revcom.us, May 13, 2019 through May 19, 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!

Read more

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

Read more


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.

READ MORE

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.

Share this on social media

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.

READ MORE

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!

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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!

READ MORE

 

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

“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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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/595/june-weekend-of-revolution-en.html

The “Get Organized for an Actual Revolution National Tour” & the Revolution Club, LA Present:

A Weekend of Revolution June 8 & 9, 2019

You Think You’re Woke ...
But You’re Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare,
This System CANNOT Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!
A Better World IS Possible!

| revcom.us

 

Be A Part of Putting Revolution On The Map In LA – Inspiring People Nationwide.

Save the dates now. Volunteer to help plan a weekend to make the biggest difference.

If you hate what this system does to people here and around the world, join with others who feel like you do – defiant, and who are looking for a whole different way the world could be.

Over the next year the National Revolution Tour is setting out to organize thousands into the revolution – this will give hope to millions. You are needed to make June 8 and 9 a strong opening salvo.

Saturday, June 8: Join Revolution Club Marches & Rallies to Declare:

ENOUGH! / ¡BASTA YA!
We Need an Actual Revolution
A Better World Is Possible

In South Central, East LA and West LA, we will march to announce that there is a new force gathering and getting organized for the time when we could really make a revolution – to emancipate humanity, to save the planet, to create a future worth living for.

Saturday Evening, June 8:

A Night of Revolutionary Celebration
Living and Fighting for a Whole New World!

An evening with a short special film of Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution, revolutionary culture, a night of celebration and support for a radically new and better world.

Sunday, June 9: Workshops

Getting Organized For Revolution
11:00 AM – 3 PM

What's the revolution all about? How can we really make a revolution? Who is the leader of this Revolution, Bob Avakian and what is the New Communism? How do you join the Revolution Club?

How do you build it in an area or campus where it doesn't yet exist? How do you get started?

 

323.424.6687 • revclub_la@yahoo.com • Social Media: @revclub_la

www.revcom.us • @tuneintorevcom

 

Download and Spread Flyer HERE (PDF)

“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 »

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/an-internationalist-salute-and-call-to-donate-to-the-national-revolution-tour-en.html

From a Reader from Iran:

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

| revcom.us

 

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 challenges 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.

In a 2003 film, BA provides keen observation on why people come to the U.S. from all over the world. He points out that this country has fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what they’ve done here, making it impossible for many people to live in their own countries. I recall my own experience that forced me to leave Iran after the 1953 CIA coup that reinstalled the bloody rule of the Shah.

A couple of years into my stay in the U.S., I witnessed how Black people were treated by the police in this “land of the free, home of the brave.” Later, I felt compelled to go “tour” the bullet-hole-riddled house where the Chicago police had assassinated Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. I would sell the BPP newspaper on the city’s subway train to support them.

I am proud to say that I encountered the young BA dozens of times—whether at demonstrations or conferences or hearing him speak at the historic Mao Tse Tung memorial—while he was also living in Chicago, which he recounts in his memoir From Ike to Mao and Beyond. I have been supportive of the RCP since those early days.

This world needs an overhaul and a radical change and we have the responsibility to get involved to bring this change about. We have to step out of our comfort zone and think of the billions of people around the world. We are fortunate indeed to have the leadership of BA, and the “blue-print” he wrote in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. We have to seize the time to bring forward another way because a better future is hanging by a thread! The timely National Tour is carrying the hope of humanity for a better world on their shoulders and calls on us to join in to make sure this bold initiative can achieve greatness and success. Don’t hesitate, donate.

“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)

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/595/film-showing-south-central-digging-into-revolution-ba-and-revolution-tour-en.html

Film Showing in South Central:

Digging Into Revolution, BA, and the Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

Saturday afternoon, May 11, people came together from all over Los Angeles to watch Part 1 of the speech by Bob Avakian (BA), Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, at the AFIBA Center at Crenshaw and Slauson. People came from meeting the National Tour to Get Organized for an Actual Revolution on their college campuses and in the neighborhood where the screening took place.

The screening opened with a video introduction to BA over the years, then straight into Part I of his speech (Only an Actual Revolution Can Bring About the Fundamental Change That Is Needed), breaking down why this system cannot be reformed. As he says in that speech: “...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!”

The audience listened intently and responded vocally. Nobody had heard anything like this before, and it showed. For some, this was what they had been looking for. Others were clearly moved and wanted to go more deeply.

BA ends the part of the speech that people saw with this challenge:

…[P]articularly because of the work I have done and the leadership I have been providing over the decades since the 1960s, we do have the further development of the scientific method and approach to revolution, with the new communism; we have the strategic approach and plan for making this revolution; we have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a sweeping vision and concrete “blueprint” for a radically new and emancipating society aiming for the emancipation of humanity as a whole. But let’s be straight up: what we do not have, yet, are masses of people who are won to revolution and driven to work for it, especially youth, who are always the driving force of any revolution; and, although we have the foundation and scaffolding of revolutionary organization that could be built on and expanded into a vanguard force capable of actually leading the revolution all the way through, we do not yet have the necessary cadre of leadership, on all levels and in all parts of the country, who have not only the determination but also the scientific grounding to lead the masses who must be brought forward in making revolution. While some of us who came forward during the 1960s have retained, indeed deepened, our revolutionary passion, and the scientific grounding that sustains it, many others have given up on revolution; and, although there are literally tens of millions in this country who hate the injustices and indignities that people suffer under this system, and who can be awakened to the possibility of a radically different and better world, as yet far too few have been brought forward into the ranks of the revolution and developed and trained as revolutionary leaders. This is what all those who cannot stand to live another day under this monstrosity of a system, and are filled with passionate intensity to bring this system down and bring a radically different world into being, need to be actively working toward: building up the ranks of the revolution—first, in the thousands and then, as things develop toward the decisive point, millions—as an organized force, and learning to become leaders of this revolution who can enable those millions to be in a position to fight, all-out, with a real chance to win, when the time comes.

THIS is the challenge being taken up by the National Revolution Tour. Keying off this challenge, Noche Diaz spoke for the Tour. Noche called on people to get organized into the Revolution Clubs. He asked people there to take a minute to look around the room, to appreciate the diversity of who was there, breaking out of the divides this system puts on people: students, people from the neighborhood, Black and Latino and all other people together. People applauded at this, especially those from the neighborhood who felt how different this is than the way life is normally defined and how people relate to each other. He brought to life the plans for the next month (see flyer on this) and, again, challenged—and invited—people to be part of all this.

After this people gathered in a couple knots of intense discussion. People reflected and commented on BA coming out of the 1960s and never having given up or sold out and the importance of not letting the authorities kill or snatch him the way they have revolutionary leaders. People responded to the hard-hitting and truthful agitation BA had done during the film on Obama and the Democrats. Some expressed their dissatisfaction with where their friends are at - how people they knew who were radical in college are just into making money and don't seem to care what is happening to people here and around the world. They criticized how they are trained in school. People in the neighborhood expressed the fear people have about stepping out for revolution and going up against the power of the enemy, in its different forms. Discussion was serious. People were intent. And afterward, several said they wanted to join the Revolution Club.

During the week leading up to the program, the Revolution Club went out to community colleges all over the city, to UCLA, as well as continued to do work in the neighborhood. The Club continued to take out the Points of Attention, the 5 STOPS and the 2 choices that face everyone.1 The Club continued to put the problems of the revolution before people, as well—especially the big problem that while we have a lot in terms of the science, strategy and leadership for revolution, we don’t yet have the people we need. 

At the same time, the Club put more attention to focusing up controversial questions. The questions were different at different campuses and different times. But in every case the Club polarized people. They generated controversy, and they did it with a good spirit, inviting people to step in and debate the questions. The club worked with students, as well as progressive faculty and campus workers, in spreading the revolution. There were people who came off this, and many more who were reached in a serious way and will be reached again by the revolution.

People left the AFIBA Center with materials to spread the revolution and plans for what they were going to do as part of this. When the date was announced to see Part 2 of the speech at the Center, Saturday, May 25 at 3 p.m., there was applause.


1. Go here for the 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices and the 6 Points of Attention. [back]

 

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 »

Download and Spread Flyer (PDF) HERE

“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 »

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/595/when-is-enough-enough-en.html

WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?

| revcom.us

 

When is enough enough?

We could begin this article by talking how, once again, America plunged yet deeper into full-out fascism in this past week. And it would be true. And all too many people would nod and go, “Yeah, that’s messed up,” and they would turn on Game of Thrones or the NBA playoffs or even one of the “woke” shows.

And that would be it. Another week of going deeper into fascism in the most dangerous powerful nation and military in human history. And it’s ho fucking hum, turn the page.

Yet the reality IS that the Trump/Pence regime DID take the country and the world deeper into fascism. Fascism. Fascism.

So, again—when is enough, enough?

Reflect on just these outrageous fascist moves that particularly stood out this past week.

Each of these moves is part of a fascist agenda that the Trump/Pence regime as a whole is advancing step-by-step—or, to be more accurate, relentlessly, like a juggernaut. And, in response, the Democratic Party politicians carry on what amount to cheap theatrics. They huff and puff that Trump’s defiance is a Constitutional Crisis, but in actual practice they play a waiting game. They tell people to put all their eggs into the 2020 election. Nancy Pelosi opines that Trump is “self-impeaching”—whatever that means besides throwing smoke in people’s eyes to say that “you—and we in Congress—don’t have to stand on any principle, and mount any real resistance to Trump.”

Then she goes to the absurd in a comment that positively reeks of capitulation, musing that Trump probably won’t leave office unless he’s defeated in a landslide—besides being highly unlikely, Pelosi is objectively conceding in advance to what many already predict would be sharp and perhaps violent resistance to Trump losing in 2020. Trump himself hinted at this with talk about his silent support among the military, the police, and the “bikers for Trump.”

Step outside the obscene, the absurd, the psychotic, and the theatrics of Donald Trump and recognize that these characteristics are all part and parcel of how fascist leaders bust up the norms of bourgeois democracy. There is a method and program with very powerful backing that has developed over decades among a section of the U.S. ruling class towards firmly asserting the white supremacist, patriarchal Christian Nation as the shining light and enforcer around the world—and that to do that requires a fascist form of rule. No more multiculturalism, secularism, multilateralism. But white America uber alles.

