revcom.us, November 4, 2019 through November 10, 2019 (#620)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

| revcom.us

#OUTNOW!

#OUTNOW!

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

Into the streets Saturday, November 16

MASS DEMONSTRATIONS, In cities and towns across the country, take to the streets with the demand:
TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

Everyone who is anguished and outraged by what the Trump/Pence regime is doing, join us in the streets on Saturday November 16 with signs and banners with the single unifying demand: Trump/Pence Out Now!

You, your school, your place of worship, your community, your organization, your cause, needs to show that people in this country are determined to stop the Trump/Pence regime from doing further damage to the people and planet NOW! The way to remove this regime is by sustained mass non-violent protest. Around the world people are taking to the streets in continuing protests demanding regime change – inspiring all of us with hope through their determination to show up week after week until they win. We can do no less here.

November 16 is the culmination of 4 weeks of launching the #OUTNOW! Movement. The purpose of these 4 weeks has been to launch, to model, and to forge a beginning force to inspire and cohere a movement with determination and unity for one goal: the removal of the Trump/Pence regime—now!

Spread the word of 11/16. Organize friends, your group, your cause out on 11/16. Let's show people in this country and the world: we will not adjust to the injustice and crimes of Trump & Pence. We will come out again and again until this regime is gone.

 

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

Click here for PDFs of printable flyers

For much more about #OUTNOW, visit 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/620/first-take-saturday-protests-hitting-with-impact-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

First Take: Saturday's #OUTNOW Protests Hitting With Impact, Needing to Grow

| revcom.us

 

In the third of five weeks of protests to launch the #OUTNOW Movement, determined cores of people took to the streets in protests across the country to raise the demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—NOW! From the howling rain and cold of Detroit streets to spirited marches that intersected with Día de los Muertos celebrations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, from a determined duo who protested outside Trump Hotel in DC to more than 100 boisterous protesters outside Trump’s appearance at Madison Square Garden in NYC, this movement has grown in its broad impact and deepened the understanding and commitment of those who have stepped forward. In Atlanta, two people drove up from southern Georgia to take part after seeing Cornel West speak about the movement on Don Lemon’s CNN show.

Everywhere, the response from people on the sidelines was overwhelmingly positive. Yet, we have not begun to set off the kind of chain reaction of growth which we are going to need to achieve to succeed. This is something we are all going to have to work on together, how to reach more of the people who are hungry for a way to act now—and how to move many more into seeing the need to join us in taking to the streets to demand: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

In a piece that highlighted Trump’s visit to the UFC Mixed Martial Arts fight in New York City, Spectrum News and NY1 ran beautiful pictures of the #OUTNOW protests while commenting: “RefuseFascism.org organized the protest as part of what they call their #OUTNOW campaign which is all about getting President Trump out of office now. Before coming to Madison Square Garden, they traveled to Trump Tower, kicking things off at Union Square. They say that Americans need to act now, not to wait for the next election or the impeachment inquiry to move forward. They say Americans need to take a page out of the playbook from other nations who have fought to get unwanted elected officials out of power.” Videos tweeted out by AP News Service have been seen over 160,000 times, other videos circulated very widely on social media, and coverage of Trump’s appearance at the UFC fight included mentions and pictures of RefuseFascism.org in CNN, NY Daily News, NY Post, and many more places. Tens of thousands watched livestreams of this protest on ACT.TV.

In many places, the protests were marked by the further forging and tempering of new members of the #OUTNOW Movement. People who have come back in Los Angeles every week since the first protest when it was attacked viciously by fascists. Several students from different colleges in NYC who have returned three weeks in a row succeeded in bringing a few more from their campuses this week for the first time. A group of “Mamas” brought their kids to the protest and held together a sign that read, “ALL kids are OUR kids.” Several of them spoke to why they were there, emphasizing that they feel as responsible for the children who have been separated from parents at the border and locked in cages as they do for their own children. Speakers from Chile and Brazil connected the mass struggles in their countries to the fight they hope to see grow massively in the United States to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. And this week, Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated 5 (formerly the Central Park 5), posted a powerful video (seen over 16K times) of himself in conversation with Carl Dix, calling for people to join in taking to the streets with the #OUTNOW Movement.

All this points to the real potential that exists for the #OUTNOW Movement and single unifying demand, The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—NOW!, to unite people very broadly and bring forward the kind of society-wide resistance necessary to drive the regime from power.

Yet, there are big challenges to confront. Thus far, the broad support these protests continue to inspire is far too passive—it matters that people cheer, honk, and give a thumbs up when the protests march by or when they see footage on social media, but it is not even close to good enough. Trump and his regime is hammering ahead in implementing his fascist program—this past week, to give just one example, Trump announced plans for a military-style police “surge” against the inner cities in this country and green-lighted the release of $600 million worth of military surplus equipment to police departments around the country. All too many still feel that they can wait for 2020 or that somehow the impeachment process on its own will be enough to stop the nightmare being imposed by the Trump/Pence regime. It is imperative that this #OUTNOW Movement, which holds such potential, make significant leaps in the coming weeks—in further growing and tempering the forces of RefuseFascism.org that are at the core of initiating this #OUTNOW Movement and in setting off a dynamic through which many other forces from their own perspectives take up the #OUTNOW demand for the removal of the Trump/Pence regime as their own and in their own ways. As is spoken to in the piece, Join the #OUTNOW! Movement: “Achieving any demand for justice—for immigrants, women, LGBTQ, environment, against white supremacy, against unjust wars—requires driving out the regime.” Working for this movement to make these kinds of leaps is something everyone involved in this movement and everyone concerned about the future needs to work together to solve.

We urge everyone to continue to take this movement out far and wide, spreading this Call for the launch of the #OUTNOW protests and to write in with their ideas and questions about how we make the next big advance in size and impact. We also urge everyone to tune in for this week’s #OUTNOW Wednesday Webinar—and to invite others very broadly to do the same—where we will dig into the Christian fascist elements of the Trump/Pence fascist program and wrestle together with how to make the next big advance.

 

Tune in for this week’s #OUTNOW Wednesday Webinar:

The #OUTNOW Half-Time Huddle

9 pm EST, November 6
Register: tinyurl.com/y4sgaxjo or watch live on: facebook.com/refusefascism

Featuring:

  • A special conversation with the Refuse Fascism National Editorial Board half-way through the 5-week launch of the #OUTNOW Movement
  • Exposure of the role of Christian fascism in the Trump/Pence fascist regime
  • Conversation with a student organizer

We received this from RefuseFascism.org

Write to info@refusefascism.org with your ideas, experiences, questions about how we make the next big advance in size and impact.

NYC November 2, 2019: Trump/Pence #OutNow from Union Sq to Madison Square Garden


At Madison Square Garden, where Trump attended a UFC event


New York City march


Harlem, NYC (Read more)


Philadelphia


Los Angeles

 

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/on-the-impeachment-hearings-and-the-need-to-drive-out-the-fascist-regime-en.html

On the Impeachment Hearings and the Need to Drive Out the Fascist Regime

| revcom.us

 

This week the Democrats voted to further open up the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. As this process has unfolded, different political forces have focused efforts on supporting, influencing or pushing forward impeachment. And it is not uncommon to meet progressive-minded people who see the Democrats as fighting for them in this and relying on this process alone, and to miss the importance of sustained nonviolent mass action in the streets demanding the ouster of the entire fascist regime. In this light, we are reprinting the Fall 2019 note added by the author to Bob Avakian’s “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress.’”

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

 

 

 

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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/619/a-guide-to-full-out-fascist-repression-en.html

Trump's Speech to Pig Chiefs...

A Blueprint For Full-Out Fascist Repression Of Oppressed Communities

| revcom.us

 

If you want to know what full-out fascism could look like, especially in the “inner city”—if you want a sense of how much worse, qualitatively worse, it could be—then you need to learn what Trump said in his speech this week to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago. To capture some of the “highlights”:

* Trump recounted at great length his story of the motorcycle cop who told Trump that he could solve the shootings going on among the masses in one day. According to Trump, this cop said, “we know the names of all the bad guys.” Think about the implications. This would mean a massive sweep of people for no other reason than the cops think they are “bad.” Because cops are trained to think that all Black and Latino people are “bad,” this would almost certainly mean a massive lockdown of every majority Black or Latino neighborhood in Chicago.

Now the repression is already extremely heavy in these neighborhoods, but if you think this will just be more of the same you’re mistaken. To draw an analogy, India has for decades viciously repressed the people of the area of Kashmir, with murder, torture, and false imprisonment. But after he was re-elected, the fascist Indian Prime Minister Modi took this to another level. Overnight and without warning, Modi cut off all cell phone and internet communication in Kashmir, closed all the schools, called a curfew, and has kept it that way for months, occupying the area with a massive number of troops. That is how fascists like Modi—and his supporter Trump—do it when they “solve the problem in one day.” And don’t tell yourself “it can’t happen here.”1

* Trump announced a new program called “The Surge,” to be headed by Attorney General William Barr. The name of this program is designed to call up echoes of the U.S. military offensives in Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2012, which were also called surges. By labeling it “The Surge” Trump is clearly signaling that this will be analogous to what U.S. troops do when establishing an occupation in hostile provinces in nations that they have invaded, which always includes massive killing, wounding, and brutalizing of civilians as “collateral damage.” And very important: He is equating the masses of Black and Latino people in these neighborhoods with “the enemy” in time of war.

In line with this, Trump announced that $600 million in military equipment would be given to police departments. Again, military equipment—to be used against who? In what areas?

* Trump announced a new commission to make recommendations on how police handle homeless and mentally ill people. These two populations are already at extreme risk of brutalization and murder by police; if you don’t think so, go on YouTube and you can see video after video showing incidents in which a professional or even a regular human being could have de-escalated or helped someone who was having a breakdown, and where cops instead killed the person. But if you think that Donald Trump is going to construct a program to make police more helpful to these populations—providing them with needed social services and using de-escalation techniques when they’re stressed out, instead of brutalizing and even murdering people—you have not been paying attention.

* Trump reiterated his determination to further militarize the border, slandered immigrants in general, and bragged about the stepped-up repression that his administration has unleashed. He attacked those who oppose him as “far-left activists who want to erase America’s border and nullify our federal laws.” And then called on the pig chiefs to repress these “activists,” saying, “We can’t let that happen.”

* He bragged about how he has stocked the judiciary with judges sympathetic to his views. And in fact, Trump has filled the judiciary with judges faster than either Bush or Obama, choosing them for their reactionary views and their youth (which makes it much more probable they will serve a long time).

An Escalation of an Already Horrific Situation

To be clear, the situation in U.S. cities is already one in which police run rampant, with pigs in New York City for example, killing six people in five weeks. The situation is already one in which mass incarceration targeting Black, Latino, and Native people in particular continues to grind on. Already one in which the police, in short, are an arm of dictatorship over the masses and over the oppressed peoples in particular, as well as those who stand up against the system. Chicago under Police Chief Eddie Johnson continues to witness the brutalization and murder of masses by police. See:

The Revolution Club in Chicago continues to be repressed by that same police force. See—

Cops refuse to let Black youth gather in the downtown area (sometimes arresting them, sometimes loading them on locked trains heading to the ghetto neighborhoods, and always harassing them) and the city itself has embarked on new initiatives intensifying all this. Indeed, as this is being written the police are attempting to silence Refuse Fascism’s scheduled demonstration in downtown Chicago’s “free speech area” on November 2.

