revcom.us, September 9, 2019 through September 15, 2019 (#612)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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September 11, 2019

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/a-readers-suggestion-taking-out-an-urgent-challenge-en.html

An Urgent Question: What Are YOU Gonna Do NOW?

| revcom.us

 

To Revcom.us:

Every time I have gone over the article “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’” that you have been running by Bob Avakian, I have been struck by the following questions that he poses “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.”

The questions are:

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?!

Of course there are other important questions posed in this article and there are other very strong and provocative sections of it. But I want to suggest that your readers take the two questions posed above that I have pulled out, put them on a big poster-board and then set them up on a downtown street, or in front of a campus cafeteria or student union, or at a busy transit hub, etc. with a sign saying something like, “We are asking this question of everyone. What do you think? And what do you think we can do about the fact that millions are not taking to the streets, now?” Then get into this – gather several people around to talk about it with each other, or call a meeting for later that day near the same spot where people can talk about it, or both. And then you go from there...

I think if people took this quote out like this, right now, very simply, and reported on the results to the website (write revolution.reports@yahoo.com), we would learn something very important... and perhaps set in motion a larger process as we do.  

 


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Put these on a big poster-board and then set it up on a downtown street, or in front of a campus cafeteria or student union, or at a busy transit hub, etc. Gather several people around to talk about it with each other, or call a meeting for later that day near the same spot where people can talk about it, or both. Write to revcom.us (revolution.reports@yahoo.com) about what you found out.

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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

 

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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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/611/the-question-that-wasnt-asked-en.html

The Question That Wasn't Asked At the BEB Climate Forum (Democratic Party Division)

| revcom.us

 

This is the question that was not asked at the CNN/BEB Climate Forum for the Democratic Party presidential candidates:

“What will you do about the fact that—owing to the blood-soaked capitalist-imperialist domination and plunder of the planet by the U.S. —it would take five earths to provide resources adequate for a standard of living for the rest of the world equivalent to that of Americans?”

The only true answer from any of the BEB candidates to that question would have been:

“Nothing!  Because restructuring the U.S. in relation to the rest of the world with the aim of overcoming the oppression of one nation by another would require a revolution to overthrow this system and bring in a totally new political and economic structure.  So, we would rather that hundreds of millions and even billions around the planet perish in ecological disaster and we would rather risk the web of life itself than for that to happen. 

“Now fuck you and let us get back to our jobs of corralling and domesticating dissent with the promises, posturing, and obfuscation of BEB .... while the planet burns.”

Which is why that question was not asked.

For a revolutionary approach to the environmental crisis, go here.

See also:

The Most Recent Heinous Crimes Carried Out by Democratic Presidents or Congresses: A Chart

Read more

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/611/special-resource-page-on-the-environmental-emergency-en.html

Capitalism-Imperialism Is Destroying the Planet...
Only Revolution Gives Humanity a Real Chance to Save It

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

—Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 


  • Hurricane Dorian struck the Caribbean nation of the Bahamas with unprecedented force. A week later, thousands were still missing, with the number of dead rising, countless homes destroyed, whole towns and communities wiped out, and tens of thousands needing clean water, food, housing and medical aid. Global warming is increasing the power and intensity of hurricanes, especially affecting island nations and coastal areas around the world. Above: Great Abaco, Bahamas, September 5, 2019 (Photo: AP)

  • Two signs in the Arctic of how quickly and catastrophically climate change is affecting the world: 1) August 1, the layer of ice covering Greenland melted more in a single day than has ever been recorded. 2) For the past two months, unprecedented wildfires have been burning from Alaska to Siberia, including north of the Arctic Circle, destroying wild forests and sending more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Above: Rapid melting in the Barnes Ice Cap in the Canadian Arctic. (Photo via University of Colorado, 2017)

  • The Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, is burning—causing deadly harm to what is known as the "lungs of the planet." The fires are set deliberately by farmers and agribusiness companies with the backing of the Brazilian government. If this continues, the results would be horrific: extinction of tens of thousands of species and further acceleration of global climate change. Above: Jacundá National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho, August 25, 2019 (Photo: AP)

  •     Watch this film

Yes, “the house is on fire,” as climate activists declare. We are facing a crisis of unprecedented and existential dimensions—threatening the ecosystems of the planet and life itself. Yet three years on since the adoption of the Paris UN climate accords in 2016, not one major capitalist industrial power is on track to meeting its (obscenely inadequate) goals, and the U.S. has withdrawn. As the planet heats up!

The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism,
by Bob Avakian, an excerpt

This system and those who rule over it are not capable of carrying out economic development to meet the needs of the people now, while balancing that with the needs of future generations and requirements of safeguarding the environment. They care nothing for the rich diversity of the earth and its species, for the treasures this contains, except when and where they can turn this into profit for themselves.... These people are not fit to be the caretakers of the earth.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:29

The question is... what underlies this crisis and what must be done? The stakes could not be higher. We invite you to dig into the materials on this page and to confront these questions:

  • Why does capitalism plunder the planet? And can this system of capitalism-imperialism, driven by the competitive pursuit of profit and more profit, and by the rivalry between great powers for global control and dominance—somehow act, or be pressured to act, to put the interests of humanity and the planet first? The resources on this page, including articles, major works, and videos from talks by Bob Avakian, demonstrate how that is impossible.
  • Can a “Green New Deal” that operates within the framework of this system, and that takes the U.S. standard of living and the U.S. empire and military as a given, provide a workable solution? The polemic against the Green New Deal shows that this is a toxic illusion.
  • And what about the fate of the great mass of humanity in the Third World who are suffering the greatest consequences, and will face even more horrific consequences, of global warming? Their lives and futures count for nothing in the calculus of the ruling classes of the rich capitalist countries.

There are in fact only two choices: Let the planet hurtle uncontrollably toward environmental disaster, and let other horrors continue and intensify—such as wars of aggression and the oppression of Black and Brown people, of women, and of immigrants—OR we make a revolution, an actual revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism.

How would a revolutionary socialist society address the environmental emergency? To the many, many people who DO feel the depth and urgency of the situation, we invite and challenge you to grapple with the only framework through which humanity can forge a viable answer to this environmental emergency, and on a truly emancipatory basis. We need a whole other way... and there are a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by Bob Avakian and “Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development” that show the way.

Watch for continuing analysis, polemic, and late-breaking commentary.

Why does capitalism plunder the planet?

The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism, by Bob Avakian, an excerpt

Bob Avakian, "Not fit caretakers of the earth"

How would a revolutionary socialist society address the environmental emergency?

How Would a Revolutionary Socialist Society Address the Environmental Emergency?

Excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

  • A. The Economy.
  • B. The Environment.
  • Article IV. The Economy and Economic Development in the New Socialist Republic in North America.
  • Section 5. The System of Public-State Ownership is the Foundation of the New Socialist Economy.

Dead-End Paths and Mental Shackles

Further Reading...

This resources page is in formation. Visit frequently for updates.

 

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/612/bob-avakian-the-decisive-role-of-leadership-en.html

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

On September 6, Robert Mugabe died. Mugabe emerged as the leader of the liberation struggle against the white settler-colonialist regime of Rhodesia in southern Africa that for many years dominated and plundered the land and people in the service of British colonialism and imperialism. (After that regime was forced from power, Rhodesia was renamed Zimbabwe.) Mugabe then headed the government of Zimbabwe for nearly 40 years. While Mugabe did lead the liberation struggle, like so many other revolutionaries of that era, he did not lead Zimbabwe onto the road of breaking with imperialist and neocolonial domination and oppression. In fact, this failure marked most of the different struggles waged in Africa, Latin America, and Asia during the period following World War 2: truly heroic struggles for independence and national liberation, only to be followed by new forms of imperialist domination. What happened? Why? And what larger lessons should be drawn? The following excerpt from Bob Avakian’s The New Communism digs into this.

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from a 2016 work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. An updated prepublication copy is available online at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "IV. The Leadership We Need."

Excerpt 1 from the section:
The Decisive Role of Leadership

Let’s start with a very basic point: Leadership is decisive. As Mao put it, where there is oppression there will be resistance: the masses of oppressed people will repeatedly rise up and fight back against their oppression. But where that struggle ends up, and whether it can be taken all the way to an emancipating revolution, a new society and ultimately a new world, without exploitation and oppression and all the suffering and destruction that goes along with that, depends on leadership—on the line, the worldview, the method and approach, the strategy and program of the force which gains the leadership in the struggle against oppression.

Notice that I said “the force which gains the leadership.” Why did I put it this way—and what is the importance of this? Well, one of the things this is emphasizing is that there is always going to be a struggle over who’s in the leading position, and therefore where things are being led. It’s not a matter of things falling into anyone’s lap—unless it’s the ruling class, or other forces that will have spontaneity going for them and will lead things in the wrong direction—but especially if the leadership the masses actually need, to make the revolution they need, is really going to gain the leading position, it’s going to be a process of, yes, complex, and at times very fierce, struggle. Once again, if we think it’s just a matter that eventually the masses will see the need for a revolution and they’ll come seeking us out and ask us to lead them—well, we’ll be in for a very bad surprise! Even to the degree that something like that might happen, we wouldn’t be able to handle it correctly, if that’s our orientation and approach. There has to be a fight—this goes back to the point a little while ago, that much of the struggle we carry out, particularly in the ideological realm, is struggle against other lines and programs which do not directly flow from and represent the ruling class but are more representative of intermediate strata, but which, nonetheless, lead people back into, or keep them chained within, the killing confines and dynamics of this system.

Now, I mentioned earlier the book The Looting Machine. The full title is The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa’s Wealth. The author, Tom Burgis, starts off the first chapter of the book speaking about Chicala, which is a shantytown slum in Luanda, the capital city of Angola; and he talks about how there isn’t much that is in the wall separating Chicala from the rest of the city, other than a lot of sewage, as well as fear. This called to mind something I wrote earlier about the piles of garbage and human waste that little children in Luanda and other parts of Angola are playing amidst, while a few miles away there are tall buildings serving as glittering monuments to the power of the wealthy. You see this now in China, in Shanghai and other cities, but even in Luanda and places like that—these glittering skyscrapers, symbols of this vast wealth in a very few hands. And Angola is a particularly poignant example, because the ruling force now in Angola is what proceeded from the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (the MPLA), which was the nationalist force leading the struggle against Portuguese colonialism, which dominated Angola, and then a civil war against forces backed by apartheid South Africa and the U.S. This was fought out for decades in Angola. The clique now ruling in Angola came directly out of that—the heads of the country now were the leaders of the MPLA, and those who have succeeded them. Burgis makes the point that the daughter of the leader of the MPLA—Isabel dos Santos—is the first female billionaire in Africa. Isn’t that a shining example of “empowerment”?! You can just hear minions and mouthpieces of the system celebrating this—a female billionaire in Africa—while you get this vivid picture of the literal garbage and waste that the masses of people are living in, surrounding these glittering symbols of all this wealth that has, in a real sense, been looted from these countries and from the masses of people.

