revcom.us, September 30, 2019 through October 6, 2019 (#615)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/andy-zee-the-trump-pence-regime-must-go-now-en.html

The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go–NOW!

Andy Zee for the national meetings of Refuse Fascism

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The decision this past week by the Democratic Party leadership to pursue impeachment hearings tremendously sharpens the fight over the Trump/Pence regime’s forging of a thoroughly fascist America. The escalation of the fight at the pinnacles of political power holds profound consequence for the future. This opens up possibility for increased struggle by masses of people taking to the streets and public squares, and at the same time it requires such struggle if there is to be a positive outcome to the even more tumultuous time we have now entered. I will return to discussing this move to impeach in more depth shortly.  

Less than a week ago, Refuse Fascism announced that we had determined that the political situation had developed to where we needed to call for sustained non-violent mass protests in late October. Events over this summer, where there were mass murders against immigrants in California and then El Paso, following mass murders of Jewish people in Pittsburgh, on top of the revelation that the Trump/Pence regime was still separating refugee and asylum-seeking children from their parents in defiance of a court order, shocked the consciences of millions. People who had refrained from struggle and relied on the Democratic Party were becoming disillusioned as the Democrats funded border security, and collaborated with the Trump/Pence regime in different ways facilitating a highway to hell. Then came the electrifying images of Puerto Rico where millions took to the streets day after day and drove out their Governor, and Hong Kong where weekly protests of millions braving and thwarting repression won the first of their demands and their struggle continues now with the people becoming more emboldened in their demand.

All of this led us to call for these meetings to say that it is on us to set in motion and lead this kind of mass sustained non-violent protest that does not stop until the whole fascist Trump and Pence regime is removed from power through our unleashing and leading a different power—the power of the people.

If it was pressing on us last weekend to call for launching this different kind of protest beginning in October, it has become all the more necessary and possible since impeachment hearings have begun. We have important discussion and work to do today. It’s on each of and all of us to struggle to bring forward the potential power of a people who will stand up and be unrelenting in their demand.

Our proposal is this: on October 19 in Los Angeles and New York City we will call protests that will essentially announce to the world that a movement of sustained non-violent protests has begun. These first actions should involve as many people as we can mobilize in this short time while their defining character will be a bold declaration—a call out to the people to start amassing in cities and towns across the country the next Saturday, October 26 and do so for four consecutive Saturdays—through November 16. Every week should dramatize the need for this to grow and broaden.

The protests and the days in between should challenge and involve more and more people... growing so that thousands grow quickly—hopefully within a few weeks to tens of thousands and we should not rule out, but instead be oriented towards bringing forth hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions.

This must become a movement that has the potential to win—by amassing significant numbers in the streets and by the momentum it gathers, including as it develops going to daily continuing non-violent mass protests, and by its determination to not stop until the single unifying demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go NOW! is met. These three things—numbers, momentum and resolve around a single demand, can create a political crisis for the rulers of this country that reverberates around the world—a crisis of such scale that it can not be ignored or repressed without further unraveling the image and legitimacy of the whole power structure as the government fears losing the allegiance of an even more massive section of the people—and as these images go around the world the image of their invincibility is shaken.  

As we have seen in other countries, a situation like this, brought about by the sustained protest by masses of people could compel a significant section of those in power to finally act to remove the Trump/Pence regime, and that, combined with an even more intensified effort from us, the people, could actually win. Some whose vision is constrained by what is today will say that it is inconceivable that the fascist Republican-controlled Senate would convict Trump of impeachment. NO. We must drive out the regime, no matter what it takes. With the kind of massive sustained protest we are proposing today, many things that are inconceivable now can become possible.

The decision by the Democratic Party leadership to impeach now after almost three years of refusing to do so is both a reflection of, and heightens, the contention at the top of the ruling class. As this process is just beginning, today I can only offer some initial thoughts and ask for everyone to contribute theirs over the next weeks as this unfolds.

There are many forces in motion with different programs and agendas among those with real power, in congress, the courts, military, and those captains of finance and industry who they serve. Yet, in broad strokes, there is a basic fight between a section of those in power who are committed to shattering the rules of the game concentrated in the Republican Party of Trump and Pence who are fighting for an American Fascism. Arrayed against this is the ruling class consensus that has prevailed since WW 2, now principally grouped around the Democratic Party with, as well, others who the media calls “mainstream” Republicans—who are reactionaries in their own right.  Impeachment has now sharpened the struggle between these two forces even as there are many actors within each of these camps. 

Trump and Pence and their whole regime will not give up. Their hardcore base is gearing up for battle, with Fox News and a whole array of white supremacist fascist media whipped up for a serious fight. The regime has their people in the courts, and even if the courts should rule against them, they may well defy the courts. If Trump IS able to withstand impeachment (or other moves by those in power to remove him should we not succeed in creating a situation where he is removed before the election, or if he wins or steals the election, or if he refuses to leave office should he lose in 2020) there is real and serious risk that he could make a further huge leap toward all-out fascism either to stay in power or to solidify power if he prevails with no small amount of revenge.

The Democrats want to limit the impeachment inquiry to Trump’s actions endangering national security and his self-serving corruption in his attempt to win the 2020 election, without touching on the far deeper crimes of his fascist agendaoutrages that run the gamut from concentration camps on the border, to dangerously accelerating the devastation of the environment. The Democratic Party leadership will not even mention the word fascism. The top Democrats want to remove Trump without going after the whole regime and without calling out the fascism at its core. And this would leave the cancer in place to grow even more dangerously.

There is ample evidence of countless examples of the shattering of the rule of law, precedents, and real devastating crimes against humanity as well as the unleashing of virulent murderous white supremacy and misogyny that this regime has perpetrated. There is no lack of evidence to impeach on these grounds. The Democratic Party who are themselves targets of this regime, are nonetheless more beholden to, and are representatives of, the system that has given rise to Donald Trump than they are to humanity here and around the world. But, as the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian has pointed out: one, they are afraid of Trump and what he might unleash against them; and two, they are afraid of what his rabid fascist base might do.

And, three, they are “afraid of the people on the other side of the divide... the people who tend to vote for the Democrats, especially the basic masses of oppressed people.... 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.” The Democratic Party leadership will not mobilize you to act to stop this regime, except to corral you—to domesticate your righteous outrage into the elections and voting for them in 2020. And, as for impeachment, the most they will tolerate is limited mass actions in support of, and within the parameters of, how they want to prosecute this impeachment. If we allow the terms upon which we fight, including the terms upon which impeachment is fought, to be focused solely on national security and corruption it will narrow people’s sights and undermine the fight to stop fascism, and even impeachment. It will leave Pence and the whole regime and fascist movement intact, and that, to say the least, will not be favorable for interests of humanity.

The most important thing for us to grab hold of regarding impeachment is that there must not be only two forces in the field—there needs to be a third force—the people struggling for what is in the interests of humanity. Our battle must not be confined to impeachment. But today we should recognize that this is our moment to launch the struggle to drive out this fascist regime for the full array of crimes they have committed and the far worse that they are aiming for. If we do this, we can win this battle, drive the regime out, and open up space for everyone who cares about saving the planet and humanity and bringing about a just world.

As a revolutionary advocate of the new communism developed by Bob Avakian and organizer for an actual revolution to emancipate humanity, I am boldly putting forth an invitation to people to check out BA and the new communism, and to become a part of the movement for what really could be a liberating third future other than the two represented by the Republicans and the Democrats. At the same time, the movement for mass sustained protest involving hundreds of thousands and millions to demand the removal of the regime will only succeed if it involves, inspires and unleashes people who believe that this system and America could be a force for good in the world as well as those who have different views of what it will take to achieve more fundamental change.

What we are calling for has been done all over the world, from the Arab Spring to Puerto Rico to Hong Kong, and we can learn from those struggles. If and when this struggle catches and grows, then the impeachment process can play a role; but if we sit passively, waiting for impeachment to solve the problem, we may well end up in an even worse spot than we are in today.

We are calling for a different kind of non-violent sustained protest movement which uncorks the now suppressed feelings of millions against this regime, tapping into the outrage at this vile bullying white supremacist, misogynist, anti-immigrant, war mongering, anti-LGBTQ, fascist regime that is hell-bent on letting the planet burn.   

The demand, Trump/Pence Regime Must GoNOW!is simple, direct, and invites the broadest unity—it expresses the actual interests of people of the world, and it concentrates the deeply-felt desire of millions of people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs living in this country who are living in dread and anger at what the Trump/Pence regime is doing. Yes, right now most people are going along with great crimes—such that it often feels like we are living through the night of the living dead. We are here today to Wake People the Fuck Up. And to do so by taking the responsibility to struggle with everything we’ve got to move masses of people out of their stupor and into the streets. There are millions who feel, as the Refuse Fascism slogan captures:“In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Live in a Fascist America!” We need to shake people from avoiding what’s happening, living with their heads buried in the mirror of their iPhones, as the world careens into the horror of fascist regimes.

Look at the students around the world striking to save the planet, look at the faces from Puerto Rico to Hong Kong and you see something different—joyous determined people inspired to act with conscience. Then, dread can give way to hope. The fruitless fretting over“my” life can transform into the exhilaration and sense of purpose that comes when we stand up with others fighting for the future. The “WE” must grow as we sharply struggle with one and all about what we face and what we need to do... making the case to stop being complicit and to join in what is surely one of the great challenges of recent history to drive this fascist regime from power.

This can be done. As I said, such struggle has been and is being waged around the world where the people took matters into their own hands—refused to wait for more promises to be betrayed, with no patience for stacked courts and “talk shop” do nothing legislatures, where they felt that to wait for elections that are too far off and/or rigged was intolerable. While the struggle in this country will not be exactly the same, it is a more complex place, there is the simple: get in the streets and stay... and there is inspiration as well as rich positive and negative lessons to learn and heed.

We face a fascist regime. They are bringing fascism. Those who say it can’t happen here are wrong. It is. Those who say it’s “sorta” fascism, but then find a reason to say it’s not yet fascism, are making excuses and finding reason to back away from, to not do what needs to be done. So, we need to get into this fascism, because people act on what they understand to be necessary.  

We face an extraordinary situation—a regime and a Republican party that is fascist and hell-bent on consolidating a qualitatively more draconian form of rule over this country with grave impact on the world. Indeed, the survival of humanity hangs in the balance as this regime denies science, ridicules climate change, and has torn up every environmental protection they can.

The continuing outpouring of students around the world this past week is a beautiful thing and harbinger of what could be. They see the stakes for their future—they are organizing and getting to work because they recognize the existential crisis for humanity. The students have shown a determination to face facts and get others to do so, and their spirit and their desire to fight for a scientific approach needs to also be brought to the battle to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. This regime is not only on overdrive to accelerate global warming, but when faced with hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing countries devastated in part by climate change today, a number that will grow to be millions and hundreds of millions worldwide—it meets them with walls, concentration camps and worse while it doubles down on accelerating carbon emissions.  

Saving the planet is not the only question that threatens the fate of humanity. We are balanced on the hair trigger of whether or not the Trump/Pence regime will unleash a war against Iran. Do not underestimate the conflagration that could ensue from that. Trump has said that if we have nuclear weapons why can’t we use them?

A year ago, that dark ages Christian fascist, Mike Pence, gave a speech threatening China that extolled Trump’s beefing up the most powerful military in history highlighting Trump’s modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal... Pence ended his speech invoking a Chinese proverb that “heaven sees the future” that was straight up gangsta: delivered deadpan with menace asserting America’s right to dominate and threaten the world while cloaked in the garb of fulfilling a mission from God.

Refuse Fascism’s current Call to Act—sharply puts it that Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is a 21st Century 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.

This underscores the import of the Refuse Fascism slogan: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.

Bob Avakian, has said that“American Lives Are NOT More Important Than Other People’s Lives.” When it is U.S. bombs and satellites guiding the death and devastation of the country of Yemen by Saudi Arabia resulting in mass starvation and an epidemic of cholera—and you avert your eyes, you blind yourself and become complicit.

Powerful forces in the ruling class of this country got behind Trump and Pence because they determined that ruling norms and social compact since WW 2 were no longer tenable for the future of America domestically and for its domination of the world. They see that the only way to cohere the country is as a white fundamentalist Christian patriarchal society—that the liberalization since the 1960s would destroy that reactionary cohesion, and they believe that the international alliances that have maintained their system since WW 2 were undermining the U.S. position as the top dog in the world—thus their current shredding of agreements and treaties.  

There is a very important discussion in the talk by Bob Avakian, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! where he argues that the belief that America is a force for good in the world, that we are “the good guys” is one of the main ways that people here think about the world that demobilizes them from standing up against this regime, the system as a whole, as well as standing with humanity all over the world.

There exists a whole web of global economic relations that feeds the American “way of life”—the ability to consume, consume, consume. The clothes we wear, food we eat, the precious metals in our cell phones, all these are the end result of ruthless global economic and political relations of brutal exploitation of people and millions of children around the world enforced at the point of gun by the 600+ military bases around the world. This belief that anything the U.S. does is justified because we are the good guys and the lifestyle that undergirds this myth is a major source of the political passivity and, frankly, complicity with great crimes.

Many in Refuse Fascism, and probably most of the people who need to flood into the movement to drive out the regime, will not share this systemic critique of capitalism-imperialism and the role of the U.S. in the world, but will hold views that America is, or could be, a force for good in the world, even as we all recognize and unite that the Trump/Pence fascist America is a danger to humanity.

The kind of unity and the tremendous spirit of cooperation that this struggle requires should unleash an atmosphere of critical thinking, dialogue and debate over not only strategy and tactics for the moment, but over everything, including reform and revolution.

There are people who have raised that the participation of communists could cause some to hesitate being a part of this. Here, I can only briefly say the following.

The fascism of Trump/Pence is not just “America First” in relation to the rest of the world, but its programmatic core is a triad of white supremacy, misogyny and xenophobia (the hatred and fear of people from other countries) which spews from the twitter finger and loud mouth of Mein Trumpf.  Calling the KKK and Nazi’s “very fine people,” he’s a fascist pig who brags of grabbing women by their genitals. Slandering refugees and asylum seekers from countries devastated by the U.S. as rapists and murderers—vicious lies that incited mass murder in El Paso, California and Pittsburgh. Shattering political norms and throwing away the dog whistle of racism he glories and gloats in rallies throwing out racist tropes like telling the “squad” of congresswomen of color to “go back where they came from” thrilling the rabid racist mob that is his base who shriek back: “throw them out.” He called Baltimore, a largely black city, “disgusting, rat and rodent infested.”

This rhetoric of fascist demonization rallies and hardens a rabid fascist base fueling and legitimizing a killing program. Concentration camps with tens of thousands of refugees on the border... Children continue to be separated from their parents.

Now, immigrant child separation is a crucial object lesson for why only sustained mass struggle aimed at the removal of the whole regime can stop this. Millions were outraged when the child separation first came to light, people protested and civil liberties lawyers filed lawsuits in court. The protests died down. And, the case was, at first, won in the courts. But the regime ignored the courts—creating new facts on the ground and the longer their regime goes on, the more they will be able to pack the courts with fascists. The Travel Ban on Muslims: was righteously protested and at first was blocked by the courts. The protests waned yet the Trump/Pence regime kept going back into courts until on the third try they got a very slightly modified ban approved.

Fascism comes by degrees, not all at once, but it does advance and that is happening here. And it can come to pass, where the avenues of redress are no more. The Fuhrer’s words become “fact” and law even as they should be neither. The Trump/Pence fascist regime has made some of their most dangerous and potentially enduring gains in stacking the courts with fascist judges.

A core part of this fascist regime is the alliance with an extensive Christian fascist movement that has been decades in the making, which sees in Trump, with Pence and the Christian fascist movement locked to his side, a leader who will break all the rules to get their program written into law. A central element of this: The right of women to be full human beings—to control their own destinies—is now on the verge of being wiped out as the right to abortion hangs by a thread. Do not say fascism can’t happen here.

Bob Avakian has said:

There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today, and a direct connection between their white supremacy, their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw “America First” jingoism and trumpeting of “the superiority of western civilization” and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.

The Refuse Fascism Call to Act cuts to the heart of fascism:

       Fascism rules by organized repression and terror by the government: civil liberties are stripped away, law re-written, dissent criminalized, the courts packed with fascists, and the separation of powers and of church and state ultimately eviscerated. As part of radically remaking society, the Trump/Pence regime must sharply attack those in positions of power who oppose them. Fascism also mobilizes mobs of vicious thugs as we’ve seen with Nazis marching and murdering in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I could take the whole afternoon to illustrate this, I will just add one more example: 

Let’s look at Trump’s insistence that Hurricane Dorian was going to hit Alabama with his magic marker scrawl on a weather map to illustrate his point which then the Birmingham, Alabama weather bureau corrected. While Democrats and liberal pundits trivialized this by joking about it for days, distracting the people with Trump’s buffoonery, Trump doubled down: defending his assertion and ordering the governing agency to reprimand the Birmingham weather bureau, threatening reprisals. This matters. Why? For one, lives are at stake—preparation, evacuation and rescue depend on accurate objective data. And two, and critical for understanding fascism, the denial of truth and objective evidence are always essential to its advance.

Going after the truth, proffering lies, and shredding what is supposed to be a basic civil liberty and governing norm where there is a media free from direct order and control by the state, Trump consistently attacks the press branding them as an “enemy of the people” and even “traitors.” The relentless attack on what is true, on objective reality, on science, is a key and dangerous component of fascism. This forges a base of people who will believe and follow the truth of the fascist leader, whatever he says, without question. Truth is eroded and everything becomes seen as just an opinion—where what you believe is determined by who is saying it and what you already want to believe. Once the notion of objective truth is erased from society—even outlawed (after all, what is the logical conclusion of what happens to people who are branded as “enemies” and “traitors”)—then people cannot be free to change the world. For to change the world, to overcome all the divisions and forms of oppression that are in the world today, requires knowing the world as it actually is.

Here it must be said, that identity politics and its standpoint epistemology—the notion that truth is determined by who is saying it, by their direct lived experience as a member of a social group and that truth varies from person to person... this parallels and thus leaves the door wide open to Trumpian epistemology.

We say this is fascism not as an insult or to be badder than everyone else opposed to the regime, but because that is what an objective evaluation shows. Too many—even some of those who write books warning of fascism —prefer to say it’s authoritarian, proto-fascism, neo-fascism, anything but squarely confront that the Trump/Pence regime is fascist. Yes, it has notas yetconsolidated a full out fascist form of rule. If it had already done so, it would be immeasurably more difficult to do what we are planning for. But history shows that it can become too late to stop it without tremendous cost.