But all this is not nearly enough for Trump. A major part of Trump’s speech was an attack on Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson for not “doing enough” to clamp down on the masses. Johnson had said he would not attend because of Trump’s racist attacks on Black people. Rather than contest Johnson’s charge, Trump said that Johnson should “change his values.” Trump’s conflict with Eddie Johnson is not over whether to embark on a major escalation but a) whether the society should be openly organized on a white supremacist basis or whether there should be a “multicultural” ethos which gives some recognition to oppressed nationalities (and other “minority” groups) and even “diversifies” ruling-class institutions and structures, while preserving the essential content of white supremacist and male supremacist relations that are indispensable to the system’s functioning; and b) whether to take this to a full-out leap to fascism, where the masses of people have absolutely no rights whatsoever and where Black, Latino, Native American, and other oppressed nationalities are targeted for a “fast” genocide. If Trump is able to consolidate his grip and move his agenda forward—and again, remember what happened with Modi in India—this will be immeasurably and qualitatively worse, for the lives of millions of people right now and for the prospects of revolution itself. His speech to the police chiefs and his continued agitation to pigs in general is not only to encourage them in the brutality they already carry out but to mobilize them in support of the leap to fascism he is trying to effect.

To be clear: it is very good that several thousand people came out to the streets to oppose Trump’s appearance. But people also need to pay attention to what came out of his mouth. He is telling you where he will take things. And to prevent that will require not just coming out once, but turning out repeatedly, beginning now week after week, building from the thousands to the millions, in massive, sustained, nonviolent demonstrations, designed to drive the whole regime from power, as has been done and is being done right now in other countries around the world.


1. Kashmir is a majority-Muslim state that joined the majority-Hindu Indian union in the context of a degree of mutually-agreed upon regional autonomy. In recent years, as Hindu fascism has ascended in India, so have low-level rebellion and insurgencies in Kashmir for independence (some influenced by Islamic fundamentalism and given backing by Pakistan). In the context of low-level skirmishes between insurgents and an occupying force of the Indian army which has historically committed tremendous human rights violations, Modi, a full-fledged Hindu fascist ruler, moved “decisively” after his re-election, justifying this as crackdown on “terrorism”: completely revoking Kashmir’s autonomy, however limited it was, and locking the whole state down, with complete denial of basic democratic rights and civil liberties for the people of Kashmir, arresting mainstream political leaders, completely shutting communications, schools, etc. [back]

Trump and Modi at the United Nations in New York. Photo: AP

Trump and Modi in Houston. Photo: AP

 

Pigs Cheering Trump at International Association of Chiefs of Police meeting in Chicago. Photo: IACP

See also:

Thousands Demonstrate Against Trump as He Attacks "Far‑left Activists" and Once Again Threatens Repression Against Black and Latino Community

 

 

 

We've raised $2,560 in our year-end fund drive—that leaves $4,440 to go by the new year! Donate generously or sustain now! .

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/619/under-the-radar-move-to-christian-fascist-theocratic-usa-en.html

Trump/Pence Regime—Racing Towards Theocracy at an Accelerating Pace

| revcom.us

 

AVAILABLE AS PDF FOR PRINTING IN PAMPHLET FORM:

The Under-the-Radar Move to a Christian-Fascist Theocratic USA

In his 2017 speech The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us, Bob Avakian analyzed the importance and nature of the “deal” that had been struck between Donald Trump and the Christian fascists. He said:

Trump, I think it’s fair to say, could not have won the election if the Christian Fascists ... not only if they had opposed him, but if they’d been unenthusiastic about him.... And ... even when the ... pussy-grabbing thing came out, they didn’t turn against him (...Jerry Falwell, Jr. and all these others)—because they recognized: “Here is somebody who is going outside of the whole rules and the way this is done in the ‘swamp of Washington,’ who will actually carry through on this stuff [like outlawing abortion and suppressing gay people].”... And Trump, for his part, recognized that if he didn’t get this force behind him, he was not going to be able to do it....

Pence is obviously a critical linchpin in this ... uniting of what’s represented by Trump ... and the Christian Fascists.... [T]he regular bourgeois institutions, ... like CNN, the Democratic Party and so on, ... they keep saying: “He can’t do that, that’s not the way things are done.” But then [Trump] does it, because he’s not playing by those rules. He’s not working within the norms as they’ve been. He is going directly up against them, precisely as an important part of what he’s doing.

The force of this alliance has been intensified by the current impeachment attempt launched by the Democrats and will likely grow even sharper, particularly if the regime is able to fully consolidate fascism as the outcome of this crisis. On October 11, Attorney General William Barr—who is supposed to be the highest law enforcement officer in the land and as such an impartial enforcer of the Constitution—trampled all over the constitutional separation of church and state in a speech. Barr said that “secularism”—that is, again, what is supposed by constitutional mandate to be the basic principle of governance in the U.S.—is the source of vast social problems, whereas “Judeo-Christian moral standards are ... God’s instruction manual in the best running of man and the best operation of human society.” (See “At Notre Dame, William Barr Lays Out A Christian Fascist Nightmare,” by Coco Das, from RefuseFascism.org.)

Yet this is still either outside the notice of, or being denied by, way too many people. The following chart gives a sense of how this has been playing out. It is likely that Trump will rely even more strongly on this section of society, with yet more moves toward outright theocracy (rule by religion), as the conflict intensifies.

 

Table of Contents

I.    Hard-Core Christian Fascists Have Been Given Control of Key Levers of Power

II.   Breaking Down the Separation of Church and State

III.   Applying “End-Times” Theology as a Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy

IV.   Building Up the Armed Forces for a Christian Holy War

V.    Attacks on Women’s Reproductive Rights

VI.   Attacks on LGBTQ People

VII.  Putin’s Russia as a “Model” for America’s Theocrats

VIII. Rallying the Christian Fundamentalist Base in the Face of the Impeachment Challenge

I. Hard-Core Christian Fascists Have Been Given Control of Key Levers of Power

Under the radar, Christian fascists have been consolidating power in key branches of government.

The Cabinet—The vice president and the heads of powerful departments of the government. At least eight of the 15 members are Christian fascists.

Vice President Mike Pence

Pence describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” As governor of Indiana he was known for his hostility to LGBTQ rights (even supporting barbaric “conversion therapy” at one point). Trump has joked that Pence “wants to hang them all”—“them” being gay people. Governor Pence was equally hostile to women’s reproductive and abortion rights. Gripped by the biblical view of women as “temptresses,” Pence won’t even be alone in a room with a woman other than his wife.

Pence also believes that the creation of the state of Israel was a “miracle,” the fulfillment of a millennia-old “prophecy,” that it showed “the hand of heaven” at work, and that for that reason, “President Trump stands without apology for Israel, and he always will.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo expressed his world-view in remarks to a church group in 2014: “The threat to America is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer. They abhor Christians ... we pray and stand and fight and make sure we know that Jesus Christ as our savior is truly the only solution for our world.” At a “God and Country” rally in 2015, he declared that “To worship our lord and celebrate our nation at the same place is not only our right, it is our duty.” He quoted a fellow fanatic1: “America had worshipped other Gods and called it multiculturalism. We’d endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.” And Pompeo went on: “We will continue to fight these battles...” because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.” [For more on “the Rapture,” see “Applying ‘End-Times’ Theology as a Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy,” below]. Pompeo has also said that it was “possible” that Trump has been “raised” by God “to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.”

Attorney General William Barr

The man overseeing law enforcement in the U.S. gave a major speech to Notre Dame law students on October 11, railing against laws and judicial decisions that do not “reflect traditional moral [i.e., biblical] norms,” specifying “the decision legalizing abortion” and laws that prohibit Christian bigots from discriminating against LGBTQ people.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

In a 2001 interview, after referring to battles between biblical Israel and enemy tribes, DeVos said that her goal was “to impact our culture in ways that are not the traditional funding-the-Christian-organization route, but that really may have greater Kingdom gain in the long run by changing the way we approach things—in this case, the system of education in the country.” In the same interview, her husband Dick complained that the church has been “displaced by the public school” as the center of community, and said that “Our job is to figure out ... how to get the pig bones [i.e., non-Judeo-Christian ideas] out of our culture.” Toward that end, DeVos sees herself spearheading an “education revolution”—in the guise of “encouraging choice.” In February 2019 she pitched a five billion dollar “school choice” tax credit that would provide federal funds for parents to send their children to private (including Christian) schools. This is part of a program to further starve public schools of resources while building up religious schools as well as home schooling. It is a program for putting Christianity at the center of “education”—as it was in the Dark Ages!


"The 'Unholy Alliance' Between Trump and Fundamentalist Christian Fascists"

Watch the complete talk here.


The Federal Courts—Among other things, the federal courts decide which state and federal laws are constitutional and which should be overturned. The rights to birth control and abortion, the right of gay people to marry, the right of Black people to attend public schools with white people, all rest on decisions in the federal court system, and it is just as possible to sweep all of that away through court decisions.

The Supreme Court

Although the political situation in the U.S. is not yet such that someone who openly based his judicial decisions on biblical law and morality could be confirmed, Trump has openly made opposition to abortion a litmus test for his nominees to the Supreme Court. Both of Trump’s appointees (Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) are hostile to abortion rights. Gorsuch has also spoken against the courts being used to expand civil rights, specifically mentioning gay marriage. Kavanaugh has upheld legal theories that would also lead to banning contraception.2

Together with the three right-wing justices already on the Court (Alito, Roberts, and Thomas), they constitute a fascist majority that is now poised to gut or completely strip away abortion rights, which would almost certainly be an opening salvo in far more sweeping re-imposition of “Judeo-Christian morals.”

Lower Court Judges

As of September 19, 2019, 150 Trump nominees had been appointed to the federal courts—that is more than one in six of all federal judges. Overwhelmingly white and male, dozens of them have refused to say whether they support the 1954 decision (Brown v. Board of Education) that desegregated public schools. Lambda Legal (an LGBTQ rights organization) examined the records of all these judges and concluded that about one-third were overtly hostile to LGBTQ rights. One Trump appointee to the Court of Appeals—Judge John Bush—has equated abortion with slavery, strongly opposes same-sex marriage, and mocks climate change. Another—Amy Coney Barrett—belongs to “People of Praise,” a cult-like Christian group where women are told that husbands are heads of their wives and the authority in the family. Each female member is assigned an advisor who were long known as “handmaids” (but more recently changed to “women leaders”).

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II. Breaking Down the Separation of Church and State

While the U.S. is officially secular, it has always had a semi-official Christian identity, with “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill, presidents ending speeches with “God Bless the USA,” and so on. And conservative Christian preachers like Billy Graham always had a certain access to and influence on the government. But this has leapt to a whole other level under Trump and Pence, with a complex network of fundamentalist Christian preachers, teachers and “advisors” ensconced in the halls of power, and high government officials openly identifying as “Christian leaders” and advocates.