In reading this, you could think about—and a lot of people would think about—what a tragedy this is, what a horrible situation, what terrible corruption. Some would note the role of multinational corporations in all this, and talk about how the corporations have way too much power, and these days perhaps a few might talk about imperialism, in some general sense. Now, all that might be in the right direction and with the right spirit, but what struck me immediately, as I got into reading this book—and what struck me repeatedly in reading it—is how this screams out the need for an actual socialist transformation of these societies. Again, it’s back to the mode of production point, and the compelling reality that if you don’t have a leadership that bases itself on a scientific understanding of all this, you are going to end up in a terrible situation, despite the struggle and sacrifice of masses of people, including the struggle and sacrifices of the forces leading them. In other words, the leadership in these places like Angola, they end up saying things like, “We learned that money is power—if you don’t have money, you can’t do anything.” So, just like the revisionists in China, who took China back down the capitalist road while still pretending to be communists in some vague sense, these forces in places like Angola go about accumulating wealth through capitalist means, with the claim that this somehow benefits the masses of people. In China they literally had the slogan, “To Get Rich is Glorious”—they replaced the slogan during the time of Mao, “Serve the People,” with the slogan “To Get Rich is Glorious.” I remember hearing a story about one of the party cadre in China after the revisionist coup happened and they put away the slogan of “Serve the People” and the orientation of serving the people by advancing the revolution, and started talking about how everybody should try to get rich, because that would be for the benefit of the country. And one of these Chinese Communist Party cadre, now under this revisionist leadership that was promoting this bourgeois line, actually said to another party cadre: “Well, you know, we used to talk about serve the people; but aren’t I a people?” So you can see how the ideological corruption sets in when the dominant line is changed in this way and is being pumped at people, even people who definitely once knew better. They get caught up in this idea that if we all go out for ourselves, we’ll make a lot of money and then we can do something good for the masses of poor people. So this slogan, “To Get Rich is Glorious,” was supposed to inspire people to make a lot of money, and that would develop the economy and help the people. And in reading The Looting Machine you see this rationalization repeated by the heads of government in these different African countries: Well, if we amass a lot of wealth, then we can do something for the people.

Now, again, many of these people fought under very difficult conditions for decades. They were up against apartheid South Africa, which was a very powerful country at the time, and was being backed up by the U.S., even as the ruling class of the U.S. put up some pretense of opposing apartheid. Going up against that, the MPLA in Angola relied somewhat on the Soviet Union, which was a real problem, but they waged a lot of self-sacrificing struggle. Why did things end up this way? Well, there were major shifts in the world and world relations, including the fact that the Soviet Union as such collapsed and its empire went out of existence in its previous form, with Soviet social-imperialism (socialism in name but imperialism in fact) being replaced by an openly capitalist-imperialist Russia, and China now on the road of capitalism. All this was disorienting, and all the more so because people weren’t scientific enough. Forces like the MPLA were eclectic—their viewpoint was a mishmash of nationalism and some aspects of communism, it was not a consistently scientific communist approach. And so, when these new conditions hit, what did they end up doing? They became nouveau bourgeois exploiters, and at the same time accomplices (and basically appendages) of imperialism, accumulating tremendous wealth for themselves, on the backs of the masses of people.

Here we get back to a point that was made, toward the beginning of this presentation, on the base and the superstructure—the economic system, the mode of production, and how it sets the terms for things in society overall, and how, in turn, the superstructure that arises on that economic base serves to reinforce it. In other words, the political and ideological superstructure—the political system, the laws, the culture, the ideas that dominate in the society—have to be in accordance with that mode of production, or the society can’t function. So if you go down the road of saying we’re gonna use capitalist means to get a lot of wealth, if that’s the mode of production that’s operating, then you have to have a superstructure of laws, political institutions, culture and ideology, and so on, that goes along with and enforces that capitalist system, even if you once had a different set of ideas.

 

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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

 

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/611/welcome-dinner-new-york-city-en.html

| revcom.us

 

GET READY NYC!

Welcome the National REVOLUTION TOUR to NYC

WELCOME DINNER for the

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

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

Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

 

Saturday, September 14, 6 - 9 PM

SOCIAL HALL: St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church

263 West 86th Street, NYC

Enter from West 86 St. between Broadway & West End Ave. (#1 to 86)

$20 suggested donation

Sponsored by: Revolution Club, NYC (@NYCRevClub, 646-717-7161) & Revolution Books (@RevBooksNYC)

 

Donate for tour: via Venmo RevClubNYC or http://revcom.us/revolutiontour/donate-en.html

Hear from members of the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour on why YOU should be at the WELCOME DINNER

An Invitation by Noche Diaz to GET YOUR TICKET to the Welcome Dinner TODAY!

Download PDF, print and get out everywhere

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/introducing-masses-to-ba-chicago-en.html

Introducing Masses to BA—Some Experience from Chicago

| revcom.us

 

from a member of the National Revolution Tour

In the week leading up to the major film screening in Chicago, we took tablets and speakers to show the trailer to people we were meeting on our outings. On the South Side, there was a struggle to bring people forward and engage with us. In our agitation we would announce we are showing the trailer for people to watch. Oftentimes people had questions for us and get caught up in T.I.N.A. (the myth that “There Is No Alternative”), but the trailer for the filmed speech from Bob Avakian (BA), Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, helped us to both introduce the leadership of BA and raise people’s sights on the possibility for an actual revolution.

Many who watched the trailer were very engaged and watched the whole trailer. They were inspired by BA’s words and wanted to know more about him. The trailer puts revolution “straight up” and poses the 2 Choices. Consequently, people would speak to the question of revolution and what BA is saying in the trailer. In some instances, people who either didn’t think revolution was possible or thought they knew everything about that were forced to engage a little deeper and were more open to dialogue on how we can do it after they watched the trailer. Their response was based on why we need an actual revolution and brought up some thoughts on how exactly we were going to do that. The trailer stimulated the process of getting into these questions with people and sharply put forth what we are actually talking about when we say revolution, so people started from there as opposed to somewhere else.

Another example of introducing BA happened outside of the organizing center. There was a young Black male who is frustrated by the conditions Black people are in. He began talking about his solution to deal with police harassment and murder and went in the direction of revenge. He said, “Protest doesn’t do anything. People are tired of talk, they want action.” A friend of his then stopped to listen and began agreeing with him saying people need to arm themselves and began talking about the Black Panthers. The first man said that once the media covers a group of serious individuals who know their rights and are going to defend themselves, then the police will know not to fuck with them because they will be scared. One comrade asked him, “And what do you think will happen if people rise up in that way? Will they just be allowed to do that?” She then pulled out the clip on BA throughout the years and when the second man saw BA, he said, “He’s white!? Nah!” and was walking away when his friend told him, “Look, that’s not right, you have to listen to what he is saying.” So they both watched the clip and were making comments in agreement to what BA is saying in the clip. One of them liked when BA says, “You have to emancipate yourself.” The first man pulled out his phone and searched up the YouTube page and took HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution, saying he wanted to watch more and read and come discuss it with the Revolution Club. They left abruptly after that but I think it is worth noting that he did not want to take our materials at first and had some misconceptions about what the club is about. There was a lot of struggle to even get him to listen to what we were saying at first because he was so upset about the police and also didn’t know we had an actual strategy and leadership. I think the BA clip helped in cutting through some of the BS, and also the tendency people have of dismissing what we are saying without even engaging in materials or what we are actually saying.

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

Spread this trailer everywhere.
Learn more about the film here.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/im-excited-to-see-the-national-tour-go-en.html

I'm Excited to See the National Tour Go Because I've Seen the Potential in the Scientific Method BA Talks About

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the National Revolution Tour and the Chicago Revolution Club

The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour heads off to New York for the next leg so in thinking not only about my reflections but also lessons learned and advances we collectively made and still have to make going forward.

I want to start off by saying that the Tour being In Chicago has had a Major Impact on me. Deepening my level of understanding not only in the (Why We Need A Revolution) but how crucially important everything that we’re doing now in Hastening While Awaiting is to building this Revolution. Stepping up my level of commitment not in the amount of time I spent with the tour or the club but... What will my life be about... what it means to be a member of the Revolution club and Represent For the 6 POA’s and the “BAsics 5:3” quote on the “Point of Principle.” Fighting for and committing to that.

I’m thinking about how the Tour first started off “July 13, Chicago Get Ready,” the March to protest at the ICE Detention Facilities, all the way through the whole Chicago leg and the impact of the Tour here. With the concentration and struggle in Hyde Park, Down Town and the Westside and not just going out but coming back summing up to make a further advance, to actually break through on the Mission of the Tour to bring forward the thousands needed to step into the revolution. Now while the Tour didn’t accomplish all of its goals here, I do feel like there is a lot I learned. The importance of the website and social media in the people seeing and staying connected with the Clubs and the National Tour, it also gives people ways to engage BA, the leader of this revolution. And Fundraising. I mean we’re talking about people from all over the country on the National Revolution Tour, leaving school, home, family and dedicating themselves to revolution and the mission of the tour, and the funds that ARE needed for transportation, for housing, for food and for materials to get this Revolution and Bob Avakian everywhere it needs to be as an alternative force in society. To contend with these dead-end “solutions” and illusions of painless progress, that has people unwillingly going along with his system because they don’t see anything else possible underneath this system.

I felt a transformation during this whole process. It really was an amazing experience to be a part of a team of Scientists going to work on the problems of the Revolution. With a “Critical Mass” of Revolutionaries and Revolutionary Leaders, to bring forward the thousands, to be a pole of attraction and an alternative force in society and proceeding from a Scientific basis and impacting the terrain.

During the week of the (School/Science Camp) seeing the potential in the masses, after getting into Bob Avakian’s work and applying BAsics 3:30 to what happened in El Paso and with these white supremacist attacks the sense of impact, accumulate taking over Lake Shore Drive impact more, accumulate more at the Bud Billiken a few days later and with the message (there’s a whole better way that the world can be). Then building for the major film showing with those 3 reasons why you need to come see this film, “There never been a leader like this before, Getting into these two questions, why we need an actual Revolution and how we can really make Revolution with the National Revolution Tour and learn how YOU can take Part in the revolution.”

At the theater how people got to meet Bob Avakian on film for the first time, on the big screen, I myself I thought that was an experience way different than watching at the organizing Center, it definitely felt special. The rich discussion afterwards, people wrangling with their thoughts and hesitations.

From a Welcome dinner, to a send off sidewalk party where people really got a sense of what it means to be “Future People”... a lot has happened in just the short time that the Tour has been in Chicago. I feel like we’ve made some qualitative advances and many people have stepped forward and many others are thinking about revolution but don’t know about Bob Avakian.

I remember saying that I was excited to see the Tour go but didn’t say why... I’m excited because I’ve seen potential in what it looks like to apply the scientific method and approach that BA talks about, and all the other advances that were made being applied with the scientific certitude, developing revolutionary leaders not only leading but in that process bringing people into that process to work on the problems of the revolution. And that it’s up to us not just the us now, but everyone just stepping forward, with POA 4 to not only to see the potential of the most oppressed who are hit the hardest under this system to emancipate Humanity and challenging the complacency, to cohere, organize and retain those that are looking toward revolution, stepping and do want to put an end to any one of those 5 Stops and the outrageous system that causes them, and that want to represent for those 6 Points of Attention for the Revolution and the future for Humanity.

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

Spread this trailer everywhere.
Learn more about the film here.


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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/digging-deep-for-the-truth-en.html

Digging Deep for the Truth, Not Meandering and Grazing on the Surface

Forging a team of scientists and building a movement for revolution with BA as the solid core.

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the National Revolution Tour

We’ve accomplished some important things with the work of the Tour on this leg. The most notable being that we are beginning to really forge a team of scientists. We are beginning to demystify what it means to lead the kind of process where our unevenness can work in our favor, where people of varying understandings can carve into a question and enrich the process of transforming reality. This is still very initial and our ability to do this came out of great struggle, in particular as it relates to questions of the Cultural Revolution in the Revolutionary Communist Party and how these questions, of whether we are working to make an ACTUAL REVOLUTION or working for something else, get concentrated in BA.

