revcom.us, October 7, 2019 through October 13, 2019 (#616)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Posted October 8, 2019

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/refuse-fascism-call-en.html

| revcom.us

#OUTNOW

We demand:
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO – NOW!

#OUTNOW! begins with five weeks of protest to launch, spread, and grow an unrelenting non-violent mass movement of protests that continue week after week to demand that the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go – NOW! From there, we will continue to grow and not stop until the Trump/Pence Regime has been removed from power.

Saturday, October 19 We LAUNCH #OUTNOW! mass protests in two cities:

New York City – Union Square 2:00 pm
Los Angeles – Lifeguard Station 16 (just south of Santa Monica Pier) Noon

Saturday, October 26 We SPREAD #OUTNOW! mass protests NATIONWIDE

Saturdays Nov 2… Nov 9… Nov 16… We GROW #OUTNOW! mass protests EVERYWHERE

From there, it’s on… continuing and growing until the Trump/Pence Regime is removed from power!

We must seize on the impeachment crisis now erupting, taking history into our own hands and turning dread for the future into a force for hope!

 

The Trump/Pence regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity. Concentration Camps on the border... environmental devastation accelerated... the danger of war, even nuclear, threatened... white supremacy rules... fascist mobs and racist mass murderers... truth and science erased... the right to abortion near gone... the rule of law and democratic and civil rights are stripped away... THIS IS FASCISM UNFOLDING.

Now, impeachment has begun. A momentous move, in which sharp political battle lines are drawn with high stakes. Trump himself threatens charges of treason and even invokes civil war. A virulent fascist movement sees their future bound up with the whole Trump/Pence regime. Where this ends up depends on us.

This is a moment when we – people of many different views and experience – must act together in mass, sustained, non-violent nationwide protests that continue until the Trump/Pence regime is removed from power. We begin with protests in NYC and LA on October 19 that announce four more consecutive Saturdays of protests in cities and towns across the country that gather more people and momentum so that in the weeks and months that follow, the movement grows to tens and hundreds of thousands and millions. What unifies all the diverse streams of people that need to pour into the streets is the single demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—Now!

For 3 years the Democratic Party leadership facilitated the Trump/Pence regime, even voting funds for border security when children were being separated from parents. Now, they want to restrict impeachment only to national security and Trump's violation of democratic norms to try to enlist Ukraine to undermine U.S.  elections. They have said they will not impeach on the whole array of fascist outrages. Thus far, they are not going after the whole fascist regime. Their approach would legitimate the whole Trump/Pence fascist program, leaving the cancer in place to grow more dangerously, especially if his Christo-fascist VP Pence is then allowed to take the presidency. Moreover, Trump has threatened that he may not leave office.

To “leave things to the Democrats” or wait til 2020 would be extremely dangerous. The only way to stop Trump and Pence and advance every struggle for justice is by the power of the people in the streets.

The world as we have known it is being torn asunder. We must cast off fear and passivity, and not allow our differences to stand in the way of rising together in the unprecedented, unrelenting non-violent mass #OUTNOW! protests to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.

We must seize on the impeachment crisis now erupting, taking history into our own hands and turning dread for the future into a force for hope!

Puerto Rico and Hong Kong show us how:
#TrumpPenceOutNOW!

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

@RefuseFascism     venmo @refuse-fascism
RefuseFascism.org


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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/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

| revcom.us

 

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.

  • I refer you to the poem from Pastor Niemöller that was read at the beginning of this program.“First they came for the Communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist, Then they came for the Socialists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a socialist, Then they came for the Jews ... and on and on until: Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
  • And, there is a related a more general point that the distancing that has gone on too often between “good and bad protesters” has only benefited the powers that be to divide and repress. Even as we are determined that the protests we are calling for will be non-violent on the part of those protesting.
  • For the new generations who are in the streets to save the planet who are saying the system IS the problem: don’t they need to be a part of robust debates over the varying views of reform and revolution?
  • For my part, and those others who follow the new communism of Bob Avakian, we invite you to check it out. It is worth noting that along with his breakthrough in re-synthesizing communism, he has been working on and warning of the development of this fascist movement in the U.S. for decades. He identified the fascist direction of this regime upon the election of Trump/Pence in 2016 and this led to a diverse group to form the broad based Refuse Fascism. And, we think that his speech, now a film, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!, In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible is invaluable for understanding and uniting broadly to drive out this regime.

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:

  • Do you want to live in their white supremacist, misogynist, Christian fascist world?
  • Do you want to inflict that on the billions of people who the U.S. demonizes and dominates?
  • Do you want to live in a gated world where huge sections of humanity are locked out and left to drown or starve or live indefinitely in camps?

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.

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/outnow-protests-to-begin-october-19-en.html

300 Gather Nationwide and Decide:
#OutNow Protests to Begin October 19 in NYC & LA and Then Spread Nationwide

| revcom.us

 

In the last week and a half of September, RefuseFascism.org convened meetings in a dozen cities that drew some 300 people and came to a momentous decision to launch mass nonviolent protests starting on October 19 in NYC and Los Angeles and then spreading across the country each Saturday for the next four weeks of #OutNow protests, demanding: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—NOW!

As the newly published call for these protests states: “The Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity. Concentration Camps on the border... environmental devastation accelerated... the danger of war, even nuclear, threatened... white supremacy rules... fascist mobs and racist mass murderers... truth and science erased... the right to abortion near gone... the rule of law and democratic and civil rights are stripped away... THIS IS FASCISM UNFOLDING.”

And now, with impeachment unfolding, the stakes for humanity have just escalated further. The Trump/Pence regime is lashing back, raising the specter of execution against those who expose their wrongdoing and tweeting about a new civil war. Meanwhile, the Democrats—who have actively facilitated the fascism of Trump/Pence for nearly three years—are fighting to ensure that impeachment proceeds on extremely narrow grounds. To quote again from the call for these protests, the approach of the Democrats “would legitimate the whole Trump/Pence fascist program, leaving the cancer in place to grow more dangerously, especially if his Christo-fascist VP Pence is then allowed to take the presidency. Moreover, Trump has threatened that he may not leave office.”

All this underscores why RefuseFascism.org came to the historic decision to launch sustained, mass, nonviolent protests in October aimed at driving out the Trump/Pence Regime:

This is a moment when we—people of many different views and experience—must act together in mass, sustained, non-violent nationwide protests that continue until the Trump/Pence regime is removed from power. We begin with protests in NYC and LA on October 19 that announce four more consecutive Saturdays of protests in cities and towns across the country that gather more people and momentum so that in the weeks and months that follow, the movement grows to tens and hundreds of thousands and millions. What unifies all the diverse streams of people that need to pour into the streets is the single demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—Now!

Those who gathered in the late September meetings included students who were only recently awakened to political life through the Climate Strike, activists who had traveled to DC for the We The People March on September 24, individuals who were inspired by the mass struggle that drove out the governor of Puerto Rico, members of the Revolution Clubs around the country, a few representatives of local organizations, people who are involved in supporting different Democratic Party primary candidates but feeling they can’t just wait until the elections, and quite a few others who in different ways were feeling the existential threat posed by the Trump/Pence regime and the need to seize the time to act now to stop the whole regime and the drive towards fascism.

At the Los Angeles meeting, Andy Zee gave a substantive presentation on the catastrophic danger posed by the Trump/Pence regime, the momentous fight that has broken out at the top of society in the current impeachment hearings, the roots and stakes of all this, and the need and possibility of a movement of the people from below that drives this fascist regime from power. He also brought to bear some of the lessons and common arguments RefuseFascism.org has already run into in arguing for this approach, and how to answer those questions. Around the country, other meetings showed a film of this presentation and attendees listened deeply, often taking notes and responding audibly along the way. These meetings also sent a powerful video greeting from Sarah Roark of the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board.

These presentations, which can be viewed here and here, provided deep grounding for people from many different political perspectives and life experiences to join together in wrestling with and planning for outpourings unlike any we have yet seen in this country. In the days that followed these meetings, RefuseFascism.org began posting protest locations and times, plans for local screenings of the speech from 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, as well as other materials to start organizing and spreading the word.

Spreading this call for these protests—getting the word out to hundreds of thousands—is one of the most pressing needs now before all who want to see this movement succeed.

RefuseFascism.org will also be holding weekly webinars for organizers. Learn more and register for these at RefuseFascism.org.

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/editorial-impeachment-the-high-stakes-and-future-we-must-fight-for-en.html

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!

See excerpts and the Q&A of this film

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/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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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/032/religious-against-christian-fascism.htm

Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right

by Dr. Hubert Locke

 

The following is a reposting of a talk given by Dr. Hubert Locke, which originally appeared in the print issue of Revolution newspaper and online at revcom.us in January 2006. Dr. Locke delivered his talk at the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in Berkeley on May 17, 2005. Dr. Locke is a retired African-American professor of urban studies, a former trustee and acting president of PSR and former dean of the Daniel J. Evans Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. The views expressed by Dr. Locke are, of course, his own, and he is not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere on revcom.us.

Dr. Locke’s talk was among the voices of religious thinkers and writers as well as clergy people who sounded the alarm on the danger of the growing and powerful Christian fascist movement in this country. This talk has remained very relevant and is quite timely now when Mike Pence—a leader in a Christian fascist movement that aims to impose on society a government, laws, and dominant morality based on strict interpretation of the Bible—is the vice president in a fascist regime in power, with many other Christian fascists in high positions in the government, military, and the courts.

 

I'm always delighted by the opportunity to come and visit my dear friends at PSR but I'm a bit uneasy about what I have been asked to do at the outset of this important meeting. A meditation, by definition, is expected to be thoughtful and reflective; it should be a calm and dispassionate discourse that helps set the mood and atmosphere for whatever is to follow. I hope what follows is thoughtful but I have to forewarn you that it is neither calm nor dispassionate, for I am persuaded we face in our country a movement that is trying its best to hijack this nation in the name of a set of ideals and values it claims to be Christian but which, on examination, are the very antithesis of the Gospel that our Lord preached and by which we, as Jesus' disciples, are challenged to live our lives in the world. If this movement is successful--if it is not stopped in its tracks--it will transform the United States into a political and cultural nightmare that not only turns its back on two hundred years of American history, it will be also one that leaves this nation unrecognizable from all that we have been and all that we might aspire to be as a democratic society.

For me at least, this is the only way to interpret the current campaign by the religious right--an assault on the nation's courts and its judges, an assault on the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, an attack on science and its place in the modern world, and an assault on the ideas of tolerance and pluralism in American life. Only a year ago, we thought we were confronting a movement fixated on the issues of abortion and homosexuality as litmus tests of whether one subscribed to moral values in our national life. These turn out to be only the hot-button topics that are used to rally the troops; what is at stake and where the battlelines are now being drawn today are over a wider set of issues and processes far more intrinsic to the way in which this nation conducts its business and makes its policy decisions. The not-so-subtle assault on the principle of the separation of church and state, for example, is an attempt to impose a notion of theocratic rule on this country that died with the Puritan colonists. The attack on the nation's judiciary that takes the form of a crude attempt to pack the courts with jurists who support the right-wing agenda seeks to wipe out any legal opposition to the decrees of state legislatures and a Congress that the religious right believes it has firmly under its sway. And when the president of the National Religious Broadcasters declares "Today, the calls for diversity and multiculturalism are nothing more than thinly-veiled attacks on anyone willing, desirous, or compelled to proclaim Christian truths," his is a thinly-veiled cry to return to a set of ideals and values that this nation demolished when the South lost the Civil War.

The current issue of Harper's magazine describes on its cover what it terms "The Christian Right's War on America." That may be hyperbolic for some but to the extent that it serves as a wake-up call to the rest of the Christian community, I find it wholly appropriate. Let me risk what some might find even greater exaggeration by a reference--not a comparison, mind you, but a reference--to what, for me, has always been the classic modern clash between Christianity and the modern state.

In the aftermath of World War I, the people of three European nations--Italy, Germany and Spain--turned to fascism as a political creed and proceeded to catapult into power governments which promoted fascistic ideals--that peculiar set of notions which manage to combine the interests of unfettered capitalism with excessive nationalism and a totalitarian view of the role of the state that can enforce its will on the populace. In all three countries but particularly in Germany which, unlike Italy and Spain, had more than a single religious tradition among its populace, the church found itself riven by two, diametrically opposed views. One view held that it was the duty of the church to support and uphold the policies of the state which, in turn, would be expected to advance the principles and beliefs of the church; the other that insisted the church owes its allegiance to a different and higher power--one that sits in judgment on the state and on any government that would presume to be a political manifestation of the Divine will.

Because of the cataclysmic devastation that the fascist government of Germany wrought on the world, our attention has tended--and rightly so--to focus on the twelve-year period that it was in power. During that period, James Luther Adams--one of the revered theologians of my generation who taught at Chicago and Harvard--went to Germany as was then the tradition among all newly-minted PhDs where he pursued post-doctoral studies. Adams saw the clash of the church with German fascism first-hand. A quarter-century ago, as he watched the emergence of the religious right in this country as a political force dedicated to "taking back the nation for God," Adams said to his students that they would find themselves having to fight "the Christian fascists" in this nation. He warned that the American fascists would not come wearing swastikas and brown shirts. The American variety, he said, would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

We should make no mistake about what is at stake in this battle with the religious right. It is not happenstance that it is a movement that draws its strength and finds its support principally in the so-called heartland of the nation and especially in its southern precincts. This is the portion of the United States that has never been comfortable with post-WWII America. The brief period of normalcy after the war was followed within a decade by a pent-up and long overdue racial revolution that overturned centuries of culture and tradition, especially in the South. The disillusionment, two decades later, with an unpopular war in southeast Asia shook the foundations of traditional/conventional patriotism in American life; it was followed in the next decade by a sexual revolution that upset deeply entrenched views among this portion of the American populace about the subordinate place of women in society and the non-place of gay and lesbian persons in American life. These political and social and cultural defeats have now erupted into a pitched battle to turn back the clock on the last half-century and return America to its pre-war purity. It is not without significance that teaching creationism in the schools, for example, is such a prominent part of the religious right agenda. That was a battle the right lost in the mid-1920s but it is not one that the right ever acknowledged losing--just as some die-hards have never acknowledged losing the Civil War. Consequently, the restoration the religious right seeks is one that would recapture a way of life that disappeared in this nation a half-century ago.

Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power--it's about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.

Our discussion this afternoon and evening, as I understand it, is to determine how this school responds to this situation. It is a discussion that is, thank God, beginning to occur across the country but it is one which has a special compelling urgency for this school. There are at least two reasons for that urgency. In Germany, when the National Socialists came to power and the noise of fascism began to echo throughout the country, the response of the churches came mainly from the pulpits. Here and there, individual theologians spoke out, offering guidance to church councils and synods but by and large the theological faculties were silent, as were the voices of the professoriate in general. That's the first reason why it is important that the seminary be heard early and clearly in this struggle. What is needed is clear theological reflection, theological argumentation, theological challenges to what I believe are the false doctrines, in some instances, and the rank heresies, in others, of the religious right. Those reflections, arguments, and challenges can come best from the theological faculties who can help preachers, parsons and the laity in the mainline Christian community gird themselves for the struggle before us.

Second, this school has staked out for itself a special place in the effort to aid and encourage a religious understanding and embracement of gay and lesbian members in our society. It is, to my knowledge, the only theological institution that has taken up this special challenge and task. The importance of that task has taken on an heightened significance in this larger struggle that I've just tried to describe, and James Luther Adams offers us a poignant reminder of why this is so. Let me cite the last paragraphs of the Harper's article:

Adams had watched American intellectuals and industrialists flirt with fascism in the 1930s. Mussolini's "Corporatism," which created an unchecked industrial and business aristocracy, had appealed to many at the time as an effective counterweight to the New Deal. In 1934, Fortune magazine lavished praise on the Italian dictator for his defanging of labor unions and his empowerment of industrialists at the expense of workers. Then as now, Adams said, too many liberals failed to understand the power and allure of evil, and when the radical Christians came, these people would undoubtedly play by the old, polite rules of democracy long after those in power had begun to dismantle the democratic state. Adams had watched German academics fall silent or conform. He knew how desperately people want to believe the comfortable lies told by totalitarian movements, how easily those lies lull moderates into passivity.

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right's persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral values not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications. Then came raids on the places where homosexuals gathered, culminating on May 6, 1933, with the ransacking of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Twelve thousand volumes from the institute's library were tossed into a public bonfire. Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said, would be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian right. We would be the next.

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/3-letters-from-prisoners-en.html

Prisoners Speak Out on The Need To Drive Out the Fascist Regime AND To Act As A Vanguard to Make Revolution

| revcom.us

 

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.

We invite prisoners—and all our readers—to write us on these and related topics. Send correspondence by email to revolution.reports@yahoo.com; prisoners, send to: Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund (PRLF), 1321 N. Milwaukee Ave. #407, Chicago, IL 60622.

Letter 1

TX, 8/2/2019

“WHY are People Not acting? How do we Solve this Problem?” This question was posed on the July 15 issue of The Revolution News Paper.

Well for one, alot of people tend to not give a fuck! Especially here in the U.S.A., their lives are OK, they doing alright, so to them it’s a mindstate of who cares what happening to other people. All they care for is themselves, try to live happily and die peacfully. I guess you can call that “culture of individualism”….

I can tell you why I choose to act, why im quick to go into action, why I fervently advocate for others to go into action, when it comes to fighting against oppression. Why I eagerly and Enthusiastically Study and educate myself on Revolution and Communist history and thought in order to find lessons in the past that can help us today, and also further learn about the world around me, the reality We find ourselves in.

It is all due to the fact that I get sad, my heart strings twist at all the injustices, all the oppression around me and abroad. All the people getting killed, all the people dying because of other peoples greed. All the people who are senselessly suffering because they have to go without, go without not because they were “stupid” or “lazy”, but because the Social Conditions of where they live are not set up to favor them. The “Game” as how the Capitalist & Black Market Capitalist (i.e. Gangsters) like to call it, is rigged against those People.

It breaks my heart to see the suffering in the faces of those migrants, the refugees who throw it all on the line to escape the country that, mind you, the imperialist countries has contributed and has had a hand in fucking up economically. And then only to get here to the perpetrating country and be denied entrance, in my eyes, its not only denying entrance, its denying those people the right to live! What must go through the migrant refugee’s mind? “You fucked up my country to the point that its impossible to live there, and you can’t even let me live in yours?!?, your ignorant citizens scream at us ‘go back to your country’ and ‘fix your own damn country’. WE CAN’T! the moment that we try, the moment that we unite and attempt to “fix” our country, your imperialist country swoops down on us and massacres us!” Those thoughts is what I can only imagine must be going through those peoples minds.

And you know, all the sadness that all that makes me feel, the more I think about it, it starts to make me MAD! I start to get angry, the injustice and oppression begin to infuriate me. And in that anger, that fire that builds up inside my chest is what I use to ACT! it’s what propels me to ACT, it’s what encourages me to educate myself and others.

Yes comrades, you are all doing the right thing in educating the masses, you know education goes hand-in-hand with liberation. It is how we can solve this Problem of People not acting. Some People are ignorant to the facts, and how do you expect people to get mad when they have no idea that they are being fucked over. Remember this, the lower classes and the proletariat class, historically have been at times ignorant to the facts. Not because they are “Stupid” or they just “don’t give a fuck, but because they are so busy struggling to survive that they don’t know what the fuck is going on. Yes they are aware that something is UP, but they don’t know what.

That’s where the Vanguard Party comes into Play, it is our duty to educate and lead the masses. Its hard for me to ask of the Vanguard Party to have Patience when it comes to educating, since time is not something that we have at our side. Just don’t give up on the masses. The masses, on top of struggling for survival, at the same time are bombarded with all this bourgeoisie Culture Propaganda. So it is our duty to help the masses decipher and filter all this bullshit that’s thrown at them everyday since the day that they are born.