And, yes it is an American Fascism—reasserting and recreating the founding myth of this country as a shining city on a hill—a mythology wrapped in the flag and the bible taken literally, white supremacy with the male at the head of the traditional family with the nation blessed with a divine right to rule over everything. Robert Paxton writes in his book, Anatomy Of Fascism: “The language and symbols of an authentic American fascism would ... have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans...”

Here too is why the Democrats and their mouthpieces in the mainstream media have no answer but mumbles. CNN or MSNBC prattle on and on about how “He can’t do” what Trump does: “that’s not normal... not Presidential... not how it’s done...” when that is precisely the point: Trump and Pence are breaking the norms to bring a different form of rule to this country—which they and the forces behind them see as the way to save their vision of America and its capitalist-imperialist foundation. And, then the Democratic Party works to confine resistance to the very norms that the fascists—by definition and purpose—seek to tear up.

I will conclude this discussion of fascism with this, also from Bob Avakian, who has been identifying, analyzing and putting forward how to deal with the development of fascism in the U.S. over the last three decades. In a speech in October 2017 he said:

The truth—another terrible truth that must be faced—is that, in the context of profound and acute contradictions that are asserting, or re-asserting, themselves in ways that are tearing at the very fabric and deepening cracks in the foundation of this country, at the same time as the American empire is facing serious challenges internationally, fascism is one possible resolution of this, on the terms of this system and its ruling class, even as this is a horror for humanity.

What is one of the most important insights of the Refuse Fascism Call to action is this:

We must confront the reality that 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.

Now, with impeachment underway—with the sharpened contention between the ruling parties underway, and before the 2020 primaries and election go into full throttle—is when the struggle we are calling for is most favorable, though not easy, but is possible because many can grasp how necessary it is now. It will not fall into anyone’s lap, it will involve a tremendous struggle among the people who desire the regime to go, over why and how it needs to be done. I am going to come to a conclusion of this talk discussing some of what we have already and will run into.

An activist wrote to me and declined to participate—for now—because we have to respect the struggles that people are already involved in, (as if Refuse Fascism does not) and that we should not say that this program of removing the Trump/Pence regime is the only thing that can stop this regime. Well, the sincere question is what else will?

Many fighters for social justice will say that they are overwhelmed with what’s already on their plate. We really get that, yet we ask, “What will come of every struggle for social justice when fascism is consolidated. When dissent is practically outlawed?” We have pointed out before that fascism can absorb separate acts of resistance against different fronts of their attacks, they will pull back and throw opposition off balance moving their agenda forward now here, and now there. This is important because many of those who are resisting have not sharply understood this and it is holding them back, so I will repeat it: fascism can absorb separate acts of resistance against different fronts of their attacks, they will pull back and throw opposition off balance moving their agenda forward now here, and now there.

As we go out to struggle with people over why we need to do this it should also be an invitation to one and all to contribute their thinking, their questions and criticisms, their creativity, and their energy. And, that invitation does not stop when we launch, it just begins, then it needs to be replicated thousands of times over by people we haven’t even met yet.

To drive out the regime it must not be protest as usual... you know the drill: assemble. speeches. march. speeches. go home. NO. What we are calling for is what you see in Hong Kong... it is portrayed in the movie The Square about Egypt. It was the students and youth who took to the streets last Friday and will be in the streets next week.  

People have raised to us as a matter of morality that if I think this plan might not work, I am not responsible to undertake it. Really? Never, ever, has serious social change come with a guarantee. And, if one is offered, it is not a real solution. What is irresponsible is not to try. History will not judge us harshly if we try with all we’ve got to stop fascism and save the planet and humanity, and we don’t succeed. But, we do, and we should, judge those who did not stand up in fascist Germany and in other countries when they could have and chose instead not to resist. We will not escape that judgment should we fail to act. This meeting began with a reading of the poem of Martin Niemöller that captures the horrors that happen from just looking out for and saving yourself because you are not directly affected.

In the same vein, people have raised Refuse Fascism tried this before and didn’t succeed, so what will be different this time? For one, people have now experienced almost three years of this, and while many have accommodated to this regime, they have also seen what it has wrought and what it can bring. The murder of Heather Heyer by fascists in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017 has been followed by several horrific mass murders of Jews and Latino immigrants. Two, people have been through the Blue Wave, the Mueller investigation, told to wait, had their hopes raised and dashed over and over.... and three, we, in Refuse Fascism, have learned some things.

It’s been raised that if we do this then maybe Trump will declare martial law —we shouldn’t provoke the beast, let’s ride it out. The writer George Prochnik in his biography of Stefan Zweig one of the most famous authors in Europe in the 1930’s wrote:

The excruciating power of Zweig’s memoir lies in the pain of looking back and seeing that there was a small window in which it was possible to act, and then discovering how suddenly and irrevocably that window can be slammed shut.

But what about fear? It has been said that the greater fear should be that people will not act to stop this unfolding horror. I have spoken already about the allure, illusion and delusion of painless progress, of relying on the elections to stop what they will not. People will raise to you concern about their job, their family and repulsively about not tarnishing their “brand.” First off, fuck your brand. But yes, this regime is serious—they have said repeatedly that they see in Trump their last and best chance to bring about the fascist agenda that they have worked on for decades. They have, as Trump has said, “many tough people on their side.” They have been open about wanting a new civil war rather than giving up.

The matter is and the questions are:

Then the question of the hour is, are you going to act now when there is a chance to do something about it? The way to break fear is to act together for what’s right. That, we are setting out to do.

There is a tremendous liberating positive in what we envision. Think about what would it mean for the people of the world to see people in this country acting in their millions to say: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Live in a Fascist America.

When people act together and begin to throw off the chains of all the oppressive relations and thinking that keeps us caged in the petty competitive bullshit of this society... working with people like you and many not like you, all striving together to drive out a horrific fascist regime as we defy convention and endure good and bad weather... we can create a situation where not only can the nightmare of the Trump/Pence regime be over, but we can create a movement where dreams can soar, another world becomes possible, creativity is unleashed and the impossible becomes possible.

 

Watch the speech here —

Now More Than Ever!

See excerpts and the Q&A of this film

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/615/on-the-airwaves-the-trump-pence-regime-must-go-now-en.html

On the airwaves:

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO – NOW!

| revcom.us

 

The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—NOW!

Andy Zee for the national meetings of Refuse Fascism

This past weekend, RefuseFascism.org held mass meetings in 11 cities to develop plans to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime, starting in late October. This speech by Andy Zee was delivered at the meeting in Los Angeles and shown at the other meetings.

 

September 25, Andy Zee on The Young Turks: On Trump's Impeachment And Moving Forward

From the airwaves:

On Impeachment, and How do we Drive out a Fascist Regime...
Rev. Frank Wulf, Pastor Echo Park United Methodist Church and from Refuse Fascism, and Andy Zee, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism and member of the The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, talk about upcoming meetings to organize a movement to drive out Trump and Pence on The Michael Slate Show, September 28, 2019.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/the-stakes-we-face-with-impeachment-and-a-fascist-regime-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

The Stakes We Face with Impeachment and a Fascist Regime

| revcom.us

 

The following message is being read and and acted on at mass meetings being held the weekend of September 28-29. Come to one of those meetings to consider and plan for sustained nonviolent mass protest beginning this October: We must take to the streets in non-violent protest, week-after-week, becoming day-after-day, not stopping until the single unifying demand is met: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO – NOW! (Find and join a mass meeting in your area here).

What you do – what we do – over these next few months will be decisive for the future of generations to come.

For nearly three years, a fascist regime has ruled America. They have put concentration camps on the border, they have demonized and attacked people who are not white and fomented a white supremacist movement, they have torn up the environment, they have threatened war and recklessly brandished nuclear weapons, and they have tried to drive women and LGBTQ people back to the dark ages, in the name of "religious freedom"(!). They make a mockery of the very notion of truth, they are foreclosing the right to dissent, and they trample over the rule of law. They have been relentless — and they aim for a full clampdown.

Now, suddenly, after what Democrats say was a "breach in national security," impeachment hearings have begun – after months of stalling. This could be a real opening to drive out the regime – IF we understand some key things.

First, that Trump and Pence will not give up and neither will the millions who support the fascist program. The fascists have their people in the courts and even if the courts should rule against them, they may well defy the courts. And if Trump IS able to stay, he will almost certainly not only take revenge but try to make a further huge leap toward all-out fascism.

Second, that the Democrats want to limit the inquiry to Trump's actions endangering national security in his attempt to win the 2020 election, without touching on his far deeper crimes. That is, the top Democrats are NOT, at this point, going after the whole range of fascist atrocities we outlined above. They want to remove Trump without going after the whole regime and without calling out the fascism at its core; this would leave the cancer in place to grow even more dangerously.

Third, the only thing that can really get rid of this regime will be mass outpourings in the streets, nonviolent and week after week, growing in numbers and determination, making clear that WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT A FASCIST AMERICA: We demand the TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO NOW! These have been done all over the world, from Algeria to Puerto Rico to Hong Kong, and there is no reason we cannot learn from those struggles. If these take root and grow, then the impeachment process can play a role; but if we sit passively, waiting for this to solve the problem, we may well end up in an even worse spot than we are in today.

On October 19, this begins in New York and Los Angeles. October 26, mass sustained protest with the demand Trump/Pence Regime Must Go – NOW! spreads everywhere.

We cannot stand aside as spectators. We must seize on the crisis now erupting, taking history into our own hands and turning dread for the future into a force for hope!


Washington, DC. Photo: @klancaster1112

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met. This means working and organizing with all our creativity and determination to bring thousands, eventually millions of people into the streets of cities and towns, to demand:

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

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

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

Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

 

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

Fascists and Communists:
Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

By Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

Download PDF of "Fascists and Communists: Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart" for printing and distribution

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/united-nations-summit-and-childrens-climate-strike-en.html

The UN Summit and the Children's Climate Strike

4 Million Youth, All Over the Planet:
We Demand a Right to a Future, for All of Humanity!

Global Rulers: Fuck You!
What Are We Gonna Do NOW?!?

| revcom.us

 

Four million children and young people strike and take to the streets across the world, demanding that action be taken to save the planet NOW. Fired with a sense of defiance, mission and responsibility, they want to hear solutions and be part of solutions. They want to see people act, to change that future.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist, as part of her powerful and blistering denunciation of world leaders, says: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” It is a stance based on scientific and moral clarity.

The UN Summit,1 true to form, does nothing, accomplishes nothing. Declares: Fuck You!

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, dueling with Trump for most surreal, fascist declaration-of-the-year award, tells the UN General Assembly that the Amazon forests, the very lungs of the planet, which went up in flames this summer, were “practically untouched.” He blames a “lying and sensationalist media” for propagating fake news—and went on to reject and ridicule the idea that Amazon rainforests are “a heritage of humankind.”

Narendra Modi, India’s fascist leader,2 offers honeyed words at the UN, while his government has set a target of expanding coal production by almost 50 percent—to 1 billion tons next year—inviting in foreign companies to facilitate this mad rush for coal.

Down the street from the UN meeting, a conclave of 13 of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies hold a forum to make their case that they “care” and are doing something. They promise a brave new world of carbon sequestration technologies that just scoop it up like a vacuum—a pile of public relations bullshit to keep drilling ever more deeply and in ever more remote parts of the globe. According to the New York Times, “…since 2018, major oil companies have invested at least $50 billion in fossil fuel projects—like Shell’s $13 billion liquefied natural gas project in Canada and BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Equinor’s $4.3 billion deepwater oil project in Azerbaijan—that would not be financially viable if the world were to meet the 1.5-degree target [keeping global temperature from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius more].”

Trump himself tweeted mockingly about Thunberg, giving the green light for a barrage of sickening vilification that was spread through the internet. In mocking derision, he tweeted: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” (as MeinTrumpf retweeted a clip of the teenager’s speech). The U.S. under the Trump/Pence fascist regime has been expanding coal and oil production, removing already paltry environmental protections, and censoring and attacking climate science.

Worse Than You Think…and We Must Take Things Into Our Own Hands

In a recent book, The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells sounds the scientific alarm that “It [the climate crisis] is worse, far worse, than you think.” These responses and non-responses on view this past week from the capitalist and imperialist rulers of the world and corporate-capitalist titans are “worse, far worse, than you think.” They are telling us that they are going to pollute, that they are going to ravage the planet, and frankly don’t give a fuck about the future of humanity and planet Earth.

The rulers of this system will not—and cannot—listen to reason. (See the clip “The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism” from Bob Avakian’s filmed speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.)

The people MUST take matters into our own hands—to act in the interests of humanity and the planet. For the defiant young people who took to the streets not to let up but to step up, and challenge and draw others into the swirl…for scientists not to be intimidated but to redouble their efforts to project and fight for the truth…for activists and people of conscience who care about the planet not to let themselves get corralled into bourgeois electoral and other dead-ends but to resist ever more ferociously.

Look at the world today. Destruction of the environment. Youth in the inner cities robbed of a future, “presumed guilty” for being Black or Brown, hounded and shot down by police, incarcerated in huge numbers. Women raped, battered and murdered, denied their basic humanity and their full potential as human beings. People scorned, bullied, brutalized for being gay, or just being “different.” Millions of children dying every year from starvation and disease. Immigrants driven from their homelands, forced into the shadows, exploited, deported, ripped away from their children. Slaughter and enslavement in the name of one god or another. Wars, torture, and massive government spying.

Things are this way because of the system that rules over us and declares its “special right” to rule the world. A system like this is a system that no one should put up with or go along with. It needs to be swept off the face of the earth. And it can be.

—Bob Avakian (from 2014 New Year’s Message)


1. The UN is a body of the world’s governments in which major decisions are taken by so-called international leaders. As such, it is merely a body of the heads of these oppressive states of capitalism-imperialism and a tool of their global domination and rivalry. [back]

2. In a sign of the times, and what this system’s “corporate philanthropy” is truly about, Modi even got an award from Bill Gates for his schemes to expand “toilet” access, despite protests from human rights and other activists. Among his many crimes: (a) autonomy was revoked in Muslim majority Kashmir, basically locking down seven million people; (b) in the state of Assam, a repression campaign rendered two million Muslims stateless; (c) as chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat in 2005, he presided over the lynching of over a thousand Muslims. [back]

 

The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism

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

A Special Resource Page

Read more

How Would the Revolution Deal With the Climate Crisis? A Q&A with Raymond Lotta

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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

 

Earth Day 2020: A Planet “On Fire”

This is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual global event in support of the environment. Even as humanity confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, the destruction of the environment and ecosystems around the world continue at a rapidly accelerating pace, furthered by fascist anti-science regimes like the Trump/Pence regime in the U.S. and the Bolsonaro regime in Brazil. More than one billion people (!) are estimated to be driven from their homes over the next three decades due to the effects of global climate change and its impacts, which (along with other forms of environmental destruction) is driving rising sea levels, extreme weather events, droughts and famines, mass extinctions, and destruction of ecosystems like mangrove swamps and coral reefs, and much, much worse.

At this moment, it is important to return to—and reground in—fundamental questions, and urgently go to work on that basis: What drives the plunder of the planet and global warming? Can this be resolved under this system of capitalism-imperialism, and if not, why not? What about reformist programs like the Green New Deal? What is the solution, what will it take?

We direct our readers and others to this Special Resource Page.


  • 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.

 

How Would the Revolution Deal With the Climate Crisis?
A Q&A with Raymond Lotta

Plundering and Destroying the Planet

Dead-End Paths and Mental Shackles

Further Reading...

 

 

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Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/there-is-no-planet-b-en.html

"There is no Planet B"

Imagine What Would Be Possible with Genuine Socialism – a Radically Different Economy and State Power

| revcom.us

 

Brief snap from a member of the National Revolution Tour

This past Thursday, we did a Facebook Live session hosted by members of the Revolution Tour with special guest Raymond Lotta. Building for the Friday climate-strike student walkouts, among other things, we wanted to get into why the system of capitalism-imperialism is a mortal straitjacket on humanity's ability to work on the dire emergency of global warming, why an actual revolution poses the only hope, and what would become possible with a genuinely socialist society. We learned a lot, and strongly encourage everyone to watch excerpts from a presentation by Raymond Lotta on this below:

The call to continue the climate strike internationally were quantitatively a disappointment here in New York City, especially in light of and following the massive manifestation from the week before. We are in the process of active social investigation to understand further why, and how to crack the obstacles that stand in the way of something that is much needed. In building for this among the high school students in NYC, it was clear that even while their awareness of global warming as an existential threat to the planet, and the need to act was strong, the lack of an “official” green-light from the educational authorities was an obstacle and deterrent, facing punitive measures. Many students also understood that “one-offs” were not sufficient given the lack of any meaningful response from the powers-that-be. Yet, this did not result in manifesting on the streets, even though there were walkouts involving hundreds of thousands elsewhere in the world.

In this context, we ask revcom.us readers to think about and write to us at revolution.report@yahoo.com: What are the obstacles to the people, especially youth, getting onto the streets for what are existential crises facing humanity, and how do we work to break them down for what IS needed? What are the obstacles to youth defying and rebelling against authority that stand in the way of their acting in the interests of humanity?


Montreal, Canada, September 27


Santiago, Chile, September 27


New York City, September 27

 


Download PDF for booklet printing (8.5x11, two-sided, printer spreads)

Download PDF for single page printing (8.5x11)

September 20: Climate Strike Worldwide

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/chart-global-inequalities-and-the-climate-crisis-en.html

Global Inequalities and the Climate Crisis: A Chart

| revcom.us

 

Climate change is posing an unprecedented threat to the existence of humanity, and of other forms of life, on this planet. It’s a global danger. The prime cause of this looming catastrophe is the system of capitalism-imperialism—its "expand-or-die" growth driven by the competitive quest for profit and global dominance—a system that relies on fossil fuels and relentless resource extraction. This is a system characterized by a big divide in the world between the rich “developed” countries and the poor “undeveloped” countries, between the haves and have-nots, the oppressors and the oppressed. This is the greatest inequality in the world today.

This chart shows some of how the glaring global inequalities that result from this great chasm are made worse and deadlier by the climate crisis, and how those inequalities have affected climate change.