We had struggle from the beginning about epistemological discipline. Meaning that we have to be a team of scientists working on the SAME problem and have discipline about doing so, and if we are trying to work to transform reality, we sure as hell can’t act like we’re doing it from scratch. We are doing science, which means we’re building on the collectively accumulated knowledge. 

If a team of scientists comes together to... cure cancer for example, the first thing they’d do is study what’s been understood so far, learn the method, experiment further and forge new pathways as they learn.

So, no! We can’t just watch BA and let our brain go shooting off all over the place; we need to speak to what he’s saying there, understand it, build on it and apply the method to reality. If we’re to change the world, up against every other framework (including those we’ve taken up as part of a revisionist pathway), we better steep ourselves in the work that the leading scientist has done. He gives a lot of guidance proceeding from the underlying workings of reality and from beyond the blinders of the permanent necessity of the world as it is. He’s waging polemic and ideological struggle, handing people the tools to carve in on different questions.

Going there with people is key in unleashing the kind of elasticity that needs to be unleashed if we are to build a movement for revolution. We have to broaden our conception of what it means to organize people on the spot – it’s not just give them a stack of palm cards... it means presenting them with the solid core of what we do have and working with them on the problems of the revolution. This is what can be done if we are putting BA straight up without getting in the way.

Too often we show people BA and we go chase things the masses bring up, or other times we get in the way by trying to “lead them back to it” by “breaking it down in our own way” and this often leads away from where BA is trying to take things. We’ve seen in the Q&A on the gangs and in what was unleashed on this leg of the tour when we insisted on epistemological discipline amongst ourselves, that the elasticity and initiative unleashed among people is qualitatively different when they are actually studying and proceeding from what BA is putting forward.

 Again, it’s the point that you aren’t starting from scratch. We have this leader and the way advanced work he’s done, so we MUST introduce people to this work and give them the solid core to work with and take off from – to unleash their creativity on THAT basis. This is science – we are trying to advance an understanding collectively with others – to learn as much as we can from people and unleash them to go to work on the same problem with the same crucial tools as opposed to everyone putting out a mish-mash of ideas and political frameworks. So when we take out BA we better be going out to get people to engage, and we should not underestimate just how much people can get out of it when this happens. It’s not that they’ll understand everything all at once, but if we don’t have confidence that they can understand things in some basic way we will treat them as tools, never advance the scientific understanding and never really unleash the kind of ferment and initiative in society that characterizes a mass movement for revolution.

With that I want to come back to the point about the Cultural Revolution in the RCP. All the things that keep us from introducing people to BA or that compel us to get in the way (in the various ways I described) even when we do introduce people to BA have everything to do with whether or not we are working to make a real revolution. All the defensiveness, the pulls toward appealing to where people are at, etc., they’re pulls that are out there in society. They are the same pulls and frameworks that are keeping people away from revolution, the frameworks we have to break with and fight for others to break with.

This is why it’s important to wage this line struggle explicitly, and to do it in a way where we are enabled and enabling others to differentiate between the two roads. Rather than ignore these pulls or do a B-line to pretend they don’t exist, or table them because we have immediate things to do... we have to use this struggle as a marker to measure the advance of the quality of our work and as a tool to deepen people’s understanding, doing this at the same time as we work on transforming reality and not as a marginal and separate process.

READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE

ORDER THE BOOK HERE

Featured excerpt:
Why Is It So Important, and What Does It Mean, to Get Into BA?

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/goal-accomplished-an-important-beginning-en.html

$50,000 Goal Accomplished! An Important Beginning

| revcom.us

 

The collective efforts and financial contributions of hundreds of people around the country turning their minds toward revolution have made possible the achievement of the $50,000 summer fundraising goal for the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. A total of $51,289 was raised during this period.

This is an important beginning and now the fundraising efforts need to be scaled up to a whole other level as we enter into the next important phase of the Revolution Tour. As we have said: The stakes are enormous, the time is short. As the political landscape sharpens and grows more dangerous daily, this Tour is what is needed to put the need and possibility for an ACTUAL revolution before thousands and thousands of people and to introduce people to Bob Avakian, a leader whose heart is with the masses of humanity that suffer needlessly under this system and who has brought forward a scientific understanding of why and how this oppressive imperialism must be overthrown and how a liberating new world can be built. A much greater level of funding is needed to enable the Tour to have even more powerful society-wide impact.

The August 25 Livestream brought alive the fact that this is a collective effort across the country—here’s the need, here’s the goal, here’s where we’re at right now, and YOU are crucial to accomplishing the goals and building this movement. People tuned in and were brought right inside the Tour with impassioned discussion among Tour members about the struggle for the Tour to rise to what’s needed as society is shaken by each new outrage and the need for revolution cries out ever more urgently. Gatherings of people watched the August 25 Livestream and donated. One person who drove hours to join an Internationalist dinner in Houston where the Livestream was being shown, wrote:

I have had my eyes on 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.

The Livestream boldly put out the challenge: To those who have been financially supporting and following the Tour, YOU need to go out and spread the word and involve much broader sections of people in learning about and contributing to this Tour.

In the days that followed, people who had tuned in were on fire to go out and spread this everywhere and make the financial goal. Well over a hundred more people donated in big and small amounts, many of whom had never before donated. Supporters of the Tour got on the phone, talked to old friends and contacts, talked to family, reached beyond the circles of people who have been actively following the Tour. For those who donated, hearing about the Tour (some for the first time) struck a chord and people donated from different perspectives:

An office worker wrote: “I gave because I must. I felt compelled. There is nothing else I can do right now. There is still a chance to change things. There is still oxygen in our lungs. We can still struggle. We have to fight this fascism. The young people’s words and deeds brought back to me that moment of discovery, that we can change things. Change is possible.”

One person watched the powerful video clip of Bob Avakian “What if the world doesn’t have to be this way?” and immediately pulled money out of his pocket saying: “I think this is a very important cause to give my money to.”

A lawyer and first-time donor heard about the Tour commemorating Red Summer of 1919 in Chicago, and immediately said he would donate. He knew of those events of 1919, and he was also moved to see that some from the Tour had traveled to join the protests of Japanese Americans against the present-day concentration camps for immigrant children.

Other people spoke of the horrors of the Trump regime and made clear they wanted to be part of something that is going straight up against all that. (See accompanying box for more statements from people who have supported the Tour.)

In addition to this kind of outreach, important collective efforts were undertaken to help achieve the $50,000 goal. Yard sales and used book sales raised thousands of dollars. Internationalist dinners and other kinds of fundraising gatherings were held. A group of immigrant women who had already raised $460 for the Tour announced they would be holding another fundraising picnic “inviting everyone who wants to celebrate internationalism and diversity, and wants to learn more about the Revolution tour that is organizing for an ACTUAL revolution.”

All of this is just a start; it reveals tremendous potential that we have just barely begun to tap. The challenge is before us. Many, many more people need to hear about this Tour, become inspired by its message and the hope that it brings on a solid scientific foundation—and step forward to support it financially. We need to redouble our efforts and reach and inspire all kinds of people, including those who have the ability to contribute at a much higher level.

The funds that have been raised so far have been critical to enabling the Tour to have broad impact in Los Angeles and Chicago. For Tour members who have left jobs and families, the funds have helped to feed and house them, to produce materials to spread revolution, to travel from city to city, and to carry out high profile actions like the stunning presence at the Bud Billiken parade in Chicago where the flag was torn to shreds while the horror of what the rule of U.S. imperialism means for humanity was denounced and exposed.

The Tour is now coming to New York to take things to a higher level. Many tens of thousands of dollars are needed to continue to fund these volunteers and enable the Tour to keep on disturbing the air with revolution and challenging people to confront the nightmare humanity is living and the need to overthrow this system in order to get free of this—and to bring forward thousands of people into organized relationship to this revolution. The fundraising efforts that have begun need to be built on and vastly and creatively expanded to a whole other level.

A Thank You from the Revolution Tour to Those Who Donated

We are making this thank-you letter to donors available to download (Word | HTML).

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Send Checks or Money Orders to:
    RCP Publications
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    Chicago, IL 60654

Make checks payable to:
    "RCP Publications" and mark them
    “National Revolution Tour”

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

“What if the world doesn’t have to be this way?”

One person who helped provide meals for the Tour in Chicago wrote:

There’s a lot of negativity in this country right now. Fascist assholes feel like they have the upper hand, and of those passionately opposed to them, the prevailing solution is wait another year to vote.

People everywhere need to have their sights raised, they need to hear that revolution is the solution, and they need to be challenged on some long held beliefs, on voting, on women, on racism, on immigrants, on religion, on violence among the people. This is the crew to do that.

A friend of Revolution Books who donated $100 wrote:

I’m not a republican, I’m not a democrat, I’m not fully in the revolution mode. But I follow the emails about the Revolution Tour, and I support people who are about movement and change, and I know that’s what you are about.

Someone who had donated when the tour just started, was inspired by watching the video of Maya tearing up the American flag at the Bud Billiken parade and was moved to donate $150. He wrote the following about this:

I’m tired of all this enforced patriotism! Support Our Troops is all over town at the same time a pro-immigrant and lgbt church in Albuquerque is vandalized 7 times in 3 weeks!  So when the proud Boys display the confederate flag with a nod from Trump, I can certainly support the rev club burning and ripping the us flag as seen on the website! Also I totally respect what Colin Kaepernick has done! I’m afraid to look at the news nowadays but you HAVE to in order to change it. Trump and Pence have to go!

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/thank-you-from-the-revolution-tour-to-those-who-donated-en.html

A Thank You from the Revolution Tour to Those Who Donated

| revcom.us

 

Dear Donor,

We want to acknowledge your donation to the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. Your donation, with those of others, plays a crucial role in making it possible for people to not only dream of a different world and a way forward out of the horrors we find ourselves confronting today, but to actively get into working for that. Your donation enables thousands to hear about the causes of what humanity endures and the possibility of revolution—thousands who otherwise would not have heard of it. Your donation enables hundreds of thousands to make the acquaintance of a leader, Bob Avakian, who combines in a really unprecedented way a deep scientific grasp of the problem and solution with a poetic spirit and a real and deep connection with the masses of people. Your donation makes possible the activity of the people who have left everything to go around the country spreading the word—people you can “meet” through watching the livestreams on revcom.us. These people, young and old, are organizing people to grapple with the serious questions facing humanity and facing revolution—to go to work on them, with leadership, in a real way.

In short, your donation spreads hope—on a solid scientific foundation.

All this must be scaled up in the next few months. We are not operating in—humanity is not confronting—a static situation; things are rapidly becoming more repressive as the fascists in the White House move with greater vitriol and heightened force to clamp their regime into place. The thousands and hundreds of thousands reached today must become millions and tens of millions tomorrow. And it is your continued support which will make this possible.

In the spirit of a new world and the emancipation of humanity, we thank you.

The National Revolution Tour

We are making this thank-you letter to donors available to download (Word).

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/605/identity-politics-blues-en.html

| revcom.us

 

"Identity Politics Blues"

 

I don’t even know who the hell I am

I got twenty-five identities and twenty-five brands

I drove to the intersection and my car just stalled

I sure am feeling really confused

with these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I heard someone saying they had truth to tell

but they got white skin and a penis as well

so I knew that they couldn’t possibly be right

never knew that truth had a gender or hue

‘Till I got these postmodern identity politics blues

 

So I shouted out loud to every woman and man

“I’m eight-fifteenths indigenous and ten percent trans!

that means you have to buy my merchandise”

even as I said it, though, I started to snooze

these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I just read this book, you should really try it

“10 Quick Steps to Decolonize your Diet”

Now I can survive on agency alone

there’s nothing meaningless I will refuse

with these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I purchased an onion and started to cry

as I peeled back its layers of privilege, then I

threw it in the trash and typed a Facebook post

all I need now is someone to accuse

with these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I feel deep in my heart that I have love to give

I just hope that’s not “heteronormative’

but then who am I to even use that word?