As one sharp and ugly manifestation of this last week, the state of Alabama was in the final stages of passing a bill that not only makes all abortions illegal but would put doctors who do them in prison for up to 99 years. With the courts packed as they are now with fascists—many appointed by Trump/Pence—it grows increasingly likely that such bills will be upheld. This is a concentrated expression of the strategic alliance at the core of this fascism—Trump and his ability to break all the civil and governing norms with Mike Pence and the movement forged over decades of Christian fascism relentlessly hammering down a Handmaid’s Tale future. Trump, for his part, goes around the country at his rallies openly and vividly confounding abortion with committing infanticide on living children. For a deep understanding of the Christian fascist movement and why it has emerged at the core of U.S. governance, watch Bob Avakian’s film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!... and get into his works “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy…And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer” and The Coming Civil War and Polarization for Revolution in the Present Era.

YET, in the face of all this—and it was all out there in front of anyone’s face who dared to open their eyes and see—the actual resistance of the people to all of this was virtually nil.

THE QUESTION IS SHARPLY POSED TO EVERYONE WHO KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU SAY “ENOUGH!”?

At what point do you face the reality that this regime is on the offensive and will not allow itself to be stopped or deterred by what you have been taught are the “normal channels”? At what point do you relocate your sense of justice and humanity and say that just because it isn’t happening to you—yet—doesn’t mean it should not be resisted with actual action?

At what point do you face the reality, for which the past three years and every passing week provide mountains of evidence, that the Democratic Party cares more about preserving this system than it does about preventing and getting rid of fascism and everything that goes with that fascism? At what point do you come to grips with the fact that the Democratic Party will line up in lockstep—and right now is doing everything it can to line you up—for whatever wars this regime is either planning or will “stumble into”?

This regime has grown out of the capitalist-imperialist system of exploitation and oppression and the whole history of this country founded on slavery and genocide. Its ascendency to power is a response to the deep crisis that system now faces. This has taken very sharp expression in the sharp conflicts within the ruling class and is also reflected in the sharp polarization throughout the whole society, with the fascist social base enraged and determined, and with the other side upset, anguished, at times outraged, but largely passive and hoping the Democrats will save them.

What people must come to grips with is that the Democratic Party, like the outright fascists of the Republican Party, represent this system. As Bob Avakian says in his speech Why We Need A Revolution And How We Could Really Make Revolution: the Democratic Party and its functionaries are one of the two parties that actually rule this country, and as such can only be “instruments of this system of ruthless oppression; administrators and enforcers of a worldwide empire of exploitation and plunder, responsible for massive destruction and devastation of countries and people, and posing a very real, and growing, threat to the very existence of humanity, through environmental destruction or nuclear annihilation.” To see overwhelming evidence of how this is so, go here or here.

The accommodation of large sections of the people to what are already tremendous horrors is unconscionable. Decades ago, Bob Dylan posed the question: “...how many ears must one man have / Before he can hear people cry?” If all that this regime was doing was the internment of thousands of families on the border in detention camps—with policies that continue to see children and parents separated—that would be reason enough for people to take to the streets. But it’s far more and far worse than only that.

To make this plain and simple. What we face is consolidating fascism. And, electing the Democrats, or waiting for some normal process of this system to remove Trump and Pence—when the rule book to that system is steadily being shredded—is not only folly, but is bringing real horrors.

There is a way to drive out this fascist regime in the program of RefuseFascism.org, which is organizing now to be able to launch a movement as soon as possible of thousands of people taking to the streets across the country in nonviolent, yet sustained and continuing protests that don't stop until the demand “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go” is met. The sharpening struggle within the ruling institutions (Congress, Courts, the media) can provide openings for the struggle from below, and also, if they are faced with a national political crisis caused by the determination of millions of people to stay in the streets in nonviolent political protest as has been done recently in countries like South Korea, Algeria, and others, then, there are forces within in the ruling institutions who could be compelled to act for their own interests to remove the regime.  

The stakes of whether or not this program is taken up are this: should the Trump/Pence regime succeed in consolidating its grip, in cementing a full-out fascist form of rule and program—and make no mistake, they are now on the offensive to do just that—it will make any form of progressive change, including an actual revolution to overthrow the system that gave rise to this fascism, immeasurably more difficult. In fact, every day that it remains in power puts the future of humanity in direct peril.

So, again: When Is Enough FINALLY Enough?

Where Did This Fascism Come From … and How Do We Fight It?

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

by Bob Avakian

Read more

 

"The truth is that, not only is it necessary to overthrow this system in order to put an end to what is concentrated in the '5 STOPS' and the horrific conditions to which the masses of humanity are subjected in a world dominated by this system of capitalism-imperialism, but even short of revolution—even in order to prevent the Trump/Pence regime from further consolidating its rule and more fully implementing its fascist program—it is necessary to rely, not on the Democratic Party, but on masses of people, breaking out of the confines of 'politics as usual' and carrying out sustained nonviolent mass mobilization to drive out this fascist regime."

—Bob Avakian, Part 1 of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

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

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:

 

 

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/fiftieth-anniversary-of-peoples-park-en.html

50th Anniversary of People's Park

When the Berkeley Pigs and the National Guard Used Tear Gas, Buckshot, and Billy Clubs to Crush...a Park (!)
AND THE PEOPLE FOUGHT BACK

| revcom.us

 

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Battle for People’s Park. In late April 1969, a group of hippies and activists began building a park on unused land owned by the University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley at that time was a major center of rebellion against the U.S. war in Vietnam, the oppression of Black people, and U.S. imperialism overall, and, like youth and students elsewhere, was marked by a broad culture of rejection and defiance of the authorities.

As one account put it, “Several hundred volunteers came to People’s Park on Sunday, April 20. From the start, the park attracted a cross-section of straights, political radicals, hippies and street people. Between April 20 and May 15, 1969, thousands of people spontaneously transformed the eyesore of a vacant lot into a pleasant, relaxing and slightly chaotic and messy park. Volunteers laid sod, planted flowers and trees and bushes, built an amphitheater, laid out winding brick paths, and installed swings and play structures.”

In retaliation, on May 13, the university chancellor announced that the university would build a fence around the park and begin construction of a parking lot.

At 4:45 am on May 15, 50 people settled around a campfire in the park as darkness began to lift. Berkeley and campus police arrived soon after to clear the park, dressed in flak jackets and armed with shotguns. As news of the new fence hit the campus, a noon rally in support of the Palestinian struggle that was going on at Sproul Plaza turned its focus to the fight for People’s Park. As chants of “Let’s take the park!” rose up, 3,000 students and others marched out of the campus and down Telegraph Avenue.

At the park, the protesters began tearing down the fence. Bottle and other objects were reportedly thrown at the 180 cops now occupying the park. The Alameda County sheriff led some 800 pigs from various jurisdictions to come down brutally on the protesters. They beat people with batons, used massive amounts of tear gas, and fired at people with lethal “00” buckshot from shotguns. One man, James Rector, who was watching what was going on from a rooftop, was hit with one of the shots and later died from his wounds. Many others were injured.

But as vicious as the crackdown was, the protesters responded with even more determination to fight for the just demand for the park and against the forces of repression. The people resisted in the streets, courageously and fiercely. Tear gas grenades were thrown back, a police car was overturned, a fire hydrant turned on the advancing police.

That night, Ronald Reagan—then governor of California—further escalated the repression by declaring a state of emergency in Berkeley and calling in thousands of National Guard troops. Over the next few weeks, Berkeley was under the occupation of National Guard forces, who attacked any gathering of people. When several thousand people gathered at Sproul Plaza on May 21 to hold a vigil for James Rector, they were hit with tear gas—including a type used by the U.S. troops in the war in Vietnam—sprayed from a military helicopter flying over the campus.

These police and National Guard attacks were met with broad outrage. In solidarity with the People’s Park protesters, 177 university faculty members declared they were “unwilling to teach until peace had been achieved by the removal of police and troops.” On May 30, some 30,000 people marched past the barricaded People’s Park and through the city streets in protest.

This week we are running an excerpt from Bob Avakian’s memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, which gives a living sense of the struggle and how revolutionary communists of the time related to it.

 


In April 1969, a group of hippies and activists began building what came to be called People's Park on unused land owned by the University of California, Berkeley. Here, people laying sod in the park—three days before massive May 15 police attack on people protesting for the park.


Protesters battle back against police tear gas attack during the battle for People's Park, May 1969. Police and then National Guard routinely used tear gas to break up the daily roving demonstrations. But people refused to be turned back.


In the face of the riot police beating people, shooting "00" buckshot from shotguns, and firing massive tear gas, many People's Park protesters defended themselves and fought back courageously.


During the battle for People's Park, protesters confront National Guard troops who were mobilized by then California governor (and future U.S. president) Ronald Reagan to shut down the protests. A year later, in the face of continuing campus antiwar protests, Reagan declared, "If it takes a bloodbath to silence the demonstrators, let's get it over with. No more appeasement."


James Rector lies gravely injured on a rooftop overlooking Telegraph Ave. after he was hit with buckshot fired by riot police on May 15, 1969. He later died from his wounds. Many other protesters were injured by the police. @1969 by Nacio Jan Brown


Front page headline of the student newspaper at University of California, Berkeley, on May 16, 1969.


National Guard helicopter flying over the UC Berkeley campus and spraying airborne tear gas, which spread over the whole city, May 1969. Among those targeted by the helicopter gas attacks were people who had gathered peacefully in a memorial for James Rector, who was killed by the police in the May 15 attack. @1969 by Nacio Jan Brown


National Guard troops carrying bayonet rifles stand in formation at the main entrance to the university campus to prevent a protest rally, May 22, 1969.


As Berkeley continued to be under lockdown and National Guard occupation, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets and past People's Park in protest, May 1969.