 

Basic Facts:

Impact on Oppressed Countries:

Links for Sources and Further Info:


Basic Facts: The U.S. and other wealthy countries are the main cause of the global climate crisis and have emitted far greater amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2)—the main greenhouse gas driving global warming—than poor countries have.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: From the industrial revolution until now, the capitalist-imperialist U.S. and European countries have established and enforced a reckless, profit-driven path of development reliant on fossil fuels across the globe which has now endangered the very existence of humanity. They have also been directly responsible for 52% of all CO2 emissions. The U.S. alone has accounted for 25%. The poorest half of the world’s population—3.5 billion people—is responsible for just 10 percent of carbon emissions. In the words of climate scientist James Hansen, the U.S. “is, by far, more responsible than any other nation” for global warming.



The U.S. is more responsible than any other country for global warming. This coal-fired plant in Georgia is one of the country's top CO2 emitters, releasing 27.2 million tons in 2007 alone.


Basic Facts: None of the capitalist industrial powers of the world are on track to meet the goals of the 2016 Paris UN climate agreement.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: The Paris accord's goals for limiting CO2 and other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere were totally inadequate to actually deal with the climate crisis, but three years on, no major power is meeting even them. The only two countries which are—Morocco and Gambia—are among the poorest countries in the world, with the least responsibility for global warming. The U.S., under Trump, has declared its intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and has rolled back many minimal restrictions on carbon emissions. Meanwhile, global carbon emissions have increased every year since 2016, as the planet burns.

Links for Sources and Further Info: Climate change report card, National Geographic, 9/19/19; The UN Paris Agreement was 3 years ago; here's how countries are doing with their climate goals, GOOD magazine, 9/20/19


“Not fit caretakers of the earth” – 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.


Basic Facts: Global warming is contributing to water crises in poor countries by radically reshaping long-term weather and rain patterns

Impact on Oppressed Countries: Northern countries are expected to receive more rainfall, while many subtropical arid and semi-arid regions will get less. This means less surface and groundwater for drinking and irrigation, which will hit oppressed nations the hardest. As early as 2020, as many as 250 million Africans could face water shortages as a result of climate change. By the 2050s, the number of people facing water shortages in Asia could hit 1 billion. Already in India, 200,000 people die each year from lack of water or from contaminated water. Fourteen of the world's 20 biggest cities, most in the Third World, are currently experiencing water scarcity or drought.

Links for Sources and Further Info: The Nations That Will Be Hardest Hit by Water Shortages by 2040,” VICE.com, Aug. 26, 2015; “Climate change will hit poor countries hardest, study shows,” Guardian, Sept. 27, 2013; UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaption in Developing Countries,” New York, 2007, p. 3; David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth – Life After Warming (Tim Duggan Books 2019), pp. 88, 261, 267


People dig for water from a dried-up watering hole in South Sudan, which suffers from extreme water scarcity. Photo: Jared Ferrie/IPS news.


Basic Facts: Global warming is causing sea levels to rise.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: Rising global temperatures are causing the massive ice sheets covering Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic as well as glaciers around the world to melt. This is leading to rising sea levels, which will have devastating consequences for many poorer Third World countries. In 2017, floods in South Asia killed 1,200 people, leaving two-thirds of Bangladesh underwater and affecting 41 million people. Climate scientists predict that by 2050, rising sea levels will permanently submerge some 20 percent of what is today Bangladesh and displace about 20 million people.

Links for Sources and Further Info: Sea Level Rise will Disproportionately Affect Developing Countries,” Earth.org, 12/12/18; David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth – Life After Warming (Tim Duggan Books 2019), p. 63; Natural Resources Defense Council, “Bangladesh: A Country Underwater, a Culture on the Move,” 9/13/18


Coastal flooding, due in part to rising sea levels driven by global warming, is already having devastating consequences, especially in Asia and the Pacific. Jakarta, Indonesia, 2017. Photo: AP


Basic Facts: Global warming is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, and those in poorer countries are suffering most.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: During the past 50 years, some 69 percent of deaths from extreme weather-related events—such as droughts, wildfires, floods, landslides, heat waves and large storms—have taken place in poorer countries. Since 2000, this death rate in poor countries has been seven times higher than in wealthier countries.

Links for Sources and Further Info: Time to redress the globally unjust cost of climate change,” International Institute for Environment and Development, Sept. 2019


In 2018, drought-related crop failures affected one in 10 Guatemalans, causing extreme food shortages for almost 840,000 people. Droughts and hunger have been a major factor driving Guatemalans and other Central Americans to migrate north. Here Guatemalan farmers examine their crop. Photo: FAO


Basic Facts: Climate change is fueling massive displacement and migration due to droughts, food shortages, rising seas and extreme weather.  

Impact on Oppressed Countries: In the world today, there are nearly 70 million refugees forced from their homes. Of that figure, about one-third, or 23 million people, was displaced by extreme weather events that are becoming more common and destructive because of global warming. The number of Central American migrants forced to flee their countries, due in large part to climate change, increased five-fold between 2010 and 2015. These were unusually dry years, leaving many without enough food. By 2050, there may be 143 million more "climate refugees" from the Third World regions of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia.



Basic Facts: Climate change is worsening the threat to global food supplies.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: The global food supply is being threatened by capitalism’s relentless, profit-driven exploitation and consumption of land and water resources and by climate change.

Extreme weather and rising temperatures are contributing to turning more and more fertile land into desert, accelerating land degradation and soil loss and hurting global food supplies.

More than 500 million people now live in areas that are turning into deserts, and soil is being lost at a rate 10 to 100 times faster than it is forming. Scientists predict declining crop yields and massive food shortages that will likely hit poor countries far harder and sooner than richer ones.

Fishing communities in the tropics and Arctic are already being severely impacted by the loss or shifting of marine and coastal ecosystems. By 2020, in some African countries yields from rain-fed agriculture could be cut in half. A 2˚ Centigrade rise in global temperatures from the pre-industrial era would put over half the continent’s people at risk of undernourishment.

Links for Sources and Further Info: Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns,” New York Times, 8/8/19; “Climate Change Is Regressive,” Center for Global Development, 4/1/14; “Responding to climate change,” United Nations Environment Programme



Rising temperatures are turning increasing areas of fertile land into desert. South Africa, 2017. Photo: BBC


Basic Facts: Biodiversity loss is now happening 1,000 times faster than it normally does naturally, because of human activity and climate change.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: People in oppressed countries are most dependent on biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life and microorganisms) for clean air and water and food supplies because they’re more directly tied to agriculture and the natural world for their survival. Yet they are now suffering the greatest biodiversity loss. The warm tropical regions of the world, historically rich in biodiversity, are being hit hardest, with the devastating Amazon fires this year a heart-rending example. Vertebrate species (for example, amphibians, fishes, birds, and mammals) populations declined by 89 percent between 1970 and 2014 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 64 percent in the Indo-Pacific region, and 56 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to 21 percent in North America.

Links for Sources and Further Info: Biodiversity loss is a development issue,” International Institute for Environment and Development, April 2019

 



One of the 40 destructive fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest in August 2019. Photo: AP


Basic Facts: New climate-driven dangers from disease—threatening people in poorer countries the most

Impact on Oppressed Countries: People around the world, especially in poorer countries, will face grave new dangers in a warmer and, in some areas, wetter planet. According to the World Health Organization, contagious diseases are increasing due to “the combined impacts of rapid demographic, environmental, social, technological and other changes in our ways-of-living. Climate change will also affect infectious disease occurrence.”

Serious diseases like cholera, Ebola, and Lyme disease will likely spread as global warming causes more massive rainfall, flooding, and other extreme weather events. Mosquitoes will move beyond their current habitats, carrying diseases such as malaria—first impacting broader swaths of the poorer countries with fewer health resources, where these diseases are concentrated today. Yellow fever used to be largely confined to remote areas of Brazil’s Amazon basin. But by 2017, because of climate change, mosquitos that spread the yellow fever virus had reached São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and now 30 million people who live in those cities face a disease that kills between 3 and 8 percent of those infected.

 

Links for Sources and Further Info: Climate change and human health - risks and responses,” World Health Organization, 2019; “How does climate change affect disease?“ Stanford EARTH, 3/5/19; “How Climate Change Is Exacerbating the Spread of Disease,” Columbia University, 9/4/14; David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth—Life After Warming (Tim Duggan Books 2019), p. 109

 


Read the special issue of Revolution: State of EMERGENCY! The Plunder of Our Planet, The Environmental Catastrophe & The Real Revolutionary Solution which goes deeply into many of the issues discussed in this article, and what is to be done about it.

Download pamphlet (PDF) here


Basic Facts: Global inequality is being worsened by climate change.

Impact on Oppressed Countries: In 2015, poorer, oppressed countries were forced to bear 78 percent of the cost of climate change, a figure which will rise to 87 percent by 2035 according to estimates. “The gap between the economic output of the world’s richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming,” according to a recent Stanford report.

Links for Sources and Further Info: Climate Change,” Center for Global Development; “Climate change has worsened global economic inequality,” Stanford EARTH, 4/22/19



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Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/614/trump-pence-must-go-revolution-books-oct-7-screening-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Revolution Books and the Revolution Books Education Fund present

A FILM OF A TALK BY
BOB AVAKIAN:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
In The Name of Humanity
We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America:
A Better World
IS Possible

 

 

How serious a threat does the Trump/Pence regime pose to humanity?

Could fascism really happen here?

What is the character of the regime—is it fascist, and if it is, what are the implications?

What are the roots of this regime? Is it a terrible aberration, “more of the same”... or something different still?

What must be done to stop it? How? Is a better world possible?

Watch the hour-long film and Q&As at
www.revcom.us@tuneintorevcom

Revolution Books: 437 Malcolm X Blvd. • 212-691-3345 • @revbooksnycrevolutionbooksnyc.org

The above screening is a theater rental sponsored by Revolution Books and the Revolution Books Educational Fund, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Contributions tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

 

 

Download flyer for printing and distributing (PDF)

Download and print palmcard: W/O Bleed | With Bleed Marks

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Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/revolutiontour/donate-en.html

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

Updated | revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

 

$25,000 Is Needed in October

Donate $25, $50, $100, or another amount

You can also make this a monthly donation

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Send Checks or Money Orders to:
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Click here to learn more about the Tour and follow its progress.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/614/revolution-reports-on-climate-strikes-across-the-country-en.html

Sights and Sounds From Revolution Reports on the Climate Strikes Across the Country

| revcom.us

 

In the past weekend, the world saw millions of people pour out into the streets, coming from many diverse viewpoints, demanding a shift from the way the environment has been handled under this system. Many are frustrated with how things have been led from the top. In this country, the youth took to the streets on Friday on a scale that has not been seen in this country around the environment. The following is a series of excerpts from reports about going out to the Climate Strike on Friday, September 20 written from Chicago, LA, New York, and a team from the National Tour who went to Washington, DC. Readers should learn from the experiences of these different cities from a national scope and contribute their questions, comments and reflections to this process (revolution.reports@yahoo.com).

Chicago

We had a chant we did during the march that the masses around us liked and some danced to and took up chanting: “The planet’s on fire, the politicians are liars, this system created this mess, revolution nothing less!”

One thing we noticed was how warm the response was to agitation about capitalism-imperialism destroying the planet and the need to overthrow it. What people meant by that was not all the same, but mainly people were cheering when they heard it. We asked to say over the bullhorn why they were cheering. One youth said something about ending greed and corporations. Another said he wants his grandchildren to have a planet. Our agitation didn’t stop at the need to overthrow this system. We talked about how capitalism is driven to destroy the planet and humanity, but in overthrowing it and replacing it with the New Socialist Republic we can restructure the economy to put the needs of humanity and the planet first, and unleash people to work together to solve the problems, scientists, and regular people, on the local scale and global scale. And we talked about how no Democratic politician or Green New Deal can stop what is happening to the planet, because they can’t and don’t and won’t uproot this capitalist system.

We set up in places where lots of people were passing through. People stopped to talk to us off of the agitation or seeing the banner. We worked as much as possible to bring groups of people to talk with us and each other to start bringing people into working on the problems of the revolution. This ranged from two-three people to at most four-five. We were not able to get a whole scene going of people in a mass speakout or anything like that. The people coming up were really open to talking about socialism and communism and BA and the new communism. Many, as we got deeper into things, wanted to know more about how a real revolution could be made and what to do now to work towards getting there, and many were interested in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

In the discussions people did begin to speak to each other, agreeing and disagreeing, and learning from each other, including connecting with people from different backgrounds and experiences. One thing interesting and important was seeing how people sorted out in relation to each other. In the different groupings, there were people who stepped forward who were clearly more drawn to actual revolution and a new state power than others and were more deeply drawn into things through the course of some disagreements with others who were more going in different directions. Which also had a positive impact on those other people, much different than had these been one-on-one discussions with us.

In one discussion a woman suddenly got clear that we were talking about an actual overthrow and establishing a new society and was very excited about this and explained that to everyone else who walked up to join the conversation. Her friend was asking about how this would affect indigenous people, and when this was put back to them about how they saw the contradiction, some other people who joined in for a little bit were arguing that any attempt at a new society would need to ask the indigenous people for permission first. We came back to humanity and the whole system and not proceeding from the interests of any one people and the woman who was really excited about actual revolution was seeing the difference of these things and disagreeing with the people who were more narrowly talking about indigenous people as the measure of everything.

In another discussion, after watching the trailer of BA, one person said he’s backing Bernie, but sees that doesn’t get us all the way where we need to go. After that another person responded more directly to the trailer, saying what stood out to him was “this is a difficult road.” He agreed, but also that it is necessary. He stayed to talk much longer and a woman who is more drawn to Zapatista-style “anarcho-communism” joined in. We talked about several different problems of the revolution and the guy was getting a deepened understanding of and interest in the new communism, while the woman was not sure she really wanted to go there, but remained open.

In several discussions, either one-on-one or in groups, we were putting the problem to people of this revolution and BA needing to be more widely known’ having greater impact in society and building the organized forces for this—and all pretty concretely in answer to questions from people about how do we get to being able to make this revolution that they were starting to see is needed. One person on our team read the POAs with a number of people and worked with people on how do those POAs get taken up and fought for, including that they can begin to do that now. We also talked with some people about the urgent question of people getting into the streets to drive out Trump/Pence, getting their thinking on that and working to enlist them in contributing to the active social investigation/challenge of that question, in relation to assessing Refuse Fascism calling for week after week... and whether people will respond at this point. On all these problems, people were contributing their thinking and some agreed to help work on them in various ways going forward.

New York

Some notes on responses, section of people were drawn and the fact that capitalism is the problem was resonating with people even as they didn’t fully understand what that meant. When we broke it down more sections of people would be trying to follow and listening. There were some people who resonated with the anti-capitalism and some who didn’t know what they thought, understood something is wrong and wanted to hear the argument. When we agitated about B.E.B. and green new deal there was actual listening and some were attracted. People were trying to evaluate this. Communism was a question people brought up a number of times. Many and most people, a lot of whom were young, were there to save the planet—didn’t see themselves as doing protest as usual. They were very concerned about why and how to do something and searching for answers.

In addition to points above, overall agitators had different strengths and weaknesses, but overall one thing to examine is how we were fighting to make more palpable that we are calling on people to get organized for this revolution NOW, the “Six Points of Attention For the Revolution,” and joining and starting clubs. There was some good putting forward what we have, BA, including on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and how it would deal. There was also broadening out the “5 STOPS.” Points from statement on American parasitic consumer society, and that the Military biggest contributor and enforcer of system responsible—global problem. At different points in the agitation we made the point about this, and this was an important challenge that for many couldn’t be dismissed, and was an attractive edge to some.

DC

With a very small team, we did live agitation in the paths where people came streaming in, chanting, “There is no Planet B—REVOLUTION IS WHAT WE NEED!” We drew forward anti-fascists and anarchists and democratic socialists to come and talk to us. We did agitation as the march began, snaking through and agitating about why we need an actual revolution and the need to drive out this fascist regime by pouring our efforts into getting the millions we need into the streets, which is the only way you can drive out a fascist regime. People chanted with us and took flyers including the 5-2-6 broadsheet, and we drew a crowd when we did agitation on the side of the Capitol building that pointed to the fact that there is a fascist in the White House, and we can do what they did in Puerto Rico and Hong Kong, but none of the “5 Stops” could be resolved under this system, and that’s why we are on a National Revolution Tour getting organized for an actual revolution to put an end to the same system that produced a Donald Trump. More people drew closer and pulled out their camera phones to record when a policeman came up to the agitator to stop the agitation, but he had to back away when the agitator called out what they were doing and more people began crowding the agitation.

Two female high school students, one white and one Black, came up as we were walking past with the poster board of the cover of REVOLUTION Newspaper featuring the National Tour as its cover. The young Black student said they ran up to us because there was nothing else there like the poster board we had that was as honest and was so straight-up as this that was calling out the reforms and was about getting rid of this whole system. We organized people on their social media on the spot.

LA

[Chants from the Revolution Club LA:]

There is no planet B
Revolution is what we need
They’re killing all the bees
Revolution is what we need
They’re cutting all the trees
Revolution is what we need
They’re poisoning the seas
Revolution is what we need
They’re polluting the air we breathe
Revolution is what we need
Endangered species
Revolution is what we need

Capitalism is destroying our planet
Only a real revolution can save it

I did a lot on internationalism, agitating about it (including war threats to Iran) and doing call and response around America first vs. humanity and the planet come first. And American lives are not more important than other people’s lives. All this really resonated with people, and people took it up with enthusiasm. Although one chant that did not really get taken up was the “America was never great" one. Also, as part of fleshing out the reform vs. revolution thing, did a lot of call and response on Republicans are fascists (which everyone chanted) and Democrats are party of war crimes and crimes against humanity (some people uncomfortable and looking around to see who else is doing it, while others more unleashed).

Also did some things like this: If you’re tired of all these lying politicians and the solutions they give you that are really no solution, lemme get a fuck capitalism [fuck capitalism!]. If you know recycling and changing your lightbulbs and driving an electric car ain’t gonna do shit, lemme get a fuck capitalism [fuck capitalism!]. If you don’t want to live in a system based on the competitive chase for profit, where money is more important than people, lemme get a fuck capitalism [fuck capitalism!]. If you don’t want to live in a country that has 5% of the world’s population but consumes 25% of the world’s resources, lemme get a fuck imperialism [fuck imperialism!]. A country that exploits and pollutes the rest of the world, backed up by the U.S. military... etc [fuck imperialism]. At one point we had a crowd of youth chanting “Fight for humanity, fight for the planet, fuck the military, join the Revolution Club!” Off of all this we would try to organize people to make all this real and sign up with the club (the text service) over the bullhorn, which didn’t work so well.