Why must I be stricken with a cisgender muse?

these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

Someone said “I’d like to report a crime,”

I said “Call the Arts section of The New York Times,”

there’s nothing decent that they won’t condemn

just be patient when they’re asking “who are you?!”

These damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

Yesterday, a cop punched a guy in the face

without a trigger warning and inside a safe space

he told the cop, the cop wasn’t impressed

the cop wasn’t woke and he was stuck in his views

these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I went to the lecture on empowering dogs

someone started whispering “What about frogs?”

Pretty soon, things ground right to a halt

after all, who are we as humans to choose?

These damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I woke up in the morning for a leaderless swim

I had never swum before, but still I jumped right in

two minutes later, I promptly started to drown

the other swimmers smirked and just looked amused

these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

I somehow washed ashore and collapsed on the sand

I coughed and gasped for air and I could not understand

how the currents took me so far out to sea

it dawned on me that I might need to lose

these damn postmodern identity politics blues

 

So now I want to change the world, or at least I might

if I could just stop asking if I have the right

I’ve had it with these hustlers, fakes and fools

how much longer must we be abused

by these damn postmodern identity politics blues?

 

 

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/582/identity-politics-and-privilege-en.html

IDENTITY POLITICS AND PRIVILEGE

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

 

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/sunsara-taylor-trump-imposes-anti-abortion-domestic-gag-rule-en.html

Trump Imposes Anti-Abortion Domestic Gag Rule...
But Don't Worry—the Democrats Have a Strategy!

by Sunsara Taylor

| revcom.us

 

On August 19, the Trump/Pence regime imposed a domestic gag rule, blocking over $260 million in Title X federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other facilities that provide—or even refer patients to outside facilities that provideabortions. These health care providers will now be starved of the funds needed to provide life-saving cancer screenings, HIV and STD tests, and birth control to millions of women who otherwise could not afford them. And, this gag rule has opened the floodgates to pouring these federal dollars into institutions that refuse to even mention abortion and refuse to provide women with birth control at all! And all this comes at a time of record restrictions on abortion and growing momentum towards its outright criminalization.

With so much at stake, it was only a matter of hours before the party that has branded itself #TheResistance swung into motion.

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats decried these attempts to force women to have children against their will. “When it comes to the enslavement of half of humanity,” she insisted, “there can be no compromise. Every politician behind this fascist assault must be removed from office. And right now, their offices must be occupied and there must be massive street demonstrations making clear that we will not tolerate such a brazen, enslaving assault on the most fundamental rights of women!”

Meanwhile, the Women’s March sprang back into action and the streets and state houses across the country were flooded and shut down. As women’s fury erupted, it called forth and merged with the pent-up anger of millions throughout society against the Trump/Pence regime’s fascist assaults on immigrants, on Black people, on the environment, on civil liberties, on the health of the planet, and on the people of the world. Drawing inspiration from the people of Puerto Rico and Hong Kong, these protesters came back, day after day, declaring their determination to continue until the regime was driven from power. As the stultifying and self-absorbed normalcy of life in America got punctured, millions began to dream of a world without oppression and to debate what it will take to make that real.

Except... as you know, none of that happened.

What actually happened the week of Trump’s domestic gag rule is that Trump also moved to detain migrant families indefinitely, accused Jews of disloyalty, rolled back pollution rules, unleashed ICE to tear 600 immigrants from their families in Mississippi, and the streets remained empty and silent.

As for the Democrats, Pelosi issued a paltry tweet patting herself on the back for a completely ineffectual gesture she made back in April against Trump’s new Title X rules. Several of the Democrats’ circus car of 2020 contenders issued sound-bites. Oh, and the Women’s March tweeted a couple articles and asked for donations.

You see, the Democrats’ strategy for the fascist war on women is to capitulate to it. They’ve been at it for decades. They care more about the survival and stability of their system of capitalism-imperialism than they do about stopping the injustices they claim to oppose. And they desperately fear the people going into the streets in a massive and sustained way, because that could set in motion a dynamic that calls their whole system into question.

So, if you dream of a future of emergency rooms filled with women dying from botched illegal abortions, prisons packed with women who miscarried under “suspicious circumstances,” and women everywhere forced to bear children against their will, then sit back and keep leaving the “resistance” to the Democrats.

If not, then wake the hell up. The kind of resistance envisioned above—resistance that actually IS resistance and not merely a hashtag to raise money... the kind of resistance so urgently needed—is possible. It is urgent that it NOT remain a fantasy. It is urgent that people—that YOU—join with the call issued by RefuseFascism.org to actually pour into the streets and drive this regime out. There is time, but not a lot of time.

Women are full human beings, not incubators! Whether they will be able to live as such, depends on what we do.


Read more

From the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:
"Male Supremacy: Stitched Together With Capitalism"

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We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/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 Bob Avakian’s work 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 brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA)—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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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

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

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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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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-44-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. 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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/berkeley-needs-to-stand-up-to-fascist-ideas-rafael-kadaris-en.html

Excerpts from a Daily Cal op-ed:

Berkeley needs to stand up to fascist ideas

by Rafael Kadaris

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note:The following are excerpts from an op-ed that appeared in the Daily Cal, the campus newspaper at University of California, Berkeley, on September 7. The writer of the op-ed, Rafael Kadaris, is a supporter of Revolution Books in Berkeley and the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. The original op-ed is available online here.

Over the last two years, pro-Trump fascists have attacked Revolution Books in Berkeley and even threatened to burn it down. This past Sunday, Sept. 1, pro-Trump protesters once again attempted to march on our bookstore but were prevented from doing so by a defiant and joyous counter-protest.

The call for their “No to Marxism” protest said, “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 brought forward by Bob Avakian—a further development of Marxism and an even more scientific and liberating understanding of the world and how it can be radically changed.

We will not be intimidated by these anti-communist protesters. At the same time, these threats must be taken seriously. This fascism is not a sideshow or something that can be voted away, but it is deeply rooted in this system—it can and is “happening here.”...

Look at what has happened in the last two and a half years: the administration has banned the entry of people from Muslim-majority countries; it’s said Jews who vote Democratic are “disloyal”; it’s told Congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from; it’s revealed a regulation to allow it to detain migrants indefinitely; it’s had the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, carry out raids that leave children to come home from school to find that their parents are gone; it’s packed the courts with conservatives and is aiming to take away women’s right to abortion; it’s threatened multiple nations with nuclear war; it’s stripped away one environmental protection after another as our planet stands on the precipice of climate disaster.

All this, while way too many people turn their heads away because “it’s not happening to me” or because they’re not willing to get out of their comfort zone to make the sacrifices necessary to stop all this. Yesterday’s outrage becomes today’s new normal as people accommodate themselves to the unacceptable.

UC Berkeley students might think that it is scary to stand up to fascism. And there’s no denying that there are risks. But what’s more scary is allowing fascists to march through Berkeley unopposed. What’s even more scary is allowing the Trump administration to remain in power and fully implement its agenda.

At the same time, we have to pull the lens back and ask a deeper question. What kind of system creates people like Donald Trump? Is this an aberration in America and American democracy, or is this the culmination of this nation’s history, since its foundations were built on slavery and genocide? As Bob Avakian put it, “There’s a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today.”...

As Bob Avakian has written, “There’s nothing more unrealistic than the idea of reforming this system into something that would come anywhere near being in the interests of the great majority of people and ultimately of humanity as a whole.”

But whether we are for revolution or for reform, these attacks on Revolution Books are attacks on everyone who values social justice, art and imagination, intellectual engagement and the search for the truth. It matters that we stand together, from our diverse perspectives, in defense of Revolution Books.

We invite you to come to the bookstore....

 

Livestream from Revolution Books, Berkeley, September 1

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/611/a-defiant-day-in-berkeley-defending-and-supporting-revolution-books-en.html

A Defiant Day in Berkeley Defending and Supporting Revolution Books!

| revcom.us

 

From Revolution Books, Berkeley:

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.

At the end of the press conference, there was a commotion outside of the bookstore as the fascists tried to march toward the store. Bookstore supporters and anti-fascists linked arms in front of the store, while many pushed forward into the street, driving the few flag-waving fascists back up Telegraph Avenue, accompanied by over 50 heavily armed riot pigs. Protesters chanted "1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide and war, 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great," and "Nazi book burners, get the fuck out of Berkeley!" After the fascists left, dozens of curious University of California, Berkeley students—who received an email the day before from the university administration warning them to stay away from the protests—stood around Bancroft and Telegraph Avenue discussing what had happened and digging into questions of reform vs revolution, and capitalism vs communism, with the Revolution Club.

Throughout the day, hundreds of people came in and out of the store, browsing and mingling, and buying books. Most importantly, lots and lots of new people were introduced to this intellectual, political, and cultural center of a movement for an actual revolution, and the new communism and leadership of Bob Avakian that is at the core of that revolution. One Cal freshman who just moved to Berkeley was thrilled by the whole experience today and bought BAsics by Bob Avakian because he said he had to find out what this is all about. This anti-communist counter-revolutionary attack was definitely met with MORE REVOLUTION!

Stay tuned to revcom.us and to Revolution Books Berkeley at Twitter.com/RevolutionBksB and Facebook.com/RevolutionBooks for latest developments.

Livestream from Revolution Books, Berkeley, September 1

After the press conference, there was a commotion outside of the bookstore as the fascists tried to march toward the store. Bookstore supporters and anti-fascists linked arms in front of the store.

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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/612/amazon-fires-and-fake-tears-en.html

Amazon Fires and Fake Tears from Pigs at the Trough at the G7

| revcom.us

 

Way too many people are sitting around, waiting and hoping that the more reasonable-sounding, liberal wing of the capitalist-imperialist ruling classes—people like Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel in Europe and Obama and the Democrats in the U.S.—can be pressured to take real action on the global climate crisis which threatens humanity’s very existence.

Well, let’s look at what happened at the recent G7 summit meeting, an annual gathering of the biggest imperialist powers on the planet.

A war of words broke out between the liberal French President Macron and the fascist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The G7 was happening as over 40,000 fires raged in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. Posturing as big defenders of the environment, Macron and the G7 heads (except for Trump) warned that the Amazon fires were a grave threat and demanded that Bolsonaro take action to stop them. And they offered to help with funds.

But what’s the real story?

In the face of the actual reality, it is self-delusion and irresponsible bullshit to count on the representatives of this planet-killing system to suddenly come to the rescue!

1. Trump sat out the meeting that the other G7 members held to discuss climate change and refused to contribute to the $22 million fund unless it was done with the consent of Bolsonaro—who turned down the funds anyway. [back]


One of more than 40,000 fires that were raging in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil during the G7. Photo: AP

"Not fit caretakers of the earth"

A clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003. Watch the whole talk at revolutiontalk.net.

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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/612/american-crime-case-13-kuangju-massacre-en.html

American Crime

Case #13: South Korea May 18-27, 1980—The Kwangju Massacre

| revcom.us

 

American Crime is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment will focus on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

THE CRIME

From May 18-27, 1980 the U.S.-backed South Korean military junta of President Chun Doo Hwan massacred as many as 2,000 courageous protesters in the major city of Kwangju (also spelled Gwangju). The U.S. publicly deplored the mass murder and repeatedly claimed it had nothing to do with it. But secretly behind the scenes, it was fully backing and enabling this slaughter.

After the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korea had been ruled by a series of brutal military dictatorships—from 1961-1979 by General Park Chung Hee. All had U.S. support. In 1979, amid a wave of student and mass protests, Park was assassinated. Two months later Gen. Chun Doo Hwan seized power in a coup and declared martial law.

Yet protests continued, demanding democratic rights, with university students and others demanding an end to “the arrests of dissidents and their families and friends, fraudulent elections, torture and unmet social needs.”1

By early May 1980, there were daily demonstrations of tens of thousands of students in the capital of Seoul. And the southwestern province of Jeolla, an impoverished area where Kwangju is located, was a hotbed of radical dissent and opposition.

The U.S. and the South Korean regime were secretly preparing to crush the opposition, in Kwangju in particular. At the time, the U.S. had 40,000 troops in South Korea. Under a 1978 agreement, the U.S. and South Korean militaries operated through a joint command structure—the Combined Forces Command (CFC)—with the U.S. military commander (then John Wickham Jr.) in charge and had operational control of both militaries. A South Korean general was second in command, but had to request control of its main units from the U.S.2

Secret State Department cables, later declassified, revealed that the U.S. government “knew as far back as February 1980 that Chun was mobilizing special troops under U.S. command” to crush dissidents in Kwangju and that Gen. Wickham had given Chun control over these key military units. On May 8 and 9, U.S. Ambassador William Gleysteen told Chun and his forces that the “US government understood ‘the need to maintain law and order’ and ‘would not obstruct development of military contingency plans by reinforcing the police with the army’”.3

May 18-21, The Murderous Assault on Kwangju Is Defeated

On May 17, 1980 martial law was extended throughout South Korea by the Chun regime. The aim was to suppress the massive and growing protests that had rocked the country for months.

Over the next two days, May 18-19, Chun’s “black berets” Special Forces were dispatched and began to massacre protesters who had barricaded themselves in the city of Kwangju for several days.

These paratroopers were set loose to raid homes, to beat, bayonet, shoot, torture, and murder protesters and even bystanders on the streets. They opened fire on civilians with M-16s and tanks. At least 17 cases of rape were confirmed, including of teenagers and a pregnant woman. There were reports of other atrocities—of disembowelments and of lynchings in the parks. Medical workers giving first aid were gunned down as well as children under ten.

Na Byung-un was working by day and taking classes for a university entrance exam by night. He recalled being “attacked by airborne troops while he was working on the second floor of the billiards hall. He was bashed repeatedly with a baton, and dragged to the ground floor, where soldiers tried to load him into a military truck...‘ Some people appeared and helped to pass me over a wall, where the troops couldn’t see me. Some women protected me. That is why I am now alive.’”4

Horrified and outraged by the military assault, the people of Kwangju fought back heroically and rose up in fierce resistance, forming citizen militias. Nearly a quarter of a million people, inspired and led by thousands of students, joined together and drove the elite troops sent to suppress them out of Kwangju by May 21.

Journalist Tim Shorrock, who reported extensively on Kwangju, paints a vivid description of the historic uprising:

With guns and weapons seized from local armories, a citizens’ army pushed the martial law forces out of town. As the Korean army threw a tight cordon around Gwangju, the people took it upon themselves to run their affairs. Virtually the entire city joined in, creating a self-governing community that many Koreans now compared to the Paris Commune of 1871. Women shared food and water with the fighters. Taxi and bus drivers shuttled rebels around the town and, on several occasions, used their vehicles as weapons against marauding soldiers. Nurses and doctors tended to the wounded. Citizens, young and old, flocked to local hospitals to donate blood.5

....hundreds of thousands of armed students, industrial workers, taxi drivers, students and citizens had gathered in a downtown plaza to celebrate the liberation of their city from two divisions of Army Special Forces troops who had been sent to quell anti-military protests ... It was the first armed insurrection in modern South Korean history.6

For five days from May 21 to May 27, anti-government masses controlled the city of Kwangju.

Jimmy Carter Plots to Crush Kwangju

U.S. officials were jolted by the mass takeover of Kwangju and the spread of anti-government uprisings to nearby cities. On May 22, Jimmy Carter convened a national security team meeting at the White House to decide how to crush the Kwangju uprising.7

Shorrock reports:

Within hours of the meeting, the U.S. commander in Korea gave formal approval to the Korean military to remove a division of Korean troops under the U.S.-Korean Joint Command and deploy them to Kwangju. The city and its surrounding towns had already been cut off from all communications by a tight military cordon. Military helicopters began flying over the city urging the Kwangju urban army—which had taken up positions in the provincial capital building in the middle of the city—to surrender. At one point, a Kwangju citizens’ council asked the US ambassador, William Gleysteen, to intervene [to] seek a negotiated truce; but the request was coldly rejected.8

The martial law commander in chief, Lee Hee Sung, later testified “that the date to send troops back into Kwangju was actually moved from May 24 to May 27 because of ‘the time needed for deploying the U.S. air force and navy from Okinawa and the Philippines in the near seas of Korea.’” Korean media reported that this redeployment of two U.S. aircraft carriers was also decided at the May 22 meeting cited above.9

At 4:00 a.m. on May 27, five divisions of South Korean paratroopers stormed into downtown Gwangju. They quickly overwhelmed the students and others who lay down in the streets to try and block their way, and after a 90 minute firefight, they defeated the armed citizen militias and seized control of Kwangju, arresting 1,740 protesters.

ThoughtCo reports: “The Chun Doo-hwan government issued a report stating that 144 civilians, 22 troops, and four police officers had been killed in the Gwangju Uprising. Anyone who disputed their death toll could be arrested. However, census figures reveal that almost 2,000 citizens of Gwangju disappeared during this time period...[and] eyewitnesses tell of seeing hundreds of bodies dumped in several mass graves on the outskirts of the city.”10

The clearest U.S. endorsement of the South Korean General Chun Doo Hwan came in 1981. Then newly inaugurated President Reagan honored Chun as his first foreign head of state invited to the White House.11

THE CRIMINALS

President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) secretly gave the green light for the U.S. to back and facilitate the Kwangju massacre while publicly decrying Chun’s actions as part of attempting to put a “humanitarian” face on U.S. imperialism’s global crimes and exploitation.

Carter’s national security team that met on May 22 to develop the plans for a full out military assault on Kwangju: Secretary of State Edmund Muskie; Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher; top NSC intelligence official for Asian policy and former CIA station chief in Seoul Donald Gregg; CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner; and U.S. Defense Secretary Harold Brown. The key players of this pack were the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Richard Holbrooke; and Carter’s NSC Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who summed up the U.S. position on the attack of Kwangju “in the short term support, in the longer term pressure for political evolution.”12 They all agreed that the first order of business was restoration of law and order.

The U.S. military command of John Wickham Jr., David Jones and all those who were part of planning, leading and executing the assault on Kwangju and in the slaughter and torture of the Korean people, including aiming special cruelty against the youth and women.

Presidents Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) who continued to coverup the U.S. role and provide crucial military, financial and political support to the brutal South Korean regimes after the Kwangju massacre.

General Chun Doo Hwan, the South Korean Special Forces, other military units and police forces that directed and committed the Kwangju massacre in the interest/service of U.S. imperialism and South Korea’s ruling class.

THE ALIBI

The Chun regime claimed the rebellion was instigated by “communist sympathizers and rioters” while other rightwing forces in South Korea claimed the uprising was actually “led by 600 North Korean soldiers who infiltrated the city at the time.”13

Jimmy Carter and other officials publicly denied any U.S. knowledge or involvement in the Kwangju massacre. In 1989, the George H.W. Bush White House issued a white paper to reaffirm the story of U.S. non-involvement in the Kwangju massacre. Even when confronted with the discrepancy between the declassified documents and this white paper, State Department officials continued to insist the U.S. didn’t know what was going on and didn’t approve it.

Richard Holbrooke, hailed in the bourgeois press as an enlightened diplomat, later tried to justify the Kwangju massacre as the “tragic” outcome of “an explosively dangerous situation,” but one with the beneficial “long-term results for Korea” of “democracy and economic stability.” He also denied any U.S. role in the carnage: “The idea that we would actively conspire with the Korean generals in a massacre of students is, frankly, bizarre; it’s obscene and counter to every political value we articulated.”14

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

There was never any evidence that North Korea had moved any troops, much less a large contingent of 600 soldiers, into Kwangju or anywhere else in South Korea before, during or after the uprising in Kwangju as right wing forces in South Korean had claimed.15

In reality, Carter’s and subsequent U.S. administrations had backed the Kwangju massacre to maintain its control of South Korea, which had been a bulwark of American imperialist dominance in the Asian-Pacific region and a forward base against “communist encroachment” in general, and against the Soviet Union and revolutionary China16 in particular, ever since the U.S. took control of South Korea after defeating the Japanese imperialists in World War II. From 1950-1953, the U.S. waged a savage war on Korea, killing three million Koreans and Chinese volunteers to maintain that control. (See American Crime #93: “U.S. Invasion of Korea—1950,” revcom.us, June 13, 2016)

South Korea served as a key military staging area for the U.S. during its war against Vietnam, and it remains a crucial base area in that region for the imperialists down to today.

In 1979 and 1980, the U.S. faced increasing challenges on the global stage. Richard Holbrooke bluntly stated one concern driving U.S. actions in South Korea in 1980 was “...nobody wants ‘another Iran.”’17

He was referring to the 1979 Iranian revolution which had driven the Shah (King) from power. America’s rulers were stunned because the Shah’s brutal regime was a key pillar of U.S. imperialist dominance in the Middle East, and one they considered “an island of stability,” as Carter put it in December 1977, literally weeks before the first protests that grew into the tidal wave that swept the Shah from Iran. When tens of thousands rose up and took over Kwangju, the Carter team feared it was facing another uprising which could threaten another client regime which had appeared to be stable.

The 1979 Soviet imperialist invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the intensifying U.S.-Soviet global rivalry also heightened the necessity the U.S. rulers felt to maintain control of South Korea.


1. William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, pg. 150-151. Common Courage Press 2006. [back]

2. The armed forces of South Korea (or ROK) had a structure unifying the U.S. and the ROK leadership called the Combined Forces Command (CFC). The CFC’s top commander is a U.S. 4-star general with a ROK 4-star army general as deputy commander who had to request control of the units from the U.S. commander. The U.S. also had nearly 40,000 stationed at the border between South and North Korea. Chun was an army general who had received military training in the U.S., having specialized in guerrilla tactics and psychological warfare. [back]

3. Tim Shorrock, “Debacle In Kwangju”, The Nation, 1996 [back]

4. Kristen Alice, “May 18, An eyewitness account of the Gwangju Massacre”, The Korean Observer, May 19, 2015 [back]

5. Tim Shorrock, “The Gwangju Uprising and American Hypocrisy: One Reporter's Quest for Truth and Justice in Korea”, The Nation, June 5, 2015. [back]

6. Tim Shorrock, “Kwangju Declassified: Holbrooke’s Legacy”, Money Doesn’t Talk, It Swears blog, May 31, 2010 [back]

7. Ibid. [back]

8. Ibid. [back]

9. Bill Mesler, “Korea and the US: Partners in Repression” Covert Action Quarterly, #56, Spring 1996 [back]

10. Kallie Szczepanski, “The Gwangju Massacre, 1980”, ThoughtCo., January 23, 2019 [back]

11. In 1996, Chun was sentenced to death for corruption and his role in the Kwangju Massacre. His sentence was commuted in 1998. [back]

12. Shorrock, (n 6) [back]

13. Shorrock, (n 6) [back]

14. Tim Shorrock, “Debacle In Kwangju”, The Nation, 1996 [back]

15. The DMZ which separates North and South Korea has been one of the most closely monitored stretches of land on the planet by U.S. electronics, such as by U-2 spy planes and by the National Security Agency surveillance system. [back]

16. The Soviet Union was a genuine socialist country from 1917 until the mid-1950s and China was also a revolutionary society between 1949 and 1976. After socialism was defeated and capitalism restored in both countries, South Korea remained an important outpost for the U.S. contention with these rising capitalist powers. [back]

17. Tim Shorrock, “Ex-Leaders Go on Trial in Seoul”, Journal of Commerce, February 27, 1996 [back]

 

Paratroopers were set loose to raid homes, to beat, bayonet, shoot, torture and murder protesters and even bystanders on the streets. (Photo: AP)

By early May 1980, there were daily demonstrations of tens of thousands of students in the capital of Seoul, demanding democratic rights and an end to martial law, May 20, 1980. (Photo: May 18th Democratic Movement)

Horrified and outraged by the military assault, the people of Kwangju fought back heroically and rose up in fierce resistance, forming citizen militias and commandeering city buses to block city streets of Kwangju. (Photo: AP)

On May 27, paratroopers stormed into downtown Kwangju. They quickly overwhelmed the students, arresting 1,740. (Photo: AP)

President Reagan meets with Chun Doo Hwan.

See Also:

American Crime

 

 

Case #93:
U.S. Invasion of Korea—1950

See all the articles in this series.

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/612/revolution-books-brooklyn-book-festival-en.html

Revolution Books Hosts Two "Bookend" Events as Part of the Brooklyn Book Festival, Sept. 16-23

| revcom.us

 

September 19, Thursday, 7 pm
Harriet Washington on Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind

Science writer and bioethicist Harriet Washington, author of the acclaimed Medical Apartheid, will present her new book A Terrible Thing To Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind. Washington deconstructs the fraudulent notion of intelligence as inherited trait. She identifies the deleterious effects of institutional factors and environmental racism on learning and cognitive abilities in marginalized communities of color. And what needs to change. Hear Harriet and join the conversation.

September 21, Saturday, 3 pm
New Women Voices of African Fiction—Novuyo Tshuma and Namwali Serpell in Conversation

Two authors of two ambitious debut novels. Novuyo Tshuma is a Zimbabwean writer living in Houston. House of Stone is her sweeping epic spanning the fall of Rhodesia through Zimbabwe’s turbulent beginnings, exploring the persistence of the oppressed in a young nation seeking an identity but built on forgetting.

Namwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. The Old Drift is an inter-generational saga that combines history, romance, and science fiction, revealing the cruelties and absurdities of colonialism, and the yearning to create and cross borders.

A special opportunity to hear these exciting writers read from and discuss their work.

 


437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave.
212-691-3345
revbooksnyc@yahoo.com
revolutionbooksnyc.org

 


Novuyo Tshuma

Namwali Serpell

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/612/all-charges-dropped-in-dc-superior-court-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Charges Dropped Against Joey Johnson for July 4th Flag-Burning in front of White House

Flagburner was Gregory “Joey” Johnson, Defendant in Landmark Supreme Court, Texas v Johnson (1989)

Johnson said July 4th Flag Burning was an "Imagine a World Without America" Protest

 

10 September 2019
For immediate release 
Gregory "Joey" Johnson available for interviews 
Contact: Larry Everest 202 556 3906 
gregoryjoeyjohnson.global

The District of Columbia Attorney General today filed papers dismissing all charges against Gregory “Joey” Johnson. Johnson was arrested after he burned two American flags on July 4, 2019 in front of the White House in opposition to Trump, his “Salute to America”, and everything America stands for historically and today. A video captured the dramatic protest.

Johnson was represented in the case by attorney Mark Goldstone. Goldstone and the ACLU of the District of Columbia sent a letter to the Office of the Attorney General insisting that Johnson’s flag burning was constitutionally protected speech and demanded that charges against him be dropped.

Johnson, joined by members of the Revolution Club and the Get Organized for an Actual Revolution National Tour was part of a July 4th protest “Imagine a World without America! A Call to Act!

Johnson stated that he should never have been brutally arrested, thrown to the ground and held overnight for exercising a constitutional right he established in the 1989 Supreme Court case (Texas v. Johnson). Trump has repeatedly called for outlawing flag burning and re-tweeted a Breitbart meme of Johnson's flag burning outside the White House on July 4th.

Just weeks before his arrest in D.C., in June 2019, Johnson won a $225,000 legal settlement from the City of Cleveland stemming from his 2016 arrest for burning an American flag at the Republican Convention as Trump was being nominated. (Cleveland Is Paying $225,000 to a Man Who Burned the American FlagThe New York Times, June 15)

Johnson stated, “As Trump posed with tanks and fighter jet flyovers for his Nuremberg style rally, I burned the American flag in protest of his whole fascist agenda. America was never great.”

“When I see that flag burn, I’m not only thinking of the children who are starved and bombed by the U.S. in Yemen, or the children who are torn from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border,” he said to the Washington Post “This is the workings of a system . . . built on the plunder of literally billions of people around the world.”  Joey Johnson is an active member of the Revolution Club and a follower of the revolutionary communist leader Bob Avakian. For more go to revcom.us.

Media coverage / background:

Revcom.us “JULY 4 2019 IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT AMERICA: A Call to Act

5 min VIDEO: Joey Johnson on why he still burns the flag, how selling “Stars and Stripes” newspaper as an “Army brat” youth opened his eyes, and whether he considers himself an American.

Washington Examiner, June 24, “’Burn that rag!’ Activists to desecrate the flag at Trump July Fourth rally

New York Times, June 15, “Cleveland Is Paying $225,000 to a Man Who Burned the American Flag

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/612/defending-revolution-books-en.html

Defending Revolution Books, Taking the Streets, Repolarizing and Putting BA on the Map

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the National Revolution Tour

When I heard that fascists had again made threats against Revolution Books in Berkeley, I jumped at the opportunity to help rally defense for the bookstore on both social media and on the ground. Myself and a couple others from the Revolution Club LA drove up to Berkeley to help with this effort.

The night before the fascists were due to march, we got together with members of the Revolution Club and the staff and several supporters of the bookstore. We framed our discussion with the trailer for the film by Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. The trailer we watched, and especially the film as a whole, deeply and scientifically assesses the horrific reality that we find ourselves in: a fascist regime at the head of government in the world’s largest nuclear superpower, determined to carry out a program of ethnic cleansing and “Making America White Again,” helming the repressive machinery of the state and unleashing groups of fanatical thugs to quash dissent, intimidate and silence whole sections of the people. The leader of the meeting also highlighted why the fascists are targeting Berkeley, as they have been in a concentrated way since 2017, as part of the overall assault on academia, dissent, and critical thinking that has been actively worked on since the 1990s at least.

This meeting was very rich, and especially the newer Club members and new people around the Revolution Club expressed a great desire to actually politically beat back this assault. There was also a great sense of the stakes and how heavy this situation actually was. There were rumors that the main figure around the fascist march had contacted militia groups from Arizona, and there was a chance that some of the more violent white supremacists would show their ugly faces.

On the morning of the rally, an antifascist presence of many dozens manifested at People’s Park, from the start being surrounded by dozens of pigs. After rallying and hearing speakers for about 45 minutes, a militant march took to the streets, with contingents of Revolution Club members and Refuse Fascism activists among them bringing a scientific political line into the resistance and strengthening it. The resistance in the streets brought together a large range of forces, from among progressives and “the left,” including many anarchists, Greens, social-democrats, reformists, and “socialist” groupings, but also broader, non-organized individuals.

As the march approached Sproul Plaza on UC Berkeley campus some time before the fascists appeared, a member of the Revolution Club gave a speech saluting the “brave fighters” who came out to oppose the fascists, and urged everyone to get down with the Revolution. It was at this point that we were surrounded on all sides by riot pigs. This scene reminded me of when Milo Yiannopoulos came to a campus down in Southern California about two years ago, and I had gone there to protest him, meeting the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism for the first time. At that time the whole campus had been turned into a police state, and from what I recall reading the same thing had happened at Cal, too.

At this point the antifascist march came up to the bookstore, with some of us splitting off to be a part of the press conference within the store, and others continuing to stay with the march as they returned to Sproul in time to confront the fascists. Their pathetic turnout ended up peaking around 10-15, while they mostly just walked around the Plaza displaying their ugly Amerikkkan rags and pro-Trump signs. It was a fitting self-exposure. We found out later that students at Cal were discouraged from coming down to the site of the protest, but many, including students from a nearby High School, came out anyways to see what was going on.

At the press conference it was a packed house in Revolution Books, and many authors and other prominent voices lent their support for the bookstore and stood firmly against the fascist threats. Rafael Kadaris, a member of the National Revolution Tour, brought forward what is at the core of the bookstore: revolution and the New Communism developed by Bob Avakian (BA). “When these ‘No to Marxism’ people accuse Revolution Books of being anti-American communists organizing a revolution to overthrow the system,” we say, “Hell yes, we are!”

At the end of the event, we heard a commotion coming from outside the store. The antifascist demonstrators had returned, and we were informed that a handful of fascists were going to attempt to get to the bookstore.

When we got out into the light of day, we were surrounded by allies and antifascists chanting “No pasarán!” and this only intensified as the fascists themselves, now numbering only three or four, and the confrontation once again took to the streets. One of the fascists, a fool who calls himself a “Latino for Trump” and carried around a mini paper Amerikkan rag, repeatedly snarled, “Muerte al communismo!,” as members of the Revolution Club led others to chant, “When Revolution Books is under attack / What do we do? Stand up fight back!

In terms of bringing out the solid core of what the bookstore is about, Bob Avakian and the breakthrough he has brought forward with the New Communism, we brought out signs with some key BA quotes on them. One sign read: “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First” (BAsics 5:8) and another read “There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today.” We felt that these signs both expressed communist internationalism in stark contrast to the fascists’ nationalism and Amerikkkan chauvinism, and introduced people in the protest and beyond to this revolutionary leader who they may have never heard of straight up through some of the content of his works.

The defiant mood of the demonstrators didn’t recede, but intensified when the fascist were ran off, and we took to the streets yet again, marching back up to Sproul in pursuit under heavy threat of repression from the pigs. The crowd’s righteous anger was expressed in chants and impromptu speak-outs against the Berkeley pigs for protecting the fascists and being armed with tear gas launchers. The tense situation did not lead to any arrests or brutality this time, but it was certainly hanging over us and all those who dared to speak up in this way. After the final fascist was ran off from Sproul Plaza, the scene started to die down, but members of the Revolution Club remained to thrash out some big political questions with some students who were watching all this unfold.

It was clear from the moment this march was announced, and abundantly clear from their actions, that the small faction of fascists who came out deliberately singled out Revolution Books and the movement for revolution guided by Bob Avakian’s New Communism in particular because of what it represents and as part of smashing all radical thought and even mainstream dissent to the brutal fascist order being hammered into place. This showed the basis for uniting people very broadly in defense of the bookstore, and in important ways both the demonstration and press conference prefigured the kind of protests and resistance that is needed in the immediate period to oust the fascist regime in power, headed by Trump and Pence.

Looking down the road, with the upcoming Climate Strikes and marches on Washington planned for this month (September), we don’t know what exactly will grow out of all this, with all of the different forces on the scene. But the potential is tremendous for something positive to be wrenched out of all this, and we must do everything in our power to prevent the otherwise certain horrors that are coming down the pipeline. We can do this, especially if we proceed from the orientation that Bob Avakian put forward in the Trump/Pence Must Go talk referenced above, which has been reprinted as an excerpt on revcom as “A Critical Challenge, an Urgent Appeal”:

[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.