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/bob-avakian-memoir-excerpt-chapter-9-peoples-park-en.html

An excerpt from:

From Ike to Mao and Beyond

My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist

A memoir by Bob Avakian

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

From Chapter Nine

Becoming a Communist

People’s Park

During this period we still maintained our connections to the Berkeley movement, and in fact the RU* had collectives in Berkeley. When the oil workers strike broke out in Richmond in 1969, we went and talked about that to people in the student movement and others in Berkeley and mobilized people from the campus and among other forces in Berkeley and around the Bay Area to come out to Richmond in solidarity with the strikers. Simultaneously, there was a Third World student strike at San Francisco State, which was a very crucial struggle, and there was a similar strike at UC Berkeley. We developed ties with people in these strikes and also helped mobilize people from these struggles to link up with the strike of oil workers. And people in the RU were continuing to build the anti-war movement in Berkeley and other parts of the Bay Area. Those of us based in Richmond at that time took part in that in various ways, both building opposition to the war in Richmond itself but also being involved in other protests and demonstrations around the Bay Area more generally.

And then People’s Park broke out. I was actually out of the Bay Area when it initially jumped off. As I recall, people associated with Jerry Rubin,21 Stew and Judy Albert and some others, discovered this property that the university owned but was not using at that time, just a little bit off campus in the Telegraph Avenue area, which extends out from the south end of the campus. The university was planning to turn this into a parking lot, and these activists took the initiative to turn it into a park instead.

This developed into a major battle because the university was completely unyielding and was determined to “pave paradise and make it a parking lot,” as the Joni Mitchell song says. The university administration threw down the gauntlet, and the people who were building People’s Park refused to back off and carried forward what they were doing—and it became a gigantic struggle. That might sound a little improbable, but if you think about the context of things at that time and that the people involved were part of a broader movement, you can see why other people—even if they weren’t actively involved at first or didn’t think that was the main kind of activity that people should be directed toward—would still see this, in a broad sense, as part of the whole movement that they were part of. Thousands of people saw it that way.

And when the university moved against People’s Park and brought the police down on it, people responded accordingly. This developed into a major struggle in which eventually the National Guard was called out. As a result of and through the course of this whole struggle, there was actually a form of martial law implemented in Berkeley during this period. People were forbidden to gather in crowds of more than a few. If you gathered on the street corner, the police would come and break it up. People would come by on motorcycles with stacks of literature and throw them on the corner and then drive off, and then other people would scramble, pick them up, and distribute them, because you weren’t even allowed to do that. I remember driving somewhere in Berkeley and getting caught in a traffic jam, and I saw this cop standing out in the street—he had a gun pointed at somebody. So I got out of my car, and the cop wheeled and pointed the gun at my head. This kind of thing was going on throughout the city.

So things became very intense, and we in the RU decided that even though this wasn’t the form of activity that we would have put our main energies into or focussed our attention on, and we weren’t the initiators of this by any means, once it became a much bigger issue it was important to relate to it. So we put out leaflets and tried to mobilize as many forces as we could to support this struggle. I remember we put out one leaflet to the National Guard itself, because a lot of the people in the National Guard were not really “gung-ho” types—quite a few of them were sympathetic to the struggle and some of them were even people who had been involved in the movement. This leaflet had a drawing showing a normal person going through changes as they got into their National Guard uniform and were mobilized against the people, with this National Guardsman ending up as a pig—and the message was: don’t let this happen to you. We passed out thousands of copies of that leaflet, to people in the National Guard as well as others. And we put out a number of other leaflets as well, calling on people to support the battle for People’s Park.

Even though I was living in Richmond at that time, I myself got actively involved as the People’s Park struggle crescendoed. At the high point of the struggle there were tens of thousands of people mobilized, with many of them demonstrating at the fence that the university had put up around People’s Park to keep people out. I remember being right at the fence, and the National Guard was on the other side, inside the park, with their weapons loaded. We were shaking the fence, and it was swaying, almost coming down. And it was very clear that had we brought the fence down, they were going to open fire. This was even before Kent State and Jackson State. It was also clear that people were not prepared to take that next step, that it would have been a massacre that people weren’t prepared for. So that didn’t happen. People shook the fence, but they didn’t knock it down.

Confronting the Implications

During that upsurge around People’s Park, a guy named James Rector was killed in one of the demonstrations. I was in that demonstration, but a few blocks away from where he was killed. That was a very heavy thing, obviously. That same day, the police not only shot live ammunition at people but also fired a lot of tear gas. And they had started using these tear gas grenades instead of just tear gas canisters. These were more dangerous because they not only had the tear gas and all the effects of that, but they would explode, on a delay. I remember the same day that James Rector got killed, I picked up one of these tear gas grenades to throw it back at the cops, and it exploded in my hand—and it took me about two or three seconds to work up the nerve to look and see if I still had a hand. Then I discovered that it was just a tear gas grenade, and my hand was still there.

As a footnote to that story, my father was a judge then and the deputy in his courtroom was a member of the county sheriffs who’d been mobilized as part of the police force attacking the demonstration that day. He came into court and in a nasty way said to my father, “How’s your son?” And my father didn’t know anything about this, so he said, “What do you mean?” And the deputy came back, “Oh, we were watching a film of the People’s Park demonstrations the other day, and we saw that your son picked up a tear gas grenade and it went off in his hand.” And my father told me later that he was very upset by this.

The tear gassing affected thousands of people, and many people had this experience of these tear gas grenades going off near them, if not literally in their hands. But the James Rector murder by the police was yet another step, another outrage, beyond that.

People had to confront the implications of this, but generally they were not freaked out by it. From the time I started working with the Black Panther Party, and as the struggle intensified and the repression became much harsher and more intense, I think many people sensed the high personal stakes, even the risk of death. And, in fact, during that time I knew that there were attempts to set me up to be killed. But I don’t remember, to be honest, a lot of talk among activists about dying or the fear of dying.

To tell the truth, I felt, and most of the people I knew felt—and this might sound like a funny word in this context—very joyous about being involved in the struggle. We weren’t in it because it made us feel good, but the fact is that you felt as if your life mattered and counted for something. I remember demonstrations where we chanted, “The whole world is watching.” And, with the May Events in ’68 in France, the Vietnamese people (who were obviously waging struggle on a whole other level), the struggles in Latin America, the things going on in the U.S. and, for people like me, the Cultural Revolution in China—with all that going on, you felt you were part of a whole wave of people who were trying to change the world, were determined to make a much better world. So that’s what motivated you, and sure, I think there was a feeling that you could die, but I don’t think that preoccupied people. And I don’t remember talking about that a lot. The thought would go through your mind, but we were motivated in a different way and weren’t thinking that much about whether we might die.


*The Revolutionary Union (RU) was a newly formed communist organization--and forerunner of the Revolutionary Communist Party--in which Bob Avakian played the key role.[back]

Footnote

21. Jerry Rubin, along with Abbie Hoffman, had founded the Yippies, a group that tried to infuse radical and confrontational politics into the hippie communities that had grown up around the U.S. Rubin and Hoffman played a major role in the Democratic Convention of 1968 and were subsequently tried for conspiracy, along with Bobby Seale and others, in a very wild trial. They were convicted, but the convictions were eventually overturned.  [back]

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/032/avakian-reform-or-revolution.htm

Reform or Revolution

Questions of Orientation, Questions of Morality

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

January 29, 2006 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors Note: The following is an excerpt from a talk given by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, to a group of Party members and supporters in 2005. It was edited for publication when originally posted.

This essay appears in the book BAsics, from the talks and writing of Bob Avakian.

 

Now, when you come up against the great gulf that often, and even generally, exists between the conditions and the suffering of the masses of people, on the one hand, and what you are able to do about that at any given point—when you run up against that repeatedly, everyone feels a definite pull which expresses itself in moral terms: how can you stand by and not do something about what's happening to the masses of people? As I have said a number of times, I have enormous respect for people who do things like volunteer for Doctors Without Borders. But the fact is that while they're doing what they're doing, and even with the good they do, this is being engulfed and overwhelmed by a tsunami of suffering (metaphorically speaking and sometimes literally) that's brought forth by larger objective forces.

When I was younger, I considered being a doctor or a lawyer, not to make money and get on the golf course, but because I knew there were many people who needed good medical care and people who were victimized by the so-called legal system who could use an advocate who really would be an advocate and a fighter for them. But at a certain point I came to understand that, while I would be helping a few people, and even if I threw myself into it, much greater numbers of people would find themselves in the position of needing these services—far beyond what I, and others, could do to help them—and it would just be perpetuated forever, and the conditions would get worse. And once you understand this, you can't look yourself in the mirror and do anything less than what you understand, if you're going to be consistent and follow through on your own principles.

So, yes, there's a moral dimension here. How can you sit by and watch people die of diseases that are preventable, not just in the Third World, but right down the street from you? How can you "sit by"? How can you not immediately try to do something about that? But moralities are a reflection of class outlooks, ultimately. They are a reflection of your understanding of reality, which takes a class expression in class society, in an ultimate and fundamental sense. And there is a morality that corresponds not to reformism and seeking merely to mitigate the conditions and the suffering of masses of people—not merely to addressing some, and only some, of the symptoms of that suffering—but to uprooting and abolishing the causes of that suffering. This morality corresponds to a revolutionary understanding, that we cannot eliminate the suffering of the masses, and in fact it's only going to get worse, as long as this capitalist-imperialist system remains.

This doesn't mean that it is unimportant to address particular abuses, or that mass resistance to particular forms of oppression is not important. Far from it. The basic point that Marx emphasized is profoundly true: If the masses don't fight back and resist their oppression, even short of revolution, they will be crushed and reduced to a broken mass and will be incapable of rising up for any higher thing. But, as a fundamental point of orientation, we have to grasp firmly the truth that, despite the best and most heroic and self-sacrificing efforts, it is not possible, within the framework of this system, even to really alleviate, let alone eliminate, the suffering and the causes of the suffering of the masses of people. And our morality has to flow from that.

Let me give you an analogy. Let's say you went back several centuries, somewhat like Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Let's say in this case you went back to the time of the plagues in Europe that wiped out huge swaths of the population. And the most people knew to do then was to try to quarantine and stay away from people infected with the plague. Then, looking at all these people dying of the plague, if you were a good-hearted person perhaps you would take wet towels and put them on the foreheads of the people who were dying, or take some other steps to try to minimize their suffering to some degree. And maybe you would do what you could to keep the disease from spreading. But let's say that, as a person from the present time, you know that the plague could actually be cured, fairly easily, with antibiotics, if they were administered in time. And, further extending and elaborating the analogy, let's imagine that somehow there were antibiotics back in that time—of course, in reality antibiotics did not exist and the scientific understanding had not been developed to produce antibiotics until more recent times, but let's say that somehow these antibiotics also existed back then: let's put into our scenario some other people who had also gone back in time from the present age and had taken with them a big stash of antibiotics, which could prevent the millions of deaths that were caused by the plague several centuries ago. But these other time-travelers were monopolizing the ownership of these antibiotics and had organized and paid an armed force of thugs to guard this stash of antibiotics, and were refusing to distribute any of these antibiotics unless they could profit from it, by charging a price that most of the people could not afford.

