revcom.us, May 6, 2019 through May 12, 2019 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of one week's articles. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/583/you-think-you-are-woke-but-you-are-sleepwalking-en.html

You Think You Are Woke...
But You Are Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare

Get Organized for An ACTUAL Revolution to Emancipate All Humanity

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Read the #BEB - Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit - broadsheet

#BEB Revealed!

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Read the text of this speech by Andy Zee

 

5 Reasons "The Green New Deal" Is Misleading, Dangerous and Part of the Problem

Delusion and Deception in Service of American Empire

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Flooding in Indonesia

 

Noche Diaz Presenting the Lifetime Fire Extinguisher Award to Al Sharpton at the Sacramento, CA State Capitol.

Intersectionality: Feel-good Make-believe in the "Woke" Spaces of Empire

by Nayi Duniya

Welcome to the land of intersectionality—where a seemingly radical and all-encompassing framework can comprehend and traverse multiple oppressions faced by billions on this planet without the “messiness” of overthrowing the system that generates and enforces these oppressions; where truth is determined and wrong is righted by anointing the most oppressed as authority and leadership in struggles for reform; where the most fundamental and deep-seated social divisions and lopsided gulfs of the world such as between rich and poor nations are effectively ignored and where identified “intersections” and “direct experience” shared across “lanes” are sufficient to change the world.

This is feel-good make-believe “woke” world. In the real world of horrendous—and needless—suffering, it is a cruel joke inflicted upon the billions of humanity. The world is a horror for the vast majority—oppression and exploitation of whole peoples, genocidal wars and violence in the intimate sphere, millions driven off homes by conflict and global warming. This world is shaped and stamped by a system: the system of capitalism-imperialism.

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IDENTITY POLITICS AND PRIVILEGE

Have you ever noticed that the one privilege these “identity politics” hustlers don’t talk about is American privilege?—the privilege that comes from living in the USA, a country that plunders the world and whose wealth and power rests on brutal exploitation and oppression throughout the world, backed up by the massive violence of the American military. These hustlers want all they can get of that privilege. In opposition to that, what the masses of humanity need is to do away with and move beyond this whole vampire system, putting an end to all exploitation and oppression.

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Response to FEM Magazine:
Trying to Censor Revolutionaries in Safe Spaces of Empire

By Tala Deloria, Revolution Club, LA

After The Word on Wednesdays (an open mic poetry venue at UCLA) censored a revolutionary’s poem, we challenged the people attending to a debate about where the framework of intersectionality leads. They did not come to debate, but a contributor to FEM magazine wrote an article about the incident. This is a response to help bring clarity to the contention.

What we have here is two opposing models in contention. One aiming to sweep away oppression and exploitation throughout the planet, and the other aiming to curate the positions of oppressed people within this system—dictating who owns what oppression, and what stories can be told by whom—all of which leaves the world as it is.

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Prison Abolition: How to Feel “Woke” Without Fundamentally Changing a Thing

A REVOLUTIONARY Intervention from Tala Deloria
Revolution Club member and UCLA student

If you’re serious about ending mass incarceration and police terror, you need to be talking about the OVERTHROW of this system. Anything short of this, in the final analysis, is bullshit.

This system of capitalism-imperialism is what’s driving the genocidal police terror and mass incarceration of over 2 million people, over half Black, Latino and Native American men and women. This same system terrorizes the globe with wars for empire, economic sanctions, coups, bombing and torture. It drives people from their homelands in desperation for a life and livelihood and then warehouses them in detention centers and concentration camps at the border. This same system enforces vicious misogyny, oppressive gender relations and has now brought to power a fascist regime reigning through undisguised dictatorship and intensified repression, concentrating the naked vileness that makes up the heart of America. This system CANNOT be reformed!

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Stop Being Farra-CONNED!

We Don’t Need to GET IN ON Oppression,

We Need to END Oppression

Get With the Real Revolution

Welcome to Farrakhan’s “Saviours’ Day” message, where he will tell you how after 400 years of being bitterly oppressed, you should now learn to be a more obedient slave, prove you can be useful to your oppressors in hopes of negotiating a better deal and becoming their junior partners, and look to an imaginary ruler in the sky to one day give you a chance to be big-time oppressors.

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Going After the Sacred Cows of Identity Politics on a College Campus—Opening the Debate on Reform or Revolution

You Think You’re Woke... But You’re Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare! Intersectionality, “democratic socialism,” and all the rest of that stuff will keep you locked within the system we have now. These approaches can only lead you to bickering, begging and bargaining for seats at the imperialist table. We need a revolution—NOT reform—a revolution to OVERTHROW everything rotten and emancipate all humanity.

We brought this message to an Ivy League campus and challenged people to debate. Before we got very far, campus security freaked out and kicked us off campus. So we came back, but this time with a satirical flyer from campus security that said, “A Message From Campus Security: Do Not Talk To The Communists On Campus.” We dressed up in a police jumpsuit and the ugliest pig mask you have ever seen and handed out the flyer. A picture of our flyer was tweeted out by a writer to 47+ thousand followers, we ended up in group texts and somebody told us that we’d been made into a meme.

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Why I Went to Challenge Brittney Cooper—and What We Could All Learn From This

I recently went to an event on Black Feminism and Hip Hop to challenge Black feminist author Brittney Cooper. I brought an open letter written by a comrade of mine titled, “Hey Brittney Cooper—Do You Realize How Politically and Morally Bankrupt It Was For You To Invoke the War Criminal Nancy Pelosi When You Shut Down A Revolutionary?” When two of us in the audience separately posed this question to Cooper, she refused repeatedly to answer the question.

But the question matters. The problem of people taking up leadership based on “identity” rather than on the content of what is being brought forward and where those ideas will lead is extremely widespread and very damaging, far beyond Brittney Cooper as an individual. This kind of identity politics prevents people from thinking critically and sets them up to get played.

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Barack Obama comes to Oakland to make you think this meatgrinder of a system works!

To the Commander-in-Chief who waged war on 7 countries, drone bombed wedding parties, presided over torture at Guantánamo, and backed Israel’s genocidal massacres in Gaza.

To chief demagogue & peddler of false "HOPE," whose MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) program is predicated on the notion that the problem is our youth, that it's their outlook and their "bad choices" that need to be reformed....

Whose Justice Department supported every single act of police violence that came before the Supreme Court, but called the youth in Baltimore “thugs” after they dared to rise up in rebellion after the murder of Freddie Gray....

To Barack Obama, we say NO MORE EXCUSES. This system has enslaved, brutalized, tortured and betrayed Black people for 400 years! Your system can’t be REFORMED, it must be OVERTHROWN!

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Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

On the cold-blooded police murder of Willie McCoy in Vallejo

This System Has No Future For Youth, But The Revolution DOES

This system has enslaved, brutalized, tortured, and betrayed Black people for 400 years! They have NEVER valued Black lives, except as labor to mercilessly exploit in building up the wealth of this country. And now, because this capitalist system has moved so much industrial work to places where they can pay people even less and make even more profit—and because Black people in racist America have always been last-hired and first-fired—this system has no jobs and no future for millions of people besides a jail cell or a police bullet. And they patrol whole neighborhoods like an occupying army, treating people like Willie McCoy as nothing but a “problem,” to be caged or killed off.

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Fascists and Pelosians Have No Right to Condemn Anybody...

Blaming "the Benjamins" Whitewashes Reality: The U.S. Backs Israel Because It Is an Enforcer for the U.S. Empire

Basic point number 1: Donald Trump said there were “good people” among the murderous fascist mob chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, Virginia. His regime has legitimized Nazis and created a climate that produced the most lethal anti-Semitic massacre in U.S. history, the mass killing at a Pittsburgh synagogue last October. Any leading figure who can uphold, or tolerate, or “reach across the aisle” to a fascist regime like that has very obviously forfeited any right to speak on who and what is anti-Semitic. So those people should shut up.

But point number 2: No amount of Benjamins ($100 bills) buys or sells strategic allies for this bloody-jawed empire. All the conspiracy theories about how the Israel lobby represents—as Omar insisted in a follow-up tweet—“allegiance to a foreign country” channel the outrage people in this country and around the world feel at Israel’s genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people into looking at the world through the lens of what is in the national interest of the United States! And when you look at the world through that lens, you are on your way to complicity with the ongoing crimes of an empire built on genocide, slavery, and wars of empire.

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From Revolution Club, Los Angeles:

The Green New Deal: Sustainable Snake Oil for a Green American Empire

The Green New Deal is not only an utterly ridiculous delusion, it’s a program for an American chauvinist “better business plan.” It promises a complete reconfiguration of the American economy without confronting the reality that things are produced through vast and interconnected global networks of exploitation, and it promises Americans better distribution of the spoils gained from that exploitation.

The problem isn’t that we need a better business plan for a Green American Empire. The problem is this system of capitalism-imperialism that’s driving the destruction of the planet.

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From our readers:

Reform vs Revolution at a West Coast Climate Conference

Members of the Revolution Club, LA went to a conference at UC Irvine called Fire and Ice: The Shifting Narrative of Climate Change. The conference, attended by about 500 people, featured well known activists and authors against climate change like Bill McKibben, initiator of 350.org; Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction; and Nathaniel Rich of the New York Times.

Through our interventions and impact, we repolarized to where a central question at the conference was reform or revolution. Various speakers felt compelled to speak to that question from the stage, and our interventions drew clear lines that repelled some and drew in others who were either curious or appreciative of the sharpening of the terms.

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“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Towards Justice.”

Bullshit!

This System Has Enslaved, Betrayed Black People for 400 Years!

We Need an ACTUAL Revolution to Emancipate ALL Humanity!

If ever a history brings out in vivid color that where there is oppression, there will be resistance, it is the history of Black people in America: a history of over 400 years of the most vicious, brutal and cruel oppression, from slavery, through Jim Crow lynchings and segregation, to today’s mass incarceration, police murder and brutality, with an open white supremacist back in the White House... and a history of heroic resistance and rebellion that has rocked this system on its heels and inspired people the world over, from slave rebellions to the Civil Rights Movement and Black Liberation struggles to today’s fights against police terror and mass incarceration.

If it was just a question of courage, of determination, and of sacrifice, Black people, and many oppressed people all over the world, would be liberated by now.

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Standing Up Against Trump’s National Emergency & Calling Bullshit on American Chauvinism and Unprincipled Attacks on RevCom

We went right up against the imperialist chauvinism of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). We called out how, by placing their focus on health care, education, and housing for people in the U.S., they are just fighting for a bigger share for Americans of the wealth America extracts through vicious exploitation and plunder from the sweatshops of Bangladesh to the starvation in Yemen to the mass rapes and civil war in Congo and beyond. In contrast, we are fighting for—and what humanity needs—is an actual revolution to overthrow this system of global imperialism and bring about a radically new world for all of humanity.

This got under people’s skin in a good way.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/592/what-people-are-saying-en.html

What People Are Saying about the Tour

| revcom.us

 

From a Reader from Iran:

An Internationalist Salute and Call to Donate to the National Revolution Tour

I want to send an internationalist salute to the National Tour to Get Organized for an Actual Revolution and call for everyone to support it, to get involved with this all out struggle for a better world.

The present social and economic system we live under has become totally unbearable for billions of people throughout the world. We are also at a stage of human development when every conscious human being needs to seriously ask if our survival could be sustained in this capitalist-imperialist world order.

The urgent question begging for an urgent answer is whether we can tolerate the cries of tens of millions of dying, exploited and disease-ridden children? Tolerate the rapid destruction of the environment? Tolerate past and continual genocidal wars (direct or proxy) of the imperialists—invasions, occupations, bombings and even the possibility of nuclear war? Tolerate the everlasting white supremacy, mass incarceration, police brutality and murder of Black and Latino youth? Tolerate militarization of the border, cries of tens of millions of refugees, children ripped from parents and put in cages? Tolerate the misogyny that crushes women’s bodies and dreams generation after generation? Tolerate the normalization of outright fascism with the Trump/Pence regime? Tolerate all this that non-stop victimizes millions of people every minute of every day? Or...

In his truly breathtaking talk Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian (BA) keenly and seriously challenge those who are fed up with such monstrous capitalist-imperialist horrors to get organized and get rid of such a rotten and outdated system, to make revolution to replace it with a new and much better world—one dreamed and longed for by billions worldwide. There is no other way. I’ve watched this film many times and feel everyone should see it...

Read full statement

From Isabel Cardenas

The young people in the Revolution Club are focused on a better world for humanity.  They aren’t just thinking about people in this country, but also those in the entire world.  They are working for revolution because they are very courageous, and it takes committed people to carry out this National Revolution Tour.  I believe in what they are doing—organizing people—it takes time and it takes support.  These young people are tireless and need our support!  I say this from the bottom of my heart: When I was a young activist, I used to “hear things” about the Revolutionary Communist Party such as: “if those people give you literature, don’t take it...”—but I have come to know them, and I admire and respect them.  I also have heard some activists say that the RCP is “too radical....” And what comes to mind is that “If the Germans and Jews would have been just as radical during the Nazi period, millions of lives could have been saved.”  Nobody is as courageous as the RCP.  Everyone should start working with them and, most importantly, also donate to the National Revolution Tour.  It’s a worthy cause—just think of the cost for flyers, posters, travel, food and more.  Those with thousands of dollars should donate thousands.  I am able to donate hundreds.  Please go to the revcom.us website and commit to donate $50 or $100 a month.  This tour stands for the people who have no voice.  They are out to help humanity.  I believe in what they are doing, working for revolution.  Bob Avakian has the plan... what is needed is for people to organize themselves and study this plan. 

I am in! You should also join and support this worthy cause!

Isabel Cardenas
American-Salvadoran / USA Citizen
And Community Activist since 1960

From Carol Downer

Funding ourselves

May 3: Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour at my home for dinner. We had roasted chicken with coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy and hot rolls that I purchased from Von’s. Additionally, I purchased the ingredients for and prepared corn muffins and potato salad. Tour members helped me set out the dishes and finish up preparations. Other volunteers brought salad makings and an after-dinner pastry.

The tour members had organized several actions to spread the word about how grassroots activism to push for a revolution would be more effective than putting our efforts into bringing about social change through voting for social reforms. They were righteously tired and hungry, so the first order of business was to eat heartily. They were interested in my experiences in visiting Iran after the Iranian people had thrown out the Shah, a U.S.-supported ruthless dictator who commanded the fifth-largest army in the world in an almost bloodless revolution. So, I shared the exhilaration and joy that I had in being in a free country; I witnessed in Iran how a brave and resolute people had overthrown tyranny.* Then all of us shared the events of the day and enjoyed our political solidarity which cemented our friendship.