Christian Fundamentalists Pervading the Halls of Power

Capitol Ministries: Headed by Ralph Drollinger, Capitol Ministries organizes weekly Bible study classes for top administration officials, as well as for congresspeople, and at the state government level. Belief in the “Rapture” and the End-Times are part of their core beliefs. Their “Bible lesson” when Trump was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was “The Bible on When War Is Justifiable”; this “lesson” also argued the obedience to the state is divine will: “Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every institution; whether to a king as the one in authority; or to governors as sent by Him...”! Drollinger has also called for Trump to set up a “benevolent dictatorship.”

At least seven cabinet-level officials, including Pence, Pompeo, and DeVos, are sponsors of Capitol Ministries.

The Evangelical Advisory Board: A somewhat loose group including many powerful Christian fascists.3 One member brags that the board “pays regular visits to the White House, which can start with policy briefings from West Wing staff and agency officials and end with impromptu visits to the Oval Office.” Policy matters are often discussed—Trump’s decision to bar transgender soldiers from the U.S. military grew out of such a discussion in July 2017, and some analysts have tracked a timeline linking these meetings and other Christian fascist policy moves. Some visits from evangelicals have involved “laying on of hands” on Trump, and in the words of one participant, “praying for our President—Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection—...wow—we are going to see another great spiritual awakening.”

Major Government Leaders at War With “Secularism”

Barr’s speech at Notre Dame: As noted in the section on “The Cabinet” above, Attorney General Barr—whose official role theoretically includes enforcing the separation of church and state—openly argued that only placing “Judeo-Christian morals” on center stage can save America from a secular hell on earth.

Mike Pompeo’s speech: On the same day as Barr’s Notre Dame speech, Pompeo spoke to the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) on “Being a Christian Leader,” the text of which was then posted at the top of the State Department’s website as if developing “Christian leaders” was part of the mission of the State Department. (AACC is a conservative Christian group that until recently supported “conversion therapy” for gay people, but now has to settle for “counseling” them to be “celibate.”)

Betsey DeVos’s Drive to Privatize and Christianize Education (see section I above) is another crucial aspect of breaking down the barriers between church and state.

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“The Christian Fascists Now In Power”

Watch the complete talk here.

III. Applying "End-Times" Theology as a Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy

Many or most of the Christian fascists in the Trump/Pence regime share with their Christian fascist “advisors” (see section II above) “End-Times” theology—the view that the “second coming of Christ” prophesized in the Bible is coming soon, and when that happens, all the “true” Christians will be “Raptured” up to heaven (everyone else is destined for Hell!), and from there will watch as Jesus Christ inflicts seven years of “Tribulation” on the remaining inhabitants, after which he will lead an epic battle with the “antichrist” and establish a 1,000-year Kingdom of God on Earth. (Note: “End-Timers” may disagree on the order in which these events will occur, but agree on the basic scenario.)

Believers in this lunacy welcome this, are looking forward to being “Raptured,” and in many cases believe that it is their responsibility to prepare the ground for and hasten these events (which, again, involve the total annihilation and eternal damnation of the vast majority of human beings!). Remember Mike Pompeo’s statement that “We will continue to fight these battles...” because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the Rapture.”

This theology frames and helps shape administration policy on matters of enormous importance. Two examples:

The End-Times and Israel

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: In May 2018, the Trump/Pence regime moved the U.S. embassy from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv (where almost all other countries have their embassies) to Jerusalem—a city considered holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Robert Jeffress, an End-Times fundamentalist mega-church preacher from Dallas (and member of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board), delivered the opening prayer: “We thank you every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history, and more importantly on the right side of you, oh, God, when it comes to Israel.”

Jeffress was thanking “God” because these fanatics believe that the return of all the “biblical” land of Israel (including much or all of the modern countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) to Jewish control is a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ, and that the struggle in the Middle East is literally one between “God” and “Satan”! U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and opening the embassy there was a dramatic break with longstanding U.S. policy, and was opposed by most secular experts—including pro-Israel/pro-imperialist experts—as dooming any prospect of peace with the Palestinians and ushering in new violence and instability. But that was precisely the point—the move was symbolic of U.S. support for an aggressive and expansive Israel militarily dominating and seizing territory from the Arab peoples and countries in the region... clearing a path for the coming Rapture. As John Hagee, yet another Christian fascist preacher, put it in his closing blessing: “The Messiah will come and establish a Kingdom that will never end.”

The End-Times and Climate Change

The Trump/Pence regime is infamous for its wanton disregard for the planet we live on and its refusal to recognize, much less do anything about, the unfolding climate disaster: withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, stepping up oil drilling in the Arctic Sea as the ice caps melt, stripping away the pitiful regulations that once sought to mitigate capitalism’s rampant destruction of the environment. While this approach is mainly grounded in the workings of capitalism-imperialism and its economic and strategic interests, it also converges with and is reinforced by the Christian fascists and their theology.

Defending the Earth Is None of Humanity’s Business: One view among them is that even if there is climate change, it’s God’s will, so stay out of it. As Michigan Congressman Tim Wahlberg put it: “I’m confident that if there’s a problem [with climate change], he [i.e., “God”] will take care of it.” Ralph Drollinger (of Capitol Ministries) says that it is “hubristic” [arrogant] for humans to try to do anything about it, because “God remains omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in the current affairs of mankind” and that “To allow fish to govern the construction of dams, endangered species to govern power plants, flies to govern hospitals, or kangaroo rats, homes, is to miss the clear proclamation of God in Genesis.” (Drollinger also warns that the tendency of environmentalists to have only one child “is akin to ethnic suicide”!) After Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued a call for action on climate change, then-Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Sean Hannity of Fox News that “I don’t think we’re going to listen to her on much of anything, particularly not on matters that we’re going to leave in the hands of a much, much higher authority...” [The fate of the earth is in] “... the hands of something and someone much more powerful than any of us.”

Welcoming the Devastation of the Environment: Other fundamentalists interpret climate change as another one of the signs of the Second Coming, which will be heralded by wars, famine, and so forth. As one former evangelical put it: “after these plagues, Jesus will return again. This time he will crash through the heavens on a white horse, drenched in the blood of his enemies and followed by the armies of his raptured and martyred saints. I not only believed this would happen, I was excited about it. I, like many evangelical Christians, longed for the day that Jesus would return.”

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IV. Building Up the Armed Forces for a Christian Holy War

The Christian fascists are going at this from two directions—on the one hand, working to “Christianize” the U.S. military, and on the other, developing private armies cohered around militant Christianity.

Christianizing the U.S. Military: Building Up a Fundamentalist Hard Core

Mass Conversions of Military Personnel into Christian Fundamentalism: The U.S. military is theoretically secular, and part of the official code of conduct even today is that officers “at all levels must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith.” The U.S. military has a system of chaplains who are part of the military but have mainly religious duties—but again, this has been presented as addressing the spiritual and moral needs of religious individuals, and not proselytizing or pushing any religious viewpoint.

But operating within this framework, the Christian fascists are moving effectively to build up a fundamentalist hard core. For instance, only 3% of members of the military belong to evangelical Christian churches, but between 33% and 75% of chaplains are evangelicals! (One reason for this is that the evangelical churches are aggressively recruiting people to be trained as military chaplains; Falwell’s Liberty University is even giving online degrees.)

And these evangelical chaplains are not just “ministering to people’s spiritual needs”—they are on a recruiting drive. Seizing on the vulnerability of young soldiers who are going through the military’s brutal basic training (the object of which is to “tear down” the old person and “rebuild” them as ruthless “warriors”), the fact that many are away from home for the first time in their lives, and so on, evangelical pastors are doing mass baptismsBaptist News brags about how just one chaplain baptized 519 soldiers into the evangelical church in one year at Fort Jackson, including 170 in a single day. This “accomplishment” was promoted by the base itself in an Instagram post from their Public Affairs office which said that “Soldiers of all faiths are welcome to be baptized.” In other words, if you come to Fort Jackson an atheist, a Buddhist, a Catholic, a Jew, a Hindu, a Muslim, or a non-evangelical Protestant, the military “welcomes” you to cast that aside and become an evangelical Christian.

And this is not just one chaplain—the Southern Baptists alone have a network of 3,700 chaplains, and the director of chaplain services in the church—who is also a retired army major general—says that “Southern Baptist military chaplains are seeing a spiritual awakening of historic proportions in the Armed Services with record numbers of professions of faith, baptism, chapel attendance and disciple-making programs.”

Christianizing the U.S. Military: Promoting Hatred of Islam

Fanatical anti-Islamic sentiment and a “holy war” mentality are being whipped up among both enlisted troops and higher ranks. For instance, in August 2019, the important Navy publication Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician recommended three books by virulent anti-Muslim writers. One of these authors, Brigitte Gabriel, spoke in 2007 at the Joint Forces Staff College; during the Q&A she argued that a “practicing Muslim, who believes in the teaching of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America” and should not be allowed to run for political office.

She added that “What is worrisome about that is when we are faced with a war [note “when,” not “if”] and a Muslim political official in office” has to choose between serving the U.S. or serving the Islamic country the U.S. is at war with, inevitably “that Muslim in office will always have his loyalty to Islam.” In other words, Muslims are by definition traitors. And she went on to refer contemptuously to a Michigan city with a large Muslim population as “Dearbornistan.”

The U.S. Army War College also got in the act, inviting Raymond Ibrahim, the author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, to speak at the College’s prestigious 50th Annual Lecture Series. Ibrahim also wrote an article “Why Western Nations Should Accept Only Christian Refugees.”

Building Up Private Christian Armed Forces

Christian Militias: Christian fascism is also influential among some of the tens of thousands of heavily armed reactionary militia members organized in the U.S. For instance, the Hutaree militia consists of only Christian “soldiers” “who are arming themselves and training in anticipation of the coming of the Anti-Christ, which they believe is imminent.” They are part of the broader “Christian Patriot” branch of the militia movement.

Christian Mercenaries: Another area of influence is among mercenaries. Eric Prince is Betsy DeVos’s brother and is also a Christian fascist. A former Navy SEAL, he organized the notorious Blackwater, a private army of thousands of mercenaries with their own training base, which was deployed by the U.S. government in the occupation of Iraq and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. After three of its soldiers were convicted of murdering civilians in Iraq, Prince left the company and it changed its name, but Prince now operates a mercenary company called Frontier Services Group (which apparently oversees another firm called Lancaster6), which has its own air force, including attack helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and drones. Prince reportedly has been supplying mercenaries for Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen, and seeking a wider role serving the Trump/Pence regime. This is another powerful component of military forces potentially at the command of Christian fascism.

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V. Attacks on Women’s Reproductive Rights

A central part of the Christian fascist program is stripping women of all reproductive rights. This is not about “protecting fetal life”—it is about reducing women to incubators, fundamentally depriving them of control of their own lives, and in many cases, forcing them into situations of dependence on men, and opens the way to attacks on the right of divorce and other key elements of women’s ability to function as full human beings (which is even now highly constrained). At this point, the right to abortion is “hanging by a thread” (see below) as a result of the decades-long Christian fascist assault.

State Laws Against Abortion

As of March 20, 2019, state legislatures had introduced 304 laws restricting abortion. Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Missouri have each signed into law bills banning abortion as early as six weeks after conception, which is often before women even know they are pregnant. Eleven other states had similar bills in the works at that time. Alabama enacted a law that would ban virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, and make abortion punishable by up to 99 years in jail.

These laws are in clear violation of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and are not being put into effect. But they serve two functions for the Christian fascist assault—providing possible “test cases” that can go to the Supreme Court and be used to overturn Roe, and, once Roe is gone, these states will already have laws on the books to halt abortions.

Other state laws place extreme restrictions on clinics that perform abortions—such as requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals (even though it is extremely rare for abortions to require hospitalization, and when such emergencies occur, hospitals are obliged to admit patients regardless of the privileges of the doctor), or requiring hallways to be wide enough for hospital gurneys. The goal of these laws is to shut these clinics down without officially making abortion illegal, thus in practice denying women in those areas any access to abortion.

Attacks on clinics in Missouri have included the monitoring of the menstrual cycles of women who have had abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, the only remaining clinic in the state that still provides abortions. The state health director admitted that the department created a spreadsheet to identify “failed abortions,” meaning patients who had to return to the clinic for an additional procedure. The spreadsheet did not identify women by name, but did include medical ID numbers, procedure dates, and the day of the patient’s last period. The state claims this was in order to supposedly find evidence of health problems resulting from abortions. But given the reality that abortion is a routine and safe medical procedure, the spreadsheet was clearly part of the attempt to shut down the clinic.

Missouri has also tried to impose a medically unnecessary pelvic exam on patients three days before their abortion. (This is in addition to the exam that is performed on the day of the procedure.) Clinic staff said that this unnecessary physical violation was tantamount to “rape”—yet another way to turn this simple and needed medical procedure into an impossible nightmare for women.

On October 4, 2019, the Supreme Court announced that it would rule on a highly restrictive law in Louisiana. The acting president of Planned Parenthood said that the implications of this could be enormous: “Access to abortion is hanging by a thread in this country, and this case is what could snap that thread.”

Federal Attacks on Reproductive Healthcare for Women

Defunding Planned Parenthood: Trump vowed to completely “defund” Planned Parenthood, and is well on his way to achieving this. Planned Parenthood is the leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider in the U.S., providing birth control, cancer screening, sex education, and other services for about 2.5 million patients annually. It already receives no federal funds for the abortions it provides, but does get federal funds through Medicaid and in other ways for family planning and other healthcare services. In May 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (headed by Alex Azar, yet another Christian fascist) issued new rules that would cut off all funding to any family planning service that referred patients for abortions. In August (after losing a court battle around this), Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept federal money for family planning so that it could continue to provide women with the full range of options to unwanted pregnancies.

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Handmaid's Tale protest against Vice President Mike Pence, Philadelphia, July 24, 2019. Photo: AP

VI. Attacks on LGBTQ People

This is another key element of the Christian fascist program. This is not just about them being “uncomfortable” or “old fogeys.” The hammering of women into very strict gender roles—as bearers and rearers of children and as “helpmates” to men—with their lives organized around the home and the church—also demands that anyone who “deviates” from this strict definition of male and female roles must be demonized, criminalized, ostracized, and punished. Trump’s “joke” about Pence wanting to “hang” all the gay people is NO JOKE, and it is backed up by Bible scripture—revered by fundamentalists—that calls for death for homosexuals.

At the same time, the opening up of gay rights in the last few decades—including the fact that literally millions of LGBTQ people “came out of the closet” to their friends, family and co-workers—has created a situation where it is not now possible for the Christian fascists to fully and openly argue for gay people to be reviled or killed. But they are working on it! On the one hand, the Christian fundamentalists paint themselves as being victimized by the very existence of LGBTQ people, supposedly “flaunting” their “deviancy” in front of “good Christian men and women.” And on the other hand, the regime has—relatively quietly—stripped away existing government protections against discrimination and is now itself actively discriminating and fighting for the “right” of others to discriminate.

In that light, oppressive measures listed below take on even more ominous meaning as the beginning of potentially unimaginable crimes against LGBTQ people, if and as the Christian fascist program is allowed and able to be put in full effect.

2017

January: Two hours after the regime took power, all mentions of LGBTQ issues and people were scrubbed from the White House website.

February: The regime decided to stop fighting in the courts and in other realms to protect transgender students from discrimination.

March: The regime announced it would no longer insist that federally funded homeless shelters make clear that LGBTQ people had the right to safety and shelter.

July: The federal government filed a brief in federal court arguing that the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity—this was a major move toward legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ people.

July: Trump announced via Twitter that transgender people would not be able to serve in the U.S. military. (After much resistance, the policy was eventually implemented in April 2019.) While NO ONE should want to serve in the U.S. imperialist military, this ban was a dangerous public statement that transgender people are not full human beings.

SeptemberThe Trump administration filed a legal brief in the Supreme Court arguing that businesses had a constitutional right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

October: The Justice Department ruled that federal agencies, government contractors, government grantees, and even private businesses could engage in discrimination, as long as they can cite religious reasons for doing so. This was opening the door wide for all kinds of discrimination—including the growing practice of federally funded adoption agencies refusing to allow gay couples to adopt, shutting or driving gay youths out of homeless shelters; refusing to provide breast cancer screenings for transgender women, and on and on. And the broader effect is to marginalize and dehumanize LGBTQ people.

2018

February: The Department of Education announced that it would automatically dismiss any complaints from transgender students about being excluded from school facilities based on gender identification.

May: The Federal Bureau of Prisons announced a policy of (in almost all cases) housing transgender inmates according to their birth gender—in other words, transgender women will now be housed with men, raising the extreme danger of rape, assault or murder.

2019

July: The State Department issued new guidelines that the U.S. would no longer advocate for “human rights” if it did not believe these rights fit in the “natural law” views of social conservatives—clearly implying that LGBTQ rights would not be upheld.

SeptemberThe Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) canceled a plan to prohibit hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds from discriminating against LGBTQ patients.

November: Health and Human Services announced it would abandon civil rights rules for all recipients of HHS grants, which will allow discrimination against transgender people in HIV and STI prevention programs, opioid treatment centers, youth homeless services, and other life and death services.

Also in November, the Trump administration proposed a new rule that would allow faith-based foster care and adoption agencies (which are often the only such agencies in many areas) to continue to receive federal funds even if they discriminate against LGBTQ people.

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VII. Putin's Russia as a "Model" for America's Theocrats

While the full and exact nature of the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin—the authoritarian leader of capitalist-imperialist Russia—is unclear, one thing that is clear is that a significant section of the Christian fascist forces look with admiration to Putin's Russia.4

Putin Is Implementing Many of the Key Elements of a Christian Theocracy

(Much of the following is drawn from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, July 18, 2018, "To Russia With Love: Why the Religious Right is Rootin' for Putin")

LGBTQ rights are under attack in Russia. A 2013 law that bans dissemination of “gay propaganda” to minors is worded so vaguely as to criminalize almost any LGBTQ-rights advocacy, and is now used to squelch public gatherings of gay people and detain gay-rights activists. Savage hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community are soaring. Even health-related websites have been shut down. The mere act of displaying a rainbow flag can get you in trouble. The head of the Orthodox Church has said that same-sex couples are a “sign of the Apocalypse.”

Religion classes are mandatory in Russian public schoolsA 2012 law requires that Russian public schools teach a course called “Fundamentals of Religion” to elementary and secondary school students. (Courses are offered in four religions, but critics charge that many schools are steeped in Orthodoxy, the dominant religion in Russia). In addition, creationism is on the upswing—in 2010, an official with the Orthodox Church called for an end to the “monopoly of Darwinism” in Russian schools.

Women’s rights are in a steady retreatLast year, legislators in effect decriminalized many forms of domestic abuse. Starting in 2011, abortion rights have been under attack (including a law prohibiting doctors or clinics from advertising that they perform the procedure) and the government official in charge of “Family, Women and Children’s Affairs” was described by The Nation as viewing her "primary task" to be “to further restrict access to abortion and limit the availability of emergency contraception.” Orthodox Church officials are pressing for women to remain confined to “traditional” gender roles.

Putin is Spearheading a Return to "Traditional Values" and the Moral Authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.

According to The Nation, in September 2014, Putin presided over a meeting of journalists and academics and argued that “Europeans had strayed from their roots by legalizing gay marriage. He urged Russians to embrace the conservative values of the Orthodox Church and other traditional religions and issued a warning to those who might want to challenge those values. ... 'These are red lines that no one is allowed to cross.'”

America’s Christian Fascists Admire and See This as a Positive Model.

Given the program and ideology of Putin’s Russia, is it any wonder that many Christian fascist forces in the U.S. gravitate toward and praise that model?

The World Congress of Families (WCF), a U.S.-based Christian fascist organization, has developed close ties with the Orthodox Church. Its website states that its 2011 summit "helped pass the first Russian laws restricting abortion in modern history" and the website proclaims that “Russia, with its historic commitment to deep spirituality and morality, can be a hope for the natural family supporters from all over the world.”

The Family Research Council (FRC)—a more “mainstream” Christian fascist organization with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence—has a formal partnership with WCF. In 2018, the WCF held a conference in Moldova (formerly part of the Soviet Union) under the theme of “The Natural Family: Uniting East and West” (i.e., opposition to gay marriage unites the American and Russian Christian fascists). Peter Sprigg of the FRC spoke on “Gender Ideology—The Latest Attack on the Family and the Legal Challenges It Poses.”

Scott Lively, founder and president of Defend the Family International and of Abiding Truth Ministries in Illinois, conducted a 50-city speaking tour in Russia in 2007 in order to “bring a warning about the homosexual political movement which has done much damage in my country.”

Peter LaBarbera, president of “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality,” wrote that “Russians do not want to follow America’s reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth.”

Pat Buchanan (former speechwriter for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and a leading theoretician of American fascism) wrote that Putin was “entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly City of today,” and “In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of Christianity.”

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VIII. Rallying the Christian Fascist Troops in the Face of the Impeachment Challenge

As the struggle at the top levels of the U.S. ruling class intensifies through the impeachment process, the Trump/Pence regime is increasingly reaching out to and rallying the Christian fundamentalists, who constitute the hard core of the hard core of their social base. (81% of white Christian evangelical voters supported Trump in 2016). Although there was a bump in the road with Trump’s decision to abandon the U.S.’s Kurdish allies to a Turkish invasion bent on ethnic cleansing (which the Christian evangelicals opposed for various reasons), in the main this alliance has not only held but is hardening.

Trump Rallies the Evangelical Base

Trump’s speech to the Value Voters summit. 

This summit is a major annual event organized by the FRC.

Trump was the main event. After praying with James Dobson (head of the FRC), Trump posed the impeachment battle as a war against Christians and Christianity, telling the crowd: “They’re coming after me because I’m fighting for you. That’s a big part of it ... They don’t like you.” And he went on to say: “They’re trying to silence and punish the speech of Christians and religious believers of all faiths. They are trying to hound you from the workplace, expel you from the public square and weaken the American family and indoctrinate our children.”

Christian Fascist Leaders Rally to Trump.

Although at one point in the Syria crisis Christian fascist patriarch Pat Robertson did raise that Trump was “in danger of losing the Mandate of Heaven,” in the main key leaders have rallied to Trump.

Rev. Robert Jeffress, a leading Southern Baptist, raised the threat of civil war if Trump is impeached, saying on Fox & Friends on September 30 that “it will cause a civil war-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal.” Trump promptly re-tweeted this statement, and followed up by saying that “I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP,” aimed at further inflaming his base.

Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a major Christian fascist leader, announced on October 9 the publication of a new book, For God and Country: The Christian Case for Trump. (The original title had been Render to God and Trump, but apparently that was a little too out there.)

Family Research Council: Trump’s speech came on the heels of a day of speeches from other figures in the Christian fascist movement expressing support for Trump. Todd Stearnes, a prominent Christian broadcaster and author, denounced the attacks on Trump, saying, “We’ve got to take a stand. We cannot bow down. So, consider this your call to arms. Happy warriors, we are tasked with defending a noble cause and a noble faith.”

Franklin Graham: A leading evangelical who is notoriously anti-Muslim and anti-gay, Graham launched a major speaking tour through North Carolina in October, including speaking in Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the U.S. While ostensibly a “nonpolitical” tour, Graham made a point of praying for Trump, asserting that Trump is doing a good job and that the Ukraine scandal is “a lot over nothing.” Meanwhile, his audience did not need to be explicitly directed to support Trump—one woman told the Los Angeles Times that “I do believe that we are, as Christians, the first line of defense for the president.” Another, asked about Jeffress’s “civil war” comment, said: “Could have a war... you just don’t know.”

[back]



Brave University of Virginia students stand up to the fascist mob in Charlottesville, VA, July 11, 2017. Photo: Twitter/@DailyProgress (Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress)

Conclusion

This regime has been steadily laying the foundations and erecting the infrastructure of theocracy. Fanatical Christian fascists with a shared vision of a “Christian” America hold key levers of power in multiple spheres of society—in education, foreign affairs, the legal and judicial structure, in housing, and of course in the White House and the presidency. The courts are poised to overturn women’s reproductive rights, the humanity of LGBTQ people is under attack, the Christian fascist social base is increasingly whipped up and Christian fascist military capacity built up.

And as pressure on Trump from his ruling class opponents intensifies, he is hewing more closely to his Christian fascist core, and the Christian fascists are barely even bothering to conceal their theocratic aims—note the speeches by Barr and Pompeo, both on the same night, both proceeding from a theocratic viewpoint.

It is late, but it is not too late to take this on and defeat it—to drive this whole regime from power on the basis of a mass nonviolent resistance that stands up for the basic humanity of all people, and to do this as part of preparing the ground for a revolutionary transformation of this whole society that gave rise to and in so many ways nourishes this Christian fascist barbaric lunacy. But the other possibility—the full consolidation of this fascist regime and the imposition of a Dark Ages mentality fused with modern weapons, surveillance. and propaganda apparatus—looms ever closer.

There is no time to lose.


“Bob Avakian On Revolution And The Fight Against Fascism”


 

1. The Reverend Joe Wright, in the Opening Prayer to the Kansas House of Representatives, January 1996.  [back]

2. Both the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion, and the Griswold v. Connecticut decision recognizing the right to birth control, rest on a common foundation, the view that the U.S. Constitution recognizes a right to privacy with which the state should not interfere. Kavanaugh is on record as thinking that no such right exists in the Constitution and that judicial decisions based on this are thus erroneous.  [back]

3. Key members as of September 2017 include Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University; Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition; Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; and Robert Jeffress and Richard Land, both prominent reactionary leaders in the Southern Baptist Church, the largest evangelical denomination—all of these are virulently anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights.  [back]

4. In 1917 Russia was the birthplace of the first communist revolution, giving rise to the Soviet Union and carrying out many radical and liberating social transformations, including in breaking with religion and other superstitions, and vastly expanding women's rights and their role in society. But by the mid-50s, capitalism had been restored, and in 1993, even the pretext of a socialist society was dropped, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the "new" Russia went into a profound economic and social crisis that lasted over a decade. In the wake of that, Putin took power and has been exercising and further consolidating a highly centralized, repressive and reactionary state... in close alliance with the Dark Ages apostles of the Russian Orthodox Church.  [back]

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/letter-from-a-texas-prisoner-en.html

Letter From a Texas prisoner, 10/12/2019

| 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.

What those I spoke to feel about the current situation:

I talked to some people im in the section with, about the outcomes that the [Revolution] newsletter mentioned. Most ain't have much of an opinion other than the basic "fuck Trump" "he need to go". Only one of my homeboys understood that we are headed to some turbulent times. That the transition of all this would not go smoothly at all, and there’s a slight fear that is felt, and I imagine that alot of people feel this fear, the fear of breaking with the normal routine of life, the chaos that takes one away from the comforts of their lives. Some people fear this so much that they rather do nothing, initiate nothing so that they aren't taken away from their "comfort zone". I understand where they are coming from, cause one worries at what the chaos would bring. Will the transition or the attempt for regime change be violent? What if it fails? Would the consequences be horrible? What about my family? All those worries are legitamate worries. But as I assured my homeboy and those at the table who were able to hear that I welcome all this, that any chaos and "hard times" that come about because we choose to act and mobilize to openly and boldly oppose and move to oust a fascist regime from power is well worth it! It is better to suffer because we are fighting and struggling for a better future, than to do nothing and suffer even worser horrors anyway! If we do nothing and we allow a fascist government to fully flourish, If we do nothing and continue to allow this system of Capitalist/Imperialism to grind humanity and the planet down, then we seal our fate, the fate of humanity and the planet to even worser horrors and our assured destruction at the hands of an overly greedy ruling class and the fucked up system that keeps them in power.

I assured them, yes... we are heading for "turbulent times" either way, doing something or not, we are still heading that way because the system dictates it to be so. And the reactions of the fascist is but a reaction to the already failing system and the consequences the capitalist system brings. So ACT, it is better to ACT and do something about it to struggle to change things no matter how hard it may be. If we fail, the coming generations would know that we tried, that at least we tried, and the remnants of our attempt will still be there and that will encourage them to pick up where we left off, to pick up the flag from our dying hand so to speak and continue the struggle to emancipate humanity, just as how we picked it up from the fallen comrades of the past. So win or lose, it is better to get out there and do something than to do nothing and get rant over

Obviously the little speech I gave them wasnt as live as what I just wrote (lol) but im summarizing it since I can't remember word for word and it was a back and forth conversation. Homeboy agreed with everything I was saying and he agrees with the struggle and can consider himself on our side. But he's still battling with his “Defeatist” view point that nothing will work and that we are destined to always suffer at the hands of the few and that nothing matters because in the end we all die (lol). I will continue to struggle with homeboy to breakaway with such viewpoints.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/why-i-resist-en.html

From a Refuse Fascism protester:

Why I Resist

| revcom.us

 

My name is Lawrence (Larry) Christie. I am a Vietnam combat veteran. I have seen firsthand what the horrible, dangerous and illegal policies of a fascist/capitalist regime can do to an entire population of otherwise peaceful people. They were agrarian people concerned with feeding their families while trying desperately to keep the war away from them, without any success. I have heard mothers screaming. I have heard children crying out in pain. When I returned home, I felt like a Nazi waging war on people who could have been my people. Mothers, fathers, cousins, grandparents. They worked the land to eke out a living. I came from rural poor. A family still trying to eke out a living from soil that had long ago died.

I was radicalized by my experiences there and I soon realized I wasn’t the only one. I joined a group of Brothers and Sisters, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I am still a member, but like most of the left-wing groups, they were not doing enough.

I decided one way to balance my sorely out of balance karma was to become a teacher, and work with the kids that need the help the most and get it the least. I took my revolution into the classroom. While I taught History, I also taught the kids to think for themselves and to question authority and not to succumb to the sirens of capitalism. I taught them to be aware and to pay attention to everything around them. I taught them to speak up against injustice. I taught them that Education, not the military, was the way up. I have heard from these kids many, many times thanking me for the teacher I was.

In 2011, Agent Orange finally caught up with me. My cancer cost me my voice box. My lungs are riddled with lung disease, Pulmonary Fibrosis. But I was determined to keep fighting. I have been in at least a dozen demonstrations. I have been gassed several times. I have been shot with rubber bullets and pepper pellets. I have been pushed back by lines of cop horses. I have now been Bear Repellented. But I will not stop. This is why.

In the spring of 2018, I went to the Organ Pipe National Monument located in the southern Arizona desert on the border with Mexico; I went into a desolate area where more than 3,000 souls have perished trying to find a better life for them and their family in land that was stolen from them by fascists, expansionist forces. I could feel their presence. I could hear them on the wind crying out for justice. When water and food was left for them in the desert, members of the “Arizona Posse” would come in and slash the water jugs and destroy the nutrition bars. This is tantamount to murder! This has to stop. I left there more determined to fight. Then I met the Out Now people of Refuse Fascism and I knew I had finally found a home. I would not have to freelance anymore, even though I relished the moniker of “outside agitator.”

I am not doing this for myself. I am doing it for my kids, my grandkids, my posterity. I do this for all kids, grandkids and posterity. I do not want them growing up and being abused by this vicious fascist regime. But most of all, I am doing it for those lost souls crying out in the southern Arizona desert. People should not have to die or be murdered because of a desire to improve their lives.

Received from Refuse Fascism (refusefascism.org).

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-52-en.html

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

| revcom.us

 

 

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

 

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

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

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

Order the book or download the book in ePub format HERE

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/426/from-vietnam-war-vet-us-troops-are-not-heroes-but-murderers-and-baby-killers-en.html

From a Vietnam War Vet:

We Were Baby Killers for U.S. Imperialism

Originally posted February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Over fifty years ago, in January 1967, the U.S. troops occupying Vietnam began a major military offensive against Vietnamese forces fighting to liberate their country. The heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people, combined with upsurge of opposition within the U.S., would lead to the defeat of the U.S. imperialists in Vietnam. The war in Vietnam is part of a whole bloody history of U.S. wars, invasions, and aggression against countries and people fighting for their liberation. There’s a responsibility for people in the U.S. to understand that “America was NEVER great” and oppose all the crimes carried out by the U.S. imperialists around the world.

We are reposting this piece from a Vietnam War vet, who was not yet in Vietnam in 1967 but has important things to say about the massacres and other horrors that the U.S. committed during the war against the Vietnamese people.

 

I am writing to revcom.us/Revolution because this is the one place that consistently stands with the people of the world against all forms of oppression and for a radically different and far better world. The reason for this letter is the current wave of patriotism, using America’s soldiers and veterans to justify every conceivable crime and atrocity being carried out by the “troops,” i.e., the U.S. military.

I speak from a whole lot of experience—from both sides of the political battles—supporting and defending U.S. wars and then serving in Vietnam, where I began to learn the truth about America’s bloody, genocidal history.

Right now there is a major campaign to raise millions of dollars in the Wounded Warrior Campaign, for medical care for the wounded veterans of America’s current wars around the globe. Now, let’s set something straight first—they are not heroes but murderers and baby killers. Nowhere in American mainstream media and culture do you find the people we are killing, torturing, droning, raping—the people of the world do not matter in the path of America’s march across the earth. There is no honor in being a soldier in the U.S. military that has invaded every corner of the world and nearly every country on the planet. There is no pride in torturing people across the globe, invading people’s homes and beating up the occupants in the name of the “War on Terror.” The U.S. is actually carrying out a “War OF Terror” against the people of the world. In fact, it can be said with historical certainty that the wholesale slaughter of tens of millions of people is “The American Way” and that, except for the Civil War, there has never been anything honorable about serving in the U.S. military. As I tell youth when I go into high schools as part of the We Are Not Your Soldiers Campaign, you are going to be part of a military that is about killing the people of the world for profit and empire!

You can be sure that whenever there is a stepped-up campaign of patriotism and flag waving, there are also stepped-up military actions that need to be supported by the unthinking and the privileged, while the rest of us are supposed to shrink back, and not speak the truth, as atrocities are carried out in our names. Right now all over Africa and the Middle East there are and have been hundreds of secret military operations, assassinations, kidnappings, and murders galore by special operations teams, while the myth is promoted that “there are no ground forces” in those places. These are American “death squads,” all with the story that this is what is needed to protect “us from the terrorists” when the truth is that the United States is the biggest terrorist on the planet.

Villagers massacred by U.S. Army troops at My Lai in Vietnam, March 16, 1968.Villagers massacred by U.S. Army troops at My Lai in Vietnam, March 16, 1968.

GIs refuse to go out on patrol, AK Valley, Vietnam, September 1969
GIs refuse to return to combat, AK Valley, Vietnam, September 1969.

What I am saying here is not my opinion, but history and, yes, science. Because this is not a case of human nature, or bad people, or even the nature of being in the military. No, I learned, through bitter lessons in Vietnam and back here in the American empire, that we live in a capitalist-imperialist system that will go to any length, commit every crime imaginable, to defend and spread this empire of profit and exploitation across the globe. From the banana fields in Guatemala, to the sweatshops in Bangladesh, to the oil of the Middle East, the U.S. has over 700 military bases ringing the globe to defend what the monsters who run this empire call “our interests.” To do that, the military and the powers that be need the bodies and minds of young people, mainly men and some women, to carry out the crimes. So, how do they do this?

They do this in many different ways, and especially through the racism, lies, manipulation, and fear that are a normal part of American culture and education. This is reinforced by a brutal and cruel brainwashing of the young soldiers called “basic training” to instill in them blind obedience to orders, concern only for American lives, and a “shoot first and kill all” mentality in these young brains. Then, when these soldiers return home, they are used again, and especially the wounded ones, these killers for empire, as sympathy and pity for them is drummed up to justify continued murder and torture. The message that is driven home is that the only lives that matter are American lives.

Now I know that some people will say that these soldiers are victims too of this imperialist system. My answer is that these soldiers and vets have a choice: they can cross over to the side of the people of the world and tell the truth about what they saw and did or forever face the world’s condemnation as the baby killers and murderers they are.

It is true that today’s generation born after 9/11 have no real memory of the turmoil of the 1960s and how tens of millions came to oppose the war in Vietnam and the American empire in many different ways, including massive opposition to the war right in the U.S. military. For this same generation, what happened in Vietnam 50 years ago is as ancient history to them as was my growing up listening to WW2 veterans tell their stories. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (the murder of 3,000 innocent people by a group of terrorists in the name of Islamic fundamentalism), the United States used them to carry out and justify the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of drone killings in many countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and torture and murder by the military and the CIA at prisons and “black sites.” This is the reality of the world we live in today and lessons from the past must really serve helping to end all this madness. No more stupid and meaningless “war stories.”

The process of how I came to end up in Vietnam is instructive because today’s young soldiers and vets can see similarities to how they have been manipulated and lied to. Back then, in my schooling, the only ideas I learned about America’s wars were the necessity and the wonder and glory of fighting them. On television I learned to cheer for the cowboys as they killed multitudes of Native Americans, while the war movies portrayed Americans as right and justified in defending our way of life. Watch the movie Purple Heart and the racist portrayal of the Japanese. In the 8th grade I won an American Legion Americanism award for an essay I wrote about patriotism. In high school my history teachers, Mr. Gavigan and Mr. Murphy, had the maps that showed communism as evil and taking over all of Asia, especially Vietnam. I even worked for Barry Goldwater after high school when he ran for president in 1964. I was at the first antiwar demonstration in New York City in spring 1966—to stand on the side in support of the war. I joined Young Americans for Freedom, a right-wing campus group.

So while most of the youth in this country are trained in blind patriotism and kept ignorant of history and the nature of the system we live in, I was political at an early age, and I thought I knew American history and why the country was worth defending. I joined the U.S. Air Force and ended up guarding nuclear weapons in the U.S. at small bases on the East Coast. But, I told myself that I could not be alive at this time and not follow my generation’s calling and go to Vietnam. I arrived there just in time for the Tet Offensive of 1968—a military operation by the Vietnamese revolutionaries against all the major U.S. bases in Vietnam. After four of my fellow soldiers and friends died in that attack, my whole world view fell apart because I began to realize that nothing I had been taught or believed about the nature of U.S. reasons for being in Vietnam were true. I knew nothing about the Vietnamese people, culture, and history. We called the people all sorts of racist terms and nowhere did they count as human beings. I spent my next 11 months coming to oppose the war, to see the humanity of the Vietnamese people and beginning to oppose this lie that Americans are the best people in the world. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Davis and Johnson, two of the many Black guys in my unit who refused to salute the American flag (when a movie was shown on our base), and argued with me about the war, Black history, and that they were talking about coming back home to America to make revolution.

Protest against the Vietnam War, Washington, D.C., April 24, 1971. Photo: Leena Krohn via Wikimedia Commons
Vietnam veterans marching against the war, Washington, D.C., April 24, 1971. Photo: Leena Krohn via Wikimedia Commons

After Vietnam, I joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and became one of its national leaders. And it was here, along with other veterans and the growing soldiers’ movement in the U.S. military worldwide, that we all learned to not just oppose the war but actively resist it. This is where I learned the truth of U.S. history, and not just Vietnam but what America has always been about. I learned about the Sullivan Expedition in the summer of 1779—where Gen. George Washington (yes, that one—the slaveholder) orders a genocidal attack on more than 40 Iroquois villages—destroying the people, buildings, and crops. This became a standard practice of the U.S. military in the following 300 years of wars against the Native peoples of the western U.S., in the Spanish-American war in the Philippine Islands in 1898, to the use of insects and chemical and biological agents in the Korean war in 1950 to 1953, to the American invasion of Vietnam and all its horrors. Research many of these crimes on revcom.us, and you can also find on the Internet several lists that document the hundreds of military invasions, occupations, “small-unit actions,” aerial and offshore bombings, almost 300 years of U.S. military actions around the world.

The veterans and soldiers I was meeting and organizing were studying U.S. history, about the history of slavery, the lynchings and oppression of Black people, talking about how this was an imperialist way of life—killing people for profit and empire. And I met many who were openly talking about why revolution seemed to be necessary to stop all this horror that we were inflicting on the people of the world. We marched for 70 miles through small towns in New Jersey in a simulated search-and-destroy mission to graphically portray “to the heartland” that what we were doing in Vietnam was massacring and torturing the people. Then, we took 125 combat vets to Detroit in 1971 to the Winter Soldier Investigation where vets testified for three days about mass rape of Vietnamese women, mass murder, destruction of villages and crops, napalm, chemical poisoning of the land and people, and yes—the deliberate murder of kids by the soldiers. While there are many powerful and important examples of resistance and opposition by soldiers and veterans to imperialist wars, this was the first time in history that they were self-organized with two goals: to tell the truth about what they had seen and done, and then to call on the American people to stop the crimes.

Throwing medals back onto the Capitol steps, Dewey Canyon III, 1971.
"For a full week in the spring of 1971, we camped out on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Congress and we named it Dewey Canyon III—'an invasion into the country of Congress.'” Above, throwing medals back onto the Capitol steps as part of the Dewey Canyon III protests.

Before Winter Soldier, I thought I understood the scope of what we had done in Vietnam, but after three days of hearings I was devastated by how deep was the betrayal of our youth, our ambitions, and our minds, that we were really nothing more than killers and cannon fodder for empire. After Winter Soldier, we knew we had to do something that would put Vietnam Veterans on the front page of the newspapers, something dramatic that would send a message around the world, that while we were the baby killers, we were beginning to understand who and what was really responsible. For a full week in the spring of 1971, we camped out on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Congress and we named it Dewey Canyon III—“an invasion into the country of Congress.” After a whole week of demonstrating everywhere, doing guerrilla theater portrayals of how we treated and murdered the Vietnamese people, on the last day 800 to 1,000 vets lined up outside the Capitol to walk up the Capitol steps and throw their medals back at the U.S. Congress and the rulers of America. Some of the comments from the vets as they threw their medals over a fence marked “trash” were: a Black vet who said, “This is my opposition for the policies of this country against the non-white peoples of the world”; “My name is Peter, I got a purple heart here and I hope I get another one fighting these motherfuckers”; “We don’t want to fight again, but if we have to it’ll be to take these steps.”

Then, in the summer of 1971, I was selected by VVAW to represent the organization on a peace delegation to Hanoi—the capital of North Vietnam—“the enemy.” As the first Vietnam veteran to go to North Vietnam on a peace mission, with two other activists from Women Strike for Peace and the War Resisters League, I did not think twice about going. We spent eight days in Hanoi, traveling to Haiphong Harbor and witnessing the lives of a people whose whole history and culture is embedded with the ethos of resisting foreign invaders. This is when I completely went “over to the other side” and became an advocate for the victory of the Vietnamese against the U.S.

I say that today because while there is not an equivalent nation or group that can be supported right now against the crimes the U.S. is carrying out, everyone, and especially the soldiers and veterans of these wars, can and must speak out for the people of the world and against U.S. crimes. This means NOT supporting the troops, because the troops are murdering people. I really hate the slogan “Support the Troops, Not the War” because it makes what these wars are about is American lives, and the humanity of the people we are killing is secondary or nonexistent.

Finally, for those who can only see the power of the empire to manipulate and control the population into either being blind flag wavers or docile opposition, I want to say how important it is to tell the truth, to call on others to do so and to fight for the interest of all humanity. After all, I was witness to something that many people today cannot imagine: I saw a large segment of the former baby killers and murderers of my time turn against the empire on the side of humanity.

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/619/national-revolution-tour-fundraising-livestream-en.html

Announcing National Revolution Tour Fundraising Livestream for Sunday, November 10 at 5 PM EST!
$25,000 Goal for October Now Extended to November 15—Matching Pledges Needed Now!

Updated | revcom.us

 

At this moment when the whole political order in the country is being shaken to its roots and the fight to bring out millions into sustained protest to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power is taking shape, the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour is playing a critical role. Its members are pouring their energies and understanding into the #OutNow movement and at the same time inspiring people with their bold message that this nightmare system must be overthrown and a whole different kind of world is possible and urgently needed.

The Revolution Tour needs YOUR support in donating and raising funds so its mission can go forward.

** Urgently needed now: matching challenges of $1,000 or $500 from individuals or groups who pool their funds. Send in a video or written statement on why you are donating and making the challenge.

** Urgently needed now: 50 people to donate $20 each to meet those $1,000 matches or 50 people to donate $10 each to meet those $500 matches, or donations of any size to meet the matches.

Everyone can take this up—call on your friends, put it out on social media—the Revolution Tour is getting organized for revolution. You need to be a part of it.

Then tune into the livestream on November 10—call in the matches you’re working on and let’s take them over the top to reach the $25,000 goal!

Build an audience, organize group showings, watch the livestream at www.facebook.com/tuneintorevcom.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/out-now-hits-the-streets-of-harlem-en.html

#OutNow Hits the Streets of Harlem—November 2

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the National Revolution Tour:

This Saturday the cry “Out Now!” reverberated through the streets in Harlem, New York City, as about 30 people gathered for a rally in Central Harlem followed by a march through Harlem and ended with a rally in Spanish Harlem (El Barrio). This event was sponsored by Refuse Fascism (RF), NYC, and the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. Some of the key points emphasized as a whole included: 1) this is fascism that we’re dealing with, and people needed to recognize that and act accordingly; 2) the way to deal with fascism is to, as they did in Puerto Rico and are doing in Hong Kong, Chile, and other countries, take to the streets and stay in the streets; and 3) people need to go beyond liking the #OutNow protests to joining them and working to challenge others to join them too.

Some of the people in the streets of Harlem on Saturday had been at Revolution Books NYC the night before for a special forum: “Harlem Speaks Out Against Trump/Pence Fascism—The Regime Must Go NOW!” This event drew about 40 people. Speakers included Carl Dix; Brad Walrond, a poet who did a reading, including a poem he had written that day for the speak-out; John Reddick, a Harlem historian; Anna-Maria, a retired educator active with #OutNow; Sharonne Salaam, mother of Yusef Salaam of the “Exonerated 5”; Emma from Refuse Fascism; and a number of people from the audience who spoke extempore.

Luan from the Revolution Club and the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour spoke and told people straight up: “fuck America” and what it has done throughout its history and today (who, she asked, was the first and only country to drop atomic weapons?). She painted a picture of what the system is doing to the environment: “California is on fire and Bangladesh is being submerged.” She spoke of how Bob Avakian, with the new communism he has developed and his leadership, has “carved out” the path for humanity to get free and “to be caretakers, not destroyers of the planet.” And she issued a challenge for people to come together to drive this regime from power AND to get into this revolution and join the Revolution Club—because revolution is the only way to end these horrors and for humanity to get free.

Through the range of voices, from different perspectives and viewpoints, what was forged was more solid conviction to be in the streets in Harlem on Saturday, to represent, to manifest! Several of the speakers issued a challenge to the audience: “Who here is going to be in the streets with us tomorrow?” The vast majority in the audience stood in response to this challenge, and some of them were out in Harlem when the rally began. The video of Yusef Salaam and Carl Dix talking about the need for people to join the #OutNow movement was a strong factor in moving people to respond to the challenge.

As we wound through Harlem, a number of people joined us in chanting “Puerto Rico showed us how, Trump/Pence Out NOW,” “The system is outrageous. It puts our kids in cages, Trump/Pence Out NOW,” and “Don’t tell us it can’t happen here, Don’t tell us wait another year, Trump/Pence Out NOW.” When asked why they wanted Trump out, most spoke of his lies, the children in camps, his racism. And the marchers challenged these people to not just chant with us—to join the march, and to come out next Saturday and the Saturday after that to join us in bringing people into the streets with the demand that Trump & Pence Must Go—NOW!

After the ending rally, about half of the marchers got on the subway and rode down to Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, chanting the whole way. When we got there, we joined up with the marchers who had come up from a rally in Union Square. After a brief rally, we all got back on the subway and rode to Madison Square Garden, again chanting the whole way, where we protested Trump’s appearance at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event into the night.

People gathered and marched in Harlem, November 2, and then at Trump Tower joined with the marchers from Union Square.


RefuseFascism.org

At Madison Square Garden, where Trump attended a UFC event, November 2

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/619/discovery-hearing-in-chicago-puerto-rican-peoples-parade-7-case-en.html

Discovery Hearing in Puerto Rican People’s Parade 7 Case

Lawyers Show Evidence of Police Harassment of Revolution Club, Judge Rules Prosecutor Has to Turn Over Requested Records

| revcom.us

 

On Tuesday, October 29 at a discovery hearing in the case of the Puerto Rican People’s Parade 7, the judge ruled that the state has to turn over to the defense evidence that lawyers filed for previously, as long as seven months ago. This is supposed to be a basic right for anyone facing criminal charges, but is increasingly denied to many people. This positive ruling came after lawyers for the defendants filed a 12-page brief (with 70 pages of attachments) and arguments were made in the courtroom that focused in large part on whether or not the Revolution Club is being targeted by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for the Revolution Club’s political viewpoint.

The Puerto Rican People’s Parade 7 are seven members of the Revolution Club who are facing trial and potentially a year in jail after an illegitimate mass arrest at the 2018 Puerto Rican People’s Parade. The arrests were a blatant violation of free speech rights, with Chicago police grabbing and throwing people to the ground who were speaking to people over a bullhorn and passing out flyers. These arrests are part of a pattern of repression against the Revolution Club, which is based on and strives to represent the interests of humanity: revolution and the new communism developed by Bob Avakian.

The brief filed in the case brought out how Revolution Club members were speaking on the sidewalk at the parade about the deaths of thousands of people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria due to the Trump/Pence Regime, and about “U.S. hegemony, imperialism and colonialism, and police violence in Puerto Rico, Chicago, the Bronx, and other locations.” It included as an attachment a letter from the ACLU about the right of the Revolution Club to speak and use amplified sound at parades and other similar events.

The brief argued that the First Amendment rights of the Revolution Club members are being violated and they are being targeted by the CPD, so the Defendants should get the discovery they’ve asked for which could show further evidence of this. It included known history of the CPD spying on, infiltrating and harassing political groups, in particular through its “red squad” that was supposedly dismantled in the 1970s but which had to be enforced by consent decree until 2001. It also included evidence of CPD surveillance of the Revolution Club during the upsurge against police murder in 2014-2015, and it documented more than a dozen arrests, tickets, and near-arrests of members of the Revolution Club during free speech activities since 2016. The brief also pointed out that over and over again the charges on these arrests have either been dismissed or the city has worked out resolutions like “deferred prosecution” where the charges are eventually dismissed but the defendants are forced to do community service first for a period of time. It said, “Those tactics strongly indicate a strategy to get Defendants off the streets and chill their future expression.”

In the hearing, the prosecutor tried to act like there was nothing political about the arrest and that the idea the Revolution Club is being targeted for political and ideological reasons is ridiculous. He said, “this isn’t 1955” to argue that a communist group would be targeted by the police doesn’t happen anymore. One of the lawyers for the defendants responded, with honest indignation, it is WORSE today than 1955!

The lawyers argued that the Revolution Club is being arrested because the police don’t like what its saying, and there is a pattern of harassment, including dramatically in court pointing to one of the defendants and saying just one week before this arrest, she was arrested at the Back of the Yards Festival (a street fair on the south side) for the same activity. In response to questions from the judge, the lawyers kept making the case for this, and why this matters in relation to being able to see the records of whether the police are surveilling the Revolution Club and how the decisions were made to arrest them at the Puerto Rican People’s Parade.

The prosecutor then tried to argue that he would be willing to hand over any information he could find, but he doesn’t think any of the documentation the defendants are asking for exists. Another one of the lawyers jumped in to say that in many cases she has found that just because prosecutors say these things don’t exist, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. She argued with a lot of substance that she fully expects the records being asked for do exist, even if the prosecutor doesn’t think so.

The judge ultimately ruled that the defendants have a right to what they are asking for, including in his ruling that the lawyers presented evidence that the group (the Revolution Club) has been monitored and harassed, and because of its history with the CPD and the history of the CPD targeting political groups, the police may have animus towards it, so the state is required to respond to their requests. There will be a status hearing in two weeks, which is likely to be the first of several, to make sure the discovery is actually going forward.

The targeting of the Revolution Club described by the lawyers is not happening in a vacuum. It is happening in the context of the Trump/Pence regime coming to power and piece-by-piece installing a fascist America. The day before the hearing, Trump was in Chicago, for the first time since he got into office, giving a fascist speech to a room full of police chiefs, to unleash further open violence and repression against Black people and immigrants, and the “far-left activists” that stand in the way of that. Chicago’s police chief, Eddie Johnson, refused to go to that meeting and was bashed by Trump for not getting with the program. And yet Eddie Johnson’s hands are dripping with the blood of dozens of Black youth who have been murdered by Chicago police, and his police force, together with the state’s attorney, Kim Foxx (who has also been targeted by the fascists) has been assisting the fascist regime in criminalizing dissent and systematically repressing the political group that has a way out of this nightmare.

As the defendants stated in their press release about the hearing, “Everyone who wants a real future for humanity should join us in demanding, ‘Drop the charges on the Puerto Rican People’s Parade 7, Hands off the Revolution Club!,’ join us in the streets demanding Trump/Pence #OUTNOW, and join us in getting organized for a real revolution and real path to a whole better way the world can be.”

See also:

Drop the Charges on the Puerto Rican People's Parade 7
Seven members of Revolution Club, Chicago face trial for illegitimate mass arrest at 2018 Puerto Rican People’s Parade

 

Drop the Charges on Noche Diaz and the Puerto Rican People's Parade 7!
Hands Off the Revolution Club! We Have the Right to Lift Our Heads!


Noche Diaz and the Puerto Rican People's Parade 7

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/brooklyn-protesting-brutality-defying-the-NYPD-en.html

Brooklyn, New York: Protesting Brutality, Defying the NYPD

| revcom.us

 

Photo: M. Stan Reaves

On Friday night, 1,500 to 2,000 mainly young people rallied and marched in downtown Brooklyn in a FTP (Fuck the Police) Emergency Action Against the NYPD (New York Police Department) and MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). With chants of “Fuck the police,” they defied the NYPD and marched through the streets and subway stations in outrage over the recent police killing of three people in the Bronx and the NYPD rampage in the subway stations of Brooklyn.

The week before, pigs beat a 15-year-old Black man and another Black youth. The beatings were caught on video. They also pulled a gun on a young Black man for “theft of services,” aka subway fare evasion. Adrian Napier, who the NYPD almost shot at the Franklin Avenue subway station, addressed the crowd. Protesters demanded that the subway be free and that NYPD stop arresting and brutalizing Black and Brown people who do not have the $2.75 subway fare and jump over the turnstile. While marching through the subway stations, hundreds carried out mass turnstile jumping in protest.

 

Get to know Bob Avakian

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/619/chicago-outnow-movement-fights-back-against-unjust-repression-en.html

Received from Refuse Fascism Chicago

Refuse Fascism Wins Beginning Victory in Fight to Protest Fascist Trump/Pence Regime in Millennium Park in Chicago

| revcom.us

 

Today during a press conference held to protest last week's attack on the right to protest in Millennium Park, the Security Director of the Park arrived to convey the message that as long as the protesters keep the protest peaceful, they are welcome in Millennium Park, with their signs and other materials.

On Oct 26, #OutNow protesters demanding “Trump and Pence Must Go NOW!” at Millennium Park were informed by park security, backed up by Chicago Police, that leaflets could not be handed out, that banners and signs could not be held up where they were visible; no amplified sound was allowed, and no drums allowed.

Refuse Fascism Chicago was determined not to be deterred and successfully continued with the rally and their signs and banners and amplified sound until they marched off to take #OutNow out to the streets.