Now, knowing this, which way would people be better served: by continuing to put towels on the foreheads of the fevered people, or by organizing people to storm the compound where the antibiotics were being hoarded, seize the antibiotics and distribute them among the people?

This is, by analogy, the essential difference between reform and revolution. And our morality flows from our understanding of this. Yes, it's very hard to see masses of people suffer and not be able to put a stop to this suffering, right at the time; and, yes, we should organize the masses to fight back against their oppression and the ways in which this system causes them to suffer; but if we really understand where "the antibiotics" are and who's hoarding and monopolizing them and turning them into machinery for profit, into capital, and what it is that's preventing the masses of people from getting to those antibiotics, then our responsibility is to lead the masses to rise up and seize those things and distribute them among themselves.

Now, let me emphasize again: I can and do admire the morality of people who want to alleviate suffering (and who may not see beyond that). We should in no way denigrate or put down these people—people who do things like put water in the desert for immigrants crossing from Mexico—we should admire them and we should unite with them. But that cannot provide the fundamental solution to that particular problem, of the suffering of these immigrants and what drives them to leave their homelands in the first place, nor can it eliminate all the other ways in which masses of people, throughout the world, are oppressed and caused to suffer. Or, again, while I admire the people who volunteer with things like Doctors Without Borders, if they were to say, "this is the most anybody can do, there's nothing more you can do," we would have to engage in principled but very sharp struggle with them, even while uniting with them and admiring their spirit, because it is objectively not true that this is all that can, or should, be done—and it is harmful to the masses of people to say that this is all that can be done.

In fundamental and strategic terms, it is necessary to choose where the weight and the essence of your efforts is going to go: into fighting the effects and the symptoms, or getting to the cause and uprooting and getting rid of that cause? And that's why you become a revolutionary—when you realize that you have to seek the full solution to this, or else the suffering is going to continue, and get worse. That's one of the main things that impels people toward revolution, even before they understand, scientifically, all the complexity of what revolution means and what it requires. And, as you become a communist and you increasingly look at the whole world, and not just the part of the world that you are immediately situated in, you see that the whole world has to change, that all oppression and exploitation has to be uprooted, everywhere, so that it can no longer exist anywhere.

So we have to be on a mission to liberate those antibiotics, and not get diverted into thinking that the most and the highest good we can do is trying to lessen the misery, to mitigate the symptoms, rather than getting to the cause and bringing about a real and lasting cure. The question of reform vs. revolution is not some petty notion of "our thing" vs. somebody's else's "thing"—it is a matter of what is really required to eliminate the horrendous suffering to which the great majority of humanity is subjected, day after day, and what kind of world is possible.

Nor are we revolutionaries because it's a "fashionable" thing to do—right now, in fact, it's not very fashionable at all. Back in the '60s, among certain sections of the people, Black people and others, being a revolutionary was a "legitimate avocation": What do you do? I'm a doctor. What do you do? I'm a basketball player. What do you do? I'm a revolutionary. Legitimate avocation. I was talking to another veteran comrade about this, and they pointed out that, in a certain sense, it was easier in those days to be a revolutionary because you had a lot of "social approbation"— there was a lot of approval coming from significant sections of society for being a revolutionary. Right now you don't get that much "social approbation" for being a revolutionary, and in particular a revolutionary communist. [laughter] "What the fuck, you crazy?!" [laughter] That's a lot of what you get, as you know. Or you get more theoretically developed arguments about why it's hopeless or a bad idea, or a disaster, or a nightmare. Well, we aren't doing this because we're seeking social approbation. It's good in one sense if you have that—in the sense that it reflects favorable elements in society, in terms of how people are viewing the question of radical change—but we're not doing what we're doing in order to get "social approbation," and we're not relying on such "social approbation" for what we're doing. If there isn't "social approbation," we have to create it—not so people will "approve" of what we're doing, in some more narrow or personal sense, but because we need to transform people's understanding of reality and therefore the way they act in terms of transforming reality.

So this is a fundamental question of orientation, but that orientation is not just: revolution, it's more righteous. "Reform, that sounds kind of paltry; revolutionary, that's more righteous." [laughter] No, that's not the heart of the matter. It's very righteous to be in Doctors Without Borders. But the essential thing is that revolution corresponds to reality, it corresponds to what's needed to resolve the contradictions that have been spoken to repeatedly in this talk—the fundamental contradiction of capitalism and other contradictions bound up with that, and all the effects of this in the world—to resolve these contradictions in the interests of the masses of people. That's why we're revolutionaries—and a certain kind of revolutionaries—communist revolutionaries. Because that's the only kind of revolution that can do what needs to be done, what cries out to be done. So what we do has to proceed from that, in terms of our fundamental orientation.

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/550/skybreak-need-for-a-big-societal-debate-reform-or-revolution-en.html

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

A Need for a Big Societal Debate: Reform, or Revolution?

July 2, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

AS continues: There’s a big mass societal debate that needs to go on among all strata on the question of reform or revolution: Which is the way forward? Reform means you tinker with the system, you try to fix it here or there. An example of reform, for instance, is that you would try to deal with police brutality and murder by things like having civilian review boards, and putting body cameras on policemen, and in other ways trying to fix things within the existing relations in society, within the existing system. And people do try these things. Civilian review boards have been around since at least the 1960s, you know. People keep falling into these traps of these reformist notions that, somehow, if you could just fix and tweak this a little bit here and there, you could get rid of these outrages and abuses. And what that comes from is a lack of profound scientific understanding of why these kinds of outrages are not just accidental or occasional, and why they’re deeply rooted in the fabric of this system, in its very foundation, which has everything to do with the white supremacist origins of this particular society in the United States, how this country was founded on slavery, and everything that came from there that’s never been surpassed. It’s not just a question of backward racist ideas on the part of some white people. That is in the mix. But much more deeply, there is an institutional fabric in how this capitalist-imperialist system is structured and how it works, in such a way that it cannot resolve these deep, deep divisions and problems, that requires that certain sections of society be kept down and oppressed, in particular, Black people in this country, and other people of color as well.

That’s a whole bigger discussion, there’s a whole deep analysis of why that’s true. This has been deeply gotten into by Bob Avakian and the RCP, and people should check that out. I’m not going to try to get into it more here. But in the context of what we’re talking about right now, I’m saying that, if people are just looking for some ways of making a few token reforms, a few “tweaks” to the system, or looking for ways to maybe improve a few things in just one neighborhood or local area...it’s not that all those kinds of projects and plans are really bad in themselves, but it’s that they won’t lead to the fundamental change that’s needed. For instance, look at the environmental movement. What is happening with the environment is a global emergency that requires big-scale measures of restructuring the way the economy, and society overall, operates, to prevent the constant exploitation and degradation of the environments of the planet that’s going to end up leading people to extinction, you know. I firmly believe that humanity is either going to find the ways to transform its forms of social organization in the direction of viable socialism and eventually moving towards planet-wide communism, or humanity’s going to go extinct because of what it’s doing to this planet. I can make scientific arguments about why I think that’s really true. And time is getting short. So that’s just one example: Why the environmental problem has to be tackled on a really big scale, by making really fundamental, radical change in the whole way society is organized, structured and run. Just a little more enlightenment and just a few tweaks and minor reforms of the existing system are simply not going to cut it.

But a lot of progressive-minded middle strata people...often they’ll get into things like, “it might be better not to use plastic bags at the grocery stores,” or “let’s have green light bulbs,” “let’s recycle more,” or “let’s see if we can work on hybrid and electric cars to reduce pollution, and let’s have more solar panels, for clean energy.” There’s actually a lot that can be learned from a lot of these initiatives, and many of those kinds of changes are things that you would actually want to implement in a new society. And I’m not saying that it’s bad to be encouraging some of those small steps even today. But what I would like people to recognize more honestly is how puny, limited and tokenistic these changes are, especially relative to the actual scope and scale of the environmental crisis. It’s not even scratching the surface of the problem. What is needed is much more profound, radical change. And I think a lot of the middle strata people are always looking for these “little ways of tinkering,” trying to reform just a few things, in a way that seems more comfortable and manageable, rather than confronting the need for a total dismantling of the system and institutions that are necessarily driven, by their own underlying laws of functioning, to despoil and degrade the environment. The system of capitalism-imperialism cannot stop doing this, it is structurally unable to stop doing this–that’s what you have to confront. People sincerely concerned about the global environment really should seriously study Bob Avakian’s analyses, which make the case, and provide evidence, for why problems such as these are so deeply rooted in the very functional core of this capitalist system that they can’t be dealt with just through a series of minor adjustments. What is required is a profound and radical overhaul of the whole way society is set up at its foundations, of the whole way it functions in a comprehensive sense. But to effect this radical restructuring it is necessary to have an actual revolution– so that, more than anything else, is what people genuinely concerned about the global environmental emergency should be working towards.

These arguments are backed up by a lot of sound and concrete scientific evidence. Nevertheless, a lot of these middle strata people are uncomfortable with the prospect of such radical change. In some cases, it’s more that they just haven’t yet encountered these analyses, they’re unfamiliar with them, nobody’s ever talked to them about this, they haven’t yet explored the revcom.us website and Revolution newspaper or the works of Bob Avakian. But I’m sure many of them–especially among the younger people who are not so invested in reformist methods and approaches–will find their way to these resources, and will start seriously digging into all this themselves, and I think many will end up being willing to confront “the logic of the logic.” In other words, when they seriously dig into the analyses, they will increasingly recognize that, “Yes, this does makes sense, this is what the evidence points to.” And even though revolution is not an easy road, and there will necessarily be sacrifices, it would all be worth it to have a genuine possibility of making a much better world, of constructing much better societies, on a new basis and foundation that could very quickly address the major problems of capitalist society, and which would greatly benefit the vast majority of people. The irony is that all those middle class people who constantly complain about the way things are today but who shy away from radical change and revolution...many of them, most of them in fact, would, I am quite sure, end up very much benefitting from, and appreciating, life in a new socialist society, especially a socialist society of the type envisioned by Bob Avakian’s new synthesis. Once again, on the foundation of that solid core, but with lots of elasticity based on the solid core, there would be air to breathe for these people in such a society. They would not be pushed to the side or crushed or stifled, as long as they were not trying to actually destroy the new society, and they would find that they could themselves help institute a lot of the progressive social changes that they get so frustrated at not being able to implement under conditions of the current system. So they should look forward to it, and help work towards it.