All of this did have a big impact on the crowd. In addition to the many people who chanted along, someone observed that for about 5-10% of the people it was like they had found their group when they saw/heard us. Some of these people were already radicalized youth, like a couple who wanted to sign up as soon as they heard us indict U.S. imperialism. But it was mainly people who fall in the category of “those who are fed up with this society and its solutions that are no solutions” even while still being in the framework of those non-solutions (having never heard anyone challenge those non-solutions before). One young woman (wearing a Green New Deal t-shirt and carrying a Bernie sign) came up to us after the march to thank us, saying that she’s worried about what’s gonna happen in the next election, and that us being out there gave her hope that no matter what happens with these politicians we can still make a change.

600 of these provocation flyers got out at the Climate Strike in LA from Revolution Club’ LA

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Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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/614/ucla4-case-going-to-trial-this-week-en.html

News Flash

UCLA4 Case Going to Trial THIS Week
Dragged Into Court for Speaking Out Against Fascism

Updated | revcom.us

 

The case against members of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism for speaking out during Steve Mnuchin’s speech at UCLA in February 2018 is on a fast track, going to trial THIS week. 

These revolutionaries exposed the role Mnuchin is playing as a member of Trump’s fascist cabinet and called on the audience to act: “he is part of a regime that is hell-bent on consolidating fascism... don’t stand aside.”  For this, they were brutally arrested.  Two defendants are facing up to two years, nine months in jail and over $3,000 in fines and the other two are facing between three to nine months in jail!  (One of the defendants in the same case is also being charged for speaking loudly in an event with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who was instrumental in the cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald.)

Jury selection is beginning Wednesday, September 25 and opening arguments could be as early as Friday or next Tuesday, October 1.

For regular updates on the trial, and what YOU can do, follow @revclub_la or @refusefascismla on social media.

These charges are criminalizing anti-fascist speech on a public university and are completely unconstitutional.  While the Trump/Pence fascist regime threatens humanity, gutting the rule of law, stacking the courts with fascists, rounding up immigrants—consolidating a fascist America—it is the people working to STOP this that are being dragged into court.

These charges are part of a pattern of political targeting of the Revolution Club at UCLA.  In the pre-trial phase, it came out that the UCPD was stalking the Revolution Club, recording their activities and even license plates when on campus carrying out constitutionally protected political organizing.

While universities have spent 100s of 1000s of dollars protecting the free speech of fascists, speaking out against fascism is being criminalized. Professors are reported by right-wing students, amplified by hysterical fascist media unleashing a swarm of internet trolls—all working to drive critical thinking out of academia. Evolution, climate science, the truth about American history and its role in the world today, Ethnic Studies and anything evidence-based are under assault.  Instead of saying NO, the universities are facilitating the suppression of dissent and normalizing a fascist remaking of the country.

Which side are YOU on?

Join Refuse Fascism, organizing to drive this regime from power through mass, sustained, non-violent protest in the streets, growing week-by-week and day-by-day until our demand is met:

Trump/Pence Must Go NOW!

Raise your voice to demand: Drop the charges on the #UCLA4!

* * *

For more on the unconstitutionality of these charges and the stakes, watch THIS speech from the retired constitutional lawyer, writer, and political activist Stephen Rohde. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Donate to the Refuse Fascism legal defense, including urgently needed travel funds at donate.refusefascism.org
  • Pack the courtroom and stay tuned for trial updates: Airport Courthouse Dept 90, 11701 S. La Cienega (Just south of Imperial Hwy/105 Freeway). Stay tuned at @revclub_la or @refusefascismla
  • Call UCLA Chancellor Gene Block’s Office (310) 825-2151 to demand they issue a statement that the charges be dropped and to protest UCPD spying of the Revolution Club.
  • Demand City Attorney Mike Feuer Drop the Charges! Call 213.978.8100
  • Spread THIS video on social media.
  • Make a public statement on your social media and send to revclub_la@yahoo.com or SoCal@refusefascism.org.  Write an op-ed!

  • If you’re a professor, send students to court and have us speak in your class.

SPREAD this flyer (PDF)

Clip: "Order or Justice?"

Follow the trial on Twitter

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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/614/cleveland-pays-650000-to-13-people-wrongly-arrested-after-2016-rnc-en.html

| revcom.us

 

City of Cleveland Pays $650,000 to 13 people wrongly arrested after American flag burned in protest outside 2016 Republican National Convention as Trump was nominated

Date: September 26, 2019 / For immediate release 
Plaintiffs, members of the Revolution Club are available for press interviews. 
Contact: Larry Everest 202 556 3906
gregoryjoeyjohnson.global

 

Total settlements paid out by the City of Cleveland to protesters arrested after burning of American flag outside 2016 RNC have now reached close to 1 million dollars ($925,000).

This current round of settlements is in addition to $225,000 Cleveland paid out last June to Gregory "Joey" Johnson of the landmark 1989 Supreme Court case, Texas v Johnson which established flag burning in protest as constitutionally protected speech. Another arrested protester previously received a $50,000 settlement.

Plaintiff Rafael Kadaris stated, "Over three years ago we called out the fascism of Donald Trump, which is now on full display, from the cries of children in cages to the blood on the streets of El Paso. When do YOU say enough is enough? When we burned the American flag at the RNC we showed the world that there is a revolutionary force and leadership organizing to bring this whole rotten system down and bring a much better world into being. I plan to use my settlement money to advance that cause."

Gregory "Joey" Johnson was also charged for burning the American flag on Pennsylvania Avenue, in front of the White House, during Trump's July 4th "Salute to America" in a protest called "Imagine a World Without America." Charges in the July 4th case were dismissed on September 10, 2019.

Johnson stated he burned the flag in Cleveland, "As Trump was delivering his fascist message of white supremacy, 'law and order,' scapegoating of immigrants, disgusting misogyny, and naked 'America First' chauvinism to the convention—outside, up against all this, the Revolution Club linked arms while I stood in the middle of the circle and lit the red, white and blue rag of imperialism on fire. Our message to the world—America was NEVER great! We Need to Overthrow this System.”

See MSNBC video: Revolution Club protests at RNC

These latest settlements confirm loudly what those arrested insisted all along: that the city of Cleveland's police department and other law enforcement agencies violated the constitutional rights of the demonstrators. The amount of the settlements drowns out pro-forma statements from city officials that they “do not admit” to any wrongdoing. Plaintiffs maintained that the city settled these cases because they knew the arrests and prosecutions were an assault on the Supreme Court precedent that Johnson won 30 years ago and were afraid to have all this come out in trials.

The case of the RNC16 stemmed from a demonstration held as Trump was being nominated by the Republican National Convention as its presidential candidate. Cleveland police along with other state and federal agencies launched an unjust, vicious police assault to break up the protest. Altogether 16 Revolution Club members and other protesters were brutally arrested, dragged off to jail, and held for 24 hours until the RNC was over. Two protesters were hit with multiple felony charges. The police repeatedly lied to the media—changing their story about why the protestors were arrested—in spite of videos that show clearly it was the police that assaulted and endangered the protesters.

After a year-long legal and political battle and after an evidentiary hearing that put Cleveland's police chief Williams on the stand, Judge Charles Patton dismissed the charges against 12 of the protesters noting in his ruling, "As in Johnson [Texas v Johnson], the prosecution in these cases, sub judice, seeks to sanction the defendants conduct under the disorderly conduct laws." (Charges against four other defendants were dropped.)

The plaintiffs stated their appreciation for the attorneys who brought this suit from The Chandra Law Firm and the 40 volunteer attorneys who prevailed against the criminal charges facing the RNC16. The latter were organized by the National Lawyers Guild in Ohio, (coordinated by Jacqueline Greene and Sarah Gelsomino), and the NAACP.

See:

JULY 4, 2019: IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT AMERICA

A Call to Act

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/Bob-Avakian-some-basic-qa-en.html

Some Basic Q&A, Drawn From the Speech
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

America: the leader of the free world? When was that ever true?

For Black people, isn't Trump just more of the same?

What's the matter with liberals?

Slavery? Genocide? And you think fascism can't happen here?

What Has Given Rise to the Situation in Which We Have a Fascist Regime Ruling the U.S.?

Why Can't We Rely On the Democratic Party to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime?

If We Drive Out Trump, Won't We Just Get Pence? And How Can Mass Action Drive Out Trump, Anyway?

On What Basis Can Revolutionaries and People Who Are Not Revolutionaries Unite to Drive Out the Regime?

Watch the full film here

Follow: @TheRevcoms
Read: www.revcom.us
Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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

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

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

| revcom.us

 

Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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THE 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

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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/506/uniting-all-who-can-be-united-en.html

Refuse Fascism:

UNITING ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED,
Defeating "Divide and Conquer"

August 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Don’t allow the ruling forces, or any other force, to divide us or pit us against each other. Don’t fall for "divide and conquer" schemes and divisive actions, reject and rise above petty disputes and sectarian squabbles—reach out BROADLY to UNITE ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED, from different perspectives and viewpoints, around the great unifying objective of driving out, through massive, sustained political mobilization, this regime which has already done such great harm and which poses a grave threat to humanity.

We Demand the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—NOW!

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

The second theme is the critical role of revolutionary theory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE NEW COMMUNISM

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

Download PDF of book here

Read more

Breakthroughs —

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

Updated prepublication copy, April 10, 2019
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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-47-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

Follow: @TheRevcoms
Read: www.revcom.us
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Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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

 

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Editorial:

Impeachment: The High Stakes and the Future We Must Fight For

| revcom.us

 

The move this week by the Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry on Donald “Mein Trumpf” Trump is a high-stakes move with unpredictable dynamics and consequences: for the fascist movement headed by Trump and Pence and now holding power; for the liberal imperialists who have made this move; for the system as a whole; and for humanity, here and around the world. Nobody can say where this will all end up—which is precisely the point: while these have been “not normal” times all along, that “not normal” character has just gone to a whole other level.

We know that the different factions of those who rule this empire will act on their interests as they perceive them. But in order for revolutionaries to lead the masses of people to act on their most fundamental interests, we need to be able to distinguish how those find expression in this situation. And that requires understanding what got us here in the first place; and where humanity can, and needs to, go.

To get at this, we have to ask three questions:

What is happening?

Why is it happening?

And what are the stakes for humanity?

What Is Happening: A Crisis with Deep Roots In This System

For nearly three years, Donald Trump has headed up a fascist regime. They have committed one atrocity after another against different sections of the oppressed. They have not just ignored but have assaulted the rule of law and broken “the norms” of how the U.S. has been governed. They have brandished nuclear weapons and threatened countries with “obliteration,” they have run roughshod overturning the paltry and insufficient protections to the environment that did exist, and they have promoted religion and mocked science and the truth itself.

Yet during all this time the main Democratic leader, Speaker of the House Nancy “Piglosi” Pelosi, has refused to even consider impeaching Trump. To draw on Bob Avakian’s important piece “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress,’” Piglosi has feared three things: she has feared Trump himself and his possible defiance of any outcome against him and whether any verdict against him could actually be enforced (and/or whether the attempt to enforce it, successful or not, would set off even bigger cataclysms); she has feared the fascist supporters of the Trump/Pence regime and what they might resort to, or be led to resort to, should Trump be impeached, especially the fanatical Christian fascist core of it; and she has feared the oppressed and/or progressive-minded masses that the Democratic Party is “charged with” corralling and domesticating, should they be drawn into the streets by the heightened political turmoil that impeachment could bring. And so, as Trump violated rule after rule, with one impeachable offense after another... as his whole regime plunged ahead with fascist measures and with their plans to full-out consolidate a fascist regime... she consistently opposed any move toward impeachment.

Then, suddenly, last week, she changed her mind. We should ask ourselves: what may have triggered this?

A whistle-blower with access to the White House complained through channels that there had been a breach of national security on a phone call between Trump and the newly-elected president of the country of Ukraine. By law, such complaints have to go to certain members of Congress charged with oversight of national security. But this was blocked by Trump’s attorney general, and it was only released when word of this had leaked out and political pressure from other members of the ruling class became overwhelming.

What came to light was that Trump had blackmailed Ukraine by holding up military aid and asking them “as a favor” to dig up dirt on Trump’s main rival for the election, former vice-president Joe Biden.

Trump crossed three lines here. One, he blatantly broke the rules of the U.S. election process, drawing in a foreign power to help him defeat his opponent. These elections are seen by the rulers of the U.S. as key to “conferring legitimacy [and] assuring stability” (in the words of an extraordinary New York Times editorial on September 27 supporting impeachment, which was extraordinary both in its length and the prominence of its placement in the print edition).

Second, he was using the unique power of the presidency to subordinate and actually subvert what the rulers had agreed was in “U.S. national security interests”—military aid to Ukraine, aiding them against U.S. rival Russia—to his own individual interests. This not only violated the law, but could weaken the U.S. vis-à-vis its imperialist rivals.

Third, he was attacking Biden himself—possibly setting him up for criminal charges. This too crossed a line—a gangster message to his Democratic Party rivals in the ruling class that “we can take out any of you.” The fact that it was done on the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller who had been investigating Trump testified in Congress and the further fact that the regime brazenly tried to cover this up added even more fuel to the fire.

These are extremely sharp examples of a fascist regime shredding what have been the norms of how society has been governed and directly going after sections of the rulers, and prominent individuals within those sections, who have represented and upheld those norms.  This attack was of such a magnitude that it compelled Pelosi to respond—and could, combined with other factors, lead to even more seismic splits within the ruling class.

The three fears of Piglosi had not somehow evaporated. Not only were the reasons above compelling a response, Piglosi also faced losing the allegiance of those sections of the masses whom the Democrats are responsible for politically corralling and domesticating—there was the danger that as this came to light, if she did NOT act those masses might be led to act politically outside the control and “proper channels” of the system.

Where this will now go is up for grabs. But it is certain that Trump will hit back as hard as he can and will be compelled to use the impeachment process to further solidify the fascist movement inside and outside government. These fascists see this as a fight for their lives in which anything is acceptable. In case there was any doubt, Trump showed this on Thursday by invoking treason to characterize those who had leaked this information, and implying that those people who brought this to light should be subject to the penalties for that, including execution! His further invoking of the Civil War over the weekend, in a re-tweet from a Christian fascist minister, underscored how these fascist forces see the stakes and the lengths they could go to enforce their will.

The Democrats may try to walk a certain tightrope: using the impeachment to hem Trump in, to shore up the system’s “norms” of functioning (what have been the accepted rules of the game up to recently), and to keep control on the masses that they are responsible for controlling while trying not to further inflame the fascist mass base. Piglosi is already trying to limit this to the breach in national security and the tampering with the elections process by Trump, as opposed to the main thrust and basic sweep of the fascist juggernaut he rides. She will strive mightily to keep this strictly within the rules, which allows for the Republicans in the Senate to defeat impeachment, if they even allow it to come up in that chamber. She and the Democratic Party machinery with all its tentacles will very likely try to keep masses out of the streets and/or under very tight control if they do go into the streets.

They have not lost their “three fears”: they will still try to work this in a way that does NOT rouse the beast of Trump’s fascist base and that may make deals with Trump himself and/or other elements of the fascist camp. “Victory” in the Piglosi scenario could leave you with a President Pence, or a chastened Trumpf; or possibly a Democrat (Piglosi is in line for succession after Pence) who will also be prosecuting the mandates of empire, with an embittered fascism waiting the wings; and the masses still ground up by the system and, worse yet, with no sense of any larger future than shuttling between the two camps.

But there is a third force in this scenario that has not yet emerged: the masses aroused around an understanding that this FASCIST regime must GO, NOW!—and willing to act on that understanding. It is this force that could change the equation, that could turn this situation into a major defeat for fascism. The speech by Andy Zee in Los Angeles on September 28 gives a very good sense of the dimensions of that.

Further: depending on the work of revolutionaries within this movement, as well as other struggles, how people come to understand the source of the problem and its solution could have profound, and possibly liberating, effects on what right now seems at best a bleak future—if there is to be any future at all.

But before we get to that, it’s important to dig a little deeper into the second question: why is this happening?

Why Is It Happening?

We outlined above the proximate reasons for this crisis. But to understand the driving dynamics of what has led us to this point where we even have a blatant proud-to-be-ignorant fascist as president, you have to go another level down, into the deep and defining contradictions of this system and how they have been working themselves out over the past 50 years.

The United States stands atop a system of capitalism-imperialism. That is not just “rhetoric”; it has meaning for the lives of billions of people, all over the world. This is brought home by Bob Avakian in BAsics 1:4:

Not only did slavery play a major role in the historical development of the U.S., but the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves. Now, if this seems like an extreme or extravagant claim, think about the tens of millions of children throughout the Third World who, from a very, very early age, are working nearly every day of the year—as the slaves on the southern plantations in the United States used to say, “from can’t see in the morning, till can’t see at night”—until they’ve been physically used up.... These are conditions very similar to outright slavery.... This includes overt sexual harassment of women, and many other degradations as well. 

All this is the foundation on which the imperialist system rests, with U.S. imperialism now sitting atop it all.     

This is not static, or without contradiction. On the contrary. These imperialists face challenges—from different forces within the countries they dominate, and from their rivals scrambling to replace them, or to get a bigger cut of the spoils. The attached chart shows the wars and aggression that have been waged by the rulers of this system since the end of World War 2—aggression that has taken the lives of nearly ten million people and that has torn apart the lives of many times that number (see the chart here). Again: nearly ten million. There are no “good guys” on top of this system—however they present themselves, they all must and do carry out mass murder to preserve this “way of life” and maintain the much-vaunted “American dream.”

But this system is in deep crisis, with economic, social, cultural and political dimensions. Again, from Bob Avakian’s filmed speech THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible analyzing the roots of the regime and putting forward the way to drive it out:

The truth—another terrible truth that must be faced—is that, in the context of profound and acute contradictions that are asserting, or re-asserting, themselves in ways that are tearing at the very fabric and deepening cracks in the foundation of this country, at the same time as the American empire is facing serious challenges internationally, fascism is one possible resolution of this, on the terms of this system and its ruling class, even as this is a horror for humanity.