I encourage others to provide this kind of concrete support to the “Get Organized” tour as it goes around the country to stir people and challenge them to throw off their cynicism and join in the effort to mount demands for revolutionary change. Although I spent a few dollars and I devoted some time to shop for and prepare the food, the meal cost far less than if we had sat down at a restaurant or ordered take-out, and we were able to take as long as we wanted to eat our meal and socialize. Pooling our limited resources makes them go a long way. No time wasted applying for grants. No strings!

No one is going to fund us except ourselves, and why would we even want them to? Even the most benevolent funder wants you to submit proposals, file reports and evaluations. Also, that evening we created through our collective efforts a democratic, egalitarian event that celebrated our diversity in class, age and ethnicity and reinforced our revolutionary fervor. After the dishes were cleared, washed and put away, we ended the evening stronger. That strength came from ourselves, not from outside funding.


1. In 1978, millions and millions of Iranian people, from virtually all walks of life with a wide range of political viewpoints, rose up against the hated Shah and his regime, which was overthrown in February 1979. Millions had been awakened to political life, and their awakening and struggle continued in different ways after the revolution. However, by the early 1980s reactionary Islamic fundamentalists led by the Ayatollah Khomeini had brutally suppressed their opponents, which included Iranian communists, and were able to consolidate political power and establish the repressive theocracy that still rules Iran today. [back]

 

“You Think You’re Woke...
But You’re Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare —

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!”

The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

Read about the Tour stepping up and stepping out »

Read the Call to the Tour »

Checks can be sent to:
RCP Publications, Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
Chicago, IL 60654-0486 (Mark for the Tour)

From Reverend Cecil L. “Chip” Murray:

April 17, 2019

Dear Friends,

I am referring you to open your minds and hearts to a message that has been begging for attention for 400 hundred years. I have personally listened to their presentation of the great concept they are embarking on, and suggest you do the same for their National Tour to Organize for an ACTUAL Revolution.

I am aware that there are many people in America who oppose communism on certain matters of great importance. I ask you to examine one matter which is birthed in communism, and that is what links us in the revolutionary need to emancipate humanity.

I am a Christian and not a communist nor am I an advocate of communism. However I commend all those who undertake the cause of justice and righteousness, such as opposing abuse of power by police and law enforcement, and opposing mass incarceration and massive homelessness. In Christian tradition, it is believed that “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Therefore you should engage their message and decide for yourself as to its merit for support.

As part of this, you may want to review and engage the film by Bob Avakian, the founder and designer of the new communism titled Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Reverend Cecil L. “Chip” Murray

From Fr. Luis Barrios, NYC:

“The revolution is not coming from the sky, sent in by God. We have to put together this revolution...”

 

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/revolution-tour-hits-california-central-valley-en.html

Plowing New Ground for Revolution—the Revolution Tour Hits California’s Central Valley

| revcom.us

 

To find out what the 526 means—or the 5 STOPS, the 2 choices, and the 6 Points of Attention—read this page.

From members of the National Revolution Tour:

Two of us from the Revolution Tour went up to a state university in the Central Valley of California, often called the “breadbasket” of the country because of its enormous agricultural output. We pinned down the trip very quickly after receiving an invite from a student (I’ll call her H) who had met the Tour during the national MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) conference.

When we got there, H and her friend B took us to one of their favorite restaurants and told us about the area: lots of farmworkers who migrate from Mexico to harvest, a large Latino population in the area, and a lot of Trump supporters. They told how there is some controversy on the campus over a person many believe is one of the white supremacists who was a part of organizing the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville where Heather Heyer was killed. Also posters from “Identity Evropa” (a white supremacist group) have been going up on campus. They told us how involved they were with campus organizing and making a list of recommendations to better the conditions for the students of color on that campus such as increasing funding for the ethnic studies program, a new diversity center, etc.

We got into the rising fascism in the U.S. and all over the world with the ascendance of Trump/Pence and what it’s unleashing on the campuses and everywhere else, because of the very workings of this system. We also talked about where it can further lead if we don’t stop them through a revolution and fundamentally get rid of this system that brought into being Trump/Pence. We got into the POAs, which she had spread via group chat to some friends already. She spoke on POA #2 and how it’s a problem that people make fun of other people for being a woman or LGBT. We had an important conversation—which would continue with her and many others throughout our visit—over what we meant by “overthrow” and “revolution” and getting each other to have the same conversation.

At one point, we asked our hosts what they thought it would take to end white supremacy for real—not just on one campus or community, but for all seven and a half billion people on the planet. In response, one of them returned again to the struggle at their college, saying that the institution was not built to include students of color and probably can’t ever be fully reformed and instead they’ll have to focus on the local community college. Our other friend agreed that capitalism is the problem and suggested that people need to return to the land. They argued that this would be better for the environment and allow people with criminal records to not be subject to discrimination in hiring. We united with much of what they were getting at, but posed in different ways that the point is not simply to enable some individuals to escape the jaws of this system, but to make a revolution that breaks the hold of the capitalist-imperialist state over the lives of literally billions and sets out to dig up all the oppressive divisions of today.

After dinner we went to a screening of Battle of Algiers that was part of a film festival put on by the ethnic studies program. The film was heavy and exposed the sacrifices made in Algeria during that national liberation struggle to rid themselves of French colonialism. A student allowed us to do a brief presentation after the film. We talked about the Tour and the 5-2-6. A couple of students knew who we were from H. One student was curious about the strategy for revolution and still trying to understand why some of the leaders of MEChA had tried to silence us at their national conference; in part this had made her more curious and in part it made her cautious. We got into why people would be opposed to revolution, even though it’s in the interest of humanity.

Another student had met the revolution up in the Bay Area and heard we were coming from someone in the Revolution Club. We got into things with her afterward and watched the clip of what BA has to say to people who complain about immigrants. She said she had watched some of the first part of the film but it was a little confusing to her and she wanted to watch it with others to discuss it. We planned to meet up the next day to watch the film together. We put to her being a part of the Tour’s next leg and gathering a contingent from the campus to come down to L.A. for a nodal event on the Tour. Still, this question of, “What should I be doing with the revolution?” was a challenge for us to answer with her. We posed to her the great strengths of this revolution—the highly developed leadership, strategy, and scientific approach—but also what we don’t have and urgently need: the people taking this up and making it a reality. And we wrestled with her about how she could be part of spreading this revolution—including together with the others we were meeting—even as she is learning more. We decided to work on a POA day on campus, but this is something that needs more ongoing attention and thinking overall.

As we were getting ready for sleep that night, our host told us how she had been thinking all night about what we had posed to her, “A world without borders... a world without rape...” She’d never heard anyone insist that it was possible and she’d been trying to envision it. We stayed up wrangling with the strategy for an actual revolution, learning more about the struggles and dynamics of their campus, and a whole lot more about life and the world.

The next day we met up with B who lent us MEChA’s table they have set up in the campus plaza. We put our materials on it, POAs, BAsics, the NO MORE posters, stickers, HOW WE CAN WIN (HWCW), 5 STOPS posters, etc. We had an A-frame of the 5 STOPS set up. Friends of B stopped by and he introduced us to them. A friend came up and saw all of our materials and just started taking stacks of POA posters and NO MORE posters as well as stickers. He gave me some of his stickers too that said, “Reject White Supremacy.” I talked to another friend about communism. He considers himself a communist and has anarchist friends, but couldn’t imagine a world without a state, but made clear not the kind of state we have now under capitalism. He was saying this in relation to his anarchist friends, but also in relation to the climate crisis and how concerned he is about the report that came out on the fact that we only have 10-12 years to solve this problem, and doesn’t see how you could solve this without a different state. I emphasized the need for him to get into the New Communism forged by Bob Avakian and got into the importance of communism as science, how Avakian has put communism on a more scientific foundation, and the real advances made by him and the real importance of that. He seemed intrigued and sat and talked with us more. A member of the LGBT group came over wearing a “KAMALA” hat who wasn’t really interested in revolution. Later, however, while we were struggling with another student about the history of America, she chimed in, “When Was America Ever Great?” We then posed to her the contradiction of her hat and putting faith into the Democratic Party, explaining how the Republican Party is fascist and the Democratic Party is a machine of massive war crimes and crimes against humanity while giving her a BEB broad sheet. She got a little defensive saying, “All parties need improvement” and we had some struggle over that, which was positive but definitely didn’t get resolved.

Our hosts also introduced us to a member of the Black Student Union. After we spoke with them a bit, they invited us to speak at their meeting that night. I met this other Black student with a “Defend DACA” shirt on. I told her to read the 5 Stops poster, posed the 2 choices and told her why we are here and gave her the 6 points of attention. I read her POA #3 in relation to her shirt. She had a really great response along the lines, “You know what’s happening to women in Saudi Arabia, in Mexico and Latin America is my problem. I’m tired of people only standing up for things when it affects them.” She also really appreciated the quote from Avakian, “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First,” and, “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.” She had an internationalist perspective and morality. We also got into “cancel culture” and she shared how ridiculous it is that people bring up things in the past that people did to write them off when what’s more important is how’ve they’ve changed and what they are doing now. She said, “It can’t just be the people who are most affected standing up, it has to be everyone, we need more allies, we need more men and white people.” I united with her, then also said we don’t need more “allies,” we need emancipators of humanity. And what would happen if only the most oppressed rose up without others joining in? They’ll get crushed or encircled. I invited her to come watch the film with us later and showed her the trailer for it on the spot before she had to leave.

We came to the MEChA meeting. They had a training session from people who do dispatches on I.C.E. raids and they gave instructions to the MEChA members on what to do when they see an I.C.E raid. It was pretty heavy and infuriating how ever-present the terror of I.C.E. is to everyone’s lives in the area. After the training, we did a presentation on the 5-2-6. We made sure to clarify what we really meant by revolution and an overthrow, pulling from part 1 in HWCW and part 3, “An actual revolution does not mean making some changes within this system,” but means meeting and defeating its armed forces of oppression and repression when the time comes. We put forward the strengths we do have in the leadership, strategy, and science developed by Bob Avakian and the people we don’t have and how the tour is on a mission going all around the country to solve that problem and organize the thousands. All the students stayed (about 10) even though their meeting had ended. One told us that overthrowing made sense, but seemed scary to think about. Another asked how long we have been at this and how it is going. We were very honest about telling people the tremendous breakthrough BA has made in the science and strategy for revolution and the game-changer this is and how all this is the product of decades of work and struggle, but at the same time we are basically starting anew with this Tour in going out and fighting to organize the people needed to make it real and put that challenge to them as well.

One of us then met up with the young woman from the night before to watch the first part of BA’s talk Why We Need an Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. We were only able to watch a little over half of part 1 because she had time constraints, but she thought after watching the 5 STOPS that “it all makes sense.” And we both appreciated the fact that BA walks through how the 5 STOPS are interwoven into the capitalist system, she even shared how, “Being part of a Mexican family, they’re always asking me when I’m going to get a boyfriend. But what if I don’t want to have a boyfriend? Why does my self-worth have to be measured by being tied to someone else?” She said she can’t see why people would disagree with this and I explained to her even though all of what BA is saying is true, people are caught up in a lot of B.S. and mental shackles and walked through the mental shackles the Tour is going to work on breaking. She also had questions on how she is going to take this out because she “doesn’t know enough.” I told her if people have questions, to take them to the POAs, and I also guided her to the website as a place where she can learn more as she’s spreading the word about it. Also I said she could call me anytime.

Meanwhile, one of us gave a presentation to the Black Student Union meeting. The Tour member began by walking through each of the 5 STOPS, emphasizing with each that it was woven into the system of capitalism-imperialism and cannot be reformed away and must be overthrown. By the time she reached the fourth stop, a student blurted out, “Wow, you are like super-woke!” He meant this very positively and the room was rapt during the whole presentation which proceeded to the “2 choices” and then the challenge and mission of the Tour. The first question was posed by that same student who had blurted out, asking what the exact plan for an overthrow was. This focused up more sharply what we mean by revolution and the big challenge before us—in addition to briefly answering it we pointed people to HWCW on the website and especially to BA’s full talk, Why We Need an Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. This made one of the other students, who had reacted very positively previously, reconsider in some ways. She said the idea of an actual overthrow gave her pause. But she also reached back to her knowledge of the Black Panther Party and how everyone acts like they were so extreme because they took up arms, but they were real heroes to her and were just fighting to end oppression. We stuck around after the meeting to talk more with her and with others who were interested.

That night, we stayed up late with our host one more time reflecting on the trip as a whole. We let them know that they had made a very important contribution to the revolution by inviting us up, introducing us to so many people, and helping open so many doors. They expressed that they were moved and inspired by how we had been able to relate to so many different people, lift their sights, and not get caught up in the petty squabbles that too often characterize people’s thinking even among those who are fighting for change. We agreed to keep working on all this together.


The National Revolution Tour in Los Angeles, May 1st.

Read the Call for the Tour:

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

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!"

The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

To you who are fed up with this society and "solutions" that are no solution...

There is a way out of this Madness!

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

Bob Avakian

Read the full Call here

Read here
Find artwork for social media, posters here


The Revolution Club in Los Angeles discussed the Points of Attention wherever people were gathered, including at this bus stop. (Photo: Special to Revolution)

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/what-is-5-2-6-en.html

What Is 5-2-6?
The 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices, and the 6 Points of Attention

| revcom.us

 

The Points of Attention for the Revolution (POAs) are not a pipe dream, or some utopic scheme to get followers. This revolution for the new communism is real.

To make this come alive and be sharply present in people’s thinking we bring them 5 STOPS—five horrific forms of oppression that this system cannot eliminate, that cannot be reformed away. This provides the material basis for making revolution, including that people do care about one or all of these 5 STOPS.

These 5 STOPS present TWO CHOICES to the people: Either live with this and the oppression will go on and on, or, as BA says in the speech, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution “make revolution.” And, if you want to be a part of making revolution, you need to spread the word of the revolution and GET ORGANIZED—and the 6 POINTS OF ATTENTION provide the principles by which you can do that.

We have 5 STOPS, 2 CHOICES, AND 6 POINTS OF ATTENTION. Easy to remember and concentrating the path to getting organized for revolution.

The 5 STOPS:

STOP

Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!

STOP

The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!

STOP

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

STOP

The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

STOP

Capitalism-Imperialism from
Destroying Our Planet!

Spread these everywhere

The 2 Choices:

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

—Bob Avakian

Spread this everywhere

The 6 Points of Attention for the Revolution:

The Revolution Club upholds, lives by and fights for the following principles:

1 We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.

2 We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or “jokes” about people’s gender or sexual orientation.

3 We fight for a world without borders, and for equality among different peoples, cultures and languages. We do not tolerate insults, “jokes” or derogatory names about a person’s race, nationality, or language.

4 We stand with the most oppressed and never lose sight of their potential to emancipate humanity—nor of our responsibility to lead them to do that. We work to win people of all backgrounds to take part in the revolution, and do not tolerate revenge among the people.