But again, right now, especially among the middle class, a lot of these people are more inclined to stick with what they’re more familiar with–the known rather than the unknown. They haven’t dug into any of this, really. They haven’t checked it out. They haven’t discussed and debated it. Many seem more content with puttering around with little reformist schemes, making little minor criticisms, and just basically complaining about the way things are, but without really doing anything that’s substantial to get beyond this. And the crime is that, meanwhile, while they do that, while they cultivate and promote their illusions, and when they try to tear down a revolutionary leader like Bob Avakian and try to prevent him from getting his message out broadly to the people–while they’re doing all that, the world continues as it is, with the unrelenting grinding down of the masses of people here and around the world. The blood and the bones–this is real, it is ongoing, and it will continue to go on, on a daily basis, as long as this system is allowed to persist.

 

 

 

 


 

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/595/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-29-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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/iran-us-who-is-threatening-who-en.html

Who Is Actually Threatening Who in the Iran-U.S. Conflict?

Six Basic Realities the U.S. Media Downplays, Obscures, or Lies About

| revcom.us

 

Tensions are heating up between the U.S. and Iran. This past week, the U.S. dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf region because, it claimed, there was a “credible threat by Iran regime forces.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “The regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of any identity against U.S. interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive U.S. response.”

But who, in fact, is threatening who? Here are six basic realities the mainstream media downplays, obscures, or outright lies about.

  1. On April 8, the U.S. designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which are part of its government, as a terrorist organization. This is the first time the U.S. has labeled a government institution a terrorist organization. At some point, it’s possible this designation could be used to justify further sanctions or even a U.S. military attack on Iran.
  2. On April 10, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted to Congress that Iran was linked to Al Qaeda – “Period, full stop” -- implying Iran was involved in the 9/11 attacks. This is an outright lie, but Pompeo refused to rule out Trump’s right to wage war on Iran without Congressional approval under a law passed after Sept. 11, 2001 that gave the president unlimited authority to attack Al Qaeda.
  3. In late April, the Trump/Pence regime declared it was taking steps to reduce Iran’s oil exports—its economic lifeline—to zero. A year ago, the U.S. imposed draconian sanctions after it pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite the fact that Iran was abiding by the agreement.1 These sanctions banned all countries from buying Iranian oil or conducting financial transactions with Iran. They have already cut Iran’s oil exports in half, shrunk its economy six percent, and greatly increased the Iranian peoples’ suffering as prices for basic necessities have skyrocketed and supplies of needed, imported medicines have shrunk. Then on May 2, the U.S. tightened the noose further by ending waivers it had granted some countries who buy Iranian oil and threatening them with punishing sanctions if they don’t totally stop trading with Iran.
  4. On May 7 and 9, U.S. officials announced further military escalations: four nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and a Patriot antimissile battery would also be deployed against Iran.
  5. On May 8, Iran announced it would stop complying with parts of the 2015 nuclear deal and resume a higher level of uranium enrichment in 60 days, if other parties to the nuclear deal (Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France) did not follow through on promises to do business with Iran and compensate it for the damage caused by U.S. sanctions. These steps are explicitly allowed under the 2015 agreement if it is broken by one of the parties—in this case, the U.S. Yet the U.S. media rarely, if ever, reports this key fact. And despite the legality of this Iranian step, the U.S. retaliated by imposing new sanctions against Iran’s metal industries, which comprise 10 percent of its exports.
  6. Initially, U.S. officials made no specific allegations as to what the “credible threat by Iran regime forces” was. It was only after this vagueness was questioned that U.S. officials put forward the claim that Iran may be planning to attack U.S. forces in Iraq, and that it was putting missiles on some of its vessels. However, to date, the U.S. has produced no evidence that Iran is planning any attacks or has altered its military posture. Reports have also emerged that the U.S. claims may be based on speculation by an Israeli analyst about what Iran might do in response to a U.S. attack. This is another part of the story that the media has pretty much buried.

Meanwhile, there’s abundant evidence—in plain sight—that it’s the U.S. that IS directly threatening and economically assaulting Iran.

So what’s going on? The U.S. is the world’s most powerful and dangerous imperialist superpower, armed to the teeth with thousands of nukes. (Iran has none.) Dominating the Middle East, including Iran and the Persian Gulf, has been a key pillar of the American empire’s global status. Today, the U.S. sees Iran, a much less powerful Third World country, as a serious obstacle to its regional control and agenda. So the U.S. rulers have embarked on a strategy aiming for “regime change”—the same policy they carried out from 1990-2003 toward Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

These latest U.S. moves in the Persian Gulf are an escalation of that strategy and an acceleration of the trajectory toward confrontation. That direction and its velocity should be setting off alarms.

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

 


1. Under this agreement, signed in 2015 between Iran, the U.S., and other world powers, Iran would drastically reduce its nuclear enrichment in return for relief from U.S. and international economic sanctions. Iran was abiding by the agreement, yet the U.S. withdrew nonetheless.  [back]


The U.S. sees Iran (in red), a much less powerful Third World country, as a serious obstacle to its control of the Middle East and Persian Gulf.


Abraham Lincoln carrier in the Suez Canal, part of the U.S. escalating military presence in the Middle East. Photo: AP

 

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/us-vs-iran-how-the-new-york-times-twists-reality-en.html

U.S. vs. Iran: How the New York Times Twists Reality

| revcom.us

 

On May 10 (May 11 print edition), the New York Times published an article summing up the week’s escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. It was headlined, “Pentagon Builds Deterrent Force Against Possible Iranian Attack.”

Right off the bat, the Times is painting a picture of Iran as the aggressor, while surrounding Iran with an aircraft carrier strike force and U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 bombers (while strangling Iran’s economy) is characterized as “measured and limited” steps to create a “deterrent force” to prevent military conflict and maintain peace.

So people are being led to ignore the reality that the U.S. is the aggressor, and to accept without question, that it’s “right” and “normal” for America to be sending its armadas of death and destruction thousands of miles from its shores to threaten other countries, often oppressed Third World countries.

And what is the New York Times basing this picture on? A “new intelligence analysis” by American and allied spy services which “has concluded that the Iranian government, declining in popularity amid economic woes, is trying to provoke the United States into a military overreaction to cement its hold on power”!

These are the same spy services that concocted the bald-faced lies—which were spread by this system’s propaganda organs like the New York Times—that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was linked with Al Qaeda and 9/11 to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which has led to over a million Iraqi deaths! Now they’re doing the same thing all over again with Iran.

The Times is aware that many of its readers know of this and are concerned about it happening again. No worries, says the Times, we understand that, but this time is different!:

Intelligence analyses and assessments in the Middle East have often been fraught, with a troubled record. And officials cautioned that any intelligence analysis that explores the motivations of adversaries is a particularly difficult endeavor. But officials noted that the assessment that Iran is trying to provoke the United States for its own political purposes is an important insight that could help the Trump administration avoid a needless escalation with Tehran.

Ah, so according to the New York Times, a bellicose lie is actually an “important insight” for avoiding military conflict!

 

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

| revcom.us

 

 

Bob Avakian On Revolution And The Fight Against Fascism

Share widely on social media

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?

Share widely on social media

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

Share widely on social media

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

Share widely on social media

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

Share widely on social media

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/joe-veale-on-immigrants-en.html

Black People: Immigrants Are Not Your Enemy—This SYSTEM and the Fascist and Openly White Supremacist Regime Now Governing It ARE

by Joe Veale

| revcom.us

 

Some Black people need to stop opening their mouths, moving their tongues, and allowing the words and thinking of white racist mobs to come out when they talk about immigrants.

To those who run this shit: You are being played big time by Trump, Fox News, and the liberal Democrats who say “we” need to secure “our” borders.

Who in the fuck is “we”!?

And where in the hell did these damn borders come from in the first place!?

Slavery. Genocide. War.

Once again you are being played. It is part of the divide and conquer the oppressor always uses against the oppressed. Played like the Black Buffalo Soldiers were played to carry out genocide against the Native Americans after the Civil War. Played like some of the Cherokee Indians who were allowed to own Black slaves during slavery. Played like the different races amongst prisoners today who are being pitted against each other. Today all this is being put on steroids and taken to a whole other level by the Trump/Pence regime of fascist pigs.

You ever heard of the term “white man’s burden”? It was a term used by the rulers of this system to justify the murder of Native American Indians, Mexicans, and people in Latin America. What is happening today has its root in a system that produced that shit!

Is this what you want? Is this the kind of world you want to live in?

Or do you want to dig up, uproot, overturn—make a revolution that actually overthrows this rotten system and EVERYTHING it is part of?

Look at what is going down.

These fascists and white supremacists of the Trump/Pence regime are blaming immigrants—people from Central America—brown-skinned human beings—for the problems and challenges their system is confronting here, and even more the problems and challenges this global system of exploitation and mass murder is facing around the world. A system of capitalism-imperialism which has raped, looted, and plundered Central America.

One of the main ways Trump/Pence is out to do this is by “Making America White Again.” “Cleansing” it of brown-skinned people unless they have a skill or special desire that they can put to use to keep America as the number one Godfather in the world.

They are seizing people seeking asylum, and sending the parents in one direction and their children in another. This is what is happening at the border as we speak—people looking for a better life locked in cages like wild animals—put in detention centers (concentration camps)—causing them all kinds of unbearable suffering, pain, and death—as they come across the border in search of a better life. These are people trying to escape the bone-crushing poverty in the farm fields and sweatshops—trying to get away from the government-sponsored terrorist death squads—the crime—the rape—the malnourishment—the disease that this system headed by the U.S. capitalist-imperialist class has brought down on the people of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador as well as other places.