While the Constitution does establish the separation of church and state—and the Christian fascists are wrong, or simply lying, when they insist that the founding documents of this country established it as a “Christian nation”— the reality is that Christianity has all along been the unofficial state religion of this country, and the country’s identity, throughout its history, has been as a “white Christian nation,” grounded in male supremacy as well as white supremacy and driven by a “manifest destiny” to dominate not only the continent of North America but ultimately the world as a whole. All this has been brought into question, and has become the focus of intense struggle, going back to the 1960s and, in some important ways, back to the Civil War. And while developments internationally, including the demise of the Soviet Union, have given further impetus to the globalization of the capitalist world economy, this very heightened globalization has propelled changes that have sharpened contradictions within the U.S. as well as on the world level, particularly with an emerging capitalist China mounting a challenge to U.S. global economic dominance, at the same time as this heightened globalization, under conditions of western imperialist domination, has wreaked havoc in countries throughout the Third World, including the Middle East (and other places where Islam is the prevailing religion), adding fuel to a virulent Islamic fundamentalism that has declared war on the “decadent west” and on “infidels” and others oriented toward the west and facilitating its imperial domination.

In order to bring about any positive resolution to all this, even short of abolishing and moving beyond this whole system, it is necessary and crucial to break with the “normal routine” and the “normal workings” of the political process.

In short: the cause of what is going on today does not lie in the “corruption” of one man and the opportunism of the Republican Party. The fascism we face today draws on the deep and thick roots in this society of white supremacy, male supremacy and ignorant America-first jingoism. And it goes all the way down into most basic economic relations of capitalism-imperialism and the sharp, multi-dimensioned crisis the rulers of that system now face: a crisis for which no section has any answer in the interests of the masses.

Where Do the Interests of Humanity Lie?

The most fundamental interests of humanity lie in an actual revolution to overthrow this system, institute new political, economic and social relations and structures based on uprooting and abolishing exploitation and all forms of oppression, and move forward to emancipate the entire world. The fact that the normal workings of the system that now oppresses billions worldwide, combined with the political maneuverings of its “great leaders,” have brought us to a world on the brink of destruction and a society plunging headlong into a straight-out fascist form of rule, is more than reason enough to do away with this system. At this moment, a key concentrated expression of making that revolution is leading millions to drive this regime from power.

If this system were all that is possible—if all we could do was work within this to tamp down or moderate this or that horror, to get a supposedly more reasonable representative of the imperialists to preside over the plunder and slaughter—that would be one thing. But it is NOT all that is possible: there is the fact that there is a whole other way humanity could be living—one based on tearing up borders and bringing forward a common humanity rather than enforcing those borders in the most heartless ways; on overcoming the outmoded relations where one section of society socially dominates another; on breaking all of tradition’s chains. We really could set out on the road toward a society based on people freely working together to transform the world and themselves rather than forced to compete as atomized individuals.

Bob Avakian has brought forth a blueprint for the road to that world in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. In this Constitution, as BA has said, “a sweeping, and at the same time concrete, vision and plan for a radically different society and world is laid out, embodying a whole new dimension of freedom and whole new relations, among people and between people and the environment, beyond the narrow confines and the terrible consequences of the present system of exploitation and plunder.”

The bridge to that future is revolution, a revolution which the National Get Organized For An Actual Revolution Tour is urgently organizing. All this adds to the importance of revolutionaries being revolutionaries in this situation: that is to boldly put forward their principles, goals and views, to struggle where needed while working to forge unity against the common enemy.

Revolutionary communists participate in everything from the standpoint of hastening the revolution, while awaiting favorable changes in the overall situation. Here, the following from BA’s 2018 talk, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution is very important:

So... how do we go about hastening while awaiting? The means for doing this is concentrated in the formulation: “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” Let’s start with the aim of all this—Revolution. In BAsics 3:1, I put it like this: “Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.” That is another simple and basic truth. We need to go to people—not just one or two people, not just a small number of people, but masses of people, reaching all over the country, in every part of society—straight up with revolution—instead of just letting “where they are at” set the terms, and trying to somehow “bring in” some idea about revolution within that limited framework. As BAsics 3:1 goes on to say: We do need to unite with people in all sorts of struggles short of revolution; but it is frankly ridiculous to think that something short of revolution could solve all the monumental problems and monstrous outrages that people face under this system. On the basis of going to people straight up with revolution, then, coming from that place, we need to unite with people in fighting injustice and oppression, and struggle to win more and more people to see the need and the possibility for revolution, and to get with this.

At the same time, there is an urgent need for revolutionaries to join with people very broadly to drive out this regime. To again return to Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, in a passage that the Revolution Clubs and the National Tour should be really working with applying in this whole coming period:

To come back to the most fundamental point: “All this is aiming for something very definite—a revolutionary situation.” What we are doing now is making revolution—it is all part of, and must be consciously and systematically carried out as, an overall strategic plan and approach to getting to the point where millions can be brought forward to wage the all-out fight to overthrow this system, with a real chance of winning.

A great immediate challenge that bears heavily on the prospects for revolution is what is represented by the Trump/Pence regime. In another talk (THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible) I have spoken to how this is in fact a fascist regime; the basis on which it has risen to power in this country; how, so long as it remains in power, this regime will commit ever greater atrocities and poses a very real threat to the future and very existence of humanity through its assaults on the environment and its arsenals of nuclear annihilation; and why, in the name of humanity, it is necessary, and how it is possible, to force the removal of this regime through a massive, nonviolent but sustained mobilization of people demanding that this regime must go! Here, I am going to speak to the relation between this and the fundamental goal of revolution.

If this regime is able to further consolidate its power and more fully implement its horrific agenda, the prospects for revolution could then be greatly set back and the conscious revolutionary forces decimated—or completely destroyed—at least for a time. On the other hand, if a mass movement is built to drive out this regime, and if the revolutionaries work to build this movement from the perspective of how it relates to the revolution that is needed as the fundamental solution, then the situation in society (and the world) will become much more favorable for the fight against injustice and oppression, and crucial advances can be made toward the overthrow of the whole system. To a significant degree now, the conflict between the sections of society upholding this fascism and those opposing it, from various different perspectives, is shaping the terrain on which the struggle for revolution must be carried out; this conflict is likely to intensify, and could erupt further in violent confrontation, and in any case it would be a significant factor in the context of an all-out struggle between revolution and counter-revolution.

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.” 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. So, both to meet the immediate challenge of creating a political situation in which this regime will be removed from power—and in which the political initiative has been seized to a great degree by those who are determined to turn back the assault on humanity that is being carried out by this regime and to strive for a better world, however they understand that—and to advance toward the fundamental goal of revolution, it is vitally important that all those who have come to understand the need for revolution actively contribute to building the movement to drive out this regime, and do so from the perspective and in the overall framework of building for revolution.

The days and weeks ahead could be, and must be, momentous. To drive out the regime would be a victory on a huge scale; to go further and advance the struggle to emancipate all of humanity in the course of that would be an even larger one. We must do both.

 

 

 

Now More Than Ever!

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

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

Read more

Now also available in Spanish

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 2-sided as 5.5x8.5" brochure

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 8.5x11 pamphlet

 

 

 

The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go–NOW!

Andy Zee for the national meetings of Refuse Fascism
Read text of speech here.

Clip: "Free Yourself from the GTF!"

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/UCLA5-case-on-trial-now-en.html

Verdict Expected This Week

Activists Who Called Out Mnuchin At UCLA On Trial NOW, Facing Months In Jail: Which Side Are YOU On?

| revcom.us

 

 The #UCLA5 are facing up to TWO YEARS in jail for speaking out while Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, were at UCLA.

A verdict is expected THIS week.

This trial is a major attack on campus free speech and the space for ANTI-fascist protest at a time of consolidating fascism.

Raise your voice and act now!

Activists Who Called Out Mnuchin At UCLA Now Face Months In Jail: Which Side Are You On?

In a trial going on as this is written, a handful of young people face up to two years in jail for speaking out from their seats while Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke at UCLA.  And the UCLA administration—far from defending these people or even standing aside—initiated their arrest and has acted in concert, banning some activists from campus and using police to spy on others.

The defendants are members of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism.  The trial is a major attack on campus free speech, and unless people from around the country act now, there will almost certainly be a legal outrage with ominous implications.  They are fighters against the fascism being imposed by the Trump/Pence regime. 

Their battle is your battle.

When Mnuchin came to campus in February 2018 he was met with major protest, booing and hissing throughout his speech.  When he complained that the hissing lacked substance, the defendants obliged him by exposing the criminal nature of the sanctions his Treasury Department enforced on North Korea and Iran, as well as the effects of the recently passed tax bill.  Those now on trial challenged the audience to take up the call from RefuseFascism.org to drive the fascist regime from power through mass, sustained, non-violent determined protest in the streets.

For this, they were forcibly removed from their seats, manhandled, dragged out and arrested.  When Mnuchin tried to suppress video of the footage, and UCLA cooperated, the Society of Professional Journalists filed a public records request (because this was, after all, a public event with a government official speaking in that capacity)—and the video went viral.

Some of the defendants defied the order banning them from campus to participate in a March 1 student protest, 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants; and again, several days later, to see the heroic whistleblower Chelsea Manning speak. Very legitimate purposes.

A half a year later, LA city prosecutors suddenly charged defendants with a whole range of misdemeanor crimes: trespass, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, and defying a 7-day ban placed on them after the event saying they were not to be on campus without a legitimate purpose (to be defined by the UCLA administration).  These charges together could send some of the defendants to jail for two years if found guilty.

An even uglier story—one of university complicity and conniving—has been dragged into light since the charges were filed.  Police reports reveal that university police stalked the Revolution Club, recording their activities—including the recording of someone's license plate number when they were on campus carrying out what is supposed to be constitutionally protected speech and simply talking to people.  This is in addition to the LAPD sending a spy to infiltrate the meetings of Refuse Fascism in broader LA (a clandestine operation only revealed during discovery process in the trials of yet other peaceful protestors facing jail time for demonstrations against the Trump/Pence regime).

As Stephen Rohde, a retired Constitutional lawyer and founder of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace said, “Who says when the question and answer period should begin? The question and answer period began when those young, courageous [people] chose to have the question and answer period. Mr. Mnuchin could wait his turn to speak. Why don't those [people] have an equal right to speak in an open college campus?  We should be applauding, not criminalizing that kind of conduct.”

This is taking place while university administrations nationally are spending millions protecting the free speech of fascists who have the bully pulpit of the president, and criminalizing ANTI-fascist protest and speech of people who have no airways to amplify their voices.

The #UCLA5 stand trial at a time and in an atmosphere where professors are put on watch lists by student organizations with ties to the highest office and where exaggerated reports from right-wing students are amplified by hysterical fascist media and echoed by a swarm of internet trolls.  They stand trial at a time in which federal and state laws are implemented outlawing a movement to boycott Israel for its policies in occupied Palestine, and in which the Middle Eastern studies departments at Duke and University of North Carolina were recently told that their curriculum did not pay sufficient attention to Christian and Jewish “contributions” to the Middle East.  They stand trial when critical and evidence-based thinking in general—be it about evolution, climate change, the truth about U.S. history and its role in the world today—are all under assault.  These brave young people face jail at a time when universities spend millions of dollars to ensure that fascist speakers suffer no disruption, no dissent.  They face jail during an administration when Mike Pompeo can dictate to Harvard that it must disinvite Chelsea Manning from speaking or Pompeo will refuse to speak there – and Harvard meekly complies. 

But instead of saying NO and taking this on, the universities are suppressing dissent and facilitating a fascist assault on academia. And at UCLA, this has gone to another level, where the university spies, bans and now prosecutes those the Trump/Pence administration do not like.  We cannot allow UCLA to silence and criminalize meaningful protest that is aimed at stopping this regime from bolting fascism into place.  Silence is Complicity.

Where will YOU stand?

Get involved—demand the charges be dropped!

And be part of the movement to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power—NOW!  Starting October 19th and week after week.  Mobilizing people into the streets—as they have done in Puerto Rico and Hong Kong—growing and not stopping until the power of people refusing to accept a fascist America forces the whole of the regime from power.

More on these cases:

Fact Sheet on the #FREEWAY9 and the #UCLA5

LA Times Op-Ed: The LAPD spied on our group. Here’s why we shut down the 101 Freeway

Stephen Rohde, retired constitutional lawyer: "Instead of being prosecuted [the #UCLA5] should be thanked."

Atlas Winfrey, #Freeway9 & #UCLA5 defendant: What we did, why we're being prosecuted, the urgent stakes in our case, and why YOU need to stand with us.

What are the #UCLA5 being dragged to court for?

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Demand UCLA Chancellor Gene Block make a public statement that the charges be dropped, 310.825.2151
  • Demand City Attorney Mike Feuer Drop the Charges! Call 213.978.8100
    Tweet at him @Mike_Feuer
  • Donate to the Refuse Fascism legal defense, including urgently needed travel funds at donate.refusefascism.org
  • Pack the courtroom and stay tuned for trial updates: Airport Courthouse Dept 90, 11701 S. La Cienega (just south of Imperial Hwy/105 Freeway). Stay tuned at @revclub_la or @refusefascismla
  • SIGN THE PETITION. Sign and spread all over the country: Drop The Charges Against Members of Refuse Fascism and Revolution Club!
  • Spread THIS video on social media.
  • Join Cornel West, Yusef Salaam, Ed Asner and others in making a public statement on your social media and send to revclub_la@yahoo.com or SoCal@refusefascism.org.  Write an op-ed!
  • If you’re a professor, send students to court and have us speak in your class.

Watch this space for daily trial updates:

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/press-release-ucla5-case-in-trial-now-en.html

Press Release reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

UCLA5 Case In Trial NOW
Defendants Facing Jail Time for Protesting Steve Mnuchin at UCLA in Feb, 2018

| revcom.us

 

For Immediate Release October 1 2019
Press Contact: RefuseFascism.org, 917.407.1286
Interviews Available

UCLA5 Case In Trial NOW

Defendants Facing Jail Time for Protesting Steve Mnuchin at UCLA in Feb, 2018

In a test of a new UCLA Policy for “events that trigger protest,” four members of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism LA are being tried, criminally charged for speaking out during a speech by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The defendants are on trial for criminal misdemeanor charges with some facing up to 3 months and others facing over 2 years in jail. (One of the defendants in the same case is also being charged for speaking loudly in an event with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who was instrumental in the cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald.)

In February 2018 Mnuchin spoke on the UCLA campus to major protest, with many people hissing and booing throughout his speech. The people now on trial spoke up during Mnuchin's speech, exposing the role he is playing as a member of Trump’s cabinet, the impact of his tax bill and sanctions on Iran and North Korea, which he was bragging about. They also called on the audience to act: “[Mnuchin] is part of a regime that is hell-bent on consolidating fascism...don’t stand aside.”

When speaking out, the defendants stayed seated in their chairs, raising substantive critiques and differences with Mnuchin. Video of their statements and brutal arrests made national news and were seen by millions. Mnuchin tried to suppress video of the event which, in an unprecedented move, UCLA complied with until the Society of Professional Journalists filed a public records request.

In addition to trespass and resisting arrest, they are being charged with “disturbing the peace.”

Michelle Xai, from the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism, LA said, “This is entirely upside down. Mnuchin was bragging about killing sanctions and their politics of cruelty, but we're charged with 'disturbing the peace' for speaking loudly during his event! These cases are criminalizing constitutionally protected protest and speech. While the Trump/Pence fascist regime threatens humanity, gutting the rule of law, stacking the courts with fascists, rounding up immigrants, consolidating a fascist America, many more need to be 'disturbing the peace' of fascist normalization. To do so is righteous, necessary and just!”

These charges are part of a pattern of political targeting of the Revolution Club at UCLA. In the pre-trial phase, it came out that the UCPD was stalking the Revolution Club, recording their activities and even license plates when on campus carrying out constitutionally protected political organizing. These same organizers are also part of Refuse Fascism, which has been the object of LAPD spying and has been exposed in the Los Angeles TimesThe Guardian and other places, in relation to associated legal cases of the #Freeway9. (Copies of discovery documents available on request.)

Tala Deloria, a former student at UCLA and part of the National Revolution Tour, said “These cases will set a dangerous precedent in the midst of a fight over the role of Universities and the foreclosing of dissent. In March, Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at carving out more space for fascist speakers and giving backing to a movement of Nazi youth. University administrations are greasing the skids for fascism, spending millions protecting the free speech of fascists, while criminalizing ANTI-fascist protest and speech. Professors are reported by right-wing students, amplified by hysterical fascist media unleashing a swarm of internet trolls – all working to drive critical thinking out of academia. Evolution, climate science, the truth about America’s history and its role in the world today, Ethnic Studies and anything evidence-based is under assault. Instead of saying NO, the universities are facilitating the suppression of dissent and normalizing a fascist remaking of the country.”

In a further violation of the First Amendment, those arrested were given a 7 day ban from campus – with nothing in writing and no way to contest or appeal it. This ban constitutes a “prior restraint” – a fundamental violation of the right to speech and protest. In trial, the Prosecution claimed that they violated this ban for “no legitimate purpose.” In fact, two of the defendants are being charged with violating the ban to participate in a March 1 student protest, 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants and again, several days later, to see the whistleblower Chelsea Manning speak on campus. Criminalizing such activity on a public university is a dangerous outrage.

Opening arguments took place on Friday and trial continues Tuesday, October 1. The Prosecution will involve witnesses testifying against the #UCLA5, including a number of UCPD officers who arrested and stalked the Revolution Club and UCLA Administrators including Mick Deluca, the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Campus Life and Kris Kaupalolo with the Student Organization Leadership and Engagement.

_____

Case 8AR01453 at Airport Courthouse, Dept. 90, Superior Court
Stay tuned to @RefuseFacismLA and @RevClub_LA for legal updates.

Refuse Fascism Fact Sheet on the #FREEWAY9 and the #UCLA5

News Coverage:
NOW THIS NEWS video: Trump's treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin was booed and heckled by students at UCLA — and then he tried to hide the footage

Defying the Fascist Regime...Capturing the Headlines: Steve "The Mouse" Mnuchin's Bullying and Cowardice Backfires
RevCom.us, March 5, 2018

Op-Ed: The LAPD spied on our group. Here’s why we shut down the 101 Freeway
Los Angeles Times, Chantelle Hershberger and Miguel “Alex” Hernandez, August 9, 2019

LAPD informant infiltrated left-wing activists during Trump protests, records show
Los Angeles Times, James Queally, Staff Writer July 19 2019

Los Angeles police spied on anti-Trump protesters
The Guardian Sam Levin in Los Angeles July 19 2019

Which Side Are YOU On? Members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club, LA are being dragged into court for disrupting the business-as-usual of fascist normalization.
RevCom.us, August 19, 2019


UCLA5

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/on-the-70th-anniversary-of-chinas-revolution-en.html

On the 70th Anniversary of China’s Revolution

Mao's Genuine Socialist Revolution of 1949-76...and The Counter-Revolution Being Celebrated by Today's Capitalist Rulers of China

| revcom.us

 

This year on October 1, the world witnessed a sharp contrast: police in Hong Kong beating protestors, and even shooting one, while the authorities in China (which has authority over Hong Kong) “celebrated” the anniversary of the Chinese Revolution with parades featuring massive military armaments.

In actual fact, the revolution that won victory on October 1, 1949 has long since been betrayed – overthrown after the death of its leader, Mao Zedong, and the arrest of his followers over 40 years ago.  The current rulers have kept the name and some of the trappings of the revolution to bolster their claims to legitimacy.  But what was once a bastion of revolution now brutally exploits its people and competes with the U.S. to dominate the whole world.

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong declared the victory of the revolution at a celebration in Beijing. That victory was the culmination of more than 20 years of heroic struggle and sacrifice by tens and hundreds of millions of peasants, workers, and broad sections of society. This revolution shattered the domination of imperialism over China and broke the back of the oppressive landlord system and foreign-controlled capitalism. As this revolution deepened, it opened new vistas not just for the Chinese people but for oppressed humanity.

The conquest of power in 1949 was but the beginning of a complex process and struggle of transforming society and transforming thinking. Mao was leading people on the socialist road and hundreds of millions took up the cause of forging a society free of exploitation and oppression. But a new capitalist class arose within the structures of the Communist Party and the socialist state. Mao Zedong had made the unprecedented analysis of the danger of capitalist restoration under socialism. And he launched the Cultural Revolution to overthrow new bourgeois forces and prevent the restoration of capitalism and carry the revolution forward towards a communist world.