It is not an easy task, but let us not be intimidated at the colossus we face. We must have confidence in ourselves, in our Vanguard Party, and in our Principles; so that in turn we inspire confidence inside the hearts of the masses. Let them know that they are not alone in the fight against injustice and oppression, we must inspire in the masses of people hope, hope that humanity can win and finally break the long overdue chains that capital-imperialism imposes on all human kind and the earth alike.

I’ll end this letter here, yall take care out there and keep Ya heads up, always remember to not give up. When things get difficult, always remember and tell yourself, its for the cause and keep up the good fight!!

With you, and in struggle

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Letter 2

Excerpt of a letter from a prisoner in Illinois, August 7, 2019

PRLF,

The Nuremberg style rallies of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, along with the fact this country was founded on genocide and slavery, and the constant depiction of whole groups of human beings as “criminals” and “invaders”, set the stage for the horrific and racist mass shooting that was unleashed in El Paso, Texas at a Walmart after a gunman determined that enough “Mexicans” were present before opening fire... this is the logic of fascism taking over in the 21st century!

We musn't allow Beto O'Rourke and the “Democratic Party” to extinguish and corral our righteous anger.  And appealing to the “sensibilities” of Trump and the fascists is beyond comprehension and outrageous on so many levels—Hitler even condemned the attacks on Jewish people when it was politically necessary to do so. 

Refuse Fascism has issued a Call to Action with a plan and strategy of sustained, unrelenting, nonviolent mass protest by millions of people that does not quit until this hated regime is gone.  Parts of the world that have gone before us in removing tyrannical regimes include South Korea, Armenia, Algeria, Sudan, Puerto Rico, and Honduras.  As Bob Avakian has bluntly said in his recent talk “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’”:  [BEB is short for “Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit”]

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!

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Letter 3

From a prisoner in Illinois, September 7, 2019 

RE: Defending and Supporting Revolution Books, Berkeley 

To: PRLF 

If possible, could you sign the statement defending Revolution Books, Berkeley on my behalf and forward friends my statement of support: 

Revolution Books, Berkeley is near and dear to my heart. As a prisoner who has been buried alive for most of his life on one of Amerikkka’s dungeons, this was the bookstore that first introduced me to the revolutionary leadership and works of Bob Avakian, and provided me with the necessary materials that challenged me to develop and deepen a more scientific method and approach in confronting reality as it actually is. This intellectual, cultural, and political center of the movement for an actual revolution must be supported and defended at all cost from these deplorable MAGA fascists and their attempt to implement an “Index of Forbidden Books” in the 21st century!!

- Prisoner In Illinois - 

See:

They Are Coming for the Immigrants... and What the Hell Are People Doing?!?

July 15, 2019

Read more

Q&A: Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

Share widely on social media

 

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

 

September 1, 2019. After the press conference, there was a commotion outside of the bookstore as the fascists tried to march toward the store. Bookstore supporters and anti-fascists linked arms in front of the store.

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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/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


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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

Share widely on social media

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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



We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/611/special-resource-page-on-the-environmental-emergency-en.html

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

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

—Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 


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

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

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

  •     Watch this film

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

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

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:29

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

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

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

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

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

Why does capitalism plunder the planet?

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

Bob Avakian, "Not fit caretakers of the earth"

How would a revolutionary socialist society address the environmental emergency?

How Would a Revolutionary Socialist Society Address the Environmental Emergency?

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

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

 

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

Dead-End Paths and Mental Shackles

 

 

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/taking-the-revolution-to-high-school-students-en.html

You Can't Recycle Capitalism, Throw It in the Trash!

Taking the Revolution to Climate Striking High School Students

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

Note from the author: These are some thoughts and ruminations, mainly from experiences right before the news hit around the impeachment inquiry, so much of this does not reflect how the developments may have impacted these same youth and others.

The National Revolution Tour has had some back-and-forth with a number of high school students leading into the September 20 Climate Strike (sometimes in groups of half a dozen to a dozen, sometimes even more) but in particular we’ve been working with two or three students who were engaged and challenged and provoked and a beginning form of organization has begun to develop, although very fragile. It’s interesting that these two or three students originally stopped after seeing the “Question and Challenge“ from Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the revolution. We had an enlarged version of it on a placard the first time we went out. “Could that happen, could Trump really decide not to leave office if he loses the next election?” one of them asked. Many students seemed aware of what was meant by “Puerto Rico style” protests and reacted favorably to the idea (in the days before and immediately after the Climate Strike).

These students (seniors) only know of “socialism” from Bernie Sanders and see this in a favorable way. But right away, I kept probing and went deeper into the real problem humanity faces (the whole system of capitalism-imperialism) and the real solution (a real revolution that overthrows this system and replaces it with a radically different system (see the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America). They were attracted to the simplicity of the 5-2-6 and the Points of Attention for the Revolution. One said, “My teacher really cares, but mainly advocates recycling.” They were getting a sense that the problem was much bigger and could not be solved simply by recycling (especially as we did exposure of where exactly do the plastic bottles that people recycle actually end up). As they learned more from the exposure, it got them to see in a basic way how capitalism-imperialism was actually the source of all this and why only a real revolution gives us a chance of actually saving the planet and humanity.

The day before the Climate Strike we had a whole cool scene outside Revolution Books in Harlem of people making banners and attracting attention to the bookstore. It just so happened to be the Harriet Washington event at the bookstore later that evening too, and we let more people know about that. Anyway, during a back-and-forth around slogans and statements for the banners, these students eventually came up with the statement (which they put on a placard): “Metal straws will not lead to fundamental change. But Revolution will,” and another along the lines of “You can’t recycle capitalism. Throw it in the trash!” They were beginning to measure other “solutions” that are non-solutions to what’s actually needed in order to deal with the environmental emergency. They were also attracted to the exposure around Bernie and agitation against American chauvinism, and when we posed: How come Bernie never talks about where does the wealth he wants to “redistribute” actually come from?... they said, “I’d never thought of that before,” but it was starting to click, in particular the stark difference between democratic socialism and revolutionary communism. I showed them the trailer to BA’s speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, which they connected up to the “5 Stops” from the special 5-2-6 issue of Revolution (the trailer highlights how these things cannot be reformed under capitalism).

This sparked thoughts from the students about all the negative stuff they hear about communism in school (from teachers and other pro-capitalist students) and cited one teacher who has some kind of display in the classroom that “justified” U.S. involvement back in the day in order to defeat and “contain” the spread of communism, the politics of “containment” and the prevention of the “domino effect.” These students were impacted by the exposure of what the U.S. did in Vietnam (murdering two million Vietnamese people). I sensed a beginning skepticism and a “questioning” of what the teachers have been telling them about history and about what’s the problem and the solution to these things, especially as they engaged more with the revcoms about the American Crimes and the source of all this (the BEB issue of Revolution and the 5-2-6 issue are very good tools).

To be clear, it is not yet the ’90s RATM-type (Rage Against the Machine) “Fuck You I Won’t Do What You Tell Me” and even less the 1960s counter-culture and rebellion, but there are elements within all this (the sentiments and mood of the youth and students) that are in that spirit and ethos but not yet that... and it could be on an even more than “that” (qualitatively and quantitatively beyond the best of the 1960s) if/as we revolutionaries have even greater impact and growing influence. There was a 16-year-old from Queens I met at the Climate Strike who was really feeling like Greta, what difference does it make to keep going to school when we might all die (I’m paraphrasing). I got the sense at the Climate Strike and since that many students are thinking this way and that they’re being held back by the “grown-ups” and their “greediness” and “laziness” preventing them from doing something about this emergency situation... but that there are larger forces (which the youth obviously sense but don’t fully understand) looking to keep this contained and re-routed and hemmed in.

This young person from Queens tuned in to the Tour Livestream with Raymond Lotta and said “humanity is really going to suffer and most likely end because most people want money when it won’t really matter.” Later, she asked (paraphrasing), “How will you defeat them when they’re really powerful and have a lot going for them?” This got me to think about this: in the absence of scientific hope (versus illusory hope), will these youth turn to nihilism? It reminded me also of a homemade poster at the Climate Strike that said something along the lines of “we’re all doomed, so welcome to the zombie march.” A lot of this can go in the way of despair and varied nihilistic expressions or it can go another way, towards hope and daring on a solid scientific foundation as BA has put it.

These youth and students and others acting now are very quickly (to echo BA on this) running up against a mighty power they don’t fully understand and all other class forces with the strong winds of spontaneity on their side are fighting to channel all this, feeding people BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit) and all kinds of other reformist bullshit. Let's not underestimate the power concentrated in the title of the National Revolution Tour, and the two slogans! These are:

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

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!

The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

There Is a Way Out of This Madness!

and

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

The reality (as I understand it) is that people much more quickly “these days” (versus in the 1960s) run up against the full power of what we’re up against and in an overall sense there is less distance to travel before you hit right up against the real obstacles and the barriers standing in the way of humanity and the planet being fully emancipated and truly free. This poses real immediate challenges but is full of tremendous potential (I might be “tripping out” too much here). So, after some back-and-forth I posed to the young woman from Queens why was she not scared or feared revolution? I’m paraphrasing but essentially she said, “I fear more the end of the world and humanity going extinct than a revolution which might give us a chance to save humanity and the planet.” Again, leaving aside her doubts about the possibility for others to do this (it’ll be hard for people to overcome fear therefore let’s start people off doing little things like “planting trees” and “recycling,”) or her concerns about the mental shackles on some of the young people in her community (who only seem to care about doing stupid shit and “making money”), her comment about what she feared most was insightful. It’s kind of the reverse of young people in “recent times” more inclined and equipped to imagine the end of the world (as in Young Adult books like The Hunger Games) than having their sights lifted to imagining a better world; it’s worth thinking about how quickly this could change (or begin to transform in that direction) at this moment. It does seem that the authorities and school officials giving the “OK” to the students to participate (with a permission slip from parents) in the Climate Strike was perhaps, in part, aimed at undermining such rebelliousness from coming into fruition and blossoming... more to think about on this. How to uncork all this? How to get going a radical revolt against a revolting culture? How to get a vibrant, radical, rebellious new movement for revolution that’s an attractive force to all the youth and students who want to break RIGHT NOW out of the confines and are pushing and aspiring in that direction?

Anyway, at one point (outside the high school) a hardcore Bernie supporter came up and was making all the arguments we’d been polemicizing against and even the students got in on it. One of them said, “But isn’t Bernie also BEB?” (BEB = Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit) The Bernie supporter had been arguing that Bernie was different than the Democratic Party, that she was not a Democratic Party supporter, she was a Bernie supporter which she felt was a different thing. Anyway, we’d given the students the BEB issue prior to this and had walked through some of the crimes of U.S. imperialism under both Democrats and Republicans; in fact one of the students said she had read a book talking about how there was no need for the U.S. to have dropped the bomb on Japan during WW2 and yet the U.S. did it anyway and that she had to argue this in class with students who didn’t believe her.

The following Friday, I went with another person from the Tour to City Hall where some of the youth had called for continuing the weekly Climate Strike as put forward by Greta. There were dozens of youths and some adults (about 60 people). Some of the student leaders and others are very much feeling the need to act but seemed more inclined to think that we could do it through policy change and legislation. One young student said, “Revolution is just going to take too long,” that the U.S. has always been capitalist so it’s going to be difficult and take a long time to change this country into something else and really “couldn’t we just pressure the people in power to change things now?” Others were arguing similar things, although very open to engagement and struggle, especially when you walked them through the substance of why this system cannot be reformed, what are the “rules of the game” so to speak, and how does capitalism-imperialism actually work.

It is interesting that some of these students have since started following us on Instagram and have been looking at many of our posts, which leads me to believe they’re curious about the revolution and perhaps on some level are being impacted by the substance we’re putting out. As an aside, I do think the Tour Livestream on “capitalism is destroying the planet...” featuring Raymond Lotta was a “new thing” that we should not fail to fully appreciate. It was definitely not all that’s possible, however, there were important elements that came together that point in the direction of solving some big problems of the revolution. I thought the team that co-hosted did a good job, including highlighting lessons for the viewers (and inviting them to pose questions related to the topic) and Raymond Lotta brought crucial and hard-hitting facts, exposure and agitation. And there were, although very small, some brand-new people (including high school students) that tuned in and watched some or large portions of it. One particular student, as mentioned above, made an insightful comment and posed a challenging question.

Now imagine 100s and soon 1,000s tuning in, many of them just like that young student from Queens, getting provoked, challenged and inspired... and invited in to be part of solving the big problems of the revolution and getting organized into this. Thousands tuning into the regular National Tour livestream, with an edge of “completely outrageous and eminently reasonable” as one important way we’re building and leading a national movement for an actual revolution. How do we get to this point?

We did find, not surprisingly, anti-communism among some of the high school students, including among those concerned about the environment and among those who hate Trump and are opposed to the fascists. Others said they’ve heard bad things about it but don’t really know what to think about it, how to judge whether it is good or not. One student said it was a good idea but there is the danger under communism for “the government to have too much power,” and she went on to argue for reforms, for incremental change because most people would not support “revolution” (something drastic), and since we need to unite everyone in order for change to happen, we need to appeal to most people and “incremental” is something many people could support.

 

Spread this trailer everywhere.

How Would the Revolution Deal with the Climate Crisis?

A Q&A with Raymond Lotta

from the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour in NYC, 9/26/19

Share this video of the meeting.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/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

Donations accepted here via PayPal and credit cards:


To Sustain and Donate by Mail:

Send Checks or Money Orders to:
    RCP Publications
    Box 3486 Merchandise Mart
    Chicago, IL 60654

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


Click here to learn more about the Tour and follow its progress.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/houston-some-thoughts-on-meeting-summer-fundraising-goal-and-going-beyond-en.html

Some Thoughts from Houston on Meeting the $50,000 Summer Fundraising Goal and Going Beyond

| revcom.us

 

I’m writing to share some thoughts on some of the things we learned in Houston during the push to raise funds to help meet the $50,000 summer goal – and some thoughts on going forward from here to meet the new challenge to raise $25,000 by the end of October.

We are confronting a rapidly shifting situation in the country with the need and potential for real advances in driving out the Trump/Pence regime and in making leaps in building the movement for revolution. The role that the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour can and needs to play in the midst of all this is absolutely critical – if there is going to be a possibility of a real kind of real future worth living for humanity. We urgently need to meet this new challenge for $25,000 so that the Tour can go forward and maximize everything it needs to do in this next period.

Viewing the July 27 and August 25 livestreams together in Houston spurred our collective efforts to go out into the world and inspire many more people to contribute to this movement being born. While at first most people expressed that they didn’t know anyone else who would agree with this, who they could take it to, how they could build it, etc., through collective discussion, ideas came out and were tossed around a bit, and people found a way in and a way they could contribute to the effort of doing broad outreach, organizing a fundraising dinner and approaching all kinds of different people to contribute to these efforts in different ways.

One of the things we learned is that there’s a difference between asking people to donate and challenging them to contribute. Not that we should be mechanical about “forbidding” the word “donate,” but one consists of asking people to give to a project others are undertaking, and objectively seeing the donation as a “one-off” (to use that phrase); the other calls on people to be part of that project themselves, even if in a beginning way

And I think there are some important lessons concentrated in these two contrasting approaches that are integral to what we’re out to accomplish overall. One, the process of turning heads towards revolution – people who see themselves as contributing to the great project this Tour has set out to accomplish are more likely to continue following it, and the basis is stronger for them to contribute further in various ways as the Tour continues. (And this “turning” has definitely been underway for several of the people who have been part of this effort.)

Another important lesson centers on the importance of putting the need for funds front and center when we approach people. This makes the whole thing – the fact that the Tour is building towards an actual revolution and that support is needed right now for these efforts – more real and challenging, and serves to draw people in. Of course, not everyone responds favorably, or even responds at all, but there is a matter of how we set terms as we take this out in society. In other words, it’s wrong to think you need to begin any interaction with people, whether it’s approaching an individual or group, or out raising funds among masses, with long explanations of the Tour. Let them check out the material – the Call for the Tour, the 5-2-6, etc. as you tell them that they need to be part of it, and that the most meaningful way to do that now is for them to contribute funds, as much as they can possibly contribute. Let them find their way into that.

Through our broad efforts to build support for the Tour, many people were introduced to the work of Bob Avakian and to the revolution that this Tour is all about organizing. Everything going on in the world right now, as concentrated and expressed in the 5 Stops, has a lot of people angered, dismayed, concerned, etc., but most of them think that’s “the way it is,” and you have to find a way to, at best, work with that and deal with it.

But what turned the heads of many towards revolution (and here I’m mainly speaking about people encountered in the broad outreach who made small contributions) was that there is a force out there determined to organize thousands and millions for an actual revolution, and they are being invited into this process, and to help work on the challenges it faces. Hearing BA speak on the videos we ran played a big part in this. Many people from different strata and classes, and various backgrounds, commented that learning of this Tour “gave them hope.” As some high school youths commented upon learning of the Tour and listening to a bit of BA on a video, they had never even thought that the world could be different in any fundamental way.

Moving ahead and making further advances doesn’t just happen. We urgently need to push beyond the limitations of what we have done so far. We need to go to people who contributed already and challenge them to become monthly sustainers. We need to do much more to get with potentially large donors among professionals of various types, including developing salons among groupings of professors and among some immigrant professionals, as well as with some people in outlying areas. There need to be yard sales and art sales and other ways that lots of people can get involved and raise significant amounts of money in the process. And we need to continue to connect with students and basic masses and invite them in to find out about the Tour and contribute. I’m sure there’s many more ideas if people really proceed from how precious this Tour is – how much it means that there is this force out there that’s fighting for a way out of this horror and for a whole different and much better world.

The stakes are enormous, the time is short. $25,000 more is needed now. The challenge is before us all.

 

$25,000 Is Needed in October

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

You can also make this a monthly donation

Donations accepted here via PayPal and credit cards:


To Sustain and Donate by Mail:

Send Checks or Money Orders to:
    RCP Publications
    Box 3486 Merchandise Mart
    Chicago, IL 60654

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


Click here to learn more about the Tour and follow its progress.

 

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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

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/605/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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American Crime

Why Celebrating Columbus (Day) is Celebrating THEFT and GENOCIDE:

Read these 9 cases of American Crime for the truth about Columbus and America

| revcom.us

 

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

Every year, on the second Monday in October, America celebrates "Columbus Day," heralding Christopher Columbus as a great explorer who "discovered" the "New World" and made the creation of the United States possible. Columbus didn't discover America, but he did bring conquest and enslavement. And he launched one of the most massive genocides in human history, a genocide whose scale and savagery still boggle the mind, as these installments of our American Crime series focused on Native Americans illustrate. This, along with the enslavement of Black people, is what sits at the foundation of the United States.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

Case #77: Christopher Columbus Brought Genocide and Slavery to the "New World," and America Celebrates Him for It

THE CRIME: On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailing for Spain, landed on what is now the Bermuda Islands. Columbus is celebrated in the U.S. as the person who first “discovered” the “New World,” making it possible for those who came after him, through hard work, to create the greatest global power in the world today, as the official declaration of “Columbus Day” as a national holiday states.

Columbus did not “discover” the Americas—they had been inhabited by many different indigenous peoples for some 13,000 years. But he did bring conquest and enslavement, and launched one of the most massive, horrific genocides in human history.

Read more

 

Case #90: The Sullivan Expedition, 1779—Genocide of Native Peoples and Scorched Earth in Upstate New York

Destruction of Indian villages

THE CRIME: In June 1779, heavily armed caravans of more than 6,200 American soldiers headed north from Pennsylvania and west from a town near Albany, New York. These forces, under the command of General John Sullivan, comprised about 25 percent of the Continental Army, which had been formed by the Continental Congress of former colonies that were in a war for independence from England.

Their target: Native American tribes who lived in western New York—the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Cayuga, and Seneca peoples. These peoples called themselves the Haudenosaunee, and are known to historians as the Iroquois League or Iroquois Confederacy. The mission of Sullivan's troops: the "total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible," in the words of the commander in chief of the Continental Army.

Read more

 

Case #44: The Trail of Tears, 1838-39

Trail of Tears

THE CRIME: From 1838-1839, approximately 15,000 Cherokee and 2,000 Black slaves that they owned were forcibly removed from Cherokee lands in Georgia and force-marched by the military 800 miles to the new “Indian Territory” in an area that later became Oklahoma. On that march, it has been estimated that 2,500-4,000 people died. That seven-month march has become known as The Trail of Tears.

This brutal and forced removal of the Cherokees is just one part of what should be known about the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears is actually the removal of five “civilized” tribes from their native lands in Southeastern U.S. to the West: the Choctaws from Mississippi, the Seminoles from Florida, the Chickasaw from Tennessee, the Creek from Alabama, and the Cherokees from Georgia.

Read more.

 

Case #53: The Genocide of California's Native Americans, 1846–1873

Murder of Yuki People

THE CRIME: From 1846 to 1873, a mass genocide was carried out against California’s Native American population by the U.S. government and white settlers. In 1846, before the 1848 Gold Rush, 157,000 people were living in California, 150,000 of them Native Americans. It was the densest and most diverse Native American population in the U.S. By 1873, there were only 30,000 Native Americans left alive, and by 1880, only 16,277.

This massive ethnic cleansing was the result of the genocidal murders of the native population at the hands of U.S. soldiers, volunteer state militiamen, and vigilantes. This included large massacres that wiped out entire villages, group killings, individual killings, the starvation of thousands, and the death of thousands due to diseases while imprisoned in U.S. Army forts or on federal Indian reservations.

Read more.

 

Case #37: December 26, 1862: The Lynching of 38 Dakota Men―The Largest Mass Execution in U.S. History

Lynching of 38 Dakota (Santee Sioux) men, December 26, 1862

Lynching of 38 Dakota (Santee Sioux) men, December 26, 1862.

THE CRIME: On December 26, 1862, in the midst of the U.S. Civil War (April 1861-May 1865), and in the same week that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 38 Dakota Santee Sioux men sent to the gallows in Mankato, Minnesota. They were hooded and hanged simultaneously from a single scaffold, surrounded by 1,500 Union troops and a howling lynch mob of 4,000 white settlers. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Read more.

 

Case #56: The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre

The site of the Sand Creek Massacre.

The site of the Sand Creek Massacre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

THE CRIME: They came at dawn, November 29, 1864, 700 heavily armed soldiers of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry, led by Colonel John Chivington. They rode rapidly toward their target, a Cheyenne village near Sand Creek, where the people were caught by surprise because months earlier, representatives of the U.S. government had met with their chief, encouraged him to settle near the creek, and had promised him and his people peace and safety. As the soldiers approached, the chief, Black Kettle, raced to raise the American flag over his lodge in a show of solidarity; others raised white flags of surrender. It didn’t matter.

The soldiers opened fire with carbines and cannons, killing at least 130, almost two-thirds women, children, and the elderly. Most of the young men were out hunting when the attack occurred; otherwise, the death toll would have been considerably higher. Before leaving, the soldiers burned the village and mutilated the dead.

Read more.

 

Case #72: Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890

Victims of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, where the U.S. Seventh Cavalry killed as many as 300 Lakota Indians, including children.

Photo: Library of Congress

THE CRIME: On December 29, 1890, U.S. government soldiers massacred nearly 300 of the 350 Lakota men, women, and children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The massacre took place near Wounded Knee Creek. Some of the women murdered were already widows whose husbands had previously been killed by U.S. troops. The Lakota Chief Spotted Elk (Big Foot), who was dying of pneumonia, was among those massacred.

Read more

 

Case #64: The U.S. Conquest of Hawai`i

Marines marched from the USS Boston to I'olani Palace as part of taking over the Hawai'ian government.

THE CRIME:

The Overthrow: On January 17, 1893, 162 armed U.S. sailors and Marines marched from the USS Boston, harbored in Honolulu Harbor, to Iolani Palace, the center of Hawai’i’s government, and set up camp. This act of war against a nation struggling for independence from foreign domination put the U.S. firmly in control.

Lorrin Thurston, the grandson of an American missionary who had the support of Hawai`i’s white business class, had organized a coup d’etat. And the U.S. had agreed to provide military back up. Thurston’s core conspiracy group, which included Hawai`i’s powerful sugar barons, joined the “Honolulu Rifles” a heavily armed militia of 1,500 largely white businessmen, who patrolled the streets to put down any Native Hawaiians who might rebel.

Read more

 

Case #40: North American Indian Residential Schools, 1870-1970s: “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”

Native Americans from an Apache tribe entering Carlisle School in 1890.

THE CRIME: The cultural genocide of the North American Indians.

The near extermination of the Native Americans in the centuries following 1492 is one of the great historical crimes committed by the rulers of this country—or any country. Credible estimates of the indigenous population in North America in 1492 are between 12.5 and 18.5 million. Through the combination of massive epidemics and the “Indian Wars” waged by the U.S. Army through the decades after the Civil War, by 1890 the estimated Native American population had been reduced to fewer than 240,000 in the U.S., and in Canada a third of that—a population reduction of 95 to 99 percent.

Beginning in the 1870s and lasting a century or more, the weight of U.S. policy toward the Native American population shifted from military annihilation to the forced “assimilation” of the survivors—making them “suitable” to be members of the society that had devastated and despised them.

Read more.

 

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American Crime

Case #77: Christopher Columbus Brought Genocide and Slavery to the "New World," and America Celebrates Him for It

October 10, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

Spaniards killing women and children and feeding their remains to dogs. Illustration based on eyewitness account by Bartolomé de las Casas, in his book published in the 16th Century.
Spaniards killing women and children and feeding their remains to dogs. Illustration based on eyewitness account by Bartolomé de las Casas, in his book published in the 16th century.

THE CRIME: On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailing for Spain, landed on what is now the Bermuda Islands. Columbus is celebrated in the U.S. as the person who first “discovered” the “New World,” making it possible for those who came after him, through hard work, to create the greatest global power in the world today, as the official declaration of “Columbus Day” as a national holiday would have you believe.

Columbus did not “discover” the Americas—they had been inhabited by many different indigenous peoples for some 13,000 years. But he did bring conquest and enslavement, and launched one of the most massive, horrific genocides in human history.

Columbus was searching for a shorter route to the East Indies (South and Southeast Asia), in pursuit of gold and new peoples to exploit and convert to Christianity, and initially thought that's what he'd found. He and his crew were first met by the indigenous Arawaks, who swam out to welcome them. At the time, it’s estimated that roughly 250,000 Arawaks inhabited the nearby island Columbus named “Hispaniola”—today's Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. The Arawaks lived in communal, agricultural villages, without horses, iron implements—or prisons or prisoners. Columbus wrote they “are so naïve and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone....”

But Columbus was making his own calculations from the moment he encountered them: “They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them.... They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

He immediately took several Arawaks captive, demanding they lead him to the source of the gold on the tiny ornaments they wore. Discovering gold was the reason the Spanish king and queen had backed his voyage. In return, Columbus was to receive 10 percent of all the wealth he brought back, and be appointed governor over the colonized territories. Columbus soon sailed to Cuba and then to nearby Hispaniola where, “bits of visible gold in the rivers, and a gold mask presented to Columbus by a local Indian chief, led to wild visions of gold fields,” Howard Zinn wrote in A People’s History of the United States.

       

On Hispaniola, the Spanish built a fort (the 39 sailors left to find gold were later killed by the Arawaks). Meanwhile, Columbus took 15 captured Arawak Indians back to Spain. He presented them to the king and queen as evidence, along with exaggerated claims of massive gold mines, that he should be given backing to return with more vessels and troops. Columbus promised he would bring back “as much gold as they need... and as many slaves as they ask.”

Based on these promises, in 1493 Columbus went back to the Caribbean islands with 17 ships and over 1,200 men. From his base on Hispaniola, Columbus sent out expeditions from island to island, capturing Indians and searching for gold fields. Finding none, and needing to fill their ships for the return voyage, in 1495 Columbus sent an expedition that, as Zinn writes, “went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships.” Two hundred died crossing the ocean; those who survived were sold in Spain to be used by artisans and as domestics.

But with too many slaves dying in captivity, and having to make good on his promise of gold to the Crown and the Church, in Haiti all persons 14 years or older were forced to work in gold mines until exhausted. It’s estimated that within eight months, nearly a third died. Each had to collect at least a thimble of gold dust every three months. This was a nearly impossible task: the only gold to be found were bits visible in some rivers. As many as 10,000 had their hands cut off and tied around their necks while they bled to death for failing to meet their quota. Others fled and were hunted down with dogs and killed.

Once the Spaniards figured out there were no gold fields, they forced the indigenous people into slave labor on huge feudal agricultural estates called encomiendas, where they were worked to death.

The Arawaks tried to organize resistance, but were no match for the Spanish armaments. Those captured were hanged or burned to death, triggering the start of mass suicides among the Arawaks, including babies deliberately poisoned by their mothers rather than see them tortured. In two years, half of the 250,000 indigenous people in Haiti were dead. By 1515, only 50,000 Arawaks remained; by 1550, there were 500. And this was just the beginning of the massive genocide of native peoples in the Americas by European powers and their colonial settlers, set in motion by Christopher Columbus and his “discovery.”

The atrocities committed by the Spaniards were so gruesome they’re hard to imagine. Bartolomé de las Casas, a former slave owner who became bishop of Chiapas, described some of what he witnessed in his book History of the Indies. The Spanish “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices of them to test the sharpness of their blades.... Two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.” Las Casa concluded: “Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel. My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”

The Criminals:

Christopher Columbus: Columbus made four voyages to the West Indies, and he was the first to engage in savagery, slavery, and to commit genocide in the New World. Among his many crimes, Columbus supervised the selling of native girls—the ages nine and 10 were most desired by his men—into sexual slavery. He forced the native peoples to work in the gold mines until they died of exhaustion, killing anyone who resisted. Catholic law forbade enslaving Christians; so Columbus refused to baptize the people of Hispaniola. If the Spaniards ran short of meat for their dogs, Arawak babies were killed for dog food.

On his third voyage in 1498, Columbus landed on the island of Trinidad and explored the area off the north coast of South America, before returning to the Spanish colony in Hispaniola. Columbus’s reputation, and that of his two brothers, was so horrific that they were arrested by the governor and shipped back to Spain in chains in 1500. But because of his great assistance to the Crown, Columbus was pardoned by the King and Queen of Spain and let go.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain: By continually financing the crimes of Columbus, they enabled the brutality, exploitation, and enslavement to expand continually. For them this was a profitable investment, but not only that. It served the goals of the Catholic Church, which were to expand the conversion of souls to Christianity—in opposition to Islam—around the world.

Pope Alexander VI and the Catholic Church: In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal Bull (or decree)—Inter caetera—which declared the full backing of the Catholic Church to Columbus and the Spanish king and queen and all they were doing in the New World. Inter caetera granted official ownership of the New World—“dominion”—to Ferdinand and Isabella. It instructed them to “civilize” every “savage” they encountered. In 1515, an ultimatum was issued by the Spanish conquerors to all indigenous people they encountered in the New World to accept “the Church as the Ruler and Superior of the whole world” or else:

We shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command, and we shall take away your goods, and shall do all the mischief and damage that we can.

The Alibi:

The Spanish expeditions to the “New World” were justified by Spain’s rulers and the Catholic Church as expressions of the “will of god”—to convert “savages” to Christianity. As Columbus described it: “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.”

The Actual Motive:

The goal of the expeditions to the Americas was to find new sources of wealth, especially gold, and people who could be enslaved to produce products for an emerging market. In competition with the Ottoman Turks, who had blocked access to Asia, the Catholic Church and the European powers under their influence were searching for access to new markets, and new sources of gold and other wealth. Columbus offered the promise that there was a way to those riches by crossing the ocean to the west. Finding a continent of people not yet discovered by other rival powers, who could be conquered, dominated, exploited, and converted to Christianity, was the answer to a prayer.

Repeat Offenders:

The Spanish empire eventually expanded across the Caribbean Islands, half of South America, most of Central America, and much of Mexico and North America. Meanwhile, in 1501-1502, a Portuguese colonizing expedition sailed along the coast of South America, including the bay of present-day Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From these origins and foundations, and later British and French colonization, what would become the United States of America arose, developed, and carried forward what was begun by Columbus. The genocide of Native Americans began before and continued after the official founding of this country. So did the enslavement and murder of millions and millions of African people, who were first brought to Virginia in 1619, and on whose backs the wealth of this country, and many other parts of the world, was built.

 

Sources:

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, Harper & Row, 1980 (first edition)

Bartolomé de las Casas, History of the Indies, written 1527-1561, published by Harper & Row, 1971

Eric Kasem, “Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery,” Huffington Post, October 15, 2015

Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Vintage Books, 2006

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/446/american-crime-90-the-sullivan-expedition-1779-en.html

American Crime

Case #90: The Sullivan Expedition, 1779—Genocide of Native Peoples and Scorched Earth in Upstate New York

July 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

Destruction of Indian villages
Destruction of Indian villages

The Crime

In June 1779, heavily armed caravans of more than 6,200 American soldiers headed north from Pennsylvania and west from a town near Albany, New York. These forces, under the command of General John Sullivan, comprised about 25 percent of the Continental Army, which had been formed by the Continental Congress of former colonies that were in a war for independence from England.

Their target: Native American tribes who lived in western New York—the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Cayuga, and Seneca peoples. These peoples called themselves the Haudenosaunee, and are known to historians as the Iroquois League or Iroquois Confederacy. The mission of Sullivan’s troops: the “total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible,” in the words of the commander in chief of the Continental Army.

For the next three months, Sullivan’s troops marched across western New York in a scorched-earth campaign. They destroyed everything they came across. The Iroquois had been living in this area for hundreds of years and had highly developed agriculture and well-established villages. Many of the invaders expressed envy at the abundance of the people whose lives they destroyed and at the sturdiness of their homes.

One historian described how Sullivan’s troops “methodically looted and destroyed every Iroquois town and village on their route into Finger Lakes country, their progress marked by smoldering villages and blackened fields.” By the end of September, the American forces had demolished “roughly 50 towns, 1 million bushels of corn, 50 thousand bushels of vegetables, and 10 thousand fruit trees.”

Most of the people were able to flee in the face of the advancing juggernaut, and the number of Native Americans killed by the soldiers is unknown. But those 5,000 residents who were able to survive by fleeing were now turned into refugees, and the great tribes were broken.

Men, women, and children captured by the advancing Americans were held in prisons for years after the onslaught, and many died as prisoners. Thousands of people who survived were forced to flee towards British-held areas in Canada during the dangerously cold winter months with heavy snowfall. During what became known as the “Winter of Hunger,” entire families froze to death. Hundreds of people died from malnutrition and disease. The dead were buried in mass graves. Years later, a white woman who had lived with the Seneca spoke of the indescribable trauma: “What were our feelings? When we found that there was not a mouthful enough to keep a child from perishing with hunger?”

The Criminals

The commander in chief who ordered and oversaw this massive crime was George Washington—the “father of our country” to those who uphold America and all that it stands for. Washington was known to the Iroquois as “Conotocarious”—the “devourer of villages.” Washington’s first military experience was as a British officer in the French and Indian War (1754-63), when his orders were to imprison or kill and destroy all who resisted or opposed his army. He commanded his generals and troops to apply this policy of “kill all” Native Americans during the war of independence against England.

General John Sullivan, who followed Washington’s command and carried out the genocidal campaign of mass destruction and slaughter. Countless genocidal atrocities had been committed against Native peoples since European colonists first arrived in North America. What sets the Sullivan Expedition apart is that it was the first time the forerunner of the U.S. Army carried out an official genocidal campaign against Native peoples. It would be repeated many times over.

The Alibi

George Washington and other American leaders claimed they were acting to defend themselves. They claimed that the atrocities and the mass destruction they unleashed were in response to attacks on farming villages from some of the Iroquois tribes, in conjunction with British troops with whom the colonists were at war.

The Actual Motive

Even as the leaders of the former colonies that would become the United States were fighting for political independence from England, they were also fighting to open up westward expansion of the country into territories where Native Americans had been living for centuries. One area over which they sought to gain control was upstate and western New York, which was seen as a link to the Great Lakes region. Vanquishing and destroying the Iroquois who lived in this region was key to achieving their goal.

The United States claimed that its victory over the British meant a victory over Native Americans as well. The remnants of the peoples who had lived in this area of New York were officially dispossessed by the Treaty of Paris that affirmed the U.S. triumph over England in its war of independence. Then, in 1788, the Fort Stanwix Treaty ended any Native claims to the land. Huge tracts of land that the Iroquois had lived on and worked for hundreds of years were given to the soldiers who had burned and murdered their way across the state.

A history of upstate New York recorded: “In 1789, the Indian titles to most of the lands in the State of New York, having been extinguished, the Legislature provided for the survey of a certain portion of these lands, already set apart for the soldiers of the State, who had served in the war of the Revolution. This tract embracing 1,680,000 acres, and denominated the Military Tract ... containing each one hundred lots of six hundred acres. Each private soldier and non-commissioned officer had one lot assigned him. The officers received larger shares in proportion to their rank.”

The genocide and dispossession of the Iroquois in upstate New York provided a model for how the U.S. committed genocide against Native Americans and seized their land across the entire country as it expanded westward. Washington, a Virginia slaveowner who had also surveyed and purchased land occupied by Native Americans in what became the state of Ohio, himself bought 6,100 acres of fertile land near what is now the city of Utica, New York. White Americans flooded the area, and the fact that Native peoples had once been its occupants was recognized only in some of the place names such as Cayuga, Seneca, and Oneida.

Repeat Offenders

With the formation of the United States, genocidal atrocities against Native Americans became official political and military policy. The Trail of Tears... the “Cherokee Removal”... the Seminole Wars... the “Dakota War” in Minnesota... the depredations against the Apaches, Comanches, and other peoples of what is now the U.S. Southwest... The list of horrors is endless. Entire peoples, languages, and cultures have been obliterated by brute force. The theft of the lands those people occupied has been enshrined in U.S. law, over and over and over again. (Revolution will further expose this in the American Crime series.)

These crimes continue to this day—through the high incidence of murder and brutality by police against Native Americans, the continued degradation and ridicule inflicted on their cultures, the extreme poverty and desperation in the concentration camps (aka “reservations”) on which many are forced to live, and other measures.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/531/american-crime-case-number-44-the-trail-of-tears-1838-39-en.html

American Crime

Case #44: The Trail of Tears, 1838-39

February 19, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

In that light, and in that spirit, “American Crime” is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

THE CRIME:

From 1838-1839, approximately 15,000 Cherokee and 2,000 Black slaves that they owned were forcibly removed from Cherokee lands in Georgia and force-marched by the military 800 miles to the new “Indian Territory” in an area that later became Oklahoma. On that march, it has been estimated that 2,500-4,000 people died.1 That seven-month march has become known as The Trail of Tears.

Trail of Tears

After almost 30 years of discussions of how to remove the Native Americans from the Southeastern U.S., President Andrew Jackson in 1829 called for an Indian Removal Act. It was passed in 1830, thus beginning the removal process.2

In 1833, a small group of Cherokees, who illegally claimed to be the leaders of the Cherokee Nation, signed a removal treaty with the United States. Cherokee Chief John Ross and 15,000 Cherokees signed a petition of protest. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to accept their demands and ratified the treaty in 1836, and gave the Cherokees two years to voluntarily migrate to the West.

In the fall of 1838, 7,000 troops were sent by the U.S. government to Georgia to forcibly remove the Cherokees. The Cherokees were put into stockades at bayonet point, and they were not allowed to take most of their belongings. After they were forced out, white people in the area looted their homes.

The brutal conditions of the march were described by John Ehle in Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation:

There was scarce room in the wagon for the weary and the ill, once the sickness fell. Walking day after day was torture for the elderly, and the babies were weakened by the trip too. The main enemy was not exertion, but disease, which chose the weaker Indians and blacks and humbled them. Dysentery, diarrhea, head and chest colds were common. It was rare for any travelers not to have intestinal cramps and other pains, and the diet provided ... was cheap and lacking in variety or nutrition....

Then too, there was the sun torturing the people by day. The cold of the night caused their teeth to chatter, the tongues to stutter.3

A white traveler from Maine described what they saw:

We found them in a forest camped for the night ... under a severe fall from rain accompanied by heavy wind. With their canvas for a shield from the inclemency of the weather, and the cold wet ground for a resting place, after the fatigue of the day, they spent the night ... many of the aged Indians were suffering extremely from fatigue of the journey, and the ill health consequent upon it.... Several were then quite ill, and an aged man we were informed was then in the last struggles of death.... We learned from the inhabitants on the road where the Indians passed, that they buried fourteen or fifteen at every stopping place.4

President Martin Van Buren summed up the final horrific removal of the Cherokees in an unbelievable message to Congress: “It affords me sincere pleasure to be able to apprise you of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi. The measures authorized by Congress with a view to the long-standing controversy with them have had the happiest effect, and they have emigrated without any apparent resistance.5

This brutal and forced removal of the Cherokees is just one part of what should be known about the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears is actually the removal of five “civilized” tribes from their native lands in Southeastern U.S. to the West: the Choctaws from Mississippi, the Seminoles from Florida, the Chickasaw from Tennessee, the Creek from Alabama, and the Cherokees from Georgia.

It was during the removal of the Choctaws from their native lands in the early 1830s that “one of the Choctaw Chiefs (thought to be either Thomas Harkins or Nitikechi) was quoted as saying that the removal to that point had been a ‘trail of tears and death.’ The ‘Trail of Tears’ quotation was picked up by the eastern press and widely quoted. It soon became a term analogous with the removal of any Indian tribe and was later burned into the American language by the brutal removal of the Cherokees in 1838.”6

It has been estimated that over 12,000 Choctaws either immigrated or were forcibly moved to the West, and 2,000-4,000 died along their Trail of Tears.

Four of the tribes ended up signing treaties that led to their removal. But the Seminoles refused to move and resisted, leading to the Second Seminole War, where 1,500 U.S. forces and 700 Seminoles were killed. During the Second Seminole war, runaway slaves fought beside the Seminoles, who had taken them in.7 After the war ended, 3,000 Seminoles were moved to the West.

A small band of 300 Creeks also refused to move and fought against the Alabama and Georgia militias in the Second Creek War of 1836. After the war, more Creeks were sent west.

Even the Cherokees did not go willingly; there were reports of hundreds of Cherokees escaping during the first stages of the march.8

After the removal process ended, approximately 9,000 Native Americans remained in their original homelands in the Southeast, with the largest grouping being 7,000 Choctaws.

In total, from 1830-1842, the U.S. removed approximately 60,000 Native Americans and 2,000 Black slaves9 from the Southeast. Between 8,000 to 16,000 are estimated to have died during the removal marches.10

Deaths resulted from multiple diseases—cholera, malaria, smallpox, pellagra, dysentery, diphtheria, typhoid, tuberculosis, and pneumonia.

THE CRIMINALS:

President Andrew Jackson aggressively supported and called for the removal of the Native Americans in the Southeast. He supported and worked to bring about the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Despite the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the territory and rights of the Cherokees (Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 1830-1831), Jackson refused to respect the court ruling as he supported the illegal and violent activities of the state vigilante groups in Georgia, who were forcing the Cherokees from their lands.

From 1814 to 1824, Jackson was instrumental in negotiating nine out of eleven treaties which forced the Southeastern tribes to give up their native lands in exchange for lands in the West.

By 1837, the Jackson administration had removed 46,000 Native American people from their land east of the Mississippi, and had secured treaties which led to the removal of a slightly larger number.

President Martin Van Buren followed Jackson. He oversaw the final stages of the removal process from 1837-1841, and he was in charge of the 1838 Cherokee removal. Van Buren, who had been Jackson’s vice president, continued Jackson’s removal policy throughout his presidency.

General Winfield Scott commanded the 7,000 troops that rounded up the Cherokees and force-marched them to the West.11

The State of Georgia legislature in 1828 passed a resolution requesting the governor to ask the president of the United States to remove all Indians from the state. The state “adopted legislation which extended state control over all Cherokee lands within the state. The new legislation declared all Cherokee laws to be null and void and prohibited Indians from testifying against non-Indians. As a result, groups of non-Indians invaded Cherokee country, taking Cherokee cattle and horses, assaulting those who resisted, and taking possession of Cherokee homes.”12

THE ALIBI:

Andrew Jackson put forward the racist view of Native Americans as children needing guidance. He professed that his removal policy was going to save them from the white Americans who were hostile towards them and wanted to seize their lands and property and commit further genocide against them. In a message to Congress in 1830, he called his removal policy “benevolent,” declaring:

It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community....

And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian? Is it more afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers and children? Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous. He is unwilling to submit to the laws of the States and mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation, the General Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement.13

THE REAL MOTIVE:

In the early 19th century, the U.S. was expanding deeper, further, and wider in the Southeastern part of the country. The seizure of land to raise cotton and expand slavery was critical for the growth of the economy of the South and for the whole United States. What stood in the way of this expansion were the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations and their native lands.

Further, gold was discovered in 1829 on Cherokee land in Georgia, causing a gold rush and a further need for those white people who were seeking riches and for the state of Georgia to get the Cherokees off the land.

The question of states rights was bound up in the removal of the Native Americans. The state of Georgia had formed militias and vigilantes to drive the Cherokees from their land. As a way to support Georgia’s rights to do this, Andrew Jackson proposed the Indian Removal Act. This allowed a compromise between those who supported federalism (support for the Supreme Court’s decision that restrained the state of Georgia from breaking federal treaties guaranteeing the Cherokees their land) and those who supported states rights and the Georgia laws to remove the Cherokees.14

All of these motives were bound up with enforcing and strengthening white supremacy by removing Native Americans. “The Jacksonian mainstream, so insistent on the equality of white men, took racism for granted.... Although informed by constitutional principles and genuine paternalist concern, the Jacksonian rationale for territorial expansion assumed that Indians ... were lesser peoples.”15

 

Selected Bibliography

Coates, Julia, Trail of Tears, Greenwood, 2014.

Ehle, John, Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1988.

Trail of Tears from Mississippi walked by our ancestors,” choctawschool.com.

Indian Removal,” Wikipedia

Indian Removal Act,” Wikipedia

Indian removal 1814 - 1858,” PBS


1. In Trail of Tears, Julia Coates writes:
“Popular belief and many historic texts have placed the number of Cherokee deaths on the Trail of Tears at 4,000. But as contemporary scholars and researchers have delved more deeply into the subject, the number ‘seems highly speculative.... Today, the best estimates are that somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 Cherokees died, either in the camps, on the march itself, or after arriving at the Indian Territory, but as a result of the conditions of the march. However, researchers also acknowledge that there are probably 1,000-1,500 people who simply could not be accounted for” when the march arrived at the Indian Territory.” [back]

2. “Indian Removal Act,” Wikipedia [back]

3. Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, by John Ehle, p 353 [back]

4. Ehle, pp 357-358 [back]

5. Ehle, p 392 [back]

6. See “Trail of Tears from Mississippi walked by our ancestors,” choctawschool.com. [back]

7. “Indian removal 1814-1858,” PBS [back]

8. Coates, p 118 [back]

9. Native Americans owned Black slaves. See “Pain of ‘Trail of Tears’ shared by Blacks as well as Native Americans” by Tiya Miles. [back]

10. “Indian Removal,” Wikipedia [back]

11. Ehle, p 325 [back]

12. “Georgia, the Cherokee, and the Execution of Corn Tassel,” nativeamericannetroots.net [back]

13. “Transcript of President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress ‘On Indian Removal’ (1830),” ourdocuments.gov [back]

14. Coates, p 182 [back]

15. “Jacksonian Democracy,” history.com [back]

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/519/american-crime-case-number-53-genocide-of-californias-native-americans-en.html

American Crime

American Crime Case #53: The Genocide of California's Native Americans, 1846–1873

November 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

The Crime: From 1846 to 1873, a mass genocide was carried out against California’s Native American population by the U.S. government and white settlers. In 1846, before the 1848 Gold Rush, 157,000 people were living in California, 150,000 of them Native Americans. It was the densest and most diverse Native American population in the U.S. By 1873, there were only 30,000 Native Americans left alive, and by 1880, only 16,277.1

This massive ethnic cleansing was the result of the genocidal murders of the native population at the hands of U.S. soldiers, volunteer state militiamen, and vigilantes. This  included large massacres that wiped out entire villages, group killings, individual killings, the starvation of thousands, and the death of thousands due to diseases while imprisoned in U.S. Army forts or on federal Indian reservations.

In An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, Benjamin Madley documents the killings of thousands of Native Americans from historical records.

Here are some of the largest massacres that were part of the campaign waged against California’s Native American population.

The 1846 Sacramento River Massacre

In 1846, California was formally under Mexico’s control, but the U.S. military and white American settlers had already begun to fight for control of the territory which would become a U.S. state in 1850.

On March 30, 1846, Army Captain John C. Frémont along with 60 heavily armed buckskin-clad white men, guide Kit Carson, several Delaware (Lenape) Indians, and some volunteers from a nearby trading post began advancing up the Sacramento River towards land occupied by the Wintu people in an area about 90 miles northwest of what was to become the City of Sacramento.

On April 5, this band of 76 men intent on killing Indians reached an area that would later become the City of Redding in the upper Sacramento Valley. It was an area of several hundred square miles that had a rich abundance of food that supported over 5,000 Wintu people. Despite having some contradictions with other tribes in the area, the Wintus were peace-loving and had developed mutual trading relations with the other tribes.

That day, the Wintus, including women and children who were largely unarmed, had gathered along the Sacramento River to catch and process salmon for food. From recorded estimates, Madley states that “as many as 1,000 or more Wintus were there that day.”

The river was swollen that day, so any attempt by the Wintus to get back across it would be too dangerous. Frémont’s forces surrounded them and then “launched a well-planned, preemptive assault of a kind that would later  become common in California. ... the or[d]er was given to ask  no quarter and to give none.” The range of the rifles was 200 yards, much further than an arrow could travel.

After firing upon and killing many Wintus, Frémont ordered the second phase of the attack. This, Madley stated, “would become the second phase of many California massacres. ,.. a well-executed military  assault” made by an advance guard that would fire round after round at closer range.

The third phase of the attack was close-quarter killings using sabers, pistols, and butcher knives. It was reported that “the bucks, squaws and papooses were shot down like sheep and those men never stopped as long as they could find one alive.”

The Wintus who survived the first three phases of the attack tried to retreat on foot into the river, the plains, and the foothills. Then Frémont executed the fourth phase. Kit Carson and his men, the Delaware Indians, on horseback, followed those who retreated into the plains and “literally tomahawked their way through the  flying Indians.” Those trying to cross the river were gunned down.

An eyewitness, William Isaac Tustin, reported on what he saw. According to Madley, “If Tustin was correct, Frémont’s force killed as many as 1,000 California Indian men, women, and children in what may have been one of the largest but least-known massacres in U.S. history.” It was reported that not one of Frémont’s men had been killed, wounded, or even injured during the massacre.2

The Bloody Island Massacre, May 1-15, 1850

Charles Stone and Andrew Kelsey were two of the first white settlers in the Clear Lake area of Northern California, some 100 miles north of San Francisco. They became landowners with land transferred to the settlers from the local Native American tribes. As African-American slave prices rose, these settlers in California were able to buy low-cost Indians as forced “apprentices” (basically slaves) to work on their ranches.

Stone and Kelsey were known to torture and kill many of their Native American slaves. They routinely raped the Native American women and girls. It was reported that “they murdered the Indians without limits and mercy.”3

After a horse and an ox went missing from Andrew Kelsey’s ranch, two Native Americans were blamed for it. They knew that Stone and Kelsey would take revenge for this. At first they were going to pay Stone and Kelsey, but then decided that the best thing to do was to kill them. Madley wrote that these two Indians “could not envision the scope of retaliatory mass murder that killing Stone and Kelsey would provoke. In just five months, between December 1849 and May 1850, vigilantes and US Army soldiers would kill as many as 1,000 Indians, or more, across four Northern California Counties.”

The first wave of murders started on Christmas Day 1849 when First Lieutenant John W. Davidson led the U.S. 1st Dragoons, an infantry unit to fight the Indians, into battle. The ranks of 1st Dragoons had included people like Nathan Boone (Daniel Boone’s son) and Jefferson Davis, later the president of the Confederacy. They rode into a group of Indians firing on them, killing many and wounding others. [The 1st Dragoons, or the 1st Regiment of the Dragoons, was formed as a cavalry unit in the western United States. Besides fighting the Indians, they played a big part in the battles during the Mexican-American War. They were not specifically formed  to fight the native population.]

Davidson saw another group of Indians on an island in Clear Lake. He wanted to attack but his troops were tired, so he retreated and planned for an attack later in the spring.

The locals grew restless at the inaction of the U.S. military, so they organized vigilante actions. These became the second wave of mass murders, from February to March 1850. These vigilantes indiscriminately attacked and killed Native Americans. In one report, “a party of Americans came over from Sonoma to avenge upon the Indians in general the murder of Kelsy.... This party were on their way to Soscal to attack the Indians there, but were turned back by another party of white men at Napa, who prevented them from crossing the ferry. They then returned to Calistoga, and murdered in cold blood eleven innocent Indians, young and old, as they came out of their ‘sweat house,’ and then burned their ‘wickeyups,’ [huts often used for ceremonial purposes] together with their bodies.”

The white men who stopped the vigilantes were part of a group of ranchers “motivated by moral conviction and economic interests [to come] to the aid of  Indians  under attack.... The [Native Americans] ...were also human beings, and some non-Indians considered the vigilante actions 'cruel.' “  Their actions resulted in the arrests of some of the vigilantes, who were not convicted, but this halted much of the vigilante action.

So, a third wave of mass murders, the Davidson plan, was given the go-ahead. Led by expedition commander and Brevet Captain Nathaniel Lyon, Company C of the 1st Dragoons along with a detachment of the 3rd Artillery and detachments of the Army’s 2nd Infantry set out for Clear Lake “with the orders to proceed against the Clear Lake Indians and exterminate if possible the [Pomo] tribe.”

After a seven-day march, they reached Clear Lake on May 11. On May 15 they trapped the Pomo people on the island in Clear Lake. Lyon ordered his men to kill their two Indian guides—one was shot, the other was hanged.

The original order given to Lyons was not to negotiate. The Pomos met the soldiers, peacefully, as they thought they would be able to negotiate. But once they saw this was not possible, a few Indian men attempted to thwart Lyon’s forces from getting on the Island. The troops then attacked and slaughtered the Pomos.

In an article 13 days later in the Daily Alta California, an army captain described the attack:

“They ... poured in a destructive fire indiscriminately upon men, women, and children. ‘They fell,’ says our informant, ‘as grass before the sweep of the scythe.’ Little or no resistance was encountered, and the work of butchery was of short duration. The shrieks of the slaughtered victims died away, the roar of muskets. .. ceased; and stretched lifeless upon the sod of their native valley were the bleeding bodies of these Indians—[n]or sex, nor age was spared; it was the order of extermination fearfully obeyed.”4

The army disputed this report and tried to cover up the massacre. But William Rhalganal Benson, a Pomo, exposed the attempted cover-up, stating:

“Many women and children were killed on around this island. one old lady a (Indian) told about what she saw while hiding under a bank, in under a overhanging tuley [bulrushes]. she said she saw two white man coming with their guns up in the air and on their guns hung a little girl. They brought it to the creek and threw it in the water ...  a little ways from she, said layed a woman shot through the shoulder. she held her little baby in her arms. two white men came running torge the woman and baby, they stabed the women and the baby and, and threw both of them over the bank in to the water. she said she heard the woman say, O my baby; she said when they [the survivors] gathered the dead, they found all the little ones were killed by being stabbed, and many of the women were also killed [by] stabbing....They called it the siland creek. (Ba-Don-Bi-Da-Meh).”5

At Clear Lake in July 1850, Major Edwin Allen Sherman said, “There were not less than  four hundred warriors killed and drowned at Clear Lake and as many more squaws and children who plunged into the lake and drowned... So in all, about eight hundred Indians found a watery grave in Clear Lake.”

“If Sherman’s estimate is correct,” states Madley, “the May 15, 1850, attack may rank among the most lethal of all Native American massacres in the history of the United States and its colonial antecedents. According to Sherman’s figures, it would have exceeded the 260-300 Hunkpapas and Miniconjous murdered at Wounded Knee in 1890, surpassed the 400-700 Pequots massacred at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1637, and rivaled the 600-800 Puebloan people killed at Acoma, New Mexico, 1599.”6

1853 Yontocket Massacre

In the spring, 1853, several Tolowa Indians were killed by vigilantes at Battery Point in far northern California (in what is today Crescent City). The vigilantes went after the Indians after one of them was seen carrying a pistol.

In the late fall of that year, at Yontocket on the California coast near today’s border with Oregon, the Tolowa people rendezvoused with the Yuroks and several other tribes from southern Oregon. The tribes came as a spiritual pilgrimage to pray on the sacred ground of Yontocket, which the tribes thought to be the center of their universe.

A large group of white vigilantes led by J.M. Peters organized to go after the Tolowa because they believed that the conclave at Yontocket included some of the survivors from the Battery Point massacre.

In the early morning, Peters and his vigilantes surrounded the village where the Tolowas were sleeping and opened fire on their tents. As the Tolowas attempted to escape, they were gunned down from all sides of the encampment. The vigilantes burned Yontocket to the ground, and Peters later announced that “scarcely an Indian was left alive.” Peters called his attack “a saturnalia of blood.”

At that time, it was not reported how many had died.

In 1963, an 87-year-old Tolowa, Eddie Richards, recounted the stories told to him about the massacre by his relatives and an eyewitness. They said that “hundreds and hundreds” of Indians were massacred at Yontocket:

“The white people got all around them.... Every time someone go out, never come back in.... They set fire to the house, the Indians’ house. You could see them cutting heads off. They stick them things into them; pretty soon they pick them up and throw them right into the fire. Some of ‘em tried to get away, run down the slough. Soon as they get down there, if they don’t get ‘em right away, they get ‘em from the other side when they come up. Shoot ‘em right there waiting for them.”7

The survivor told Richards, “the water was just red with blood, with people floating around all over.”

Another old Tolowa said she had been told that “the white people were all around, they just watched. Then they set fire to the place. Women try to get away, he grab ‘em, throw ‘em in the fire. Take pot shots at ‘em when they try to run.”

Another person recounted that he had been told that the vigilantes “killed so many Indians they could not bury them all, so they took the bodies and tied rocks around their necks and took them in the slough....and buried them that way.”

A Tolowa historian, Loren Bommelyn, stated that “Over 450 of our people were murdered or lay dying on the ground. Then the whitemen built a huge fire and threw in our sacred ceremonial dresses, and regalia, and our feathers, and the flames grew higher...they threw in the babies. Many of them were still alive...(Then they) burn[ed] the village to the ground.”

Madley reports that:

“So many victims were incinerated, submerged, or floated away that the attackers could not obtain a complete body count. White sources estimated as many as 150 massacred that morning. Still, this may have been an underestimate. Tolowa sources—recorded first in oral histories and later written down in the twentieth century—insist that whites massacred as many as 600 people at Yontocket. Even if we halve the latter estimate, Yontocket may rank among the most lethal of all massacres in US history. Yet, it remains unknown except to a few scholars, locals, and of course, the Tolowa.”8

The mass murder of Native Americans continued into the late-1870s. All told some 130,000 Native American lives were snuffed out—80 percent of the Native population in 1846—through massacres, murders, starvation, and disease carried out by the American military and American settlers.

The Criminals

Genocide of the California Native Americans could not have been carried out over this 30-some year period without many criminals taking part, including the government, the army, the mass media, and groups of individuals (vigilantes and the militia). Key criminals include:

U.S. President James K. Polk and U.S. Army Captain John C. Frémont. Frémont was sent to California in 1846 by Polk, who had designs on taking California away from Mexico. Frémont’s role was to organize and protect the American settlers in California from the Mexicans and Indians. When Frémont and his troops became a formidable threat to the Mexican government then ruling California, the Mexican government ordered him out of California. On his way north towards Oregon, Frémont and his troops committed the 1846 Sacramento River massacre.

The California State Legislature. The California State Legislature passed the 1850 Act for the Government and Protection of Indians. Between 1850 and 1863, this law facilitated removing California Indians from their traditional lands and separating at least a generation of children and adults from their families, languages, and cultures. The Act made Indians charged with crimes guilty until proven innocent. It established a system of California Indian servitude, in which Indian children could be held and forced to work without pay and any jailed Indian could be purchased for their labor. It also legalized corporal punishment of Indians.

The California state government spent over $1 million to fund the California state militias that went on Indian killing expeditions throughout the state. It was reported that these militias killed about 2,000 California Native Americans between 1850 and 1861.

U.S. government. As California’s “Indian War Debt” mounted, it meant that the state might have to halt the militia Indian killing expeditions. So, under President Franklin Pierce, the U.S. government stepped in to reimburse California for its “Indian War Debt” by passing legislation in 1856 and 1857. About this, Madley wrote, “This enormous cash transfer provided crucial funding for California’s killing machine and made the genocide an increasingly state and federal project.”9

California Governor Peter H. Burnett. In 1851, Burnett used a racist argument to justify the genocide of California Native Americans. He called for a war of extermination and said that it “will continue to be waged between the  races, until the Indian race becomes extinct...The inevitable destiny of the race is beyond the power  or wisdom of man to avert.”

Senator John B. Weller, who was later to become California’s second governor, told his fellow U.S. senators that California Indians “will be exterminated before the onward march of the white man....humanity may forbid, but the interest of the white man demands their extinction.”

The California press played a huge role in whipping up a racist fervor against the Indians and promoting genocide. After the gold rush started in California, the press began to ramp up its attack on the Indian population, which it viewed as a problem. In 1848, The California Star stated that the Indians would become thieves, and that “a continual war will be necessarily waged, for depredations committed, till all are exterminated.” A month later a columnist for the Star wrote that the Indians “are a burden and pest to the country, and gladly would I behold the exit of every one of these miserable creatures from our midst.”10

By the end of the 1850s the press became the main advocates for exterminating the Indians. The Red Bluff  Independent wrote, “It is becoming evident that extermination of the red devils will have to be resorted to before the people in proximity to the rancherias will be safe, or mountain roads traveled with any degree of safety except by parties of well-armed men.” In 1865, the  Courant wrote, “It is a mercy to the red devils to exterminate them, and a saving of many white lives...there is only one kind of treaty that is truly effective—cold lead.” And from the Shasta Courier, “Extermination is the only sure protection...and the sooner the remedy is applied the better.”11

The Alibi

The U.S. government, military and white settlers claimed they were only protecting themselves from Indians who were out to kill them. U.S. Army units would claim that they ran into a war party, so they had to defend themselves, despite the fact that women and children, who were a part of these groups of Indians being killed and massacred, would never have been on a war party.

The just resistance of California’s indigenous inhabitants to the genocidal attacks on them became a further justification to kill and murder more of them. A program of mass fear of the Indians was unleashed throughout California. Native American resistance to being exterminated was labeled aggression and proof that native tribes were at “war” with the white population.

Even when an Indian did kill a non-Indian, it became a justification for wiping out all Indians in the area. Madley reported that so-called punitive expeditions against Indians “chose not to differentiate between the guilty and the innocent.” This led to “the mass murder of any California Indians in the vicinity, regardless of their age, gender, identity, location, or tribal affiliation.” The need for collective punishment was used to justify the indiscriminate killing of Indian men, women, children, and elders, and theft or destruction of their property.

Running through all this was white supremacy and “Manifest Destiny”: the notion that the white “race” was inherently superior to other peoples, who were less than human, and that the God-given destiny of white people in America was to conquer and rule the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from “sea to shining sea.”

The Real Motive

There’s a popular conception that California (known at that time as Alta California) was stolen from Mexico. While this is true, the fact is that by the time of the gold rush, Mexico had lost control of California. President Polk coveted California and feared that another country might colonize it. At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1849, the U.S. forced Mexico to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which gave the U.S. control of the Southwest, including California.

Prior to the 1848 Gold Rush, the population of California was 157,000—150,000 Native Americans, 6,500 of Spanish and Mexican descent, and about 800 non-native Americans. Once gold was found, it was estimated that over 300,000 people immigrated to California by 1850, the year California became a state.

California’s 150,000 Native Americans practiced a way of life which often involved collective, not private ownership of land and resources, and required large expanses of land for agriculture, hunting and gathering. And from the beginning, California’s indigenous peoples justly resisted the theft of their land and the destruction of their societies. This stood as an obstacle to the white settlers’ drive to colonize and dominate all of California: to control and exploit its land and resources and expand the capitalist forms of exploitation they brought with them.

The only solution for the on-rushing hoards of white gold seekers (called 49ers) and colonizers was to get rid of the Native Americans and steal their land.

This genocide was also driven by the fact that half the population of California was non-white. Such racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity was not in accord with what was required by the U.S. to cohere the country and its new territory around white supremacy. A white, Protestant, English-speaking California was what the U.S. required.

Non-white immigrants were physically attacked and many killed by the white 49ers. The government imposed the Foreign Miners Tax Act that made it more difficult for those who were not white to survive. Chinese immigrants faced racist mobs. Despite the fact that California was a free state, the imposition of the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1852 allowed for Southern slave masters who immigrated to California to continue to have slaves.

But there was no one population other than the Native Americans in California that firmly stood in the way of a country based on Manifest Destiny and white supremacy. California was stolen from Mexico and its indigenous Native Americans—through a ruthless genocide against tens of thousands that nearly wiped out the state’s indigenous population.


1.  An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe by Benjamin Madley, 2016, Yale University Press, New Haven & London,  p. 3. [back]

2. Ibid., p. 48 [back]

3. Ibid., p. 112 [back]

4. Ibid., p. 130 [back]

5. Ibid., p. 130 [back]

6. Ibid., p. 132 [back]

7. Ibid., p. 223 [back]

8. Ibid., p. 224 [back]

9. Ibid., p. 250 [back]

10. Ibid., p. 65 [back]

11. Ibid., p. 330 [back]

Bibliography

  • An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe by Benjamin Madley, 2016, Yale University Press, New Haven & London
  • Genocide and the Indians of California, 1769-1873, Doctoral Thesis by Margaret A. Field, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • “The Heritage We Renounce: Gold and Genocide, True Story of the 1849 California Gold Rush, Part 1,” Revolutionary Worker #1039, January 23, 2000
  • Wikipedia—John C. Frémont, Kit Carson, Act for the Government and Protection of Indians, William Rhalganal Benson
  • California’s 1852 Fugitive Slave Law

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/553/american-crime-case-number-37-december-26-1862-lynching-of-38-dakota-men-en.html

American Crime

Case #37: December 26, 1862: The Lynching of 38 Dakota Men―The Largest Mass Execution in U.S. History

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

THE CRIME

On December 26, 1862, in the midst of the U.S. Civil War (April 1861-May 1865), and in the same week that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 38 Dakota Santee Sioux men sent to the gallows in Mankato, Minnesota. They were hooded and hanged simultaneously from a single scaffold, surrounded by 1,500 Union troops and a howling lynch mob of 4,000 white settlers. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

The 38 had been taken prisoner after the Dakota people rose up against the U.S. government on August 17 in the Dakota Uprising of 1862. The Dakota people had been under relentless assault for 10 years—with deceitful and broken treaties, their reservations encroached on, their annuities unpaid, promised goods late or never delivered, price gouging and other abuses by the U.S. government and their agents. In 1858, the government took half the Dakota people’s reservation and opened it to white settlement. During the 1850s, over 160,000 settlers flooded the area, seizing and clearing the Native Dakota people’s lands to the point where their hunting and fishing virtually ended and starvation loomed.

On August 15, when half-starved Dakota people asked for food from a well-stocked warehouse, the government food trader Andrew Jackson Myrick replied: “[I]f they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung,” which was cited by Dakota Chief Little Crow as the last straw in provoking the Dakota to revolt. Myrick was one of the first killed and his body found with his mouth stuffed with grass. The uprising was sparked off when four starving Dakota youths, on an egg-stealing foray, impulsively killed five white settlers.

The 38 condemned men were told of their impending deaths on December 22 while shackled in pairs and bolted to the prison floor. They were among the 303 condemned to die in a mass trial of 392 Dakota men. Each defendant had five to 10 minutes in which to defend himself before a military court. On one day alone, 40 were tried, charged, and convicted for “murder and outrages.” A law professor later noted: “Most of them did not speak English. They did not even know they were being tried for crimes. Most also did not have counsel defending them.” Little evidence of their “crimes” existed. So the U.S. government used some defendants, who faced charges and execution themselves, to testify against other Dakotas in multiple trials. One such defendant-turned-witness provided evidence in 55 cases.

After the mass lynching, the bodies of the Dakotas were thrown into a mass grave. It was dug up that night, and the bodies were distributed to doctors for use as medical cadavers. Later, small boxes supposedly containing skin removed from the bodies were sold in Mankato.

There was never an official count of the settlers killed in this war. Accounts of the death toll in the 37 days of fighting vary widely, from 77 U.S. government troops, 29 citizen-soldiers or militia, and 300-800 settlers as well as some 29-150 Dakota warriors. After the uprising, more than 1,600 Dakota men, women, and children were exiled to a concentration camp on Pike Island, Minnesota, where living conditions were so bad that infections killed more than 300. In April 1863, the U.S. Congress abolished the Dakota reservation, declared all prior treaties with the Dakota null and void, and expelled the Dakota people completely from Minnesota. To this end, a $25 bounty was put on any Dakota found free within the boundaries of the state. U.S. General Oscar Malmros offered a bounty of $200 to independent scouts for each Dakota Sioux scalp.

Little Crow escaped capture until July 3, 1863, when he and his son left their hidden camping spot to pick raspberries. Two settlers shot and killed Little Crow. His body was dragged down the main street of Hutchinson and firecrackers were put in his nose and ears. His scalp, skull, and remains were put on display in St. Paul, Minnesota, until 1971. Two other Dakota leaders, Little Six and Medicine Bottle, had escaped to Canada but were captured, drugged, returned to the U.S., and hung in 1865.

THE CRIMINALS

President Abraham Lincoln (March 1861-April 1865). Lincoln oversaw the breaking of treaties and the robbing of the Dakotas and other Native peoples of their land, livelihood, and often their lives. And he sent troops to crush their resistance. Lincoln made clear his white supremacist views. Speaking in February 1860, he asked “[W]hy did Yankees almost instantly discover gold in California, which had been trodden upon and overlooked by Indians and Mexican greasers for centuries?” He also argued that phonetic writing was what separated whites from “savages,” and that this ability had given rise to the fruits of civilization—government, culture, etc. In 1863, Lincoln said: “Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren.”

U.S. troops and their commanders who were sent to put down the Dakota uprising. Companies led by Capt. Joseph F. Bean, Capt. David D. Lloyd, Capt. Calvin Potter, Capt. Mark Hendrick, and elements of the 5th and 6th Iowa Militia. Col. Henry Sibley played a pivotal role in the 1851 treaty negotiations that cheated the Dakota of their land, and then led U.S. troops to suppress their 1862 uprising. Sibley also oversaw the military tribunal that convicted the 38 as well as the punitive expeditions against the Dakota of 1863. Gen. John Pope was sent by Lincoln to command the 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiments and openly stated: “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. They are to be treated as maniacs and wild beasts.”

Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey exiled the entire Dakota Santee people, offered bounty for their scalps, and said: “The Sioux Indian must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the State. The public safety imperatively requires it. Justice calls for it. The blood of the murdered cries to heaven for vengeance.”

Thomas Galbraith, Andrew Myrick, and other traders who withheld cash payments, food, and other trade goods owed to the Dakota people causing their increasing hunger, hardship, and anger.

The New York Times sensationalized stories of how settlers died and wrote racist depictions of the Dakota prisoners, fueling mass hysteria and bloodlust: “It was a sad, a sickening sight, to see that group of miserable dirty savages, chained to the floor, and awaiting with apparent unconcern for the terrible fate....”

THE ALIBI

The Dakota men were executed for the killing of innocent white settlers, and Lincoln was being lenient by hanging only 38 of the 303 who were tried and condemned to death by the military court.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

The Dakota Uprising was a just uprising and one of many by various Native tribes throughout the U.S. against the genocide being committed against them by the U.S. government and white settlers. During the 1860s, many Native peoples like the Dakotas were compelled to rise up by years of exploitation and oppression, including imminent starvation.

Lincoln explained to the U.S. Senate: “Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I ordered a careful examination of the records of the trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females.” Given only two men were found guilty of rape, he expanded the criteria to include those who had taken part in “massacres” of civilians rather than just “battles.” In contrast, Lincoln did not indict or execute any Confederate soldiers for such crimes.

It also may have been important to make an example of the Dakota people and their uprising because, despite having few fighting forces, little equipment like canons, and being outmatched in guns and ammunition, they fought very effectively against the U.S. military. For example, U.S. forces suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Birch Coulee on September 2, 1862, where a three-hour firefight ended with 13 U.S. soldiers dead and 47 wounded, while only two Dakota warriors were killed.

During this period, the Union, representing the interests of the capitalist class centered in the North, was waging the Civil War. At the same time, railroads were being built across the country and settlements vastly expanded. The robbery of the huge land mass from coast to coast occupied by the many Native tribes, the defeat of any resistance to this historic colonial expansion, and the outright genocide carried out against Native peoples were foundational to the growth and development of U.S. capitalism and the later rise of the U.S. empire.

 

Sources

BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian, 1:2, RCP Publications, 2011

Bury My Heat at Wounded Knee, An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown, Chapter 3, “Little Crow’s War,” Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970

Dakota War of 1862, Wikipedia

Sham Trials: The Traumatic Truth of What Happened to the Dakota 38,” by Konnie LeMay, Indian Country Today, December 26, 2015

The Dakota Conflict, documentary aired January 27, 1993, produced by KTCA, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lynching of 38 Dakota (Santee Sioux) men, December 26, 1862.

Excerpt on Native Americans, from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)


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

C. Native Americans.

1. The conquest, domination, plunder and life-stealing exploitation carried out by European colonialism in the Americas–including by the European settlers who founded the United States of America and expanded its reach on the North American continent through force and violence, as well as deception and other means–had a massive genocidal impact, decimating and devastating the populations of the first inhabitants of the Americas. As the boundaries of the USA were continuously expanded through conquest–and huge numbers of Native Americans were killed or died off due to this armed expansionism and the destruction of their way of life, the spread of diseases common among Europeans for which the Native Americans had no immunity, and other factors–most of the Native Americans who survived were forced onto reservations that were encircled and controlled by the forces of the imperialist state.

2. The defeat of this imperialist state has opened the way to overcoming the effects and legacy of this terrible history. As one key expression of the importance it attaches to this, the New Socialist Republic in North America shall ensure that the right of autonomy of Native American peoples within this Republic is upheld; and, beyond that, wherever autonomous regions of Native Americans may be established, in the general vicinity of the historical homelands of the various native peoples, the central government will also act to ensure that these autonomous regions not only have the necessary territories but also the resources that will enable a real flourishing of these peoples, within the overall framework of the New Socialist Republic in North America. The central government of the New Socialist Republic in North America will provide special assistance and support to any Native American autonomous regions, on the basis of the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution.

3. This special assistance and support shall be especially important with regard to Native American autonomous regions, but also with regard to concentrations of Native Americans in urban areas and other parts of this Republic–where autonomous Native American areas may also be set up–and with regard to the Native American population as a whole.

Such special assistance and support will also be of great importance, and shall be extended, to all the formerly oppressed peoples, and any autonomous regions and areas of these peoples, within the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Check out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) and order it online.

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you’ve already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world. If you can envision a world without any imperialism, exploitation, oppression—and the whole philosophy that rationalizes it—a world without division into classes or even different nations, and all the narrow-minded, selfish, outmoded ideas that uphold this; if you can envision all this, then you have the basis for proletarian internationalism. And once you have raised your sights to all this, how could you not feel compelled to take an active part in the world historic struggle to realize it; why would you want to lower your sights to anything less?

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:31

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/515/american-crime-56-the-1864-sand-creek-massacre-en.html

American Crime

Case #56: The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre

October 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

Site of the Sand Creek Massacre

The site of the Sand Creek Massacre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

THE CRIME: They came at dawn, November 29, 1864, 700 heavily armed soldiers of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry, led by Colonel John Chivington. They rode rapidly toward their target, a Cheyenne village near Sand Creek, where the people were caught by surprise because months earlier, representatives of the U.S. government had met with their chief, encouraged him to settle near the creek, and had promised him and his people peace and safety. As the soldiers approached, the chief, Black Kettle, raced to raise the American flag over his lodge in a show of solidarity; others raised white flags of surrender. It didn’t matter.

The soldiers opened fire with carbines and cannons, killing at least 130, almost two-thirds women, children, and the elderly. Most of the young men were out hunting when the attack occurred; otherwise, the death toll would have been considerably higher. Before leaving, the soldiers burned the village and mutilated the dead.

Captain Silas Soule, a passionate anti-slavery abolitionist, was appalled by the attack, which he saw as a betrayal of the agreement between the U.S. government, Colorado authorities, and Black Kettle. Soule refused to fire a shot or order his troops into action, instead bearing searing witness to the massacre. “Hundreds of women and children were coming toward us, and getting on their knees for mercy,” Soule wrote, only to be shot and “have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized.” Soule estimated that 200 were killed, all but 60 of them women and children. He also described how the soldiers not only scalped the dead but cut off the “Ears and Privates” of some.

Another appalled witness said: “I saw bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces ... with knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors...”

Colonel Chivington and his troops dressed their weapons, hats, and gear with scalps and other body parts, including the breasts they had sliced off and the vaginas they had cut out. They also publicly displayed these “battle trophies” in Denver’s public theater during intermissions, as well as at area saloons.

THE CRIMINALS:

The U.S. Government: The Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples had been guaranteed ownership of a large territory in eastern Colorado by the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. But in 1858 waves of white immigrants flooded the territory in search of recently discovered gold. By 1861, tensions between the gold seekers, many of whom decided to settle in the territory, and the Native Americans who had been promised the land, had heightened, sometimes breaking out into violent conflict. The U.S. government, in violation of the treaty, supported the white settlers and moved to take the land away from the Native Americans. In February 1861, Cheyenne and Arapaho leaders, including Black Kettle, were forced to sign a new treaty, giving up most of their land in exchange for a 600-square-mile reservation and annuity payments, although many among the Cheyenne refused to accept this new treaty, which they saw as a sellout.

Colorado Governor John Evans: In 1864, Evans, who had been appointed governor of the Colorado territory by President Abraham Lincoln, promised to provide sanctuary to “friendly Indians.” At the same time, he issued a proclamation authorizing “all citizens of Colorado ... to go in pursuit of all hostile Indians [and] kill and destroy all enemies of the country,” a position supported by Lincoln himself. So in April 1864, with U.S. government backing, Colorado soldiers began attacking and destroying “hostile” Cheyenne camps, based on Evans’ orders. At the same time, Evans attempted to isolate the militants by inviting “friendly Indians” to camp near military forts with the promise that they would not be attacked. Black Kettle, still hoping for peace, agreed to move his people close to Fort Lyon, near Sand Creek. In reality, Evans made no distinction between Native Americans like Black Kettle who were willing to compromise and those who continued to fight. So after Chivington’s massacre at Sand Creek, Evans decorated him and his men for their “valor in subduing the savages.”

U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington: A former Methodist minister and close friend of Evans, Chivington led the massacre at Sand Creek. For him, as for Evans, there was really no distinction between peaceful and militant bands—all needed to be “taught a lesson.” As Chivington said:

“Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! ... I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians. ... Kill and scalp all, big and little: nits make lice.”

The U.S. Congress and Military: When word of the Sand Creek Massacre reached Washington in early 1865, and primarily because of a huge public outcry, Congress felt compelled to investigate, and after hearing eyewitness testimony from Captain Soule and others, concluded that Chivington—who insisted that he had battled fierce warriors rather than slaughtering helpless women, children, and elders—had “deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre,” and had “surprised and murdered in cold blood,” Native Americans who “had every reason to believe they were under protection of the U.S. authorities.”

However, Congress took no measures against Chivington, and the condemnation itself was highly unusual, given that the U.S. government and military had broken countless treaties with Native peoples, such as the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, and carried out one genocidal assault after another aimed at exterminating all Native American resistance.

The U.S. military also investigated Chivington and decided there was no basis for court-martial proceedings against him because, by then, Chivington had resigned from the military. He was not jailed or punished in any way, except to lose his once-promising political career.

John Evans, like Chivington, was censured by Congress but also received no punishment, other than being forced to resign as governor of the Colorado territory, after which he forged a lucrative career building and operating Colorado railroads. Today, he is the namesake of Evanston, Wyoming; Evans, Colorado; and Evanston, Illinois, as one of the founders there of Northwestern University, where the highest honor bestowed on faculty members today is the John Evans professorship.

THE ALIBI:

Evans, Chivington, and others claimed that Chief Black Kettle and his followers were straying from the agreement to settle and hunt close to Fort Lyon and Sand Creek. They also claimed it had become nearly impossible to distinguish between peaceful and hostile Native Americans, with settlers complaining of increasing attacks on their land and livestock, compelling the authorities and military to broaden and intensify their attacks.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE:

It was the U.S. government and white settlers who repeatedly violated agreements and treaties leading up to the massacre of 1864, in order to seize and exploit lands promised to the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples.

The 1858 discovery of gold in Colorado was the immediate trigger for the events and betrayals leading to the massacre, but on a deeper level this was a grotesque expression of capitalism’s compulsion to expand, and the role the conquest of the West (as well as parts of Mexico in the war of 1846) played in forging and maintaining the white supremacist glue holding U.S. society together.

(In Colorado, and much more sharply in some other states, in the several decades leading up to the 1861-65 Civil War, the expansion of white settlements and the genocide of Native peoples also reflected the underlying conflict between the entrenched slave-owning class in the South and the new and growing capitalist class in the North. The question for both was: Which of these two would prevail, and for both, the key lay in being able to expand to the West. By 1864, the pro-Union capitalist forces were dominant in states like Colorado.)

This murderous expansion and conquest was justified by the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny,” a phrase coined in 1845 to express the notion that the U.S. (i.e., white Christians) had the God-given right to rule the entire continent “from sea to shining sea”—from the East Coast to the Pacific Ocean—and it would be sinful in God’s eyes if they didn’t exercise that “right.”

 

Sources:

Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, Harvard University Press, 2013

What Is the American Way of War: The Obscene Acts of Unjust War,” revcom.us, January 29, 2012

November 29, 1864: Sand Creek massacre,” history.com

Sand Creek massacre,” wikipedia.com

The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More,”smithsonian.com

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/466/american-crime-case-72-wounded-knee-massacre-en.html

American Crime

Case #72: Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890

November 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

Victims of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, where the U.S. Seventh Cavalry killed as many as 300 Lakota Indians, including children.

Victims of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, where the U.S. Seventh Cavalry killed as many as 300 Lakota Indians, including children. Photo: Library of Congress

Spotted Elk
Spotted Elk lying dead at Wounded Knee

Ghost Dance
Depiction of a Ghost Dance.

Civilian burial party at Wounded Knee
The dead being collected after Wounded Knee massacre

The Crime:

On December 29, 1890, U.S. government soldiers massacred nearly 300 of the 350 Lakota men, women, and children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The massacre took place near Wounded Knee Creek. Some of the women murdered were already widows whose husbands had previously been killed by U.S. troops. The Lakota Chief Spotted Elk (Big Foot), who was dying of pneumonia, was among those massacred.

The Lakota had been chased down by a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry under the command of Major Samuel Whiteside. They were later joined by additional troops of the 7th Cavalry under Colonel James W. Forsyth. The U.S. troops, now numbering 500, surrounded the camp and positioned four Hotchkiss guns nearby so no one could escape. (Hotchkiss guns were lethal, firing shells that exploded on contact, showering the enemy with jagged shell fragments.) The Lakota feared that there would be revenge in the hearts of the 7th Cavalry. This was the unit that had been defeated at the Little Big Horn when under the command of General George Armstrong Custer.

On the morning of December 29, the Lakota men were separated from the women and children, and were ordered to disarm. Unsatisfied with the number of rifles that were turned in, Colonel Forsyth ordered that all lodges and men be searched. In the course of the search, a scuffle broke out between the soldiers and one of the Lakota, a deaf man named Black Coyote (Black Fox), who had spent a lot of money on his rifle. In the course of the struggle, a shot rang out. Immediately, the soldiers opened fire on the whole encampment.

A Lakota survivor, American Horse, described the massacre:

When the firing began, of course the people who were standing immediately around the young man who fired the first shot were killed right together, and then they [the U.S. Cavalry] turned their guns, Hotchkiss guns, etc., upon the women who were in the lodges standing there under a flag of truce. ...

There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce.... Right near the flag of truce a mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing, and that especially was a very sad sight. The women as they were fleeing with their babes were killed together, shot right through, and the women who were very heavy with child were also killed. ... [A]fter most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed [or] wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys who were not wounded came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there.

“The soldiers lost 25 dead and 39 wounded, most of them killed by their own bullets or shrapnel,” Dee Brown wrote in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. “A detail of soldiers went over the Wounded Knee battlefield, gathering up Indians still alive and loading them in wagons. As it was apparent by the end of the day that a blizzard was approaching, the dead Indians were left where they had fallen.”

After a few days, and a freezing blizzard, the dead became frozen in grotesque shapes. Then these Lakota were buried in mass graves. At least one was buried alive.

President Benjamin Harrison awarded 20 soldiers Medals of Honor, the U.S.’s highest military distinction, to the butchers of the 7th Cavalry. This was the most ever awarded for a single battle in American history, before or since. Despite protests and demands, those medals have never been rescinded.

The Criminals:

U.S. President Benjamin Harrison: In late November 1890, President Benjamin Harrison ordered federal troops into South Dakota in the largest military mobilization since the Civil War. Considering the Lakota as “naturally warlike and turbulent,” he “placed at the disposal of General Miles, commanding the Division of the Missouri, all such forces as were thought by him to be required.”

The War Department of the U.S.

General Nelson A. Miles: Miles played a leading role in nearly all of the U.S. Army’s campaigns against the American Indian tribes of the Great Plains. During 1874-1875, he led the attacks on the Kiowa, Comanche, and the Southern Cheyenne. During 1876-1877, he forced the Lakota and their allies onto reservations.

In 1890, Miles aimed to crush any further resistance by the Lakota on their reservations. Miles and others in the U.S. government worried that this resistance was taking the form of the “Ghost Dance,” a group spiritual dance taken up by many Lakota in hopes it would reunite them with the spirits of their dead; bring the spirits of the dead to fight on their behalf; make the white colonists leave; and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Indian peoples throughout the region. While he did not directly order the massacre, Miles’ overall campaign to subdue the Lakota led to the slaughter at Wounded Knee.

Major Samuel Whiteside and Colonel James W. Forsyth: Carried out the bloodthirsty massacre at Wounded Knee.

       

The Alibi: The U.S. government had long justified its murderous plans to force Native Americans, including the Lakota, off their traditional lands and onto reservations by the doctrine of “Manifest Destiny.” This was the claim that God—or “Providence”—supported the territorial expansion of the United States. (This included the claim that white people and Western Christianity and civilization were inherently superior to the “heathen” Native Americans.)

In 1890, the public excuse given for the campaign against the Lakota was that the rise and spread of the Ghost Dance would lead to a violent outbreak by the Lakota. Journalists who accompanied the federal troops sent to South Dakota wrote inflammatory articles to spread fear among the whites who had settled on Lakota land, which led to hysteria by 1890.

The Actual Motive:

In reality, the Ghost Dance was a pacifist movement.

A former agent, Valentine McGillycuddy, ridiculed the panic that overcame the agencies, saying: “If the Seventh-Day Adventists prepare the ascension robes for the Second Coming of the Savior, the United States Army is not put in motion to prevent them. Why should not the Indians have the same privilege? If the troops remain, trouble is sure to come.”

But more to the point, the massacre at Wounded Knee was meant to be the final end to any kind of resistance by Native peoples—the last episode in the bloody history of the U.S government’s genocide of the Lakota. The U.S. government wanted to consolidate its rule over the original inhabitants of North America, further opening up the West to white settlers, and saw any kind of resistance among the Lakota as a threat to its ambitions.

In 1851, the U.S. government had promised the Lakota an enormous extent of land in the north-central U.S. in the Fort Laramie Treaty. The government broke that treaty, and signed a new one for a much smaller amount of land in 1868. But three years later it passed the Indian Appropriation Act, which effectively turned reservations into prisoner of war camps whose inhabitants had no rights and could not leave. When gold and other valuable resources were discovered in the Black Hills, the government divided up the land, between Native Americans who hated the concept of private ownership of land and white settlers to whom private property was everything. Native Americans were left with land nobody else wanted.

Sources

Heartless at Wounded Knee,” from A World to Win News Service, Revolution, April 18, 2013

Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970

Lakota Accounts of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, PBS Archives of the West

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, “Remembering the Wounded Knee Massacre,” Utne Reader, June 2016

WOUNDED KNEE MASSACRE,” Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, “Third Annual Message,” December 9, 1891

Jeffrey Ostler, “Conquest and the State: Why the United States Employed Massive Military Force to Suppress the Lakota Ghost Dance,” Pacific Historical Review, May 1996

Written Testimony of Mario Gonzalez from the September 25, 1990 Senate Hearing

Ghost Dance,” hanksville.org

Alysa Landry, “Benjamin Harrison: Busted Up Sioux Nation, No Remorse for Wounded Knee,” Indian Country Today Media Network, June 7, 2016

President Benjamin Harrison and Indian Policy,” Native American Netroots, March 18, 2014

James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and Wounded Knee, Dover Publications, 1896

Ghost Dance,” New World Encyclopedia

Hari Jagannathan Balasubramanian, “America’s Westward Expansion, the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee,” Thirty letters in my name, November 4, 2007

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/484/american-crime-case-64-the-us-conquest-of-hawaii-en.html

American Crime

Case #64: The U.S. Conquest of Hawai`i

March 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

Marines marched from the USS Boston to I'olani Palace as part of taking over the Hawai'ian government.

 

The "Honolulu Rifles," a heavily armed militia of 1,500 largely white businessmen, who patrolled the streets to put down any Native Hawai'ian rebels.

THE CRIME:

The Overthrow: On January 17, 1893, 162 armed U.S. sailors and Marines marched from the USS Boston, harbored in Honolulu Harbor, to Iolani Palace, the center of Hawai’i’s government, and set up camp. This act of war against a nation struggling for independence from foreign domination put the U.S. firmly in control.

Lorrin Thurston, the grandson of an American missionary who had the support of Hawai`i’s white business class, had organized a coup d’etat. And the U.S. had agreed to provide military back up. Thurston’s core conspiracy group, which included Hawai`i’s powerful sugar barons, joined the “Honolulu Rifles” a heavily armed militia of 1,500 largely white businessmen, who patrolled the streets to put down any Native Hawaiians who might rebel.

Queen Lili`uokalani, the reigning monarch in Hawai`i at the time, was in the midst of a struggle for a new constitution aimed at reducing the control of the powerful white elite and establishing independence from foreign powers. She now faced the challenge of the U.S. military and a gang of businessmen armed with modern rifles, machine guns and cannons. The Hawaiian Nation had only a small volunteer army and a few hundred outdated muskets. Facing a bloodbath, Queen Lili`uokalani surrendered under protest.

U.S. Government Minister John L. Stevens, who had been in charge of the U.S. military action, proclaimed Hawai`i a U.S. Protectorate (a dependent territory). A temporary government, the “Committee for Safety,” was formed to protect the white elite and terrorize the Native Hawaiian population. One week after the overthrow a new “Reciprocity Treaty” was signed with the U.S.—that guaranteed trade protections for Hawaiian sugar and most notably included the cessation of Pearl Harbor (which had already been identified as a potential U.S. military base).

The overthrow was met by immediate resistance—within days the Hawaiian people began to form organized protest groups. In the face of mass resistance a new constitution was written and the Republic of Hawai`i was proclaimed on July 4, 1894. The Republic was ruled by a single party controlled by white businessmen and Sanford B. Dole was its self-appointed president.

Queen Lili'uokalani

In 1895, a rebellion led by Royalists with the goal of reinstating Queen Lili`uokalani failed in its attempt to overthrow the Republic. The Queen was falsely accused of collaborating and was sentenced to prison. While in prison, she signed an agreement to abdicate her throne in return for the release of her jailed supporters. She was then held under house arrest in the I`olani Palace until she was pardoned in 1896. Thereafter she regularly traveled to Washington D.C. to fight against annexation and for Hawaiian Independence.

Forced Annexation: The 1893 overthrow of Hawai`i coincided with the beginning of an increasingly open battle within the U.S. ruling class over U.S. expansion and the U.S.’s relationship with Japan and Spain. By 1895 a draft plan to annex Hawai`i to the U.S. was introduced in Congress and Hawaiians began a new round of protest against annexation.

Then on February 14, 1898 the U.S. Battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor, Cuba; the U.S. blamed Spain for this and launched the Spanish-American War, which included fighting in the Philippines (then a Spanish colony). President McKinley, seeking a staging ground to deploy troops and supplies to the Philippines and expand U.S. power in the Pacific, moved quickly on plans to annex Hawai`i. In a campaign of jingoism—extreme patriotism in the service of aggressive foreign policy—the slogan was put out, “Remember the Maine” and the annexation of Hawai’i was forced through on July 7, 1898 and the U.S. appointed the first U.S. Territorial Governor of Hawai`i.

The century following annexation was characterized by the systematic oppression of the Hawaiian people. Their lands were confiscated by both “legal” and illegal means and their ties to the land were severed. Hawaiian language newspapers (of which there were many), were shut down and the Hawaiian language was made illegal. Flying the Hawaiian flag was outlawed, and genuine forms of Hawaiian culture were suppressed or made illegal. The real history of resistance to the overthrow and annexation was re-written and the myth that the U.S. had been welcomed was promoted. Certain aspects of Hawaiian culture were combined with fabricated fantasies, marketed to tourists—further alienating Hawaiian people from their culture.

People meet to plan opposition to the annexation of Hawai`i to the U.S.

Corporate plantation agriculture had a devastating impact on the health and lives of native Hawaiians, driving them off the land, and wiping out subsistence agriculture. Throughout the 1800s, waves of immigrant workers were viciously exploited as indentured servants.

Throughout the century the U.S. military built dozens of bases and installations, including Pearl Harbor, which today is the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Entire islands and valleys were “leased” for as little as $1 a year and used for bombing and live fire practice. Harbors became so toxic that they could no longer provide fish; wetlands so polluted they could no longer sustain wildlife, and huge swaths of agricultural land were poisoned. U.S. nationalism and militarism, especially punctuated by the events of World War I and World War II, further undermined the identity of the Hawaiian people. In 1959 Hawai`i became the 50th state.

THE CRIMINALS:

U.S. Minister John L. Stevens: U.S. diplomat who led the invasion of the U.S. military during the overthrow, after having conspired with white businessmen in planning a coup d’etat against Queen Lili`uokalani. Benjamin Harrison was the U.S. President at the time.

Lorrin A. Thurston: Grandson of American missionaries, who organized the “Honolulu Rifles,” a white businessmen’s militia; architect behind the coup d’etat of Queen Lili`uokalani.

Sanford B. Dole: Descendent of American missionaries and vociferous advocate of American control and/or destruction of anything Hawaiian. Self-appointed president of the Republic of Hawai`i formed after the overthrow. Appointed by U.S. President McKinley to be the First Territorial Governor of the Territory of Hawai`i after annexation.

U.S. President William McKinley: Aggressive advocate of U.S. imperialist expansion who signed a Treaty of Annexation in 1887, initially rejected by Congress, but then in 1898, in the midst of war hysteria accompanying the Spanish-American war, pushed through.

THE ALIBI:

The purported alibi for the overthrow was to protect American citizens residing in Hawai`i.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE:

The 1893 overthrow was to protect the interests of Hawai`i sugar planters, who had invested huge amounts of money in fields and mills, and were now facing increasing competition from the sugar market in the U.S. and a rise of Hawaiian nationalism. The annexation of Hawai`i was to fulfill the need for a “rest and re-supply station” for U.S. troops deploying to the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.

By 1881 there were rumblings within the U.S. State Department that Hawai`i should become part of the “American system” and in 1891 the U.S. permanently stationed a warship in Hawai`i “to keep a United States vessel there from this time on to guard American interests in the Islands.” The overthrow and annexation of Hawai`i were part of U.S. imperialist expansion in the Pacific: the U.S. saw it crucial to the control of Hawai’i—which could be used as a military base in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While the overthrow was set in motion by the contradiction between powerful white businessmen and the monarchy, the actual motive for the U.S. was imperialist expansion and the military control of the Pacific.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

Hiram Bingham, one of the first New England missionaries to Hawai`i, speaking about the Native Hawaiian people: “Can these be human beings! How dark and comfortless their state of mind and heart. How imminent the danger to the immortal soul, shrouded in this deep pagan gloom! Can such beings be civilized?”

Lorrin Thurston, Feb 3, 1893 [days after the overthrow]: “The trouble was, that the Queen did not wish to resign constitutionally, but instead sided with elements whose cry had for years been ‘Hawai`i for Hawaiians.’ The Americans and Europeans, who have by far the greatest interests there, are not willing to let the native spend the money which they have labored so hard to make.”

SOURCES:

Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai`i , Revised Edition, Tom Coffman, 2009

Aloha Betrayed, Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism, Noenoe Silva, Duke University Press
Native Land and Foreign Desires: Pehea La E Pono Ai? How Shall We Live in Harmony?  Lilikala Kame’eleihiwa, 2013

 

 

       

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/546/american-crime-case-number-40-the-cultural-genocide-of-the-north-american-indians-en.html

American Crime

Case #40: Native American Boarding Schools: "Kill the Indian, Save the Man"

June 4, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

In that light, and in that spirit, “American Crime” is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

THE CRIME: The cultural genocide of the Native Americans

The near extermination of the Native Americans in the centuries following 1492 is one of the great historical crimes committed by the rulers of this country—or any country. Credible estimates of the indigenous population in North America in 1492 are between 12.5 and 18.5 million. Through the combination of massive epidemics and the “Indian Wars” waged by the U.S. Army through the decades after the Civil War, by 1890 the estimated Native American population had been reduced to fewer than 240,000 in the U.S., and in Canada a third of that—a population reduction of 95 to 99 percent.

Beginning in the 1870s and lasting a century or more, the weight of U.S. policy toward the Native American population shifted from military annihilation to the forced “assimilation” of the survivors—making them “suitable” to be members of the society that had devastated and despised them.

“Education” became the key ingredient in the systematic process of cultural genocide of the remaining Native Americans. During the 1860s, schools organized by religious orders began to appear on reservations, aiming to convert the children to Christianity, teach them English, and train them to assimilate into the nation that had conquered and now dominated them.

But the U.S. Indian Commission concluded that assimilation could not be successful as long as the children still lived at home and returned to their families at the end of each day. Thus from the 1870s to the mid-20th century, it became U.S. policy that every Native American child would be taken from his/her home, family, community, and culture—beginning as early as five years of age—and sent to off-reservation boarding schools, where they were to remain for up to a decade in state-sponsored “educational” facilities. It is estimated there were as many as 500 Indian boarding schools in the U.S.: 153 federal Indian boarding schools and many more religious schools run by Christian denominations and paid for through contracts with the government. At its peak, this complex of boarding schools could hold nearly half of all Native American children at one time. A total of about 150,000 children attended these schools over their century-long existence.

Forced Assimilation through Education: Children on the reservations were taken from their parents and communities by force. Parents who didn’t cooperate had rations, clothing, and other assistance withheld. Police were sent to round up any children who weren’t made available. Beyond its enormous emotional trauma, the tribal leaders understood that the impact threatened the continued existence of their tribes.

From the moment of their arrival at a boarding school, the children were stripped of their indigenous identity and simultaneously indoctrinated to view their own heritage—and themselves—as something to be despised and eradicated. The boys’ heads were shaved and the children’s clothes were taken, replaced with uniforms. Their real names were changed to European names to both “civilize” and “Christianize” them. They were taught English and forbidden to speak their Native languages—even to each other—and were forced to abandon their Native beliefs and take up Christianity. All of this contributed to a sense that they had lost themselves.

Death by Hunger, Disease, and Overwork: The schools were run like military schools, marching to meals, and the “virtues” of patriotism and obedience were instilled. Their “education” was designed to serve an extreme assimilationist agenda, aiming to inculcate subservience. The curriculum in the self-described “industrial schools” focused on training, not education. The young women learned to become maids and household servants, or to work in commercial laundries. The young men were taught the skills needed to work for ranchers and farmers, or for factory, mine, and mill operators throughout the western U.S. And when the schools were required to be self-supporting, they functioned as factories or labor camps making money to pay for the schools' expenses.

Children were systematically found to be underfed and underweight—the result of the strict limits put on funds for food, together with the money taken by staff for their own use. This, together with forced labor, contributed to staggering disease-driven mortality rates. Epidemics of deadly infectious diseases were common, including tuberculosis and at times, smallpox. At the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, of the 73 Shoshone and Arapaho children enrolled between 1881 and 1894, only 26 survived. A 1908 study by the Smithsonian Institution found that, overall, only one in every five students was likely to be “entirely free” of symptoms of tuberculosis. Another study found in 1912 that 30 percent of all boarding school students had contracted trachoma, a contagious eye disease that can cause blindness.

Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of the children by those who ran these schools was widespread. Many of the youngsters died trying to escape the schools and return to their reservations. Those who were captured and brought back to the schools were brutally beaten. In fact, brutal physical abuse—torture—was brought down on boys and girls alike for any number of “violations.”

The Legacy of Cultural Genocide: Medical research links the boarding school experience with the current conditions of Native American society today. They associate the traumas of abuse, neglect, and separation from family and culture with high rates of suicide, substance and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and violence, and other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. One Native American scholar described “‘residential school syndrome’—a complex and intractable blend of devastated self-concept and self-esteem, psychic numbing, chronic anxiety, insecurity and depression.”

This scholar concluded that the magnitude of the destructive effects of the boarding schools on Native people individually and collectively, not only in the immediacy of their existence but in the aftermath, was and remains immeasurable. You cannot truly appreciate the impact of the genocide suffered by Native Americans unless the impact of the boarding schools is understood.

THE CRIMINALS

The U.S. government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were responsible for the creation, operation and oversight of the system of Native American boarding schools and the treatment of the children brought there for nearly a century. The abuse and trauma inflicted on these children were consistent with the purpose for which they were established—to carry out the forced assimilation of the survivors of a genocide into the society that despised and sought to destroy them completely. Theodore Roosevelt, as president, prior to taking office, said: “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are. And I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Col. Richard Pratt created and ran the model for these “schools”—the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. Pratt’s qualifications were based on his having been in charge of the Fort Marion military prison for Apache prisoners of war. The Carlisle school became the prototype of the comprehensive network of boarding schools which systematically brutalized, traumatized, and devastated 150,000 Native American children.

Various Christian denominations were complicit in the operation of the boarding schools. The majority of the schools were contracted out to a variety of Christian denominations, given responsibility for the “Christianization” of the Native Americans. Each church supervised the operation of the boarding schools within its area, making each complicit in carrying out the policies of cultural genocide that took place there. Physical, emotional and sexual abuses took place at Christian-run boarding schools. Students suffered beatings, physical restraint and isolation in dark cellars. Many students chose to run away. A Native American woman who survived the experience said they were taught that their language belonged to the devil; all things she’d learned at home were “ugly”; and that she “became ashamed of being Indian.” She learned to hate herself and her race as well.

THE ALIBI

Reform-minded white people argued that education in these schools was a key tool to help Indian tribes “assimilate” into the mainstream of the “American way of life.”  Indigenous culture was thought to be inferior, so people had to be taught the importance of private property, material wealth and monogamous nuclear families. The reformers assumed that it was necessary to “civilize” indigenous peoples, make them accept white men’s beliefs and value systems. That meant teaching them the skills, values, and beliefs of possessive individualism, meaning you care about yourself and what you as a person own. This opposed the basic Native American belief of communal ownership, which held that the land was for all people. As an 1856 U.S. Indian Commissioner put it: for assimilation to occur, it was necessary that Indians learn to say “I” instead of “we,” “me” instead of “us,” “mine” instead of “ours.”

THE REAL MOTIVE

Because the intention of the colonizers was to take everything possessed by the Native Americans, only the most thorough-going assimilation would substitute for the campaigns of physical extermination that had been relied on until then. This meant totally stripping Native Americans of their cultural identity and using “education” to inculcate subservience among the surviving population. An “education” designed to systematically deculturate these youths and simultaneously indoctrinate them to see their own heritage—and themselves—in terms deemed appropriate by a society that despised both to the point of seeking as a matter of policy their utter eradication.

In 1910, the U.S. Indian Commissioner described their policy as “a mighty pulverizing engine for breaking up [the last vestiges of] the tribal mass.” An 1892 speech by Col. Pratt captured both the purpose and the consequences of the Indian Boarding Schools:

A great general [Philip Sheridan] has said that the only good Indian is a dead one... In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.

Pratt’s dictum—“Kill the Indian, Save the Man”—captured the meaning of assimilation—Americanization—as applied to Native Americans.

 

The main source for this article is

Kill the Indian, Save the Man: The Genocidal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools, by Ward Churchill, 2004, City Lights Books.

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/615/showing-soon-trump-pence-film-en.html

Film Showings of Bob Avakian's Speech: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!

Locations for film showings

| revcom.us

 

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?

The hour-long film will be followed by a Q&A session at these showings.

Houston

St Stephens Community House
Monday, October 21, 6 pm
1755 Sul Ross St  Houston, TX 77098

 

 

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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

 

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

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/skybreak-bob-avakian-a-true-scientific-visionary-en.html

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

Bob Avakian–A True Scientific Visionary

| revcom.us

 

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

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

The New Synthesis of Communism and the Residues of the Past

by the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

Read more

Question:     One thing I wanted to zero in on a little bit on this point about what struck you in particular about BA—and I think you’ve definitely talked about some of that, but just to go a bit more at this point about BA’s scientific method and leadership, which was in evidence during the Dialogue—I guess a way to put it is: For anyone who wants a fundamentally different world, or even people who are beginning to question why the world is the way it is and if it could be different, what lessons should people be drawing from the scientific method that BA was applying during the Dialogue and, obviously related to that, his leadership as it got expressed in that Dialogue?

AS:     Well, if we’re going to talk some more about scientific methods and leadership—using scientific methods and how BA actually concentrates that kind of scientific approach—we should be talking about truth and what truth is. Because I felt that this was modeled during the Dialogue. I believe BA quoted Malcolm X—and it’s a quote I’ve always loved—I’m paraphrasing a little bit but at one point Malcolm X said something like, I didn’t come here to tell you what you want to hear, I came here to tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. I think that’s pretty close to the exact quote. I love that quote, and I love the fact that BA embodies that same kind of approach and attitude. It’s a very core part of his method. It makes his life more difficult, I’m quite sure, because it’s always easier to pander to popular, fashionable views: what do people say, what do most people think, what do most people like or not like. A true visionary...I believe that Bob Avakian really is a true scientific visionary when it comes to the question of the transformation of human society, I think he’s bringing in a lot that’s new, he is building on the communist science and the development of communism through previous periods, but he’s taking it a lot further and he’s got some really important conceptions and methods that are putting the whole science of communism on a more sound foundation and a much more inspiring and hopeful foundation than at any time in the past. So I think there’s a lot in his work to dig into.

And at the Dialogue, I felt that one of the things that came through is his commitment to truth. That might seem obvious in a leader—that, of course, you should be telling the truth—but it’s not just that there are corrupt leaders who lie to people and manipulate the truth. Sure, we all know about that. But there are a lot of people, even well-intentioned people, who don’t actually understand what the truth is in a scientific way. [laughs] There are actually people who function as if the truth is what most people think, or most people say. Well, if you stop to think about it for a minute, of course that’s ridiculous, and Bob Avakian gave examples of that in the Dialogue, including in relation to religion. For instance, I remember the example he gave of epilepsy—that in times past and under the influence of old religions from thousands of years ago, when people didn’t understand a lot of stuff, most people would have thought that epilepsy was caused by being possessed by the devil, and it’s only in fairly recent modern history that people have understood that it’s a disease and that it can be treated, and that it has nothing to do with devil possession or things like that.

But the point is that one of the things that BA consistently models, which is a hallmark of a good scientist, is being willing to go where the evidence takes you, and not looking at things superficially, but systematically and methodically digging into historical experience, and from many different directions—the historical experience of political forces, of revolutionary movements, of communist parties and movements, of the international situation—examining all that accumulated experience, and also drawing on other spheres, not just politics but also art and science and culture, all the many facets of human experience throughout history, in order to draw out the key patterns and the key directions of things and the key contradictions which come to characterize a phenomenon, or a particular phase of history, or a particular form of social organization. And then critically evaluating it, and figuring out on what basis it could be changed if it doesn’t meet the needs of the people.

One of the things I’m struck by, as someone who was trained in the natural sciences, is how unscientific most people are! Even very, very educated people, people with Ph.D.s in different spheres or whatever, are generally incredibly unscientific. They just have knee-jerk reactions to things. Very often, very educated people come across, frankly, like blithering idiots when they try to analyze phenomena in society, and that’s usually because they are basing themselves not on science but on populism, on what is the general consensus. I don’t really care what most people think, if it’s not right. You have to show me the evidence of why something is true. And if one person is putting forward something that is true (that corresponds to actual reality) and yet nobody else agrees with them, that doesn’t make it not true! Show me the evidence. And, conversely, if great numbers of people believe something to be true—“everybody knows this” or “everybody knows that,” there’s a general consensus—I have to say that, as a scientist, I don’t find that particularly convincing! You are really going to have to show me the evidence.

You can’t just tell me the numbers, you can’t play the numbers game, you can’t tell me that something is true just because a lot of people believe it.

One of the things that really captures this from BA, and that can be found in the book BAsics, is the statement that I believe is a real concentrated expression of a scientific method on the question of exactly what we’re talking about here: What people think is part of objective reality, but objective reality is not determined by what people think. That’s worth pondering and reflecting on. That’s the difference between subjective reactions to things and a real scientific method. Because what people think is important. It’s either right or wrong, it should either be encouraged or discouraged, it should either be reinforced or transformed. But in any case it’s part of objective reality and, so, of course, it’s important. But objective reality is not determined by what people think, no matter how many people think it or how few people think it. You have to dig deeper, you have to dig and uncover those underlying features and patterns. And that’s one of the things that is a hallmark of BA’s work and of the new synthesis that he’s brought forward. And it is in sharp contrast to what has too often prevailed in a lot of the political movements—even revolutionary movements, even communist movements—in past periods and even through today. It is shameful the degree to which there is not rigorous scientific pursuit of the truth among many people and many organizations. And it’s a problem in the international movement, among international forces today. There is often an unwillingness to critically evaluate the past.

One of the things that BA has argued for a lot is that we have to be willing to confront the truths that make us cringe. If you’re serious about trying to transform the world in a good direction, you have to be willing to examine past experience in a rigorous scientific manner. There are two parts to that: You have to dig deeply to understand what is correct in what was done before, in what was previously understood and what was previously accomplished; but then you also have to be willing to recognize where things went off track, or where there were shortcomings or mistakes made. That’s how we learn, historically, that’s how human beings accumulate knowledge, but it’s also absolutely necessary for transforming things in the right direction.

And, you know, there are a lot of wrong tendencies epistemologically. Epistemology is the science of how you think about thinking, how you accumulate knowledge. That’s what that is. And the question is, how do you know something is true? You should not be trying to determine what’s true just on the basis of how many people believe it or don’t believe it. You should also not be trying to say that the truth resides in superficial phenomena, like in an immediate narrow slice of experience or practice. You should not fall into pragmatism. Pragmatism is the view that if something works now, then it must be true. I was reading a good example about that in a very interesting piece that I would recommend people study. It can be found through the revcom.us website—it’s in the online theoretical journal Demarcations, which can be accessed through the revcom.us website. In this piece, there is an important appreciation of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis put out by the OCR, the revolutionary communists in Mexico, entitled “The New Synthesis of Communism and the Residues of the Past” by the Revolutionary Communist Organization (OCR), Mexico. It’s about some of the line differences in the international communist movement, and it’s an appreciation of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis in relation to that. And there’s a whole discussion of pragmatism in there, and how many people think that truth is whatever is kind of “convenient” for accomplishing certain objectives in a very narrow and immediate sense. The article gives the example of the thalidomide drug which was developed some time back to treat morning sickness and was touted as an advance in science. Well, it “worked” for that purpose and it got heralded, but it turned out that it hadn’t been sufficiently, deeply analyzed in an all-sided way, and it also led to children being born with tremendous birth defects. The deeper truth turned out to be how harmful it was, not that it “worked.” Well, that’s an analogy for the same kind of mistakes that can be made in the political sphere.

And Bob Avakian insists that everybody should act like critical thinkers, and really that everybody should contribute to the process of actually analyzing what is true and what is false in various kinds of phenomena. It doesn’t matter who you are, how much experience you have—you can be in the Party as a Party leader, or you can be in the Party as a new person and relatively inexperienced, or you can be outside the Party, you could be a critic of communism or you could be an adherent of communism—it doesn’t matter who you are. If you have principled methods, and you are willing to actually try to get to the truth of things, your contributions would be welcomed in terms of trying to advance knowledge and understanding. Now, you also should be willing to be subject to criticism yourself, from others who might punch holes in your theories or analyses. That’s what good scientists do. As a natural scientist, I had many good experiences that way, where I or other scientists would put forward some analyses of some things in nature and propose some experiments that could be conducted to uncover some of the deeper reality, and then you got your colleagues and friends together and they would spend the next hour or so trying to punch holes in your theories and questioning your underlying assumptions! That can be a very healthy and productive process (and fun too!), as long as it’s done in the right spirit (free of snark and ego) and with the right method.

 

 


 

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

The second theme is the critical role of revolutionary theory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE NEW COMMUNISM

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

Download PDF of book here

Read more

Breakthroughs —

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

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

 

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

Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian

August 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-48-en.html

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

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

 

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

"You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics."

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

Order the book or download the book in ePub format HERE

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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/616/suppressed-evidence-revealing-UCLA-police-lies-brings-UCLA5-trial-to-halt-en.html

Press Release from RefuseFascism.org

Suppressed Evidence Revealing UCLA Police Lies Brings #UCLA 5 Trial to a Halt

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For immediate release October 8, 2019
RefuseFascism.org

Media Contact: Mari Matsuoka 323 574-3997
msmatsuoka@gmail.com

As the trial of the #UCLA 5 was drawing to a close Monday, after the Revolution Club defendants testified about why they spoke out against Trump's treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin when he came to UCLA and how they were brutally arrested by UCPD on the direct orders of the UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor, the trial was brought to a halt when new evidence was brought to light. This evidence shows that the defendants who are being charged with resisting arrest were in fact brutalized by the police, and it exposes that UCLA police blatantly lied during the trial.

Attorneys for the UCLA 5 argued for the court to declare a mistrial. They demanded to know what agencies have been involved in hiding evidence which the prosecution was legally obligated to turn over to the defendants. Was it the UC PD? Was it the UCLA Administration? Was it City Attorney Mike Feuer? Or was it all of them? What other evidence has been suppressed? The lying cops were ordered by the court to appear today, October 8.

As Tala Deloria, one of the UCLA 5 defendants said, "Why has this 'new evidence' suddenly appeared at the end of the trial? Who is responsible for suppressing it this whole time? This is more proof that this whole prosecution is completely illegitimate, and is really about stifling dissent. At a time when the Trump/Pence regime is terrorizing and torturing immigrants, escalating the destruction of the environment, and even threatening civil war if they are impeached, we need much MORE protest and rebellion on college campuses. The UCLA administration should be applauding us, not trying to throw us in jail! We demand ALL the charges be dropped immediately."

Watch these videos of defendants Michelle Xai and Tala Deloria speaking from the courthouse yesterday on the suppressed evidence of police brutality and the active role played by the UCLA administration in the arrests and prosecution.

Defendants in this trial are facing up to two years in jail for speaking loudly when Steve Mnuchin spoke at UCLA.

The trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. today in the courtroom of Judge Christopher Dywad at the Airport Courthouse, Dept. 90, Superior Court, case #8AR01453.

To learn more about the case:

Activists Who Called Out Mnuchin At UCLA Now Face Months In Jail: Which Side Are You On?, Refusefascism.org, October 3, 2019

Activists Who Confronted Mnuchin During UCLA Protest Now Facing Years in Jail, Julia Conley, Common Dream, October 1, 2019

Video Statement by Stephen Rohde, retired Constitutional attorney and founder of the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace on the case of the #UCLA5

Video of Defendant Atlas Winfrey on the facts of the case.

 

 

Read about and follow the case:

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

Follow on Twitter

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/judge-throws-out-three-charges-in-UCLA5-case-en.html

Legal Updates:

Judge Throws Out Three Charges in the #UCLA5 Case, We Demand All Charges Dropped

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Closing arguments were made in the #UCLA5 case on Tuesday and jury deliberation begins Thursday. The #UCLA5 are members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club who are facing up to TWO YEARS in jail for speaking out in two separate events at UCLA, including during a speech given by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

1) Right before closing arguments, the Prosecution revealed new evidence including photos of bruises and scrapes on the two defendants that had been charged with resisting arrest and audio recordings that show the defendants were never read Miranda rights even after they requested the right to speak to an attorney! These prove that four UCPD cops lied on the stand, claiming there was no evidence of police brutality against the defendants. The judge was forced to dismiss three charges of resisting arrest against two of the defendants but refused to declare a mistrial, moving ahead with an illegitimate prosecution.

Why was this evidence suppressed until this late hour and by whom? What agencies were involved in hiding this? Was it the UCPD? Was it the UCLA Administration? Was it City Attorney and Democratic Party politician Mike Feuer? Or was it all of them? What other evidence has been suppressed? And what does this say about all the cases brought by the City Attorney against Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club, in coordination with the LAPD? Who knew what and when about the larger investigation, how high up has this gone and is it ongoing?

2) Despite the repeated claims from the Prosecution that these are not political cases but about simple violations of the law, the Prosecutor repeatedly brought in the political mission of the Revolution Club in her cross examination of the Defendants and in her closing arguments. She asked completely irrelevant questions about people’s nicknames, their membership in the Revolution Club, the fact that the defendants are communists, the content of people’s social media—going so far as to show the jury tweets from the defendants where they talked about why they disrupted Mnuchin—trying to paint this as if it was anything besides free speech.

3) In the trial, three UCLA Administrators testified for the prosecution, justifying a new UCLA policy and “arrest protocols” for controversial events. Mick Deluca, the UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor of Campus Life, testified that he initiated the arrests of the defendants within seconds of speaking to Mnuchin. The UCPD cops who made the arrest testified that they did not know what law had been broken, making the arrests on the say so of Deluca! But Deluca is not a cop and cops who make arrests are supposed to do it on the basis of “probable cause.” This would be like your neighbor telling a cop go arrest so and so and the cop does so on the basis of their say so, NOT THE LAW itself. The #UCLA5 case is a test case for this new UCLA policy, which they’re establishing to be the new norm on campus. This is unconstitutional and illegitimate.
_____

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

At this point, the trial is going ahead and the verdict is expected Thursday or Friday.

Sign this petition demanding these charges be dropped. Don’t let this repression remain a secret, spread the word about these cases. Donate for the political and legal defense.

Read about and follow the case:

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

Follow on Twitter

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/not-guilty-verdict-in-ucla-trial-en.html

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NOT GUILTY VERDICT IN UCLA TRIAL!

Editors’ Note and Update, as we go to press:

A very important victory was won in the trial of the UCLA 5, with all the defendants found NOT GUILTY on ALL charges brought against them. 

As we have noted before, this has been a case of an outrageous prosecution of people who bravely stood up to challenge a major representative of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The protestors, defendants in this case, were physically dragged out and brutalized by the campus police (the UCPD). Instead of protecting the rights of the protestors to speak out, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and its administrators initiated the arrests, and have actively collaborated with the LA City Attorney and the UCPD to bring multiple charges and put these heroes on trial. Instead of getting away with this, the prosecution of the UCLA5 was handed a resounding defeat, a victory for the people! This was the result of a real battle waged inside the courtroom and in society more generally. Authorities were simply not allowed to pretend that this prosecution was a simple matter of law-breaking and criminal acts. Instead it was exposed for what it actually was: a full-out political attack on people’s rights to speak out and protest fascism, and an attempt to silence future dissent and protest on the campus. This was part of a wider escalation of repression against those politically fighting the fascist regime and seeking its ouster through the nonviolent sustained mobilization of the millions who seek an end to this nightmare.  

This trial has tremendous significance—signifying great stakes, not only in what we are confronting and for the immediate and critical struggle to oust this fascist regime from power, but for the prospects and dynamics of radical change more broadly. With reportage and reflections from the defendants and those on the ground in LA, we will be covering this over the next few days, so stay tuned. Coverage will include aspects such as: people being selectively targeted, arrested and then brutalized for their political opposition; the way in which the Democratic-controlled LA City government, the UCPD, and especially UCLA acted as active facilitators for the fascist Trump/Pence regime; the fact that those charged refused to take this but instead made it a major battle, fighting back both politically but also working closely with the lawyers to take the offensive to the maximum degree possible even within the courtroom itself; the way in which the stand and honesty of the defendants, up against the viciousness of the Trump/Pence regime and its willing accomplices in the LA government, really moved the jury; the responses of the broader masses, the jury and its larger pool signifying something broader and potentially positive about societal mood and sentiments about this fascist regime; and the fact that the defendants are now going to further take the political offensive against the school for its complicity and the city for its utterly illegal and outrageously unjust, fascist-facilitating behavior.

Today, as part of this process, we are continuing to run the statement made by defendant Tala Deloria after the verdict. We will continue this coverage in the weeks ahead.

For immediate release October 11 2019
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This statement was made by Defendant Tala Deloria* on behalf of all the defendants in the case of the UCLA 5:

Today a jury in West LA returned a not guilty verdict in the trial of the UCLA5.  This is an important victory for the people—for the millions who hate the Trump/Pence Regime and who want to see them OUT NOW!

This is a prosecution of students who stood up to the loyal fascist in Trump’s inner circle—an arrest instigated by the University of California—and prosecuted by the “liberal” city attorney.  A jury not only saw through a case that included a judge erasing an important reference to the first amendment in the law in his jury instructions, and evidence about police use of force suppressed by the prosecution until the last minute—but saw as their responsibility the importance of people standing up and speaking out, and demonstrating their opposition with the only vehicle they have to meaningfully oppose a regime that MUST BE STOPPED. It shows how important it is that people do this and support those who do, and it shows that millions more must do the same.

When even speaking truth to power is criminalized—that is normalizing and facilitating fascism. That is something the University and the City Attorney are GUILTY of.

When the #UCLA5 defendants, including a student and alum, spoke out against Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at UCLA, we were physically removed from our seats and arrested within a minute of speaking. We were targeted by University Administrators who have crafted a protocol that is criminalizing dissent and violating constitutional first amendment rights of people using their voices to expose and protest a regime that is trampling over political and social norms, imposing a fascist America —where the press is "the enemy of the people," political opponents are "locked up" or sent "back to where they came from," where the rights of immigrants to asylum are abrogated as the humanity of LGBTQ people and women is under assault.

Many outrageous things came up through the course of this trial. Police reports recorded evidence of UCPD spying on the Revolution Club. Evidence was suppressed until the end of trial that proved the police brutalized us and lied about it on the stand, which compelled the judge to drop our resisting arrest charges. The jury was not allowed to see this evidence. The judge omitted a part of the law that could allow the jury to acquit us based on an exception for first amendment speech and assembly.
And we learned that our prosecutor held a meeting with UCLA administrators about how to handle free speech on the campuses AFTER we were arrested at the Mnuchin event.

The University is couching an attack on meaningful dissent in the name of free speech, but this is NOT about that. It is about facilitating fascism and collaborating with the very people who are gutting the rule of law and the separation of powers, crushing dissent and opposition, and imposing open dictatorship as they carry out and intensify crimes against humanity.

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.” (RefuseFascism Call to Action)

As this trial is taking place, this regime is refusing to cooperate with the one legal recourse Congress has, throwing this country into a full-fledged constitutional crisis. Trump doubled down on his genocidal, xenophobic rhetoric in Minneapolis. They are not backing down.

This acquittal is a victory. It is important that people on the jury saw the stakes and took the right stand, but this should never have gone to trial in the first place. And it has to be asked WHY UCLA and City Attorney Mike Feuer are going to such great lengths to prosecute people who were calling out and trying to prevent all of this. At a very time that the university should be protecting students, critical thinking, and the right to dissent this prosecution is an outrage and a facilitation of fascism.

This UCLA policy for “events that elicit protest” sets a dangerous precedent that needs to be challenged and overturned. But even more than that people must see that if this is allowed, if people do not stand up to it, and if people do not act themselves, we will again be forced to accept even greater atrocities.

The fact that we are being criminalized for opposing this juggernaut shows you cannot rely on the institutions of this putrid system. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have answers to the horrors their system perpetuates. They are confined to debates about the aesthetics of condemning people to death as the fascist program maintains the initiative. We in the Revolution Club understand it will ultimately take a revolution to bring into being a society that does not stand in the way of people working together to solve these problems. And right now, given that people’s positive aspirations from reform to revolution will be greatly foreclosed by the consolidation of fascism, given that humanity and the planet are at stake, every person of conscience, whether revolutionary or not, must be out in the streets demanding that this regime step down from power.

To the administrators who had people arrested, who testified against us, SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! As Bob Avakian put it, “It used to be a common saying to the person of the right ‘order is more important than justice,’ while for the person of the left it is the opposite. Now the question is put squarely to liberals, and really to everyone. Which, after all, is more important? Order? Even if that is the order of fascism, with everything that means. Or justice? Even if that means stepping outside of our comfort zone and putting ourselves on the line to prevent this fascism from consolidating its rule and fully implementing its program.”

University Administrators have shown themselves to be the most craven supporters of the fascists in power. Assistant Vice Chancellor Mick Deluca upholds MLK in the same breath that he makes sure we are arrested for opposing someone who has defended overt white supremacist statements by Trump—on behalf of Nazis in Charlottesville, rabidly denouncing those who took a knee in the NFL, and attacking Congresswomen with xenophobic, genocidal rhetoric. This virulent white supremacy is NOW IN POWER. They have shown what side they are on. Will the University Community go along as well or condemn this?

People will look back to this case to see the role the universities played in the face of this situation. Are students going to be good little Germans that kept their heads down and followed the rules, who did not speak up or defend their fellow students or will they act to stop this while there is still time?  It's up to US... Join us here in Los Angeles on the October 19th at noon to spell out the message on Santa Monica Beach #TrumpPenceOutNow.  Nationwide protests can be found here.  Let’s project this to the world together, building for every weekend after that to attract more people, staying in the streets until this fascist regime steps down. From Hong Kong to Puerto Rico, people are showing us, it’s not that goddamn complicated.

 

*Tala Deloria is a former student at UCLA and a member of the Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour and the Revolution Club, UCLA.  [back]

Activists Who Called Out Mnuchin At UCLA Now Face Months In Jail: Which Side Are You On?, Refusefascism.org, October 3, 2019

Activists Who Confronted Mnuchin During UCLA Protest Now Facing Years in Jail, Julia Conley, Common Dreams, October 1, 2019

´Policías de Los Ángeles mintieron en el juicio contra los #UCLA5 Jorge Luis Macías / Especial para La Opinión | 09 de Octubre 2019

 

 

 


UCLA defendants

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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/616/BA-on-the-big-screen-in-nyc-en.html

BA on the Big Screen in NYC—
“The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the National Revolution Tour

On Monday evening, October 7, Revolution Books in NYC and the Revolution Books Education Fund hosted a screening at Anthology Film Archives in the Lower East Side of New York of The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian (BA) that was given in 2017.

As people settled into their seats, they were welcomed and given an introduction to the film and Bob Avakian. Then, the theater darkened and BA appeared crisply on the screen, capturing and holding the attention of a rapt audience for the full length of his speech. Audible reactions to BA's depth of analysis, passion, ideological challenges, and humor punctuated the hour.

About 60 people came to this showing, which was fewer than we aimed for. We are still working to understand why more people didn't come – especially why there weren't many students or people involved in the different movements of opposition to the Trump/Pence regime and its crimes. A large percentage of those who did come out were Black people, which was interesting. Quite a few of them came through the work of Revolution Books.

When the lights came up, almost everyone stayed for a group discussion which wove back and forth between different dimensions of what BA had laid out and the plans set forth by RefuseFascism.org to launch the kind of sustained, mass, nonviolent protest BA was advocating for aimed at driving the Trump/Pence regime from power. These #OutNow protests will begin in Los Angeles and New York on October 19th, then spread nationwide on October 26, and continue to grow nationwide each Saturday through November 16, and then forward from there – uniting people from a great array of political perspectives throughout society to stand up and demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go – NOW! Or, simply: #OutNow!

Early in the discussion, a Black woman asked if we could get more into the solution. Several other people drew from the vision BA laid out of a movement from below that drives out the fascist regime – uniting people very broadly to take part. Members of the Revolution Tour united with and built on this, while also pointing to the need to go further – to the actual overthrow of the whole capitalist-imperialist system that has given rise to this fascist regime. When one of them directed people to the special compilation of American Crimes against Native Americans that was recently published at revcom.us, much of the room broke into applause. People were also invited to learn more about the revolution at the Revolution Books table where they could find copies of BAsics, of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and The New Communism, all written by BA.

At one point a young man suggested, “If revolution is too edgy for you, you can support Bernie,” celebrating his refusal to take corporate money. A revolutionary musician was respectful, but also straight up, in saying that BA was arguing for exactly the opposite of voting for any Democrats. We are facing fascism, it comes from the same system that those Democrats are part of, and if we want to end this we have to step outside the confines of that system. An older woman who works with RefuseFascism.org returned to BA's fierce and truthful argument that liberals need to stop looking out only for themselves and those they most care about. She emphasized that every time she hears BA, she is reminded that we are responsible for the children in the cages and others being affected by this fascism right now. A member of the Revolution Tour took on the idea that people should pick their “solutions” based on what suits their “tastes” (if they “like being edgy” or not, for example) as if they are shopping for shoes (“Are these comfortable?” “Are they my style?”). They contrasted this with the approach BA takes of starting with the reality we are facing and acting in relation to that, whether or not it makes us uncomfortable. We can and should debate our different understandings of this reality as we unite broadly to drive out this fascist regime before it is too late, but we should be debating reality not what fits our “tastes.” In reflecting on this whole exchange, it struck me how important it is that we have people who support Bernie and many different visions of the solution all coming together in the #OutNow movement to drive out the Trump/Pence regime and how important it is that we continue and deepen these debates over the question of reform vs. revolution and more along the way.

After more back and forth, another member of the National Revolution Tour spoke deeply to the power of this film and the need for many more to see it, and how everyone in the theater was in a unique position to seize on this and take it forward – or to squander it.

The formal program ended with three short presentations of how people can learn more and get involved going forward. First, a member of the National Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour powerfully laid out the mission of the Tour and called on people to get with the revolution. Next, a leader in Refuse Fascism delivered a compelling vision for people to join with RefuseFascism.org's October plans – including calling people to stand up if they are in. Almost everyone stood with real enthusiasm and feeling. Finally, someone gave an update on the case of the #UCLA5 and asked people to support them.

A real strength of the evening was how directly people were challenged and invited to get involved, but there was also an important weakness to learn from. People weren't really organized on the spot and this was linked to not enough actively working to involve people there in solving the many big challenges of pulling off this fight to drive out the regime – like reaching the numbers of people who must be mobilized, waging the kind of ideological struggle against national chauvinism and individualism that BA wages in the film, and more.

For the final 45 minutes of the evening, the lobby and Revolution Books tables – and, when the building had to lock up, the street out front – were abuzz with discussion and strategizing among people getting to know each other better and working together to find ways to act on what they had just experienced.

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/616/the-slaughter-of-the-kurds-en.html

The Slaughter of the Kurds, the Fight over "American Interests," and the Interests of Humanity

| revcom.us

 

This past week, Donald Trump withdrew American soldiers from a Kurdish area of Syria.1 This gave Turkey a green light to cross the border and attack the Kurdish-led militias controlling the region, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF had earlier allied itself to the U.S. to drive out the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist force ISIS.

In doing so, Trump came under political attack not only from the Democrats and sections of the U.S. military and spy agencies, but also some otherwise reliable Republican-fascist allies.

Four things need to be said about this:

First, this Turkish invasion will lead to terrible slaughter and excruciating suffering for those who are not outright killed. At this point, the only question is how bad it will be.

Second, with little concern for the lives of the Kurdish people, those within the US ruling class who have criticized Trump for this have largely either posed this in terms of what is best for “U.S. national security” or made a putridly narrow appeal to protecting American lives (“these Kurdish fighters are shedding blood to protect Americans from terrorist attacks by ISIS, so we should support them to keep doing that”).2 Trump defends this move in those same terms.

These phrases cover over the reality of a system of imperialist domination of the huge majority of the world’s people and nations, and the imperialist competition over who will be top dog. The U.S. military has murdered nearly ten million people since the end of World War 2 in defense of that system—a system which grinds up the lives of billions of people worldwide in its daily operation and which causes the needless death of millions of children a year through preventable disease.

Third, this is not the first time that forces which have gained the leadership of the struggle of the Kurdish people have tried to ally themselves with greater powers than their immediate oppressor—like in this instance, the U.S.—to gain some form of national self-determination. Every single time this has led to betrayal. This history shows what happens when the masses of people are not led to sharply distinguish their interests from those of the imperialists who promise them deliverance but give them betrayal, and continued oppression.

Fourth, this move by Trump and Turkey is occurring in the context of major changes in the Middle East. Great-power rivalry for the domination of a strategically vital part of the world is heightening, even while regional powers like Turkey and Iran seek to extend their sphere of influence and seek to contend in this mix. Differences and splits in the U.S. ruling class are really sharp over how to extend and maintain U.S. dominance, and this is what is meant by U.S. “national security” interests—the national interests of the U.S. imperialists.

In regard to the significant splits among the rulers that this has widened, it's important for all concerned about humanity and the danger of fascism to return to the crucial orientation which appears on this site every week:

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.

And to further quote Bob Avakian, who pointed to those paragraphs in his new preface to “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’” and wrote that “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.”


1. The Kurdish people are a bitterly oppressed minority who live in the nations of Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, and they are the main group in this area of Syria. [back]

2. Christian fascists have more cast this as a question of defending religious freedom against Sunni Islamic fundamentalist forces like ISIS. Christian fascists who are now in power with the Trump/Pence regime want to institute a Christian-fundamentalist fascist form of rule in society. They perceive and portray their fascist view of Christianity as under siege, and locked in a holy war for domination, and recast current conflicts in society in this framework.  [back]

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

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See also:

The Republican Party Is Fascist
The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
This System CANNOT Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!

Republicans, Democrats and U.S. Crimes Against Humanity: A Chart

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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/616/trump-blatantly-tramples-on-the-constitution-en.html

As Trump Blatantly Tramples on the Constitution and Whips Up His Fascist Mobs...

Do You Really Think That Just "Relying on the Process" Will Drive Out the Fascist Regime?

| revcom.us

 

This week the Trump/Pence regime has counterattacked in two ways against the attempts of the Democrats to impeach Trump.

First, the regime has gone further in defying the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, ordering all those in the regime not to obey what are in fact lawful subpoenas from Congress to testify and declaring in a public letter from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the whole impeachment process is by definition “illegitimate.”

Second, Trump himself has held televised rallies to further stir up, weld together, and prepare for battle the fascist mobs who support him. His speech to a crowd in Minneapolis was more racist, jingoistic, and misogynist than ever and his message to them was clear: “they want to erase your vote ... they want to erase your voice, and they want to erase your future.” These rallies are part of an all-out fascist mobilization for Trump, including through FOX TV (more accurately known as Fascist News Network).

In fact, those who support Trump not only fear their future may be “erased,” but they are willing—and the fascist regime is organizing them in these rallies—to fight to defend that future, violently if need be. The Minnesota rally featured a conflict between the mayor of the city and the head of the police union over whether the police could attend in uniform. When the mayor ruled that they could not, a huge number of police came as a bloc anyway, dressed in red MAGA gear. Trump crowed from the stage that “Cops love Trump, and Trump loves cops.”

In the face of this, can you just sit at home and watch TV and hope that somehow the Democratic Party-led impeachment process will go forward and actually remove Trump, while you stand aside or maybe ease your conscience by sending a check to some candidate? Can you really put your faith in these Democratic politicians to deal with this kind of thing? What evidence makes you think, given their sorry record of capitulation to this fascist movement over the past 30 years, that they will? In fact, many of these Democrats concede in advance that Trump will likely stay in office no matter what happens, because of Republican dominance of the Senate. Without massive, sustained, nonviolent action from below demanding that the Trump/Pence regime be OUT NOW, carried out by millions with the same conviction that this is a fight for a future worth living, do you really think Trump and Pence and the rest will just accept the result, if somehow he were convicted in a Senate trial? The outcome of this battle will be disastrous and potentially catastrophic if those who are on the side of humanity do not understand that the stakes here really are the future of humanity and are willing to act on them with at least the same level of conviction as those fascist mobs Trump marshals.

In this light, there was one encouraging sign in Minnesota—the thousands who came out to oppose Trump and stand up to the MAGA mobs. More, much more, of this spirit and these kinds of actions need to happen... and need to feed into a broad movement around the single unified demand of OUT NOW!, beginning in New York and Los Angeles on October 19.


October 11, 2019, Minneapolis protest against Trump. Photo: Lorie Shaull/Flickr

Now More Than Ever!

We have $400 to go to meet our goal of raising $1,000 in new sustainers by the end of October—become a sustainer, increase your sustainer, donate generously.

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

 

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