On top of this—the working of this system and the thinking that is part of it has got people who should know better sounding like those white racist mobs who not that long ago burnt down Black neighborhoods, and called Black people rapists, thieves, inferior sub-human beings—Black people who were escaping lynching and Jim Crow terror in the rural South. They were accused of bringing crime—they were accused of coming to steal the jobs of “red blooded” American white men—they were accused of coming to rape the women who “belonged” to such men.

Today you have Trump/Pence saying similar things about immigrants.

But what is really outrageous is that you hear Black people saying this same white supremacist, fascist shit! Black people opening their mouths and sounding like Nazis!

Wake the fuck up, people! Do NOT allow yourself to be played! Stop thinking like an ignorant and arrogant Amerikkkan and start thinking like a Human Being.

You have an important lesson to learn. You potentially have a very crucial role in the revolution we need and can have.

Think about this quote. Do something for it:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

—Bob Avakian

There are two choices, people: live with all this fucking shit—if the world is still here—or make revolution.

 

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/capitalism-imperialism-is-strangling-life-on-the-planet-en.html

Scientists Say One Million Species Face Extinction

Capitalism-imperialism is Strangling Life on the Planet

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Below is a lightly edited excerpt of a letter from volunteer correspondents for revcom.us. We appreciate correspondence from our readers on what is increasingly emerging as an existential crisis facing humanity and the planet, the destruction of the environment that is caused, shaped, and accelerated by the workings of this capitalist-imperialist system.

The world’s scientific community is warning, once again, that the planet is on a disastrous course. “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history—and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating—with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.” This is a finding of a summary report released on May 6, from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The full report is scheduled to be released later this year.

According to the report, written by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, drawing on 15,000 scientific sources, “Around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss. Without such action there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.”1

So far as we now know, the Earth is the only planet that has life (though scientists are actively searching for signs of life elsewhere in the universe). All of life on this planet is the product of an extraordinary process of evolution since the first emergence of life 3.5 billion years ago. Every living thing is a product of this process—and each species with ancestry in earlier species. There is a uniqueness and beauty and irreplaceability to each species—to how it lives and relates to other species, and to the environment overall. Once destroyed, species are gone forever.

Humanity is a part of nature. We evolved together with, and are dependent on, the physical environment and its interaction with living things. Nature provides humanity with food, water, materials for shelter, trees and plants that take carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen for us to breathe, and on and on.

Wilderness is also important in its own right, and also has great importance for people and for human society—exploring the relatively unknown, experiencing adventure and solitude. Nature and wilderness open us up to a certain kind of beauty, and a certain kind of awe and wonder.

The natural world is tied together in interconnected webs of living things, which in conjunction with their physical environment are known as ecosystems. Organisms in ecosystems are interdependent. If one or more key species are destroyed, the whole thing can unravel and the ecosystems can collapse. Significant amounts of global food crops rely on pollination by insects, such as bees. If these insects disappear then crops and plants that rely on pollination will die, as will the animals that eat those plants, including human beings.

There is real danger of a cascade of negative effects being set in motion that can affect the health of the whole planet. Add up enough ecosystem collapses in local or regional scales and you can have collapse of the global ecosystem. There have been five major mass extinctions in the history of plant and animal life on the planet, which killed off the majority of species. There were different causes of each one, and each time it took life millions of years to recover, and to re-establish itself in a new way. Many scientists raise the concern that we are entering a potential sixth mass extinction; this is the first time it is the action of human society itself driving the extinction.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” said the IPBES chair, Sir Robert Watson, in a statement on the release of the summary.

An “Ominous Picture”

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” the IPBES chair continued.

Among the report’s findings:

  • 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge ,and other wastes from industrial facilities are dumped annually into the world’s waters.
  • Plastic pollution in oceans and seas has increased tenfold since 1980 affecting at least 267 species, including 86 percent of marine turtles, 44 percent of seabirds, and 43 percent of marine mammals.
  • Fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean “dead zones,” areas where there is not enough oxygen to sustain life.
  • Coral reefs have declined 50 percent in the last 150 years. All but one percent may be lost in the next decades if climate change continues. (The northwest Hawaiian Island coral reefs alone support 7,000 species of fish, invertebrates, plants, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals.)
  • Up to $577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from the loss of insects, like bees that plants rely on for pollination.
  • In 2015, one-third of marine fish stocks were being harvested at an unsustainable level.

This is just a small sample of what is in the report and what is going on in the world.

Driving Factors

The report summary identifies five factors driving extinction and biodiversity loss: changes in land and sea use, unsustainable overuse, climate change, pollution, and invasion by non-native species.

The report authors view these drivers as policies that can be changed by governments, and hope that serious changes in policy within our current ruling system can reshape the way human society relates to the planet. But the truth is that we face a much deeper problem than even very serious policy changes can touch. These drivers of extinction are themselves, in large part, propelled by the basic needs and compulsions of the profit-driven system of capitalism-imperialism that now strangles the planet.

Look at wetlands. These are areas where land is often covered by water such as marshes and ponds, or the delta at the mouth of a river. They often support high concentrations of animals—including mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates—and serve as nurseries for many of these species.

But under capitalism, these rich ecosystems are increasingly destroyed, considered swampland that needs to and can be drained to make room for “productive” farms, industry, or residential development. These farms, in order to maximize profit, use all sorts of toxic fertilizers and pesticides, which poison the land and water. Or cities and industrial development produce all kinds of pollution, including carbon dioxide, which furthers climate change. When extreme weather events due to climate change cause rivers or seas to rise, wetlands are not there to be able to absorb the water, as they had previously done, and farms are ruined and cities devastated.

The report mentions that global trade has increased 10 times in the last 50 years. This itself is the product of globalization under capitalism-imperialism, where goods produced cheaply in the sweatshops of the Third World are transported worldwide in huge container ships consuming massive amounts of fuel oil, contributing to pollution and global warming. It necessitates increased infrastructure such as roads and pipelines that split up ecosystems—for example, making it impossible for animals to travel with changes in seasons.

Global trade increases the spread of invasive species (those that are not native to a region) Invasive species have increased by 70 percent since 1980, disrupting ecosystems and often doing great damage. For example, a single invasive pathogen spread in part by the massive expansion of trade, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has caused the extinction of at least 200 species of frogs around the world. Over 350 amphibian species (amphibians include frogs and salamanders) are now threatened by Bd. Amphibians were among the first animals to come onto the land from the sea in the evolution of life on the planet, and they have been around for hundreds of millions of years. Another example—sudden oak death, caused by the invasive Phytophthora ramorum, is estimated to have killed up to one million trees in California and Oregon.

The IPBES summary says that climate change is “increasingly exacerbating the impact of other drivers.” The authors bring out that “many species are unable to cope locally with the rapid pace of climate change, either through evolutionary or behavioral processes, and that their survival will also depend on the extent to which they are capable of dispersing, of following the appropriate climatic conditions and of preserving their capacity for evolution.”

The main “drivers” are products of the development of capitalism. For example, revcom.us has analyzed the causes of climate change many times: the burning of fossil fuels releases planet warming gases into the atmosphere. This system can’t stop using these fossil fuels because blocs of capital are forced to ruthlessly compete with each other for maximum returns and strategic advantage, driving them to use the cheapest and most widely available sources of energy.

“Transformational Change” or Revolution

The report calls for what its authors call “transformational change.” They define this as “a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.” The report recognizes that such a “fundamental reorganization” is needed. But what it omits is the impossibility of achieving this within the basic framework of capitalism.

Biologists and environmental scientists know a lot about what is needed to stop the destruction of biodiversity and nature, but their thinking and proposals repeatedly run smack up against the profit-above-all relations that dominate economic and social life on the planet and that constrain humanity from acting in the way it must to preserve the environment.

For example, important scientific work preceded international agreements such as the Paris climate change accord, as well as international agreements to protect biodiversity. There are possible solutions to the problem of the injection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—but they are not profitable under capitalism and are blocked by the core ways the system works. Five years after the Paris climate agreement, not a single large country is on track to meet the goals that they agreed to, and those goals were never strong enough to start with.

The IPBES report points some to examples of relatively small-scale local changes to protect bio-diversity, but this is not happening on a large enough scale for it to be meaningful over the long term. Some of these problems are not that difficult to solve—the massive destruction of the rain forest and building up of palm oil plantations are key factors driving orangutans to extinction. Scientifically, it is obvious that a huge step in saving the orangutans would be to stop destroying the forests. But it is enormously profitable to cut them down and this rules under this system no matter the effects on animals and the environment.

It is not possible to pressure or change capitalism-imperialism into operating in a way which takes nature and the environment into account. The system has a logic or rules that cannot be pushed aside or ignored, or the very functioning of the system itself breaks down.

Because of its privately owned and controlled character, and flowing from the life-and-death competition between different capitals, there can be no conscious, society-wide coordination of production. There can be no long-term planning to take into account ecological impacts.

Under capitalism, nature itself and its products are turned into something to be bought and sold, or something to be taken for granted and exploited. To capitalism, tigers and orangutans (or air and water) are simply “externalities.” What this means is that environmental damages and the limited amount of resources don’t get counted—these are “external” to capitalism’s account books, and do not determine what the system does in its “eat or be eaten” competitive battle. Even as capitalist development destroys the very things it needs—air, water, climate, etc.—it cannot do otherwise as long as capitalism exists.

This is why this system cannot be changed through policy changes that leave the system intact. Only a revolution that overthrows this system and opens up the possibility of a radically different, and much better, system, can actually make the kind of changes that are needed.

The new report from the IPBES points out just how urgent the situation is. We must STOP capitalism-imperialism from destroying the planet.


1. Some analyses put the rate much higher, as much as 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate.  [back]

Trump/Pence Regime Seeks to Profit from the Melting of Polar Ice

Under capitalism, even environmental catastrophes are seen as opportunities for profit. On the same day as the IPBES summary was released, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland, salivated over the profits to be made from the melting of polar ice, one of the greatest planetary dangers caused by climate change. “It houses thirteen per cent of the world’s undiscovered oil, thirty per cent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare-earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore,” Pompeo gushed. “Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade.... Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”

Trump has made a major priority of his fascist regime weakening environmental protections on the air and water and challenging the scientific consensus on climate change. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt is working hard to weaken the Endangered Species Act, arguing in an op-ed that it places an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on companies. Bernhardt had worked to block a report by scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service that found the use of three popular pesticides could jeopardize the continued existence of more than 1,200 endangered animals and plants. For the sake of humanity and the planet, the Trump/Pence regime must be driven from power.

