms of how it’s unfolded. As you can see from the diversity of things that are taken up by this Party, and as reflected in the website revcom.us, there are a lot of very challenging contradictions to deal with. And that gives only a hint of what this leadership involves.

I don’t think most people have any idea what revolutionary leadership is about. A lot of people think that a leader of revolution is kind of like an “activist” leader, sort of like a leader of a demonstration, what I think of as tactical leadership. But overall revolutionary leadership is not just tactical. Of course there does need to be tactical leadership in various dimensions, and I’m not trying to devalue that. There is very much a need for the kind of person who might be agitating in a demonstration, for instance, helping to put forward a better understanding of what people are fighting about, and leading people, even tactically, in the streets, for instance in a demonstration. But there’s an important point to be made about how the leader of a revolution and the leader of a new society has to be an all-round statesman and has to be more like a strategic commander of the revolution as a whole. And there’s a formulation that’s been put forward recently that a communist leader–and not just the top leadership, but every single revolutionary communist–has to think of themselves and strive to be a strategic leader of the revolution, “a strategic commander of the revolution, not just a tactical leader, and not just a strategic philosopher.” This is very important. In other words, if you’re going to lead a revolution, lead the seizure of state power and become a leader of a new society–and that’s what I mean by statesman–you have to fully recognize and grapple with the complexity of what you’re doing and the many different levels and layers of it, and the many different contradictions among the people. You have to deal with the fact that you don’t have absolute freedom at any given time, and yet you’re trying to move things in a certain direction. You’re trying to be true to your principles, and you’re promoting that openly, but at the same time you’re dealing with the people you’re leading, who often don’t understand, at least not with any depth, what you’re putting forward in leading them, or who tend to distort what you’re putting forward, because they don’t understand things well enough or because they’re being shaped and influenced by other programs, other outlooks and methods.

So strategic leadership is a very, very complex task, and that’s also involved in why, as I mentioned earlier, so many natural scientists are at a complete loss when they try to address social transformations and they suddenly seem to forget everything they ever knew about basic scientific methods! Part of that is also because so many people have a completely wrong view of what actually constitutes overall leadership in the social arena, especially as pertains to revolutionary change. Much of the time they seem to think a political leader is just somebody with a bullhorn in a demonstration. But that’s tactical leadership, that’s not the overall strategic commander type of leadership that can guide an actual overall radical transformation of a whole society through revolution and the building of a whole new kind of society on a fundamentally different economic basis, with everything that flows from that. That kind of multi-faceted leadership is a much more complex task, and most people today frankly have little or no conception of all that it involves.

And there’s the question of dealing with the audiences–if you wanna put it that way, there are many different audiences. You’re not trying to be all things to all people. You are actually trying to meet the objective interests of the international proletariat, by which I mean–it’s not any individual proletarian that’s the question–there’s an international, world-wide class of people who don’t own the means of production, who have no ability to run society under this system, who can really only sell themselves basically, under this capitalist-imperialist system. They have the greatest interest–whether they know it or not as individual proletarians–as a class, they have the greatest interest of any class in actually going in the direction of communism and getting beyond all these class divisions and relations of exploitation and oppression. But is that the only class that’s going to be part of the process? No. The capitalist-imperialist ruling class is a very small segment of world society, or of any given society, but you do have all these other forces that kind of have one foot in one system, while one foot may be aspiring to something better. And those more “intermediate” strata, they tend to not be very constant, they tend to flip from one side to the other on any given day! Add to that the fact that hardly anybody has been given any scientific training, so hardly anybody tries to approach problems with any kind of consistently systematic and rigorous method. So you’ve got people going all over the place, you know, both in their thinking and in their actions. Bob Avakian’s talked about the challenge of “going to the brink of being drawn and quartered,” both in terms of getting to the revolutionary seizure of state power, and in terms of building a new society–that there are so many different kinds of people pulling in different directions, with different and opposing ideas, and so on.

And here’s another reason you need science. How can you know what’s best for society? How can you know what’s best for the majority of humanity? The capitalist-imperialists, they are proceeding on the basis of what’s best for their system. It’s not just a question of corporate greed, it’s not just that. It’s much more than that. They have a system that they need to maintain, a system that is based on profit, and we can talk about the fundamental contradiction of capitalism-imperialism, it might be worth touching on that a little bit. But the point is that they’re trying to keep their system going, but they don’t understand–even the people running this society often don’t even understand the deeper laws of their own system. But if you’re trying to bring into being a whole new kind of society, one that actually more fully meets the objective interests and needs of the vast majority of humanity, you’ve gotta do a lot of work, and you’ve gotta go up against a lot of misconceptions and prejudice and anti-scientific views. You have to deal with that diversity of views and opinions and with people pulling in all sorts of different directions, while at the same time not losing the reins of the process itself. That’s where the strategic commander role comes in. If you are confident in your scientific approach, then you can say with a quite a bit of certitude that you think it is possible to determine what is in fact in the objective interests of the majority of humanity, and what it would take to move in that direction. It’s like if you’re riding a horse. You’ve got your hands on the reins, so you’re not just going to let the horse run to any old place–the horse here being the process, not the people, but the process, right, the revolutionary process. But if you ride a horse and you pull the reins in too tightly, and you pull the horse’s head too hard, and the bit cuts into the horse’s mouth, and you’re not allowing it any kind of free rein, then that horse is going to stop dead in its tracks, or it’s going to buck, and in any case it’s not going to be able to be part of freely moving forward and advancing the process.

So there’s always a tension–the reason there’s a need, as BA has stressed, for “lots of elasticity, on the basis of the solid core” is not, as some people have incorrectly argued, just because the middle strata of people are going to “buck” and cause problems for you, are going be resentful, and so you’ll have to give ’em a bone here or there, to keep ’em from fighting you, or something. No! That would be disgusting. The real reason that you need to build in and allow for some genuine elasticity, on the basis of the solid core, is because society needs it, the process needs it. The revolutionary process itself needs to breathe, the revolutionary society needs to breathe, or it won’t be any good. Both the process of getting to the revolutionary seizure of power, and then the process of building the new society needs to breathe. And if you try to control it all too tightly and too rigidly–even if you happen to be right in what you’re doing at any given time, if you’re too tight and controlling, it’s just going to be discouraging and demoralizing to people, and people are not going to be given the scientific tools to figure it out enough themselves, and you’re going to end up with a repressive society, a rigid society and a rigid process.

And Bob Avakian really understands that, because he’s a good enough scientist to understand the material tension that exists, objectively, between what’s called the solid core, the certitude, the elements that you can actually be confident of, in terms of what’s wrong with the current society and what’s needed in a future society to benefit humanity, while at the same time understanding the need to sort of shepherd the process in such a way that it can encompass and incorporate the widest possible diversity of views and approaches from among the different strata of the masses in society.

I don’t know if I’m expressing this well enough, but he has certainly expressed this very well in many of his writings and talks, and I would encourage people to dig into this whole aspect of solid core with lots of elasticity on the basis of the solid core. And that last part–on the basis of the solid core–is very important to understand. You couldn’t have the right kind of elasticity without the solid core. You don’t wanna end up like you’re trying to herd cats, with everything and everybody going all over the place. There does need to be a solid core. In fact, the more you’ve got a firm handle, a rigorous scientific handle, on that solid core, on that core scientific theory, on that core accumulated knowledge and experience and on that core certitude, the more it should actually be possible to unleash and encourage broad elasticity and initiative among the people, both in the current revolutionary process as well as in the future socialist society, including in relation to the kind of dissent and broad societal ferment which can actively contribute to further advancing society in a good direction.

Q: As you were talking, one thing that is posed is that there is a unity, there is a connection between what you’re saying about the approach of solid core with a lot of elasticity, both in the process of making revolution to get to a future society on the road to communism, and then in that future society itself–there’s a connection between that approach all the way through the process of making revolution and getting to communism and your point about how you could really get a sense in this Dialogue of BA as the leader of that future society. And then there’s the point that you were making earlier, about why would BA do this Dialogue with Cornel West, if he weren’t actually applying and modeling that approach of solid core with a lot of elasticity? And so something I wanted to probe a little further is this point about how BA, in this Dialogue and in his whole body of work, he’s very much pulling no punches, he’s very much putting forward his understanding of the science of communism and of reality, and he’s not trying to finesse or smooth over differences, including with Cornel West, while at the same time he’s also very much recognizing the unity that they have, and the unity that needs to be forged broadly. And he’s taking the approach that there’s a lot that somebody like Cornel West–he has a lot of insights, there’s a lot that he can contribute to this whole revolutionary process, even while they’re very much getting into their differences. So, is there more you wanted to say about the application of solid core with a lot of elasticity even in terms of how BA was relating to Cornel West in this Dialogue?

AS: Well, I think you can see the application and modeling of “solid core with lots of elasticity on the basis of the solid core” in what BA does, both in relation to Cornel West on the one hand, and also what I was trying to say before in relation to the audience–or audiences, plural, because there are many different strata and different viewpoints represented in the audience–and what you see is, you see the certitude based on experience and knowledge. Look, think about in the natural sciences: If somebody happens to emerge who is the most advanced in their field of science, or in a particular development of the natural sciences, at a given time–somebody who is really advanced and really visionary and really is playing a leading role that way–it would be ridiculous for them to come out and just kind of act as if they don’t know what they know, or not struggle with people and not provide the evidence that they’ve accumulated and analyzed over, literally in this case, decades. Right? So even as he’s working with Cornel, he’s also not pulling any punches because, first of all, he respects people enough not to pander or condescend or pretend he doesn’t know what he actually knows. The only people he doesn’t respect are the exploiters and oppressors at the top of society. But he has enough respect for people, even people who might disagree with him in some important ways, to be honest and to explore differences with principle and integrity instead of condescending or pandering to people or pretending to have more agreement than he does.

He’s gonna call it like it is. He’s gonna tell people, including the audience...he knows this audience is holding on to a lot of different views and misconceptions that he thinks are very harmful. Like a lot of these religious views that are holding people back from understanding reality the way it actually is, and from seeing how it could be changed. His position is definitely not neutral–with religion, he’s not just saying look, that’s not where I’m at, but it’s all good, go ahead and believe whatever you’re gonna believe. He’s definitely not saying that. Instead, he’s really struggling with the audience, right down on the ground–he’s saying, you gotta give up some of this religion stuff, because it is actually harmful; it is clouding your understanding of the way reality really is; and, because it’s doing that, it’s actually making it harder for you to see the way forward, and to see how to transform society in a good direction. So you gotta get off this stuff! And he’s saying that to an audience of people, most of whom are religious, especially among the most oppressed–the very people who are most important for, and who most need to step forward to take up, the revolutionary process. He’s got enough respect, enough strategic confidence in people, to tell it like it is.

Now, in the situation where he’s working with Cornel, he’s working with a developed intellectual who’s also got a lot of experience in life, and who has studied many different things himself and analyzed many different philosophies. And BA’s got respect for that process, too. But he’s still going to call it like it is, and he’s going to bring out the evidence. What does it actually say in the Bible? What is the role of religion? Let’s get into it!

Some people might say, Well, I don’t need to hear all this, because I already don’t believe in God. Well, yes, you do need to hear all this, and do you know why? Because billions of people around the planet are deeply influenced by one or another religion, and they approach all of reality through the prism, through the lens, of their particular religion. This is the framework, this is the theoretical framework, if you want to call it that, that most people on this planet apply to try to make sense of the world, and of what’s wrong with it, and what could or couldn’t be done about it. Religion is a very major question, in the United States and all over the world. So Bob Avakian, on the one hand, in the Dialogue, you see him struggling with Cornel, but with a good method, a good warm method, because these are two people who do respect each other and who do like each other but who are just going to honestly tell each other and the audiences where they have some significant differences. And because they have principle and integrity, they’re able to put forward and clarify those important differences, so that the audiences will be better able to grapple with these questions themselves, when they go home and in an ongoing way.

At the same time, what I think Bob Avakian is modeling, with the elasticity part, is: Listen, this revolutionary process, it’s a very rich and complex and diverse process, which does have to involve a wide variety of people. In fact one of the points Bob Avakian has made repeatedly is that, at the time of the revolution and the actual seizure of state power, most of the people involved in the revolution are still going to be religious! In a country like the U.S., there’s no question that this is true. Most people won’t have given up their religion–even if they’ve decided to join in to be part of fighting for revolution and for socialism in different ways, most still won’t have completely broken with all that. And that’s just one example of having a materialist scientific understanding of reality, understanding just how complex it is, how complex the process is. But you’re not going to try to trick people who disagree with you into walking alongside you in the revolutionary process by concealing your views. No, that’s not what you should do. Instead, as a revolutionary communist, you’re going to be honest about those differences. But, if you’re serious about wanting to transform society in the interest of humanity, you’re also going to recognize that the process that you are arguing for, and that you are helping to give strategic leadership to, has to be able to encompass quite a diversity of people, who are not all going to see eye-to-eye with you on a number of different and important questions. And that this will be the case all along the way, even as people increasingly unite together to fight the common enemy, to seize power, and to build the new institutions and organs of a new society.

It’s because he really understands all this that Bob Avakian can, at one and the same time, genuinely and sincerely embrace and feel very warm towards someone like Cornel West (and I believe those feelings are very much reciprocated), and at the same time remain very clear about the importance of speaking to the differences, and speaking to why you need to take up a consistently scientific method and approach if you really want to change society for the better. And so yes, he’ll tell people bluntly why they should give up religion–all religions–because they get in the way of moving forward. It is a fact that all religions all around the world were invented long ago by human beings, to try to explain what they didn’t yet understand and to try to meet needs that can be transcended now. All around the world people invented different sets of supernatural beliefs to try to fill gaps in their understanding of things, in both the natural and social world, and as a mechanism for dealing with such things as death and loss. If you don’t yet have the scientific knowledge to understand how all life evolves, and how there is clear evidence that human beings themselves simply evolved from a long series of pre-existing species, you’re probably going to want to involve some kind of higher supernatural power to explain how we got here! [laughs] Every religion in the world has some of those commonalities. At the same time, they all have their different particular creation myths, and so on. And they have their different holy books, and prophets and stuff like that. And Bob Avakian is saying, Come on now, let’s get serious, let’s actually open up the Bible and see what it says. See, a dogmatic revolutionary might have said, Well, I don’t believe in god, and I think religion’s bad for the people, so I’m not even gonna pay any attention to it. But instead BA’s saying, religion’s a very important problem in the world, it’s a very important question, billions of people believe in some kind of god or some kind of religion, so we have to address this. And he did some homework, too. He did the work. He read the Bible, in its entirety. He knows the Bible. Unlike many people, he can tell you what’s in it. And he can tell you what these religious forces have argued. He can tell you something about the history of how human beings invented a lot of these religions. He can also speak to why people might be motivated to have a moral conscience on the basis of some of the things they learned in church or mosque or temple or whatever. At the same time, he can also show you, scientifically, the harm that it does to cling to this. And that it is not necessary. You can leave that stuff alone. You can just let it go. You can leave those old ways of thinking behind, and you can take up a philosophy and scientific method about transforming the world in the interests of all humanity, which is full of life, full of joy, full of spirit, full of art and culture, and not dead and cold in any way, but that doesn’t have to have these religious and supernatural trappings and all the old stuff that goes along with it.

 


The "Dialogue" referred to here is an event that took place in November 2014 at New York City's historic Riverside Church and was attended by 1900 people: REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion--A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST and BOB AVAKIAN.

 

 


 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

One Year Since Charlottesville and the Murder of Heather Heyer

People Righteously Protest in the Thousands Against White Supremacist Nazis... Much Remains to Be Done!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Speaking to the epidemic of white supremacy and the Nazis’ plans to demonstrate on August 12 to celebrate their vicious armed demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, revcom.us wrote last week:

This shit must be STOPPED! STOPPED!!! This means opposing these Nazi pukes next weekend. There are very high stakes to people coming out to stand up against these racist assholes, right here and right now, and denying them a political victory. And this means over these next months mounting a movement to politically drive out Trump and Pence, the fascist ringleaders of this shit, and all the henchmen and henchwomen of their stinking regime, through massive nonviolent protests, flooding the streets with thousands and then millions.

But beyond that, and central to it all, this SYSTEM that grew up on 246 years (246!) of slavery and another century beyond that of super-exploited Black labor in the fields and then the factories, that seized the land of Mexico for slavery and then oppressed and exploited Mexicans and Chicanos, that stole this country in the first place from the Native inhabitants, 90 percent of whom were wiped out in wars and epidemics—this system MUST BE OVERTHROWN!

Millions of people in this country are sickened and angry about not only how armed Nazis and KKKers are aggressively taking their white supremacist shit into the street—but also how the fascist Trump has openly encouraged and emboldened these (his) storm-troopers, saying last year in the wake of Charlottesville that they are “fine people,” and attacking those who have bravely demonstrated against this scum.

As we go to press Sunday night, here is a brief recap and roundup with more to follow soon—stay tuned to revcom.us.

Washington, DC

Thousands of people drowned out and overwhelmed the handful of neo-Nazi white supremacists who attempted to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their murderous rampage in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.

Some two dozen of these fascists showed up, escorted and protected by hundreds of police, as they marched from the subway through the streets of Washington, DC to Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. These thugs were given a big green light by their leader, fascist-in-chief Donald Trump, whose tweets signaled everything but explicit backing for these “celebrations,” in the shadow, appropriately, of the White House, no less.

Meanwhile, several thousand or more counter-protesters gathered at Freedom Plaza blocks away, then filled the streets for blocks as they marched to Lafayette Park where they vastly outnumbered the Nazi-white supremacists who were surrounded and protected by police. Chants included "Nazis go home!" "Shame! Shame! Shame!" “Black Lives Matter!”

“You can’t deny this energy right here!! Its sooo live!!” @RefuseFascism tweeted. “Lots of different groups, ideologies and backgrounds- all united in the mission to politically defeat the white supremacists in the streets AND the White House!!”

Within this, the Revolution Club powerfully represented for the revolution, and Refuse Fascism contingents, signs and posters were an important presence throughout the day. The Revolution Club was briefly covered on CNN, MSNBC and other outlets, a Politico video interview with Samantha Goldman of Refuse Fascism has been viewed over 15,000 times, and Revolution/revcom.us and Refuse Fascism signs and banners were visible throughout the day’s coverage. (Pictures and video on this page, stay tuned for further reports.)

Charlottesville, Virginia

In Charlottesville, on the one-year anniversary, the city declared a state of emergency, mobilized at least a thousand cops, and tried to shut the whole city down. But in the face of this, and even though the fascists didn’t plan on showing up, hundreds of anti-KKK/Nazi protesters, including students from the University of Virginia, marched through downtown Charlottesville on Saturday.

Last year in Charlottesville when the fascists rallied, police stood by and watched as the fascists attacked counter protesters. In the past year, sympathy and support for Trump, and the Nazis and KKKers has become even clearer among the pigs. And recently in Portland and Berkeley, the cops stood by as fascists rallied and marched and attacked those protesting the fascists.

One banner this year in Charlottesville got it right, saying: “Last year they came with torches. This year they come with badges.” People stopped for a moment of silence where Heather Heyer was killed last year by a white racist ramming his car into the crowd. Heather’s mother, Susan Bro was there and told the crowd, “Focus on the issues—that's exactly what Heather would say... It’s not all about Heather ... it never was.”

The Washington Post reported that, “Fascism and racism: It was just about all anyone was talking about Saturday. Up and down the streets of downtown, people discussed what those forces are in America, and what they are in Charlottesville.”

Then on Sunday, hundreds marched and rallied again even though the white supremacists planned to rally in Washington, DC, not in Charlottesville. They wanted to make it clear that the fascists will not go unopposed in Charlottesville. People chanted, “Old Jim Crow, new Jim Crow, this racist system has got to go” and “cops and Klan go hand in hand.”

Moving Forward... Much Remains to be Done!

While many would consider the white supremacist Nazi thugs a "no or low-show" this weekend, it is important to recognize the degree to which sections of them—and their rhetoric—have become “mainstreamed” and normalized over the last year in the context of this fascist regime, and its propaganda organs like Fox News. It is noteworthy that most mainstream media outlets carried some form of white-supremacist rally organizer Jason Kessler’s message from Sunday that closely echoed Laura Ingraham from Fox News who went on a rant about “the America we know and love does not exist anymore” and “massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and these are changes none of us voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

Trump felt the freedom this weekend to tweet that “all” forms of racism should be condemned, thereby steadfastly refusing to call out the new-Nazis who planned marches to celebrate the one year anniversary of Charlottesville. This, at the same time as he is perfectly willing to call Black people “dumb” and chastise Black NFL players for protesting mass incarceration and police brutality during the singing of the national anthem at games. This, at the same time as he and his regime continue the extreme demonization of immigrants and pursue policies that treat them as sub-human. As we have been reporting, this occurs as incidents of racist whites—influenced by the tenor of the times—calling the pigs on Black people going about their business is on the rise—at Starbucks, college dorms, swimming pools and bus stops. This, when any encounter between Black people and the pigs can end in murder and the cop exonerated. This weekend’s events followed Nazi marches in Portland and Berkeley last week, fully backed by local and state police forces who then turned on those protesting these Nazis.

It is really good that people—in their thousands—came out in righteous and defiant protest against these Nazis this weekend, and as we stand together against these Nazis and Kluckers, uniting broadly with people from many different views, we have to take this struggle further—to take up the call and challenge from RefuseFascism.org, to drive this fascist regime from power, through mass non-violent sustained mobilization. The fascist Trump/Pence regime and the white supremacist Nazi thugs go together—it is of a package, characteristic of fascism, with any normalization of the regime contributing to the normalization of white supremacy.

And as we do this, with others from various different perspectives, there is a core reality to continue to act on:

It is no longer necessary to live under this system—the expiration date on this shit is long past due. The scientific FACT is that we can STOP this brutal oppression, along with the oppression and degradation of women and LGBTQ people; we can STOP the demonization and ruthless persecution of immigrants; we can STOP the wars and occupations which they are constantly carrying out, backing up, and planning; and we can STOP the suicidal plunder of the environment by these capitalists. No, not by reform—that’s hopeless—but by REVOLUTION. So, no, we cannot reform this... but we CAN overthrow it. We CAN carry out an actual revolution, which means not some minor changes within this system but the actual overthrow, yes overthrow, of this system, through actually defeating its armed forces of oppression and repression, when the necessary conditions (a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions) have been brought into being (as set forth in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution). We CAN dismantle the institutions of this system and build a whole new society on a radically different economic and political basis, as embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian (BA). There is the basis, in the new communism and the leadership of BA, to make all this a reality. And this is something that we are working toward, as both the mass movement for an actual revolution and getting organized into it, reaching out and growing as we do.

The above quote is from this article.

Washington DC, August 12

 

At Freedom Plaza. Photo: twitter/@NYCRevClub

 

At Freedom Plaza. Photo: twitter/@TheArtist_MBS

 

At Lafayette Park. Photo: twitter/@revclubchi

 

At Lafayette Park. Photo: twitter/@revclubchi

 

Revolution Club organizing for revolution.

 

“When you put on this shirt, YOU STEP INTO THE REVOLUTION.” Photo: twitter

 

RefuseFascism.org in the march.

 

RefuseFascism.org organizing. Photo: twitter/@revclubchi

Charlottesville, VA, August 11 and 12

 

Photo: AP

 

Photo: AP

 

Photo: twitter/@jordangreentcb

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

As we go to press…

First Thoughts from Members of RefuseFascism.org and the Revolution Club After an Intense Day Standing Up Against White Supremacists in DC

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

The following correspondence is drawn from some of the initial thoughts people shared in a summation gathering held by members of RefuseFascism.org and the Revolution Club after an intense day of standing together with many other forces against the white supremacists who marched in DC on August 12. We look forward to learning more fully about the impact of the day overall throughout society, as well as the actions of protesters in Charlottesville the day before.

No one knew what to expect on the anniversary of Heather Heyer's murder by white supremacists and Nazis who ran amok last year in Charlottesville, terrorizing students with lynch-mob torches at night, savagely beating down Deandre Harris, violently assaulting members of the Revolution Club and many others, and running a car into a crowd of protesters.

In the days leading up to the August 12 showdown between the Unite the Right 2 rally of white supremacists and the broad counter-protests that were being built for, volunteers with RefuseFascism.org as well as members of the Revolution Clubs from different parts of the country fanned out around Washington, DC. Overwhelmingly, people were disgusted and furious about white supremacists planning to march past the White House, but there was also palpable fear: “What if they kill again?” “What if they come armed?” No one had it far from their minds that Heather Heyer had given her life last year.

Every single one of the thousands of people who came out to counter-protest had to grapple with that fear, and those who came out did so with courage and determination. The defiance and joy was palpable. The day was filled with different protests and break-away marches. A few confrontations with fascists and many more with police. Chanting and dancing. Digging into big questions and getting organized. Here, I am not going to try to capture everything that happened in the march. Instead, I want to share some of the reflections and observations among the volunteers with RefuseFascism.org and the Revolution Club at the end of the day when about 50 of us gathered for pizza.

****

A young Black man who had never been to a protest like this had driven down in a van with others that morning. He explained how he met the RevComs at his school, which is focused on African American history, culture, literature and perspective. He explained that because of that, and because there is so much ugly history, he has often started to think about all white people “in a certain way.” But what struck him most about the counter-protest is how many different kinds of people were there, especially how many white people had come out to stand up. He was also moved that there were people who protested who were from entirely different countries. He said the whole day gave him hope in a way that he hadn’t really expected, he’d never seen white people act this way and it made him think that maybe if we keep fighting we’ll get to a day when people look back and laugh and scratch their heads that such a thing as white supremacy and all these other nightmares ever existed.

A young woman with RefuseFascism.org explained how she was banned from the area of the protest for several months stemming from an illegitimate arrest when she stood in front of the Treasury Department and read an open letter/challenge to debate to Steve Mnuchin. She was furious and wanted everyone to deeply contemplate what it means about this society that she and another woman with Refuse Fascism were banned from being in the streets to oppose fascism for trying to exercise their first amendment rights against Mnuchin, but the fascists who want genocide have police protection and a permit to spew their racist shit without restriction. She added that, while she hadn’t been able to be out there, she’d followed the whole day on social media and, “You all looked so great! I could sense your spirit even in the pictures.” Then she added, as she choked back tears, “I just wanted to say the name of Heather Heyer out loud and to say that today, every single person in this room really honored her legacy.”

A Black woman who grew up in Mississippi had shared how her mother had taken in Freedom Summer volunteers and, because of this, even the Black children who lived next door to her were not allowed to play with her out of fear of attacks from white supremacists. She told us that after the march, she got a call from her aunt who told her, “Thank god there were more of you than there were of them! And, you are just like your mother.” Everyone burst into applause.

A member of the Revolution Club observed that, “There was something happening out there today, people being determined and everyone who came out really being on a mission not to let these Nazi motherfuckers win the day... In the Revolution Club crew, we were giving people strength and organizing them into the revolution, letting them know there is a way out of this and a leadership in Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party so that we can fight to go all the way to an actual revolution to get rid of the system and all the hell that means for humanity. It was striking how much this resonated with people, that if you want to end the white supremacy and what gave rise to it, you are not going to do that within the existing system, you are going to have to overthrow that system and set up a whole new system—that is what BA has been working on and we can do this but you need to get into it. At one point, someone in the club just started chanting, “Overthrow! Overthrow! Overthrow the system!” and everyone around us started chanting it with us. Some people put on the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt, marched with us. The whole thing was really significant and impacted society.”

We were just wrapping up our dinner and summation when our two last volunteers arrived. One of them explained, “A year ago today I was at home and saw everything on livestream, I cried all day long. So just being here for the anniversary, and thinking these assholes will come here... I am dumbfounded...” We were surprised to learn that she and her friend along with others had been kettled today, detained by police en masse, and then, when her friend demanded to know from the cops how they could do something so illegitimate, the cop pulled out pepper-spray, pointed it directly in her friend’s face, and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. She repeated, “Last year I cried and cried all day at what the Nazis did, but this year it was the police. Oh my gosh, this is happening in America... I just don’t know. I am so sad. Speechless. But I also have to give it up. He was sprayed in the eyes and blinded and down on the ground writhing and two medics were dragging him away and he puts both arms up like this [demonstrates] and yells, ‘KEEP FIGHTING!’ It was awesome.” Again, people applauded. First, for the individual who held his head high and felt pride in having stood up despite the pepper spray. Then for everyone who had come out and run together and who spent the next hour devouring more pizza, deepening bonds, digging into the biggest questions about changing the world, and then getting on the road to go back to our homes to take this forward.


All photos: Special to www.revcom.us

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

40 Children Killed in American-Backed Massacre by Saudi Arabia in Yemen

Saudis Call Bus Full of Kids "Legitimate Target"—U.S. Lies That It's Not Responsible

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update, August 19: It Was an American Bomb!
It was an American-made bomb that slaughtered 40 children and 11 other Yemenis on August 9! Pieces of the bomb—an MK82, a laser-guided, 500-pound bomb made by Lockheed Martin—were found last week by munitions experts and Yemeni journalists. The bomb had been sold to Saudi Arabia through the U.S. State Department.


Yemeni journalist Ahmad Algohbary holds up a piece of the U.S.-made bomb which killed 40 children last week. (Photo: @AhmadAlgohbary/Twitter)

On Thursday morning, August 9, a bus full of children was returning from a recreational outing in Sa’ada in northern Yemen. Suddenly, without warning, it was hit by a missile fired by a Saudi Arabian warplane. The bus was obliterated. Body parts were strewn all over the crowded street: 40 children on the bus had been massacred and another 56 wounded! Another 11 were dead and 23 wounded from the bombing.

America’s and Saudi Arabia’s hands are dripping with the blood of these—and literally tens of thousands more—Yemeni children killed by bombs, starvation and disease from this war!

This massacre isn’t some rare exception, some error: this is what Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed war looks like! They deliberately target civilians—bombing wedding parties, factories, mosques, schools—killing over 10,000, perhaps double or quadruple that. And they deliberately use starvation and disease as weapons of war—bombing hospitals, clinics, markets—even farms and fishermen—and hindering or blockading shipments of food, fuel and medicine.

Saudi Arabia is fighting this war with U.S. planes, U.S. bombs, U.S. intelligence, U.S. logistics, and U.S. political support. American troops have also been directly involved in Yemen. This is a high-tech slaughter from the air that would be TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE for Saudi Arabia to carry out without U.S. backing and direct involvement!

“The missiles that kill us, American-made,” one Yemeni told PBS. “The plane that kills us, American-made. The tanks, Abrams, American-made. You’re saying to me, ‘Where is America [in this war]?’ America is the whole thing.”

The result: 8.4 million Yemenis have been pushed to the brink of starvation, 20 of its 28 million people need humanitarian assistance, and Yemen suffered the worst cholera epidemic in history last year. Now Saudi Arabia—backed by the U.S.—has escalated the war, including an offensive on the port through which much of the aid comes into Yemen, and is threatening the people of this country with even greater horrors: 10 million more could face famine and death; millions more could be at risk of getting cholera.

This is a war that hits children the hardest—130 die of starvation or preventable disease every single day because of the war. In two years (2016-2017), 113,000 children in Yemen died of hunger or preventable disease. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) calls it a “cruel war on children.”1

Saudi Arabia immediately began spewing out lies—that their strike was aimed at a missile launcher and was a legitimate target. The strike took place in the middle of a crowded market with no military installations in sight. The Saudis claim children are being used as “human shields” in the war. So now, any of Yemen’s roughly 12 million children under 15 are targets?

U.S. military officials say they have no idea if they refueled the Saudi planes or provided the bombs for this particular savage war crime. The Pentagon claims it doesn’t keep track of these things. That’s like Nazi officials saying, “We just put Jews in the cattle cars, we have no idea where they end up.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is pointedly refusing to condemn, or even criticize, the Saudi massacre—a clear signal of official U.S. support.

Think again about these 96 children in a country halfway around the world—96 children dead, maimed, bloody, wounded. What kind of a system deliberately massacres, starves and sickens children? U.S. capitalism-imperialism, that’s what kind.  

For the last three plus years, beginning under Obama and now escalated under Trump/Pence, the U.S. has been backing the war by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to crush the Houthi movement (which represents reactionary, outmoded forces in Yemen). They’ve done this to buttress Saudi Arabia, reassert its hold on Yemen (located at the strategic tip of the Arabian Peninsula), prevent the spread of Iranian influence, and maintain America’s stranglehold on the entire Middle East.

Controlling this region, which connects Asia, Africa and Europe and possesses vast oil reserves, is crucial to America’s global domination. War criminal and former Nixon official Henry Kissinger wrote that post-World War 2 Western prosperity was based on cheap Middle Eastern oil. Saudi Arabia, the world’s main oil spigot and one of the world’s most oppressive, medieval tyrannies, is a key cog in this setup.

Without dominating the world, and the Mideast in particular, the U.S. would not be the empire it is today. The wealth and resources piled up by capitalist-imperialist America have come first from slavery and theft of land domestically, and then from the relentless economic, political, and military domination of the masses of people all over the world. This is what enables the rulers to deliver the spoils—the standard of living—to people in this country that it does. This whole set up compels America’s imperialist rulers—Democrats and Republicans—to back or carry out massive, barbaric crimes like the slaughter of innocent children in Yemen. They NEED to commit these atrocities to keep their whole system going. 

No one with a shred of humanity can remain silent in the face of these intolerable crimes, much less excuse or root for this. Instead, people of conscience should hope for the U.S. rulers to fail in all this barbarity—and many, many more must be working actively now to push forward the movement for an actual revolution, toward the day when it becomes possible to overthrow this empire that has been and continues to be responsible for so many untold millions of deaths and so much suffering.

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


1. See “America’s Jaws Drip with the Blood of Yemen’s Children -- The War You Haven’t Heard About” at revcom.us [back]

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:8

The remains of the bus that had been filled with children when hit by a Saudi missile. Photo: AP

 

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/556/californias-wildfires-global-warming-and-the-threat-to-the-planet-en.html

Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

California’s Wildfires, Global Warming, and the Threat to the Planet

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a reader:

California is burning. Seventeen major forest fires are currently blazing across the state. These fires are causing massive human suffering and environmental degradation. The increase in the number and intensity of these fires is being driven, in large part, by climate change caused by the capitalist-imperialist system. The burning of fossil fuels pumps immense rivers of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and is the main thing driving the increase in global temperatures and drastically transforming the planet.

Plundering the Earth for coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel the global economy is deeply woven into the workings of capitalism-imperialism. This system can’t rid itself of this addiction because capitalists are forced to ruthlessly compete with each other for maximum returns and strategic advantage, driving them to use the cheapest and most widely available sources of energy, and treating environment impacts of their production—like greenhouse gas emissions—as something “external”—not factored into their profit and loss calculations. Instead these environmental costs are off-loaded onto society and the planet.

The cutthroat competition that propels capitalism means the capitalists can’t afford to do otherwise—no matter their professed, or even sincere, environmental concerns. This is why in 2017—when report after report warned of the danger of rising global temperatures—the world pumped out MORE greenhouse gases than in any previous year, and the last four years have been the hottest ever recorded.

This is why this system cannot be reformed and is incapable of protecting the Earth. This is one more reason why only revolution that overthrows capitalism and puts a new, radically different socialist system in its place, can save the planet.1

Wildfires in California have been intensifying over many years. As global warming increases temperatures, hot and dry air parches forests, making them more combustible. Seven of the most destructive wildfires in California history have occurred just in the past 10 months. The average number of acres burned in California’s wildfires has doubled in recent years.

California governor Jerry Brown said the massive fires that have hit California in recent years are the “new normal.” But as horrible as these current fires are, what we are seeing is not a “new normal”; the situation has in no way stabilized—the current trajectory is for increasingly higher temperatures, drier forests, and more and more intense fires—in California and around the world.

The Fires of 2018 (so far)

The Mendocino Complex Fire is now the largest in California history. It has burned more than 468 square miles. As of August 10, it was only 49 percent contained and Cal Fire, the State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, estimates that it will continue to burn until early September.

At least eight people have been killed by the Carr Fire, burning near the city of Redding. More than 35,000 people have been evacuated and more than 1,000 homes have burned. Melanie Bledsoe, 70, and her two great grandchildren, ages four and five, died when they did not have a car to flee the fire.

KRCR-TV spoke with some of the thousands who have been displaced by the fires. “It’s a nightmare for everybody here,” said Brenda Walker, one of the thousands of evacuees, who was on her third day camping out in an emergency shelter using ice packs to stay cool. It has been over 100 degrees every day since they were displaced. Brenda’s eight-year-old son is autistic. “The whole trailer park went up engulfed in flames,” she said. “We had no time to pack up and get a lot of stuff; the cops came in saying, ‘You have to evacuate now.’” When KRCR interviewed her, she had no idea if her home was still standing or if she had lost everything.

This is not even peak wildfire season. The National Interagency Fire Center recently predicted that August “will be a very active month” with what it calls “above normal significant” potential for wildfires across parts of the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, the northern Great Basin, and California.

Today the fire season in the western U.S. stretches, on average, 78 days longer than in the mid-1980s. Higher summer temperatures result in earlier snowmelt. Western forests typically become combustible within a month of when snowmelt is complete. Snowpack melts one to four weeks earlier than it did 50 years ago.

These fires are coming less than a year after a wave of fires hit the state in October 2017. One of those, the Tubbs Fire, killed 22 people and destroyed 2,800 homes in Sonoma County.

Smoke from the blazes is poisoning the air. In parts of southern Oregon, hundreds of miles to the north, ground-based sensors measured particle pollution levels as bad as it gets in Beijing on a badly polluted day. Smoke from the fires, thrown high in the atmosphere, is reaching as far away as New York.

The full toll of this air pollution may not be immediate. Recent research following the enormous fires in Indonesia in the past few years suggests that lung disease from smoke and particulate matter may have caused more than 100,000 additional premature deaths across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The intensity of these fires is giving rise to new features that make them more destructive and harder to control. A fire vortex, called a “fire tornado,” with winds topping 143 miles per hour, ripped through Redding. The plume rose 35,000 feet in the air, making it visible to meteorologists in Sacramento, 100 miles to the south. Trees were uprooted, cars thrown in the air, major power lines destroyed.

“Fires are moving faster than anyone has ever seen, and barriers that in years past contained fires—bulldozer lines, highways, rivers—are now no match,” the New York Times reported (August 7, 2018).

A Worldwide Inferno

A July 30, 2018 paper by the World Meteorological Organization, a group made up of representatives of 191 nations, reads, “The unusually hot and dry summer in parts of the northern hemisphere has turned fields and forests into fuel for fires which are raging from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and West Coast of North America. These wildfires have caused dozens of fatalities and are devastating large regions, with far-reaching impacts for the environment, ecosystems, human health and the climate.”

In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, three professors of biology and environmental science argue, “Widespread fires this year have magnified concerns that we are locked in a worldwide pattern of conflagration that is both persistent and catastrophic. Wildfires have been even more pervasive in 2018 in central and northern Europe than last year, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. In Greece, east of Athens, some 90 people were killed. (Last year in Portugal, more than 100 people died in wildfires, including at least 30 people who were trapped in their cars when flames engulfed a road.)” (“The Earth Ablaze,” August 8, 2018)

One feature of the 2018 fire season has been the spread of major fires to areas where they have rarely been seen, such as parts of Siberia and Sweden inside the Arctic Circle. In early July, fires in Siberia sent smoke across the Arctic Ocean to Alaska and, eventually, the west coast of Greenland. More than 50 wildfires erupted in Sweden, their worst fires in 75 years.

Rising temperatures are also dramatically changing weather patterns, increasing the frequency of droughts and threatening the livelihoods of billions. The New York Times (August 9) reports that “Climate change could sharply diminish living conditions for up to 800 million people in South Asia [Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka], a region that is already home to some of the world’s poorest and hungriest people...” Agriculture and farming in the Middle East, North Africa, Central America, Australia, and other regions are also being hammered by the impacts of global warming.

What Destroying Forests Means for the Planet

Forests play a crucial role in the environment. They provide clean water, lock up carbon (the main cause of climate change), and shelter whole ecosystems. Devastated forests leave birds, mammals, and other living things that rely on them without food, shelter, or the means for survival. Their beauty and biologic diversity enriches us all.

In relation to global warming, the destruction of forest areas contributes to what is called a negative feedback loop, where increased temperatures and other climate changes kill trees and forests. Because the forests no longer lock up carbon, global warming increases, leading to more dying forests, and on and on.

The New York Times op-ed by the three biologists warns, “What has been particularly worrisome in recent years is that the world’s largest forests, the taiga of Russia and its boreal forest cousins that ring the Arctic and store much of the world’s carbon, experienced wildfires at a rate and scale not seen in at least 10,000 years, according to paleoecological records.”

One of humanity’s goals should be to protect the precious resources of our planet and to leave it in better shape for future generations. The Earth’s forests, and much else, have already been damaged in ways that cannot be easily reversed. The destruction is ongoing and intensifying. We must act NOW, with the urgency that the situation demands, to make revolution, put an end to the capitalist-imperialist system, and stop the destruction of the planet.

 

1. For more on the dynamics of capitalism-imperialism, see Raymond Lotta, “On the ‘Driving Force of Anarchy’ and the Dynamics of Change. A Sharp Debate and Urgent Polemic: The Struggle for a Radically Different World and the Struggle for a Scientific Approach to Reality.” [back]


Seventeen major forest fires are currently blazing across California. The increase in the number and intensity of these fires is being driven, in large part, by climate change caused by the capitalist-imperialist system. Here, the Ranch fire, part of Mendecino Complex Fire, California, August 7. (Photo: AP)

Watch Bob Avakian: "Not Fit Caretakers of the Earth," a clip from the film Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003 in the United States.

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/556/will-electing-black-officials-stop-police-murder-and-terror-en.html

Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Four Years After Pigs Murdered Mike Brown

Will Electing Black Officials Stop Police Murder and Terror?

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Can electing Black district attorneys stop police murder and terror? That’s what the system’s media is telling us.

On Tuesday, August 7, Wesley Bell, a young Black city councilman, defeated longtime St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch in the Democratic Party primary. Bell will now run, unopposed, for district attorney in the general election. McCulloch is white and had refused to indict Darren Wilson, the pig who murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson. Bell had taken part in protests against Brown’s murder.

Now, on this fourth anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder, the media is making a big deal out of Bell’s victory. Their message: Mass protests may be important symbolically or to “let off steam”—but it’s electoral changes like this that really count, that can really make a difference in terms of stopping police murder and terror. Some headlines are calling Bell’s election a victory for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But what is the reality? What role have district attorneys and America’s “justice system” actually played?

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old Black man, was shot down, hit with six police bullets—while he was unarmed and had his hands in the air! Then his body was left in the street for hours, as if this precious young man with his future ahead of him was so much human garbage.

The police and prosecutors immediately tried to justify Michael's murder, while also cynically holding out the bogus hope of charges against the killer cop. But the people weren't having it! They rose up for 10 straight days—defying curfews, tear gas, and massive militarized police forces. Then, in November, when the state prosecutor refused to indict Michael's murderer, it sparked more rebellion in Ferguson and a determined nationwide outpouring against police murder and terror.

During this entire time, politicians from President Barack Obama on down, tried to steer people back into the system’s channels—including elections—with phony expressions of concern, investigations, and promises of change—while protecting the pigs and justifying their murders!

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder promised a thorough Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of Michael Brown’s murder. Then they dragged things out, systematically working through statements and reports to reverse the verdict of the righteous rebellion that Michael Brown had been unjustly murdered. They dismissed eyewitness accounts that Brown had his hands up, and ended up refusing to indict murdering pig Darren Wilson.

What about the role of DAs—not just in Ferguson but elsewhere? After Freddie Gray was cruelly murdered in Baltimore, the DA, Marilyn Mosby, brought charges, but during the trial forgot how to prosecute and ALL the cops involved in Freddie Gray’s murder walked free.

In Cleveland, after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered, the prosecutor, Timothy McGinty, ordered “expert” reports which were widely ballyhooed by the political establishment and media and were even demanded by some sections of the protest movement. What happened? Again, after dragging things out until outrage subsided, they refused to indict Tamir’s killer.

Why does this happen time and time again? Because these DAs and other law enforcement officials—from the federal government on down—are part of the state, and their role is to enforce this system’s oppressive economic and social relations. These are the same people who in recent decades have been on the front lines of funneling Black and Latino youth into the maw of mass incarceration. These are the people who have time and again justified police murder and terror—even when it’s caught on videotape!

To argue that electing someone new, putting a different face on this same setup, is a big victory for the people is just letting the system talk through your mouth, misleading people and setting them up for betrayal, when this entire system needs to be swept away through revolution.

To those who think electing a Black DA or other officials is some kind of victory or path forward, we offer the following:

BA on elections
 

After cops brutally murdered Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson, Missouri, rose up for 10 straight days—defying curfews, tear gas, and massive militarized police forces. Then, in November, when the state prosecutor refused to indict Michael's murderer, it sparked more rebellion in Ferguson and a determined nationwide outpouring against police murder and terror. (Photo: www.revcom.us)

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

On the Heart-Grinding Shootings and Killings in Chicago—and the Future We Must Fight For

by Joe Veale

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

One weekend. Two days. 74 people shot. 12 dead. Those shot range in age from 11 years old to someone in their 60s. Many are very young. Some are teenagers. Some are just in their 20s. Precious human beings... every last one of them.

Including those who for now are caught in the vicious trap of shooting and killing other people who are just like them. Shooting and killing people who ARE JUST LIKE THEM—for retaliation, for payback, for “respect.”

Bob Avakian posed the question in BAsics, the handbook of the revolution: “...Ask yourself: how does it happen that you go from beautiful children to supposedly ‘irredeemable monsters’ in a few years? It’s because of the system, and what it does to people—not because of ‘unchanging and unchangeable human nature.’” Let’s get into this.

Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, and that whole fascist regime, calls these youth “animals” and they call for sending in the feds to: “MAKE CHICAGO SAFE AGAIN”—“SAFE” for whom? That is just a code word like Trump saying: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT [WHITE] AGAIN.” These are barely disguised code words calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide of Blacks, Latinos, immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQ people.

Obama called these youth “thugs” after they rose up in rebellion following the police murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. And blamed their parents when they got failing grades in school—saying they needed to stop feeding them fried fish and grits for breakfast.

Hillary Clinton called these youth “super-predators.”

But let’s look at what the SYSTEM that Trump, Obama, and Clinton represent does to our youth.

Look at the future they face. By the time of adolescence, if not before, it is already crystal clear this capitalist-imperialist system has no future for them. They are treated as criminals. As “dumb” people. People with “anger management” issues.

After the defeat of the slave system in the Civil War, this system forced Black people back onto the plantations as sharecroppers in the Jim Crow system of white supremacy with the KKK, sheriffs, and lynch mobs. Then after World War 2, people were driven off the land and they left for the North and went out west to escape Jim Crow and in search of a better life to support their families—they went to work in the steel plants, shipyards, meat-packing, and auto factories—in the lowest-paid, most dirty and dangerous jobs, last hired and first fired.

But over the last few decades those jobs were shipped out of the inner cities—going first to the South, then to Mexico in the maquiladora factories along the border, then to Asia in search of cheaper labor and greater return on the investments in this system—so people coming up nowadays find a different situation. If they can get any work at all, it is something that only reinforces the notion that they are not worth shit. A chump change job that further degrades instead of affirming their humanity. The whole way this system, with white supremacy in its DNA, is structured tells them that the only thing they deserve, as Bob Avakian exposes in his talk REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! is a boot up their ass and a bullet in their brain.

Of course, no human being will accept shit like that. They will find ways to defy that shit. People will “resist” being treated in this dehumanizing way. Anybody in similar conditions will try to find a way to make it through this world in a way they find gives meaning, and “dignity” to their existence. However long or short that existence might be.

Whether anybody likes it or not, these youth find that meaning and “dignity,” that meaning you get from belonging to something—from being part of something bigger than yourself—from the gang life.

But that life only mirrors the larger life of this SYSTEM and its values that produced and shaped ALL this shit in the first place.

So when people say Stop the Violence, I ask: What is the root cause of the violence? And how do we strike at, uproot, and overturn that?

No one should have to live the life these youth have to put up with. Even more importantly no one has to.

But that can ONLY be accomplished through the revolution to overthrow this system. We have the strategy and leadership for that. We have BA, Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution and the architect of a new framework for human emancipation. A new communism.

When people get into this revolution, they change the world and they change themselves. I was not so different from some of these youth “back in the day.” But I ran into the revolution and as I fought against oppression, people struggled with me to change my outlook. Then, when I got into Bob Avakian and what he’s bringing forward, I changed still more.

At the beginning of the quote above, BA says: “People say: ‘You mean to tell me that these youth running around selling drugs and killing each other, and caught up in all kinds of other stuff, can be a backbone of this revolutionary state power in the future?’ Yes—but not as they are now, and not without struggle. They weren’t always selling drugs and killing each other, and the rest of it—and they don’t have to be into all that in the future....” (BAsics 3:17)

I call on these youth: bring your anger, bring your defiance, bring your “resistance” into the revolution. If you are going to die, make it be about contributing to overthrowing this system. So that at the very least the generation coming up with you and behind you will have the opportunity to fight for something better—for revolution to overthrow this system, and to build a whole new world.

It is like what BA says in BAsics 3:16:

An Appeal to Those the System Has Cast Off

Here I am speaking not only to prisoners but to those whose life is lived on the desperate edge, whether or not they find some work; to those without work or even homes; to all those the system and its enforcers treat as so much human waste material.

Raise your sights above the degradation and madness, the muck and demoralization, above the individual battle to survive and to “be somebody” on the terms of the imperialists—of fouler, more monstrous criminals than mythology has ever invented or jails ever held. Become a part of the human saviors of humanity: the gravediggers of this system and the bearers of the future communist society.

This is not just talk or an attempt to make poetry here: there are great tasks to be fulfilled, great struggles to be carried out, and yes great sacrifices to be made to accomplish all this. But there is a world to save—and to win—and in that process those this system has counted as nothing can count for a great deal. They represent a great reserve force that must become an active force for the proletarian revolution.

People say: "You mean to tell me that these youth running around selling drugs and killing each other, and caught up in all kinds of other stuff, can be a backbone of this revolutionary state power in the future?" Yes—but not as they are now, and not without struggle. They weren't always selling drugs and killing each other, and the rest of it—and they don't have to be into all that in the future. Ask yourself: how does it happen that you go from beautiful children to supposedly "irredeemable monsters" in a few years? It's because of the system, and what it does to people—not because of "unchanging and unchangeable human nature."

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:17

Get with the Revolution Club!

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Revolution Club, Los Angeles

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Why America Cannot Let Emmett Till Rest in Peace

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

For a third time, some white-supremacist-fucks have vandalized a plaque commemorating the spot where Emmett Till’s tortured body was pulled from a Mississippi river in August 1955. Since this memorial marker was first installed in 2007, it has been stolen and then shot up with guns, most recently on July 26, 2018—a month after it had replaced another bullet-ridden plaque.

The despicable lynching and butchery of 14-year-old Emmett Till, falsely accused by Southern white society, was nothing new in Jim Crow Amerikkka. To hear the story, go here and here.  But what was totally new and unprecedented was the breadth and fierceness of the response to this outrage. The outpouring of rage instead of fear formed the outlook of a generation—among Black people especially but also among many white people. This echoed around the world, and called attention to the hypocrisy of the so-called “leader of the free world.” It shows how long-suppressed anger against injustices can suddenly and dramatically burst forth in mass and determined struggle and change the way that millions worldwide see things. 

This happened because a small number of people—starting with Emmett’s mother Mamie Till-Mobley, and others from Money, Mississippi such as Emmett’s uncle, stood up and spoke out defiantly before the world. She insisted on an open casket to make the world confront the gruesome remains of what had been her beautiful son at the hands of good ole American boys. In his 2017 book, The Blood of Emmett Till, author Timothy B. Tyson captures this in writing that “Emmett’s murder would never have become a watershed historical moment without Mamie finding the strength to make her private grief a public matter.”

The incredibly courageous and broad-minded role of Emmett’s mother was the spark igniting feelings that had been building among the masses of Black people for some time. It accelerated and spurred on an urgent sense that things MUST change. All this took shape in the civil rights movement during and after that moment. Mamie noted that “When people saw what happened to my son, men stood up who had never stood up before,” in this case by the heroic actions of a few people on a foundation of organizing that had been going on (including in Mississippi) and a seething anger among millions that continues to exist today.

America and its racist thugs, now a fascist reincarnation of the lynch mobs of the past under Trump, cannot give up the hatred of this memory because it portends possibilities of the dam bursting again, and again. The unbearable stink of white supremacy has Emmett’s blood screaming from its root for justice. The same system that allows these commemorative signs to be vandalized is the very same system that allowed Emmett Till and so many others to be murdered. It is a system that is marked for being overthrown by all those who may have never stood up before—but can and must do so now.

Bob Avakian, "Emmett Till and Jim Crow: Black people lived under a death sentence"

A clip from the film of the talk by Bob Avakian, "Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About." Watch the entire talk at Revolutiontalk.net.

Click here to read a transcript of this film clip.

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

The Spirit of Colin Kaepernick Alive at NFL Preseason Games

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Thursday night, August 9, the first week of the NFL season kicked off with preseason games in several cities—where a significant number of players made it clear that protests against police brutality, racism and mass incarceration are NOT over. As the national anthem played:

Philadelphia Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins raised a fist while teammate Chris Long placed his hand on Jenkins’ shoulder. De’Vante Bausby also raised his fist. Jacksonville Jaguars players Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Leonard Fournette, and T.J. Yeldon waited in the tunnel. Three members of the Seattle Seahawks, Quinton Jefferson, Branden Jackson, and Duane Brown, did the same. Miami Dolphins players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled, and Robert Quinn raised his fist. San Francisco 49er Marquise Goodwin raised his fist before the game. Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch sat on the bench. Baltimore Ravens player Tim Williams stood in front of the bench with his back toward the field.

This was particularly courageous and significant in the face of ongoing threats by the NFL to punish players who protest during the national anthem and Trump’s continuing vicious and racist attacks on these athletes.

Colin Kaepernick, the first to bravely “take a knee” in 2016 as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, tweeted: “My brother @kstills continued his protest of systemic oppression tonight by taking a knee. Albert Wilson @iThinkIsee12 joined him in protest. Stay strong brothers!✊”

Malcolm Jenkins and some of his teammates on the Eagles (defending NFL champions) took the field for warm-ups wearing T-shirts that read: “More than 60% of prison populations are people of color” on the front and “Nearly 5,000 kids are in adult prisons and jails. #SchoolsNotPrison” on the back. Jenkins tweeted: “Before we enjoy this game lets take some time to ponder that more than 60% of the prison population are people of color. The NFL is made up of 70% African Americans. What you witness on the field does not represent the reality of everyday America. We are the anomalies...”

Later Jenkins, talking about the new NFL rules against on-field protests, told the press, “We don’t have this type of policies for the other causes we support, whether it be our ‘Salute to Service,’ or breast cancer awareness, or anything else. It’s just when you start talking about black folks, quite frankly. It’s disheartening, but we’ll continue to be creative.”

As he did all last season, Trump immediately went on the attack. He has called protesting players “sons of bitches” who should be kicked out of the country. Now he reiterated that players who don’t stand for the anthem should be suspended without pay. He also claimed the players wanted to “show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define.” This is, of course, total bullshit. These players have been very articulate in making clear what they are protesting, and Trump’s claim that these players are “unable to define” what they’re protesting is put to lie by what the players have said and continue to voice in great depth. But beyond that, this is part of Trump’s continued white supremacist theme of attacking the intelligence of Black people in general. The same Trump who insinuates that NFL protesters (mainly Black) don’t know what they’re talking about has attacked Lebron James for being “dumb” and says Maxine Waters has a “low IQ.”

At this point, the NFL is saying it won’t punish players who protested on Thursday. In May, NFL owners had announced new rules demanding players stand on the field during the national anthem and “show respect for the flag and the Anthem” or remain in the locker room—or they would be fined. After the NFL Players Association filed a grievance challenging this, the NFL and the Players Association announced the policy was on hold as part of a “standstill agreement.” But the NFL has continued to reiterate—including after Thursday’s protests—that during the anthem, “all player and non-player personnel on the field at that time are expected to stand during the presentation of the flag and performance of the anthem.” In other words: Enforced patriotism is still in effect!

Only a few days before the preseason games, after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he expected everyone on his team to stand for the anthem and not stay in the locker room, 49er Richard Sherman said: “The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, with the old plantation mentality. What did you expect?”

Protests by athletes are also continuing off the field. On Saturday, August 4, Randy Moss, former record-breaking wide receiver in the NFL, made a powerful statement when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He wore a tie that listed Black men and women killed by the police in recent years including Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin who was killed by a racist vigilante. Later he said, “We all know what’s going on. You see the names on my tie.”

All these athletes are putting a lot on the line—their careers, even their lives—to take a highly public stand against police brutality and the oppression of Black people. And Trump’s continuing attacks on these NFL players is an expression of not only white supremacist outrage at “uppity” Black people challenging white supremacy, but a call for enforced patriotism and flag worship—which is an essential component of the fascist program of “Making America Great Again.”

All those who oppose injustice, white supremacy, and the oppression of Black people must have these players’ backs and oppose any efforts to silence and punish them.

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

The Righteous Aspiration of LeBron James, the Racist Sneer of Donald Trump, and the Need for an Actual Revolution

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the nearly 250 years of chattel slavery in America and the 150 years of “old”1 and new Jim Crow which followed it, one of the most vicious practices has been the violently enforced ignorance perpetrated against Black people by the white supremacists who have run this system. For centuries in this country, enslaved Black human beings who dared to learn or teach others to read were routinely tortured, sold away from their families, mutilated, or even murdered. For the century and a half that followed, Black children were either denied schooling outright or sent to segregated schools which were deprived of all resources; and when they dared to try to go to white schools, they were violently attacked by mobs of white racist morons.

Today, with the schools even more segregated than they were in 1954 when segregation was supposedly outlawed and with the disparities and inequalities even greater than they were then, with police locking down and brutalizing students right in school, and with Trump’s secretary of education set on both further slashing resources and channeling African-American children into Christian-fascist brainwashing factories, this “American-as-apple-pie” practice is alive and fucking sick as ever.

As part of this practice, white supremacists then and now have claimed that the results of this systematic, violence-enforced miseducation “proved” that Black people were intellectually inferior. Never mind that the tests they used to supposedly “prove” this were themselves loaded with cultural bias and heavily influenced by actual educational opportunity (and in the case of the SAT and other “scholastic aptitude” tests, influenced by the practice of wealthier, usually white or Asian, parents paying for tutors, test-taking classes, etc.). Every decade it seems, if not more often, some “highly-credentialed” racist comes forth with one more bogus argument which is given tons of publicity and which forces actual scientists and others applying science to yet again shoot down this vicious lie.

All this is background to the latest ugly display of this by Donald Trump, the never-read-a-book-and-proud-of-it apotheosis of American ignorance and arrogance: his attacks on the basketball star and public figure LeBron James.

The Aspiration of LeBron James

Last week, LeBron James opened a school for “at-risk” youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James donated millions to making this a state-of-the-art public school (non-charter). He also dedicated money to give a bike and a helmet to every child going to this school so that they can explore the world around them.

The aspiration behind what LeBron James has done—the urge to do something concrete to at least begin enriching the present and saving the future of these children—is something that should be upheld and respected. It is outrageous that it takes a multi-millionaire to do this and that the scope of what he can do is limited to a single medium-sized city, but that’s the fault of this rotten system, and not James.

It was at the moment of the opening of the school that Donald Trump decided to launch an attack on James as being “dumb”—and to attack the Black CNN anchor Don Lemon as well. This is the same moronic pig who has used the “pulpit” of the presidency to attack Black Congresswoman (and Trump critic) Maxine Waters as “low IQ” and to attack Black football players who have dared to protest during the national anthem. Trump, like the slavemasters from whom he draws inspiration and the baying hounds that he leads, hates the specter of Black people getting educated. He finds it threatening.

So it is no surprise that Donald Trump would go on the attack against LeBron James for doing this and that he would call him “dumb.” Trump has been slashing what meager funds did exist for the public schools and for inner city schools in particular. But what makes Trump different than the string of presidents before him who have done the same is his particular fascist bent. Think about it: Trump says someone with not only the aspiration but the determination to see through an effort to actually educate some small portion of the children that this system has destined to fail is “dumb.” This is Nazi talk for “sub-human”—and deserving to be penned in, beaten down, and ultimately, if the powers-that-be so decide, sent to concentration camps.

Like all racists, Trump fears and hates the very idea of educating (not indoctrinating, but educating) Black children. He fears the potential of the oppressed once critical thinking is unleashed. Do you think it’s an accident that in his rant against the NFL players (mainly Black) who protested by kneeling during the national anthem that he also attacked the attempts to limit brain-damaging concussions in football? This is beyond sick. Trump is the modern-day version of the slavemaster who would cut out a slave’s tongue for learning to read and then ridicule her for being unable to talk; and then when she managed to communicate anyway, attack her once more.

Again: this is potentially a program of genocide and a program right now of greatly heightened draconian repression and privation. This is of a piece with intentionally traumatizing children of immigrants by separating them from their parents and in some cases permanently orphaning them. This not only has to be opposed, but this whole illegitimate fascist regime needs to be driven out.

The Democrats Have No Answer…

But let’s go further. James’s aspiration to educate the youth of Akron should raise a larger question. Why, nearly 65 years after this system so solemnly declared its intent to desegregate and equalize educational opportunities, are schools in many areas still segregated and becoming even more so, and inequalities in educational outcomes for students of different backgrounds barely dented and, again, becoming worse in many cases? Why must people rely on the good intentions and charity of one millionaire to help what is really a tiny, tiny portion of those who could contribute so much and flourish so greatly if the system was designed to foster that?

A further question: while Trump has taken this much further, what have the Democrats been doing all these decades, including when they were in power? What did Obama do as president—besides lecturing Black students to “pull their pants up” and stop “blaming” … a system designed to make them fail? What did the Clintons do, besides demonizing Black children as potential “super-predators,” stepping on the accelerator of mass incarceration, ending “welfare as we know it,” and committing so many other crimes? And where are the prominent Democrats today who are raising hell over Trump’s attacks on LeBron James and others, calling it out as totally racist and unacceptable, and calling for the ouster of such an outright and unapologetic white supremacist?

These Democrats have shown both yesterday and today that they have no answer to this, no way to stop this ugly practice at the very heart of white supremacy.

But the Revolution Does…

This system of capitalism-imperialism grew up with, and remains joined at the hip with, white supremacy. It has had 400 years to answer this and today, as we said, schools are more segregated than ever, Black youth and other youth of color continue to be channeled into the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and the virulent racism of America is openly exalted from the highest office of the land and barely opposed.

In fact, there IS a blueprint for a whole new system in which education would be specifically designed, among other things, to overcome the inequities and scars of the past, as part of producing a society of critical and creative thinkers, steeped in the scientific method. A society in which the oppression of Black and other oppressed nationalities would be taken apart and abolished, as part of emancipating all of humanity. This can be done—through REVOLUTION which overthrows this system.

THIS—not the fascist catastrophe represented by Trump, nor the “usual” capitalist-imperialist disaster which at its best still consigns millions to the meatgrinder—is the future we urgently need and that is actually very possible (go here to see how such a revolution can be made). The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, sets forth, as a whole and in many different specific sections, why and how the new revolutionary state will, to quote the preamble, “be based on the principle of equality between different nationalities and cultures and [will have] as one of its essential objectives fully overcoming national oppression and inequality, which [is] such a fundamental part of the imperialist USA throughout its history. Only on the basis of these principles and objectives can divisions among humanity by country and nation finally be overcome and surpassed and a world community of freely associating human beings be brought into being. This orientation [will also be] embodied in the various institutions of the state and in the functioning of the government in the New Socialist Republic in North America.” And speaking of education, it lays a blueprint for education in the new society that is as lofty and inspiring as it is practical.

Get with the revolution. Get into BA.

THIS SYSTEM CANNOT BE REFORMED! IT MUST BE OVERTHROWN!

A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!


1. The fact that the “old” Jim Crow still lives has been shown over and over again this summer with white people deciding to put Black people “in their place,” sometimes with murder, and now with the Mississippi memorial marker for the lynching victim Emmett Till again being vandalized and shot up by racists. Read more here. [back]

Determination decides who makes it out of the ghetto—now there is a tired old cliché, at its worst, on every level. This is like looking at millions of people being put through a meatgrinder and instead of focusing on the fact that the great majority are chewed to pieces, concentrating instead on the few who slip through in one piece and then on top of it all, using this to say that “the meatgrinder works”!

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:11

Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957. One of nine African American students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School, the first to integrate the school, attacked by a mob of white racist morons.

South Carolina, 2015. A Black high school student assaulted by cop—in the classroom.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America
(Draft Proposal)

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

Read and Download (PDF)

From Article 1, Section 2, F. Education

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

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

Education, while valuing and giving expression to the circumstances and atmosphere that are favorable and conducive to learning and intellectual pursuit, shall avoid and combat an "ivory tower" environment and mentality and, on the contrary, shall promote interchanges between students and the broader ranks of the people, on the basis of and in keeping with the principles and policies of the educational system. At the same time, education at all levels shall combine intellectual pursuits with various kinds of physical labor, in ways and forms that correspond to and are appropriate for students of different ages and different levels of development, in order to foster the development of new generations of people with well-rounded experience, knowledge and abilities, and as part of working to transform the relation between intellectual and physical work so that this no longer constitutes the basis for social antagonism.

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

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Revolution Club Chicago:

Representing for the Revolution at the Bud Billiken Parade

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From a member of the Revolution Club Chicago:

August 11 was the 89th Bud Billiken parade, an end of the summer back to school parade that draws people from throughout Chicago and beyond, and is the biggest Black parade in the city. What gets focused up for people on this day, and part of why it is such a big deal, is the question of what future for the youth, in a city where the oppression of Black people is as sharp and urgent as its history is long and ugly. This year it was happening right on the heels of a weekend of intense shootings and killings among the people who have the hardest life; a string of outrageous, cold-blooded murders by police and inspiring resistance that emerged especially in response to the murder of Harith Augustus; the major upcoming trial of Jason Van Dyke, the pig who murdered Laquan McDonald, as well as other high-profile exposures and legal battles around the criminality of the Chicago PD; and it comes the day before white supremacist KKK fascist thugs intend to run amok in DC for the anniversary of them doing the same in Charlottesville.

So the Revolution Club put out a call for people to come out this weekend to represent for the revolution at the parade, and also in DC. As our comrades were going to DC to represent for the revolution, we in Chicago were doing that here at the Bud Billiken parade. Putting the needs of the revolution to broad numbers of people provided the way to come out in even greater force here AND in DC. This included talking to everyone about everything, what both things had to do with How We Can WIN.

The roughly 25 people who formed our revolutionary presence, both in the marching contingent and an additional presence of a table and tent set up amidst the crowd, included neighbors to the Revolution Club Organizing Center who had passed and heard the buzz; people who came out and stood bravely against the attacks on the people after Harith Augustus’ murder; family of Aquoness “Quono” Cathery, who was murdered by Chicago police; family of Darius Pinex, also murdered by Chicago police; as well as core club members and supporters.

A large banner saying “The System Cannot Be Reformed. It Must Be OVERTHROWN!” framed our marching contingent, and a banner with faces of some of the thousands murdered by police held by the family of Quono along with enlarged portraits of Quono headed our motley-crew-turned-organized-force for revolution.

We chanted revolutionary chants to the throngs of people along the 10-block march who were sitting in chairs, barbecuing, and the like. At times people chanted right with us—people who would get right on the edge of the fence pumping their fists. There were people who we were marching by for only brief moments who learned and repeated chants such as “The system can’t be reformed. It must be overthrown!” and “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution—Nothing Less!”

Many people all along really connected with the message on the banners, and when we would periodically stop chanting to speak to the crowd about the 5 STOPS of why we need revolution, that we are organizing people now for that because we have a strategy and the leadership of Bob Avakian, and what is needed is to organize thousands into the revolution now. Some were particularly grabbed when we spoke about how in the wake of last weekend’s 70 or so shootings, many people are agonizing over the future for the youth and raising “stop the violence,” but we say “stop the violence and do WHAT?” and how this system has put people in this situation, and we need to direct the anger into the fight against the real enemy, not killing each other but making revolution.

Earlier as we started in the parade, this little boy yelled at us, “Y’all are gonna make my dreams come true.” I didn’t know what to think then but to smile. But when you think (this was mentioned in the agitation) about all the suffering and the killings just this past weekend, it can make it hard to go on. But the fact is we have a real way to stop it: the leadership of BA and the party he leads, the bright daring of the Revolution Club that people can hook up with from Day 1, and a vision of how to implement the society beyond masters and slaves already in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Shit, that fact gives people the backing they need to fight for this world we can get to. Lol in people’s faces along the march who not only shouted but wanted to make known to us and people around them they were with it and the contingent itself marching and getting hype, too, reflected that. The banner of the stolen lives was heavy, and the family’s pictures of Quono... it was crazy to hear callbacks of people saying they were part of the family or shaking hands and pointing others to see it, too, as we marched. HWCW, palm cards for BA’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! and flyers to get hooked up with the club were distributed throughout the parade and at the table.

And we didn’t stop there. After the march, which was tiring as fuck, we stopped to catch our breath, mingle, eat a bit, and watch a battle of rival dance troupes before connecting with the people who had been at the table. On the way back, people were still barbecuing and enjoying the sun together. A beautiful sight in a city so damn desolate most of the time, with too many fearing letting their kids out to play because of the real shit the youth are caught up in, shooting each other during the summer; at least for the parade they put it to the side. When we got to the table, a small team walked back through the route of the parade to get out flyers. As they walked the route (even though many people had left by then because a heavy police presence had come in to clear the streets and make sure Black people were not allowed to gather for too long and enjoy themselves), they ran into many people who had seen us in the march and remembered what we were saying and dug it, wanting to get more info about the revolution. This was part of our goal, to bring together people who had been meeting and learning about the revolution, and to have a big impact that could draw more people to relate to the revolution. Another example of this: After we packed up and went to unload our supplies at our organizing center, a young woman came by to get more information. She said she had seen the office many times but never checked it out until she saw us that day at the parade.

Finally, a couple of shout-outs:

  1. Shout-out to Refuse Fascism Chicago, who also had a lively contingent in the parade and got out the important word about the movement to drive out this fascist Trump/Pence regime in the name of humanity.
  2. A “Cheers” to Vic Mensa. I didn’t know this until afterwards, but he was Grand Marshal of the parade this year and got into a confrontation with police who threatened him with arrest for re-entering the parade to join a contingent of activists holding a “Convict Van Dyke” banner. The contingent had been outrageously surrounded by so many police (for taking too long to march) that at one point an announcer introduced them as a CPD contingent. Cheers for not backing down in calling out these murderous police.

Revolution Club contingent at the Bud Biliken Day Parade. As pictured here, contingent included family of Quono who was murdered by Chicago Pigs earlier this year. (Photo: Special to www.revcom.us)

As the Revolution Club marches by, a row of onlookers get How We Can Win and read it on the spot. (Photo: Special to www.revcom.us)

Get with the Revolution Club!

Where you can take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way as you learn more about the revolution...and, where you advance toward joining the vanguard of the revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party.

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Revolution Club, Los Angeles

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Revolution Club Los Angeles Members Outrageously Arrested for Talking About Revolution at a Public Park!

Updated | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Update: The three Revolution Club members have now been released from police custody. The Club tweeted, "Thanks for spreading the word, making phone calls and donations."

From the Revolution Club, Los Angeles:

On Friday, August 10, 2018, three members of the LA Revolution Club went out to Normandie Park during a Summer Night Lights event. These are summer events where the police act like they're doing masses of people who live around these parks a favor by keeping the lights on a little longer and not running them out of the park. They prop up an “official staff” to make it seem as if people being allowed to stay in the park after dark is something to celebrate and be thankful to the police for.

When three members of the Revolution Club showed up to talk to people about the criminal and murderous nature of this system and the need to overthrow it, a petty overseer found this "inappropriate" and called on the cops there to remove the members of the Revolution Club—FROM A PUBLIC PARK!

When the crew didn't return to our organizing center and weren't answering their phones, one of us went down to the park to investigate and ask people if they had seen people in BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts passing out the pamphlet. Someone eventually told us that they had been arrested and they directed us to the person who would know more. When approached and asked if she knew more about the Revolution Club members and the arrests she smugly replied that the police arrested them because “They weren't listening...they were going around talking to people while the program was going on.” So we asked, “They were arrested for talking to people at a public park?” She responded, “Well, the things they were saying were inappropriate anyways.”

The Revolution Club has been going out broadly getting out and getting into the pamphlet HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution with people. This is an historic document that not only calls out the monstrousness and utter unreformability of this system, it also lays out how people can get organized now into the movement for an actual revolution to bring something far better into being. This is something the armed enforcers, who constantly murder and brutalize people, do not want to see connected up with those this system has no future for. They seized on this opportunity to go after the forces who actually do represent the interest of the masses of people, with these blatantly obvious illegitimate arrests. 

The members of the Revolution Club are being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA, charged with “trespassing” (602.1 pc) at a park that was purposefully open to the public all night long. 

This is a violation of people's legal rights and the people will not tolerate the authorities to arrest people for merely TALKING about the fight for a better world in a public space.

We’re told by the LAPD Asst. Watch Commander at MDC that two of them are being held in “padded cells” because they didn't answer questions, including by medical personnel in the jail! There is a potentially dangerous logic to this type of confinement—the revolutionaries need to get out of jail and be back on the streets right away.

Call the LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center at 213/356-3448. Tell them to release the Revolution Club members now.  

We are collecting donations for a defense fund—go to tinyurl.com/fundtherevolution.

Let us know that you called, and how we keep you updated.

Revolution Club LA
(323) 424-6687
revclub_la@yahoo.com
@revclub_la
2716 S. Vermont Ave Unit 8
Los Angeles, CA

Get with the Revolution Club!

Where you can take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way as you learn more about the revolution...and, where you advance toward joining the vanguard of the revolution, the Revolutionary Communist Party.

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Revolution Club, Los Angeles

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

September 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

by Bob Avakian

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Bob Avakian on the Right-Wing Agenda

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

by Bob Avakian

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

A Presidency Under Fire from the Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

What Is the Right Really After?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deeper, More Decisive Contradictions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Friends—and Well-Laid Traps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real Opposition and a Real Alternative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking Back the High Ground—Politically and Morally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NOTES:

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

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

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

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

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

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

by Bob Avakian

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NOTES:

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

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

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

A Year After Charlottesville, This Is Not Where We Should Be

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

by Coco Das | Reprinted from Daily Kos

Last year’s Unite the Right terror rally in Charlottesville should have been the end of the Trump/Pence regime. Nazis marching through the streets chanting Heil Trump, taunts of genocide, savage violence by white supremacist mobs, the murder of Heather Heyer ... then Trump arrogantly blaming both sides and calling torch-carrying fascists “very fine people” should have been enough to condemn this regime to the scrapheap of history. What happened in Charlottesville was sickening and intolerable, and it had everything to do with the white supremacists in the White House. Charlottesville starkly exposed the alignment and mutually reinforcing relationship between the regime in power and violent vigilante street forces, both enforcing white supremacy as part of the cohering ideology of this vicious American fascism.

Now, a year later, they DARE to rally again, this time in front of the White House after they were denied a permit in Charlottesville. Imagine the callous entitlement of that, demanding to return to the scene where a woman was murdered and a Black man was chased and beaten by a gang of white supremacists and many others were threatened and terrorized—with claims that the white supremacists are the true victims, turning reality upside down in true fascist form. They are calling this a white civil rights rally, but we should call it what it really is, a bold victory lap and a chance to honor their president who has stood by them and delivered them so much.

Last year, many of us who were sickened by what we saw in Charlottesville took action; we marched, held candlelight vigils, and counter-protested every time these groups called another rally. People standing up against these naked displays of force did a lot to deny these white supremacists the legitimacy they wanted. But we did not go all the way. We did not drive out the regime that emboldened the re-assertion of white supremacist terror. We did not stop the regime that is rapidly reshaping American society to make this country safe for fascists and downright deadly for everyone they seek to subjugate and eliminate.

What followed Charlottesville? “Zero Tolerance” policies against immigrants amounting to ethnic cleansing. Silencing of NFL players who kneel in protest. Nearly 5000 preventable deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. An epidemic of police being called on Black people for simply existing in spaces as varied as coffee shops, public streets, and dormitory common rooms. The Muslim travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court. And more racist hate crimes against people of color.

A year after the horror in Charlottesville, this is NOT where we should be. Fascist thugs should not be allowed to show up in force again, anywhere, and neither should this fascist regime—with their cruel program of white, Christian, male, American supremacy—be allowed to continue to function. They should not be free to win the world they want, an unlivable world for the majority of humanity. We have to unite for the world we want with equal passion, and we have to win.

The one-year anniversary of Charlottesville should have been a day of mourning, not a day of doing this all over again. This weekend in DC, we need to stop these fascist street thugs, and as we do, if we really want to stop white supremacy from strengthening its grip, let’s build the movement to do what really needs to be done. Get with the plan and strategy of RefuseFascism.org. Don’t stop flooding the streets until we’ve sent Trump and his entire regime packing. It’s worth stepping outside the normal channels to do this. Our reward will be a future NOT ruled by genocidal lunatics.

***

Coco Das is a contributor to refusefascism.org, an organization mobilizing to drive out the Trump/Pence regime though a sustained, non-violent protest movement. Their slogan is “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America.”

August 11- 12: In the Name of Humanity, Join Refuse Fascism in Washington, DC to Say NO to White Supremacy and a Fascist America!

RefuseFascism.org

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

Watch the entire film of the talk by Bob Avakian: “THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America A Better World IS Possible”

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

As the Trump/Pence Regime Whips Up Fascist Mobs: Federal and State Laws Target Anti-Fascist and Other Protesters

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

At a time when vile, dangerous white supremacist/neo-Nazi mobs are being backed and incited from the highest offices of the land through Trump’s tweets, KKK-style speeches, and other actions, the government is stepping up efforts to use laws against anti-fascist protesters. In June, Republicans introduced a bill in the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives called the “Unmasking Antifa Act of 2018.” The bill would punish anyone who “injures, oppresses, threatens, or intimidates any person” while “in disguise, including wearing a mask” with fines and an up to 15-year prison sentence.

“Antifa” refers to a range of anti-fascist and anti-racist groups with varying viewpoints, who act in different ways to defend against and take on fascist and white-supremacist goons, in the streets and on social media. Many Antifa identify themselves as anarchist in some way. In a piece on The Intercept website, writer Natasha Lennard pointed out that “anti-fascist demonstrators frequently wear masks for fear of harassment and retaliation from white supremacists” and that “while anti-masking laws are not uncommon and have often been used in the past to arrest leftist and anarchist protesters, the weight of sentencing proposed in the new bill raises the stakes considerably...”

As the name “Unmasking Antifa Act” makes clear, this bill doesn’t make even a pretense of being “even handed” in relation to the racist Nazi thugs like those who rampaged in Charlottesville last year on one side, and people who get out into the streets in outrage against those fascist fucks, on the other. And if this fascist bill becomes actual law, it will no doubt be used more broadly against people protesting against the fascist regime and various injustices and crimes of this system, beyond those identified with Antifa.

Shortly after this bill was introduced, federal prosecutors dropped felony charges against the last of the J20 defendants—about 200 protesters who faced long prison sentences after mass arrests on Trump’s Inauguration Day in Washington, DC, for simply being part of a demonstration during which some alleged destruction of property took place. The attempted political railroad of the J20 defendants was not only a vicious act of revenge against the righteous protests on the very first day of the Trump/Pence regime—it was a major escalation of fascist repression, with ominous implications. As part of this, the government demanded detailed information on visitors to a website that was used to organize the protests, and the site’s web hosting provider said complying with the order would have meant handing over information on about 1.3 million visitors.

Most of the J20 defendants worked together to defend themselves against the outrageous attacks by the government and won wide support. The defeat of their political railroad was a victory. But the government has by no means given up the drive to go after protesters through the laws and courts. Aside from the federal “Unmasking Antifa” bill, there has been a major rise in anti-protest laws at the state level—targeting things like demonstrating in large groups, wearing masks, and disrupting oil pipelines and other infrastructure, or protecting drivers from liability if they hit someone during a protest. The National Lawyers Guild reported earlier this year that 58 such bills had been proposed in 31 states.

Not all these bills have become law, but many have. For example, one signed by the Oklahoma governor in May dramatically increased fines and jail sentences for protesters who “trespass” on property containing “critical infrastructure facility”—including fossil fuel facilities. The new law is clearly aimed at environmental protesters in this state, which is a center of the oil and gas industry. Individual protesters convicted under the law could face up to a $100,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment—and organizations found to be a “conspirator” could be fined as much as $1 million.

These draconian laws are aimed at greatly ramping up potential punishment against those who step out to protest—and threatening and intimidating potential protesters. They are part of intensifying steps in the U.S. toward the fascist suppression and criminalization of all serious dissent and protest. This is where things are rapidly heading—and it underscores the necessity and urgency of tens of thousands, and then millions, stepping out to defy this fascist onslaught as part of a massive political movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

What the Fuck!!?? Trump Regime Declares Poverty Has “Nearly Disappeared” in the USA

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

On July 12, the Council of Economic Advisers declared that poverty in America has nearly disappeared and that the “war on poverty” is “largely over and a success.”

What the FUCK??!!! The actual truth is that MORE people live in poverty now than 50 years ago. Poverty has intensified for millions of people, especially Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. And millions of children go to bed hungry every night.

The war on poverty was launched by President Lyndon B. Johnson over 50 years ago. During the 1960s, urban rebellions of Black people erupted across the U.S. In the 1970s and ’80s, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the government granted some concessions like food stamps—while increasingly using “war on poverty” programs to insert repressive and counter-insurgency measures in the Black community.

Now henchmen for the fascist Trump/Pence regime are using their LIE—that the “war on poverty” has succeeded—to say that millions of people have been too reliant on benefits so they should be forced to work in order to get government help. And this is also being used to ratchet up the white supremacist demonization of poor people. For decades Black people and others on welfare have been attacked as being “just too lazy to work.” Now, under Trump, this has gone into 10th gear. Housing and Urban Development head Ben Carson says poverty is largely “a state of mind” and wants to “get rid of programs that create dependency in able-bodied people.”

Listening to Trump, you’d think only Black people get benefits. In 2017, a Black congressperson said welfare reforms would hurt her constituents, “not all of who were Black.” Trump replied, “Really? Then what are they?” In fact over 17 million white people live in poverty and more white people get food stamps than Black people. But a much higher percentage of Black people live in poverty and need welfare and food stamps. This is due to the very workings of capitalism and white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in the government and throughout society, and there is a whole history to this.

During the Great Migration (1916-1970), six million African Americans left the South, searching for a better life and a way to escape grinding poverty and exploitation, Jim Crow discrimination and oppression, and KKK terror. They were pulled to cities like Chicago and New York by the demands of growing capitalist industry—where they endured poverty, were given the hardest and lowest paying factory jobs and were segregated into ghettos. Then with automation and factories moving to suburbs and overseas, millions of Black people lost their jobs. Historically, Black unemployment rates have often been twice that of whites.

Government Policies and Poverty

Conscious government policies have intensified poverty, especially among Black people—with “welfare reform” delivered in a white supremacist envelope.

Republicans always had their racist rants about how Black people were taking handouts. Ronald Reagan liked to talk about lazy “welfare queens” eating steak on the government’s dime. When KKK Wizard David Duke was elected as a Louisiana state representative, he declared, “This isn’t a victory for me, it is a victory for those who ... choose to work hard rather than abuse welfare.”

But anyone who thinks the Democrats are any kind of answer to poverty, especially among Black people, should look at their ugly track record of attacks on the poor. Democrats have been just as racist in pushing welfare reform. Bill Clinton, who signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Act said, “The current welfare system undermines the basic values of work, responsibility, and family, trapping generation after generation in dependency.” How different was this from Reagan’s attack on poor Black families? The reform imposed work requirements that kicked more than seven million people off public aid by 2001.

This is the same Clinton who, during his 1992 presidential campaign, in order to show his “tough on crime” stance, went to Arkansas to witness the execution of a brain-damaged Black man. This is the same Bill Clinton who before the Southern primaries, posed for a photo op in front of a chain gang of Black inmates at Stone Mountain, Georgia, second home of the Ku Klux Klan.

Then there was Obama, who attacked poor Black people with poison disguised as “fatherly (patriarchal) concern.” As unemployment and poverty increased, Obama continually chastised Black youth, and Black people generally, blaming them for the oppression they face under this system and telling the youth their problem was they didn’t pull up their pants and take “personal responsibility”! No talk here about the fact that automation and factories going overseas has meant the loss of millions of factory jobs—and what this might have to do with the high unemployment rate among Black youth.

In 1996, nearly 70 percent of poor families received benefits. Now it’s less than 25 percent. Is this because millions found decent jobs and developed the sense of “personal responsibility” and “self-sufficiency” Clinton preached about? NO! This white supremacist system of capitalism is still driving even more Black people into poverty. But the government continues to deny more people government benefits.

What Trump is doing now is the logical extension of all this. Republicans pushing welfare reforms explicitly compare this to what Clinton did and are in fact using his 1996 act as a template to carry out Trump’s plan to impose even stricter work requirements on those receiving benefits. Supposedly this would lead to lots of people “earning their way out of poverty.” In reality it will mean millions of people forced to work for minimum or lower starvation wages or denied aid because they can’t find a job, find affordable childcare, or can’t work because they need to take care of a disabled family member.

The Actual TRUTH About Poverty in the USA

  1. There are actually MORE people living in poverty today than 50 years ago. In 1973, there were 23 million people living in poverty (11 percent of the population). In 2016, the poverty rate went slightly down, but given population growth, the actual number of people living in poverty was almost double what it was in 1973, at over 40 million (based on U.S. Census data and government poverty guidelines). Added to this are 100 million people living in “near-poverty,” where the loss of a job, illness, or a family emergency throws you into poverty.
  2. In this supposedly “greatest country in the world,” tens of millions live in a situation as one poor person described: “Poverty is ... a constant state of insecurity ... choosing between food and electricity ... losing your teeth, because you can’t afford routine care ... moving in the middle of the night, from an apartment, when you can’t afford your rent ... is exhaustion, in every way ... and yes, poverty is being hungry.” And millions more are one step away from this.

  1. Poverty is intensifying. The government defines “deep poverty” as living in a household with a total cash income below 50 percent of its poverty threshold. In 1975 about a third of those living in poverty lived in “deep poverty.” Today almost half of those in poverty face “deep poverty”—about 18.5 million people.
  2. In 2017, the homeless population in the U.S. grew for the first time since the Great Recession (2000s and early 2010s). On a given night, there are over 500,000 homeless people. Women with kids living in cars, trying to keep warm. People with mental illness and no medical care, riding the subway trains to get out of the freezing cold or extreme heat. Desperately poor men and women, working at shit-paying jobs and going “home” to sleep in the streets, because they’re still unable to afford any kind of rent.

  1. Black, Latino, and Native American people face more and deeper poverty. A larger percentage of Black and Latino children live in poverty: In 1976, just over half of all children in poverty were Black or Latino. Today, almost two-thirds of children in poverty are Black and Latino. Native American, African American, and Latino children continue to face the highest poverty rates—about one-third live in poverty. Native American and African American children are three times more likely to be in poverty than white children. Black and Latino children experience hunger at double the rate of white children.
  2. Millions of children live in poverty and go to bed hungry. Nearly a quarter of children in rural areas and 20 percent in urban areas live in poverty. The highest concentrations of child poverty overall are in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, and on Native American reservations.

One in six children, over 16 million, go to bed and to school hungry—living in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. Nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children.

One woman talked about how people get worried the government will say they are unfit parents and take their kids away because they cannot provide enough food for the family. She said, “You have to make sure to maintain a roof over their head, you have to make sure bills are paid, and sometimes to buy food, you have to buy food that’s not healthy. So by the end of the month, you’re running low, because you just don’t have the money to maintain the whole month.”

********

In this so-called “greatest country in the world” people have no right to not live in poverty—no right to decent shelter, medical care, and food. Bob Avakian has pointed out:

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

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

BAsics 1:20

The U.S. presides over and is at the top of the food chain of a worldwide imperialist system. This capitalist-imperialist system, based on profit above all, means starvation, impoverished living conditions, child slavery... and more—all over the world. And here in the belly of the beast, it means tens of millions living in demeaning poverty.

Poverty and hunger are absolutely unnecessary. There is already enough food being produced to provide everyone on the planet with a healthy diet. There are enough resources for people to have decent living conditions. But the only reason people go hungry and die of starvation, the only reason so many live in poverty is because of this capitalist mode of production, the way the necessities of life and everything else are produced and distributed.

To get rid of poverty WITHOUT maintaining and replicating exploitative relations—both worldwide and in the United States, including the oppression of Black people—will take nothing short of a ACTUAL revolution that overthrows this system of capitalism-imperialism, and brings into being a radically different and far better system and society. This is represented by the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (CNSRNA), authored by Bob Avakian, a visionary and concrete blueprint for a whole new society with the goal of emancipating humanity worldwide.

As a principle and application of internationalism, for the foundation of the economy, the CNSRNA states, “The structure of production and the resource base of the socialist economy cannot depend on labor and materials from other countries—much less exploitation and domination.”

This is part of an overall process of a whole different economic and political system aimed at getting rid of all exploitation, oppression and antagonistic social divisions, in the U.S. and throughout the world. As the CNSRNA says: “The development of the socialist economy has as its source and relies upon the initiative and work, intellectual as well as physical, of the masses of people, of the members of society broadly, in conditions which are increasingly freed from relations of exploitation, and with the aim of overcoming all vestiges and aspects of such relations, and the effects of such relations, not only in this society but everywhere on the earth.” (p. 19)


Resources:

Declaring War on Poverty ‘Largely Over,’ White House Urges Work Requirements for Aid, New York Times, July 12, 2018

One in nine U.S. workers are paid wages that can leave them in poverty, even when working full time,” Economic Snapshot by David Cooper, Economic Policy Institute, June 15, 2018

The rise in child poverty reveals racial inequality, more than a failed War on Poverty,” Economic Snapshot by Valerie Wilson and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, June 8, 2018

One-third of Native American and African American children are (still) in poverty,” Economic Snapshot by Janelle Jones, Economic Policy Institute, September 20, 2017

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016, Jessica L. Semega, Kayla R. Fontenot, and Melissa A. Kollar; U.S. Census Bureau, September 12, 2017

MLK tackled many issues in his lifetime. Where are we now?,” Russell Contreras, Associated Press, April 1, 2018

Report: Rural Poverty In America Is ‘An Emergency’,” Brakkton Booker, NPR, May 31, 2018

Hunger a Harsh Reality for 14 Million Children Nationwide, Annie E. Casey Foundation, April 2, 2018

New Census Bureau Statistics Show How Young Adults Today Compare With Previous Generations in Neighborhoods Nationwide,” U.S. Census Bureau, December 04, 2014

America’s homeless population rises for the first time since the Great Recession,” Guardian, December 6, 2017.

The State of Homelessness in America,” National Alliance to End Homelessness

What happens when a family runs out of food stamps” Emily Badger, Washington Post, December 9, 2015

The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty, Jill Quadagno, Oxford University Press, 1994

Deadbeat Democrats, How Bill Clinton set the stage for the GOP’s war on the poor,” Bryce Covert, New Republic, September 21, 2017

Going to school hungry: A child and his mom tell their story,” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, October 14, 2013

What Poor Feels Like,” Shaunta Grimes, Huffington Post , March 15, 2017

 

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

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:20

Bob Avakian, "A better world is possible"

A clip from the film of the talk by Bob Avakian, Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About. Watch the entire talk at Revolutiontalk.net.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America
(Draft Proposal)

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

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Revolutionary Communism vs. “Democratic Socialism”: Two Basic Points

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Point One:

Democratic socialists—at their “most radical”—want to “redistribute the wealth” within the U.S. But think for a minute: Where does this great wealth come from? All the riches and resources piled up by capitalist-imperialist America have come, and come in large part, first from slavery and the theft of land domestically, and from its relentless economic, political, and military domination of the masses of people all over the world. The tens of millions of men, women, and children in the Third World laboring in the sweatshops and the fields; the slaughter carried out right now in your name in Yemen by the U.S.-backed Saudi forces; wars in dozens of other places, the grinding, brutal oppression carried out by American puppets and lackeys that drive immigrants to risk their lives to cross the Rio Grande (or the Mediterranean)—all this, historically and now, in multifaceted ways, feeds into the standard of living here, and in the other imperialist countries as well (even the so-called “socialist” countries of Scandinavia) sitting atop the imperialist food chain. Without a revolution that overthrows the whole system of capitalism-imperialism, all you’re doing is redistributing spoils and plunder atop this food chain, leaving intact the vast exploitative and oppressive economic and social relations that underlie this, crushing lives and destroying spirits. Fuck that. Only an internationalist revolution—one that immediately ends the U.S.’s exploitative economic relations and military dominance around the world, and views the newly liberated territory as a base area for revolution worldwide—is worth making. And only a society committed to that principle and outlook can stay on the road to an emancipated world.

Point Two:

Democratic socialists—again, at their “most radical”—envision taking over the machinery of government and “making it work” for the people. But quiet as it’s kept, this is a dictatorship—again, think for a minute: Who gives the orders to the police and the army? The class in power (the capitalist-imperialists) have a monopoly on the machinery of oppression and the legitimate use of force, and they have created massive armed forces that reflect the reactionary, putrid values and relations of this system. Even if democratic socialists were somehow to be elected, the capitalist class will use that obedient machinery, their armies, to murder those who would try even to seriously reform this system—as they did when they slaughtered countless people in Chile who supported Allende in 1973, or Sukarno in Indonesia in 1965, or Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and history is littered with such examples; or they will make a mockery of the sacrifice of the masses by absorbing you and your so-called “revolution” into their system based on exploitation, as they have done in South Africa.