But in 1976, the forces of counterrevolution seized power. This new capitalist class has ruled China for over 40 years—while maintaining the veneer of socialism. China is a completely capitalist and thoroughly exploitative society. It is an imperialist power vying with U.S. imperialism for global dominance. The 70th anniversary celebration in China is a rabid nationalist display of military might—against a backdrop of growing repression, including the increasingly brutal onslaught against the just struggle of the people of Hong Kong (it was Mao who said, “it is right to rebel against reactionaries”).

~~~~~~~~~~

The Chinese revolution, in particular the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, was the radically transformative high point of the first stage of communist revolution—beginning with the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871, and then the Russian Revolution of 1917-56.

The excerpts from the Interview with Raymond Lotta take people through the inspiring history of the Chinese revolution: land reform, the formation of communes in the countryside, and the Great Leap Forward...the Cultural Revolution and the role of the Red Guards...innovations in socialist planning, health care, education, the new art that was created...and how women were unleashed to “hold up half the sky.” These excerpts show why China during the Cultural Revolution was a beacon for the world’s oppressed and exploited. These excerpts also dig into the controversies and expose the lies and distortions surrounding this revolution.   

Bob Avakian has analyzed the great breakthroughs and the problems of China when it was a genuinely socialist society, taking in questions of method and approach—and the reasons for the defeat of the revolution. He has qualitatively advanced the science of communism and the revolution to emancipate humanity. In 1975, being a communist meant following Mao and the path he forged. Today it means following Bob Avakian and the new path he has forged, the new communism. This is the basis to initiate a new stage of communist revolution in today’s world.  

China, 1950: New land reform law of 1950 is read out loud to peasants.

For the book in English:

ABOUT THE BOOK, ORDER HERE

See excerpts HERE

Updated pre-publication PDF of this major work available HERE

For the book in Spanish:

ABOUT THE BOOK, ORDER HERE

See excerpts HERE

Updated pre-publication PDF available HERE

THIS WORK IS NOW AVAILABLE IN FARSI
Download the PDF

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/260/avakian-on-cultural-revolution-in-china-en.html

The Cultural Revolution in China...Art and Culture... Dissent and Ferment...and Carrying Forward the Revolution Toward Communism

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

May 9, 2016, originally published February 19, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: In this issue we are reprinting part of an interview with Bob Avakian, this one conducted in 2004. It originally aired on Michael Slate’s Beneath the Surface show on KPFK radio in Los Angeles, on July 29, 2005. In publishing it here, some editing has been done, particularly for clarity. In some places brief explanatory passages have been added within brackets. Subheads have also been added.

MS: Let’s dig into the Cultural Revolution [in China, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s]. You led communists around the world in fighting to understand what the significance of the Cultural Revolution was, and to uphold it as a dividing line question, and to see it as the highest point of class struggle in human history, the greatest height the class struggle’s gotten to in human history. That’s not exactly—in terms of conventional wisdom today, that’s not exactly what you find on the bookstore shelf. You can find 70 books about how—and you can hear people who are 32 years old talking about how—the Cultural Revolution destroyed their careers, and they had remarkable careers when they were like two years old. But it’s had an impact on people. It’s had a big impact on people.

You had musicians who once were major supporters of the Cultural Revolution who now listen to these stories from people, from artists coming out of China, for instance, and saying, “I was misled. I didn’t understand everything that went on because I didn’t understand the suffering that people have.” Or you have these popular cultural forms, The Red Violin, for god’s sake: a movie that had nothing to do with China, but there was this one scene in it where they had to show the Red Guards banging down doors and pulling people out of their houses, searching for this red violin that they needed to smash. And it was this symbol of artistic freedom and creativity.

Or you had Farewell My Concubine, which was a big, big movie among—I know a lot of my friends, a lot of artists and intellectuals who went to see that film two, three times, and really looked at it as a sign of what was wrong, and how the Cultural Revolution was not an advance for humanity, but something that was actually part of suppression, and particularly suppression of intellectuals and artists.

I wanted to ask you about that—let’s talk a little about the question of intellectual freedom. And I think it’s tied up with the question of dissent, but we can get into that separately. But I think actually this idea of—what you’ve been saying all along, and one of the reasons I asked you about this question about the Party and everything else in terms of people starting to settle in, and that kind of thing—is that you had talked earlier about the need for really just a totally, tremendously creative surge among the people and in the Party and among communists, this constant creative application, and then that Marxism itself is a science that actually, in a living form, really does do that. When you were saying that, I was just thinking, you know, it’s so refreshing to hear this thing because it invigorates you with a sense of like, you know, [what] our science really is—it unleashes the greatest creativity, when you grasp it, it unleashes the greatest creativity possible.

Street scene in China before the revolution

Street scene in China before the revolution

But there’s this common, or this conventional wisdom that actually—here’s this crucial development in the class struggle, this crucial development of the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and yet it’s portrayed as this sort of thing that was the suppression of artistic and intellectual freedom.

BA: Well, once again, I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is a complex question and a complex problem that the Cultural Revolution was seeking to address, and was addressing. And once more you have to situate this in what was occurring in the development of the Chinese Revolution, and not come at it from the way all too many people do in this society. They don’t understand the actual dynamics—why these revolutions were necessary in the first place, what they arose out of, and what were the contradictions they faced when they emerged. And some people have some sense of, OK in China people were poor. If you have read those Pearl Buck novels, you know, people of our generation, where you get a sense about the terrible life of the peasants, and you can understand why people would want to cast off that oppression, and so on. But a lot of people are even ignorant of that, especially now. They have no real sense of what China was like, and why a revolution was needed, and how that revolution had to take place.

Foot binding was the custom of breaking the arch of the foot and the toes of a young girl (between the ages of two and six) and then binding each foot painfully tight to prevent further growth. This was practiced mainly among the wealthier classes. The tiny narrow feet were considered beautiful and to make a woman's movements more feminine and dainty.
   Bound feet rendered women dependent on their families, particularly the men in their families. When the revolution succeeded in 1949 and the new society was established, foot binding was outlawed as a step towards liberating women.

So that’s one problem. But not only did they have to overcome the whole daunting prospect, or reality rather, of imperialist domination and carving up China, but they also had a whole history of feudalism, of massive exploitation of the peasantry and hundreds of years—or thousands of years, actually—in which the great majority of people were just desperately impoverished and exploited. And they were coming from a society which, because it was dominated by imperialism, and because of the remaining feudalism, was not advanced technologically, or was technologically advanced [only] in a few enclaves. But then the vast part of the country and the people who lived in it were mired in a lot of enforced backwardness.

So you’re coming from that, and you’re trying to make leaps in terms of overcoming the poverty and the oppression of the masses of people. And you come to power, in 1949, and right away, within a year, you’re thrust into a war with the U.S. in Korea—a war in which MacArthur is saying: let’s take the war to China. That was his big dispute with Truman. Let’s take the war to China. Let’s go right to China and cross the border. Not just go near the border, but go across the border, and roll back the Chinese revolution.1

And so right away, you barely have time to celebrate and consolidate your victory, and you’re thrust into this battle with this powerful imperialist force right at your doorstep, literally. And then you fight the U.S. to a standstill, and in effect defeat it—because, in terms of its objectives in Korea, once the U.S. entered the war, they were thwarted in those, in large part because of the involvement of the Chinese in that [war].

So here you are. Now you’re trying to take this country that’s poor and backward, has been dominated by imperialism—you have the situation where [there was] the famous sign in a park in Shanghai, “No dogs or Chinese allowed.” This is just a stark way of expressing what their life was like, even in the urban areas, even if you were among the more educated classes, for example. So what you were referring to earlier—a lot of people did either go back to China [after the victory of the revolution in 1949], or a lot of people in China, intellectuals and others, were very enthusiastic about the new society that was being brought into being, because it was going to overcome this whole situation where China was held down and carved up by different imperialists and the Chinese people and the Chinese nation was going to be able to stand up on its feet and not be run roughshod over and lorded over by these foreign powers, and so on.

Contradictions, and Challenges, of the Socialist Road in China

But within that there’s also a contradiction, that a lot of people are—it’s sort of captured in Mao’s thing that “Only socialism can save China.” What I’m trying to get at—this is a contradictory statement actually, because he’s saying that without taking the socialist road, China cannot get out from underneath the poverty and the domination by imperialism, and so that’s the only road for China. Which means that a lot of people—the reason I say it’s contradictory is it means a lot of people who were not really won to the communist vision will support the revolution and will even support going on the socialist road because it is true that objectively there’s no other way that the backwardness and domination by imperialism can be ended.

On the one side, there’s obviously a positive aspect to that. You get a lot of people, including in the more bourgeois strata, who are enthusiastic about the socialist road because it does represent the way out for China. But, on the other side of it, they’re coming at it from more like a nationalist point of view, or a more bourgeois point of view. They want China to take its rightful place in the world—and they don’t want it to be stepped on by foreigners, and so on—which is certainly legitimate, and something you can unite with. But it’s contradictory.

And that phenomenon existed, not only outside the Party, but to a very large degree inside the Party in China. A lot of people joined the Communist Party in China for those kinds of reasons. And they had not necessarily become fully, ideologically communists in their outlook, and really being guided by the whole idea of getting to a communist world—and internationalism, of doing it as part of the whole world revolution and sacrificing for that world revolution when necessary—but more from the point of view: this is the only way China can stand on its feet and take its rightful place in the world. Well, a lot of those people were in the Party for a long time. A lot of them were veterans of the Long March and made heroic sacrifices, but never really ruptured completely to the communist viewpoint, which certainly encompasses the idea that China should throw off foreign domination and the poverty and backwardness of the countryside and feudalism, but is much more than that, and it goes way beyond that.

So this is one of the problems, the contradictions that were existing within and characterizing the struggle within the Chinese Communist Party right from the beginning. And then there’s a whole other dimension to it, which is that everybody has the birthmarks of the womb they emerge out of, so to speak. And that was true of China in terms of the world and of the Chinese Revolution. The new society emerged out of the old one in China, and carried the birthmarks of that, the inequalities and so on.

Breaking With, Going Beyond the Soviet Model

BA continues: But it was true in another important dimension, too, which is that the Chinese Revolution was made as part of the international communist movement, in which the Soviet Union was the model of how you made revolution and how you build socialism. Well, it’s interesting—here’s another contradiction: Mao broke with part of that. In order to make the revolution in China, they had to break with the Soviet model, which was the idea that you centered in the cities, based in the working class, and took power in the cities and then you spread it to the countryside.

The Chinese approach to it that Mao forged, after a lot of defeats and some serious setbacks and bloodshed and bloodbaths that they suffered trying to do it in the cities and being crushed by the forces of the central government, or Chiang Kai-shek’s forces,2 was to finally do it the opposite way—to say we have to come from the countryside: because it’s a backward country, we can start up guerrilla war in the countryside, where most of the people live, and advance to finally taking the cities. So that was the opposite of how they did it in Russia. Now, it’s true that in Russia the majority of people lived in the countryside, but it was a different kind of society than China. And they didn’t really have the possibility of waging guerrilla warfare from the countryside in Russia the same way that they did in China. So right there, Mao had to break with the Soviet model and forge a new model of how you make revolution in China and in countries more generally like China.

But then, when they got to actually—OK, here we are, we’re in power, now we’re going to build socialism—the Soviet Union existed, it was offering them a certain amount of support and material assistance in doing it. And they didn’t have any other model. And they didn’t right away recognize that the model of the Soviet Union first of all had problems in it anyway, and second of all wasn’t necessarily suited to the concrete conditions of China. So the emphasis the Soviet Union under Stalin put on developing heavy industry, you know, to the disadvantage of agriculture and so on, was an even bigger problem for China than it was in the Soviet Union, although it caused real problems there.3 So at a certain point, Mao once again, as he did in making the revolution in the first place, comes up against the realization, after maybe a decade or so of experience in trying to build socialism in China, that this Soviet model has a lot of problems with it. You know, its over-emphasis on heavy industry. That’s not the way we’re going to actually get the peasantry to be on the socialist road, by sacrificing everything just to one-sidedly develop heavy industry, and so on.

Communal dining room in a people's commune during the Great Leap Forward, 1959. People's communes were a new thing that, under communist leadership, brought together millions of peasants to collectively work the land and transform relations between and among people.

So Mao was trying to break out of this model. And that’s really what the much-maligned Great Leap Forward was about.4 Plus the Soviets, once Mao did try to break out of this model and not be under the wing of the Soviets, turned against him, supported people in the Chinese Party who wanted, if not to overthrow him, then force him to go back under the Soviet model and Soviet domination, in effect, and [the Soviets] pulled out their assistance, their blueprints, their technical aid, and so on, right when the Chinese are trying to make a leap in their economy.

So Mao is trying to forge this road in China for socialism, just as he did before, for the road for actually getting power. Now they have power. He’s trying to forge a different road for socialism. But he’s up against not only the Soviet Union but a significant section of the Chinese Party. On the one hand, a lot of them really didn’t break out of the—as Marx said, they really didn’t get beyond the horizon of bourgeois right. They really were still thinking in terms of just—as Deng Xiaoping openly implemented after he came to power—how do we make China a powerful country, even if it means doing it with capitalism? And they weren’t really thinking about how to get to communism as part of the whole world struggle. So you have that phenomenon. And then you have the phenomenon that a lot of the people, to the degree that they are trying to build socialism, are doing it with the Soviet model, and with the methods the Soviet Union used (which we talked about somewhat) as the way you go about doing this. And Mao is trying to figure out how to break out of this, and how to actually have a socialism that much more brings the masses consciously into the process. Mao criticized Stalin, for example, when, in the early ’60s, he was commenting on some of Stalin’s writings about socialism—he said Stalin talks too much about technique and technical things and not enough about the masses; and he talks too much about the cadre and the administrators, and the technical personnel, and not the masses and not enough about consciousness.

So in those ways, too, he was trying to fight for a different model of socialism that would really bring the masses much more consciously into the process. And then, on top of that, the educational system, the culture—all that superstructure, as we describe it—was really unchanged from the old society. A lot of people, even in the Communist Party, didn’t see the problem with the traditional Chinese culture, even though it had a feudal content to it, to a very significant degree, and even though it sort of uncritically repeated or adopted things that came from these imperialist countries that had dominated China. So Mao was saying: how do we break out of this mold that’s not really going to lead us to where we need to go in terms of building socialism in China?

He’s up against people who are not really that much motivated by transforming the whole society, you know, in terms of getting rid of all the unequal relations and oppressive divisions, but just want to build up a powerful country. He’s up against people who, to the degree they even do think about that, are thinking of it in the terms of what the Soviet Union under Stalin had done (and the Soviet Union under Khrushchev5 was modifying but still carrying forward some aspects of it in terms of this way to build the economy). And he’s up against a whole culture and superstructure that’s still reinforcing the old relations from the past. And he tries various methods.

I’m saying “Mao.” It’s not just him all by himself, but to a significant degree, to be honest, it was him by himself. Because not that many other people in the leadership of the Party even recognized these contradictions and saw that it was going to take them somewhere other than [where] they wanted to go, and ultimately back to a form of capitalism. So to a significant degree, although there were some few others in the leadership, mainly there weren’t. It was mainly Mao who was the one who was saying: We have to break through and do something different here.

And he tried things like initiating socialist education movements, that through the channels of the Party would raise the sights of the Party members and the masses more broadly as to why they needed to build socialism in China, and what that meant, and what that had to do with transforming the economic relations of people in production, and the social relations between men and women and various other important social inequalities that needed to be overcome, and the political structures and the culture. But that only got so far, and really didn’t get to the heart or the root of the problem: that there were all these forces taking China back toward capitalism, even if in a slightly different form, a combination of copying what was done in the imperialist countries, and what had been done in the Soviet Union—which, in the conditions of China, repeating that would have led back to capitalism, as Mao was increasingly recognizing.

University students in Peking posting big character posters, a form of mass democracy through which the people could express their views on major economic, social, political and cultural issues.

So all this is the backdrop—the reason I’m going into this much detail—this is the backdrop for why the Cultural Revolution was necessary. And Mao said, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution: we tried various ways to solve this problem, that we were being taken back down the road to capitalism. I mean, the Soviet system—part of Mao’s criticism was it also involved things like one-man management in the factories, instead of really bringing the workers increasingly into administrative and other, similar tasks, and into the development of technology, and the planning of technology, the planning of production. They just basically froze in place the old relations, within the framework of state ownership, and they basically reproduced the same relations in that framework. That was a big problem with the Soviet model of socialism. Mao was increasingly recognizing this. And they [the Soviets] were doing other things that are familiar in capitalist society, like motivating people with piecework and bonuses, rather than trying to motivate them ideologically to want to raise production in order to advance the revolution in China and support the revolution worldwide.

So Mao’s saying: We have to sweep away this stuff, but we’ve tried doing it through the channels of the Party, through things like socialist education movements, and they haven’t really worked, because the way the Party is structured and the way that the leadership of the Party—most of the leadership of the Party conceives of socialism just in a way that’s actually going to lead away from socialism. So if we just do it through the channels of the Party, it’s just going to end up going nowhere, or end up ironically reinforcing what we’ve already got. We need something radically different to rupture out of this—to transform what’s going on in the economy, to transform what’s going on in terms of how the actual decision-making goes on in the society, transform the culture and the thinking of the people. So this is finally—Mao said finally we found the form in the Cultural Revolution, a form through which, as he put it, the masses could expose and criticize our dark aspect, our negative side, in a mass way and from below.

The Cultural Revolution: Its Aims, Its Methods, Its Contradictions

BA continues: And that’s really what they were setting out to do with the Cultural Revolution, which is—the reason I’m going into all of this background is that Mao was trying [to deal with] a really tremendously challenging, difficult thing: to rupture them off one road, really, onto another. Even though the society was still, in an overall sense, socialist, it was very rapidly heading back to capitalism because of all the pulls I’m talking about. And Mao recognized: unless we rupture it somewhere else, the process of attrition, almost, is going to wear us down back to the capitalist road.

So all that is what he was really setting out to do, and he recognized that in doing this, you can’t rely on the same channels of the Party that are sort of sclerotic and frozen in these old ways of seeing what this is all about, with this bourgeois idea of just getting China to be a powerful country playing its own rightful role in the world—and, to the degree that anybody thinks about socialism, it’s the Soviet model, which has a lot of things in it that are actually carryovers from capitalism.

Mao Zedong

So you’re not just going to be able to go through the channels of the Party to solve this problem, Mao recognized. So we have to have some upheaval that comes, as he said, from below, and in a mass way. And that’s where the whole phenomenon of the youth—who are often the force that’s willing to criticize and challenge everything, and is not just stuck in convention. They were unleashed—you know, the Red Guards—to actually challenge this whole direction, including to challenge the Party leaders and Party structures that were the machinery for carrying things in this direction that Mao recognized would go back to capitalism, for all the combination of reasons that I’m discussing. So that’s really what they were trying to accomplish, and they were trying to make changes in the way society was administered, to draw the masses in; changes in how, for example, health care was done so that it wasn’t only for the city and only for the better-off strata, but was spread out to the countryside where the masses had never had health care. All these were issues that were bitterly fought out in the Cultural Revolution.

And the culture began to put the masses of people—but, more importantly, revolutionary content—onto the stage, instead of old feudal themes, and emperors and various upper-class figures like that as the heroes.

Mass Upheavals, Revolutionary Struggles, Excesses, and the Larger View

BA continues: So this was what they set out to do. And I think a lot of these horror stories that we hear about from the Cultural Revolution—I think that there’s some reality to what people describe—there were excesses. But they [these horror stories] also reflect a very myopic view where a small, more privileged section of society raises its concerns and needs above the larger thing that was happening to the masses of people in the society as a whole. I mean, I’ve made this analogy. Some people complain: well, intellectuals were made to go to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution; but nobody ever asked the peasants, who made up 80 or 90 percent of the population, whether they wanted to be in the countryside. It was just assumed they would be there, producing the food and the materials for clothes and so on, while other people were in the cities, having a more privileged existence, especially if they were from these strata other than the proletariat.

So that’s one side of the picture. I think that there were excesses. I mean, Mao commented on a peasant rebellion that he went to investigate in China during the 1920s, at the beginning of the revolutionary process, and he made this statement: the peasants are rising up, challenging all the old authorities and overthrowing them, and some people are saying, oh, it’s terrible, it’s going too far. And he said: look, we basically can either try to get to the head of this and lead it, we can stand to the side and gesticulate at it and criticize it, or we can try to stand in the way and stop it. And he also, along with that, said: if wrongs are going to be righted, there will inevitably be excesses, when the masses rise up to right wrongs, or else the wrongs cannot be righted. If you start pouring cold water and criticizing and trying to tamp things down as soon as there are any excesses, then things never get out of acceptable bounds—and if things don’t get out of acceptable bounds, fundamental changes don’t come about. So the same thing applied in the Cultural Revolution.

There were excesses. Mao said to Edgar Snow, when he was interviewed by him in 1971, that he was very disappointed by some of the excesses that occurred and some of the ways in which people carried out struggle in unprincipled ways. And he was very disappointed that there was factionalism that developed among the Red Guards, instead of uniting people broadly around the broad themes of the Cultural Revolution as I’ve tried to outline them. They got into factional disputes and began to actually war with each other. Sometimes literally with arms over which was the one that was the only revolutionary force and all the others were counter-revolutionary. So you know, while he was disappointed and even expressed his disappointment with some of this, he also recognized that the same principles were at work—that if there weren’t a mass upheaval, you were not going to be able to rupture things off the road they were on, and they would very quickly go back to capitalism, for all the reasons I’ve been trying to point to. But if you did have a mass upsurge, you would have excesses. And then Mao tried to move to correct these excesses.

But it’s not possible—first of all, this isn’t like the caricature they paint, like one person sits here and stage-manages the whole thing and literally presses buttons and controls [everything]. The thing is a mass upsurge. It was a revolutionary struggle. I mean, they did overthrow the established leadership of the city of Shanghai through a million people rising up, and replaced it with a revolutionary headquarters, a revolutionary committee, which brought to the fore and incorporated a lot of the masses who’d risen up in these Red Guard groups, including not just students, but workers in the city, and peasants from the countryside around Shanghai. So it was a real revolution—and real revolutions are not neat and clean.

A women's brigade in a commune pauses to read a big character poster, an announcement in 1969 about the 9th Party Congress, summing up the lessons up to that point of the Cultural Revolution.

They did issue directives that tried to give general guidelines to the struggle—including narrowing the scope of the people that were identified as enemies to a small handful of people in the Party who, as Mao put it, were people in authority taking the capitalist road; that among the intellectuals and in academia, they should draw distinctions between a handful of bourgeois academic tyrants who were trying to lord it over people and impose the old feudal and bourgeois standards, and a larger number of intellectuals who were trained in the old society and had a lot of the outlook from that society, but were people that were friends of the revolution and should be won over, even if there were contradictions there. So Mao put out guidelines to try to deal with his understanding that there would inevitably be excesses.

But it was a massive thing of hundreds of millions of people. And a lot of people jumped into it, and some people deliberately carried it to excess in order to sabotage it. People who were at the top who wanted to deflect the struggle away from themselves and what policies and lines they represented would foment factionalism and would carry things to excess deliberately, in order to discredit it, so that then they could step in and say: see it’s all gotten out of hand, we have to put a stop to it.

So this is all the complexity of that. And I have no doubt that there were people who were wrongly victimized in the Cultural Revolution. It’s almost inevitable in this kind of thing. Which doesn’t mean it’s fine, it’s OK. As I said, Mao was upset about some of these things. But, on another level, if you’re going to have a mass revolution to rupture the society more fully onto the socialist road and prevent capitalism—which is what they did—and even to completely restructure and revolutionize the Party in the course of that—which they also did. They basically suspended the Party and disbanded and then reorganized it on the basis of the masses being involved in criticizing Party members, and even having mass criticism meetings where the Party would be reconstituted, as part of mass meetings where the masses would raise criticisms of the Party and evaluate Party members. This was an unprecedented thing in any society, obviously, but including in socialist society. And a lot of errors were made. So that’s one dimension to it.

The Red Detachment of Women (1964) was one of the most popular model revolutionary operas created during the Cultural Revolution in China. Combining beautiful, stirring music with incredible and innovative ballet—the story takes place in the 1930s during the war of liberation. A young woman slave escapes a brutal landlord and joins a women's detachment of the Red Army. During the Cultural Revolution, the masses of people—but, more importantly, revolutionary content—were projected onto the stage, instead of old feudal themes, and emperors and various upper-class figures like that as the heroes.Works like The Red Detachment of Women were part of developing a new art and culture in socialist society–as part of revolutionizing all of society.

Questions of Art and Culture, Matters of Viewpoint and Method

BA continues: Another dimension is, I do think there were some errors of conception and methodology on the part of the people leading this—maybe Mao to some degree, but especially people like Chiang Ching and others who put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing forward these advanced model revolutionary cultural works, which were really world-class achievements in revolutionary content, but also in artistic quality: the ballets, and the Peking operas and so on. But who also I think, had certain tendencies toward rigidity and dogmatism, and who didn’t understand fully the distinction between what goes into, of necessity, creating model cultural works, and what should be broader artistic expression, which might take a lot of diverse forms, and not only could not be, but should not be supervised in the same way and to the same finely-calibrated degree as was necessary in order to bring forward these completely unprecedented model cultural works.

And there needed to be more of a dialectical understanding, I think—and this is tentative thinking on my part, because I haven’t investigated this fully and a lot more needs to be learned, so I want to emphasize that—but I have a tendency to think that there needed to be a better dialectical understanding of the dialectical relation between some works that were led and directed in a very finely detailed and calibrated way from the highest levels, mobilizing artists in that process, and other things where you gave a lot more expression to a lot more creativity and experimentation, and you let a lot of that go on, and then you sifted through it and saw what was coming forward that was positive, and learning from different attempts in which people were struggling to bring forward something new that would actually have a revolutionary content, or even that wouldn’t but needed to nevertheless be part of the mix so that people could learn from and criticize various things and decide what it was they wanted to uphold and popularize and what they didn’t. So I think there’s more to be learned there.