What the Trump/Pence regime takes to repulsive extremes has always been the underlying, driving compulsion of capitalism, here and all over the world.

 

 

 

Coral reefs have declined 50% in the last 150 years. All but 1 percent may be lost in the next decades if climate change continues. The Northwest Hawaiian Island coral reefs alone support 7,000 species of fishes, invertebrates, plants, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals.

Faces of Endangered and Extinct Species

The Sumatran Orangutan

The Sumatran orangutan lives in the trees of tropical rain forests of Sumatra. Groups of Sumatran orangutans come together to feed in the tops of fig trees and rarely come down. They play a crucial role in spreading the seeds throughout the forest (after they pass through the digestive system). There are currently only nine populations of Sumatran orangutan and it is listed as critically endangered.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimates that almost 50 percent of the world’s primate species—the group that contains monkeys, lemurs, apes, and humans—are at risk of extinction. About 90 percent of primates live in tropical forests—one of the richest sources of biodiversity—which are fast disappearing. Rain forests in the Amazon have been cut down to make way for cattle production and to grow soybeans. And this process has also destroyed traditional agriculture and the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of farmers and peasants. Tens of millions have been driven into the mega-slums of the cities; others have only been able to resume farming by moving into and clearing forest.

Golden Toad

One scientist who studied the golden toad described them as “dazzling jewels on the forest floor.” The golden toad was last seen in 1989 in a Costa Rican cloud forest, and five years later it was declared extinct. The main theory on what drove the golden toad extinct is that rain forests became hotter and dryer in the mid-1980s. These conditions made the toad vulnerable to the chytrid fungus, a fatal skin disease. More than 40 percent of amphibian species are threatened by extinction.

The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism

Share widely on social media

Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development

These key principles, though not exhaustive, concentrate an orientation that enables socialist society to begin to tackle the environmental emergency with a global and internationalist perspective. In putting these principles before people today, we hope to open up debate and discussion that can contribute towards raising understanding of what we are confronting—and raise sights about the viability and desirability of communist revolution.

Read more

Order from Insight Press

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak

The Science of Evolution
and the Myth of Creationism

Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters

by Ardea Skybreak

"This book will be of tremendous benefit to many..."
– Richard Leakey

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/320/Revolution-interview-Dr-Willie-Parker-doctor-at-last-abortion-clinic-in-mississippi-en.html

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.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

 


 

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/refuse-fascism-alabama-all-the-way-assault-on-roe-v-wade-en.html

Originally posted at RefuseFascism.org:

Alabama: "All the Way" Assault on Roe v. Wade

| revcom.us

 

by Lina Thorne

Criticizing other state legislatures that have put together various “heartbeat” abortion ban bills, the author of the Alabama law that just passed said, “Why not go all the way?” His Alabama ban includes no exceptions for rape or incest, and promises to punish doctors that perform abortions with sentences for up to 99 years in prison.

Eric Johnston, the Birmingham lawyer that wrote the Alabama ban, has been fighting for more than 30 years to overturn Roe. He, like many others in his movement, are now chomping at the bit to take down the immediate barrier to their goal of banning abortion throughout the country: the Supreme Court decision from 1973 that ruled that no law could interfere with a woman’s private choice to end a pregnancy (with some limitations). They’re quite certain that one of these oppressive laws will make it in front of the Supreme Court and set a new precedent, with Brett Kavanaugh and Neal Gorsuch in position to make that ruling.

There’s no question, we’re teetering on the brink of a post-Roe reality in this country. The point is, what do we do about it? Some of the various and assorted plans I’ve heard:

– Hunker down and stockpile Plan B (the emergency contraception pill).

– Lobby to pass as many pro-abortion laws in the “blue states” that aren’t yet controlled by fascist legislatures. If you’re really ambitious, talk about developing underground railroads to bring women from fascist-controlled areas to these oases if they need abortions.

– Train yourself (or make friends with someone who is trained) in how to DIY home abortions using a few handy household tools!

– Look into the development of more floating clinics ala the Women on Waves boats that assist women in countries like Ireland, Poland and Guatemala (Ireland has since lifted its anti-abortion law).

And then we have this opinion in the pages of the Sunday Review of the New York Times: let’s just develop networks of misoprostol distribution.

Cari Sietstra writes: “...we can work to fully decriminalize self-induced abortions. This is an area where all Americans, including pro-life Americans, can work together.”

Um, no. With all due respect to Ms. Sietstra for what I’m sure is genuine concern for women’s health... you’re missing the point. Abortion is more than healthcare, and the “pro-life” forces you refer to are in fact Christian fascists – many of whom are not only more than okay with forcing a 12-year-old to give birth to her brother, but have been willing for decades to commit acts of terror to force women and girls into this position of utter and complete subjugation. It was Birmingham, for example, where Eric Rudolph carried out the bombing of the New Woman, All Women Health Care Clinic in 1998 which resulted in the death of a security guard and the maiming of a nurse... Previously he had bombed the Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996 – because he was angry that the Olympics “celebrate the ideals of global socialism.”

Under Trump, the anti-abortion movement is not attacking clinics (for the most part) or murdering doctors – that’s because they see the regime carrying out their agenda for them. But if we lose sight of what that movement is all about, we are lost. There is no middle ground with those who want to strip half of humanity of our fundamental right to control our own bodies. Abandoning the women in fascist-controlled states to the dominion of their oppressors is not an option, either.

Safe and legal access to abortion is essential to the bedrock foundation of a functioning, humane society (or one approaching that status). The right to abortion can’t be abandoned in the name of “more realistic” solutions: whether technocratic or absurdly individualistic. There’s simply no way to avoid that this is going to come down to a struggle for power throughout society – and in the name of humanity, for women and everyone here and around the world, it’s past time we take to the streets and demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go. Nothing short of removing this whole illegitimate regime from power will stop this nightmare.... let’s unite and make it happen before clinics are dismantled, doctors are locked up, and more women die from self-induced or back alley abortions.

 

 

 

 

No! In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in the recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met.

Go to RefuseFascism.org to learn more and find out how to participate.

Refuse Fascism protest against Mike Pence, July, 2018

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/hearing-for-cop-who-killed-Eric-Garner-en.html

Hearing for Cop Who Killed Eric Garner: Count the Ways this System Protects Murdering Cops

| revcom.us

 

Millions of people saw and heard the video. A bunch of cops bringing a man down for the “crime” of selling loose cigarettes. One administers the chokehold that ended the life of Eric Garner. Garner’s last desperate words, "I'm tired of it. This stops today, I did not sell nothing." And then,  “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

People took to the streets for many days and in different cities. NBA basketball players and other athletes wore “I can’t breathe” T-shirts to games. People across the country demanded justice. But again, like so many other times, the system only responds with a slap in the face.

A 2015 grand jury refused to bring any charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the chokehold cop. A civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice has been open for four years with no results. Meanwhile Pantaleo has been on “desk duty” all this time getting $120,000 a year. And now? We are led to believe that at last, Pantaleo is being put on trial. But this is pure bullshit.

This is NOT a trial. What started on May 13 was a department procedure, a disciplinary hearing to determine whether or not this murderer broke “protocol” by using a chokehold that is supposedly banned by the NYPD. The charges against Pantaleo are NOT murder, but the “reckless use of a chokehold and intentional restriction of breathing.” And there’s a good chance Pantaleo won’t even be found “guilty” of this.

This hearing is a result of charges being brought about from a Civilian Complaint Review Board. And it must be asked: What does it mean that this hearing has people demanding and hoping Pantaleo will lose his job. When real justice would mean this murderer is behind bars?

The medical examiner’s office ruled this a homicide and that the cause of Garner's death was "compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” But Pantaleo’s lawyers are arguing that Eric Garner is to blame for his own death because he was overweight and out of shape. And they say Pantaleo used a “seatbelt maneuver,” not a chokehold. The very terms of this whole “hearing” are fucking outrageous. But this is the way this system works to defend murdering cops.

And there’s more. Pantaleo cannot be found guilty if the hearing only establishes that he violated the ban on chokeholds. A city law requires charges be filed within 18 months of the alleged violation. So since this didn’t happen Pantaleo can only be found guilty of the violation if he committed a crime—either third-degree assault or second-degree strangulation. And a grand jury has already refused to bring such charges against Pantaleo.

And there’s still more. Even if Pantaleo is found “guilty” in this hearing, the most he can get is the loss of some vacation time or be fired. But this might not happen either. The hearing judge can only make a recommendation to the police commissioner, who will then decide to uphold, modify or vacate the ruling.

So many ways to let a murdering cop walk free.

2014 was the year the cops killed Eric Garner. It was the year 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a cop in Ferguson. It was the year a cop killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. And the cops have murdered so many more since then. And time after time after time, the system delivers a verdict of “justifiable homicide.”

In Amerikkka it is perfectly legal for a cop to murder a Black man for no reason at all—in cold blood. This is a system that works to ensure these cops get away with murder. A system of white supremacy and police brutality. A system that needs to be overthrown.

See also:

Outrage on Top of Outrage: Police Commander Said Murder of Eric Garner Was "Not a Big Deal"

 

 

 

                                                                                                           

Video of cop using chokehold to kill Eric Garner

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

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/police-execution-of-pamela-turner-en.html

Baytown, Texas

The Police Execution of Pamela Turner

| revcom.us

 

Late on the night of May 13, a cop shot and killed 44-year-old Pamela Turner, a Black woman, in the parking lot of the Brixton Apartments in Baytown, Texas.

Turner was walking toward her apartment when a Baytown pig confronted her. On a video of the encounter she is heard saying “you’re actually harassing me” as she tries to walk away from the cop. Turner shouted that she was pregnant. But this pig tased her and threw her to the ground. He put his foot on her. Standing right above her, he quickly fired five shots, hitting her at least once. Pamela Turner lay on the asphalt, dying. A white man who witnessed the murder angrily told a TV station, “For a cop to do that... she was shot in cold blood.”