Only an actual revolution—in which the hold of their dictatorship is broken and their machinery of oppression is defeated and dismantled—can bring in a whole new economic system, political system, and set of values and ways of relating to each other and get us on the road to human emancipation. The major means of production have to be seized from the capitalist class to establish a different economy to meet the needs of the people, an economy that does not rely on exploitation and is not driven by the accumulation of profit, and state power has to be seized by the revolutionary forces to make this possible. Only THIS—an actual revolution—can begin to deal with the savage exploitation, the howling inequalities, and the deep-rooted forms of oppression that are baked into this system. These so-called democratic socialists have no strategy to win millions to real revolution, nor do they have a way to lead them when it comes time to actually take on and defeat that machinery of oppression and repression. The revolutionary communists do, and you can find it here. These so-called democratic socialists have no vision and blueprint for a radically different economic and political system—genuine socialism—that is on the road to emancipating ALL of humanity. The revolutionary communists do, and you can find it here.

 

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:3

It is important first to make clear what, in basic terms, we mean when we say the goal is revolution, and in particular communist revolution. Revolution is not some kind of change in style, or a change in attitude, nor is it merely a change in certain relations within a society which remains fundamentally the same. Revolution means nothing less than the defeat and dismantling of the existing, oppressive state, serving the capitalist-imperialist system—and in particular its institutions of organized violence and repression, including its armed forces, police, courts, prisons, bureaucracies and administrative power—and the replacement of those reactionary institutions, those concentrations of reactionary coercion and violence, with revolutionary organs of political power, and other revolutionary institutions and governmental structures, whose basis has been laid through the whole process of building the movement for revolution, and then carrying out the seizure of power, when the conditions for that have been brought into being—which in a country like the U.S. would require a qualitative change in the objective situation, resulting in a deep-going crisis in society, and the emergence of a revolutionary people in the millions and millions, who have the leadership of a revolutionary communist vanguard and are conscious of the need for revolutionary change and determined to fight for it.

As I emphasized earlier in this talk, the seizure of power and radical change in the dominant institutions of society, when the conditions for this have been brought into being, makes possible further radical change throughout society—in the economy and economic relations, the social relations, and the politics, ideology and culture prevailing in society. The final aim of this revolution is communism, which means and requires the abolition of all relations of exploitation and oppression and all destructive antagonistic conflicts among human beings, throughout the world. Understood in this light, the seizure of power, in a particular country, is crucial and decisive, and opens the door to further radical change, and to strengthening and further advancing the revolutionary struggle throughout the world; but, at the same time, as crucial and decisive as that is, it is only the first step—or first great leap—in an overall struggle which must continue toward the final goal of this revolution: a radically new, communist world.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:3

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

The Epidemic of White Supremacy—Official and “Unofficial”—Must Be Stopped.

This Means Revolution—Nothing Less! This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!

All Out August 12 to Politically Defeat These Nazis Now and Further Build a Movement to Mobilize Millions for an Actual Revolution!

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.—Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:1

This simple and basic truth has been driven home with extreme intensity this summer. There are the “free range,” tiny-brained, white wannabe pigs who are calling the real pigs on Black people who are just going about their business—when any simple encounter between a cop and a Black person can end in the murder of the African-American and the exoneration of the pig—or who even take matters into their own hands, like the racist white who murdered the unarmed Markeis McGlockton for shoving him, while Markeis was walking away.1

Meanwhile, as we write—open white supremacists rallied in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, protected by the pigs, and on Sunday took to the streets of Berkeley (!), California. Next week, these Nazi Kluckers plan to assemble in DC for a rally celebrating their vicious armed demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, where they attacked scores of people and murdered Heather Heyer. (See “ALERT: Fascists Openly Threaten to Run Amok in DC; This Must Not Be Allowed!”) And all this comes on top of the utterly racist forced separation of Mexican and Central American children from their parents at the border—something which recalls all too clearly slavery days, when the “founders” of this country and their ilk would sell off children from their parents, sending them away forever. (Watch “The Terror of Deportations—Millions of Families Split Apart” from the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!)

This shit must be STOPPED! STOPPED!!! This means opposing these Nazi pukes next weekend. There are very high stakes to people coming out to stand up against these racist assholes, right here and right now, and denying them a political victory. And this means over these next months mounting a movement to politically drive out Trump and Pence, the fascist ringleaders of this shit, and all the henchmen and henchwomen of their stinking regime, through massive nonviolent protests, flooding the streets with thousands and then millions. (See the call from RefuseFascism.org: "In the Name of Humanity, Come to DC to Say NO to White Supremacy and a Fascist America!")

But beyond that, and central to it all, this SYSTEM that grew up on 246 years (246!) of slavery and another century beyond that of super-exploited Black labor in the fields and then the factories, that seized the land of Mexico for slavery and then oppressed and exploited Mexicans and Chicanos, that stole this country in the first place from the Native inhabitants, 90 percent of whom were wiped out in wars and epidemics—this system MUST BE OVERTHROWN! This system that now has no way to exploit millions of Black people—so now the system mass incarcerates them and kills them off, and puts them in situations in which they are set against each other—this system MUST BE OVERTHROWN! This system that relentlessly exploits and oppresses Latinos and locks Native American Indians in the open-air concentration camps they call reservations—this system MUST BE OVERTHROWN!

They have no answer to this. Obama was no answer—he just told people “you can make it if you try, look at me”—and now Trump is set to take this shit to genocide! This system MUST...BE...OVERTHROWN!

It is no longer necessary to live under this system—the expiration date on this shit is long past due. The scientific FACT is that we can STOP this brutal oppression, along with the oppression and degradation of women and LGBTQ people; we can STOP the demonization and ruthless persecution of immigrants; we can STOP the wars and occupations which they are constantly carrying out, backing up, and planning; and we can STOP the suicidal plunder of the environment by these capitalists. No, not by reform—that’s hopeless—but by REVOLUTION. So, no, we cannot reform this... but we CAN overthrow it. We CAN carry out an actual revolution, which means not some minor changes within this system but the actual overthrow, yes overthrow, of this system, through actually defeating its armed forces of oppression and repression, when the necessary conditions (a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people in the millions) have been brought into being (as set forth in HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution). We CAN dismantle the institutions of this system and build a whole new society on a radically different economic and political basis, as embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian (BA). There is the basis, in the new communism and the leadership of BA, to make all this a reality. And this is something that we are working toward, as both the mass movement for an actual revolution and getting organized into it, reaching out and growing as we do.

The hour is getting late. Do not stand aside. Join with us to stand against these Nazis and Kluckers this weekend, uniting broadly with people from many different views who are taking this up. Then get with the revolution, putting our heads together to spread this everywhere—and get organized for an actual revolution.

1#Brooklyn Becky: Cops Called on Suspicious-Looking ‘Black’ Woman Waiting for Uber in the Rain

An Ohio state contractor who, in a fit of road rage, took it upon himself to follow a Black man

#ServingYourNeighborhoodWhileBlack: Calif. Safeway Calls Cops on Black Woman Donating to the Homeless, Accuses Her of Shoplifting

Mother Says Medics Denied Her Daughter an Ambulance Ride Because They Assumed She Couldn’t Afford It. Her Daughter Died Days Later”. [back]

 

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Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

BAsics 3:28

From BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

It is true that we cannot, by our mere will, or even merely by our actions themselves, transform the objective conditions in a qualitative sense—into a revolutionary situation. This cannot be done merely by our operating on, or reacting back on, the objective conditions through our conscious initiative. On the other hand....nobody can say exactly what the conscious initiative of the revolutionaries might be capable of producing, in reacting upon the objective situation at any given time—in part because nobody can predict all the other things that all the different forces in the world will be doing. Nobody’s understanding can encompass all that at a given time. We can identify trends and patterns, but there is the role of accident as well as the role of causality. And there is the fact that, although changes in what’s objective for us won’t come entirely, or perhaps not even mainly, through our “working on” the objective conditions (in some direct, one-to-one sense), nevertheless our “working on” them can bring about certain changes within a given framework of objective conditions and—in conjunction with and as part of a “mix,” together with many other elements, including other forces acting on the objective situation from their own viewpoints—this can, under certain circumstances, be part of the coming together of factors which does result in a qualitative change. And, again, it is important to emphasize that nobody can know exactly how all that will work out.

Revolution is not made by “formulas,” or by acting in accordance with stereotypical notions and preconceptions—it is a much more living, rich, and complex process than that. But it is an essential characteristic of revisionism (phony communism which has replaced a revolutionary orientation with a gradualist, and ultimately reformist one) to decide and declare that until some deus ex machina—some god-like EXTERNAL FACTOR—intervenes, there can be no essential change in the objective conditions and the most we can do, at any point, is to accept the given framework and work within it, rather than (as we have very correctly formulated it) constantly straining against the limits of the objective framework and seeking to transform the objective conditions to the maximum degree possible at any given time, always being tense to the possibility of different things coming together which bring about (or make possible the bringing about of) an actual qualitative rupture and leap in the objective situation....

So, if you are looking at things only in a linear way, then you only see the possibilities that are straight ahead—you have a kind of blinders on. On the other hand, if you have a correct, dialectical materialist approach, you recognize that many things can happen that are unanticipated, and you have to be constantly tense to that possibility while consistently working to transform necessity into freedom. So, again, that is a basic point of orientation.

 

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

"You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics."

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

Order the book or download the book in ePub format HERE

 

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Permalink: http://revcom.us/a/440/american-crime-case-97-nuclear-incineration-of-hiroshima-en.html

Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

American Crime

Case #97:
August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

May 23, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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: At 8:15 am, on August 6, 1945, a blazing, million-degree fireball suddenly appeared just above the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly killing, burning alive, or vaporizing tens of thousands. Firestorms engulfed the city. Shockwaves and winds over 1,000 miles an hour came next, shattering bodies and buildings, hurling men, women, and children through the air. Nearly all structures were destroyed over a mile from ground zero.

“There were red burned and bloated dead bodies piled up high, the corpses with the guts and the eyes popped out, lines of ghost-looking people with burned frizzled hair and burned skin hanging,” one survivor recalled, and “barely living survivors who were not able to save their own children or parents.” In one room, there were 20 young men whose eyes had melted in their sockets. Clouds of dust turned the morning into twilight; later, black rain fell.

The U.S. had just exploded the first nuclear bomb over the center of a city of 350,000. Thousands who survived the blast soon experienced fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, hair and skin loss—the death knell of radiation sickness. By the end of 1945, between 140,000 and 150,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, had perished in Hiroshima. Hundreds of thousands more were wounded.

Later that day, President Harry Truman announced the bombing and threatened Japan: “If they do not now accept our terms [for immediate surrender] they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the likes of which has never been seen on this earth.” Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. dropped an even more powerful nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, destroying the city and murdering another 70,000 people.

Nagasaki mail carrier Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries, taken in January 1946, from the U.S. atomic bomb attack on August 9, 1945.
Nagasaki mail carrier Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries, taken in January 1946, from the U.S. atomic bomb attack on August 9, 1945.

THE CRIMINALS: President Harry S. Truman, who ordered the attack; U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson, who oversaw the war effort, including the building of this "most terrifying weapon ever known in human history"; General Leslie Groves, in charge of building the bomb; and the military command responsible for the bombing.

THE ALIBI: Dropping a nuclear bomb on Japan was needed to quickly end the war, avoiding a U.S. invasion which Presidents Roosevelt and Truman claimed would cost a million American lives.

“I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb.... We have used it in order to shorten the agony of war, in order to save the lives of thousands and thousands of young Americans,” Truman stated after nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This alibi has been repeated by all presidents since: “What I think the president does appreciate is that President Truman made this decision for the right reasons,” said President Obama’s press secretary.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE: Control of Japan and post-World War 2 global domination. The U.S. knew Japan would collapse without an invasion and was suing for peace weeks before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On July 12, 1945, Truman admitted in his private diary that the U.S. had received a “telegram from [the] Jap Emperor asking for peace.”

But the U.S. rulers wanted to totally control post-war Japan, prevent the Soviet Union from gaining more ground in Japanese-held Manchuria and having more influence in the post-war setup—or “get in so much on the kill,” as one U.S. official put it. This meant terrorizing Japan into surrendering immediately. That’s why the U.S. incinerated Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. Japan surrendered on August 15, six days after the Nagasaki bombing. These were also warnings to any who might think about challenging America’s dominance of the postwar world, written in mounds of charred flesh and many tens of thousands of horribly disfigured survivors.

REPEAT OFFENDER: The U.S. has repeatedly considered and threatened the use of nuclear weapons to enforce its global dominance: In the 1950s, the U.S. planned for possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union, which they calculated would have killed 600 million; in 1958, 1973, and 1980 it put its forces on nuclear alert during Middle East crises in Iraq, Israel, and Iran; in 1969 President Richard Nixon threatened to nuke Vietnam; before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon secretly prepared for the possibility of using nuclear weapons; Obama has announced plans to spend over $1 trillion in the next 30 years on new nuclear weapons.

 

 

 


 

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

Revolution #556 August 13, 2018

Today's Message from the Revolution

May 21, 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.

 

 

May 21, 2019

1. What do we need to do now to make revolution?

Spread the Points of Attention for the Revolution... and spread REVOLUTION.

Excerpt from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

"...we have two choices: either, live with all this—& condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—*or*, make revolution!" —Bob Avakian

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2. What will it take to confront and overcome the horrors in the world today?

revcom.us/avakian

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3. "You Think You're Woke... But You're Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare — This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!"

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