Now More Than Ever!

A regime that could destroy civilization.
You think you know... but you don't.


Highlighting from the film:

A Critical Challenge, An Urgent Appeal

Read here

After the press conference, there was a commotion outside of the bookstore as the fascists tried to march toward the store. Bookstore supporters and anti-fascists linked arms in front of the store.

Livestream from Revolution Books, Berkeley, September 1

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/disturbing-the-air-collective-wrangling-en.html

Disturbing the Air ... Collective Wrangling with the Problems of the Revolution ... Getting Organized

| revcom.us

 

From members of the Revolution Club, LA on the first few days on a couple junior colleges

As schools are opening, the Revolution Club in LA is working on organizing a campus tour of the defendants and Revolution Club members in the Freeway9 and UCLA5 cases: “Why we are on trial for disrupting business-as-usual to stop fascism. Why you should defend us, and why you should join the fight for the future.

The Freeway9 and UCLA5 are members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club who were arrested for being part of protests aimed at sounding the alarm about the danger of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, aiming to call people into the streets in their millions in mass, sustained, non-violent protest to drive this regime from power—blocking traffic on the 101 Freeway in rush hour morning traffic in the Fall of 2017 and disrupting Steve Mnuchin’s speech at UCLA in the Fall of 2018. Read more about their cases here.

The Revolution Club campus speaking tour will be organizing people into the revolution and the struggle to drive this regime from power, stepping off from the two slogans of the National Revolution Tour:

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

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!

The Republican Party Is Fascist. The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. We Need an Actual Revolution!

The plan is to bring forward students to take this up themselves and bring us onto their campus for events big and small. We see this as a way to tie together the legal cases and the goals of the National Revolution Tour: to organize thousands into the ranks of the revolution over the next year and making Bob Avakian and the new communism known and engaged throughout society.

When we’ve gone onto campuses, we’ve marched in chanting, doing agitation to gather a crowd and putting straight to people the reality we face: that we are the Revolution Club, organizing for an ACTUAL Revolution, to overthrow this system which has given rise to the fascist Trump/Pence regime. This regime is bringing a nightmare down on people, with 80,000 immigrants in concentrations camps, white supremacists massacres in the streets, open white supremacy in the White House, pouring gasoline on an already burning planet ... and people are sitting on their asses doing nothing ... all worried about me, me, me and not thinking about humanity. People are NOT in the streets in the ways we need to be. Why is this and what are we going to do about it? This was something we further developed as we went, but this is the basics that people bounced off of. We also mass distributed the special issue of Revolution with the 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices we face, and the 6 Points of Attention of the Revolution Club and this was woven into our discussion.

After we got people’s attention, we would work to gather people to talk about this problem collectively. Fighting through on these group discussions was key, and we learned a lot.

People Wrestling with the Problems Together

Day 1 at a Trade College

Early on, we had a growing circle of about 6 to 10 people. One person posed how do we even know that all this is actually happening, like the mass shootings, what if that is a hoax? With all the news media not being objective? One woman responded that way of thinking is a real problem, and is a product of social media—that people don’t read books anymore, they don’t do their own research anymore, everything they see is just virtual and they don’t look for themselves to really figure out what’s true. Another woman responded, agreeing with the criticism of social media, saying it’s like you’re going through your feed, you see something really horrible that happened but you don’t even let that sit with you, you’re just onto the next thing, liking your friend’s vacation picture. People also talked critically about how selfish people are, the need for people to be about more than themselves.

Here, we also had some discussion on what we need to do about this ... we laid out that we are organizing for revolution, they need to be part of this revolution and key to making revolution right now is uniting broadly to drive this regime from power ... and we said briefly what that has to mean—millions in the streets in sustained, non-violent mass protest. Here, having an enlarged picture of the protest in Puerto Rico really made a difference. This is not something that people easily imagine so it was good to point to it. No one in that crew thought we should wait until 2020. One woman suggested we boycott all the fast food restaurants that support Trump. Someone else responded, that might be ok, but that doesn’t enough get to their whole thing—like where all their money comes from. Everyone felt strongly we had to figure out how to make people more aware of what’s happening, and to make people feel more how it’s affecting people.

In this discussion, someone else joined in and said Trump is messed up, but this has been happening in America, it’s not just about Trump but the whole thing. We brought in one of the slogans of the National Revolution Tour: The Republican Party Is Fascist, The Democratic Party Is Also a Massive Machine of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. This System Can’t Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown! People didn’t mainly speak to this except to say they didn’t like the Democrats either, and one woman criticized all the politicians as being out for themselves. After raising that he thought Trump was no different, and this has always been the same, we showed this one guy the palm card with the definition of fascism from revcom.us and he read it, quite seriously. We showed him the 5 Stops and talked about these outrages being woven into this system, and intensifying under the Trump/Pence fascist regime. When we talked about the difference between a slow genocide against Black and Brown people vs. a fast one, he kind of paused and went, “Oh, I get that.”

Another deep insight from a student that day was a point about how this regime has “weaponized identity politics.” This was from a more politicized student who pays attention to different political voices on YouTube. He meant this in two senses: first, that the more progressive people are all stuck into their different identity groups, letting themselves be picked off and not coming together ... meanwhile, the fascists are ridiculing all that shit while using white identity politics to organize. He was saying he was sick of all that, and that we had to come together to recognize the deeper problem in capitalism. We talked about the actual strategy for revolution developed by BA and the scientific breakthroughs in the new communism. He’s familiar with BA, having watched some videos on YouTube, but didn’t know about the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America or the new speech, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

Group Debate About the American Dream

Day 2 at a City College

On the second day, we started off in the school cafeteria during lunchtime where there were about 300 students. We got on a chair and did loud agitation (basically what’s characterized above) which got a huge applause in the cafeteria and people coming from the other end of the cafeteria to talk to us. From this, we were able to pull together a crowd of four to five people. One woman ended her phone call with a loved one to come talk to us, another guy who observed people in the cafeteria going back to their business felt compelled to come from the other side of the cafeteria to get into these questions with us because he was pissed at their complacency. Another guy was more conservative but wanted to talk.

This discussion was very deep with people grappling about the situation in the world, what is happening to the people at the border, WHY they are coming across the border and risking everything to flee their country. People talked about the foundation of this country in exploitation and oppression and how we got to this point where there is now a fascist in the White House. And we got into what we are going to do to change all of this.

People in the discussion were led to respond to each other. The conservative guy was trying to set terms but people were taking his shit on, with a lot of substance and certitude! At one point, he was talking about the “American Dream” and why people who come to seek it don’t go through the “proper process” of requesting a visitor’s visa etc. One young woman in the discussion rightly said, “Let’s talk about this ‘American Dream.’ Does it even exist? If so, for who? For people who look like me and you (meaning, white people). Anyway, people aren’t here pursuing this so-called ‘American dream,’ people are escaping terror, death, starvation. These people don’t come here on a vacation for the fuck of it!”

We brought this discussion back to the 5 Stops, and posed how can we actually put an end to all of this, in the interests of all humanity? People had a hard time seeing how you could actually end all this but wanted to know more when we talked about revolution, the fact that there is a strategy and leadership for revolution in Bob Avakian.

After this discussion, we went to a spot outdoors and agitated again. At one point, we called on students to respond by yelling, “Fuck Trump.” At first only a couple did, but we persevered and soon lots of students were responding. When we put out the rest of our challenge, about 30 people came to join the discussion—which we had a hard time cohering. What was important in this was people actually wrangling with what is and isn’t happening, and how do we transform that—with revolution vs. reform in the forefront of that. There were a few young women from Sweden who were comparing the inactivity of people in the U.S. which is very different than their home country. They were recognizing this as a problem they wanted to be part of solving.

Collective Engagement with Bob Avakian

Day 3: Back to the Trade School

On the third day we took this whole approach even further. First, we had a scheduled appointment that same day that we were telling people to come to. Second, we brought a computer and speaker so we could play BA clips in the midst of, and to kick off, this process. This was important—to put BA to people in this more mass way and to enter into the larger discussion.

Right away we drew a crowd of about eight young women, where we said who we are and posed this same basic challenge. People said we’re not acting because of fear, because of selfishness, because we’re all distracted by social media and because we aren’t putting ourselves in other people’s shoes.

One young woman said her sister is undocumented and now she can’t even get health care because Trump is saying you’ll lose the ability to get citizenship. She said her sister is terrified but you have to be one of those people to experience that, and everyone else can ignore that.

Another young woman said she’s a citizen but a lot of her family is undocumented, and it’s like you just get used to the terror. For years, she’s been living with the terror that she’s going to come home and her mom, or aunt or cousin is going to be gone. And the whole family’s been living like that for a long time—desperately trying to stay under the radar and hope it doesn’t happen.

Speaking to this fear, a young woman said she’s undocumented and that her dad is terrified for her. She said her dad tells her to wear foundation to make her skin look lighter so she can pass for white. She powerfully rebuked this, saying, “I refuse to be so scared all the time because this is how they control you! I have to fight for what’s right.”

This set different terms for everyone. We asked people to respond and others assented, “Yeah, that’s really right.” Or, “I want to be like that too. That’s inspiring.” We played the “Order or Justice?“ clip from BA and asked people to respond to that. The younger defiant woman said, “Yes! I’m going for justice!” Again, others agreed with her.

Another young woman asked what fascism is. Someone responded with a good, and frankly little understood, explanation: she said it’s a different way to rule, where they just get rid of all your rights, your free speech, and go after groups of people. She referenced Hitler and what he did.

We kept bringing it back to what they heard from BA: are you going to choose “the order of fascism with everything that means,” or “justice—even if that means stepping outside our comfort zone and putting ourselves on the line to prevent this fascism from consolidating its rule and fully implementing its program.” People responded in different ways, including that this meant fighting for what’s true, even if other people don’t agree. That you have to be willing to stand out and be different. People also responded that you can’t just be about yourself, but have to risk yourself. A number of people critiqued the widespread selfishness, and interestingly tied that into how consumed people are with social media. Here we also pointed to the Points of Attention for the Revolution.

We talked about the Freeway9 and UCLA5 cases and bringing the defendants to campus. People said we never get to have these kinds of discussions and it really matters if we’re going to act. Also, we challenged people to join the Revolution Club and a couple people wanted to know if this was something on campus, or something they should start on campus.

After this discussion was over, one young woman stayed behind to tell us an idea. She said that with these new laws, Trump is taking away food stamps from undocumented immigrants. So what if we had a hunger strike at school—that would get a lot of attention. We agreed with this and said we should talk and figure out how to make that kind of thing really mass.

We had a few other smaller group discussions, playing BA clips as the centerpiece. In a one-on-one discussion, we had a struggle with a guy who looked at the 5 Stops and with whom we asked the question we were posing to people. He’d gone to protests and was paying attention to what Trump is doing. But, he said, “Look, I hate what Trump is doing ... I think we need to fight that, but we really can’t have open borders.” We weren’t able to make this more of a group debate but did play him the clip from BA on “Free Yourself from the GTF” (Great Tautological Fallacy), and the disgusting American chauvinism that is a big part of the obstacle to people acting to stop this fascist regime. He sort of wanted to slide over this, “yeah, I know all that,” but wasn’t confronting the framework of his own thinking until we made him walk through what BA was saying. What is that tautological fallacy, what is it rooted in, what does that sit on in terms of the crimes of the U.S. throughout history. Walking this through in this way, he could recognize how his thinking was entirely within the framework that BA was critiquing. He wasn’t won over, and we didn’t try to have a long debate about it, but was left feeling uncomfortable.