A Litany of Lies

An official with the Baytown police told reporters that the killer cop was “forced” to shoot Pamela Turner. This pig poured bullets at point-blank range into a woman lying on the pavement, but somehow he felt “threatened”?!? Or did he decide to end her life because he knew he could, and wanted to drive home that message.

Baytown police said this cop had “dealt with [Pamela Turner] before and knew she had outstanding warrants.” They claimed that the apartment manager had previously tried to present Turner with an eviction notice. They also claimed that a relative of Turner’s told them she was not pregnant. All these were cheap attempts to justify the murder of Pamela Turner, and portray her as somehow the aggressor in this confrontation.

Pamela’s sister, Antoinette, told KPRC in Houston that she didn’t know if Pamela was pregnant or not, but that she did have two children, and three grandchildren. Antoinette also said that Pamela had previously told her that the cop who killed her (still unnamed as of this writing) had been harassing her.

“Everything Went Wrong”

Neighbors described Pamela Turner as known to just about everyone in the apartments. One woman said, “We talk to her every day. She’s always out walking her dog. She brings little gifts here and there to the kiddos.” A man told a reporter, “That could have been one of our grandmas. I feel like everything went wrong.”

Neighbors knew that Pamela Turner struggled with mental illness, and tried to help her. One woman told a reporter, “She wasn’t mentally competent. We always tried to look after her. She would walk outside at all hours of the night. I would tell the office management she should not be left alone.”

The police knew Turner as well. And as one man from the apartments told a reporter, “If you know she has mental illness, why not ask for backup first before you try and detain her? ... [S]he was barely getting up off the ground and he shot her like a dog. That’s wrong. And he needs to pay for it.”

This Cannot Continue

A man who lives in the Brixton Apartments told a reporter, “This is just giving me more reason not to trust them” [the police]. Definitely, the police should not be trusted. But the problem goes much deeper than that.

The police enforce a system that treats a Black woman with a mental illness as a threat, rather than someone whose life should be cherished and who should receive proper medical care. The police enforce a system that allows them to brutalize and kill a Black woman in front of numerous witnesses, and walk away from it. They enforce a system with laws that allow them to throw people out on the street with no place to go. The police are protected by a system that allows them to kill people, claim they felt “threatened,” and get away with murder time after time after bloody time.

How long will we allow this system to go on? How many more Pamela Turners will die at the hands of this system’s pig enforcers before people get organized to make revolution and end this madness for good? Will we be mourning more Pamela Turners 10, 20, 50 years from now? Or will we get with the revolution and work now to put an end to this madness, at the soonest possible time?

 


Pamela Turner. Photo: Facebook

 

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/refuse-fascism-trump-pence-regime-puts-iran-in-its-crosshairs-en.html

Originally posted at RefuseFascism.org:

The Trump/Pence Regime Puts Iran in its Crosshairs... We Should Be Screaming, but the Silence Is Deafening

| revcom.us

 

by Coco Das

Editor’s Note June 24, 2019: We are reposting this piece by Coco Das, originally posted at RefuseFascism.org, on the escalated threats and danger of war against Iran and what is to be done. She asks: THE QUESTION IS SHARPLY POSED TO EVERYONE WHO KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU SAY “ENOUGH!”? This is a question—of morality, of humanity—to be asked of all. Das asks what it will take for people to do what is needed, to stop relying on the Democrats, to act, to step outside the “normal channels”...

The societal response is far from commensurate, as horrors pile up, as catastrophes threaten. All of this is utterly unnecessary; it is the workings and product of the system—the same system that has given rise to this fascist Trump/Pence regime, and of which it is a grotesque manifestation. A radically different and far better world is possible by getting rid of this system through an actual revolution. From this goal and perspective, the imperative—moral and political—is even greater to unite with millions to drive out this fascist regime.  

The Trump/Pence regime is readying warships with a ton of firepower directed at Iran, a dangerous escalation of aggression based on the same rhetoric used to justify the criminal invasion of Iraq, using flimsy evidence of a “new and credible threat” of a planned attack on “American interests.”

Along with allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia, this regime has been laying the groundwork for a war with Iran since Trump’s first overseas visit in 2017. There, they introduced a “strategic vision” for the Middle East that included isolating Iran as a common enemy. In the past month, this vision has come closer to reality.

Imagine being one of the 82 million people in Iran right now. You are staring into the barrel of the most powerful military in the world. You are facing the escalating possibility that your country will be bombed. You wonder if your country will become the next Iraq, plunged into chaos after an American invasion. You take seriously the threats of a powerful lunatic who pulls out of an international nuclear treaty and won’t take his own use of nuclear weapons “off the table.” You plan ahead for economic collapse if the Trump regime’s efforts to stop Iran’s oil exports succeed. You hope your loved ones will survive, will not starve like the people of Yemen. Then you brace yourself as nuclear-capable B-52 bombers are pointed in your direction.

We should be in the streets screaming at the top of our lungs to stop this, refusing to allow this gangster regime to unleash fire and fury on the world! But instead, the silence has been deafening. Whatever is stopping you from acting in a way that is commensurate with the danger and the horror that is about to be unleashed on millions of people, get over it.

THE QUESTION IS SHARPLY POSED TO EVERYONE WHO KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU SAY “ENOUGH!”?

At what point do you face the reality that this regime is on the offensive and will not allow itself to be stopped or deterred by what you have been taught are the “normal channels”? At what point do you relocate your sense of justice and humanity and say that just because it isn’t happening to you—yet—doesn’t mean it should not be resisted with actual action?

At what point do you face the reality, for which the past three years and every passing week provide mountains of evidence, that the Democratic Party cares more about preserving this system than it does about preventing and getting rid of fascism and everything that goes with that fascism? At what point do you come to grips with the fact that the Democratic Party will line up in lockstep—and right now is doing everything it can to line you up—for whatever wars this regime is either planning or will “stumble into”?

The Democratic Party is not going to stop these threats against Iran. They are busy reaching across the aisle and campaigning for 2020. We should count on them to oppose a war with Iran as effectively as they opposed the invasion of Iraq and the years of horrors that followed. That is to say, not at all.

The Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi made a profound statement years ago. “The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.”

This is even truer now. Our people are the people of the world. Our interests are the interests of humanity. What your government wants you to do for their interests, you must refuse to do.

Only WE can stop this, the millions of us who have a heart and conscience but who are being cajoled into normalizing a fascist nightmare. Now is the time to reset your commitment to maintaining your morality and your humanity. Sign the Refuse Fascism Call to Action, which clearly states the vision and strategy in which, “tens of thousands beginning in several cities and towns, with marches, candlelight vigils, rallies – students, religious communities, immigrants, everyone with a heart for humanity in the streets and not backing down – growing from thousands to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions. Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want – in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The whole world will take heart.”

Donate to get this message out across the country, manifesting the power of “NO!” and showing people how to refuse to accept the unacceptable.

People all over the world are counting on us to stop this nightmare. Let’s get down to the work of building a movement that will drive out this regime and set whole new terms for society. This is possible, there is a role for everyone, but humanity needs you to step up now.

Coco Das (@coco_das) is a contributing editor to RefuseFascism.org 

 

 

 


Iranian children

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/police-commander-said-murder-of-eric-garner-was-not-a-big-deal-en.html

Outrage on Top of Outrage: Police Commander Said Murder of Eric Garner Was "Not a Big Deal"

| revcom.us

 

After NYPD pig Daniel Pantaleo brought down Eric Garner with a chokehold in 2014 as he cried out “I can’t breathe,” another cop on the scene texted their commander that Garner was “most likely DOA”—and the commander’s response was: “Not a big deal.”* This was made public for the first time during the NYPD procedural hearing now going on involving Pantaleo.

Eric Garner was 43 years old when he was murdered, married for over 20 years to his wife, Esaw, with a son starting college, five other children, and two grandchildren. He was someone with a big heart and a great deal to give. His friends called him “Big E” and “Teddy Bear,” a generous man who helped settle disputes among the people. One friend remembered, “He had a hug and smile for everybody. He was always trying to keep the peace.” To the pigs, all this was “not a big deal.”

NOT A BIG DEAL!!! These four words totally capture the utter callousness of these pigs and of their entire system, for whom the incarceration of literally millions upon millions of people over the past decades is NOT A BIG DEAL... for whom evictions of hundreds of thousands of women, especially Black and Latino, is NOT A BIG DEAL... for whom the poisoning of countless children by lead—and more than that, the generations of youth that are condemned to oblivion even before they are born—is NOT A BIG DEAL.

As Bob Avakian says in his filmed speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, after naming just some of the thousands and thousands, especially Black, Latino and Native American, murdered by the police:

If this were the only thing wrong with this system, it would be more than enough reason to sweep it off the Earth!

 


* “‘Not a Big Deal,’ Police Commander Said as Eric Garner Died,” New York Times, 5/16/19. [back]

See also:

Hearing for Cop Who Killed Eric Garner: Count the Ways this System Protects Murdering Cops

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Garner with some of his family

Photo: AP

Bob Avakian: "'Not A Big Deal?!?' Or Reason Enough To Overthrow The Damn System!"

In summer 2018 Bob Avakian spoke about the outrageous murders perpetrated by police in the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/595/UCLA-speaking-event-national-revolution-tour-en.html

A Speaking Event by the National Revolution Tour
UCLA May 20, 7 PM

| revcom.us

 

 

 

Download PDF for printing fliers: FRONT | BACK

 

Tala Deloria and Lenny Wolff talk about The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, and about the May 20 speaking event at UCLA on The Michael Slate Show

Statement from student on “Why I am coming”

I’m going to the event on Monday because I don’t have the answers. The world faces many multifaceted problems and sadly, our societies and governments haven’t kept up and addressed them, or don’t want to address them because it isn’t to the benefit of those in power. I don’t have the answers on how to end global warming, I’m not even sure it can be ended or be reversed. I’m not sure if racism, poverty, or injustice can be solved, but I know we have to try. We are in a new era of global problems, and we shouldn’t be fighting ourselves because the real enemy of our species is time, but how do we get people to realize that or begin to solve the logistics of it? I don’t have the answers, but the first steps for anyone who cares are to seek them, struggle internally with the possibilities, voice out their struggles amongst others, challenge their current beliefs or dare to be challenged, and take action, no matter how small. I think this event will give me and anyone who attends those opportunities. I am going because I care enough to seek answers, and I think this event will help me get closer to them.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us: