revcom.us, August 26, 2019 through September 1, 2019 (#610)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/andy-zee-1619-the-struggle-for-historical-truth-and-the-fight-for-the-future-en.html

1619:

The Struggle for Historical Truth...and the Fight for the Future

a letter from Andy Zee

| revcom.us

 

Dear Revcom.us:

First, I appreciate revcom.us opening up a series responding to the 1619 series in the New York Times and similar efforts in other publications such as The Guardian and in academia. This has tremendous import and relevance. I especially appreciate framing this as concentrating 3 futures:

It is of real import for all those who desire a world where white supremacy is uprooted to reflect on and seriously grapple with the content of the New York Times 1619 series and the ongoing controversies and debates that it provokes.

Already, there are sharp differences expressed between advocates of the first two futures. Here I want to draw to the attention of revcom readers that this controversy concentrates a core contradiction that is objectively posed by those who advocate the second of the two futures—that revealing the actual history of slavery and its effects on society down to today shows the perfectibility of America—has the potential to unravel America as we have known it. The following two commentaries reflect how representatives of these two futures view this.

First, is the comment of a Christian fascist blogger, radio host, and frequent TV commentator, with a large following, Erick Erickson. He wrote:

Americans, particularly white Americans, need to learn more about slavery in the United States. But doing so on the premise that the United States itself is flawed and illegitimate is not the way to do it. Sadly, that’s what so much of the Times’ coverage amounts to.

If the nation is founded on slavery and slavery is woven into the very fabric of our society, then our society is illegitimate. The only way to overcome it is to overturn it. That would take revolution. This is the path the New York Times goes down. Once it lights this fire, it will not be able to control it. But it wants to strike the match anyway.

A few days later on August 24, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, in a piece on the main editorial page titled America the Beautiful, wrote:

[E]very significant liberation movement in the U.S., from abolition to suffrage to civil rights to marriage equality, has made its case by appealing to foundational principles, not rejecting them.

He then goes on to cite (accurately) that Frederick Douglass’s and Martin Luther King’s criticisms of slavery and the oppression of black people were accompanied with appeals for America to apply its founding principles. He then writes:

This has always been one of the astonishments of America: The origin story of the ruling class does more to undermine than bolster its claims to power....

[I]f a new origin story were to tell us that our ideals have always been a sham (as opposed to being honored too much in the breach), and that the whole story of America is one of unremitting oppression (as opposed to the far-too-gradual relief of oppression), then we would lose the mechanism of self-reproach by which past progress was made.

And, he concludes his ode to America the Beautiful after referring to one of the natural wonders of the Southwest with this:

[T]the real beauty of America has less to do with the outer vistas than the inner ones—the ever-renewing possibility of being “more perfect” according to ideals that remain our starting point and destination.

So I am writing to encourage readers of revcom.us to wrestle with and talk about this sharp difference between these first two futures and then between both of these futures and the emancipatory future of revolution on the foundation of the new communism.

It is significant that a lot of suppressed history is being exposed, including in the first special New York Times August 18 Sunday Magazine. But, to what end? Where do these articles lead? I was glad to see that revcom.us is publishing important work from Bob Avakian as a guidepost for readers of the Times series and what is sure to be a lot of engagement with this issue and this 400-year anniversary on campuses this fall. Engaging this issue, in the context of the three futures is not only a struggle for the true history, but as such has profound implications for the struggle for the future.

Wrapping up this correspondence I want to offer two points of reference and departure:

[1] The profound significance and relevance of the first quote from BAsics from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.
Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, 2008

[2] I encourage readers to read Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy (excerpted last week and available in full at revcom.us) as a foundation to understand from a scientific perspective why only the third future that has been qualitatively developed by Bob Avakian represents the road to the liberation of Black people from the legacy of slavery through a revolution to emancipate humanity.

Andy Zee

 

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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

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

Read and Download (PDF)

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/panel-discussion-on-life-of-george-washington-mural-en.html

Packed House at Revolution Books for Panel Discussion on "Life of George Washington" Mural Controversy

Art, politics, the "founding fathers" and what it will take to get beyond this world of oppression

| revcom.us

 

Since the San Francisco School Board voted in February to destroy murals critical of George Washington on the grounds that its depictions of slavery and genocide of Native Americans are “traumatic” for students, this has become a huge controversy, covered in the national media. People opposed to the school board decision have mobilized and forced the board to take a step back. They now say they will just cover the murals rather than destroy them. Most recently, a number of prominent African-American leaders have spoken out against whitewashing the mural, including the actor and George Washington High School alumnus Danny Glover, who compared efforts to destroy the murals to book burning. Groups like Van Jones’ “Color of Change,” some parents, self-identified “white allies,” and others have mobilized to “paint it down,” and some have even attempted to shut down events in defense of the murals.

Because of how much this controversy concentrates in terms of whether or not people will confront reality and act to change it radically, the Revolution Club jumped into this wild mix with a sharp polemic, “Identity Politics Hustlers Sanitize ‘Life of George Washington’.” This elicited a number of thoughtful responses. On the basis of this polemic, Revolution Books in Berkeley put together an important group of people for a panel discussion:

Lope Yap Jr.—filmmaker and vice president of the George Washington High School Alumni Association. Author of the op-ed, “The San Francisco School Board is flunking history.”

Matt Gonzalez—Chief Attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. He previously served as president of the SF Board of Supervisors. Author of the article, “Don’t whitewash history: Historic murals depict uncomfortable truths about our nation’s past.”

Rafael Kadaris—Revolution Club member and author of the article, “Identity Politics Hustlers Sanitize ‘Life of George Washington’.”

Dewey Crumpler—Associate Professor of Painting at the San Francisco Art Institute and artist who created the “response murals” at George Washington High School. See “Professor Dewey Crumpler defends GWHS murals.”

In the spirit of discussion and debate between ardent advocates of opposing views, we invited the SF School Board and some of the parents who’ve spoken out in support of painting over the mural—but none of the people representing that position stepped up to speak on the panel.

About 75 people—artists, professors, high school teachers, lawyers, labor organizers, GWHS alumni, Cal students, and others—packed into Revolution Books for the event. These were mostly people opposed to the destruction of mural.

Lope Yap spoke first, describing the political battle he’s waged against the school board’s decision. He talked about the importance of depicting the actual history of slavery and genocide, and the challenge of arguing against people who base themselves on emotional appeals rather than logic, history, and facts. He argued against treating these young adult students as if they are little kids, sheltering them from the world.

Matt Gonzalez argued against the paternalism embedded in the idea that looking at these murals is “traumatic,” emphasizing how traumatic the world is right now and how traumatic it is to have the current leadership in power. He spoke to the significance of telling, in the 1930s, the real story about Washington, and the great act of subversion it was for this to have been done by a communist, Victor Arnautoff.

Rafael Kadaris began by describing another mural, by the Mexican artist David Siqueiros, which was also whitewashed because the truth that it told was deemed to be too disturbing. Drawing from Bob Avakian’s book BAsics, he talked about the importance of confronting reality as it actually is—especially at this moment when white supremacist fascists are in power and fomenting a new civil war. He argued against identity politics and “safe spaces,” and why the whole way of thinking embodied in the campaign to destroy the murals is a big obstacle to making the revolution we need to get beyond this world of oppression. He denounced the role of these identity politics hustlers who have no problem with George Washington but have targeted murals that expose Washington’s crimes, condescendingly hiding reality from the youth in order to promote getting in on this system and the “American dream,” as opposed to getting rid of this system and acting to stop American crimes. Read the whole speech here.

Professor Dewey Crumpler talked about the evolution of his thinking about the Arnautoff murals. He described his initial anger upon first seeing those images when he came to George Washington High School for a football game in 11th grade, and the anger at that time of many Black students at the school, and how he came to be commissioned to do the response murals—which show Black, Latino, Native, and Asian people rising up against oppression—which he sees as being “in dialogue” with Arnautoff’s murals. He talked about the trip he took to Mexico to study mural art and how he came to appreciate Arnautoff’s murals—the influence Diego Rivera had on him, his use of metaphor, and the truth he told about George Washington. He talked about what a revelation it was that Washington owned slaves, because no history book told him that, and how this led him to become a student of history, to uncover what else had been “whitewashed” out of history. He spoke powerfully about the importance of truth, the role of art in getting at truth, and why it is necessary to confront “trauma” because “we are living in trauma right now.”

The discussion afterwards was lively! Someone asked Crumpler to talk more about the content of his response murals. A high school teacher from Oakland talked about the hypocrisy of the school board complaining about students being “traumatized” by murals while doing nothing to address the real trauma that students are facing. A high school art teacher from San Francisco talked about the lack of arts education in the schools, that students are not taught to interpret art, that we are turning out people who don’t know how to figure things out and think critically, who only know how to think literally and have everything prepackaged.

A Choctaw Native American storyteller spoke powerfully about the importance of these murals documenting, providing “our visual evidence,” that the genocide happened. He said that the imagery in the murals makes him angry, just like the anger he felt when his mother told him about being beaten for speaking her language, an anger that drives him to fight to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Some of the panelists and people in the audience expressed shock at the level of vitriol being spewed by the people who want the murals destroyed, labeling people who are opposing them as “colonized” and using unprincipled methods to railroad through the decision to destroy the artwork. People have attempted to shut down discussion of other panels using tactics that one would use with your enemy and not among people who are broadly all on the side of opposing white supremacy. People were trying to sort out why this is happening.

Toni from The Bob Avakian Institute raised that part of the role of art throughout history has been to chronicle the past in anticipation of the future—what happens if the stories depicted of the actual history of this country are not told, and who it will serve if these things are whited out and destroyed. She put the mural controversy in the context of what is going on in the world, and that it is not a good situation for people to be aiming their fire at art that is doing a great service, while allowing monuments to slavery to hide in plain sight.

She went into what the Revolution Tour has been doing in Los Angeles and Chicago—including taking on broader trends, especially among the middle class, to turn away from the reality of what the Trump/Pence regime is doing to the planet right now, to turn inward and become more obsessed with safety and order, rather than taking the great risks needed to stop what is happening. There have been decades of training people in the universities in the outlook of identity politics, reformism, and individualism, which has resulted in the paralysis and complicity of huge sections of people more worried about ME than what is happening to humanity.

After the event, a Cal freshman from the Netherlands said that the main thing he got from the event was that too many people are retreating into “safe spaces” in the face of fascism. An African-American freshman said he was so excited to discover Revolution Books because he stayed up till four in the morning the night before arguing with a friend about James Baldwin and reform or revolution, and this event related to everything they were talking about but took it in a new direction. An artist said that Rafael Kadaris’ speech helped her understand what’s behind identity politics and how it is driving these people to oppose the mural.

This was a very important conversation that began to open up channels of inquiry that break through the fog, and that need to continue especially on the campuses this fall. We need a generation of students who start pulling back the curtain on this kind of fraud, calling it out and leaving it behind, and saying we want to change the whole world!

See also:

Video of the "Life of George Washington Mural" Panel Discussion at Revolution Books Berkeley, 8-22-19


A section of the mural "Life of George Washington"

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/speech-by-rafael-kadaris-en.html

Speech by Rafael Kadaris at the Revolution Books Panel Discussion

| revcom.us

 

What’s up, everyone! I’m really excited to be here, to be part of this important discussion with all these panelists, and I’m really eager to hear from all of you in the Q&A.

I’ve actually been in LA the last few months as part of the national tour organizing for revolution. And while I was down there I had a chance to see another controversial mural.


“Tropical America—oppressed and destroyed by imperialism.” 1932 by David Siqueiros

It’s called “Tropical America—oppressed and destroyed by imperialism.” Painted in 1932 by the great Mexican muralist David Siqueiros, who I believe Dewey worked with at one point. It’s on Olvera Street, which, if you haven’t been there, is sort of a quaint, idealized version of a Mexican marketplace for tourists, and in the 1930s was part of marketing LA for new homebuyers, as a colorful and romantic place with an ethnic past, but safe for white people. So in the same way that Arnautoff was commissioned to paint a nice, benign mural on the “Life of George Washington,” they commissioned Siqueiros to do a mural on the theme of “Tropical America”—expecting him to do a scene with parrots and palm trees and happy tropical people drinking coconuts. And this is what he did—as you can see, right in the middle of it, an indigenous person is crucified by an American eagle. As you can imagine, this scandalized the Olvera Street business people, who did not want THIS image to disturb the tourists, and pretty soon they whitewashed the whole thing. Luckily, thanks to the LA smog, the whitewash started wearing off in the late 1960s and the mural started reappearing and has since been preserved. But look at this mural and think about this story and tell me what’s the difference here. Or do you think this one should’ve been painted over too?

Now think about the title of that mural, “Tropical America—oppressed and destroyed by imperialism.” Flash forward from 1932, from the banana republics and dictatorships set up in Central America by the U.S., the coups and invasions, the U.S.-backed death squads, the made-in-the-USA poverty and gang violence, the drought caused by climate change, and look at the situation now, where the refugees from tropical America, oppressed and destroyed by imperialism, are called rapists, drug dealers, and animals, and if they don’t die in the desert, or drown in the Rio Grande, or get gunned down by some mass murdering vigilante inspired by Trump, they are chased down by modern-day slave catchers, thrown in concentration camps, and treated worse than dogs. And the Democrats, who helped to create this situation in the first place, are doing nothing about this, besides giving Trump $4.6 billion for ICE and Border Patrol.

So yes, as the quote from Bob Avakian on the wall says, “Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.” The tour that I’ve been part of is traveling the country organizing the thousands who need to become leaders of the millions to make this revolution.

As this message from the national tour makes clear, all of this horrible oppression, these 5 STOPS—the white supremacy, the patriarchy and attacks on immigrants, the imperialist wars and destruction of the environment—are built into this system, and as Bob Avakian puts it, “[W]e have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!” And then it goes on to talk about what kind of world we’re fighting for and how do you live today in a way that’s part of getting to that world.

The whole way of thinking embodied in the campaign to destroy these murals, as I’ll get into more, is a big obstacle to making the revolution we need and getting to a different world, a big obstacle to confronting reality and acting to change it radically.

And right now, especially in this moment, as fascism is consolidating and white supremacy is on the offensive, do people need to be disturbed, “triggered,” pushed outside their comfort zone, and compelled to act? And yes, to take risks and make sacrifices to stop all this?

Do they need to hear the cries of the kids in Mississippi after coming home from their first day of school to find out their parents were kidnapped by ICE? Or should they turn away from it like the “good Germans” who did nothing while their Jewish neighbors were rounded up? And here it is important to add a painful but historical fact, that despite heroic resistance by Jewish fighters in the Warsaw ghetto and some other places, most Jews also failed to act until it was too late. And one of the reasons for this was the Jewish community leaders who hid the truth about the death camps, about where the trains were taking people, because they didn’t want to upset people.

So I have to say, the idea of creating “safe spaces” where people can be sheltered from anything traumatic is just bullshit. First of all, it’s an illusion. Look at what’s happening in the world—the Amazon’s on fire, the Arctic is melting, and there’s an open white supremacist fascist with the nuclear codes—you can’t keep people in a bubble from all that. Trigger warnings and safe spaces are completely useless against the actual powers that be and what they intend to do to people. Second, it’s condescending and paternalistic as hell. Let these youth look at the world, and history, and decide for themselves what they think about it. Lastly, it’s teaching people that the most important thing is taking care of yourself and being comfortable, which is just a gross individualistic way to live your life, especially in a country like this, where the ability and privilege for some people to ignore uncomfortable truths is based on the oppression and exploitation and, yes, trauma inflicted on people around the world.

Here I want to read two very relevant quotes from BAsics, by Bob Avakian.

“Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.”

“There is a place where epistemology and morality meet. There is a place where you have to stand and say: It is not acceptable to refuse to look at something—or to refuse to believe something—because it makes you uncomfortable. And: It is not acceptable to believe something just because it makes you feel comfortable.”

And speaking of uncomfortable truths, let’s talk about the founding fathers.

Apparently, the people who want to whitewash the mural have no problem sending kids to a school named after George Washington but they don’t want them to find out the monster that he was, and the monstrous country that he founded. They have no problem with the big bronze statue of him at the school. They have no problem with the panel featuring Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton discussing a draft of the U.S. Constitution—a constitution that institutionalized slavery, a constitution that still enables the rulers of this system to commit horror upon horror against people, while doing it all in the name of “We the people.”

As I said in the article I wrote, if anything, Arnautoff is too soft on Washington. (Here I’ll just refer you to the very important American Crime series, of the 100 greatest crimes committed by the U.S. government, that you can find on revcom.us, which includes an indictment of Washington’s role in the Sullivan expedition, where he ordered a scorched earth campaign of total annihilation against over 50 Iroquois villages in New York State.)

Now, some of the people that want to “paint it down” might say that everyone already knows the U.S. was founded on slavery and genocide, so there’s no need to keep looking at it. Well, actually everyone doesn’t already know that. One of our bookstore staff did an informal poll at UC Berkeley yesterday and was surprised by how few students (at the #1 public university in the country) even knew Washington was a slave owner! And people certainly don’t know the horror of slavery. For example, the average lifespan of a slave working on a sugar plantation was seven years, because they were literally worked to death.

And among those who know on one level about crimes of this country, there is a stubborn refusal to confront that this country is rotten to the core and can’t be redeemed. A clinging to the narrative, the same narrative people like Obama tell, that, yes, slavery was an original sin, but America was founded on great democratic ideals which have helped us steadily overcome racism in the onward march of progress. No, in fact America has never been great, and the democratic ideals, the Constitution and laws, the dominant culture, have always served to reinforce this system of exploitation and oppression, from slavery, to Jim Crow, and down to the present.

To illustrate this contrast... what is the “positive” image the school board president suggested to replace the Arnautoff murals? Black soldiers fighting in Washington’s army. So, a mural depicting Black people (many of whom, by the way, were still enslaved) fighting for the “freedom” of a bunch of capitalists and slave owners is positive and uplifting imagery for Black students?! C’mon. People like this should just be honest... they want to destroy the mural because they believe in America and its promise. They think that if you just move forward and focus on the positive—like Jay Z said about Colin Kaepernick, “we’re past kneeling”—you can make it in America and get a seat at the table.

On that note, here’s a few questions to think about and dig into more in the Q&A. Should the goal be to get a seat at the table, or to overturn the table and make a revolution? Do oppressed people need consolation, or do they need liberation? Owning oppression, or ending oppression? Getting in on this system, or getting rid of this system?

Lastly I want to address one of the elephants in the room. Who has a right to speak? Who has the right to make art? As we know, one of the main criticisms of the murals is that since Arnautoff was a white man, he had no right to depict the experiences of Black people or Native Americans, or at least he should’ve asked their permission first. First of all, it must be said that almost no art could be made with this criteria. Most of the books in this room, which deal with all kinds of subjects beyond the authors’ personal, direct experience, and certainly all the fiction, would have to go. But there’s another question: Whose permission should he have asked? All Black and Native people don’t think the same way. And anyway, people aren’t always right just because they’re oppressed. As we know, there were Cherokee who owned slaves, and there were Black “buffalo soldiers” who went out West and slaughtered Native people. There were tribes who fought on both sides of the Civil War.

All this points to the more fundamental thing, which is that there is one objective reality, and anyone can come to understand it. Truth does not vary depending on how oppressed someone is. People who’ve directly experienced oppression should be heard. But direct experience alone doesn’t tell you what the root cause of that oppression is, or how it can be ended. In fact, this whole approach of standpoint epistemology (the idea that truth depends on people’s socio-economic “standpoint”) is a major barrier to getting a deeper understanding of the underlying dynamics of society and how it can be changed.

So no, the problem is not a white artist who, with all his limitations (and we can talk more about that in the Q&A), did paint a mural with subversive and anti-racist content. And the fact that some people made a whole campaign to target this mural, and not the statue of Washington—the actual monument to slavery hiding in plain sight at the school—or the actual white supremacists who are in power and fomenting a new civil war... that should tell you everything you need to know about the harm that identity politics does and how it lets the system off the hook.

We do need more resistance art, more revolutionary art to uplift and inspire people, especially the youth... not with a bunch of hyped up “yes we can” American dreaming... but with an actual positive vision of a different way things can be... but for that culture to really blossom, there has to be a lot more resistance and revolution!

So let me end with what is on the wall of this bookstore:

3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better:
1) People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this.
2) People have to dig seriously and scientifically into how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works, and what this actually causes in the world.
3) People have to look deeply into the solution to all this.

—Bob Avakian, May 1, 2016

 

Video of the "Life of George Washington Mural" Panel Discussion at Revolution Books Berkeley, 8-22-19

See also:

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/609/introducing-new-series-en.html

1619-2019: Introducing A New Series:

The Oppression of Black People and the Revolutionary Struggle to Emancipate Humanity

| revcom.us

 

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

Four centuries ago, in August 1619, the first slaves in the colonies that became the United States were brought to Jamestown, Virginia. They were approximately 20 men and women kidnapped captives, most likely from the kingdom of Ndongo in modern-day Angola. Bought by the Jamestown settlers from English pirates who had seized them from a Portuguese slave ship, they were put to work on the tobacco fields of the South. They formed part of over 12.5 million kidnapped and enslaved captives from Africa shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in what is known as the Middle Passage, a voyage of misery and death in horrific conditions of brutal whippings, casual violence and the rape of women captives. Captives who were sick were thrown overboard, so often that sharks would follow the ships. Nearly two million did not survive this journey.

One of the cruelest instruments of commerce, the slave ship defined and shaped America, in conjunction with “the whipping machine,” critical to cotton production in the slave states of the South, and capitalist accumulation of wealth across the emergent United States.

Among some sections of liberal and progressive people, this anniversary is bringing forth a long-needed and welcome reckoning with the actual history of this country, not only the unspeakable horrors and brutality of slavery but how it defined, shaped and put its stamp on every facet of American society from its very origins and founding. It is calling forth beginning examination of and starting to touch on the continuing legacy of slavery in white supremacy and the oppression of Black people, and how it is originating in and still woven into the fabric of this system of capitalism and this society, foundational to the wealth and position of this country today. For example, this is manifest in the 1619 Project of the New York Times, among a range of works from other intellectuals and artists.

As a seminal anniversary and in the midst of this ferment, revcom.us and associated social media aim to play—through the fall and coming year—a vital and needed role in the questioning, discussion and debates, centered around the historic breakthroughs and extensive works of Bob Avakian (BA) on the actual character of the relationship between capitalism and white supremacy, and how the latter could actually—and only—be overcome through a revolution aimed at the emancipation of all humanity... a communist revolution.

To this end, we will have a series focused on the theme of The Oppression of Black People and the Revolutionary Struggle to Emancipate Humanity. It really does matter, from the perspective and goals of making revolution and emancipating humanity, that people follow through on this reckoning and confrontation, learning more about the history of this country and its founding and foundations. It matters, even more, that people follow through on their convictions and go beyond their comfort zone, to logical and scientific conclusions such as what BA says in the film Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:

White supremacy and capitalism—they have been completely interwoven and tightly “stitched together” through the whole development of this country, down to today; to attempt to really put an end to white supremacy while maintaining the system of capitalism would tear the entire fabric of the country apart. White supremacy and capitalism—it is not possible to overcome and finally abolish the one without overthrowing and finally abolishing the other.

There are sharp choices and futures posed now.

First, there is the MAGA-style open re-assertion and imposition of white supremacy with potentially genocidal implications.

Second, there are efforts like that of the Times and many progressive public intellectuals to open up and make available the actual history of this country, in an effort to “save America” or, in the words of Nikole Hannah-Jones, the editor and driving force behind the Times’ project, to cast Black people as “the perfecters of this democracy” within the myth and comforting narrative of America as constantly striving for and gradually achieving “a more perfect union.”

Third, there is the real urgent necessity of getting organized now for an ACTUAL revolution to overthrow and defeat the system of American capitalism-imperialism, and the white supremacy woven into its fabric. As Bob Avakian has characterized:

There will never be a revolutionary movement in this country that doesn’t fully unleash and give expression to the sometimes openly expressed, sometimes expressed in partial ways, sometimes expressed in wrong ways, but deeply, deeply felt desire to be rid of these long centuries of oppression [of Black people]. There’s never gonna be a revolution in this country, and there never should be, that doesn’t make that one key foundation of what it’s all about.

BAsics 3:19

Follow revcom.us throughout the autumn, as we not only bring forward the seminal work of BA on this, but enter into and bring that work to bear on the crucial debate on the cause of the problem, and the actual solution.

September 9, 2019:

Q&A: What will it take for masses of white people to break from white supremacy?

September 2, 2019:

August 26, 2019:

The Oppression of Black People and Other People of Color, by Bob Avakian, an excerpt

August 19, 2019:

The following is an excerpt from Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, a talk given by Bob Avakian in 2006 and published as a pamphlet in 2008.

Slavery, White Supremacy, and Democracy in America

Read excerpt here

Listen to speech: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Read entire speech

 

 

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/andy-zee-closing-remarks-at-the-revolution-school-en.html

Closing Remarks at the "Revolution School"

Learning and Applying the Method and Approach of Bob Avakian to Change a Changing World

Andy Zee, Sunday August 11, 2019

| revcom.us

 

Editor's note: During the first week of August, the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour hosted a "revolution school" (or "summer science camp" as some nicknamed it), attended by 15 or so revolutionaries from around the country as well as Chicago. At the end of the week, Andy Zee gave an informal talk to the participants at a going away celebration which we think readers who want to understand the process of this school and the Tour will find illuminating. Following is a lightly edited transcript.

First of all, everybody who came here for the school in the science of revolution and who worked with the National Tour—why don’t you stand up. [applause] And what about the people from the Revolution Club in Chicago standing up with them. [applause]

Look, we should applaud ourselves—but we should do so because we understand, and are coming to understand more deeply, what we’ve done in the last week. And for those who are here for the first time today, or who are veterans of three days in the movement, I’m talking to you too—to understand what it is you stepped into and what it is we’ve done over the last week. I want to say one thing about the times we are living in. This is perhaps one of the rare moments in history where the future of humanity is posed in a way that could either lead to incredible horrors—where the 65 million refugees fleeing climate change and wars of genocide, wars of conquest, wars between sections of the people fighting each other instead of fighting the system that creates these wars could make the 65 million refugees of 2015 look like just the first people coming in the door of a program. This could cascade to include a third of humanity when Bangladesh, the entire delta, goes under water because of what this system has done. This is a time when the most powerful imperialist country in the world has concentration camps at the border and children in cages. This is a serious time in the history of humanity.

So we have to look at what we’ve done. At another juncture in the history of humanity—at the dawn of imperialism and its first consolidation and the beginning of the contours of the conflicts between the imperialists that eventually led to the first World War, the great revolutionary leader Lenin, who led the first time the slaves rose up in a revolution to get rid of capitalism, said, paraphrasing: We need to understand the special features of our time and we must not imitate the activists (he actually used the word Marxists) of whom Karl Marx the founder of the science of revolution said: “I have sown dragon’s teeth and harvested fleas.”

For those of us who have been part of this movement for an actual revolution, we, over the last 15 years have been and are continuing to grapple with what has been brought forward by the person who is on my shirt—Bob Avakian, the leader of the revolution—who said to each of us and to all of us collectively: we need to go back to what we came here to do which is to overthrow this motherfucker! [applause] If we don’t lead people to make an actual revolution, then what happens? The world stays as it is. That’s on us and what you who were part of this school this week, what you who’ve been part of the National Tour, what you who are part of the Chicago Revolution Club, what those of you who have stepped into this for the first time and are beginning to learn about it, and what we have done in this last week is potentially to sow dragon’s teeth. But the question remains—what are we going to harvest? Are we going to continue on that path? Are we going to bring everything out that we can so that masses of people have a way out of the madness of this world and are able to make an actual revolution to bring into being a radically new society on the road to real emancipation? Are we going to bring them the science of revolution, which is what this school was about? Are we going to bring them the strategy to overthrow this system? Are we going to bring them why this system can’t be reformed in the 5 STOPS? And when some people say back to us, I don’t want to hear that, are we gonna say: Well, you’re in this society and you’re just saying you’re going to put your mouth in the trough and you’re going along with great crimes, do we then say I’m sorry for you but there’s people out here who do want to emancipate humanity and we’re going for those people now. So, do we say, as BA says: Stop opening your mouth and letting the system come out? Do we pose these 2 Choices and do we give them something to live and fight for in the 6 Points of Attention?

So I just want to say that what you’ve done, what we’ve done collectively, is a chance that comes rarely in history. We stand on the cusp of enabling humanity to take a giant step into the future and cast all these centuries of tradition’s chains, all these social relations of patriarchy, of the hatred of the “other,” of xenophobia, of white supremacy, of wars of conquest, of the despoliation and degradation of the environment—we have a chance to throw that off humanity, not by ourselves but by leading people in struggle. This is what we’re doing. This is what you began this week. You began to get into how that could be done and what’s been brought forth by Bob Avakian in the science of revolution and the strategy and the vision and the plan for a radically new society.

With that comes responsibility and I want to read one thing here from this book The New Communism, which is what Bob Avakian has developed. A number of years ago, I think probably many of you know, Freddie Gray, a young man from the hard streets of Baltimore, was tossed in the back of police van after being brutalized and sat on by the police and they took him for what they call in Baltimore a “rough ride.” By the time he got out of that van he was paralyzed, they dragged him out to the hospital, and he died. And after that the masses in Baltimore rose up for a night, for two nights, and Noche Diaz and a couple other people from this movement went down there to lead those people. And Bob Avakian introduces this book on the new communism with the following. He says:

And I was thinking about something even heavier when reading about the work being done in Baltimore: the comment of a woman, one of the basic masses in Baltimore, who said, “I am getting worried”—when people were bringing revolution to her—“I’m getting worried.” Now, you might say, why was she getting worried? She explained: “Because I am beginning to hope.” Now, think about what that means for the masses of people, that they are afraid to hope. Afraid to hope that maybe the world doesn’t have to be this way, that maybe there is a way out of this. Afraid to hope, because their hopes have been dashed so many times.... We have seen it already again in Baltimore, for example: Oh, all of a sudden there’s a crime wave, they say; and they insist that they have to come down even heavier with the police and that they need the federal authorities to come in and help out the police, because the masses are running wild, and the police can’t go out and kill them with impunity, right now.

So, all this is why people say, “I’m getting worried.” They are afraid to hope. And if we don’t intend to meet the responsibilities that we have, if we don’t intend to follow through when we go to people and say there is a way out of this, we should get up and leave right now. Because the masses of people do not need anyone else who comes along, fly-by-night, and leaves them to the miserable conditions they will be subjected to, and the even worse horrors of this system coming down on them. We have to mean it when we say we’re serious about revolution.

So, that’s the stakes of what we began this week—is how BA begins the work that is the scientific explanation of what this new communism is. This week we took the journey, we began a process. Some of you were on it before, but we began a process, we took a journey here. And the question is posed: Are you prepared to scale those heights? To continue on that road, to not get deterred by those who would lead you off it, who would say: “Don’t you have to think about yourself?” Maybe it’s your parents who are saying that: “Well, I agree with what you have to say but somebody else could do that, not you... Because after all, you’re my kid.” Or those who would lead us onto paths of painless progress—that is no progress at all but leaves us and humanity right where we are. Are we prepared to risk being unpopular and going against the tide of our friends, people at work, our families, and struggle for what we know to be scientifically true, which is to say, what’s actually true. We began, and everybody’s going to have to, if you will, and not to wax philosophical, search your soul about this. But when you’re doing that soul searching you need to be scientific and proceed from reality and that’s one of the most important things we learned this week.

So, let’s get into what we did. We got together a week ago—people were flying in last Sunday night. And on Monday we watched the film of the talk by BA, Why We Need  An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution—2½ hours—and we talked and we discussed and we struggled over it. And, we also watched the clip of a Q&A from Bob Avakian, where he discussed why we needed a Cultural Revolution in the Revolutionary Communist Party—which is still going on, in new forms—and why he did the speaking tour last summer, which in some ways gave birth to this Tour. It’s true, as one of you brought out, that in one of the original taglines promoting the film, that there’s never been a speech like this on this subject. There’s never been anyone who has made the case as scientifically, as truthfully as this, for why anything short of revolution will leave the world the way it is—and what the stakes of that are. And there has not been till this point a strategy that could actually win that revolution, which after all if you don’t win, then the world also stays as it is. Not that it would be wrong to try and maybe you don’t succeed, but you do have to try to win, and now there’s a strategy in the pamphlet HOW WE CAN WIN and gone into in this film as to how to do that.

And there’s a goal of this revolution, not just for ourselves, not just for our family, not just for our people, not just for our country—definitely not for that!—but for humanity. That’s why we’re doing this. And there’s a vision of how we could get to a world beyond all exploitation and oppression that is in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and that in itself is the beginning of yet another new stage, a continuation of the road of human emancipation, another journey under new conditions that we would achieve by making a revolution.

So, we did this on Monday, we had this discussion. But if you remember, on Saturday one of these racist white supremacists traveled from Dallas and went down to El Paso, went into a Walmart to shoot Brown people, to shoot immigrants, people who are part of the “invading army” that Trump spoke of. And the same day, later that day, this misogynist, racist—I think that seems to be fairly accurate—in Dayton went into a nightclub and committed another mass murder. And all of this followed a mass murder in Gilroy, California at a garlic festival, also of people of color, aimed at Latino immigrants. At the same time, this followed Trump saying: “Go back” to where you belong, “go back to your countries,” your countries are “shitholes,” once again. And there was immediate horror and the beginning of a seething among people.

So on Tuesday morning we began what was going to be a brief discussion of BAsics 3:30, and then the statement that had been posted on Revcom about these killings. We recalled the point from the film the day before and the discussion that followed about how the struggle between the section of society fighting to implement fascism and those opposed, from various directions, is setting the overall terms in society, including it is the ground upon which we are fighting for an actual revolution.

We posed: What are we gonna do? We got our plans, we got a whole plan for a presence on Saturday at the Bud Billiken parade. We got classes laid out for the rest of the week. We’re gonna go to transit stops, we have our leaflet. But then there was reality that was sitting there. And we said we have to engage that.

For those of you who are in the school, those of you who have been in this movement for a while—what you did that day was being a team of scientists to figure out what do you do with the changed reality. We had to change our plans. We didn't change our plans to say never mind revolution; we changed our plans to say: how do we apply what we've learned that a revolution is necessary, and we got to work on how to bring and apply that understanding to the situation that's now developed in a different way then we anticipated. And we had to engage: Can we just go out there and talk about it? That’s good, we’ll go out and talk about it some more. We’ll fix up a few lines in the leaflet. Well, some questions were posed from those of us leading the meeting. But then one of you stood up and gave an impassioned speech: We have to act commensurate with the movement for revolution we’re calling for. And then it was on. And we had a struggle here that was an important struggle, which at one point got concentrated on: Should we take Lake Shore Drive? Should we go here? Should we go there? If we go to Lake Shore Drive, are the masses of people going to follow us there? That was a serious and important question to ask. It wasn’t a wrong question to ask—it wasn’t that “whoever said that, they’re not down.” No, it was an important question to ask. What happens if we take to the Drive and nobody follows us and we all get arrested? That’s also an important question—we have a lot to do. But we struggled this through. This is what I’m trying to bring to you in these remarks. We actually struggled this through to say: There’s a moment here where there could be really conspicuous change where people are ready to act in the way they haven’t been ready to act over the last few months that’s so frustrated so many of us. And if we got out there, not just saying: “What do you think we should do?—this is really bad what happened in El Paso”—but instead if we go out there and say, “Look, this white supremacy unleashed by this regime is a product of this system and we need to overthrow it, we need a revolution to get rid of this system, and part of doing that is we need to get everybody out in the streets, those who believe that change could happen within this system and those of us who understand that the system that has brought forward this Trump/Pence regime must be overthrown. What we’re doing out here today is part of organizing a movement for an actual revolution and you too need to be a part of it. There’s a leader, there’s a leadership, there’s a way out, and you need to get with it as we take to the streets together.”

And as it turned out, that was an accurate scientific summation of what was possible. Some people came, they heard about it in one form or another—I’m going to check this out and see what it is. And they listened carefully. I watched the people who were listening carefully: Is this for real? Do these people know what the hell they’re talking about? Is this serious? Are these the kind of people I want to be next to, I want to be with? And you saw young people, different nationalities, different gender affiliations, different ages—who took to the streets. Not in the thousands we need, maybe all told 70 or 80 people before we were done. But the crowds that gathered around... they didn’t say: Why you talking that shit? People were cheering, people were applauding. And those who weren’t were challenged. I’m not talking about the fools who just went walking by, but there was a lot of positive resonance to this message. And then there were those who saw that on TV, cuz it did break through the sound barrier and make the news.

So, what we did on that day represented not only a beginning of the kind of struggle that’s needed on a far greater scale, but it also represented the beginning of a forging of each of you, and all of you, and those who went to the school into a team of scientists that are able to analyze reality as it’s changing and help be part of a process with other people in the Revolution Clubs in whatever city you’re in or on the Tour in figuring out: How do we act on this stage and bring forward the masses of people for what is so needed.

I’m trying to walk this through because I want to be sure that we all understand what it is we did here and what we accomplished. I know we felt good. It felt very sweet here Thursday night, it really felt sweet. And of course somebody made us a wonderful dinner, which made it all the better. But that dinner wouldn’t have tasted as good had we not stood up in the way we did. And when you have a taste of what’s possible, what the masses of people can do, there is nothing sweeter than that. And it does offset all those days that you go out there and people walk on by. And of course, that, too, you should interrogate by applying science so that the next day that doesn’t happen again, that you actually reach more deeply into the masses’ hearts and their minds and into the reality to be able to motivate them and move them to where they need to go.

So, what we saw, what we accomplished, speaking of where we were at Thursday night, is one: when a team of scientists does engage the theory that’s been developed by an extraordinary leader, Bob Avakian, as to how we could actually go about making revolution, how we could awaken this mass of people in this country who think they’re relatively content but beneath the surface they’re not; how we could actually prepare today, prepare people’s minds, organize them, prepare the ground and prepare the people and prepare the vanguard for revolution, for the time when we could actually lead people to go all out and actually win—how we could do that. We engaged that theory, applied it to reality and developed a plan that was consistent with that and commensurate with that and went out and changed the world and we learned a lot about the conditions. I know I certainly learned a lot in terms of different kinds of people, how they responded—whether it was from these young high school students who I was so glad to see, as well as older people putting their fists up, and a family from Michigan leaving their car on Lake Shore Drive—they left their car and came and joined us. OK, it was one family, but I believe there’s thousands of families like that right now who could be involved in supporting the movement for revolution, and actually the people who feel that hunger for a big change, who are willing to take that risk, cross that line need to find out about this movement, support it, get into it—and they could become revolutionaries too. But for damn sure, they could get involved in Refuse Fascism and drive this regime out. We’re not indifferent to that.

So, point one: theory/practice/theory—that’s what you saw, what you, what we, did. And what I’m doing today is trying to sum up some of the basic theoretical lessons we learned. Because this is a school, a school of revolution which is not an academic, a scholastic exercise; it’s actually an exercise in how to and an actual part of radically changing the world.

And the other thing we learned is that when you accumulate some people—we had a few people. We took who we had accumulated and we went out and we went to the masses and we took a determined stand. We had a plan, we were going to march up to this Drive, and some other people apparently were going to take the road, and all of a sudden everybody’s fucking running, everybody’s running to the highway. [laughter] We’ll talk another time about following instructions... I don’t want to get into that today, but there is a point to doing so. You did create some necessity that we were able to fortunately deal with in a certain kind of way that wasn’t part of our original plan. I don’t want that to escape people’s attention here. The key point is that we touched a nerve and that nerve is a nerve that needs to be touched. It needs to be excited, then it needs to be built on.

Now it’s important here that we didn’t just say at any time, “Oh, we gotta do something about El Paso and then we gotta do this parade on Saturday, so later for all that study and discussion that we came here to do and had scheduled.” No. We actually got into a Q&A from BA’s speech on fascism and civil war and the Democrats on Wednesday to give some further grounding for what we were about to do. And then on Friday, we all took the time to reread “The Crucial Importance of the New Communism and BA’s Leadership” in a discussion that both focused on what was in the actual article itself and through that got very honest and very deep, right down to where people really “live.”

And it wasn’t like we just patted ourselves on the back for Lake Shore Drive and said, “Oh wow, that was perfect, couldn’t have been better.” Actually, we said, “You know what—our agitation wasn’t enough bringing out our solution, and it wasn’t enough bringing out BA.” We wrangled with that directly but also indirectly through that study session on “Crucial Importance,” and the next day at Billiken the agitation being led from the truck—even the chants—were on a whole different level in that regard.

So, we accumulated a few people, we impacted society. And off of that we accumulated more people. Now, it’s still embryonic. What does that mean? It’s just at the beginning. We’re talking about... I guess a dozen, or 15 people, joined us at the parade, the Bud Billiken parade yesterday. This needs to be amplified 2, 3, 4 times that over the next months. We have to take this lesson that we learned this week and really go some place with it. It’s right to celebrate our small victories and we have to understand—more important than celebrating, or just as important, is to then understand what we actually did.

See this is important. What we actually did is we acted on a changed objective situation, we identified it, we applied science to it, we developed a tactical plan that was a concentration of our strategy for revolution, we went out and we acted with determination, defiance, and a plan and brought forward more people. And we changed the situation. We put before the city of Chicago that we’re not going to tolerate this and neither should you. And that matters.

But it will come to nothing, it will not mean much, if we don’t continue with the objective of this Tour, of this Revolution Club, of the organization that Bob Avakian is endeavoring to build, a party that’s an actual vanguard that’s preparing to lead an actual revolution and not some little talk-shop off to the side of the day to day struggles. Rather, forging a people who are serious about leading the masses of people to overthrow this system and build a society worth building, people who are not filled with revenge and personal glory but are filled with a burning desire to see the yoke of tradition and all forms of oppression thrown off.

So, that’s our objective. Our objective is: now, over the next year, to bring forward thousands of people into organized relationship to this revolution. And each of you who are part of this school, each of you who have been part of the Tour, need to think deeply tonight, need to do some reading, and if you’re taking a plane out of here, think on the plane. What is my life going to be for? Or at least, what am I going to do for the next three months or a year? And that will help you settle the question of the rest of your life. I’m actually serious about this, that the immediate question is: Am I going to continue this and work with the Revolution Club in the city I’m from, am I going to really try to not just be an activist, but actually be a revolutionary scientist and study some theory and try to apply it? Not just go back to what was before—because that going back is not just about you, that’s about the whole movement for revolution, about humanity, that’s what’s in the balance right now. Are we going to go from a couple dozen people to many dozens of people, and then the thousands? Or is it always going to be a rotating cast of characters? OK? I know, some of us are characters! And, we need more characters, OK? And there’s nothing wrong with being a character, but you need to get more people into that process.

And that starts with each of you—and I’m sure there’s things that you’re going through right now about: wow, this is heavy. But the way to deal with that is not... alright, there’ll be a sleepless night but not just inside your own head. Go talk to people who are part of this in the Revolution Club. Go talk to people who are part of the revolution. Put out what you’re thinking, struggle over it, and then decide what it is you’re gonna do. And there’s a place for everyone here in this movement. We really need people to become conscious revolutionaries, conscious in the sense that they become advocates for, and people who are willing to apply the new communism developed by Bob Avakian, who want to get out there in the world and say: There’s a way out, there’s a leader, there’s a way out—we can do this. It’s a rare thing to have somebody like Bob Avakian alive at a time like this who can actually chart this course. There’s a few of us, trying to apply this. But, believe me... I don’t want you to just take this on faith... but scientifically... I can make the case that it makes a big difference for those of us who want to shoulder this responsibility to have a leader like this today. He’s involved in everything we’re doing. [applause] People say: “Where’s Bob Avakian—he wasn’t out here.” But in a real way, he was out here. He’s leading each of us who’ve taken this upon themselves and changed their lives. He’s in all of us collectively, he’s there. He’s presente because he’s developed the framework in which we’re going at making revolution. That matters a lot, but it’s not just the framework that we have now, but we have the ongoing leadership in BA. This is what we need, and we have it. Let’s not squander it at a moment like this in history.

So, this is what you need to consider, and we’ll help you do that. We’ll help you. I understand people need help with different problems, they’ve got families, they’ve got illnesses in their families, people count on them for support, people have student loans to pay off, people are carrying the expectations of generations that have toiled in fields and crossed borders to come here to send you to school and now you’re going to go... do what? Are you going to throw it all away you may be told... or, is your answer going to be that you’re going to apply it to actually make a difference in the world, to free humanity? And you have to struggle with the people who want to pull you back and say don’t go too far, don’t go there. And say no, this is necessary, it’s possible and it’s definitely desirable—and you should get into it too, mom, dad, brother, sister, neighbor, friend, or whoever.

So, that’s upon us right now and we have to make good on it. But if it turns out that you’re not able to at the current time make the full commitment, that doesn’t mean you need to disappear. If there’s things you don’t agree with, we have to find the ways that you can make this movement possible, what you’re going to do with it and we have to continue to struggle. But that’s not where I want to actually be today. Because speaking for myself and I think for others who are leading this movement, both those who have been more on the ground every day, as well as the others of us—I’ve seen the change in so many of you. I’ve seen the potential. We’ve collectively recognized how people have matured over a period of just four months which is... on the one hand if you’re young, it’s a lifetime, but it’s just the blink of an eye. And you should really appreciate—appreciate, not just in the sense of satisfaction, which is part of it—but appreciate in the sense of understand what it is you’ve been led through and what it is you’ve done and learned and where you could go and what that would mean for the future of humanity.

So it comes back to the question of the woman in Baltimore when she says to us: Will you be there? She’s saying it to each and every one of you and she’s saying it to all of us collectively. We went out and we represented. We put on the shirts. If you put on the BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! shirt you have to mean that. You can’t betray that. You have to struggle for other people who put it on to mean it too. If you put on the shirt of BA, you have to do justice to it, recognizing what it means to have this leader and this leadership. So the question is: Will you be there? And the answer is: We can do no less.

And I just want to say to everybody who’s been part of the school, to those who’ve come for the first time, those who are not here tonight whose face is turned towards us and who we have to get back with right away, I really appreciate and we appreciate what you’ve done—not for itself but for what it could actually mean for the future of humanity at this moment when the two futures hang so sharply in the balance. So that’s what I have to say. Thank you very much.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/living-thru-a-revolutionary-week-and-going-beyond-en.html

Living Thru a Revolutionary Week & Going Beyond

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the Revolution Club: These are a combination of my thoughts about the Socialist Science school and where my head is at currently. I told you I’d do this. I’m not promising perfection as you read this. But I said I’d do it and it is finally done. Read below...

The “Socialist Science” school was of importance in regards to getting more in depth of what the science of revolution is. It involved comrades from the Revolution Club Chicago, the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, and others that flew in from other Revolution Clubs from different parts of the country. What was uniting about this experience is that ALL the Rev Club members have different backgrounds and experiences but all of us are dedicated to emancipating humanity with the Synthesis for the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian having to unite us and help see the commonality between all of us. I can’t speak for other people, but I feel like I learned from everyone no matter if they were involved with Rev Club before or after me or whether they were younger or older. Learning from everyone is what made me excited to attend.

Starting With BA’s Historic Speech—Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

Monday began with a screening of the most recent Bob Avakian talk of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. You come across something new every single time this speech is watched. Whether “Socialist Science” camp or not, it is critical that ALL of us in the Revolution study this talk. This analysis is the most sober assessment and most recent study that details how the current system of capitalism-imperialism has the “5 Stops” interwoven that you cannot repair or reform it within its confines while it goes on to explain that this system has enough contradictions within it that it is very possible (though never guaranteed) that a victorious Revolution is possible. If one looks at this issue from a perspective of science as Bob Avakian does, then one must go with the most recent study and analysis that is current. It would be silly and unscientific to study Revolution up to Lenin only like some do and not go beyond it. This speech is a one of the most recent and innovative studies so far. I think having it done on the first day was critical in setting the tone for the rest of the week in regards to what are the threats to humanity that brought us to this movement for a Real Revolution and getting to work on this Revolution.

Changing Plans to Respond to a Horrific White Supremacist Massacre

Over the weekend prior to the entire week of the “Socialist Science” school, a shooting happened at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, by a white supremacist in a community that happens to be mostly Latino. Tuesday was focused on what our reaction to that should be. The interesting aspect of that day is the scientific approach to this situation. When something unexpected happens in this society that must be paid attention to, the Revolution Clubs must react irrelevant of what the prior plans were. It would be kind of like in researching a virus, you utilize what you have researched so far but a new strain occurs and the research must correspond with the unexpected contradictions but still not entirely discount what was learned about the virus prior to the new strain.

Taking Revolution, Straight Up, to the Masses—Impacting and Learning

My group went to an immigrant neighborhood to talk to people and pass out flyers. The certain folks that I spoke to come from either a Mexican or Central American background who lived in the area seemed receptive to Revolution. Especially some younger people I spoke to that seemed shaken up by both the El Paso shooting by the white supremacist and with Central American migrants being put in concentration camps. Some of them expressed fears of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents coming into the neighborhood. One women went on to say that she does not know much about communism but what we have going on right now “sure as fuck isn’t working.” The white people who live in the area most of the time seemed more resistant to revolution. One interesting conversation I have gotten into is with a well-intentioned white guy that told me he’ll be supporting Bernie Sanders and similar people in the 2020 elections. I made my argument against waiting till 2020, mentioned Refuse Fascism but also told him about the “voting trap.” How seeking small reforms will not solve all his concerns and how Trump/Pence are currently tearing apart all hard fought for reforms that benefitted women, minorities, and the LGBTQ communities. He did acknowledge this but could not get past what “revolution” meant. “It can’t be violent. I don’t want to see people killed.” But I expressed that our comfort in this country is based on people suffering and dying outside our borders. “Just because we don’t see them, does not mean that the lives of those don’t matter. You don’t want to see people die in a revolutionary situation but this system is killing people right now before a revolutionary situation existing.” He agreed with everything with me but vehemently refused to be open to “revolution” but was happy to grab a issue #526 Revolution newspaper and told me he’ll do some research on Bob Avakian. Other white people I have spoken to seemed to have a loosely similar outlook in the area. This neighborhood was a great example of class outlook. The Latinx community were more open to revolutionary change because they currently see this system threatening their community and way of life. Certain white folks tended to hold on more strongly to “painless progress.” The white people I have spoken to were justifiably appalled at the current situation and went as far to acknowledge capitalism-imperialism being the issue, but most were not too quick to acknowledge the possibility of Revolution being the only solution. Then I thought about the certain people who were appalled at the concentration camps, if it was them being threatened, would they still be debating me on focusing on electoral politics or the 2020 elections.

Now I’m entirely not lumping people in one group or another. I’ve met Hispanics that want to wait till 2020 and privileged white folks that want to drive out Trump by hitting the streets via mass protest or general strike. But there is a certain huge portion of the population that does view things based on certain levels of class and privilege. As I grow as a Revolutionary, I do recognize those things more often now than I have in the past.

Wrangling With BA’s Analysis of Fascism—and Going to Work to Apply It

The next morning we watched a Bob Avakian clip from a talk he did last year on “Is there going to be a Civil War between the Democrats and the Fascists?” This brought me back to our experience in the neighborhood the day before. Bob Avakian points out how the Democrats want to fight the fascists by upholding the democratic institutions. Yet by not encouraging people to go outside the norms to drive out the Trump/Pence regime they are also serving the ruling classes. Good examples are Democrats pushing to fund ICE and wanting to “protect” Americans at the border by not building a wall but using alternatives to terrorize migrants. I thought that certain people who did not come here in the most legal way or had close family might be prone to Revolution. I am close to some people who worry about getting deported. Then I think of the privileged strata and how the majority will vehemently look for answers in a system that was deficient and ill to begin with. How many do realize the fascistic terror that the Trump/Pence regime is bringing forth, but due to their comfort they have much faith in this system? Even though logically I know many of those people are not bad but there is a bitterness I feel due to the selfishness that brings forth from this system if you benefit from the crumbs it throws at you.

The entire Organizing Center strongly agreed that an action must take place to protest this white supremacist shooting in El Paso. A debate took place about what kind of action and where. What I liked about it was that people spoke their minds and ideas. We all wanted the same thing but with a diverse group of people, there is always a risk of contradictory views. But it is always important to have an environment that encourages different ideas being put forth and opinions that are genuinely honest. A healthy back and forth based on a common goal of TRULY building a new world.

Back Out to the Masses with Revolution and an Urgent Call to Act

My group did do an outing at a busy intersection downtown. This was one of my highlights outside that is only second to the Bud Billiken Parade that happened a couple days later. My group was in the car driving and going over how and what should be agitated. I have done this with myself for Refuse Fascism but never with a group of people. I’m decent at agitating for Refuse Fascism but my confidence is not yet the highest in regards to Revolution. But that will be changing VERY SOON as time moves on.

When we got there, it began with a comrade agitating in both English and Spanish. I passed out flyers and spoke to people. The range of people that did talk to me were distraught about the El Paso shooting and agreed with me that a radical change is needed. When I talked about the leadership of Bob Avakian along with the Constitution he wrote and the New Communism, people to my surprise were receptive. I did get a handful of people to sign up. I even gave to two people the HOW WE CAN WIN pamphlets due to them showing a genuine interest and curiosity. I even did a little agitation. We let people walking past let what they feel off their chest in regards to the shootings over the prior weekend or just the fucked up system of capitalism-imperialism. There was one young man that was a DePaul student who used to be a bit of a regular at RF rallies. My memories of him were pleasant due to him helping me set up those rallies when we were understaffed. He kind of became an unofficial co-MC passing the mic to a Revolution Club member or just people on the street that wanted to say something. When he talked to me about Revolution this time and not removing Trump/Pence, he had a genuine curiosity.

Uniting and Struggling at a Vigil for El Paso

We drove to a rally that was organized by former El Paso residents. Numerous people spoke. A Refuse Fascism member made a great argument about fascism consolidating and why it is critical to go outside the norms to create a mass consistent protest to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. If you looked around, you can tell this was connecting with the crowd well. It was a fantastic speech, yet it was quite tragic it was saved for last. A woman for Operation Push then decided to destroy the mood and to have people focus on candidates for 2020. I have no issue with people giving some levels of diverse opinions at a rally. But afterwards, speakers that do contradict themselves should talk with each other. Or probably before that. But what I loved about the speaker for RF is how she was able to have her words connect with people. She spoke beautifully from the heart. She also gave a viewpoint that MUST connect to the masses since humanity does depend on it. What I learned from her and how people connected with her speech is what ways can the Revolution connect with people in a way that it never has in the past. A comrade from the Tour began agitating the crowd in Spanish. There were some folks that listened. I’m sure there were certain people that connected with it. I was busy watching the banner so I didn’t observe as much sadly. But one goal I do have for myself down the line is to either make a speech or even agitate, as I speak about the ills of capitalism-imperialism and go over the hope of Revolution can bring to the masses, I want those words to touch everyone inside. Anyone serious about Revolution should be persistent about educating the masses but also be mercilessly persistent in having people connect emotionally to Revolution. Whether it be agitating, speeches, audio, or visual. How can this educate yet inspire Revolution?

Taking Over Lake Shore Drive to Stand With Immigrants and Fight for Revolution

The next day we went to protest downtown against the white supremacist shooting in El Paso along with the attack on immigrants. We were walking downtown and ended being on Monroe, east of Michigan Ave. The other half of the group had Lake Shore Drive blocked off. Some people got out of the car to join the protests while others were complaining. It was a hell of a scene and it was something I was immensely proud of. This was also a moment that I have no doubts with what path I want my life to go in. We all went to the Organizing Center afterwards to have a great meal.

Learning, Gaining Confidence, Acting as a Team

This was a great learning experience and I know for next time I’ll feel more confident in being more vocal in planning this out. I was silent in the planning mostly because I was conflicted on what I thought would be good, but there are many veteran activists in the Revolution Club, tour, and the ones that flew to take the class that I would probably learn more from listening. It also made me think, in case we have a smaller group for next time, how do we use it as a strength as well. Since fascism has not consolidated entirely just yet, we need to become braver in not being shy in both political action and creativity. We pick narrowness and shyness up like a napkin and light a match to burn it.

Shredding the U.S. Flag and Representing for a Whole New World at the Bud Billiken Parade

We then had the Bud Billiken Day parade, which was a blast. We marched, chanted, and there was agitation from the truck. People watching the parade had their fists up in the air when they saw us. But the highlight was a performance we did with the American flag. The symbolism was inanely coincidental. One of our comrades began stepping on it—the flag and picked it up. She held it upside down for awhile to wave it for a bit. Then she begins to tear it. The reaction was more positive than I expected. These small African-American kids were cheering and our comrade ran to them so they can begin tearing the flag. Until a pig walked over and prevented it. “You are not ripping the flag in front of me.” A few of us call him a “pig.”

Our comrade picked up on what we live under. She begins tearing the present. Then the generation of tomorrow that does not have any sort of white privilege rips a symbol of their oppression until the authority of the modern-day oppression prevents the destruction of the symbol so the ruling classes can remain in power. This is the direction of creativity the Revolution should move towards. Obviously not doing the exact same things repeatedly, but this was an act that beautifully connected with the masses. It touched them emotionally.

Live for Ourselves or Work to Emancipate Humanity?

The last day was a great speech Andy Zee made. A big focus from what I remember is what do we want to dedicate our lives to. Live for ourselves or work to emancipate humanity. In the speech he gets more deeper into this. The route of my life has already been decided before the speech but it was a speech I needed to hear. But it made me think of my grandfather’s life trajectory. He was inspired by what Lenin was doing in the Soviet Union. He also saw the growth of fascism in Europe and goes to France to work a few odd jobs till he can finally get into Spain to fight Franco with the International Brigade. He goes to China for less than a year (I sadly don’t know the details of that one). Then comes back to fight Nazis. But after the war, a faux-communist party takes over where he was and Real Revolutionaries aren’t too welcome. An old buddy of his in the party at the time helps him out where he can be stable and safe. He meets my grandmother and has two kids. He doesn’t live in a revolutionary society he was hoping for. Certain defeats will influence or turn you away to what you originally dedicated your life to. This is how he thought it would be and becomes disillusioned and does his best to live a peaceful and stable life and accepts the society around him.

Now this doesn’t change how I feel about him being my grandfather by any means and my early childhood memories of him are quite precious to me. But his understanding of the science of communism was not as solid as I’m beginning to understand it. And that should not be so shocking since he was literally from the generation that came out of the first wave of communism. That first wave had wonderful successes but it’s also important to look at those shortcomings as well as how the revolutionaries of that period dealt with them.

I asked a veteran comrade once, what makes you not give up as a Revolutionary. He answers with “because I understand the science!” He definitely has a deeper understanding than I do.

The New Communism Is a Gift from BA to Myself and the Rest of Humanity

I want to dedicate my life to both studying the New Synthesis of Communism and building a world for it. That is how I answer that question to Andy Zee’s speech. If Bob Avakian did not spend the last 40 years in studying how to emancipate humanity but sold out instead or became some reformist, my view probably would still be similar to my grandfather’s in his later years. It kind of was for many years actually. The New Communism I view is a gift to myself and the rest of humanity. But another gift that Bob Avakian gave me is persistence in changing society no matter how big it looks and how long it takes. That kind of persistence is something all Revolutionaries should take as an example.

I was taking a temporary hiatus from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I will definitely be training soon again. One lesson it teaches you every strength has a weakness attached to it. If my opponent looks huge and intimidating, he also would have enough contradictions where if I looked at them scientifically and not go strength to strength but to use the opponent’s movement against themselves, I would create his downfall and defeat him. That is exactly how I feel when I read that Bob Avakian quote “If you can conceive of a world without America...” When I read the pamphlet HOW WE CAN WIN or watch Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Avakian views the same contradictions in the United States as I view in an opponent that is either stronger or bigger than I am.

I will now move on with my fellow comrades to emancipate humanity.

See also:

Closing Remarks at the “Revolution School”:
Learning and Applying the Method and Approach of Bob Avakian to Change a Changing World

Andy Zee; Sunday August 11, 2019

Read more

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Watch This: "What if..."

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To Revcom,

I came upon this video posted by the LA Revolution Club on Instagram. Moved in profound ways, I wrote: If you have a heart for humanity... if you feel that the people of the world could be and do so much better than all that is today... here’s a beautiful invitation. I then showed the video to two friends, each teared up. There is more that I could say about the video, about the words spoken and by whom, but instead, watch it, reflect on it, circulate it, and take it to heart and then decide what you are going to strive for and do....

Andy Zee

Watch: www.instagram.com/p/B1NQY38Ak2b/

 

Funds urgently needed each month to maintain, upgrade, and expand revcom.us.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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The Revolution Tour Is in NYC—$25,000 Needed in the Month of October

Updated | revcom.us

 

The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour is now in New York City, boldly breaking onto the scene with the spirit of “You Think You’re Woke... But You’re Sleepwalking Through a Nightmare—This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!” The world is being shaken up on many fronts, and the Tour is taking this message into the midst of these momentous events. A great deal is demanded of these revolutionaries in times like these and funds are urgently needed to support this important work!

Members of the Tour have been out to the high schools and out in the midst of the major outpourings of mainly young people at the Climate Strike saying: “Capitalism Is A Straitjacket On Humanity’s Chance To Save Our Planet... Only A REAL Revolution Can Remove That Straitjacket.” They quickly traveled to Washington, DC, to join with a protest against Trump, and carried a big banner saying “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives!—Bob Avakian” and “NO U.S. War On Iran!”—just as the danger of the Trump regime launching a war against Iran is sharpening. There in DC, members of the Tour attended the important national meeting called by Refuse Fascism to discuss calling people out into the streets in sustained nonviolent protests week after week to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power. In all of this, the Tour has been both uniting with people who are standing up in struggle while putting squarely before people that what is needed is to build a movement for an ACTUAL revolution and calling on people to be a part of this. And in the midst of all this, now some of the Tour volunteers are being called back to Los Angeles where they face grossly unjust charges stemming from standing up against the Trump/Pence regime in 2017 and 2018.

Film showings of the talks by Bob Avakian, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! and Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution are planned in New York, and the Tour will be getting out in a major way on the campuses very soon.

But all of this can’t be done without raising greater funds right now. For the month of October, there is a need for a minimum of $25,000 to be raised to meet the most basic needs to sustain the volunteers, to print and distribute massive materials, to travel for trials, to travel to different cities on the East Coast—everywhere bringing out the message of the Tour in what promise to be turbulent times where this is needed more than ever.

 

$25,000 Is Needed in October

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"This Is as Good as It Gets"

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From a supporter of the Tour:

I just contributed $400 to the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour.

I was reminded of the movie “As Good as It Gets” that starred Jack Nicholson when a friend and I were watching the video of the fund raiser for the Chicago tour. Luan was talking about how humanity in the world suffers because of U.S. imperialism and then about how that affects us here in the USA.

This is as good as our world is going to get for us without a revolution. Literally billions around the world are at the edge of starvation. Life is not going to get better for them, because to a Capital-Imperialist society, those lives are worthless. They live so close to the edge of survival that there is nothing to exploit from them. Life for them is “as good as it can get” if they can just stay alive.

Those that live an edge above them, have worth in that they can be exploited. But as has been shown in the sewing factory collapse in Bangladesh, they are an easily expendable and replaceable commodity. Our news is filled daily with these tragedies. Their worth is only how much they can be exploited by keeping them on the edge of living. Under this system, they will never get above that struggle. Life for them is “as good as it will get.”

I have been to several so-called second world countries. I have seen their lives up close and personal. Many are well educated with college degrees, and still they struggle to find worthwhile employment to use their education and skills. Yet because of the exploitation, the corruption and collaboration of their governments, they struggle, survive, but cannot get ahead. Neither, intelligence, education, nor hard work will get them to their dream. Life in general is “as good as it will get.”

Here I am, in the USA, the capital of world imperialism. I have attained an upper middle-class status after more than 50 years of hard labor. If I retire, I will quickly lose that upper status. I look around at those who were my friends and colleagues and have watched them slip down the slope from middle class. It is a shrinking and largely disappearing “class.” I see millennials, working part time jobs to make their ends meet. That wonderful “voodoo” economy of trickle-down economy, is indeed trickle down. The rich exploiters are getting richer, and the trickle down has become dribble-down. As fascism doubles down on us, this is “as good as it will get.”

I went through the struggles of the ’60s and against the war in Vietnam. I was surrounded by revolutionaries. I became one myself. But we did not have a party and we did not have leadership. Within 10 years most of those revolutionaries became what Bob Avakian calls BEB, Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit.

This sounds pessimistic, but I am not pessimistic. I watched what was happening in Los Angeles and was encouraged. I watched those young people starting in Chicago who have a clear grasp, not just of the problem, but, importantly, they have the grasp of the solution.

There is a better life possible, the future does not have to be bleak. But it will take a revolution to do it.

Thank you Luan for what you said. It made it clear. This is as good as it gets without a revolution. I am giving what I can. This is the payment on my insurance policy for my children and for all of humanity. As Woody Guthrie sang, “There’s a better world a comin’.” Keep doing what you are doing and Woody’s dream can become a reality.

I gave what I could at that time, $400. I want to ask others to do what they can. We are at the top of the food chain in this country. We all have something to give that will not cause our children to starve. By giving something now, we can see beyond “as good as it gets.”

—An Engineer in Texas

“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 the Call to the Tour »

Goal:
$50,000 by the End of Labor Day Weekend

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Ten Basic Principles of Organizing

| revcom.us

 

These 10 points were prepared for a workshop at the June 9 organizing conference held by the National Revolution Tour in Los Angeles. While still a work in progress, people found these to be a helpful outline.

Keep these as an informal guide for your Club. Are you doing these? Are you staying on track?

  1. The two principles of the Revolution Club are: Humanity Needs Revolution and the New Communism and Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.
  2. 5-2-6—the 5 Stops, the 2 Choices, and the 6 Points of Attention (POA)—are essential. Spread these everywhere...
  3. Boldly challenge people to live by the POAs and recruit into the Revolution Club those who agree with the 5 Stops and 2 Choices and who will strive to live by and fight for the Points of Attention.
  4. Bob Avakian’s leadership and work is a tremendous guide and amazing eye-opener. Get into BA and put BA before people—use BAsics (the book, quote cards, and posters [e.g., 1:13]), watch and show the films and question/answer sessions, get into the books, and discuss these in the Revolution Club...
  5. HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution is the strategy for revolution. The filmed speech of Bob Avakian, WHY WE NEED AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION AND HOW WE CAN REALLY MAKE REVOLUTION, along with the questions and answers, expands on this. Read this pamphlet and watch the film, discuss them with others, read and watch them again and again, and as you come to understand them more deeply, increasingly use them to guide your work.  
  6. Don’t “meet people where they’re at.” Instead: disturb the air, bring them the truth, and generate controversy with a good spirit.
  7. Break down the barriers between the movement for revolution and the people; take the problems of the revolution to the masses.
  8. Put the revolution before people straight up, then let them find their own level of commitment. Building this movement is a process of unity as well as struggle.
  9. Accumulate new people into the revolution... then organize people to have impact on crucial struggles or big events... then accumulate more people... and on and on.
  10. This is a nationwide movement with the whole world in mind... use the web presence (the revcom.us website, social media, etc.) to learn how to understand what’s going on in the world and to get guidance for building the movement for revolution... to amplify what you or your group does... to raise questions... and to send your thoughts and actions.

 

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Fascist Regime Moves to Step Up Concentration Camp Detention of Children and Mass Deportation of Immigrants

| revcom.us

 

On August 21, the Trump/Pence regime announced two vicious anti-immigrant initiatives. One was a new regulation that will (if not overturned by the courts) allow the government to imprison undocumented parents and their children indefinitely, and allow the government to hold children in even more wretched conditions than it does now. The other was Trump's announcement that he is “looking very, very seriously” at ending “birthright citizenship”—which, if he succeeds, would mean any infants born in this country to non-citizen mothers would not be citizens; they would effectively be regarded as “illegals” and therefore upon birth be subject to incarceration and deportation.

Taken together, these measures are intended to take the demonization and persecution of hundreds of thousands, even millions, of immigrants to new depths of inhumanity.

Institutionalized Cruelty

In the 1980s and ’90s large numbers of immigrants from Central America made the perilous journey of up to 3,000 miles from their homelands to the U.S. They were fleeing an inferno of genocidal slaughter inflicted on them by U.S.-sponsored and backed wars. (For more on this, read the revcom.us American Crime series articles on Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.)

Most of the people not arrested at the border or caught up in raids by la Migra—immigration police—were packed into slums in Los Angeles and other cities. Many were exploited at shit jobs with low pay. Those arrested were put in “detention centers”—more accurately, concentration camps. The New York Times described the conditions at a center in Southern California that sparked a lengthy legal battle to gain decent treatment for detained immigrant children: “A barricade of razor wire surrounded an old motel ... where migrants were locked in overcrowded rooms, children and adults jammed in together for weeks, ... [the children were] offered no schooling, no recreation, no doctors, no visits with relatives.”

Now, Trump/Pence regime’s edict would overturn the result of that legal battle—the Flores Agreement—which had set the legal framework for treatment of detained immigrant children for 22 years, and supposedly provided a minimum standard of legal rights and decent treatment for the children (see box).

Even with those supposed protections and guidelines, children and other immigrants have been held in squalid, overcrowded, untended, and unhealthy conditions. Children have routinely been separated from their parents. According to CBS News, at least seven children have died this year in or immediately after leaving Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention and concentration camps.

Elora Mukherjee, a law professor at Columbia University, described the conditions she found this year at a concentration camp in Clint, Texas, in an interview with The Atlantic magazine. She wrote that what she witnessed was “...appalling. In 12 years representing immigrant children in detention, I have never seen such degradation and inhumanity. Children were dirty, they were scared, and they were hungry.

“An overwhelming number of children who I interviewed had not had an opportunity for a shower or bath since crossing the border [days or weeks earlier]. They were wearing the same clothing that they had crossed the border in. Their clothing was covered in bodily fluids, including urine and breast milk for the teenage moms who are breastfeeding.

“Nearly every child I spoke with said that they were hungry because they’re being given insufficient food. The food at Clint is rationed on trays. Everyone gets an identical tray regardless of if you’re a 1-year-old, or you’re a 17-year-old, or a breastfeeding teenage mother who has higher caloric needs. The same food is served every single day, and none of the children receive any fruit and vegetables or any milk.”

But to the cold-blooded fascists who hold the reins of power in this country today, all this is not enough. Trump is out to overturn Flores. Ending Flores will enable the government to hold families indefinitely and/or deport them quickly. It will give the government a green light to build concentration camps around the country, with little or no regulation of their facilities.

According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Kevin McAleenan, about 475,000 immigrant families have come into the U.S. just in this year, mostly crossing the U.S. border with Mexico. Repudiating the Flores settlement, along with other measures instituted by the DHS, such as “expedited removal,” signal the government’s full intention to carry through with horrific crimes against humanity on a truly massive scale.

This Cannot Stand

The measures and threats announced this week have yet to take effect. After the new DHS regulations are officially filed on August 23, they are scheduled to begin 60 days after that. They will certainly be contested by lawsuits. Changing the law on birthright citizenship would require changing the U.S. Constitution. But the reality is that as horrific as Trump’s threat to deny citizenship to children of immigrant mothers is, the “logic of the logic” driving this white supremacist regime could lead these fascists to extend this proposed measure to other non-white sections of the people (think of Trump’s recent “send them back” rant hurled at congresswomen of color who are citizens).

The attacks spewing from Trump and his fascist thugs are part of an extremely ominous and dangerous escalation. They are already having a chilling impact on millions of immigrants in this country. They embolden and encourage white supremacists and neo-Nazi forces throughout society in their virulent, murderous hatred of immigrants. These moves tear up any pretense of legality and compassion and put in its place increasingly open repression and heartless contempt. They continue to fortify a border already militarized to a surreal degree.

Trump said on August 21 that all these attacks on immigrants are coming “together, like a beautiful puzzle.” The fascists in power are telling us what they intend to do. The question is, what will people, in their thousands and eventually millions,do?

These outrages must be defeated, and met with massive, sustained opposition, now.

 

The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants

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Detention Center, Weslaco, Texas, June 11, 2019. Photo: Office of Inspector General, Dept of Homeland Security

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/606/bob-avakian-individualism-beb-and-the-illusion-of-painless-progress-en.html

The following is taken from a recent talk given by Bob Avakian

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

| revcom.us

 

Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

This work is the edited text of a talk given in the spring of 2019, and the following section (“Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’”) has been published (posted at revcom.us) beginning in the summer of this year.  In late September 2019, Nancy Pelosi (and the Democratic Party leadership of which she is a prominent representative), after a prolonged stubborn insistence on refusing to impeach Donald Trump, reversed course and announced that an “impeachment inquiry” of Trump would be undertaken. This reversal was hinged upon—and Pelosi and Company have made an attempt to focus this “impeachment inquiry” overwhelmingly, if not solely, on—the revelation (stemming from a report by a government “whistleblower”) that Trump has been involved in an effort to pressure the government of Ukraine to do Trump the “favor” of digging up (or “cooking up”) dirt on Joe Biden, former Vice President (under Obama) and a leading contender for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidential election in 2020.  Pelosi and the Democrats have identified this as an abuse of presidential power, in pursuit of Trump’s personal interests (particularly looking ahead to the 2020 election) and have given emphasis to their insistence that, in making this “favor” the basis (and the price) for the continuation of the U.S. military aid to Ukraine, in its confrontation with pro-Russian forces, Trump “undermined U.S. national security,” particularly in relation to its major adversary Russia.  In other words, while, from their bourgeois perspective, their concern is very real in regard to the imperialist “national interests” of the U.S., the “norms” of how this system’s rule has been imposed and maintained, the importance to them of a “peaceful transition” from one administration to another through elections—and the danger posed to this by Trump’s trampling on these “norms”—Pelosi and Company, in focusing this “impeachment inquiry” on this narrow basis, have underlined the fact that they are acting in accordance with their sense of the interests of U.S. capitalist imperialism and its drive to remain the dominant imperialist power in the world, and that they continue to refuse to demand Trump’s ouster on the basis of his many outrageous statements and acts directed against masses of people, not only in the U.S. but internationally:  his overt racism and promotion of white supremacy and white supremacist violence; his gross misogyny and attacks on the rights of women, including very prominently the right to abortion, and on LGBT rights; his repeated calls for and backing of intensified brutal repression and suppression of dissent; his discrimination against Muslims and his cruel targeting of immigrants, involving confinement in concentration camp-like conditions, including for those fleeing from persecution and the very real threat of death in their “home countries” and seeking asylum on that basis, and the separation of even very young children from their parents; his assault on science and the scientific pursuit of the truth, including denial of the science of climate change and continuing moves to undermine and reverse even minor and completely ineffective protections of the environment; his threats to destroy countries, including through the use of nuclear weapons—in short, his all-around drive to fully consolidate fascist rule and implement a horrific, fascist agenda, with terrible consequences for the masses of humanity

While, as of this writing, it is not clear what this “impeachment inquiry” will lead to—whether Trump will actually be impeached in the House of Representatives, and what will happen then in the Senate to determine whether he should be convicted and removed from office—it is already clear that the way in which the Democrats are seeking to narrowly focus the move to oust Trump emphasizes yet again the importance of these basic points of orientation:

The Democrats, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc., are seeking to resolve the crisis with the Trump presidency on the terms of this system, and in the interests of the ruling class of this system, which they represent.  We, the masses of people, must go all out, and mobilize ourselves in the millions, to resolve this in our interests, in the interests of humanity, which are fundamentally different from and opposed to those of the ruling class.

This, of course, does not mean that the struggle among the powers that be is irrelevant or unimportant; rather, the way to understand and approach this (and this is a point that must also be repeatedly driven home to people, including through necessary struggle, waged well) is in terms of how it relates to, and what openings it can provide for, “the struggle from below”—for the mobilization of masses of people around the demand that the whole regime must go, because of its fascist nature and actions and what the stakes are for humanity.

Clearly, the removal of not just Trump, but also the Christian Fascist Vice President Mike Pence, and indeed this whole fascist regime, is of urgent importance.  But this will only serve the fundamental interests of the masses of people—not just in this country but in the world as a whole—if this is achieved, not on the basis of confining things within the terms of and through the furthering of the “national interests” of the monstrously oppressive U.S. empire, but on the basis of the mobilization of mass opposition to the fascism of this Trump/Pence regime, which has been produced by and risen to power through the “normal functioning” of this system, of which it is an extreme but not somehow an “alien” expression.

~~~~~~~~~~

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

All this—even the seemingly more “benign,” or oblivious, individualism—links up with the repeated and stubborn insistence on chasing after the illusion of painless progress. If something makes people uncomfortable—and still more, if it holds out the prospect of sacrifice, necessary sacrifice, on their part—far too many people turn away from it. As I’ve pointed out before, there’s this whole attitude of approaching reality as if it’s a “buffet,” or approaching it like a consumer: “Well, that makes me uncomfortable. I’ll just leave that to the side. I don’t want to look at that because that makes me uncomfortable.”

I am going to talk later about some of the more ridiculous and outrageous forms of this. But just to give a little preview, as I pointed out in The New Communism, some people went on one of the college campuses a couple of years ago with a poster of Stolen Lives, people who’d been killed by police (not all of them, by any means, but dozens), and someone came up and started whining: “I don’t like that poster, it makes me feel unsafe.” As I commented at the time: Oh, boo-hoo! Let’s get out of this boo-hoo shit and start talking about and engaging seriously what’s happening to masses of people, one significant part of which is represented by what’s on that poster.

One of the most common and problematical forms of this repeated and stubborn insistence on chasing after the illusion of “painless progress,” particularly among people who consider themselves somewhat enlightened (or progressive, or “woke,” or however they want to put it), is what we very rightly term BEB—Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit—and the phenomenon that people continually confine themselves to the narrow limits of what is presented to them by one section of the ruling class, as embodied in the Democratic Party: “These are the limits of what I’ll consider in terms of possibly bringing about change”—because this is the well-worn rut of what is, at least up to this point, relatively safe in terms of political engagement. It may even become not-so-safe in the future, depending on how things go with these fascists who are working to consolidate their power right now through the ruling regime of Trump and Pence. But for now it seems relatively painless. It is also completely ineffectual and doesn’t bring about any kind of change that’s needed, but it’s a way to feel that you’re doing something while avoiding any sacrifice, and even any real discomfort.

One of the ways this gets expressed, along with the BEB, is people, in their masses, not confronting the reality of Trump/Pence fascism, and therefore not acting in a way commensurate with the danger and the potentially even greater horrors this represents.

Just to step back, and to speak to a very important element of this that I’ve touched on before, Trump’s election—through the electoral college, not the popular vote—is, in a real sense, an extension of slavery: the people who voted for Trump are the kind of people who would have been pro-slavery, had they been around at the time of slavery in the United States. And those who find it acceptable to have the overt white supremacist Trump in the White House are the kind of people who would have ignored or would have openly accepted and justified or rationalized slavery when it existed. And here I have to invoke what I thought was a very insightful comment by Ron Reagan (yes, Ronald Reagan’s maverick son, who is also, to his great credit, an unabashed atheist): Trump’s much-analyzed, over-analyzed, “base” will continue supporting him, no matter what he does, Ron Reagan has pointed out (and this is very insightful), because Trump hates all the same people they hate.

As opposed to all the obfuscation about the economic difficulties people are going through, blah, blah, blah, that is often used to rationalize why people voted for and continue to support Trump, what Ron Reagan has sharply pointed to is the essence of Trump’s “base.” And, by the way, notice how all the mainstream media, CNN and so on, continually use this term: Trump’s “base.” This is a neutral term, “base.” These are a bunch of fascists, okay? And by using these euphemisms, or these neutral terms, like “base,” you’re obscuring and keeping people from seeing what is actually represented by Trump and those who support him, and the depth of the real danger this poses. Ron Reagan’s comment is very much to the point. He went on to elaborate: They hate LGBT people, they hate women (independent women, and really all women), they hate Black people, they hate immigrants, they hate Muslims, and so on. And Trump hates all the same people they hate.

That is why they’ll never desert him, whatever he does. That is why he could very rightly make the comment: “I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue in New York City and these people wouldn’t turn against me.”

At the same time, it has to be bluntly said: For the millions, and tens of millions, who say they hate everything Trump stands for and what he is doing but who, after all this time, have still not taken to the streets in sustained mobilization demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must go, this makes them collaborators with this fascist regime and themselves guilty of the egregious crime of tolerating this regime when they still could have the possibility of achieving the demand that it must go, through such mass mobilization!

To paraphrase Paul Simon: They are squandering their resistance for a pocketful of mumbles—and worse—from the Democratic Party.

It is long past time—and there is still time, but not much time—for this to change, for masses of people to finally take to the streets, and stay in the streets, with the firm resolve that this fascist regime must go!

And here are some very relevant questions for the millions and tens of millions who hate everything Trump stands for but have failed or refused to mobilize, in their masses, in non-violent but sustained action around the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power, as has been called for by Refuse Fascism: If you will not take to the streets now to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, what will you do if Trump is re-elected (perhaps through the electoral college, even if he again loses the popular vote)? And what will you do if Trump loses the election (even by the electoral college count) but then refuses to recognize the results and insists he is still President?!

At the same time, it is necessary to point to the very serious problems with the dangerous naiveté and “left” posturing of certain “progressive” intellectuals. For example, someone like Glenn Greenwald, who has done some good things in exposing the violations of people’s rights under this system—human rights, civil rights and civil liberties—but who, whenever anything’s brought out about the terrible crimes and horrors that are represented by the Trump/Pence regime, insists upon immediately saying things like, “Yes, but what about Hillary Clinton, and what about the Democrats, and the terrible things they have done?” All of which is true. As we have pointed out: The Democratic Party is a machine of massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. And this does need to be brought out. At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that the Republican Party is fascist, and if you don’t understand that this has real meaning and real importance—and every time someone speaks to the outrages and horrors perpetrated by these fascists, you insist on immediately raising, “Yes, but what about the Democrats?”—you’re leading people, or pointing people, away from an understanding of the real dynamics going on here and the real dangers.

And then there is Slavoj Žižek. As is very bluntly, and very accurately, put in the article by Raymond Lotta, “Slavoj Žižek Is a Puffed-Up Idiot Who Does Great Damage”:

Slavoj Žižek, an influential fool-of-a-philosopher who often poses as a “communist,” declared his support for Donald Trump on British TV. A victory for Trump, according to Žižek, will help the Republicans and Democrats “rethink themselves”—and could bring about “a kind of big awakening.” And speaking from his “what-me-worry” perch [Lotta goes on], Žižek pronounced that Trump “will not introduce fascism.”

As Lotta then succinctly states: “This is wrong, this is poison.” And it is similar to the kind of wrong and dangerous thinking that people like Glenn Greenwald fall into and propagate. Similarly to Glenn Greenwald, it involves playing down the actual reality and danger of what’s represented by fascism, even as, once again, the Democratic Party is an instrument of bourgeois dictatorship, and a machine of massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

This kind of wrong thinking is also exemplified by someone like Julian Assange, who actually, from all appearances, and it does seem to be the case, contributed to the machinations that went on around the Trump campaign, involving, it does seem, the Russians in this, and who did so with the same kind of rationalization that Žižek put forward, as cited by Raymond Lotta—that Clinton and the Democratic Party represent the old establishment, the old ways of doing things, and if they’re defeated and somebody who’s outside the establishment gets in, it will shake things up. I have heard Assange saying (his own words, not just others characterizing what his position is): “Maybe this will lead to a negative change, or maybe it will lead to a positive change, but at least it will lead to change, or it will hold open the possibility of change.”

Well, what kind of change is it actually leading to? There’s no room for agnosticism or ignorance about what kind of change it is leading to. Yes, bourgeois dictatorship in any form is very bad for the masses of people, very oppressive and repressive of the masses of people, and needs to be overthrown. But an overt fascist dictatorship that tramples on any pretense of upholding rights for people is not something that should be put in the category of “maybe it’ll be a positive change, or maybe it’ll be a negative change.”

Now, at the same time as making this sharp critique, particularly with regard to Julian Assange, it is very important to emphasize the need to oppose the persecution of Assange by the U.S. imperialists, whose persecution of him is in response to and revenge for his part—not in something to do with the Russians, but overwhelmingly in exposing just some of the monstrous crimes of this system. In this regard, there was an interesting article called “Julian Assange and the Woeful State of Whistle-Blowers” by Edward Wasserman, who’s a professor of journalism and the Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. (This article appeared in the New York Times on Saturday, April 27 of this year, 2019.) Wasserman points out that, with whatever his failings are, political and personal, Julian Assange, through WikiLeaks, “enabled spectacular disclosure of official secrets,” including, as Wasserman himself puts it, “war crimes, torture and atrocities on civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan” by the U.S. And this is why he’s being attacked in the legal arena and politically by the U.S. ruling class. This dimension is where people need to rally to Assange’s defense, even with his limitations and failings. And the need and importance of defending Assange, particularly from political/legal persecution by the U.S. government, has been greatly heightened by the fact that this government (headed by the Trump/Pence fascist regime) has now piled on very serious charges of espionage in this process of persecution, with dire implications not just for Assange but for any and all who would dare to uncover and expose the war crimes and crimes against humanity continually carried out by U.S. imperialism and its institutions of violence and repression.

Yet, without in any way failing to give due importance and emphasis to opposing these repressive moves by the U.S. government, it remains necessary and there is also great importance to criticizing this outlook and approach embodied in the thinking of people like Assange and Glenn Greenwald, as well as Žižek. The idea that these bourgeois (or “establishment”) politicians are just “all the same,” without any analysis of the nuances, or even the blatant differences, between them and the consequences of this for the masses of people, the masses of humanity—this is very harmful.

Here it is worth looking at the criticism that was raised of the German communists in the period of the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The slogan was attributed to the German communists: “Nach Hitler, Uns,” (meaning: “After Hitler, Us”). In other words, the same kind of thinking—that Hitler actually heading up the government would shake up things and would cause such a crisis in society that, then, the communists would have a chance to come to power. This represented a very serious underestimation of what was represented by Hitler and the Nazis, and the terrible consequences of this for humanity. Yes, the communists there should have been consistently and firmly opposing the whole system on a revolutionary basis, but it was also very important and necessary to recognize that Hitler and the Nazis were a particularly perverse and extreme representation of all the horrors of this system, and would carry them out in very extreme forms.

So, in relation to all this, there is a need for a scientific approach to building opposition to the fascism embodied in the Trump/Pence regime in the U.S. today, in a way that is based on and proceeds from the understanding that’s captured in works of mine like “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It” and “Not Being Jerry Rubin, or Even Dimitrov, but Actually Being Revolutionary Communists: THE CHALLENGE OF DEFENDING FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS—FROM A COMMUNIST PERSPECTIVE, AND NO OTHER.” (These articles are available at revcom.us. They are part of the Collected Works of Bob Avakian.)

As I have stressed several times, and as concentrated in the slogan we have brought forward: “The Republican Party is Fascist, The Democratic Party is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.” This emphasizes the importance of both aspects of things: recognizing the particularity of what’s represented by the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime and the Republican Party as a whole, and confronting the nature and massive crimes of the whole system, and all those who are functionaries and enforcers of this system, definitely including the Democratic Party.

In an article in the New York Times (Tuesday, July 16, 2019), “Racism Comes Out of the Closet,” Paul Krugman makes the point that not just Donald Trump but the Republican Party as a whole has gone from “dog whistling” racism to overtly and crudely expressing it. Krugman concludes this article this way, referring to the Republican Party’s dropping of even any pretense of opposing racism:

It’s tempting to say that Republican claims to support racial equality were always hypocritical; it’s even tempting to welcome the move from dog whistles to open racism. But if hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, what we’re seeing now is a party that no longer feels the need to pay that tribute. And that’s deeply frightening.

Krugman does have a point—an important and relevant point—here, as far as it goes. The problem is that it doesn’t go far enough, and in particular does not break out of the constricting terms of contradictions and conflicts among ruling class parties (the Republicans and the Democrats). The stance of hypocritically pretending opposition to such outrages as racist oppression, while in fact acting as the representatives, functionaries and enforcers of a system that has this oppression built into it and could not exist without this oppression—this does not just apply to the Republican Party in the past (if it ever applied to that party at all over the past 50 years and more) but also applies to the Democratic Party. What is concentrated in this situation is the need to recognize, and correctly handle, a very real and acute contradiction: the fact that, on the one hand, the Democratic Party, as much as the Republican Party, is a party of a system that continually commits, and cannot help committing, massive crimes against the masses of humanity and embodies an existential threat to the very future of humanity; and, on the other hand, the fact that (to paraphrase what is cited above from Krugman’s article) there is a very real difference and very direct danger embodied in the fact that one of these ruling class parties (the Republicans) openly abandons much of the pretense of being anything other than a rapacious, and yes racist, plunderer of human beings and of the environment. This requires the correct synthesis of, in fundamental terms, opposing the whole system, of which both of these parties are instruments, and actively working, in an ongoing way, toward the strategic goal of abolishing this whole system, while also, with the same fundamental strategic perspective, recognizing the acute immediate danger posed by the fascist Trump/Pence regime and working urgently to bring forward masses of people in non-violent but sustained mobilization around the demand that this regime must go!

Failing to really recognize and act on this understanding, in its different aspects and its full dimension, is very much related to individualism—particularly in the form of seeking the illusion of painless progress, rather than being willing to confront inconvenient and uncomfortable truths and to act accordingly, even with the sacrifices that might be required.

With all the nuances and particularities of contradictions that do have to be recognized, this crucial truth can be put in this basic and concentrated way:

The Democratic Party Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution.

Here a challenge needs to be issued to all those who insist on the position that “the Democrats are the only realistic alternative”: On the website revcom.us, there is the “American Crime” series, which chronicles and outlines many of the most horrific crimes of the U.S. ruling class, going back to the beginning of this country and right up to the present, carried out under Republican and Democratic administrations. Here is the challenge: Go read that “American Crime” series and then come back and try to explain why it’s a decent thing to do to be caught up in supporting the Democrats.

Along with its other crimes, and its particular role in maintaining and enforcing this system, in the current circumstances the Democratic Party is also an active facilitator of fascism because of its refusal, even on the terms of the system it represents, to do anything meaningful to oppose the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime. This is concentrated in the insistence by Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi (or Piglosi, as she should be called) that impeachment is, once again, off the table. Some people may not remember (or may have chosen to forget), and others may not even know, but there was a massive sentiment to impeach George W. Bush back around 2005-2006, in particular because of the way he took the country to war, attacking and invading Iraq, causing massive destruction and death in that country, on the basis of systematic lies that were very consciously perpetrated by his whole regime, including Colin Powell, Cheney and Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and the rest, who deliberately and systematically lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and supposedly threatening the U.S. (and “allies” of the U.S.) with those weapons. These lies were the rationalization for perpetrating the U.S. war of aggression against Iraq—which, in fact, was an international war crime. There was a mass sentiment toward impeachment of George W. Bush largely on that basis. Well, when the Democrats, in the 2006 election, won control of both houses of Congress, immediately Nancy Piglosi said impeachment is off the table. And now she’s doing the same thing again—and she’s doing this not just as an individual, but as representative of the leadership of the Democratic Party. To borrow a term from the gang scene, the “shot-callers” of the Democratic Party are saying: “We shouldn’t impeach Trump because that will just serve him; he’s trying to goad us into impeaching him.” As though it would not be a good thing for Trump to be impeached. Piglosi insists: “We’re not gonna fall for that, we’re gonna hold Trump accountable.”  Oh yeah? How? How are you going to hold him accountable when you refuse to use one of the most powerful instruments you have, impeachment, to actually do something meaningful to oppose what he’s doing?

I saw a commentator on one of the networks the other day who made an observation which (along with and despite a bunch of nonsense that she was also spouting) was actually somewhat insightful and important. She said: “Laws don’t enforce themselves. If you can do something and get away with it, the law is meaningless.” Well, Piglosi, your “accountability” (holding Trump “accountable”) is meaningless because you are refusing to exercise the most effective means you might have to “hold him accountable.”

Now, some people say that this is just being done by Piglosi and the rest because they have the 2020 election in mind, and they don’t want to feed the Republican Party ammunition for their insistence that “this is a witch hunt” against Trump and the Republican Party. That may be a secondary consideration on the part of the Democrats, but if you listen to Piglosi she’s telling us what the deal actually is. She’s saying it would further divide the country to impeach Trump—as if the “country” is not already very deeply and very intensely divided, at this point, which is precisely why someone like Trump could get elected in the first place.

But there are really three reasons, or we could call them “three fears,” that Piglosi and the rest have. They’re afraid of Trump and the Republicans, so they’re allowing Trump and the Republicans to set the terms of what they can do. Their “logic” goes like this: “Since Trump would lash back if we tried to impeach him, therefore we shouldn’t try to impeach him.” This is the logic of what they’re saying, even if they don’t directly and explicitly articulate it like that. So they’re letting the Republicans set the terms—which, of course, only causes the Republicans to be even more aggressive in pursuit of their agenda and in defying and trampling on the “norms” of this system. Even according to their own bourgeois “principles,” the Democrats should be acting on the basis of what’s in their Constitution, not according to what the Republicans will allow them to do.

Secondly, along with being afraid of Trump and the Republican Party, they are afraid of the reality that laws don’t enforce themselves. They’re afraid that if they impeach Trump—and if, somehow, they even succeeded not only in impeaching him, but actually getting him convicted in the Senate—that Trump might well declare: “Fuck you, I’m the President, I don’t recognize this impeachment.” Then, what and whom can they turn to? This brings up the other dimension of this second point: They’re afraid of Trump’s “base.” They’re afraid of these fascist forces out there who are being encouraged and goaded by Trump to increasingly act in a violent manner and who (as I’ll speak to shortly) do have a lot of weapons and are demonstrating not only their willingness, but their eagerness, to use them. So Piglosi and the rest are afraid of that.

But at least as much—and here is the “third fear”—they are afraid of the people on the other side of the divide in the country, the people who tend to vote for the Democrats, especially the basic masses of oppressed people. They are afraid of the very people, basic masses and others, whom the Democratic Party is responsible for “corralling” into the BEB and “domesticating” their dissent. They’re afraid of the people who are angry about what’s represented by Trump and Pence. They don’t want those people out in the street, unless it is contained within the narrow confines of what the Democratic Party, and the system it serves, can allow. And they don’t want the confrontation between those people and the fascists who have rallied behind Trump. You think they want to see masses of Black people, immigrants, and others, including masses of people from different strata who are furious over Trump—you think they want to see them in the streets in direct and determined opposition to what is represented by Trump and Pence? That’s one of the worst nightmares of Piglosi and Company, not only because of the potential for militant confrontation with the fascists, but because people could then get completely out of the control of the Democratic Party, and the whole system of which the Democrats are representatives, functionaries, and enforcers. A big part of what they are representing and enforcing would be seriously jeopardized.

So this is what’s really going on with Piglosi and the rest in stubbornly resisting a move toward impeachment.

And then we come to one of the main aggressively fascist functionaries in the Republican Party, the Congressman from Iowa, Steve King. Recently, along with all of his other outrageous postings and overtly racist, misogynist, and crudely derogatory statements about Muslims and immigrants, and so on, King recently posted a meme, with this comment, on his official campaign page:

Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.

Now, it has to be said that there is a “demented insight” in this comment. Obviously, this is a vicious attack on trans people, as well as those supportive of their rights. So, on the one hand, this is an outrageous statement, a thoroughly reactionary and vicious statement. But it does express a certain demented insight, or a demented representation of some truth, because while people are rightly supporting the rights of trans people, gay people, women and others, there are real limitations and problems with the spontaneous outlook prevailing among those on the correct side of the divide. There is a narrowness along lines of “identity,” and an ignoring of, or a not paying sufficient attention to, the larger dynamics that are shaping up in the society (and the world) as a whole, and the implications of this, as represented, once again, by the fact that, while people are fighting around or raising some resistance around this or that particular instance of oppression, discrimination and prejudice, they are not rallying to take on the whole massive assault that’s embodied in the Trump/Pence regime, let alone the whole system that has produced this regime. There is the serious problem that, as a whole, people who consider themselves “progressive” or “woke” have, to put it mildly, not made any real rupture with American chauvinism (about which I will have more to say shortly). And, related to this, there is the fundamental problem of attempting to resolve the conflict with what is represented by the Trump/Pence regime and its fascist “base,” with its “8 trillion bullets,” through relying on (or seeking a return to) what have been the “norms” of the bourgeois order in this country (and, on the part of some, this involves a call for “restoring civility”) while the fascists are determined to trample on and tear up these “norms” and are perfectly happy to have those who oppose them adopt the stance of “civility” (accommodation) toward their unrelenting fascist offensive. Although this does not apply absolutely, it is far too much the case that the words of the poet William Butler Yeats describe this very serious situation: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” And so, while things could be heading toward a civil war, and it could come down to that even in the not-too-distant future, the present lineup is very unfavorable for anybody who represents anything decent in the world.

All this is, in a demented kind of way, represented in King’s statement that one side has about 8 trillion bullets while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use. Again, it’s not that the question of bathroom use and the larger questions it encapsulates is unimportant. It is important. But there’s a larger picture here of this developing trend or motion toward a civil war which right now is very one-sided in a very bad way, and if things continue on this trajectory the outcome could truly be disastrous.

So that should be serious food for thought—and not only that, but also a serious spur to action for people who do care about all the various ways in which people are being brought under attack and oppression is being intensified all across the board against large sections of the people who need to be brought together to fight against the offensive from these fascist forces—and, in more fundamental terms, need to be brought forward on the basis of recognizing that it’s the whole system, out of which this fascist phenomenon has arisen, and which embodies such terrible oppression of people not just here but all around the world, that needs to be swept away.

Now, another element of this that we can’t overlook is that, while a lot of what King describes applies in a certain demented way, particularly to progressive or so-called “woke” middle class people, there is another kind of problem with regard to more basic oppressed people, and in particular the youth—a big problem that their guns are now aimed at each other. And without going more fully into this right now, this is something that needs to be radically transformed in building a movement for an actual revolution.

So here we come to the question of the relation between building for an actual revolution and the still very urgent question of driving out this fascist regime. The following from Part 2 of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution remains extremely relevant and important:

The relation between the struggle against this fascist regime and building the revolution is not a “straight road” or a “one-way street”: It must not be approached, by those who understand the need for revolution, as if “first we must build a mass movement to drive out this regime, and then we can turn our attention to working directly for revolution.” No. It is crucial to unite and mobilize people, from different perspectives, very broadly, around the demand that this regime must go, but it will be much more difficult to do this on the scale and with the determination that is required to meet this objective if there are not, at the same time, greater and greater numbers of people who have been brought forward around the understanding that it is necessary to put an end not only to this regime but to the system out of whose deep and defining contradictions this regime has arisen, a system which by its very nature has imposed, and will continue to impose, horrific and completely unnecessary suffering on the masses of humanity, until this system itself is abolished. And the more that people are brought forward to be consciously, actively working for revolution, the growing strength and “moral authority” of this revolutionary force will in turn strengthen the resolve of growing numbers of people to drive out this fascist regime now in power, even as many will not be (and some will perhaps never be) won to revolution.

 

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The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, by Bob Avakian

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/605/fascists-and-communists-completely-opposed-worlds-apart-en.html

Fascists and Communists:
Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

By Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Fascists stand for and are determined to intensify, to grotesque and hideous dimensions, every dimension of oppression and exploitation and all the horrors perpetrated by the system of capitalism-imperialism. Communists, and in particular the advocates of the new communism, are determined to put an end to all these horrors, and potentially even worse horrors, through the overthrow of the system of capitalism-imperialism and the abolition of all relations of exploitation and oppression, throughout the world.

Look at the 5 STOPS—fascists and communists, and in particular the advocates of the new communism, are on diametrically opposed sides of these crucial dividing lines: The fascists are determined to fortify and extend to even more monstrous proportions, and with potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity, all the horrors embodied in those 5 STOPS, while the communists, and in particular the advocates of the new communism, stand for and fight for precisely a STOP to all this.

Fascists base themselves on and actively promote blind adherence to hateful prejudice, willful ignorance and aggressive paranoia, in opposition to rational thinking and discourse, science and the scientific method. Communists, and in particular the advocates of the new communism, base themselves on and seek to apply the most consistent scientific method, including the importance of learning from and critically assimilating the insights, criticisms, etc. of others who disagree with or even ardently oppose them.

As pointed out in Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, it is not that people calling themselves communists have never acted in opposition to the basic principles of communism, and it is not that there have been no shortcomings and errors, even some grievous errors, in the history of the communist movement and socialist society; but a scientific approach and analysis shows that this has not been the main trend and character of the communist movement and socialist society led by communists; and the notion of communism as representing a “totalitarian nightmare” is fundamentally in conflict with reality and is on the contrary the invention and distortion of functionaries, enforcers and intellectual camp followers of the exploitative and oppressive system of capitalism and imperialism, which the communist revolution aims to overthrow and advance human society beyond, through the abolition of all exploitation and oppression. (If anyone is sincerely interested in actually understanding what is represented by the “theory” of “totalitarianism,” and in particular the use of this “theory” to distort and slander what is represented by communism, in Democracy: Can’t We Do Better Than That? they can find a systematic discussion, dissection and refutation of the basic thesis and methods in The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, whose work is the most celebrated embodiment of this “theory” of “totalitarianism” and its use to distort and slander what is represented by communism.)

And, once again, there is the further, qualitative development of communism with the new communism which I have brought forward—which involves a scientific analysis and synthesis of the historical experience, positive and negative, of the communist movement and the first great wave of communist-led revolution and socialist society, and the significance of which is highlighted and concentrated in particular in the first of the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/605/a-critical-challenge-an-urgent-appeal-en.html

From THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible – A Talk by Bob Avakian

A Critical Challenge, an Urgent Appeal

| revcom.us

 

[W]hether we consider ourselves revolutionaries, convinced of the need for a radical overturning of the system and thorough transformation of society, or we believe that it is possible to bring about changes that will lead to a more just society within this system; whether our understanding is that America is not, and cannot be, a force for good in the world, or we hope it still can become that—all of us need to come together, and act together, with the urgency that corresponds to the terrible present and the gravely imperiled future that this fascist regime represents for humanity, and with the conviction that something far better is necessary and possible.

We may have differences about what that “something far better” is, and how it can be brought about—and we should continue to discuss and debate this, with the orientation of seeking the truth, whether convenient or inconvenient, comfortable or uncomfortable, and following the truth wherever it leads—but it is not only possible but crucial and urgent that we unite—and actively go forward to win truly massive numbers of people—to act, in a really meaningful way, to bring about the removal of this fascist regime before it can fully consolidate its rule and bring down the full effect of its horrific agenda. In the “Paul Krugman” article, I put it this way:

“Krugman is a proponent of capitalism, whereas I am an advocate of communism, a new communism, who is convinced that what is ultimately and fundamentally required to deal with the current horrors facing the masses of humanity, and the looming threat to the very existence of humanity, is a truly radical and emancipating revolution. But that is not the immediate question and challenge before all of us at this present moment. Rather, it is to deal with the grave danger posed by those now in power, through nonviolent but massive and sustained political action—the mobilization of first thousands, growing into millions, determined to get and remain in the streets until this regime is removed from power. Does not the common recognition that this regime ‘may end up destroying civilization,’ demand of us—of all those, of many divergent viewpoints, who can recognize that these are the stakes for humanity—that we act together, and do everything in our power, to bring about the massive political manifestation that is urgently needed to drive out this regime?”

And, in concluding, let me go back to what I wrote at the end of that article:

“It is in this spirit and with this understanding that it is crucial for everyone—those, like Paul Krugman, with a prominent platform from which to influence public opinion, as well as those without such a platform—who do recognize and agonize over what is at stake for humanity to act, from their own perspective, to give meaningful support to, and indeed to become actively involved in, the critical work building toward November 4: publicly endorsing and promoting the Call from Refuse Fascism, helping to break through what is effectively a white-out of this by the mainstream media, donating and raising funds, directing people to the RefuseFascism.org website, and in countless other ways helping to develop the necessary political and organizational basis for what RefuseFascism very rightly calls ‘this great cause.’ For it is the massive and sustained political mobilization called for by RefuseFascism that truly represents the prospect of forging a positive path through and beyond this extremely dangerous and potentially disastrous situation.” 

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our 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. This means working and organizing with all our creativity and determination to bring thousands, eventually millions of people into the streets of cities and towns, to demand:

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

RefuseFascism.org welcomes individuals and organizations from many different points of view who share our determination to refuse to accept a fascist America, to join and/or partner with us in this great cause.

Read, share and endorse the full Refuse Fascism Call to Action here.

Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/600/crucial-importance-of-the-new-communism-and-ba-en.html

The Crucial Importance of the New Communism and BA's Leadership

| revcom.us

 

The following is a summation of some group study and discussion of the new communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA).

First of all, I want to say that it has been truly great, deeply meaningful, critically important—and a lot of fun!—digging into the work, leadership and method of BA together. I have been thinking recently about some key themes and lessons that occur to me regarding our study and discussions and their purpose and importance. There is obviously so much that I could highlight—in terms of the key points we have gotten into in these sessions and the significance of these sessions—and trying to cover it all would be well beyond the scope of what I have written here (which ended up being longer than I envisioned when I started). However, I wanted to frame our work together with two overall themes.

The first of these themes is drawn from the beginning of a quote from BA: “Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.” (from BAsics 3:1)

The second theme is the critical role of revolutionary theory.

Let me briefly get further into each of these themes—in general, as it relates to the role and importance of BA and his leadership in the world, and also as it relates to our study and discussions.

Given how much there is to say on each of these two themes, I can only really scratch the surface here. But let’s start with the first one:

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

The understanding captured in this quote not only speaks to the state of the world and of humanity—and to what is urgently needed in light of this—but also, relatedly, illuminates WHY we have been engaging in this study and discussion together and WHY this is so important.

We have often talked—and very correctly so, to be clear—about having “cool” discussions. But it’s important to understand that this is NOT fundamentally about having “cool,” “interesting,” “fun” or “mentally stimulating” discussions, even though these discussions definitely ARE all of these things!

Rather, our work together has a specific purpose: to deepen our understanding of the world not just for the sake of knowledge in some academic sense, but in order to radically CHANGE the world. And, more specifically, to deepen our understanding and application of the science of revolution and communism, as this science has been qualitatively advanced in groundbreaking ways through the new communism brought forward by BA—deepening our grasp and application of this science as a key part of contributing to the process of making revolution on the basis of this new communism.

Just look at the world! We have talked about the “5 STOPS,” which speak to five key, defining contradictions of this capitalist-imperialist system. These 5 STOPS are: “STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!”... “STOP the Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!... Stop Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!... Stop the Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!... Stop Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet!”

A quick glance at the news from the past few weeks alone will reveal that the contradictions spoken to in these 5 STOPS—and the staggering level of suffering and misery caused by these contradictions—are only intensifying.

This is on top of the countless other forms of tremendous poverty, deprivation, misery, exploitation, oppression and suffering spawned by this system and heaped upon literally billions of human beings and humanity as a whole every single day that this capitalist-imperialist system continues.

A key point to understand, which BA’s work illuminates so sharply and powerfully, is that NONE of these outrages are accidental, isolated or disconnected from each other. They have a common source—this SYSTEM of capitalism-imperialism. These outrages and horrors for humanity are woven into this system’s rules, its operation, its “DNA,” its roots, its historical and ongoing functioning. For this reason, the system CANNOT be reformed—it must be overthrown through revolution.

This point about the NEED for an actual revolution—as opposed to attempts to “fix” or “heal” or “reform” a system that in fact CANNOT be fixed, healed or reformed—in order to put an end to the countless ways that humanity suffers needlessly is, I believe, one vital takeaway from our study and discussions of BA’s work; it is one critical point on which our collective understanding should be significantly deepened.

Another one of these vital points that I think has been a theme of our study and discussions—especially recently, as we have watched the most recent film from BA (Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution) and listened to the Q & A from this film—is what an actual revolution IS, what it involves and what it requires.

An actual revolution does NOT just mean “a big change”—in one form or another—which is how many people think of it or try to define it. Rather, an actual revolution means overthrowing the capitalist-imperialist system, meeting and defeating its repressive force, dismantling its institutions and setting up a new, socialist system and state power and society—and, accordingly, new institutions—on the road to communism. Right now is NOT the time for an actual revolution, because the necessary conditions for this revolution do not yet exist. But right now IS the time to be working for, hastening (i.e., working to accelerate the emergence of) and preparing for an actual revolution.

This point leads us to the question of what we ALREADY do have, and what we DON’T yet have and therefore need to urgently work on bringing into being, in terms of the necessary factors and conditions for revolution.

In terms of what we DO have: By far the biggest positive factor we have is BA. Through decades of work, BA has forged the new communism, which is the framework—and, most fundamentally, the scientific understanding and method—that humanity needs to make revolution and continue that revolution all the way to communism. Think about this: Just as the first round of communist revolutions would never have happened without the initial scientific breakthroughs and framework forged by Marx, so the next round of communist revolutions will not happen without millions of people taking up the further scientific breakthroughs and framework forged by BA.

The framework of the new communism includes: a comprehensive and further developed scientific understanding of the nature of the problem, that is, the nature of capitalism-imperialism, how it specifically operates, historically and in the world today, why and how it is responsible for the many different forms of suffering that humanity faces and why this system cannot be reformed and must be swept away through revolution; a viable strategy for revolution—for working now to hasten while awaiting a revolutionary situation and then winning in that future situation; and a concrete, vivid and thoroughly developed vision and “blueprint” for a radically different socialist society on the road to communism, as put forward in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA.

Most fundamentally and importantly—and this is a thread running through and underlying the understanding, strategy and vision—is the scientific METHOD of the new communism.

The new communism forged by BA builds upon—but also goes far beyond, and in some key ways breaks with—the past experience in theory and practice of the communist movement.

Speaking in depth to the totality and specific dimensions of the new communism is also beyond the scope of what I am writing here, but to quickly highlight some key points of this.

In terms of the totality of what is represented by the new communism, I want to quote the first of the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, which we have previously discussed. This first resolution makes the point that the new communism

represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.

This point is important enough that I think it bears repeating in order to help facilitate ongoing further reflection: The new communism “represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.

While—as this quote from the first resolution points out—communism’s method and approach has been FUNDAMENTALLY scientific, there have been important ways in which past socialist societies along with the communist movement, past and present, have taken up unscientific and even ANTI-scientific ways of thinking, methods and approaches to understanding and transforming reality, with very harmful effects.

The new communism brought forward by BA qualitatively resolves this contradiction, putting communism on a more firmly scientific footing and therefore carving out the method and framework that makes it possible—not inevitable, but possible—to confront and transform the many contradictions involved in making revolution and continuing that revolution all the way to communism.

Needless to say, this is a big deal in terms of the possibilities this new communism opens up for humanity!

While, once again, it is not possible to review in depth the various specific dimensions of the new communism, I want to highlight here three examples of this.

*First, the new communism breaks new ground—and breaks with unscientific approaches within the communist movement—in terms of its approach to the TRUTH, the process by which the truth should be pursued, understood and arrived at, and the importance of going for the truth not just in a general sense but specifically in terms of the goal of getting to communism.

The new communism’s approach to this breaks with the unscientific and harmful ideas—which have far too often and to far too great a degree infected the past and present of the communist movement at different points—that a particular section of society, such as communists, or the most oppressed and exploited, have a monopoly on truth; the idea that whether or not a statement is true should be evaluated based on the class (or social) position of the person making the statement; the idea that different classes have their own versions of the truth, i.e., that the proletariat has its truth and the bourgeoisie has its truth; the notion of “populist epistemology”—that whether or not something is true should be evaluated based on the numbers of people who believe it at a given time; the notion of “political truth”—the idea that whether or not something is true should be evaluated based on whether or not it is viewed as convenient at a given time.

Once again, all of those wrong ways of thinking are not just prevalent in society more broadly but have been significant problems in the past and present of the communist movement.

In opposition to all of this is the understanding encompassed in BA’s new communism that truth is... TRUTH! That it does NOT have a class character, nor is it determined by whether it is viewed as politically convenient in the short term, nor is it determined by the number of the masses who recognize it as truth at a given time. That truth is determined by whether or not something corresponds to objective reality, and it must be fully confronted in all of its dimensions—including those that might be unfortunate or inconvenient in the short run—as an essential part of actually getting to communism.

These points are encompassed in this very important quote from BA that speaks to a key breakthrough in understanding concentrated in the new communism:

Everything that is actually true is good for the proletariat, all truths can help us get to communism. (BAsics 4:5)

Once again, as BA has pointed out, the new communism’s breakthroughs in regard to the truth are not just a matter of recognizing that going for the truth is essential in general—though this understanding is encompassed, too—but that going for the truth is essential IN ORDER TO GET TO COMMUNISM.

*A second example of a specific key dimension of the new communism is its breakthrough in regard to internationalism—the understanding that “the whole world comes first.” This is not just a moral stand—although it is ALSO that—but represents a more fully scientific understanding of internationalism and its importance in the process of making and continuing revolution, and a rupture with and departure from unscientific understandings of internationalism in the past and present of the communist movement. This breakthrough developed with BA’s new communism includes the understanding that the world situation is principal—in other words, that it is the most important factor setting the terms—in regard to the process of making revolution in any particular country; that there can sometimes be a sharp contradiction between the needs of a particular socialist state and the need to advance the world revolution, and that advancing the world revolution must come first; and that in past revolutions there were sometimes important errors made by failing to recognize this and putting the needs of particular socialist countries above the world revolution. Here again, this is not just a matter of an abstract idea of internationalism, but principles based on the work BA has done to deeply engage and synthesize the correct understanding of and approach to the actual contradictions involved in consistently applying internationalism, with all the complexity and difficulty involved in this. (In this regard, the discussion of internationalism in BA’s book THE NEW COMMUNISM is very important.)

*A third example of specific dimensions in which the new communism has broken new ground is in terms of the method of “solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core,” which is a scientific understanding which in fact ruptures with the past understanding and approach of the communist movement in important ways, including in the application of this method to the process of making revolution and leading the future socialist society.

In terms of epistemology (theory of knowledge) and method, “solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core” intertwines with some of the key points made earlier in regard to truth and comprehends that while the communist method and approach is the most systematic, comprehensive and effective means of getting to the truth, this does not mean that communists have a monopoly on the truth and are always correct or that those NOT applying the communist method and approach are always incorrect; rather, those coming from other outlooks, methods and approaches can discover important truths and shed important light on elements of reality. Therefore, the METHOD of solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core involves applying the communist outlook, method and approach to reality with a specific goal, making revolution and getting to communism, while also understanding the need—ON THE BASIS OF APPLYING THAT METHOD—to learn from, sift through and sort out what is brought forward through many diverse streams of human activity and by people coming from a broad range of perspectives, including those that are not communist and even opposed to communism in some cases.

Applying this understanding of solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core to the process of making revolution and then continuing that revolution in the future socialist society on the road to communism, BA’s new communism recognizes—on a level far beyond and in some cases in opposition to the way this was understood prior to the new communism—the complexity and diversity of human activity and thought that must be involved in the process of making revolution and leading a socialist society to communism. This includes recognizing in a whole new way and on a whole other level the importance of dissent, debate, experimentation, ferment and individuality—not individualism but individuality—in socialist society.

To contrast this with one example from the first wave of socialist societies: In socialist China—which, again, overall represented an enormous leap for humanity in so many different spheres and overall—Marxism was in essence viewed as an “official ideology” that people in socialist society should profess, while the new communism, and in particular the approach of “solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core,” embodies the understanding that the leading element in socialist society needs to be communism, but this should not be enshrined and institutionalized as, in effect, an “official ideology” but put forward and struggled for as something people need to be won to and to consciously and voluntarily take up, while at the same time recognizing the importance of giving space to and engaging, and learning what can and should be learned from, the insights of others who have not, yet, been won to communism.

As positive as the overall experience of socialism in China was, BA’s new communism represents a very different vision of socialist society that involves a radical leap forward from even the best of the past.

So, these three examples—related to the approach towards truth, internationalism and solid core with a lot of elasticity on the basis of the solid core—are just that: three of many examples and points that could be offered to illustrate just how profoundly new BA’s new communism is, and the ways in which this new communism (to go back to the quote from the first of the six resolutions):

represents and embodies a qualitative resolution of a critical contradiction that has existed within communism in its development up to this point, between its fundamentally scientific method and approach, and aspects of communism which have run counter to this.

The works that we have read, watched and listened to from BA have been an application and illustration of the new communism—and this has immersed us in this new communism, in an overall way, as captured by the quote from the first resolution as well as in various specific dimensions, including the three highlighted in this letter.

Accordingly, our study and discussion of this work should have deepened our understanding and application of the new communism and its scientific method. Many of our discussions, in fact, have involved studying BA’s scientific method and seeking to take up and apply this method ourselves, to the best of our ability, even while not being able to do this on anywhere near the same level that BA himself does. This focus on method has been extremely important and instructive, manifested, for instance, in the way that we have studied and sought to emulate the way that BA boldly confronts, plainly presents and systematically unpacks the key contradictions and questions of the revolution, involving and inviting others to join him on that journey.

So, once again to return to the question of what we HAVE in regard to the factors and conditions needed to make revolution, the biggest positive factor we have by far is BA, the scientific framework, breakthrough and understanding that he has forged with the new communism, and the ongoing leadership he is providing. This leadership, as highlighted in the second of those six resolutions, involves an extremely rare combination: the ability “to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to ‘break down’ complex theory and make it accessible to the masses of people.” Our viewing, listening, reading and related study/discussion has also driven home this rare combination point repeatedly and powerfully.

In terms of what we don’t yet have, and therefore urgently NEED to work on bringing into being in order to make an actual revolution: We don’t yet have masses of people, first in the thousands and then in the millions, who are won to this revolution and its leadership and developed as an organized force for this revolution; we don’t yet have a situation where the party that is needed to lead the revolution has grown and been expanded and strengthened to the point where it has the necessary ties and influence in society to actually lead a revolution; and we don’t yet have a revolutionary crisis in which the system is unable to rule in the traditional way.

So, the urgent task before us—not just us, but certainly ALSO us—is to take the critical things we DO have and go to work on bringing into being what we DON’T yet have.

This theme—of what we do have, what we don’t have, and what we therefore need to get busy doing—has been another theme both directly spoken to and objectively posed by the works of BA that we have dug into and by our discussions of these works.

Bringing into being the conditions that we don’t yet have is urgently necessary, absolutely possible and in line with reality and how it can be changed, and there is a strategy for going to work on this, as we have discussed recently. But this will not be easy—it will take lots of STRUGGLE, repeatedly and fundamentally on a societal level.

This understanding, too, is another theme that jumps out in reflecting on our study and discussion.

We should understand that we are not operating on an “empty playing field.” There can be a tendency, especially when people are young and still relatively inexperienced politically, to think that everyone with a decent heart will immediately rally to the correct understanding of reality as soon as they are exposed to this understanding. And without question, there is a tremendous basis to win MILLIONS of people to this revolution and its leadership because it DOES, in fact, correspond to reality and to what humanity needs, and no other program and line does.

However, the understanding of BA and the new communism is, to put it simply, contending with all kinds of wrong ways of thinking, on all kinds of questions, that are spontaneously called forth and actively and repeatedly promoted by this system, and it is contending with all kinds of wrong LINES—i.e., wrong outlooks and methods applied to reality—that keep people trapped within this system. This includes, but is not limited to, people in society who call themselves “socialists” or “communists” but are actually about nothing that has anything to do with actual socialism and communism and really just want to reform capitalism and perhaps slightly redistribute the wealth generated by the capitalist system of exploitation. These reformists have nothing to do with an actual revolution and bringing into being a radically different world—and in some cases they will even admit as much. In any case, these fake socialists and communists are often some of those who most viciously attack BA and the GENUINE communism represented by BA, the new communism, precisely because BA and the new communism ACTUALLY represent what they may PRETEND to be about but in reality fundamentally oppose: real revolution and communism.

Few things are as threatening to a poseur as someone who actually IS what they PRETEND to be.

Returning to society more broadly: sharp ideological struggle must be waged—not just on an individual level or in small numbers, but among MASSES OF PEOPLE, and on a SOCIETAL SCALE—to rupture people out of all the wrong ways of thinking and wrong lines that they are caught up in and into the framework of BA’s new communism.

Once again, there is every basis and every urgency to do this, exactly because BA and the new communism correspond to reality and how it can and must be changed, while these other lines and ways of thinking do NOT. But this will take determined, sharp struggle—of the sort emphasized and modeled by BA in the works that we have studied together.

This brings me to the point with which I want to briefly conclude, which is the second of the two themes I have emphasized.

The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

Another tendency that people can have when they are young and relatively inexperienced is the tendency to view “doing stuff” as the most important political task at hand. “Doing stuff” can be defined in a number of different ways, including things such as attending programs, events or protests or doing “on the ground” political outreach and work.

Well, first of all, the question of “doing WHAT stuff” is immediately posed. In other words, what KIND of political work and outreach are people doing, and what KIND of programs and protests—around what line—are people seeking to be involved in? This is obviously a key question.

It’s not the case, as people often think and sometimes say, that “it’s all good”—in other words, “liberal”/“progressive”/“socialist”/“communist”—“sure, sure we all basically want the same things and are on the same page.”

NO. While there are certainly some important areas in which genuine communists can find unity with broad ranks of progressives, there are different lines out there and these different lines are in contention and lead to fundamentally different understandings of the problem and solution in the world.

So, that’s the first question: doing “WHAT” stuff and with WHAT goal?

That said, “doing stuff” in the right sense—i.e., doing “practical work” on the ground and in the broader society to promote this revolution and its leadership, to organize people into the revolution, working to hasten and prepare for an actual revolution, to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution, including through different forms of political outreach, programs and discussions, demonstrations and protests, etc.—is extremely critical and important, and in fact urgently necessary.

But it is important to understand that in a movement for revolution—like any good team—everyone has different roles, and it is important for people to understand and embrace their roles in order to make the greatest possible contribution to the team and, in this case, to humanity.

However, even beyond this question of each person’s individual roles, there is the question of the decisiveness of revolutionary theory.

Once again, “doing stuff” in the right sense—i.e., practical revolutionary work—is critically important. If millions of people had the right theoretical understanding but didn’t act on that understanding in practice, nothing would change.

However—and this goes up against the ways people are trained to think in this society, and against the spontaneity of how people often see things when they are young (or new to things), but is nonetheless true and important—what is even more fundamental than “doing stuff” is the question of what people, individually and in their masses, UNDERSTAND. Whether and how people act—and the effect this has in the world—ultimately comes down to what people UNDERSTAND.

From that standpoint, it is crucial that people find the ways to do what we have been doing: immersing ourselves in, taking up and applying the most advanced revolutionary theory in the world, BA’s new communism, as part of the overall process of making revolution.

One final point: It is important not to look narrowly at what it means to TAKE UP and APPLY the new communism. This doesn’t just mean direct political work and outreach, which, once again, is very important. Taking up and applying this work means—in a BROADER sense—applying the understanding represented by BA and the new communism to understanding and changing reality. Very importantly, this includes sharing observations/ideas/questions and thoughts—about what you are learning and the material you are studying; about developments, changes and trends in society (and the world overall); about ways and openings to promote this revolution and its leadership; about how people (those you know and people more broadly) are viewing and discussing different things going on in society/the world, what this reveals about openings for revolution and jolts in society but also the need to transform people’s thinking; about major events and developments in music and the arts... just to give a few examples.

These are all VERY IMPORTANT contributions to the revolutionary process, and it would be wrong to think otherwise.

So, let me end this where I began: This process we have embarked on has been—and will continue to be—deeply meaningful, really exciting, and a lot of fun. And this is a crucial part of actually participating in and contributing to the process of building for the revolution that is so urgently needed.

THE NEW COMMUNISM

The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, by Bob Avakian

Download PDF of book here

Read more

Breakthroughs —

The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism
A Basic Summary

Updated prepublication copy, April 10, 2019
Read or download (searchable PDF)

 

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-42-en.html

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

| revcom.us

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/time-to-put-my-heart-into-the-revolution-en.html

Learning from the National Revolution Tour:

“Time to Put My Heart into the Revolution"

| revcom.us

 

I’m writing to share my appreciation of the August 25th Facebook live video from the Revolution Tour in Chicago and share some of my reflections.

I’ve been mainly following the tour and watching the videos privately, but this time I got to drive a few hours to Houston to watch this live stream with others, a mix of people who were longtime veterans of the revolution, people like myself who’d been on the sidelines for a while, or very new and just finding out what it’s about. This internationalist dinner to raise funds for the tour was already scheduled before the livestream was announced, but it was great that the dinner turned into a viewing party. I felt proud that someone from Houston had offered up the first matching challenge and got a shout-out from Andy. Besides that, there was a lot of excellent food, donated by various people, and wonderful conversation about a range of topics. Walking into this room and seeing all of these friendly faces turned toward the revolution felt truly remarkable and special.

As we watched the livestream, it was exciting to hear Andy, Luann, Kiki, and Tala talk about all the wrangling that was going on behind the scenes—on how to be a truly revolutionary force, to act in a way that was commensurate with what had happened in El Paso and Dayton, to apply principle when it is difficult, and really apply the science of new communism that BA has developed. I kept thinking how lucky we are that we have a leader like Bob Avakian and we have a party that is taking responsibility to turn millions into emancipators of humanity and put an end to these horrors... that we have the beginnings of what a real revolution should look like.

I have had my eyes on the revolution for a long time, but on Sunday I came to realize that it was time for me to put my heart into it. When Tala posed the idea of imagining now what could be possible if we got rid of this system and brought a whole new world into being—imagining what architecture would look like, for example—I felt a burning desire for this system and all its ugliness and cruelty to be gone today. I just can’t stand it anymore, not only the reality of what’s happening to the planet and humanity but all of the ways that people have been conditioned to accept that reality and give up on changing it. All of the fatalism, the narcissism—all of these ways that people’s sights are pulled down, the ways that even good people are stopping themselves and others from dreaming of and imagining a whole new world, let alone digging into the science that could actually bring something much better into being.

We had to start cleaning up before the end of the livestream, but as we were putting away food and stacking chairs, I said to someone, “It’s up to all of us in this room to spread this throughout Texas.” I started with Texas because of how much of the white supremacy and Christian fascism is concentrated here, but of course I meant as far and wide as we can. This was a beginning grouping of people who could make a big impact, especially if we learn from the “Revolution School” that the tour is bringing to us.

Finally, I want to give my own special shout-out to the Houston crew who put together the international dinner. When I first encountered them two and a half years ago at the Women’s March in Austin, I didn't know how much they would change my life. I’ve learned so much from the examples they have set for me with their courage, persistence, consistency and love of humanity. It was an honor to be a part of this gathering. I am looking forward to the future we create together.

 

 

Watch the August 25 Facebook Live from the Revolution Tour in Chicago

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/fascists-march-on-revolution-books-again-we-will-not-be-intimidated-en.html

Sunday, September 1, 2019:
Stand with Berkeley Revolution Books Against Fascist Threats and Attacks

Fascists March on Revolution Books...
Again We Will Not Be Intimidated!
Which Side Will You Be On!

| revcom.us

 

A Defiant Day in Berkeley Defending and Supporting Revolution Books!

In the face of another fascist attack on Revolution Books in Berkeley—a "No to Marxism" protest by a group of pro-Trump fascists—people poured into Revolution Books and into the streets of Berkeley to say NO! Starting around 10 am, anti-fascist protesters started gathering in People's Park, and then took off marching toward the tiny fascist rally. Members of the Revolution Club agitated in the crowd, and as the march passed the bookstore, the chants rang out, "When Rev Books is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!" At 11:30 am, Revolution Books held a press conference to a packed crowd of supporters, new and old. After Reiko Redmonde and Rafael Kadaris spoke on behalf of the bookstore and the National Revolution Tour, we heard statements of support from artists, poets, authors, bookstore owners, local political figures, and others... Read more

 

From Revolution Books, Berkeley

In the last couple years, a bunch of vile know-nothing pro-Trump fascists have repeatedly attacked Revolution Books and even threatened to burn it down! And now, once again this Sunday, Sept. 1, they’re marching on Revolution Books.

The call for their “No to Marxism” protest says, “Revolution Books is a communist anti-American store.” Innocent as charged! Revolution Books is the intellectual, cultural, and political center of a movement for an actual revolution. At the heart of our store is the new communism developed by Bob Avakian—the most radical and scientific understanding of the world and how it can be changed. While these flag-waving cheerleaders for U.S. imperialism celebrate “America First,” Revolution Books carries novels, poetry, plays, history, and analyses, which tell the truth about of this country and value the humanity of people throughout the world. As Bob Avakian says, “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”

They say, “This store promotes books and the ideology of calling for open revolution to the American people and a communist overthrow of America.” Why yes, we do promote books! All kinds of books! And yes, we are calling for revolution to get rid of this capitalist system that’s destroying billions of lives and destroying the environment of our planet. At Revolution Books you can find the strategy for how to make an actual revolution. And you can pick up the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, to learn about the liberating society we start building day 1 after this system is overthrown.

This has been a summer of white supremacy pouring forth from the oval office and muzzles of AR-15s, unleashed by a fascist regime in power, while way too many people turn their heads away and do nothing “because it hasn’t affected ME yet.” This fascism is not a sideshow or something that can be voted away, but is deeply rooted in this system – it can and is “happening here.” It’s time get off the sidelines and ACT!

What you can do now to oppose these fascists and support Revolution Books

  • Revolution Books is OPEN!
    Come to the giant used book sale
    Friday, Aug 30 - Monday, Sept 2, 11-6pm
  • Buy some books! Volunteer for a couple hours. And be there especially on Sunday, starting at 11:30am, to defend and stand with Rev Books when this “No to Marxism” march comes by. Calling all poets, writers, authors: Come do a reading at the bookstore on Sunday!
  • Donate!

The best way to say “fuck you” to these fascists is to support the bookstore and the movement for revolution that they hate and fear so much! Revolution Books is an all-volunteer collective, which needs your support in order to survive and thrive. Half of all donations will go to the National Revolution Tour, which is traveling the country organizing for revolution. Find out more at Revcom.us. Donate here.

August 30, 2019,
Urgent Message from Revolution Books in Harlem:

Stand with Berkeley Revolution Books Against Fascist Threats and Attacks

Our sister store, Revolution Books in Berkeley, is facing threats of attack by fascists. A group of Trump-thumping thugs has announced a “No to Marxism” march on the Berkeley store this Sunday, September 1. Over the past 2 years, this same group has blocked, menaced, and physically assaulted RB in Berkeley-- and threatened to “burn it down.”

It is no accident that Revolution Books is targeted. RB stands utterly opposed to this capitalist-imperialist system and the monstrous fascist regime it has given rise to.

Revolution Books is the political, intellectual, and cultural center of a movement for an actual revolution. A revolution to overthrow this system and put a stop once and for all to the wars of empire, white supremacy, subjugation of women, persecution of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment. A revolution to emancipate all of humanity --guided by the most radical and scientific understanding of the world and how it can be changed: the new communism developed by Bob Avakian.

At RB, the whole world comes first. It is the site of probing and provocative discussion, debate, and analysis of why the world is the way it is and how it could be different. You find books and author programs that tell of humanity’s past, present, and possible future.

Such a bookstore is anathema to these fascists—and to the Trump/Pence fascist regime that incites and legitimizes such attacks. Revolution Books is in the cross-hairs. But the assault is much wider... and widening. Bookstores and other institutions that value and promote critical thinking, the search for the truth, and social justice are targets of this regime and its on-the-ground strike forces. Last May, these ghouls tried to stop a talk by a scholar of white racism at a Washington, DC bookstore.

This is a dangerous moment. A fascist regime is in power—and aiming to consolidate full control, crush opposition, and lock down society and the life of the mind. People need to take to the streets to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power. We encourage you to watch the film of the talk by Bob Avakian The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible.

We call on people of conscience and conviction, those appalled and outraged by the direction that society is going in, and all who yearn for a world free of all oppression to STAND WITH AND DEFEND REVOLUTION BOOKS.

What you can do:

  • Spread this email.
  • Send messages of support to Revolution Books in Berkeley: revolutionbooksberkeley@gmail.com
  • If you're in the Bay Area, go to Revolution Books this Labor Day Weekend to show your support.
  • Donate to Revolution Books in Berkeley or to Revolution Books in New York City.

From Revolution Books, Berkeley

In the last couple years, a bunch of vile know-nothing pro-Trump fascists have repeatedly attacked Revolution Books and even threatened to burn it down! And now, once again this Sunday, Sept. 1, they’re marching on Revolution Books.

The call for their “No to Marxism” protest says, “Revolution Books is a communist anti-American store.” Innocent as charged! Revolution Books is the intellectual, cultural, and political center of a movement for an actual revolution. At the heart of our store is the new communism developed by Bob Avakian—the most radical and scientific understanding of the world and how it can be changed. While these flag-waving cheerleaders for U.S. imperialism celebrate “America First,” Revolution Books carries novels, poetry, plays, history, and analyses, which tell the truth about of this country and value the humanity of people throughout the world. As Bob Avakian says, “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First.”

They say, “This store promotes books and the ideology of calling for open revolution to the American people and a communist overthrow of America.” Why yes, we do promote books! All kinds of books! And yes, we are calling for revolution to get rid of this capitalist system that’s destroying billions of lives and destroying the environment of our planet. At Revolution Books you can find the strategy for how to make an actual revolution. And you can pick up the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, to learn about the liberating society we start building day 1 after this system is overthrown.

This has been a summer of white supremacy pouring forth from the oval office and muzzles of AR-15s, unleashed by a fascist regime in power, while way too many people turn their heads away and do nothing “because it hasn’t affected ME yet.” This fascism is not a sideshow or something that can be voted away, but is deeply rooted in this system – it can and is “happening here.” It’s time get off the sidelines and ACT!

What you can do now to oppose these fascists and support Revolution Books

  • Revolution Books is OPEN!
    Come to the giant used book sale
    Friday, Aug 30 - Monday, Sept 2, 11-6pm
  • Buy some books! Volunteer for a couple hours. And be there especially on Sunday, starting at 11:30am, to defend and stand with Rev Books when this “No to Marxism” march comes by. Calling all poets, writers, authors: Come do a reading at the bookstore on Sunday!
  • Donate!

The best way to say “fuck you” to these fascists is to support the bookstore and the movement for revolution that they hate and fear so much! Revolution Books is an all-volunteer collective, which needs your support in order to survive and thrive. Half of all donations will go to the National Revolution Tour, which is traveling the country organizing for revolution. Find out more at Revcom.us. Donate here.

For Immediate Release
August 30, 2019

Contact: Revolution Books revolutionbooksberkeley@gmail.com

PRESS CONFERENCE TO DEFEND REVOLUTION BOOKS AGAINST FASCIST THREATS AND ATTACKS

On the day know-nothing, pro-Trump, fascist thugs are marching from Sproul Plaza to Revolution Books for the 11th time in 2 years, Revolution Books remains open and defiant.

Press conference
11:30AM at Revolution Books, 2444 Durant Avenue

Speakers include:

  • Rafael Kadaris, member of the National Tour to Get Organized for An Actual Revolution
  • Reiko Redmonde, manager, Revolution Books, Berkeley
  • Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila
  • Members of the community, book and art world who value critical thinking, the role of art, the life of the mind and...revolution.

Book sale, poetry readings, speakers and surprises to follow throughout the day.

Revolution Books is the political, intellectual and cultural center of a movement for an ACTUAL revolution, and the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian.

For Immediate Release
August 30, 2019

Contact: Revolution Books revolutionbooksberkeley@gmail.com

PRESS CONFERENCE TO DEFEND REVOLUTION BOOKS AGAINST FASCIST THREATS AND ATTACKS

On the day know-nothing, pro-Trump, fascist thugs are marching from Sproul Plaza to Revolution Books for the 11th time in 2 years, Revolution Books remains open and defiant.

Press conference
11:30AM at Revolution Books, 2444 Durant Avenue

Speakers include:

  • Rafael Kadaris, member of the National Tour to Get Organized for An Actual Revolution
  • Reiko Redmonde, manager, Revolution Books, Berkeley
  • Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila
  • Members of the community, book and art world who value critical thinking, the role of art, the life of the mind and...revolution.

Book sale, poetry readings, speakers and surprises to follow throughout the day.

Revolution Books is the political, intellectual and cultural center of a movement for an ACTUAL revolution, and the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian.

Funds urgently needed each month to maintain, upgrade, and expand revcom.us.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/610/writers-statements-for-revolution-books-berkeley-en.html

Berkeley Revolution Books Faces Threats and Attacks

Statements From Writers and Others for Revolution Books, Berkeley

| revcom.us

 

Join those signing this statement:

As fascists once again threaten Revolution Books in Berkeley, while our government expands its war on truth, knowledge, and science...

As fascism here and around the world endangers the lives and futures of millions of people...

We who write to connect humanity and inspire empathy, to provoke critical thought and debate, to record the richness and diversity of human experience and transform it, to bring a better world into being through the beauty and power of language...

We stand unequivocally with Revolution Books against repeated assaults that conjure up a legacy of Nazi book burnings.

We call on everyone with a poetic spirit and hunger for justice to defend this radical and necessary bookstore.

We pledge to resist the horror of a fascist America. Our hearts are with Revolution Books.

Chaitali Sen, author; Sarah Roark, graphic novelist; Moazzam Sheikh, writer and librarian; Anis Shivani, writer; Soniah Kamal, author; Dena Afrasiabi, writer and editor; Rinku Sen, writer; Devi S. Laskar, author; Anita Felicelli, author; Shamala Gallagher, writer; Harriet Harmon; Amin Ahmad, writer; Mehnaaz Momen, writer; Gina Apostol, author; Sharbari Zohra Ahmed, author and screenwriter; Mira Jacob, author; Monique Truong, author; Nekitha X, writer and poet; Jonathan Metzl, author and professor; Nayomi Munaweera, writer; Idee Kwak, composer, author, speaker; Laurie Filipelli, author; Hasanthika Sirisena, writer; Natalia Sylvester, author; David I. Orenstein, professor; Marty Goodman, former board member, Transport Workers Local 100 (NY Transit Workers); Saba Waheed, writer; Frances de Pontes Peebles, author; Purvi Shah, poet; Shikha Malaviya, writer and publisher; Sikivu Hutchinson, author; Abe Louise Young, writer and editor; Steven Felicelli, writer; Anya Groner, writer; José Skinner, author; Gary Pak, writer and cultural worker; Nina McConigley, writer; Jack Kaulfus, writer; Ire’ne Lara Silva, writer; Idra Novey, author; Stacy Elko, artist and writer; Shobha Rao, writer; Shujaat Mirza, poet and art curator; Clare Beams, writer

Immigrant woman activist:

As an immigrant woman activist in the Bay Area, I am in solidarity with Revolution Books. I strongly reject these nationalist supremacist hate groups that are trying to take away this space that represents a space for revolutionary ideas leading to a world without borders, a world where a woman's decisions about her body and her life are respected, where LGBTQ communities have full rights to express themselves and be validated, where the environment can be taken care of and respected—and for this to happen capitalism has to be overthrown. These fascist groups reject these ideas and are taking actions to attack Revolution Books, which is why as a community, we should defend Revolution Books from these attacks and be in solidarity.


Rickey Vincent, KPFA radio host and author of Party Music:

Revolution Books is a Bay Area treasure and an essential source for voices of change in our corrupted new-Fascist society today. Revolution Books deserves to be protected and celebrated now more than ever!

Joyce Carol Oates:

Freedom of expression—freedom of the press—freedom of public libraries & publically accessible bookstores: all are crucial to our American democracy. Everyone who cares about the future of our country should unite to defend these essential freedoms & to protest any threat to these including “marches” against bookstores like Revolution Books in Berkeley by self-styled “patriots.”


Ken Kozick, Sheafe Street Books, Portsmouth, NH:

The staff here at this independent bookstore in Portsmouth, NH want it to be known that we support Revolution Books and all bookstores in the never ending effort to keep all information available to the reading public. Humankind is mirrored by its bookstores. Don't let the brownshirts get you down!

Onward!


Gary Bono, for International Publishers

We at International strongly stand in solidarity with you against this assault on the people's right of free thought and expression. We do this also in remembrance that our founder, Alexander Trachtenberg, years ago went to prison to defend that right against those that wanted to take it away then as you stand against those who want to take it away now.


David I. Orenstein, Professor

Burning books and bookstores is the first act in destroying the exchange of ideas, the free press, freedom of thought and freedom of speech. No one person, group, entity or government should be allowed to take away this fundamental human right.

Dewey Crumpler, muralist, SF:

I want to extend my support for the on going great work of this bookstore and all independent bookstores against the right wing deniers of human liberty. Revolution Books has always stood for freedom through Knowledge and the right of all peoples.


Marisa J. Fuentes, Associate Professor, History and Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University—New Brunswick:

I’m writing in support of Revolution Books—Berkeley who faces attacks from fascist groups with a protest this Sunday and assaults in the recent past. This bookstore is a space of freedom, free speech and community building. It serves as one of the few remaining independent bookstores across the country and serves academic and public communities by fostering public education, dialog and revolutionary change. I was honored to give a book talk in the store a few years ago with colleagues, friends and family. It is a vital space to think collectively about radical change against a system structured by inequity, gun violence and white supremacy. I stand in solidarity with Revolution Books against white supremacist attacks and fascist threats. 


Carolyn Greer and Liz Koch, Co-Producers, Brooklyn Book Festival:

To our friends at the Revolution Bookstore,

Bookstores hold the words and ideas of a diversity of minds and concepts. It is imperative in a democracy that book stores should be allowed to freely, curate their stores and sell books of their choice to their patrons. The Brooklyn Book Festival stands in solidarity with Revolution Books—be it in their NYC store or Berkeley one—and indeed for all bookstores—for their right to present authors and make books of their choice available for the public.


P.E. Moskowitz, author of The Case Against Free Speech:

D. L. Lang, Vallejo Poet Laureate:

I 100% fully support Revolution Books in their efforts to make the world a better place for all people, to educate the public at large, and to lift up a variety of voices in the community.

Having recently had the honor of reading there with fellow poets laureate on the topic of social justice, it was a warm, welcoming space with a wide variety of books and passionate speakers who expose the public to new ideas for the sake of progress and gaining true knowledge about the past.

It is a true shame that this bookstore is under attack and has been threatened by those who would seek to destroy fundamental human rights that should be guaranteed to all. By this note, I stand in solidarity with all the brave souls across political lines who are against fascism and hatred.

As Heinrich Heine said, “Where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn people.”

Berkeley must do all it can to protect this gem of a place, and the volunteers who run it.


Bolerium Books, SF:

A fascist group is claiming that it plans to attack a Berkeley bookstore, Revolution Books, this weekend. Obviously we stand against all would-be book burners. Here's our statement of solidarity:

Facebook/Bolerium Books


Shobha Rao, author:

There is no room for equivocation. Revolution, as an act of the human mind and in the name of human freedom, is under attack. Revolution books is radical, necessary, and here to stay


Games of Berkeley:

On a serious note, one of our neighbors—Revolution Books—is concerned about potentially being targeted with threats, vandalism, or worse by members of tomorrow’s so-called “No To Marxism March.” The route is likely to include their store at 2444 Durant, which will hold a press conference at 11:30 am, and have speakers and readers the entire day. If you’re in the area and so inclined, please drop by and show your support.

Also, be aware that there is a planned protest at Sproul Plaza Sunday at noon, and a planned counter-protest at People’s Park at the same time.


Lucia Grillo, actress, filmmaker:

This is really distressing, a serious threat to all that we, those who are against Trump’s hateful agenda, stand up for.  Please STAND WITH AND DEFEND REVOLUTIONS. And get with Refuse Fascism who have been out every day fighting to end this regime—for all!

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