In a smaller group discussion of two different people, we played the clip on “what are we facing.” One person said people don’t put all that together, we just see the small parts here or there. Another young woman said she just didn’t know any of that was happening. The first young woman was mad that no one talks about this and said one of her teachers wouldn’t allow a political discussion in her class—we have to be able to talk about what’s happening and it’s all like we’re all just ignoring it, not talking about it anywhere.

Everyone was told about the whole of the speech from BA on the Trump/Pence regime and where to find it online, along with who BA is and why they need to get more deeply into his work overall.

Getting Organized ... and the Need to Go Further

Off of these on-the-spot discussions, we have tried to pull together a few gatherings on the day of or the next day. So far, only one person has come to our follow-up meetings but several more have apologized for not being able to make it and are staying in touch. But there’s more to wrestle with here.

The one woman we met with got more deeply into what the Revolution Club is, the questions of reform vs. revolution and bringing the Revolution Club Speaking Tour to her campus. She also wants to show the BA speech on Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution at a local community center.

We’re thinking about how to do much more with these group discussions in terms of getting organized—while continuing to give space to this kind of rich wrangling and problem solving of people together. We also feel there is much more to do in terms of having BA’s work as the centerpiece in these discussions: where people are responding together to what’s being fought for from the leader of the revolution directly.

This is still a work in progress, but there are two important lessons so far. First, how the whole process is transformed and enriched when people are led to wrangle with the problems of the revolution. There was a solid core presented to people, with a major problem we face and then the revolutionaries led a process of having masses talk to each other. This point from “Further Thoughts on Putting the Problems of the Revolution Before the Masses” really came through:

“I really think lots of people WANT to talk about these types of questions/obstacles. These are objectively obstacles to revolution, even if they don’t quite see it that way yet because they are new. But communists wrangling with brand-new people (who care) over such questions (and how to get that geometric progression going) IS, objectively, ‘putting the problems of the revolution before the people’ and can also really help break down the ‘us/them divide.’ Communists leading this type of active social investigation are in an excellent position to at one and the same time learn a lot we ourselves need to know more about in terms of what holds people back, and actively transform the thinking of people through this very process. Lively and largely informal get-togethers to really wrangle over such questions and problems of these times can attract, inspire, and organizationally retain. We need to do a lot more of this.”

The second thing is that there is a real difference in the terrain overall—once these questions are posed, people really wanting to get into it. And overall, there seems to be a deep, roiling dissatisfaction about what’s the Trump/Pence regime is doing and the MASS INactivity in the face of that.


(click to enlarge)

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/612/refuse-fascism-the-calculations-of-a-fascist-regime-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

The Calculations of a Fascist Regime (and Its Collaborators) Are Destroying the Planet – Our Calculations Must Be for Humanity

By Coco Das

| revcom.us

 

Look at pictures of the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian and you see a landscape of utter devastation. Buildings smashed. Roads and fields flooded. People searching for missing family members. The official death toll stands at around 45, but as we saw with Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, the actual death toll and full scale of the destruction is not yet known.

Dorian was the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Northern Bahamas, a Category 5 with wind speeds up to 220 miles per hour. While people in this country laughed at Trump saying he’d never heard of a Category 5 and changing the trajectory of the storm with a sharpie marker, people in the Bahamas islands were fighting for their lives.

Without food, water, or power, hundreds of refugees sought passage to Florida. They were told they could travel with just a passport and a copy of a police record, the normal documentation for passages out of Freeport based on a bilateral agreement on the books, but on one ship, more than 100 refugees without a U.S. visa were forced to disembark, reportedly because of a last-minute rule change from Customs and Border Patrol. Later,a CBP spokesman said, “They were not ordered off the boat by any U.S. government entity.”

Whatever led to the decision to kick desperate people off the ship, imagine the psychological torture of coming so close to escaping a place that has been made uninhabitable, and then having that possibility ripped out from under you.

Dorian will not be the last catastrophic hurricane. Exacerbated by climate change, these storms are getting stronger and more destructive, and they will create more climate refugees. This is an inevitability that the fascist regime in the White House is preparing for. In the same week that Dorian hit, the Trump regime proposed a policy to reduce refugee admissions to zero next year. You read that right. Zero.

Everywhere you look, the ruling parties are making calculations on their own behalf. $155M diverted from FEMA to build a border wall. $4.6 billion handed over by the Democrats to help the Trump/Pence regime carry out its ethnic cleansing of immigrants. Endless polls about the 2020 elections. Infinite debate on climate change while millions of people suffer.

It’s long past time to make our own calculations on behalf of humanity. Time to put 2 and 2 together and get 4; if we connect the dots the Trump/Pence fascist regime and its collaborators are laying out for us, we should be able to see what their equations lead to – a planet where millions of people are no longer able to survive – and understand that no one is coming to save us. Their calculations won’t allow it.

It’s up to us to calculate the relationship between what we do now and the future we are handing to the children of the world. Are we going to wait and gamble on the 2020 elections, or are we going to flood the streets and demand that the Trump/Pence regime on a collision course with humanity must go?

This should be an easy decision. Isn’t stopping a fascist America worth more than “the rules” that brought someone like Trump to power? His regime is hammering into place a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny – “America First” – wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia. We have more than two years of evidence for this, yet people who are not “doing the math” are still in denial about it.

On September 21st, Refuse Fascism contingents will join We the People marches in DC and satellite cities to raise the demand “Trump and Pence must go!” We support the Global Climate Strike from September 20-27th and the September 23rd calls for mass civil disobedience to #shutdownDC, because people do need to act like “our house is on fire.”

At the same time, we have to confront the truth of what Sarah Roark argued in her letter to Time magazine and Robert Redford, that removing the Trump/Pence regime is a necessary step toward saving our planet. Everywhere people need to be discussing and preparing for the only way to stop this regime from cementing into place irreversible damage while putting up walls against people driven from their homes as a consequence. We must be gathering forces and getting ready to launch sustained, non-violent protests demanding Trump and Pence must go at the soonest possible time, learning from the people of Puerto Rico and Hong Kong on how to create the kind of political crisis this regime has not yet faced and won’t face without all of us acting outside of the normal channels. Refuse Fascism is in the process of calling meetings and inviting everyone with a heart to collaborate and strategize with us. This will not happen without you. Read and spread refusefascism.org, write to us, meet with us, join us, and be counted as one of many who can and must change the course of history.


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

 


Great Abaco, Bahamas, September 3, 2019.


Great Abaco, Bahamas, September 5, 2019 (Photo: AP)

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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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/612/whose-line-is-it-anyway-en.html

Booker T Washington–Style House Slave and the Line Behind Jay Z's Power Move
(Whose line is it anyway?)

| revcom.us

 

from a Revolution Club member

Booker T. Washington is known for proposing—and fighting for, including through the establishment of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)—a certain way that a recently enslaved and systematically oppressed people could become active members of society and to rise above the muck of the being deemed by birth less than human. He stressed that Black social mobility had to be approached by not messing with the white man's power but by striving to be just like them.

Recently, Jay Z pimped off of Colin Kaepernick's selfless resistance and then threw Kap under the bus when he declared, "We are past kneeling" and was featured in pictures with Roger Goodell, lead commissioner of the NFL. It's a giant power move that required distancing himself from anything too radical for the league – i.e.: athletes using their platform to call out the way this system's police kill Black and Brown people daily, all while portraying them as animal-like “thugs.”

I think Bob Avakian hits the nail on the head:

Modern-day Uncle Toms,
"Respectable Negros,"
Who squawk out poison,
Parrot the lies of powers-that-be,
Package slander as the "truth,"
Never fail to blame the youth –
Oh you boot-licking, wannabe bourgeoisie –
You're: ALL PLAYED OUT!

So, whose line is it anyway? The Black bourgeoisie's!


Colin Kaepernick (center) kneeling for the National Anthem in 2016. (Photo: AP)


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jay-Z, 2019. (Photo: AP)

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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/612/refuse-fascism-mass-meeting-sunday-september-22-2019-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Come to a Mass Meeting
Sunday September 22, 2019

11:00 am Steinbruck Center 1226 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington DC
Event will be streamed on Facebook.com/RefuseFascism

to Consider and Plan for Sustained Non Violent Mass Protest Beginning this October

Puerto Rico and Hong Kong show the way – Thousands Becoming Millions

We Must Take to the Streets in Non-Violent Protest
Week After Week becoming Day After Day
Not Stopping Until the Demand is Met:

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO – NOW!

Sign Up

Concentration Camps on the border... the earth melts and burns... the danger of war, even nuclear... white supremacy rules... fascist mobs and mass murderers... truth and science erased... the right to abortion near gone...democratic and civil rights stripped away... THIS IS FASCISM UNFOLDING.

The Democratic Party facilitates all of this – voting for the wall; refusing to impeach which they have shown and told you they will not urgently pursue.

Waiting on 2020 is immoral and dangerous: If you will not take to the streets now, what will you do if Trump wins? What will you do if he loses, but refuses to leave office? History shows it can become too late to stop fascism.

To NOT ACT IS COMPLICITY.

The world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Be OUT NOW!

RefuseFascism on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram 
info@refusefascism.org 
RefuseFascism.org  917-407-1286
@Refuse-Fascism on Venmo

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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/612/los-angeles-tuesday-september-24-town-hall-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

When Do YOU Say Enough?
A Town Hall: A Time to Act

Why This Is Fascism
Why We Need to Get In the Streets to Demand
Trump and Pence Must Go – Now!

Defend those who are standing up: free the #Freeway9 and #UCLA5

Tuesday, September 24 at 6:30pm

Echo Park United Methodist Church
1226 N. Alvarado, Los Angeles 90026

Speakers include:
Andy Zee, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism and part of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour;
Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor, Echo Park United Methodist Church;
Stephen Rohde, Chair of interfaith Communities United For Justice and Peace;
Alan Myerson, Film and Television Director

Each day of the Trump/Pence FASCIST regime brings outrage and suffering, to immigrants in concentration camps on the border, to women denied the right to abortion... pouring gasoline on an already burning planet... gutting the rule of law.

We must not reassure ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. It is. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny – “America First” – wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.

If you will not take to the streets now to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go even after all of these outrages, what will you do if Trump is re-elected? And what will you do if Trump loses the election but then refuses to recognize the results and insists he is still president?!

Discuss. Get organized.

 


Refuse Fascism 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.

Los Angeles: Tuesday September 24

When Do YOU Say Enough?
A Town Hall: A Time to Act

Each day of the Trump/Pence FASCIST regime brings outrage and suffering, to immigrants in concentration camps on the border, to women denied the right to abortion... pouring gasoline on an already burning planet... gutting the rule of law.

We must not reassure ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. It is. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny – “America First” – wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia.

If you will not take to the streets now to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go even after all of these outrages, what will you do if Trump is re-elected? And what will you do if Trump loses the election but then refuses to recognize the results and insists he is still president?!

Discuss. Get organized.

Speakers include Andy Zee, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism and part of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour; Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor, Echo Park United Methodist Church; Stephen Rohde, Chair of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Alan Myerson, Film and Television Director.

Tuesday September 24, 6:30 PM PDT
Echo Park United Methodist Church
1226 N Alvarado St, Los Angeles, California 90026

Facebook event | Sharable post

 

We are halfway there. Help reach $1,000 in new monthly sustainer funds for www.revcom.us by the end of this month—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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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