5 We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.

6 We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.

Spread these everywhere

 

 

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Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/two-letters-from-the-tour-in-orange-county-en.html

Two Letters from the Tour in Orange County

| revcom.us

 

From the Editors: Below are letters from two members of the National Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour sent while they were taking the Tour to Orange County. One chronicles some of their experience in Orange County, the other wrangles more broadly with some of the experience of the Tour. Both reflect on the overall process of bringing new people into the movement for revolution.

[1] Report from the Field: Taking the Revolution Tour to Orange County

Recently, the National Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour was invited to spend a few days with some revolutionaries down in Orange County, California. Orange County has for decades been known as a hotbed of fascist conservatism and this remains the case in many ways. But this has been also changing in recent years, including that there is a significant population of immigrants from Mexico and Central America as well as a significant number of young people who are yearning for something different.

The National Revolution Tour has been in Orange County for two days now. We have been to a community college and a nearby state university. Students have expressed interest in the 5 STOPS and the Points of Attention for the Revolution. Many have said they need to check out what the revolution is before making a commitment. We summed up that although it is important for people to do the work themselves in order for them to commit to anything, we ourselves should not be standing in the way of the masses stepping into a process of making revolution. Just listen to BA and how he talks. Pay attention to the method he is using, someone with a lot of heart for the masses of people and science, with a firm understanding and a wide embrace and learning. This is someone who doesn’t feel sorry for what people go through but sees their revolutionary potential to become emancipators of humanity. There is no formula to The New Communism. I don’t think you can just get it by expecting the science to just come to you. This is what it means to do the work. Yes, to study, but to apply that science from the abstract. Ardea Skybreak talks about the analogy of the horse and how if you are riding a horse and you pull the reins too sharply, the horse will buck and come to a stall; if you let go of the reins, the horse will just go whichever way. The horse is not an analogy of the people we are working with, but it’s an analogy of the process we need, and BA is a concentration and a model of what it means to lead the masses into a process of making revolution.

From this wrangling, we have identified a need for us to bring the masses what we HAVE and what we DON’T have as we go to people straight up with revolution and that anything less is bullshit. Taking on the bullshit can be an attractive pole that resets the terms, and we have been figuring out how to “disrupt the air” like walking into a dining hall, propping up the six Points of Attention on a table, and standing on a chair to read them aloud. After this, we organized two students, one young Latina who was an oceanography major and cared about the environment said she thought it took a lot of courage to stand up on chairs and to read them aloud, and another young Latina who believed the POAs were important and that it was good that we got up and did that.

These few days in Orange County have been intense in the sense that there is an extreme urgency in that, ultimately humanity and the planet do not have that much time and need revolution more than ever. The National Tour will be in LA for a few more weeks so it can set a foundation for this nationwide movement for revolution to accumulate and impact to the degree and rhythm it needs to in a beginning way as it cannot stay at any particular city indefinitely, and we have a gathering on Wednesday night at a local cafe for people to meet the National Tour. Some have said they are interested in coming, and someone we met at the Downtown Art Walk has just committed to coming and bringing friends from her weekly discussion group.

People’s commitment is not based on how much we can convince people to commit to joining the revolution or doing tasks for the revolution. Commitment is based on people’s understanding and aspirations and those aspirations can be awakened through exposure and struggle. We have discussed what actually stands in the way of people stepping into a process, and it is the modes of thinking that this Tour is going to work to hit at as we accumulate and organize the thousands needed for the revolution in the next year that can influence millions. The other reason is in the way we can stand in the way of the process by expecting everyone to agree with everything or to be won to everything, before they can step into the process. We need to do better at showing and introducing the leader of this revolution, Bob Avakian. A lot of people we meet are impressed and intrigued that there is a National Tour. They will ask where is it going, what is it doing, and they are easily won to following the Tour on social media. We’ve been getting a lot to follow us on Instagram, where we can send them a direct message.

We’ve wrangled a lot about putting the problems of the revolution to the masses of people, to bring them in to fulfill the needs of different particular problems we are confronting at any given time. Some of this was done in new ways in relation to the picnic last week in LA. It is not to have people merely feel included in the process so they will want to join “our movement,” but they actually become a part of the process by going to work on the problems of the revolution. Our collectivity is our strength, and we have relied on this collective process rooted in the science we have along with the guidance and conception of the Tour to make advances and to sum up our breakthroughs, our shortcomings, where we got sidetracked, and what we can identify as key in our approach without tailing everything that attracts the masses of people.

We are embarking on a historic journey and mission with this National Tour. Orange County is not another place we are doing work in, but many people in OC and LA and around the country do really care about the 5 STOPS, and our understanding has to be rooted in that material basis for revolution, that none of these “Stops” can be resolved under this system and that is a big weakness for this system, as we take on the approach needed of stepping up to people straight up about revolution and find the ways to include all kinds of people in the process of making revolution, solving problems big and small, toward emancipating all of humanity. This is still just the beginning.

[2] Involving the Masses in Solving the Problems of the Revolution—A Reflection from a Tour Member

I thought the work we did in the last week during the Points of Attention (POA) week was qualitatively different than what has come before. First off, I think we have actually stepped out much more consistently with the 5-2-6 message1—and people, based on what they understood this revolution to be about, and for, as concentrated in the POAs took up and participated in the process of making revolution. Different people spread the word about the POAs, engaged thoughtfully with the POAs, and challenged others to engage them.

People found different ways to be a part of working on the problems of the revolution. Some people made food for the picnic. Others were a part of getting supplies so that others who didn’t have cash could contribute something. One person volunteered to talk to rival gangs so that this picnic could happen without set-tripping. Hundreds met the revolution and dozens were a part of spreading this further.

I think it is important to note how this is unprecedented. We did new things in terms of carrying out work that from the beginning was involving people in the process of making revolution and never before have we so frankly popularized the contradictions, the problems, of making this revolution and worked with masses to solve them.

I think an example that is small, but still worth learning from, is the approach taken to working with masses around the banana pudding. Here is a real objective contradiction. The very reasons why we need a revolution—stand as obstacles to masses of people being a part of the revolution. Like a woman who is disabled and on a limited income who wants to contribute food but doesn’t have the finances to purchase the ingredients. So, we took those problems and put it to other people. We didn’t do this just by saying “help us make a banana pudding,” we did it by saying “there are two choices, live with all of what is concentrated in the 5 STOPS or make a revolution—we are making revolution—here’s what it’s all about, and here people are stepping into the movement for revolution—someone wants to make a banana pudding—but can’t—you should be a part of solving this problem.” Instead of approaching that contradiction as a nasty roadblock in our way we actually seized on it to involve even more people in the revolution.

Looking through the reports on revcom.us, you can see all different sorts of people who were both challenged and inspired by the 5-2-6 message. Taking a look at the testimonials of what people said about the six POAs, you can see how much this speaks to people. On many different levels. You can also see how much the POAs challenge what people think. A revolution without revenge? Not for self? Without borders? And you can see people stepping out with these in a beginning way while still having differences—and while having differences still considering themselves part of this!

For example, there was a woman at the picnic who told me that she didn’t agree with communism and was more of a socialist herself—yet she considered herself a part of the revolution and thought the POAs should be upheld and spread. There are a lot of people just like that who have been part of the process. People are going through a process—and most people aren’t going to go from 0 to 60 MPH instantly. From what I have seen and read, it looks to me that there has been very substantial struggle over the two choices and an involving of people on the spot to be a part of the revolution while they learn more and struggle to get to the truth of things.

In opposition to this, I have felt strong pulls towards trying to join every difference and struggle through every wrong position before involving people in the revolution. Which both means demanding people to go 0 to 60 MPH in their thinking and actually reinforces the “us vs. them” divide—and is NOT the process that BA is fighting for.

We should be stepping to people straight up with revolution and struggling with them over the solid core—the 5-2-6 and the core message—AND involving them from the beginning in line with their aspirations and understanding (in relation to the solid core message). And thereby initiating a process where people can learn more as they take part in changing the world.

One thing that I got much more of an appreciation of the POAs as part of taking them out is just how much they concentrate what the revolution is all about—what it is for—and how much it concentrated key parts of the revolutionary strategy. In that way the POAs are “enough” to get started. They are a coherent whole, not just statements of morality divorced from the revolutionary process. I still think part of bringing alive the strategy for revolution is bringing out the importance of living by and fighting for the POAs. Struggling with the thinking of blocs of people, winning them to the core principles of the revolution, transforming their thinking to defy and repudiate the putrid values of this system. Like hating on women and gays and immigrants. American chauvinism and me first. Petty revenge and meaningless violence. Going against the grain when “what is popular” is flat wrong. Winning people to take these up and struggle with others is a key part of making revolution. As opposed to approaching these POAs as just an alternative ethic that we will apply off to the side of what is going on in reality. NO. These are to be actively fought for and striven for as part of making revolution NOW. And we are organizing people around these core principles because the road to this kind of world is revolution and communism (POA #1) and how we get there is an overthrow (POA #6) and building up the forces for revolution, based on these POAs, and changing the thinking of people, and building up the alternate authority of the revolution are all key parts of preparing for the time when we can go all out for power.

 

1. This refers to the 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices posed by Bob Avakian (“We have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!”), and the 6 Points of Attention for the Revolution. See here. [back]

The Revolution Tour in Orange County

“You Think You’re Woke...
But You’re Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare —

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!”

The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

Read about the Tour stepping up and stepping out »

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

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:

 

Watch it, spread it, fund it

Check out clips and audio of the film and Q&As

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it »

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/sign-up-to-stay-connected-and-get-organized-for-revolution-en.html

New Feature on this Site:

Sign Up to Stay Connected and Get Organized for Revolution

| revcom.us

 

We want to call attention to a new feature on revcom.us: a new sign-up form for a free e-sub to Revolution online.

By signing up, you will be able to follow how the Points of Attention for the Revolution (POAs) are being taken up around the country. You will learn about how people like you are thinking about living according to the POAs and what it would take to get to a world where this is how everyone lived. You can follow the progress of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. And you will be connected with the revolution, receiving a free e-sub to www.revcom.us.

By filling out the form, you will be able to receive updates and invitations targeted to your particular interests and region.

If you are new, take a minute right now to fill out the form for a free e-sub.

If you are an organizer for revolution, be sure to bookmark this link on your phone so that you can sign people up on the spot as you are meeting them.

If the POINTS OF ATTENTION (POAs) that the Revolution Club lives by and fights for move you:

SIGN UP

Follow how the Points of Attention (POAs) are being taken up nationwide. Read about how people like you are thinking about living according to the POAs and getting to a world where this is how everyone lives.

FOLLOW the POA's on social media:
#POA4REV   #tuneintorevcom

 

 

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil-en.html

As Tens of Thousands Die in Venezuela from U.S. Economic Warfare...

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez: “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil”

| revcom.us

 

The U.S. is waging economic war on Venezuela. It is just as deadly as the shooting wars it finances all through the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, but you don’t see the blood and hear the screams.

Last week, the Center for Economic and Policy Research stated that U.S. “economic sanctions”—that is, economic warfare—against Venezuela have so reduced the availability of food and medicine that as many as 40,000 people have died in the past two years who would not have died if there were no sanctions. The U.S. did this by 1) almost totally stopping oil imports from Venezuela and pressuring other countries to do the same, 2) preventing Venezuela from selling any of its assets, and 3) preventing it from borrowing. By recognizing their puppet Juan Guaidó as the legitimate head of Venezuela (despite his never having been elected or even having run for president), the U.S. made Guaidó the legal owner of all funds and goods of the Venezuelan government.1

This warfare has been accompanied by the constant threat of real war, of U.S. invasion if the government of President Nicolás Maduro should move against Guaidó, and/or if it violates some other supposed “red line” of the U.S.2

You expect—or you should expect—the mainstream Democrats to follow suit. After all, Obama began the “sanctions” in 2015, which Trump then escalated in 2017. According to the Associated Press, Trump persistently asked aides in 2017 why the U.S. can't just invade Venezuela? Sanctions became the “sanitary” way to do it. Forty thousand deaths later, the noose gets tighter every day.

And what about the Democrats? With the exception of Elizabeth Warren, no mainstream Democrat has opposed the economic warfare of the Trump regime, and even Warren calls for “free elections”—that is, invalidating the previous election and having new ones at a time when the U.S. holds the country’s economy hostage. The Democrats may sometimes speak in a softer tone—the better to bring along the antiwar people they’re in charge of corralling and domesticating—but as this chart makes clear, year in and year out they are just as vicious when it comes to enforcing U.S. imperial dictates.

But what about the “socialists” like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Surely, loving social justice and economic equality as they do, they will speak out against this one-sided economic warfare.

Actually, no. Bernie Sanders tries to keep his mouth shut on this, and so far he’s been allowed to succeed in that. Sanders does not want to alienate the more radical-minded people that he’s in charge of corralling. But when pressed, as he was on BBC recently, he will say that while the U.S. should not intervene militarily, it should “use its authority” to ensure “free and fair elections”—which is exactly the position of the U.S. and its tool Guaidó, who claim that Maduro’s election was illegitimate. And by the way, Bernie, what IS the “authority” of the U.S.—if not its murderous economic warfare and the threat of its military?!?3

Then there’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Violence is horrible,” said Ocasio-Cortez to National Review. Wow, what a courageous stand. But which violence, Alexandria, are you talking about? Because while the U.S. media highlights the suppression carried out by Maduro’s forces, it ignores the far, far greater violence of U.S. economic warfare. When pressed for clarity on this, she said that she’ll “defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this.” “Caucus leadership” being Nancy Pelosi—who, surprise! supports removing Maduro and installing the U.S. puppet Guaidó.

The Democrats are an imperialist party that sometimes pretends not to be in order to rope in people who, to a degree, oppose what the U.S. does all over the world. The “socialists” like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are in charge of drawing in the disillusioned and the angry who are looking for a radical alternative. They talk “militant” on some things, but when push comes to shove they share the essential America-first mentality of the Republicans and mainstream Democrats—they just want a more equal share of the spoils. Their essential program shares the view of the narrator in the Bob Dylan song “Narrow Way”:

“We looted and we plundered on distant shores
Why is my share not equal to yours?”

When it comes to what America does to people all over the world... to the blood it sucks in Asia, Africa, and Latin America... Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, like their fellow Democrats, have no answer. They, too, fit the essential truth that:

The Republican Party Is Fascist

The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

This System CANNOT Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!

We Need an Actual Revolution


1. The Maduro government, while claiming to be socialist, never broke with the imperialist system. This makes them especially vulnerable to the kind of blackmail now being practiced by the U.S. imperialists. For more on the false road of Maduro, and Hugo Chávez who preceded him, see “Hugo Chávez Has an Oil Strategy... But Can This Lead to Liberation?” by Raymond Lotta, revcom.us, July 1, 2007. [back]

2. See “Points of Orientation on the Situation in Venezuela,” revcom.us, May 3, 2019; and “U.S. Poses as ‘Humanitarian’ While It Weaponizes Starvation in Venezuela,” revcom.us, February 11, 2019. [back]

3. Sanders, by the way, also voted for U.S. sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s, sanctions that took the lives, according to the UN, of 5,000 children a month. [back]

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“You Think You’re Woke...
But You’re Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare —

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!”

The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

Read about the Tour stepping up and stepping out »

Share on social media

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Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/infrastructure-shuffle-en.html

Doing the Infrastructure Shuffle

How Schumer and Pelosi Normalize the Fascist Trump

| revcom.us

 

Last Tuesday, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi (aka Screwmer and Piglosi)—the leaders of the Democratic Party—met with Trump for 90 minutes. They made a deal to push for $2 trillion to rebuild the transportation and communication infrastructure of the U.S. Schumer called the meeting “very, very good” and Pelosi gushed that “we’re very excited about the conversation we had with the president.” Pelosi herself had requested the meeting with Trump.

What else happened in the days before, during, and after this meeting? The morning of the meeting itself, the U.S. and its puppets in Venezuela launched an attempted military coup against the government. Two days after the meeting, a report came out that the U.S. is killing 10 times more civilians in its undeclared wars than previously reported. That same day, the Senate refused to overturn Trump’s veto of a resolution to end U.S. support for the genocidal Saudi war against Yemen.

The day before the meeting, the Pentagon announced plans for an expanded military role at the border. The Trump/Pence regime put into effect new fees and restrictions for asylum seekers, which will mean that many people fleeing violence will be put inside U.S. prisons while they wait years for their hearings. A day after the meeting, a 16-year-old Guatemalan immigrant became the third child fleeing violence to die in U.S. custody. And a day after that, a 10-month-old Honduran infant drowned when the raft he was on capsized in the Rio Grande, with three other people also feared dead.

The Friday before the meeting, Trump (again) praised Robert E. Lee, amid new reports of rising white supremacist violence. Alabama passed the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the U.S.—encouraged by the Trump/Pence regime’s packing of the federal courts with abortion opponents. Three days later, the Trump/Pence regime expanded the so-called “conscience rule,” which allows religious institutions (including hospitals and schools) to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people in health care.

And for good measure, the regime rolled back safety regulations on off-shore drilling.

But worst of all, this Schumer/Pelosi meeting with Trump took place in the direct aftermath of the Mueller report. The report laid out Trump’s multiple and repeated attempts to use executive power to obstruct justice. There for all to see were clear assaults on the rule of law and separation of powers.

And instead of calling this out, Schumer and Pelosi give him cover. In fact, the New York Times could only find one relatively low-level Democrat who would publicly point out that this meeting was held in the middle of a “constitutional crisis.” Brian Fallon, a former aide to Schumer, said, “The most important job the Democrats have right now is to uphold the rule of law against a president who thinks the law doesn’t apply to him. We have bigger fish to fry than trying to look like we gave it a shot on infrastructure. This was the play in 2016. It strikes me as a very pre-Trump approach for how to manage.”

The spectacle of Schumer and Pelosi at the White House trough reveals two important things:

First, as Barack Obama said after Trump’s election, “we [meaning ruling class politicians] are all on the same team.” They function as imperialist operatives first and foremost, and both the Democrats and Trump want to revamp the imperialist infrastructure to better compete against their rivals.

Second, and more to the point, the Democratic leadership is desperately attempting to ward off any calls for impeachment, let alone driving out the regime. They fear the “disorder” of the struggle it would take to actually STOP fascism far more than they fear the full imposition of fascism itself. Meeting with Trump on infrastructure is tantamount to meeting with Hitler to plan how to build the autobahn (the German superhighway system) while the concentration camps are being readied. It is a major symbolic move to normalize and fully accept this presidency.

The fascist juggernaut has momentum. It is more urgent than ever to drive it from power AND it should be clear—especially after the “infrastructure” shuffle danced by these Democrats—that the only way to stop it is through the masses of people relying on our own efforts, with massive, sustained, nonviolent protest.

Finally: this regime grew out of a specific system—capitalism-imperialism, at a time when it is racked by multiple crises. The representatives of this system, whether Democrat or Republican, will fight most of all for the continued operation of that system; and unless and until this system is overthrown, these will be the (non)-choices offered to the masses. That cannot be tolerated—and can only be resolved through a revolution to get beyond this system and the madness it brings down.

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Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/new-more-ugly-horrific-truths-come-to-light-in-police-murder-of-oscar-grant-en.html

New—and Even More Ugly and Horrific—Truths Come to Light in the Police Murder of Oscar Grant

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Ten years! It has been 10 years since hundreds of people on a BART train in Oakland saw cops shoot unarmed 22-year-old Oscar Grant in the back, 10 years since millions saw videos of that murder on TV and the internet. An internal report has just been released that shows the cops and BART authorities knew full well that Oscar was murdered in cold blood and this has been kept secret until now.

The system knew. Their own report said it. This speaks volumes about what happened to Oscar, about the real role of the police, the actual nature of the system they serve, and why what we need is an actual revolution.

Oscar’s cold-blooded murder by BART cop Johannes Mehserle at Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California, was one of the first times police were caught on cell phone videos killing someone, and it went viral. People rose up in the streets of Oakland, and there were many powerful protests when the system failed to indict Mehserle. This led to the very rare case of a cop actually doing time for shooting someone down (no cop in Alameda County, the county Oakland is in, had ever been brought up on murder charges for killing someone while on duty). And people protested when the verdict was announced because Mehserle was convicted of manslaughter and not murder. (He did a little bit of time—less than a year—and then he got out on unsupervised probation.)

Because of the mass protest, the murder of Oscar Grant became an important symbol and indictment of the system’s vicious treatment of Black people. The San Jose Mercury wrote: “‘I am Oscar Grant’ became a rallying cry so loud it spread to far-off places such as Egypt, where protesters in the Arab Spring uprising held signs bearing his name.” An important, powerful, and heart-wrenching movie was made of Oscar and what happened that night, Fruitvale Station.

Oscar Grant’s murder is in the news again now because reporters in California working for the San Jose Mercury News filed a lawsuit seeking internal BART documents that had been kept secret about what happened that night on the BART train. They used a new law in California that allows for release of records of police misconduct. A major internal study BART had commissioned of what happened at Fruitvale Station was released to the public for the first time.

The report is significantly redacted, but it reveals important things about the case, the murderous role of the police on the scene, and how the system went about covering this up. One key point exposes that Mehserle knew full well he was drawing his gun. In his trial, a key point of his legal defense was that he didn’t know he had drawn his gun, that he got confused and thought he was drawing his taser instead, so, the lie went, shooting Oscar was not intentional. This had real influence on why he was convicted of manslaughter (which means in part that he did not intend to kill) instead of murder. At the time, many people exposed Mehserle’s claim about the taser as ridiculous, as the revolver and the taser are very different, feel very different, and were in holsters on opposite sides of his body. Now, BART’s internal investigation, which was written before his trial, says what everybody who saw the videos at the time already knew:

“The conclusion can be made from a close viewing of the enhanced video that he [Mehserle] was intending to pull his firearm and not his Taser....” And: “[Mehserle] can be seen trying to draw it at least two times and on the final occasion, can be seen looking back at his hand on the gun/holster to watch the gun come out....”

The report draws the conclusion: “at the time of the shooting the video clearly depicts Oscar Grant with two hands on his back in a handcuffed position. Deadly force was not justified under the circumstances.” This was cold-blooded, intentional murder.

The report also exposes the consistent and systematic way BART and the BART police cover up their brutality. For example, Mehserle had six use-of-force incidents reported in the year before he killed Oscar. The report said that this constituted “ample warning signs of an impending problem.” Yet nothing was done to address this “impending problem,” and Mehserle remained on the force. And of course these “incidents” were hidden from the public. The report talks about how hiding these kinds of [use-of-force incident] reports—including complaints of brutality from the public—is the rule. They are not revealed unless they are found to be “unjustifiable,” which, according to the report, had NEVER happened in the history of the BART police. Meanwhile, throughout the huge battle over his murder, Oscar’s previous police records were “leaked” to the press.

A big claim of the defenders of Oscar’s murder was that Oscar and his friends were “thugs” and that they caused a fight on BART and the police had to use force to deal with that. The newly released report demolishes that story, especially when it goes into the role of BART officer Pirone. Pirone, along with his partner, was the first BART cop on the scene at Fruitvale Station. Pirone claimed that Oscar attacked him. But the report noted that the “video reveals a different story,” saying: “Pirone approached Grant, grabbed hold of him and pushed him against the wall ... he [then] appears to have struck him one time in the head or facial area.” He is on tape and in the report calling Oscar the N word. Pirone also “kneed Grant in the face,” which the officer did not report, and an autopsy revealed Oscar suffered a hemorrhage. Everyone who looked carefully at the videos at the time could see what Pirone did. But here we have BART’s own official internal investigation summing up the role that Pirone played. BART claims that this report led to Pirone’s firing, and so their hands are clean. But that is just a further cover-up and a further example of the way the system protects its pigs. Pirone never faced any legal charges at all even though he went on a racist rampage and brutally assaulted Oscar and the people who were with Oscar, and this had everything to do with Mehserle pulling the trigger.

What all this points to is that even though this was a famous case that went viral, was shaped by powerful mass protest in the streets, was made into a very good and important movie—and was one of the rare cases in which a cop who killed someone actually went to jail—STILL, the system hid key facts that showed that this was cold-blooded murder, AND hid key facts that showed that Mehserle had a history of using force. You can see in this how the system operated to defend police murder and gave Mehserle the lightest sentence possible. You can see how this points to the deeper reality that without getting rid of the SYSTEM of capitalism and white supremacy, we cannot put an end to police brutality and murder. As Bob Avakian put it:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

BAsics 1:24

Oscar Grant

Bob Avakian, "Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off."

"Yes there's a conspiracy... to get the cops off" Is a clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, given in 2003 in the United States. More about Bob Avakian here

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/questions-on-facebooks-censorship-and-banning-en.html

Questions on Facebook’s Censorship and Banning

| revcom.us

 

Editor's Note: We received this letter from a reader, and thought it important to share as part of the necessary discussion—and food for thought—on the recent permanent banning of individuals from Facebook's platform, and to explore and understand its potential implications. While there are many new questions in terms of the advent of social media as sources and platforms for sharing news, information and opinion, and this merits further grappling, the precedents being set right now are potentially very dangerous and need to be opposed, as we monitor further developments.

On Thursday, May 2, Facebook, the largest social network in the world, banned Alex Jones, of Infowars, a white-supremacist conspiracy-spewing website, and its contributor Paul Watson; Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan who has been known to traffic in anti-Semitism; Milo Yiannopoulos, a fascist provocateur who has a history of white-supremacy; anti-Muslim provocateur Laura Loomer; and Paul Hehlen, neo-Nazi, self-described "pro-white" congressional candidate who ran against Paul Ryan in 2016. This follows the earlier banning of the official pages of white-supremacist and fascist groups spewing conspiracies and “fake news” like Infowars and Nation in Distress.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on May 2, “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.” Facebook's stated criteria are vague and broad, and leave room for tremendous abuse.

While the propagated views and rhetoric of the individuals banned on May 2 are odious and harmful, and are mainly white-supremacist and/or anti-Semitic, the fact is that Facebook also at different times banned or suspended progressive groups and individuals from Black Lives Matter, advocates against police brutality as well as supporters of RefuseFascism.org.

All this poses a number of inter-related and immediate questions:

While this particular move by Facebook may in some ways be seen as a counter-current since the main people currently being banned are white supremacists who are supporters of the fascist regime, its precedent is likely to reverberate and redound against genuinely progressive and radical ideas, ideas and ideology that Facebook and others can designate and declare as “promoting or engaging” in “violence and hate.”

These and other related questions demand attention as this unfolds.

 

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

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

Read more about this compilation here

View, read or print PDF here

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/349/watching-Fruitvale-Station-with-Bob-Avakian-en.html

Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian

August 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

April 22, 2019. This article was originally published in 2014. We believe that it is particularly timely now to either return to this or, for those who have not read it before, to read it for the first time.

For those who don’t know, Fruitvale Station is a very powerful, moving, and excruciating film that depicts the last day in the life of Oscar Grant.  Oscar was a 22-year-old, unarmed Black man murdered by Bay Area Rapid Transit police on New Year’s Day, 2009.  He was returning home from celebrating on New Year’s Eve, when police stopped Oscar and the friends he was with, harassed and brutalized them, straddled Oscar as he lay face down on a subway platform, and fatally shot him in the back. 

Not too long ago, I watched Fruitvale Station with Bob Avakian (BA), chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.  Towards the very end of the film, agonizing, heartbreaking and infuriating scenes are shown: The cop shooting Oscar in the back; Oscar’s girlfriend frantically rushing to the scene, trying to find out what happened; Oscar’s loved ones gathering together and waiting desperately to find out if he would make it, only to find out he was gone forever.

As these scenes unfolded, I looked over at BA.  He was sobbing.  Not just misty-eyed. Sobbing.  And he continued to cry tears of heartbreak and rage for several minutes, as the closing credits rolled.

This made a very big impression on me.  BA did not know Oscar Grant personally. But he felt the sting of his murder in an extremely raw and visceral way. And I think his reaction speaks volumes about who Bob Avakian is, what he represents, and what he is all about. 

BA has literally been fighting against this system for 50 years.  He has been a revolutionary communist for about 45 years.  He has been shouldering the responsibility of leading the Revolutionary Communist Party for almost 40 years. And over the course of the last several decades, he has forged the theory and deepened the science for the revolution humanity needs to get free, while also providing practical leadership to the party and movement working for that revolution.  And all of this has involved not only tremendous work, but also tremendous risk and sacrifice on BA’s part as anyone with a sense of U.S. history, and/or BA’s personal history—specifically, what this reveals about the way the U.S. government viciously goes after revolutionary leaders—should well understand. And over all these decades, and through everything described above, BA has never lost an ounce of his love and feeling for the masses of people, his sense of outrage and hatred for all the ways in which the masses suffer needlessly, and his fire for revolution to emancipate the masses all over the world.  Not one bone in his body has become numb.  

There is a great deal more that could be said about the experience of watching Fruitvale Station with BA. But I want to highlight two points.

First, I think that in BA’s reaction to this movie, there is a lot for revolutionary communists, and anyone with concern for humanity and hatred for oppression and injustice, to reflect on and learn from.  Even with all the work BA has done and continues to do in the realm of theory, in order to forge a deeper understanding of why police murders like the execution of Oscar Grant and countless other outrages keep happening, the larger picture they are connected to, and how these outrages can be ended through revolution; even though BA has been at this for decades; and even with all of the horrors that pile up every single second that this system remains in place, there is absolutely no sense on BA’s part of world-weary detachment or defeatism when something like the murder of Oscar Grant goes down.  His reaction is decidedly not:  “Oh, well of course, this happens all the time, what do you expect?”   Rather, he cries tears of rage and anguish, both because he feels acutely the pain of Oscar’s life being stolen and because he knows that outrages like this are completely unnecessary and that humanity does not have to live this way.

This brings me to the second point I want to make here—and it is one I want to give even greater emphasis to, even while the first point above is very important and very related. The point I want to close this letter with is: We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly.

I’ll say it again: We had better fully recognize and appreciate what we have in BA, and act accordingly.

And when I say “we had better,” that “we” is addressed to many different people and audiences.  Yes, I am most definitely speaking to revolutionaries and communists and to all those who are already deeply familiar with and supportive of BA.  But in saying “we,” I am also speaking to those who are just now—or just recently—learning about and getting introduced to this revolutionary leader—including, to quote BA, “Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human” who “can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity.”   

To all the masses of people, here and around the world, who suffer brutal oppression minute after minute, day after day... and to all those who may not directly suffer this oppression but ache for a world where this oppression is no more, I want to say this:  If you do not know about Bob Avakian, or just recently learned about him, that is not your fault.  But you, and millions of other people, need to understand how incredibly rare and precious it is for the people of the planet that we have this revolutionary leader and act in accordance with that reality.

BA is not only the leader of the revolution, he is also a best friend to the masses of people.  He is a leader who has done decades of work in the realm of theory to bring forward the scientific method, strategy and vision needed to make revolution and bring into being a radically new world where all the horrors that humanity suffers unnecessarily would be no more. He is continuing to develop the advanced scientific method that he has forged, and apply that method to all of the big questions and obstacles confronting the revolution. He is able to break all of this down for people, without even slightly watering it down, in a way that everyone can understand, take up, and be inspired by. He has taken on the daily responsibility of leading a party and a movement to make revolution right here in the most powerful imperialist country in the world. He has dedicated his life to the emancipation of humanity. And, through all of this, he maintains a deep, visceral connection to and feeling for the masses of people who most desperately need this revolution.

A leader like this comes along very, very rarely.  And when this does happen, the absolute worst thing we could do is fail to recognize this, fail to act in accordance with this, fail to take this seriously, or take this for granted.  Instead, all of us—whether we have known about BA for decades, are just learning about him and what he represents, or anywhere in between, and whether you agree with BA about everything or not—must fully recognize and embrace what BA means for the people of the world.  We must study, and learn all we can from his incredible body of work on the biggest questions of revolution and human emancipation, as well as the lessons of who he is and what he stands for as a revolutionary leader.  We must realize that it is not just us who need to know about BA, his work and vision, and the leadership he is providing to this party and movement for revolution:  millions of people must know about all of this, and this must impact all of society.    

Furthermore, and very crucially, we must fully confront the reality of what it would mean for the people of the world to lose this leader, and take extremely seriously that there are people and forces—those officially part of the powers-that-be, as well as those willing to do the work of the powers-that-be—who hate what BA represents and would like nothing more than to tear him down, silence him, and take him from the masses of people.  And we must be absolutely determined not to let that happen.

This means taking very seriously the need to do everything we can to protect and defend BA. This means denouncing and not giving a millimeter of space to those who slander and personally attack BA, because these attacks and slanders are part of creating the poisonous atmosphere and conditions that would make it easier for the powers-that-be, or those doing their bidding, to take BA from the people of the world.  Protecting and defending BA, and building a wall around him, also means boldly and sharply challenging those who may not be part of the camp of the enemy, but who are wallowing in, or at least being influenced by, arrogance, cynicism and snark, and who seek to dismiss without seriously engaging what BA has brought forward; this arrogance, snark, cynicism, and dismissal, regardless of the intent of those who fall into it, stands in the way of BA and all that he has brought forward having the reach and societal influence that this urgently needs to have.  And this, too, creates easier conditions for those who would try to silence and isolate BA and take him from the masses.

Few things in life are more tragic than a critical lesson learned too late. And it would truly be a tragedy if BA were taken from the people, and then people said: “Wow, I wish I had realized sooner what we had here.”

But the good news is: It is not too late.  We, and the masses of the planet, have BA right now.  We had better realize, and let everyone know, what that means.

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-28-en.html

You Can’t Change the World If You Don’t Know the BAsics

| revcom.us

 

 

Every week, revcom.us features one quote from BAsics, by Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution. We encourage Revolution Clubs and other readers, everywhere, to take the time to discuss the quote—the whole quote—and to write us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com with accounts of these discussions, or thoughts provoked in yourself by reading the quote.

 

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

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/512/see-and-share-this-talk-en.html

In this Film, Bob Avakian Analyzes the Deep Roots and Driving Forces of Trump/Pence Fascism and What Must Be Done to Stop It.

Watch It Here, and Spread It.

Updated April 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Be part of bringing the most serious answers to the most urgent questions to tens and hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions.

This talk from Bob Avakian (BA) provides a scientific understanding of the roots of this fascist regime—in the history of the U.S. and the deeper roots in the system of capitalism-imperialism. He does so with passion, humor, humanity, and a deep sense of history. He cuts into the deepest, most agonizing questions, first in the speech and then in a wide-ranging Questions and Answers.

If more people watched this talk, it could change today’s political equation. But far too few have seen this talk, or even know about it. You are needed to be part of changing this.

Donate towards promotion of this film:

Scroll down for the film trailer, videos of the Q&A session following the speech, and clips from the film


Click to view the full speech.

The film and all video clips are also available for download HERE

For instructions to download this film click HERE

 

 

 

Questions and Answers with Bob Avakian

NEW:  Download, share, and watch each Q&A in a separate clip. To download these clips, click the "v" icon on the bottom right of the clip to get to the Vimeo page, and scroll down to the button for "Download"

Q&A: What do you say to the comedians who ridicule Trump/Pence but also run the risk of contributing to normalizing fascism?

Q&A: If we drive out the Trump/Pence regime, what will replace it?

Q&A: How can we sustain the massive movement required to drive this regime from power?

Q&A: What strategies are there to break through the mainstream news whiteout of Refuse Fascism?

Q&A: How can we protect immigrants targeted directly by this regime?

Q&A: What's the role of students in the movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

Q&A: The Democrats are supposed to be the lesser of two evils, but I don't want to vote for them. I know the system sucks, but what do we do in the interim?

Q&A: As a revolutionary Christian, I believe that we do need this revolution but how can you have religious people not feel alienated?

Q&A: What's the relationship between fighting fascism and making revolution?

Q&A: How can we overcome obstacles in reaching out broadly to drive out the Trump/Pence regime?

Q&A: Millions hate what's happening with the Trump/Pence regime, but does that matter if they don’t act?

Q&A: Do you think that we need animal liberation?


Trailer and Clips From the Film:

Trailer

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

Clip: "What are we facing?"

Clip: "Order or Justice?"


Clip: "What Must We Do?"

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

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

Clip: "The Christian Fascists
Now In Power"

Clip: "The 'Unholy Alliance' Between Trump and Fundamentalist Christian Fascists"

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/bob_avakian-on-the-rise-of-fascism-and-how-to-fight-it-en.html

Bob Avakian On the Rise of Fascism and How to Fight It

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Bob Avakian On Revolution And The Fight Against Fascism

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Q&A: It looks like there may be a coming civil war between the Democrats and fascists. How should we understand this and act to realign things?

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Q&A: The rise of fascism & struggle in international communist movement

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What would be the next step if the Trump/Pence regime consolidates power?

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How to spread the fighting spirit confronting fascists despite what Dems say?

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Free yourself from the GTF!
Clip from the film 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

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/593/revolution-books-on-the-fascist-assault-on-politics-and-prose-bookstore-en.html

Media Advisory

Revolution Books on the Fascist Assault on Politics and Prose Bookstore

Updated | revcom.us

 

The following statement was issued by Revolution Books in response to an April 27 attempt by neo-Nazis to disrupt a talk by Jonathan Metzl at Politics and Prose, a progressive independent bookstore just outside of Washington, DC. Metzl is a psychiatrist and professor at Vanderbilt University. He was reading from his book on the upsurge of white racism and its effects when a band of 10 white supremacists invaded the store, seized the front of the room, and chanted racist slogans. Members of the audience rose from their chairs in support of Metzl and the marchers left.

In its coverage of the attack, the Washington Post quoted from this statement and mentioned that Revolution Books in Berkeley has been attacked numerous times by right-wing groups. Other media outlets, like The Hill, have linked to the Post story. It’s a sign of the times that these kinds of fascist assaults are increasing. And this statement by Revolution Books, which reflects the principles of the store, is impacting the situation and setting the right terms.

Contact: Revolution Books Berkeley: RevolutionBooks@sbcglobal.net, Revolution Books New York: revbooksnyc@yahoo.com

Revolution Books in NYC and Berkeley express our solidarity with Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, a group of white-supremacist thugs stormed into the store and chanted racist slogans while author Jonathan Metzl was reading from his book Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland, the event that was part of the Antiracist Book Festival. This brazen assault came on the same day as the shooting at a synagogue in California.

The Trump-Pence fascist regime has emboldened these acts--escalating and legitimizing white supremacy, hatred of immigrants and Muslims, and antisemitism. These goons and killers are in fact part of a fascist strike force to consolidate the rule of fascism and to terrorize and intimidate people into accepting it. Bookstores and other institutions that value and promote critical thinking, the search for the truth, and social justice are in the cross-hairs. Revolution Books in Berkeley has been physically assaulted numerous times by fascists-racists in the last two years.

In these times people of conscience and conviction must come to the support of Politics and Prose. And, more, work to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power. We encourage people to watch the 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.

Revolution Books is the political, intellectual, and cultural center of a movement for an actual revolution. This is a revolution to put a stop once and for all to the wars of empire, white supremacy, brutalization and degradation of women, and persecution of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment...a revolution to emancipate all of humanity.

We call on every person whose work, morality, and values aspire to a world of diversity, of overcoming the oppression of all peoples regardless of nationality, race, gender, or beliefs to stand with Politics and Prose and with authors and voices exposing this dangerous moment.

Andy Zee, spokesperson for Revolution Books
Raymond Lotta, Revolution Books, NYC
Reiko Redmonde, Revolution Books, Berkeley

 

Bob Avakian: "What are we facing?"

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/american-crime-us-enabled-genocide-in-east-timor-1975-1998-en.html

American Crime

Case #20: The U.S.-Enabled Genocide in East Timor, 1975‑1998

| revcom.us

 

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

In that light, and in that spirit, “American Crime” is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses 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

The U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor resulted in the worst slaughter relative to population since the Holocaust. From 1975 to 1999, the Indonesian military bombed, massacred, tortured, raped, and brutalized the population of East Timor until nearly one-third of the original population of 650,000 had been killed. During this time, the U.S. continually gave the military the economic and diplomatic support that enabled this horrific genocide.

Letters smuggled from East Timor spoke of the U.S.-supported horrors they faced:

“Many elements of the population were killed under inhuman conditions of bombardment and starvation.... The waters of the river were filled with blood and bodies. Husbands, fathers, brothers and abandoned wives, sons and brothers all in the same agony.”

“The mountains shake with the bombardment. The earth talks with the blood of the people, who die miserably....”

“Tell my son that for nothing on this earth should he return to Timor. I would rather die without seeing him again than to know he had returned to this hell.”

East Timor is half of a small island, located between Australia and Indonesia. It was colonized by Portugal in the 1500s, which held the territory until April 1974, when a new government began the process of decolonization. Indonesia, ruled by a brutal military dictatorship that had come to power through a U.S.-sponsored coup in 1965, immediately began planning to take over East Timor. The U.S. repeatedly gave its OK to Indonesia for a full-scale invasion. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger even paid a formal visit to the capital, Jakarta, and reaffirmed U.S. support immediately before the invasion. Ford told the military dictator Suharto, “We understand the problem you have and the intentions you have.” Privately, U.S. officials told the Indonesians to invade “effectively and quickly,” with the CIA advocating the use of “overwhelming force,” and the U.S. doubled its military aid to ensure that this would happen. The main problem, as U.S. officials saw it, was how to get around various U.S. laws that the U.S. was about to violate with its support of international aggression.

On December 7, 1975, the invasion of East Timor began, an attack that one historian characterized as “one of the most brutal operations of its kind in modern warfare.” Within months, the death toll was up to 60,000, while hundreds of thousands more fled into the mountains. The U.S. later claimed to have cut off arms sales following the invasion, but in reality it went out of its way to supply special weaponry to the Indonesians. Philip Liechty, the CIA station chief in Jakarta at the time, later stated that the U.S. tried to get as many weapons to Indonesia as quickly as it could out of fear that if the public found out about what was going on, the flow of weapons might be cut off.

The U.S. stifled international criticism of the invasion to prevent anyone from coming to the aid of the Timorese. At the time, East Timor was still under Portuguese rule but the U.S. told Portugal (a NATO country) that it was not allowed to defend the people of East Timor from the invasion.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Daniel Moynihan later bluntly stated that he was instructed to “render the UN utterly ineffective,” adding that the “United States wished things to turn out as they did [regarding UN inaction] and worked to bring this about.” The UN did not get involved again until after the Indonesian dictatorship was overthrown in 1998.

Despite receiving no outside assistance, the Timorese resistance was popular and well-organized, fighting the invaders to a stalemate. After two years of unrelenting warfare, Indonesia began to run out of ammunition and weapons. The U.S. stepped in to sell massive amounts of weaponry, while doubling military aid (all of which, again, violated U.S. laws). Fully equipped, Indonesia launched a massive offensive in September 1977. Indonesian planes, reportedly aided by U.S. pilots and mercenaries, began daily saturation bombing of the interior, aided by defoliants, napalm, and chemical and biological weapons. This was combined with continuous large-scale ground assaults and a deliberate policy of starvation through a scorched earth campaign and the destruction of the agricultural system.

A letter from a Timorese captured the horror being rained down:

The bombers did not stop all day. Hundreds of human beings died every day. The bodies of the victims become food for carnivorous birds. If we don’t die of the war, we die of the plague; villages have been completely destroyed, some tribes decimated. The barbarities, the cruelties, the pillaging, the unqualified destruction of Timor, the executions without reason have spread deep roots in Timor. Genocide will come soon....

The brutal offensive forced most Timorese down from the mountains, where they were put into hundreds of concentration camps built with money from USAID and modeled on the “strategic hamlets” used by the U.S. in Vietnam. Prevented from farming and kept in malaria-infested lowlands, famine and disease spread through the camps and throughout the rest of the country as well. Though the U.S. knew the extent of the famine, they conspired with the Indonesians to prevent any relief aid from being delivered until after the offensive was over. As a result, tens of thousands died of starvation and disease.

In addition to the weapons sales, the U.S. trained many of the officers who led the fighting in East Timor. One U.S.-trained elite unit, called Kopassus, became known in East Timor as the nangalla, or “knife-wielding killers.” The U.S. also ensured that billions of dollars in economic aid were funneled annually to the Indonesian dictatorship through the World Bank and IMF.

For these 25 years the U.S. gave continuous support to what is arguably the worst invasion and mass slaughter since World War 2, all the while knowing exactly what was going on. Philip Liechty, the CIA officer mentioned earlier, stated:

I saw the intelligence that came from firm sources. There were people being herded into school buildings by Indonesian soldiers and the buildings set on fire; anyone trying to get out was shot. There were people herded into fields and machine-gunned. We knew the place was a free-fire zone ... Without the continued heavy U.S. logistical military support the Indonesians might not have been able to pull it off. They were able to stay there at no real cost to them; it didn’t put any pressure on their economy and on their military forces because American taxpayers were footing the bill for the killing of all those people and for the acquisition of that territory, to which they had no right whatsoever. We were providing most of the weaponry, helicopters, logistical support ... all of the expendables the Indonesians needed to conduct this war. Why not just leave the Timorese alone?

East Timorese resistance and guerrilla struggle continued in various forms over the next two decades, but the people of East Timor continued to live in a situation of terror. Smuggled photographs and captured Indonesian military manuals showed that unspeakable torture was routine, as were disappearances, long-term imprisonment, massacres of protesters, and rape and sterilization of Timorese women. As one Timorese put it in 1994; “We the people in East Timor call it the biggest prison island in the world. You must understand that. For us who live here, it’s hell.” By 1998-99 the global terrain had shifted and Suharto was forced to resign, in part due to large-scale protests.

Despite a U.S.-backed terror campaign against them, which included an April 1999 massacre of 200 people who were seeking refuge at a church, the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence in an August 1999 referendum. After the vote, the Indonesian military, along with paramilitaries they organized, went on a pre-planned, weeks-long rampage of murder and destruction which forced hundreds of thousands of East Timorese into detention camps. While this massive pogrom was taking place, the U.S. blocked international action to stop it. After it ended, East Timor was occupied by an “international peacekeeping force.” When East Timor finally gained independence in May 2002, the country had been largely destroyed, and its people were still suffering the effects of decades of unspeakable horrors.

THE CRIMINALS

President Gerald Ford personally assured the Indonesian dictator Suharto of U.S. support for the invasion. The Indonesians were extremely concerned about what the U.S. response to an invasion would be and repeatedly sought approval in the months leading up to it from officials from the State Department, the CIA, and U.S. Congress.

President Jimmy Carter oversaw and supported the 1977 shift from aggression to genocide. His vice president, Walter Mondale, even flew to Indonesia to make unsolicited offers of weaponry specifically designed for the conditions the Indonesians were facing in East Timor. And during Carter’s administration, the U.S. prevented the International Red Cross from entering East Timor, even though it knew of the catastrophic famines there.

President Ronald Reagan continued U.S. backing, selling nearly a billion dollars in weaponry, including in 1983 when the East Timorese resistance had forced the Indonesians to sign a cease-fire.

President George H.W. Bush continued American support and, if anything, was the most enthusiastic about it. When video footage of the Indonesian military massacring hundreds of nonviolent demonstrators was seen around the world in 1991, the White House response was to ask Congress for an increase in military aid to Indonesia.

When there was finally a referendum on East Timor’s future, in 1999, the administration of President Bill Clinton insisted on the disarming of independence fighters even though they knew that Indonesia planned on destroying the country if the Timorese voted for independence. Following that vote, the Indonesian military went on a rampage of murder and destruction for weeks while the U.S. blocked international action. When East Timor finally became independent, the country was largely destroyed and its people suffered the effects of being subjected to unspeakable horrors.

Gen. Suharto, Indonesia’s ruler, and his generals such as Benny Murdani and Wiranto were directly responsible for the genocide, while officials like Foreign Minister Ali Alatas did the work of whitewashing it to the world.

THE ALIBI

The U.S. claimed Fretilin (the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor), which led the Timorese resistance, were communists out to destabilize Indonesia and the region. (In reality, there was no communist party in East Timor and Fretilin was open to being subordinate to Indonesia.) The U.S. also claimed Fretilin were no more than “desperate terrorists” responsible for “pillaging villages [and] murdering people.” The U.S. even claimed that Fretilin was responsible for the famines and that they had “turned the country into a wasteland.”

For the most part, however, the U.S. ruling classes were virtually unanimous on supporting the occupation, and on keeping quiet about it. As Florida Republican Congressman J. Herbert Burke, then ranking minority member of the House subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, put it: “It is in all our interests to bury the Timor issue quickly and completely.” No U.S. president ever gave a public statement on the genocide or in any other way worked to bring public attention to it. Coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine and other media almost entirely disappeared as the violence reached genocidal proportions.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

With its huge population and strategic location, Indonesia had long had an important role to play for U.S. imperialism in the region. Following WW2, the U.S. identified Indonesia as part of a “Grand Area” whose role was to be a stable source of raw materials and cheap labor for the U.S., Japan, and other nations. The sheer size of this country of 200 million people—fourth largest in the world—means that what happens there has a profound impact on the whole region. The Pentagon has expressed much concern about instability in Indonesia—both because of the international shipping lanes that go through Indonesian waters and because the country has the world’s largest Muslim population.

At the time of the invasion, the U.S. was facing a new situation, both locally in Southeast Asia and in the world as a whole. The U.S. had been defeated in Vietnam and had been knocked back on its heels in southern Asia. When Ford and Kissinger met with Suharto before the invasion, they were concerned with the possible spread of liberation struggles and Soviet influence in the region.

The Indonesian military was facing its own necessity, which the U.S. was very cognizant of. Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, and though dominated by the Javanese it consists of many different nationalities, some of which have desires for independence. The Indonesian rulers invaded and used the most brutal violence in East Timor in part to send a message to all the other nationalities of Indonesia that separatist movements will be crushed. Indeed, the East Timorese struggle for independence was one of the sources of inspiration for protesters when Suharto was overthrown in 1998.

The U.S. supported the occupation primarily because it wanted to ensure the continued existence of the pro-U.S. government in Indonesia and strengthen its role as an essential geo-political cornerstone for U.S. imperialism in the region. Secondarily, as a State Department official stated shortly after the invasion, Indonesia “is a country we do a lot of business with.” As for the people of East Timor, the U.S. simply did not care what happened to them. One of the architects of U.S. policy, Henry Kissinger, once put it, East Timor “was not a big thing on our radar screen.” Kissinger, it should be noted, made this comment to a Timorese who had lost countless friends and relatives to the occupation.

Sources

Budiardjo, Carmel and Liem Soei Liong. The War Against East Timor, London: Zed, 1984.

Burr, William, and Michael L. Evans, eds. East Timor Revisited: Ford, Kissinger and the Indonesian Invasion, 1975-76, National Security Archive, Washington, D.C., 2001.

Chomsky, Noam and Edward S. Hermann. The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism. New York: Spokesman Books, 1979.

Dunn, James. Timor: A People Betrayed, Milton, Qld: Jacaranda, 1983.

Nevins, Joseph. A Not-So-Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor. Cornell University Press, 2005.

Retbøll, T. and T. Aparicio. East Timor, Indonesia and the Western Democracies: a Collection of Documents. Copenhagen: Documentation Department of IWGIA, 1979.

Taylor, John G. Indonesia’s Forgotten War: The Hidden History of East Timor. New Jersey: Zed Books, 1994.

Turner, Michelle. Telling: East Timor, Personal Testimonies, 1942-1992. Kensington, NSW, Australia: New South Wales University Press, 1992.

U.S. on East Timor: Hypocritical Tears and Imperialist Concerns,” revcom.us, September 19, 1999.

American Crime “Case #100: 1965 Massacre in Indonesia,” revcom.us, October 20, 2017.

East Timor ‒ Profile,” BBC, February 26, 2018.

 

 


East Timor is half of a small island, located between Australia and Indonesia.


U.S. officials told the Indonesians to invade "effectively and quickly," with the CIA advocating the use of "overwhelming force." The U.S. doubled its military aid to ensure that this would happen. Above, members of the Indonesian army.


From 1975 to 1999, the Indonesian military bombed, massacred, tortured, raped, and brutalized the population of East Timor until nearly one-third of the original population of 650,000 had been killed. The U.S. continually gave the military the economic and diplomatic support that enabled this horrific genocide.


A letter from a Timorese: “Hundreds of human beings died every day. The bodies of the victims become food for carnivorous birds. If we don't die of the war, we die of the plague; villages have been completely destroyed, some tribes decimated.... Genocide will come soon....“. Above Timorese children in 1975.


Fretilin (the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor) who led the resistance against the invasion by Indonesia were labeled terrorists and tortured.

   
Left: Indonesian dictator Suharto with Nixon. Right: Ford, who personally assured Suharto the U.S. would support his invasion of East Timor, with Henry Kissinger.

   
Left: Reagan and Suharto. Reagan sold Indonesia nearly a billion dollars worth of weaponry. Right: Suharto and Clinton. In 1999 when East Timor finally held a referendum on its future, Clinton insisted on disarming of independence fighters even though they knew that Indonesia planned on destroying the country if the Timorese voted for independence.

 

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/suppressed-sandra-bland-video-comes-to-light-en.html

A 21st Century Lynching

Suppressed Sandra Bland Video Comes to Light

| revcom.us

 

On July 13, 2015, Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman, was found hanging in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas.

On May 7 – almost four years after Sandra’s death – a long-suppressed video Sandra took with her phone as she was arrested has finally come to light. An investigative reporter with WFAA in Dallas recently obtained the video and showed it separately to her sisters and to the family lawyer. It is a key piece of evidence that none of them had seen before. For three-and-a-half years it was in the hands of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A 21st Century Lynching

Sandra Bland graduated from Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black institution in Waller County. She was returning there from her home in Chicago. She was happy about going back to reunite with old friends and take up a new job.

But after she turned onto the drive leading to the campus, she was pulled over by a Texas state trooper, Brian Encinia. He claimed she hadn’t used a turn signal to change lanes. Within moments, Encinia brutalized and mocked Sandra Bland. He threatened her with his Taser and snarled, “Get out of the car! I will light you up! Get out! Now!” He dragged her out of her car and threw her on the ground. He arrested her and charged her with felony assault on an officer.

From the beginning, police and prosecutors worked feverishly to cover up the truth about Sandra Bland’s arrest, time in their custody, and the circumstances of her death. They charged her with being the aggressor. They released an obviously tampered video of the jail cell they held her in. They declared the cell to be a “crime scene,” but then allowed reporters to trample through it. They claimed Sandra was “suicidal,” but did nothing to provide medical attention. No testimony of what were claimed to be interviews of jail personnel was ever released to Sandra Bland’s lawyers. Her friends and family, with whom she had been in steady communication, were not called to testify to the grand jury investigating the case. Her DNA was not found on the cloth around her neck. Jail logs were falsified. As Shante Needham, one of her sisters, said, “...they have an extremely, extremely good cover-up system.”

Say Her Name: Sandra Bland

The authorities claimed Sandra had committed suicide. But her family, many Prairie View students, and thousands of people across the country fighting to end murder by cop refused to accept the official story. The fight for Justice for Sandra Bland became a cornerstone of the fight to end murder and brutality of Black people by the police.

Encinia was investigated for perjury. He claimed Sandra put his “safety in jeopardy, at more than one time,” and this is why he brutalized and arrested her. But the perjury case never went to trial. A cash settlement was paid to Sandra Bland’s family, and Encinia was barred from being employed in law enforcement.

When Waller County prosecutors dismissed the charge against Encinia, the lawyer for Sandra’s family, Cannon Lambert, told reporters the family was “completely blindsided.” He said Sandra’s mother and sisters had told Texas prosecutors they wanted to go ahead with the trial, and prosecutors told them they would.

The System at Work

But the cover-up and kangaroo court went even deeper.

The video Sandra Bland courageously took shows Encinia harassing and assaulting her with a torrent of physical and verbal abuse. If Sandra’s video had been available to the family and their lawyers, they would have insisted that the prosecution of Encinia go forward. But prosecutors and the Texas state police concealed and suppressed the recording, and lied to Sandra’s family. Shante Needham said, “This [Sandra’s video] not only shows that he [Encinia] lied, but that he really had no business even stopping her. Period. And at the end of the day, he needs to go to jail.”

The video shows that Encinia was in no way threatened by Sandra Bland, that she was holding a cell phone in plain view, and was in fact recording him as he assailed her. He lied, and his lies were covered up by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the office of the Texas Attorney General, which defended him.

From a routine traffic stop to a young woman hanging in a county jail; from a lying cop who walks free, to brutal prison guards; to a racist district attorney’s office; to state police who oversee suppression of evidence, put a video of the arrest in deep storage for years, and a Christian Fascist attorney general who oversees the entire cover-up.

This is the system at work. This is a system in which white supremacy and police brutality are integral components. A system which has no legitimacy and no right to exist.

Sandra Bland recorded her arrest. The video has been suppressed for almost four years by Texas authorities.

Sandra Bland

Bob Avakian: "How Long?! How Many More Times Do the Tears Have to Flow?"

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

Revcom.us needs to raise thousands each month to meet basic expenses, extend our reach, and fully be the online hub of the emerging movement for revolution.  By the end of July, we need $1000 in new sustainer funds per month. We invite you to become a sustainer, or to increase the amount you are already sustaining at this pivotal moment.

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/594/revolutionary-intervention-at-youth-climate-strike-in-chicago-en.html

A Revolutionary Intervention at the Youth Climate Strike in Chicago

| revcom.us

 

From the Revolution Club, Chicago:

Hundreds of high school students took off a school day and gathered in downtown Chicago to march and rally at the nationwide Youth Climate Strike on May 3. They were there because they felt an urgent need to fight for the future. They know that the UN report last October showed an environment accelerating towards horrific consequences for the world in 12 years or less if there are not drastic changes to greatly reduce the release of greenhouse gases. And they know that the current government in the U.S. is explicitly anti-science, denying the science of climate change, and making things worse. They organized their friends, made signs, and came from faraway schools by bus and train.

The students marched through downtown, held 11 minutes of silence for the 11 years left before catastrophe, and rallied at the federal building. The climate strike march and rally mobilizing these students shows something powerful in potential, especially when you pull the camera back to see that it is part of an international movement. But there are powerful forces, like the Democratic Party, working to channel that power into a dead end: the trap of electoral politics and the capitalist system that is the cause of this nightmare. The Chicago Revolution Club went to be part of this march and to have an impact on it with the revolution that is actually the way out of this nightmare, and to bring forward people on the spot to take up and organize for this revolution. This started out with us spreading the word a bit, but later that came together with a dynamic intervention that had a major impact.

At the beginning of the day, while people were gathering in Grant Park, we displayed an enlarged poster of the Points of Attention for the Revolution (POAs) and walked around showing it to groups of students, asking them to read it. Most didn’t say too much about it but took the flyer we were passing out, which had the POAs on one side and on the other an invitation to be part of a fundraising party for the National Revolution Tour. Some discussions were going on in ones and twos. As more people started gathering, we spoke over the bullhorn to have a more mass impact. Even though some people listened intently, nodded along, filmed with their phones, and grabbed materials, still not many people said much. During the march a few people around us joined in when we chanted, “Revolution is what we need, there is no Planet B,” and “This system can’t be reformed, it must be overthrown.”

Once the rally started, we posted up on one edge of it and listened to the speakers. A student spoke passionately about how the adults who are the responsible ones are not doing their jobs and it is up to us to demand a change. Then, after a few different youth representatives, the featured speaker was introduced with much fanfare, Democratic senator Dick Durbin. Dick Durbin, the “liberal” senator who has spent the last two+ years normalizing the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime and the Republican Party, like: meeting with Trump to “make a deal” on immigration, and going along with the farcical Kavanaugh hearings where he only protested procedural questions but never disrupted the process of confirming an outright fascist to the Supreme Court. THAT Dick Durbin got up and criticized the Republican Party for not believing in climate change, then told students what they can do is to start a campaign and get behind a candidate... In other words, the same exact bullshit that has gotten us exactly to the mess we’re in!

A member of the Revolution Club, standing with three other members in Revolution Nothing Less T-shirts and next to the #BEB banner, interrupted Durbin’s speech, calling out “BULLSHIT!” over the bullhorn. She then spoke about how these Democratic candidates are not doing anything for the people of the world, they are part of dominating over the people of the world and destroying the environment. While she was speaking, Durbin said a few more things and ended. A group of students began chanting “GREEN NEW DEAL” in response to the Revolution Club member and to try to drown her out. She responded with substance about what is actually in the Green New Deal and the American chauvinism embedded in it, including it doesn’t say or do anything about the fact that the U.S. military is the single largest consumer of oil of any institution on the planet. The students got silent as they listened to this. Then a group of them began chanting “BULLSHIT” while some older people yelled at us to “be quiet” and some other students kept chanting “Green New Deal.” Again the Revolution Club member took this on with substance. She said, read the Green New Deal and see what it says, see what it says about humanity, because that is not what it’s about. A student shouted out “what’s YOUR plan?” She responded that capitalism is the problem and we are working now for a revolution to overthrow capitalism at the soonest possible time, and she invited students there to become part of organizing for revolution.

This interruption and exchange, which lasted a couple of minutes and then the rally continued, changed something at that rally. Hundreds of people saw and heard contention that challenged their thinking and projected that there is a force that represents and is fighting for something radically different than politicians and legislation and American interests. Most of them had already gotten a copy of the Points of Attention for the Revolution that spell out the methods, goals and principles of this revolution.

What happened after this exchange is, first, a couple of students came up right away wanting to learn more about the revolution. A mother and daughter who had talked with us earlier in the day and had taken copies of the Points of Attention to spread in their area were upset about how closed-minded the students were who were yelling at us and they left soon after. Then, at the end of the rally, we got back on the bullhorn and invited everyone over to where we were set up to come talk with us, to get a copy of the article we have about the Green New Deal, and talk with us about how to really change all this.

A number of people right away came over to get copies of the article, and we distributed about 20 of them. And then groups of students came up to discuss and debate about what is the problem and solution and what can we do now. There were about six students from one high school, two from a college, others in ones and twos. A libertarian came over to argue against revolution. An activist supporter of the Revolution Club who is not a communist came over to join in the debate in defense of what the Revolution Club is about. There were about three or four discussions and debates happening at once and this went on for about an hour after the end of the rally, with students moving from one discussion to another.

The students wanted to hear what we were saying, how we see changing things, and it seems maybe some also came with some thinking off of having read our Points of Attention. One student came up saying his parents were from Russia and communism is no good. Another said his grandparents are from Poland and communism was no good there either. We started with, first of all, everything people think they know about communism is wrong, and there is a new communism developed by Bob Avakian that is concentrated in those Points of Attention. We talked with them about what is the root of the problem we now find ourselves in, how capitalism actually works and why it has given rise to this nightmare for humanity. How this can’t be reformed or voted out and why it takes an actual revolution to do this. We showed them the display of the 5 STOPS to illustrate this. They had lots of thinking and lots of questions. The 5 STOPS really resonated with all or most of them, and they were not particularly attached to the idea that voting for the Democratic Party or anyone else, for that matter, is the answer to any of this.

A couple of the students at times broke off from the bigger debates to have deeper discussion. A snapshot of one of those discussions:

The student, whose grandparents are from Poland, was really challenged and intrigued by the whole discussion. He liked what it says in the Points of Attention and the idea of being able to have a new society based on those principles, but he wasn’t sure there was any way to actually make that happen. I talked with him about how in starting to live by and fight for those principles now, he can be part of organizing thousands and influencing millions for revolution that is based on and fighting for this. In addition to posting and sharing the POAs, I walked through a couple of examples of how to live by and fight for this, including like when you are around people who are objectifying women or insulting people who are from other countries, calling that out and putting forward a different standard for what kind of world we should be fighting to bring into being. He asked if in the new society we are talking about, would the things we say we don’t tolerate be outlawed and people punished for doing those things. I started to say the new socialist republic would not be a repressive society and he jumped in and agreed that it should not be, and said instead he thinks it should be a society where people will start to want to fight for those principles. I agreed with this and I told him about the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

He was really struck by the fact that there is already a plan, that ideas have been worked out already about how to do this, and he took a promo card for the Constitution with the website on it so he could go read it online. He then said that he really wanted to think about all this, that he felt he had a lot to learn and look into. I said to him that he should look into all this more deeply, but that even as he does, he should know that it is not neutral to keep going along with the way things are. I opened up Revolution newspaper that shows the great crimes this country has carried out and continues to carry out against the people of the world. He was very moved by this and said he understands that if he does nothing, he is letting all that continue. However, he still was not ready to commit even to taking up the POAs or giving a way to get back to him.

By the time the discussions were ending, a group of the students debating and discussing decided they wanted to take a picture with the #BEB banner. One gave us a way to follow up with him.

In the next couple of days, we reached out to the people we had ways to follow up with. The woman who had left the rally early with her daughter was excited to hear about how things went with the students after they’d left. She and her daughter had felt that the closed-mindedness of the students yelling “bullshit” in response to our agitation was a frustrating indication of the situation we’re in and how much we’re up against in trying to make this revolution. She was animated to hear that something was opened up in all this and she wanted to know what those discussions were like and wanted her daughter to hear about it too. We sent them the picture the students took with the #BEB banner and then set up to meet with them to sum this all up further and talk further about how they can be part of organizing the people needed to transform the terrain and hasten revolution.

Students at the Youth Climate Strike in Chicago engaged in debate and discussion. After one such discussion, the group wanted to pose with the #BEB banner.

What Is 5-2-6?
The 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices, and the 6 Points of Attention

Read here

 

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Revolution Interview

Dr. Willie Parker, Doctor at the Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi

by Sunsara Taylor | October 25, 2013, reposted with new introduction May 9, 2019 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

May 9, 2019: At a time when there is a wave of reactionary laws that are ripping away women’s right to control their own bodies, the Alabama legislature is about to pass a law that would ban virtually all abortions, including possibly in cases where a woman becomes pregnant from rape or incest. The law, expected to be approved next week, will make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. Earlier this week, Georgia became the sixth state to pass a “fetal heartbeat” law making abortions illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. These laws are expected to be challenged in the courts. But the Christian fascists behind them, with the backing of the Trump/Pence regime, are aiming at nothing less than a complete ban on abortions across the country. This is a way of enslaving women to the dictates of a patriarchal male-supremacist system. In light of this situation, we are reposting a Revolution interview conducted in 2013 with Dr. Willie Parker, who performed abortions at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi—a true hero in the struggle for the right to abortion.

 

Revolution Interview
A special feature of Revolution to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music and literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

 

October 2013: From November 2–6, the Jackson Women's Health Organization (JWHO), the last abortion clinic left in Mississippi, will be besieged by one of the most woman-hating, Dark Ages, bigoted Christian fascist organizations in the country. Operation Save America/Operation Rescue, has been associated with clinic violence and terror over decades. Local activists have called for a week of action defending this clinic and StopPatriarchy.org is mobilizing people nation-wide to join with and link this up to the fight to win abortion on demand and without apology across the country. Find out more about this effort at StopPatriarchy.org or revcom.us/movement-for-revolution/stop-patriarchy.


Dr. Willie Parker

In an effort to bring attention to the emergency that confronts the women of Mississippi, Sunsara Taylor conducted the following interview with Dr. Willie Parker, one of the two heroic abortion doctors who regularly flies to Mississippi to provide abortions. Earlier this year, Dr. Parker received the George Tiller, MD Award (named after the well-loved abortion doctor who was assassinated in 2009) for his leadership and courage and was presented with an Abortion Providers Are Heroes certificate of appreciation by the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride at the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, in Oak Park, IL.

Sunsara Taylor: I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, I know that you're squeezing this into an extremely busy schedule, which includes a lot of travel across the country. So I wanted to maybe start with that and ask if you could talk a little bit about why it is that you do so much travel, in particular for your job providing abortions.

Willie Parker: Sure. My pleasure to be with you on the interview. As you know, I am calling you from the road, I'm en route to Montgomery, Alabama where I work as a traveling abortion provider. For me, making the decision to travel to provide this service, after making the decision to actually become a provider, is born largely of the fact that I realize that abortion as well as health care should be easily and readily accessible for the women and families who need it. But the reality is that 92% of counties in this country have no abortion provider, and that's for multiple reasons, but the more present ones are, besides the shame and stigma associated with abortion, there are the legal and legislative maneuvers to restrict access to abortion, despite it being legal via the Roe v. Wade decision. So my understanding of the need of women for abortion care, coupled with the fact that there's limited access, led me to conclude that I have a skill, I have a desire to provide the service, because I know what it means when women don't have it. And given that the distribution of this resource is limited, I decided that if I don't go to where the need is, increasingly all over this country, but for me particularly, I chose to travel to the South, where I'm from, to meet the needs of women, who, if I don't travel, they don't have access. And many of those are women of color and in poverty, and while those are issues that are often synonymous, they are not always the same, and I have to provide care for everyone, but being a person of color and coming from the ranks of poverty it became important to me to make sure that people from those key demographics have access to legal abortion, and that can save their lives, when they need it.

Sunsara Taylor: I noticed that you said, "I know what it means when women do not have access to abortion," and I wondered if you could talk some about who the women are that you mainly serve down in Mississippi and in Alabama, what their stories are, what their needs are?

Willie Parker: Well first and foremost, the reality is that all women who are of reproductive age and are sexually active are essentially at risk for unplanned pregnancy, given that 50% of all pregnancies that occur in this country are unplanned. Unplanned doesn't mean unwanted, but we know that fully half of the women that have an unplanned pregnancy will consider abortion. Even though unplanned pregnancy happens to all women that are at risk, women that seem to be disproportionately to be at risk are women of color and women in poverty. The reason for that is those are also the women that have limited access to reliable contraception, because most contraception is available through a person's healthcare and those kinds of women are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the uninsured and the under-insured. And the fact that women who are in communities of color and poverty are also not very well represented in ways politically that would allow them to demand access to services like accurate sex education, scientifically valid contraception, and access to abortion on demand and without apology.

Jackson, MS Demonstration in support of Abortion Rights

Outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Mississippi, August 17, 2013. Photo: StopPatriarchy.org.

What I see where I provide abortion care are areas that are very hard hit by poverty and they're also areas that have high proportions of populations of color. So 20% of all Mississippians live in poverty, but then when you look at African-Americans, 42% of African-Americans in the state of Mississippi live in poverty. Again the link between poverty and abortion is women who live in poverty and lack access to healthcare have high rates of unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancies are where abortions come from, they don't come from people having particular religious beliefs or lack of belief. They don't come from the location of the clinic, as is alleged, that agencies build clinics in communities of color to make it easier for them to have abortions. They come from unplanned and unwanted, or planned but lethally flawed, pregnancies. So those are the patients that I see. They are largely women of color and poor women, because women who have means often have other ways to access abortion care, in a confidential and private way.

So for example, in Mississippi, there's one abortion clinic. There's one other doctor that travels into Mississippi to provide the care, because no doctor in Mississippi will work in the lone clinic open there. The women who are most reliant on that clinic are Black and poor. It also means that if that clinic closes, because its under assault, the people who will be most affected will be women of color and women in poverty. So my patients are women who, most of them have already had a kid, most of them are living in poverty under very harsh circumstances, all of them are pregnant, some of them with a desired pregnancy, but for either economic reasons or health reasons they cannot continue the pregnancy. Many of them also have no other recourse if they can't get to the clinic where we are. So women travel from all over the state, some women come two or three hours under very restrictive legal barriers to access abortion.

Sunsara Taylor: This is sort of encompassed in what you just spoke to, but I think maybe it would be helpful to surface it, and speak to it very explicitly. One of the charges the anti-abortion movement makes is that abortion is a form of genocide against Black people. To me, this is one of the most insidious, perverse, and outrageous accusations, given the actual history of this country's genocidal program towards African-American people, and given the current policies of mass incarceration, mass criminalization, all of this that's actually going on against Black people. But instead of targeting that, they vilify and demonize Black women, who, for all the reasons you described have the least access to healthcare, birth control, all of this, and—like all women—often choose to have abortions. To demonize them and criminalize them and shame them and scapegoat them for all of the horrors that are heaped down on Black people in this society, and to use that as a means to demonize abortion for all women, I think this is one of the most outrageous things. Yet, I think it has a lot of people confused, and so I wonder if there's anything more that you want to say about that explicitly?

Willie Parker: Well I'll say that as a human being that studied history and who knows the impact of the term genocide, but also as a person of color, as an African-American person who attempts to be a critical thinker, I am both appalled and offended that, for purposes that are not genuine in any way, anti-abortion forces will use the inflammatory language of comparing abortion to genocide. It's offensive because it implies that Black women aren't smart enough or thoughtful enough to make the tough decision to have an abortion. It revisits in a paradoxical way the control of Black women's fertility and of their bodies. In slavery women were forced to breed. Now they're being again forced to breed, or forced to bear children that they had no intention to bear. And to allege under some notion that there is a genuine interest in the well-being of either women in general or Black women in particular, or Black babies, that there is this interest that persuades them to try to block access to abortion while at the same time reducing access to education, housing, health care, food stamps, and the like, is hypocrisy of the highest order.

One of the most dangerous truths is a half truth. And while it doesn't take much persuasion to indict the intentions of racially bigoted people in this country who hold power who try to defamate or do things to Black people as a group, it is not in any way relevant to the fact that women who become pregnant, no matter what their color, need access to abortion. The odious history of racism in this country does not justify the denying of women their right to access abortion, whatever color they are. And to use that, to as you said, to vilify women, and to distract from the real problems that are plaguing Black people as a group is disingenuous at the best and downright evil at the worst.

Sunsara Taylor: Mm, I have to agree with you. Now, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in the state, is currently only open because of a temporary order from a judge. There's a totally medically unnecessary law that requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, and none of the hospitals in the area will grant those privileges, so this would close the clinic. There's a hearing on this in March and there are other restrictions on abortion in Mississippi. But on top of all of this, from November 2-6, Operation Save America, one of the most hateful fundamentalist, Old Testament, biblically fascist organizations which has been associated for decades with a lot of the incitations of violence towards the clinics and doctors, will lay siege to that clinic. And I think one thing they reveal is that the struggle over abortion has never been about babies, it’s always been about control over women. I wondered if you could speak to how you see that, and also about the atmosphere outside the clinics, for the women, and for yourself and other staff who come in to serve these women every single day?

Willie Parker: To your point, any attempt to block a woman’s right to be self-determining when it comes to procreation is absolutely an assault on the integrity and the autonomy and the humanity of women. As Dr. King said, you can take hate and call it love but it’s a thin veneer. It’s still hate no matter how much you try to dress it up. And the control of women’s bodies, even under the premise that it’s about the lives of fetuses or “unborn people,” as they call them, or about the health and safety of women, doesn't make it so, because abortion is life saving when it comes to women. And notions about [fetal] pain and the like have the result that women are treated as if they are property. So I think it is a feigned concern that these organizations put on as they seek to deny women. They in a very real way imperil the lives of women because we know that when abortion is illegal and not accessible women take measures that result in loss of life and severe suffering. So there is nothing supportive of women in this position of anti-abortion.

And, toward that end the tactics and the strategies that people resort to in carrying out this ideologically driven agenda of what they call “pro-life” which is really pro-fetus does not have anything to do with the lives of babies after they’re born or the women who bear them. They feel totally justified in terrorizing women by vilifying them, by trying to shame them, trying to make them feel morally conflicted about their decision, harassing them, both on their way into the clinic and coming out. Feigning baby sounds and calling out as if they were the fetus in third person to make the woman conflicted about the pregnancy and at Jackson Women’s Health Center we only go to 16 weeks so there’s never a viable fetus under any circumstances when we provide abortion services for women yet they cry out to women as if they are babies. So there is a type of terrorism that goes with what they do which they feel is justified in doing and again the shaming of women. That under these severe circumstances women persevere and they make it into the clinic, this is why I remain motivated. If a woman goes through all of that to get into the clinic, I want to make sure that someone cares for her.

Now, with regards to the provider, again in the same way they feel justified in depersonalizing women, they equally feel justified in dehumanizing providers and disregard the tremendous amount of passion, concern, and competency that people I know that provide abortion care bring to this aspect of healthcare. What that’s meant to me personally as I’ve traveled is that I’ve been met with no shortage of barrages of outright racism, being called racial epithets, by being told that I’m killing my race, by saying that I am a bogus doctor, by saying that I have no medical credentials, by calling me a murderer. They think nothing of being dealing with me harshly and they feel morally justified. So it is not without a great deal of opposition, psychological and to some degree physical, that both women and providers persevere to ensure the basic human rights of reproductive self-determination for women all over the country but at this point in particular in Mississippi.

Susara Taylor: What you just described underscores why, as a big part of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, we raised the slogan that “Abortion Providers Are Heroes!” And it was our great honor to honor you and other providers during the course of the Freedom Ride. Now, when we were together for that in Chicago, you observed the arc of history since 1973 when Roe v Wade was decided, and you said since that time we’ve been going through a “devolution.” Things have been going backwards. And there really is a need for people who support the right to abortion to confront how imperiled this right is, to get off the sidelines, to actually step into the fight to defend this right. Could you explain what you mean when you speak about that.

Willie Parker: What led me to declare that we are in the process of devolution, is that we are shifting down to the states the right to make decisions about the control of women’s rights and bodies that the federal statutes were intended to insure. Due to a lack of vigilance or false security based on the presence of Roe v. Wade, we have allowed legislators who are well-funded and well-organized ideologues to hijack local and state government and introduce legislation by the volume of thousands so that there are annually somewhere from fifty to one hundred new laws going into effect nation wide at the state and local level that functionally gut the provisions of Roe. That that can happen in the face of people who claim to support reproductive rights and who support equality but due to lack of vigilance or lack of political action we allow these laws to pass into effect. And then under the guise of being a nation of laws we allow people to legitimize unjust, immoral laws, and we abide by them.

And so there is no outcry, there is no acting out, there is no making demands of the government to ensure rights to the citizens in the same way that there was with, for example, the Civil Rights Movement. When the issue was race, the moral authority, when people came in contact with racial discrimination people who otherwise had nothing to gain recognized the immorality of racism and discrimination and took on, or at least took a stand, to demand from the government and legitimizing bodies that we have access to equal rights based on race. So the fact that people are not making those kinds of demands now has allowed this devolution to succeed to the point where, for all practical purposes, Roe v Wade is not in effect, where a state can set abortion limits on pre-viable pregnancies with no scientific or moral rationale or justification. We are devolving, we are moving away, we are moving back from where we had risen to in 1973.

So it really becomes kind of mind boggling why, for me, I’m suffering right now from what I call “outrage envy.” When we look at what was able to happen in Brazil, when they hiked the bus fares the people felt the insult in that action in the face of the building of stadiums to support the World Cup and the upcoming Olympics, people who could not absorb the impact of the simple raise of bus fare took to the streets and demanded accountability from their government and sought to change the law. We have laws put on the books now that literally compromise the lives of women, state by state, and I am struggling to find out where is the popular outrage, where are the mass uprisings, in ways that will make this country protect the rights of women. So I find that legally we are watching the evisceration of the provisions that we have in place to protect the rights of women and it’s almost like you’re watching with almost like an indifference. And that is hard for me to take when I know what it means when women don’t have access to abortion. I know what the unnecessary loss of life will be, when I know what the loss of a parent to a child whose mother is, for the sake of her family, is deciding not to continue a pregnancy, because most women, again, who have abortions already have a child so the child that they already have becomes an orphan when that mother does not have access to safe abortion.

Sunsara Taylor: I feel that a big part of what’s happened is that at least a couple of generations have come up never having heard anybody speak of abortion unapologetically, openly, non-defensively. Everybody has heard people call abortion “murder”—over and over again we hear that. But very few have heard abortion spoken about matter-of-factly as something routine, safe, necessary, perfectly moral. This is one of the reasons why we put such emphasis on the slogan “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology.” I noticed you said that yourself earlier and I wonder what you have to say about this?

Willie Parker: Well, I think “on demand without apology” is assertive, and for some it might be problematic because the soft-pedal approach for some seems to be more gentle, collegial, more polite and I’m reminded of the Civil Rights Movement but in particular the Black Power aspect of the Civil Rights Movement. It becomes hard for some to feel like they should be begging or gently requesting something that should already belong to them. The whole notion of justice delayed is justice denied. I think it’s become hard for people when they realize that, “Why should I have to accommodate the belief systems of people who don’t have anything to do with me?” So moving and talking about abortion on demand is related to the agency that women should be able to exercise.

Demand doesn’t necessarily mean walking in and saying “I will get an abortion, you will do it for me,” but demand means active agency. It is volitional, it’s powerfully volitional but it is, I think it is apropos—women when they are marginalized and relegated to second class citizenship—to think that they should be able to take for granted what is being denied to them. They have to demand it. You know, oppressors don’t respond to polite requests. Frederick Douglass said power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will. That demand for abortion without apology means if you are active in your right as a human being, in the framework of your moral agency, and you are making the decision that should be between you and your provider who is going to provide that service for you, if you have the confidentiality and the privacy to make that decision, to whom should you have to apologize?

We only have the notion of having to apologize when we make abortion a public decision, it is made public by placing restrictions and requirements around women accessing it in a way that they have to engage with the thoughts and beliefs of people that should have no bearing on their personal decision making. So I think that abortion on demand and without apology is a two-part sentence that encapsulates where we ultimately should be on abortion and when we get to where we should be on abortion. When it is a non-issue, when it is considered health care and it's as valid a decision for a woman as a decision to continue a pregnancy and parent or to continue a pregnancy and opt for not parenting then there will be no need for demand. But there should never be a need for an apology. Apologize to who? When you are making decisions that are about your self-interest and in the context of privacy with yourself and your provider and from a spiritual standpoint or whatever higher being you believe in or don’t.

Sunsara Taylor: Now, you know that I am an uncompromising atheist, and I will talk about that with anybody any time and promote that and I think an important part of the discussion on abortion is the role of religion and fundamentalist religion in particular. But I also think it is extremely important that there are religious voices speaking out against the Christian fascist movement and its attempts to ban abortion, to suppress the science of evolution, to deny climate change, to ban and demonize gay marriage, the whole package. It is extremely important that there are people who are of faith in all different traditions that they speak out against that and in favor of women’s right to decide for themselves when or whether they will have children. So I wanted to know if you could share some of how you see the connection between your own faith and the services you provide and also the importance of people reconciling those and broad support exist among religious people for this right.

Willie Parker: Sure. Let me go on record in saying that one of the things I appreciate about our interactions since we met is that—once, as a struggling fundamentalist Christian one of the best compliments a person who helped me to work through and figure out what I thought myself was that, even when he met me as a fundamentalist born again Christian, he said, “You make the effort to hold your faith intelligently.” And I must say about you, Sunsara, is as you make known your reality of being atheist, I would probably say you are a person who, you carry your atheism with quite a deal of integrity and in a very intelligent way. And I think probably the richness of our dialogue has been the mutual respect that we have had for one another and the ability to converse about this freely. And as you came to this dialogue you quite respected and understood the role that religion played in my decision to become an abortion provider.

My conscious decision not to give up a faith identity was critical to my reaching a place of compassion that allowed me to act on behalf of women and become an abortion provider. But I think the reason it is very important for that narrative to be placed in the public domain and that providers have to not relinquish their faith identity if they hold one is that the only way there is going to be a counter-narrative so that people can begin to think about abortion in a way that is neutral from religious identity and understand is that people who have a faith identity have to refuse to relinquish it and thereby concede the moral high ground to those who in the spirit of their narrow vision articulate an identity that would lend moral legitimacy to their position, i.e., that they operate from a place of religious understanding that makes it okay for them to deny other people their right to conscience and faith.

In the absence of that narrative it becomes impossible to rebut the notion that abortion is immoral. And in fact the pursuit of abortion in the context of compassion for the life, health and well-being of the woman on any level. But also to preserve the dignity of women simply because they are and they should be empowered as human beings and as moral agents to decide not to continue a pregnancy. On whichever plane you approach that, the safe-guarding of that humanity and dignity for women has to be central and core to a religious understanding of whatever rights, and for the people who hold a religious identity and reach that conclusion, they have to be willing to raise their voices because if they don’t, they allow those who would compromise women’s rights and dignity to appear to hold the moral ground. And, no matter how much we embrace the separation of church and state, even though we don’t have an explicit theocracy, sometimes we have an implied theocracy, when people conflate their political and religious identity. And the people who tend to be most willing to do so seem to be fundamentalist Christians.

So I simply chose when I came into my understanding of religion and spirituality and faith, that for me the deepest expression of my religious understanding is compassion. And in the context of my chosen path as a women’s health care provider, that compassion had to come to include making available abortion care. Given that that’s how I came into my empowerment to do abortion care, it becomes important for me to articulate that. And that allows me to contribute, on a level that is also important, to causing the shift in the public discourse. The voice that has to be present has to be one of religious understanding in a nation that probably more than it should identifies with one particular religious tradition.

Sunsara Taylor: Okay, my last question for you is, I know that you are, as is clear to everybody who is reading this, extremely committed to providing women with safe abortions and doing everything you can to ensure that right. But this struggle is intimately bound up with the liberation of women in an all-around way. How do you see the connections between the struggle for abortion rights, and the struggle for the full equality and humanity and liberation of women in all spheres, including violence against women and rape. I know these are issues that you have been involved in opposing in a lot of ways. And what is your vision of the kind of society that you would like to see, that you are fighting to contribute to?

Willie Parker: Sure. Well, I think it’s been said by many people in many different ways, that if a woman can’t control her fertility, control her ability to bear children, then she can’t control much else out of life. While in many ways people try to limit abortion to a moral decision or a health decision, abortion is both a moral decision, a health decision, a political decision and an economic decision. And all of those are spheres and arenas where women should be able to exercise the same degree of agency that men do. For me, I envision a society that is captured in the phrase of Abraham Lincoln when people tried to figure out what was his interest in abolishing slavery, he said quite simply, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.”

Given that I cannot imagine not having agency that I experience as a man, even as a man of color in a racist society, I still experience a degree of agency that I cannot imagine having restricted, if my agency were restricted in the way that women’s agency is restricted, simply [because] they are female. So I want for women what I want for myself. I want to be self-determinant, I want to be valued, I want access to equal pay for equal work, I want work with dignity, I want education, I want health, I want well-being. Given those are the things I want for myself and I consider it a rational and healthy self-interest, I started thinking that women want the same things for themselves. So to the degree that I recognize that those things are compromised for women I recognize also that I am either part of the solution or part of the problem. For me, to actively endeavor to bring about the type of world that I would want to live in and that I want to see is what shapes my choice of pursuing activities that allow me to stand with women in solidarity as they pursue their self-agency.

If that means providing abortion services for women, if that means as a man speaking out against violence against women in all forms but particularly to other men who are by and large the perpetrators of violence against women, if that means trying to do all that I can to reduce the reality that we live in a rape culture where men feel entitled to access women's bodies without their consent, that there's a notion that there is something that a woman can do to make herself “rape-able,” those are all things that are counter-intuitive to me, they are anathema to my sense of dignity and spiritual understanding and for that reason I will actively endeavor to combat those things.

Sunsara Taylor: It’s been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you for taking the time.

Willie Parker: Thank you. I always enjoy talking with you.

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