I also think there was a third dimension to this. There was an element, even in Mao—and I’ve criticized this, you know, it’s controversial, but I’m criticizing something that [has been pointed to] in various things I’ve written or talks I’ve given, in particular one called Conquer the World?6—that there was a tendency, even in Mao, toward a certain amount of nationalism. And I think this carried over into some of the ways in which intellectuals and artists who had been trained in and were influenced by or had an interest in Western culture—there was somewhat of a sectarian attitude toward some of that. You know, Mao had this slogan: we should make the past serve the present and foreign things serve China. Well, in my opinion, that—particularly the second part of that—is not exactly the right way to pose it. It’s not a matter of China and foreign things, it’s a matter of—whether from another country, or from China, or whatever country art comes from—what is its objective content? Is it mainly progressive or is it mainly reactionary? Is it revolutionary or counter-revolutionary? Does it help propel things in the direction of transforming society toward communism or does it help pull things back and pose obstacles to that? And I think that formulation, even the formulation of “foreign things serve China”—while it has something correct about it, in not rejecting everything foreign, let me put it that way—has an aspect of not being quite correct and being influenced by a certain amount of nationalism, rather than a fully internationalist view [with regard to] even the question of culture.

MS: That even led to some of the bizarre thing around jazz, right?

BA: Yeah, jazz and rock ’n’ roll. They didn’t understand the positive aspect of that. Of course, there’s a lot of garbage in rock ’n’ roll in particular. They didn’t really understand what jazz was as a phenomenon in the U.S., and they just—they negated it one-sidedly. And they also one-sidedly negated rock ’n’ roll, which in a lot of ways had a very positive thrust at that time, in the ’60s, the late ’60s in the U.S. It had a lot of rebellious spirit and even some more consciously revolutionary works of art were coming forward, even with their limitations. So I think what was bound up with that was also part of what I think got involved in the way some intellectuals in China, particularly those maybe who had more inclinations toward and interest in Western culture, got turned into enemies or got persecuted in ways they should not have.

Factory revolutionary committee members meet with workers.

But this is tentative thinking on my part. We need to investigate it more fully. What I was trying to do, though, was to give the backdrop for why this Cultural Revolution was necessary in the first place, and what they were trying to accomplish with it, and why that was not only legitimate, but necessary and tremendously important and why and how it brought forward all these new things. It did bring forward new revolutionary culture. It did spread health care to the countryside. It did involve masses of people who’d never been involved in science before, in scientific experimentation and investigation, and even scientific theory together with scientists, and the same kinds of transformations in education, the same kinds of transformations in the workplace, where they broke down one-man management and they actually started having administrators and managers and technicians getting involved part of the time—not on a fully equal basis, but part of the time—in productive labor, and having some of the production workers getting involved in those other spheres and having, instead of one-man management, a revolutionary committee that drew in significant representatives of the workers as well as of management or more full-time management and technical personnel and Party cadre.

So there were tremendous accomplishments, including in the sphere of art, including in the sphere of education, including in the whole intellectual sphere broadly speaking. I mean, I read articles from that time in China about physics, theoretical physics, wrestling with the nature of matter and the whole—how to understand the question of motion of matter in different forms that it could assume, not just in everyday things but on a more theoretical physics construct.

So there were a lot of tremendous things that were brought forward. This was not a time when the lights went out intellectually. However, there were shortcomings, and I do believe there were some people who were wrongly persecuted in the course of this; and that, I think, gets mixed into the equation, too.

Artwork created by peasants during the Cultural Revolution.

The Role of Art, and the Artist, and Their Relation to the State

MS: I want to roll on with this. Before I get into the question of actually pursuing more of this question of intellectual and artistic freedom and dissent as a necessity in the future society, I wanted to get into a couple of things about the role of artists in particular. You know, it’s interesting because, 10 years ago, Haile Gerima—I interviewed Haile Gerima, the filmmaker who made Sankofa, Bush Mama. He’s an Ethiopian filmmaker, but he’s been here a long time. He’s kind of been steeped, he’s very schooled in revolutionary theory around the world. And he was influenced a lot by the Cultural Revolution. And one of the things he had, he advanced this idea that the role of the artist in socialist society is to constantly—I’m trying to remember how he actually put it, but it’s to always be opposing the ruling apparatus. He looked at it: the Cultural Revolution went so far but not far enough because this didn’t actually break out that way—that the artists, they stopped short of that.

And then more recently I had the opportunity to interview and spend some time with Ngugi wa Thiong’o, the Kenyan writer, and he has a couple of things that he advances around the nature of art and the relationship between the artist and the state in any society. And one of the things that he talks about is that there’s a conservative part of the state, in that it’s always trying to save itself and preserve its rule and preserve itself, and then that art actually—he says that art, on the other hand, is something that’s always changing. You know, it’s always that—art differs from that, in that it’s always trying to grasp things in their changingness. It’s based on how things are developing, how things are moving and what’s essential and not always what exactly is. And so he sees these two things as being in contradiction to one another, and he says that the artist actually should always be a constant questioner of the state. The artist has a role—his view of the artist in society is that the artist has the role of asking more questions than they do of providing answers, and that’s something that he feels should be enshrined in any society. And I was wondering how that would fit in with your view of socialism and the role of art and the question of artistic freedom and dissent.

BA: Well, I think from what you’re describing and characterizing, briefly quoting, I think there’s an aspect of truth to that, but it’s one-sided, it’s only one side of the picture. About 15 years ago I gave a talk called “The End of a Stage, the Beginning of a New Stage,7 ” basically summing up, with the restoration of capitalism in China following the same unfortunate outcome as the Soviet Union, that we had come to the end of a certain stage beginning with the Paris Commune, more or less, and ending with the Chinese Revolution being reversed and capitalism being restored there. And now we had to regroup and sum up deeply the lessons, positive and negative, of that and go forward in a new set of circumstances where there were no more socialist countries temporarily. And, at the end of that [talk], one of the things that I tried to set forth was certain principles that I thought should be applied by a Party in leading a socialist society. And one of those was that it should be a Party in power and a vanguard of struggle against those parts of power that are standing in the way of the continuation of the revolution. And I actually think that’s a more correct way, a more correct context, or analogy, for how to evaluate the role of art in particular in a socialist society. In other words, by analogy, I think art should not just criticize that [socialist] state, it should criticize those things in the society—including in the state, including in the Party, including in the leadership—that actually represent what’s old and needs to be moved beyond. Not necessarily what is classically capitalist but what has turned from being an advance into an obstacle—because everything, including socialism, does advance through stages and by digging more deeply into the soil the old is rooted in and uprooting it more fully. So things that were advances at one point can turn into obstacles or even things that would take things back, if persisted in.

COMMUNISM: THE BEGINNING OF A NEW STAGE A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

COMMUNISM: THE BEGINNING OF A NEW STAGE

A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Available in English, Farsi, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish from RCP Publications, P.O. Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
$5 + $1 shipping. A draft translation into Arabic is now available online. See all translations here.

So I think art needs to criticize all those things. But I think it also needs to uphold—and even, yes, to extol and to popularize—those things that do represent the way forward, including those things about the state. The state in socialist society is not the same as the state in capitalist society. It’s the state that, in its main aspects—so long as it’s really a socialist society—represents the interests of the masses of people, makes it possible for them, provides the framework within which, they can continue the revolution and be defended against enemies, both within the country and the imperialists and other forces who would attack and try to drown that new society in blood from the outside. So the state has a different character, and as long as its main aspect is doing those things—is actually representing rule by the proletariat in which the proletariat and broad masses of people are increasingly themselves consciously involved in the decision-making process and in developing policies for continuing the revolution—wherever that remains the main aspect, those things should be supported and even extolled. But even within that, even where that is the case, there will be many ways in which there will be not only mistakes made but things which have come to be obstacles, ways in which in the policies of the government, and the policies of the Party, and the actions of the state, [there are] things that actually go against the interests of the masses of people—not just in a narrow sense, but in the most fundamental sense even, in terms of advancing to communism—and that actually pose obstacles. And those things should be criticized.

And I do think there is a truth to the idea that artists tend to bring forward new things—although that’s not uniformly true. Some artists—the same old thing over and over, you know, very formulaic—and especially those whose content seeks to reinforce or restore the old, it often isn’t that innovative. Sometimes even that is good [artistically]; often it isn’t. But I do think there is some truth that there is a character of a lot of art that it’s very innovative and it tends to shake things up and come at things from new angles and pose problems in a different way or actually bring to light problems that haven’t been recognized in other spheres or by people who are more directly responsible for things, or by people who are more directly involved in the politics of a society. And I think there should be a lot of freedom for the artists to do that. But I also think part of their responsibility, and part of what they should take on, is to look to those things that are—that do embody the interests of people—including the state. And they should popularize and uphold that, because there are going to be plenty of people wanting to drag down and destroy that state. But I think there’s not a clear enough understanding of the fundamental distinction—even with all the contradictions involved that I’ve been trying to speak to—the fundamental distinction between a proletarian state, a state in socialist society, and a bourgeois state which is there for the oppression of the masses and to reinforce the conditions in which they’re exploited, as the whole foundation of this society, and [which] viciously attacks any attempt to rebel against, let alone to overthrow, that whole system.

So I think there is importance to drawing a distinction—and then, once you recognize that fundamental distinction, then once again, as we say, divide the socialist state into two. What parts of it are power that embodies and represents the interests of the masses in making revolution and continuing toward communism, and what parts have grown old or stand in the way of that continuation? Extol the one, popularize the one; and criticize and mobilize people, encourage people to struggle against the other.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP is written with the future in mind. It is intended to set forth a basic model, and fundamental principles and guidelines, for the nature and functioning of a vastly different society and government than now exists: the New Socialist Republic in North America, a socialist state which would embody, institutionalize and promote radically different relations and values among people; a socialist state whose final and fundamental aim would be to achieve, together with the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, the emancipation of humanity as a whole and the opening of a whole new epoch in human history–communism–with the final abolition of all exploitative and oppressive relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise.

Read the entire Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the RCP at revcom.us/rcp.

Revolution, Leadership, State Power, the Goal of Communism, and the Importance of Dissent and Ferment—Solid Core and Elasticity

MS: One of the things that sets you against a lot of the past experience of socialist societies, of Marxist thinkers and whatnot, is the point about not just allowing dissent, not just allowing this kind of breadth of exploration among people who work with ideas and among artists and whatnot, but actually talking about the necessity of that to exist. Why do you think that that’s necessary and not just something to be tolerated?

BA: Well, I’m currently wrestling with the question of how you can have that within the Party, and the relation between having that inside the Party and in the society at large, and how you do that without losing the essential core of what you need to hold onto in order to actually have state power when you get it, and in order to actually go on toward communism, rather than getting dragged back into capitalism. So that, to me—that’s something I’m grappling with a lot. It’s a very difficult contradiction.

But to go directly to your question: I think the reason you need it is because if people are going to be fully emancipated—you know, Marx said that the communist revolution involves a transition to what we Maoists have come to call, by shorthand, the “4 Alls.” He said: it’s the transition to the abolition of all class distinctions (or I think literally he said, “class distinctions generally,” but it’s the same thing) and to the abolition of all the relations of production, all the economic relations on which those class distinctions rest; the transformation or abolition of all the old social relations that correspond to those production relations—like oppressive relations between men and women, for example—and the revolutionizing of all the ideas that correspond to those social relations. So if you look at those “4 Alls,” as we call them, and the objective is to get to those “4 Alls,” then that can only be done by masses of people in growing numbers consciously undertaking the task of knowing and changing the world as it actually is, as it’s actually moving and developing and as it actually can be transformed in their interests. So if that’s the way you understand what you’re after and how fundamentally that’s going to be brought about—and not by a few people gathering everybody in formation and marching them in a straight road forward in very tight ranks—then you understand that a lot is going to go into that process. The socialism that I envision, and even in a certain way the Party that I envision, is one that’s full of a lot of turmoil, one that would give the leaders of it a tremendous headache, because you would have all kinds of stuff flying in all kinds of directions while you’re trying to hold the core of all that together and not give up everything.

I had a discussion with a spoken-word artist and poet, and I was trying to describe these things I’m characterizing here—what I’m grappling with as it applies to the arts and lots of other things—and he finally said to me, and I thought it was a very good insight: he said, it sounds to me like what you’re talking about is a solid core with a lot of elasticity. I said yeah, well, that’s very good—because he put together in one formulation a lot of what I was wrestling with.

Science...Revolution BA Science...Revolution Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion Framework and Guidelines 11x17 PDF Framework and Guidelines 8.5x11 PDF Framework and Guidelines text Excerpt 2 Excerpt 1

But it is—how do you keep that solid core so you don’t lose the revolution? Let me be blunt. You need a vanguard, you need a Party to lead a revolution and to be at the core of a new society. When we get there, we’re not going to hand power back and we’re not going to put power up for grabs or even up for election. We’re not going to have elections to decide whether we should go back to the old society. In my view that should be institutionalized in a constitution. In other words, the constitution will establish: this is a socialist society going toward communism. Will establish what the role of the Party is in relation to that, and will establish what the rights of the masses of people [are] and what the role of the masses of people is in fundamentally carrying that out—including, as I see it, having some elections on local levels and some aspects of elections from local levels to a national level, which are contested elections within that framework of going forward through socialism to communism and having spelled out, in some fundamental terms (not in every detail), what that basically means and doesn’t mean, in a constitution, in laws, that the masses of people increasingly themselves are formulating and deciding on.8

But we’re not going to just say: “OK, we’ll have socialism and then we’ll give it back to them [the capitalists] and see if the people want it [socialism] again. If you do that, you might as well not bother to make a revolution. Because think about everything we were talking about earlier, and everything you have to go up against—if you’re going to have an attitude like that, you don’t have any business putting yourself forward to lead anything, because you’re not serious. To make a revolution is a wrenching process, and to continue on the road forward toward communism and to support the world revolution in the face of everything that will get thrown at you is going to be an extremely arduous and wrenching process, and you have to have a core of people who understands that, even as that core is constantly being expanded. I’ve set forth—when I say “set forth,” I don’t mean to make it sound like a proclamation, this is what I’m thinking about, this is what I’m wrestling with—that there’s four things that this core has to accomplish, four objectives. You have to maintain power, at the same time as you make that worth maintaining. And the four objectives I’m talking about are:

One, that core has to hang on to power and lead the masses of people to not be dragged back to the old society—not hang on all by itself, but it has to be determined to hang on to power and mobilize the forces in society that could be won at any given time to seeing that you have to hang on to power and hang on to the revolutionary direction forward.

Two, it has to be constantly expanding the ranks of that core, so you’re not just talking about the same relative few—even if you’re talking about hundreds of thousands or millions, the same relatively small section of the population relative to say a country like this. But is it constantly expanding, constantly in waves drawing in broader ranks to be part of that core of this process?

Three, that it is guided constantly by the objective of eventually moving to where you don’t need that core anymore, because the distinctions that make it necessary have been overcome.

And four, that at every point along the way there’s the maximum elasticity that you can have without destroying that core.

So this is what I am wrestling with in terms of this process. And to me this the furthest thing from everybody marching forward in tight formation, although there are times when you have to do that—when you’re directly under military attack, you have to tighten your ranks up. But, in general, I see it as a very wild and woolly process, if you will, where people are going in different directions and the responsibility of the leadership, of this leading core, is to try, as I put it before, to get your arms around all that—in the sense of an embrace, not in the sense of squeezing it and suffocating it—keeping it going toward where it needs to go and drawing more and more people into the process of doing that.

So seen in that way, this is a very tumultuous thing. And I think there’s even a way in which the Party has to be like that. That this principle of “solid core with a lot of elasticity” has to apply even within the Party, because I’ve been wrestling with the question: can you really have ferment, intellectual ferment, artistic creativity and ferment and experimentation in a society, in a socialist society at large, if you don’t have it within the Party that’s at the core of it? I don’t think you can. If the Party doesn’t have that, then it’s gonna suffocate it in the society. It’s going to be too much uniformity coming from the Party, which has a lot of influence, and so it’s going to tend to stifle and suppress that [creativity and ferment]. So how do you have a solid core and elasticity even within the Party in general, over policy but also as applied to the arts and to the intellectual sphere in the broadest sense, and so on? And, to draw an analogy from physics here, even a solid core—you know, everything is contradiction and whatever level you go to it’s contradiction—so a solid core is solid in one sense, but within it, it also has elasticity. Because if everything is packed together too tightly in your core, so to speak—to continue to torture this metaphor—but if it’s all packed together too tightly in the core, then you don’t have any life in there, so you can’t have the elasticity.

So I see this as a very moving, tumultuous thing. On the one hand, we’re not giving power back and we’re not putting that up even for a vote—and, on the other hand, we’re also not all marching everybody straight down the road, but we’re having all kinds of tumultuous struggle, including within that people who want to go back to capitalism throwing their ideas into the ring. While we supervise the overthrown exploiters and curtail their political activity, and while people who have been demonstrated—through legal processes shown—to be active counter-revolutionaries, in the sense of their actually taking up concrete acts of sabotage, or what we would now call “terrorism,” against the new society (blowing up things, assassinating people, or actively, not in some vague sense, but actively plotting to do that), that’s one thing. I think you need a constitution, laws and procedures to deal with those people. But beyond that, in the realm of ideas, even people who argue that capitalism is better than socialism—those ideas need to be in circulation, and people who want to defend those ideas have to be able to do so, so that the masses of people can sort this out.

And we have to defeat them in the realm of ideas as well as in practice. Right now, we do that all the time. Our attitude now is somebody wants to defend capitalism—bring on all comers, let’s have a debate. We can’t get these [bleep] to debate us! That’s what’s frustrating to us. So my attitude is: yes, things are changed [once you get to socialist society]; there is a new set of circumstances; we are going to be at the core of leading the masses of people. That’s our responsibility. But we shouldn’t be any less anxious to have those debates and to thrash those things out, and to get many more people in them. Why should we fear that then in a way that we don’t now? We welcome it now, so why shouldn’t we welcome it [then]?

I will tell you that, as I envision this, it gives me a headache because I can see how hard it would be to keep all this going in the forward direction it needs to go. But if you aren’t willing to risk that, then I don’t think we can get where we need to go.

 

FOOTNOTES

1. The Korean War began June 25, 1950 and ended July 27, 1953. General Douglas MacArthur led the United Nations Command in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951. U.S. President Harry S. Truman removed him from command in April 1951. [back]

2. Chiang Kai-shek was a U.S.-backed general who led the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) against the communist revolutionary forces beginning in approximately 1927. The war for liberation went through different and often complex stages, and finally ended in victory on October 1, 1949. [back]

3. See “On Communism, Leadership, Stalin, and the Experience of Socialist Society,” an excerpt from an interview Michael Slate conducted with Bob Avakian in 2005. The excerpt was published in Revolution #168, June 21, 2009, revcom.us/avakian/on_communism-en.html. [back]

4. See “We ARE Setting the Record Straight... on China’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1960),” at Set the Record Straight, thisiscommunism.org. [back]

5. Nikita Khrushchev was head of state in the Soviet Union from 1956, when capitalism was restored, until 1964. [back]

6. Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will is a talk BA gave in 1981. It was published in Revolution magazine #50. See revcom.us/bob_avakian/conquerworld/. [back]

7. BA’s “The End of a Stage—The Beginning of a New Stage” was published in Revolution magazine, Fall 1990. It is online at bobavakian.net/articles/end_beginning.pdf. [back]

8. In this connection, see Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, RCP Publications, 2010. See revcom.us/socialistconstitution/. [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/audio/bob-avakian-interviewed-by-michael-slate-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN INTERVIEWED BY MICHAEL SLATE

 

BOB AVAKIAN INTERVIEWED BY MICHAEL SLATEMichael Slate's five-part radio interview with Bob Avakian is online now. The interview ranges widely over the questions that confront humanity in this world of sweatshops, slums, and environmental emergency. But permeating everything in it is the most compelling case that the nothing short of revolution can deal with the immense and unnecessary suffering people face on this planet.

This interview jolts people—to think outside the deadly confines of this system. And it is a crucial resource to find those who are ready, and readying those we meet, to come to the premiere of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! on the best possible basis.

This interview is a tremendously dynamic factor for making the advances we need to make so the premieres of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! are really giant steps for the movement for revolution.

So play the audio everywhere. Get crowds of students listening on their phones, get artists playing it on their tablets, show homeless folks how to hear it on library computers and spread it by email. Let people sort themselves out – between those who can walk away—at least for now—and those who are compelled to listen and engage with real revolution.

Draw people out: help them think about what they are hearing. What are their questions? And how does the interview speak to them? And then return to the interview to dig in more deeply.

Organize listening sessions—formal and on the spot. If you are within reach of a Revolution  Books—join others there to hear the interview, discuss it, and take it out to others.

 

Part 1, aired January 11, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 2, aired January 18, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 3, aired January 25, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 4, aired February 1, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)
Part 5, aired February 8, 2013 Play (Stream) Download (high quality)

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/323/you-dont-know-what-you-think-you-know-en.html#chapter0400

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/activists-who-called-out-mnuchin-at-ucla-now-face-months-in-jail-en.html

Activists Who Called Out Mnuchin At UCLA Now Face Months In Jail: Which Side Are You On?

| revcom.us

 

from Refuse Fascism

In a trial going on as this is written, a handful of young people face up to two years in jail for speaking out from their seats while Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke at UCLA.  And the UCLA administration—far from defending these people or even standing aside—initiated their arrest and has acted in concert, banning some activists from campus and using police to spy on others.

The defendants are members of the Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism.  The trial is a major attack on campus free speech, and unless people from around the country act now, there will almost certainly be a legal outrage with ominous implications.  They are fighters against the fascism being imposed by the Trump/Pence regime. 

Their battle is your battle.

When Mnuchin came to campus in February 2018 he was met with major protest, booing and hissing throughout his speech.  When he complained that the hissing lacked substance, the defendants obliged him by exposing the criminal nature of the sanctions his Treasury Department enforced on North Korea and Iran, as well as the effects of the recently passed tax bill.  Those now on trial challenged the audience to take up the call from RefuseFascism.org to drive the fascist regime from power through mass, sustained, non-violent determined protest in the streets.

For this, they were forcibly removed from their seats, manhandled, dragged out and arrested.  When Mnuchin tried to suppress video of the footage, and UCLA cooperated, the Society of Professional Journalists filed a public records request (because this was, after all, a public event with a government official speaking in that capacity)—and the video went viral.

Some of the defendants defied the order banning them from campus to participate in a March 1 student protest, 11 minutes of silence for 11 million undocumented immigrants; and again, several days later, to see the heroic whistleblower Chelsea Manning speak. Very legitimate purposes.

A half a year later, LA city prosecutors suddenly charged defendants with a whole range of misdemeanor crimes: trespass, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, and defying a 7-day ban placed on them after the event saying they were not to be on campus without a legitimate purpose (to be defined by the UCLA Administration).  These charges together could send some of the defendants to jail for two years if found guilty.

An even uglier story—one of university complicity and conniving—has been dragged into light since the charges were filed.  Police reports reveal that university police stalked the Revolution Club, recording their activities—including the recording of someone's license plate number when they were on campus carrying out what is supposed to be constitutionally protected speech and simply talking to people.  This is in addition to the LAPD sending a spy to infiltrate the meetings of Refuse Fascism in broader LA (a clandestine operation only revealed during discovery process in the trials of yet other peaceful protestors facing jail time for demonstrations against the Trump/Pence regime).

As Stephen Rohde, a retired Constitutional lawyer and founder of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace said, “Who says when the question and answer period should begin? The question and answer period began when those young, courageous [people] chose to have the question and answer period. Mr. Mnuchin could wait his turn to speak. Why don't those [people] have an equal right to speak in an open college campus?  We should be applauding, not criminalizing that kind of conduct.”

This is taking place while University administrations nationally are spending millions protecting the free speech of fascists who have the bully pulpit of the president, and criminalizing ANTI-fascist protest and speech of people who have no airways to amplify their voices.

The #UCLA5 stand trial at a time and in an atmosphere where professors are put on watch lists by student organizations with ties to the highest office and where exaggerated reports from right-wing students are amplified by hysterical fascist media and echoed by a swarm of internet trolls.  They stand trial at a time in which federal and state laws are implemented outlawing a movement to boycott Israel for its policies in occupied Palestine, and in which the Middle Eastern studies departments at Duke and University of North Carolina were recently told that their curriculum did not pay sufficient attention to Christian and Jewish “contributions” to the Middle East.  They stand trial when critical and evidence-based thinking in general—be it about evolution, climate change, the truth about U.S. history and its role in the world today—are all under assault.  These brave young people face jail at a time when universities spend millions of dollars to ensure that fascist speakers suffer no disruption, no dissent.  They face jail during an administration when Mike Pompeo can dictate to Harvard that it must disinvite Chelsea Manning from speaking or Pompeo will refuse to speak there – and Harvard meekly complies. 

But instead of saying NO and taking this on, the universities are suppressing dissent and facilitating a fascist assault on academia. And at UCLA, this has gone to another level, where the universities spy, ban and now prosecute those the Trump/Pence administration do not like.  We cannot allow UCLA to silence and criminalize meaningful protest that is aimed at stopping this regime from bolting fascism into place.  Silence is Complicity.

Where will YOU stand?

Get involved—demand the charges be dropped!

And be part of the movement to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power—NOW!  Starting October 19th and week after week.  Mobilizing people into the streets—as they have done in Puerto Rico and Hong Kong—growing and not stopping until the power of people refusing to accept a fascist America forces the whole of the regime from power.

 

 

Go here for daily updates of the trial


The #UCLA5

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Demand UCLA Chancellor Gene Block make a public statement that the charges be dropped, 310.825.2151
  • Demand City Attorney Mike Feuer Drop the Charges! Call 213.978.8100
    Tweet at him @Mike_Feuer
  • Donate to the Refuse Fascism legal defense, including urgently needed travel funds at donate.refusefascism.org
  • Pack the courtroom and stay tuned for trial updates: Airport Courthouse Dept 90, 11701 S. La Cienega (just south of Imperial Hwy/105 Freeway). Stay tuned at @revclub_la or @refusefascismla
  • SIGN THE PETITION. Sign and spread all over the country: Drop The Charges Against Members of Refuse Fascism and Revolution Club!
  • Spread THIS video on social media.
  • Make a public statement on your social media and send to revclub_la@yahoo.com or SoCal@refusefascism.org.  Write an op-ed!
  • If you’re a professor, send students to court and have us speak in your class.
  • Send this letter to professors, inviting them to speak out in support of the case.

More on these cases:

For more on the unconstitutionality of these charges and the stakes, watch THIS speech from the retired constitutional lawyer, writer, and political activist Stephen Rohde. 

Download and spread THIS flyer.

Fact Sheet on the #FREEWAY9 and the #UCLA5

Press Releases:

October 1, 2019: UCLA5 Case In Trial NOW
Defendants Facing Jail Time for Protesting Steve Mnuchin at UCLA in Feb, 2018

 

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