We were also determined to publicly expose the blatant suppression of the message that this dangerous regime must be stopped now by the mass, sustained, nonviolent action of the people in the street.

Refuse Fascism said in a press release, “It is ridiculous and unacceptable for the City to designate one small portion of Millennium Park as a free speech zone and then restrict it so severely that it means free speech will only be tolerated when it cannot be seen or heard. These restrictions suffocate the ability to project the #OUTNOW! message to the broad public and the ability of our Saturday protests to grow and solidify when it is so urgent that society be awakened and empowered to stand up against the fascist nightmare facing humanity.”

Refuse Fascism informed the ACLU of Illinois about these violations of basic rights. Yesterday, October 31 the ACLU sent a strong letter to Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The ACLU letter states: 

"Based on witness accounts, Park Security made unconstitutional demands of protesters, some of which were based on unconstitutional provisions of the August 26, 2019 Millennium Park Rules (the "Rules").  I ask for your assurances that such restrictions will not be imposed at future protests, including Refuse Fascism's demonstrations planned for the next three Saturdays."

Several hours after the press conference Mr. Kelly sent a written response to the ACLU, agreeing to allow the #OUTNOW protesters in Wrigley Square on November 2 to use signs, banners, leaflets and reasonable sound amplification, (while at the same time, reserving the City’s rights to revisit these legal issues.)  

This is a beginning victory in the fight against this fascist regime. Only two days after the City tried to suppress the #OutNow protest thousands of people protested Trump's visit to Chicago when he talked to the police chiefs association. Trump escalated the fascist police state threatening “far-left activists" and sanctuary cities and calling for more repression against Black and Latino people.

Meanwhile Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson, who Trump also attacked for not being repressive enough, has a long history of violence against the Black and Latino people and revolutionaries in Chicago, including the Revolution Club.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that Trump's "ignorant buffoonery" is not welcome in Chicago. Yet this same administration was enforcing rules to silence and shut down the #OUTNOW! fight to unseat this fascist regime. If you are suppressing dissent and the fight to oust this regime then you are complicit with this regime. Voices for justice are being throttled by the City of Chicago while violent thugs are being unleashed from the White House.

Nationally this movement has faced violent attacks by MAGA thugs in LA followed by further serious threats. In Chicago there have been disruptions by Trump followers. Andy Zee, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism has said, “No matter what they throw at us, we will not be deterred. The Proud Boy thugs are violent enforcers of Trump/Pence’s fascist program. We won’t back down. The #OUTNOW! movement won’t stop continuing non-violent protest until this whole regime is driven from power.”

“We defend those who are attacked for standing up against fascism. We work to turn every attack into a means to rally more people to join this great cause,” point #5 from the flyer “Join the #OutNow movement” says.

Click here to read the Refuse Fascism Call

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/618/bob-avakian-excerpts-en.html

Excerpts from:

Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

by Bob Avakian

Updated | revcom.us

 

Revcom is sharing with our readers excerpts from this new work by Bob Avakian:

 

Lack of real hope for a better life in this world is a heavy chain weighing down, suffocating, and deeply scarring the masses of humanity, including the youth who are concentrated in the ghettos and barrios of this country as well as its overflowing torture chamber prisons. And the extreme individualism promoted throughout this society, the obsessive focus on “the self,” has reinforced the heavy lid on the sights of people, obscuring their ability to recognize the possibility of a radically different and better world, beyond the narrow and confining limits of this system, with all its very real horrors.

Posted December 9, 2019:

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.

* Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution is an important speech by Bob Avakian, given in the summer of 2018. The film and the written text of this speech are available at revcom.us.

 

Posted December 1, 2019:

I want to speak to the accusation that “You are going to get people killed!”  This is an accusation that has not infrequently been raised especially when we put forward, as we should, not only the need for revolution, but what this means—that it means the overthrow of the existing system through the defeat of its armed enforcers when the conditions for that have been brought into being:  the existence of a revolutionary people in the millions and millions and an acute revolutionary crisis throughout society.  What is our response to this accusation?

People, masses of people all over the world, are already being killed, and are suffering in horrendous ways while they are alive, because of this system—and one of the most painful expressions of this is the way in which huge numbers of people who are already terribly oppressed under this system, and the youth in particular, are being misled into killing each other, either in gang conflicts or in wars in the service of imperialists and other reactionary oppressors! Our goal is clear:

No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born.  I say no more of that. [BAsics 1:13]

Our goal is to finally put an end to all this!

As called for in “HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution,” we need to be serious and scientific in how we build this revolution—and our strategy and plan for revolution is exactly based on a serious and scientific method and approach.  That is why, among other things, in the Points of Attention for the Revolution, the 6th point makes clear:

We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.

It is this same method and approach that leads to this clear-cut, scientifically-based conclusion:

In fundamental terms, 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!

This is the understanding and the orientation that has to be brought forward, and vigorously fought for, among masses of people, and especially the youth, for whom this system really has no decent future—if, again, they have a future at all.

 

 

Posted November 11, 2019:

Individualism is a significant factor and "unifying element" in much of the negative trends that play a major role in keeping people from recognizing the reality and depth of the horrors continually brought about by this system—and recognizing the urgent need to act, together with others, to abolish and uproot all this, at its very source. This highlights and heightens the fact that individualism, which is encouraged and expressed in extreme forms in this particular society at this time, is a profound problem that must be confronted and transformed.

 

 

Virulent Individualism and Oblivious Individualism

These are two broad categories of individualism, which have some different particular characteristics but also have in common the basic focus on and preoccupation with the self. Virulent individualism is an extremely poisonous variation of this. It’s basically the view that “I’m out to get everything I can for myself and fuck everybody else. And if I have to trample on everybody else to get what I want, that’s just the way it is and I’m gonna do it the best I can, so I can get everything I want—I want it all and I want it now.”

Oblivious individualism is individualism that may not have those particular aggressive characteristics and may not even have a consciously hostile attitude toward other people in general, but involves going along pursuing one’s particular interests, aspirations, or “dreams,” without paying attention to the larger things that are going on in the world and the effect of this on masses of people throughout the world and indeed on the future of humanity.

 

 

As I pointed out in the Dialogue with Cornel West in 2014, the “selfie” is a perfect iconic representation of this whole outlook and this whole culture. It’s not that every “selfie” is in and of itself bad, of course. But there is a whole culture around it, even to the point where people go to a beautiful place in nature and what are they preoccupied with?  Taking a “selfie” of themself instead of taking in (and yes, taking photographs of) the vast beauty that’s stretched out before them. The important thing, with this outlook, is: “Here I am, look at me.” It’s the “look at me, look at me, look at me” ethos that is so predominant in both these forms of individualism, even in the one that’s not consciously virulent but is nevertheless strikingly oblivious.

 

 

I’m not necessarily opposed to people watching some videos or YouTubes of cats playing the violin (and similar things on the internet), but if that kind of thing is your preoccupation—let alone if snark and tearing down other people on the internet is your preoccupation—then, obviously, this is something any decent person should be very concerned about and strongly oppose and struggle sharply against.

 

 

Everywhere you turn you hear: “Oh, this is really gonna be good for developing her ‘brand’”; “Oh, they really have been very creative in how they’ve pumped up their ‘brand.’” You can’t turn around anywhere without hearing the word “brand” used in this kind of way. And this goes along, of course, with the glorification of entre-manure-ialism—which objectively amounts to the attempt to get in on the exploitation of people, becoming part of the overall process resting to a large degree on super-exploitation of masses of people, including children, in the Third World.

 

 

Oblivious individualism may seem more benign (or, in simple terms, less “nasty”) but it is nonetheless marked by being inexcusably ignorant of, or consciously choosing to ignore, what is happening in the larger world, beyond the self (and the narrow circle around oneself), and the consequences of this for the masses of people in the world, and ultimately for all of humanity—or paying attention to this only as it affects oneself in immediate and narrow terms.

 

 

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.”

 

 

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 starting 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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!

 

 

Posted November 4, 2019:

In the opening section of the book The New Communism (“Introduction and Orientation”) I spoke to the bitter reality that the masses of oppressed people are afraid to hope:

Afraid to hope that maybe the world doesn’t have to be this way, that maybe there is a way out of this. Afraid to hope, because their hopes have been dashed so many times.

This is a significant factor in why so many turn to religion—because there does not seem to be any hope for an end, in this world, to the terrible suffering and degradation to which they are continually subjected, which is imposed on them by the functioning of this system but which is also obscured and covered over by the very way this system operates and the role of its institutions, functionaries and enforcers, which systematically act to mislead people as to why the world is the way it is and whether and how it could really be changed, whether and in what way it is possible to put an end to all this unnecessary suffering.

Here stands out again the great importance of the scientific method and approach of communism, as this has been further developed through the new communism, and the reality and possibility of radical, emancipating change, in this world.

 

 

Confronting reality as it actually is—and as it is changing and developing—and understanding the underlying and driving forces in this, is crucial in order to play a decisive and leading role in bringing about this revolution and ushering in a whole new era in human history, which will shatter and remove forever not only the material chains—the economic, social and political shackles of exploitation and oppression—that enslave people in today’s world but also the mental chains, the ways of thinking and the culture, that correspond to and reinforce those material chains.

 

 

Religion is always presented as a source of “hope” or of consolation. But is it really a source of hope—or is it, in essence and in its defining aspect, a paralyzing illusion? Religion holds out the concept of consolation for suffering, and looking to another world and otherworldly forces to get some sort of consolation for all the suffering that people are subjected to, and in order to make it through the day. But the question is: Is what people need consolation for the suffering that they’re put through under this system, or do they need to rise up and abolish the system which embodies and enforces this suffering, and in so doing eliminate the need for consolation for suffering that they’re no longer being put through, the unnecessary suffering they’re being put through?

 

 

The Christian fundamentalists (including the current Vice President Mike Pence and others in powerful positions in government, the media, and other major institutions) are a driving force for theocratic fascism (tyrannical rule by Dark Ages religious authority). They adhere to and aggressively propagate unthinking allegiance to and application of religious dogma which, when taken literally (as these Christian fascists insist upon), promotes and will lead to all kinds of atrocities and horrors (as can be seen in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible—something I analyzed in Away With All Gods!).

 

 

There are many religious people whose religious views and sentiments do inspire and drive them to take stands against and to even sacrifice in the struggle against oppression. And this, of course, should be respected and united with. But, at the same time, that does not eliminate the need for sharp struggle in the ideological realm against the outlook that religion purveys and the role that religion plays as a mental shackle on masses of people, in fact working against their acquiring and systematically and consistently applying a scientific approach to understanding reality, and in particular what it is that’s causing the suffering that the masses of humanity are being subjected to and what is the solution to that.

 

 

Yes, ultimately the struggle has to be carried out in the realm of practice; it has to be carried out in the actual struggle to go up against and ultimately overthrow the system which embodies and enforces all this horrific oppression. But there’s a tremendous importance to people, even before they become highly developed theoretically, to get a basic understanding that there is no necessity, there is no permanent necessity, to the existing conditions, and why that is so. This is the source of hope, not on the basis of illusions such as those propagated and perpetuated by religion, but on a scientific basis.

 

Posted October 21, 2019:

While people do exist as individuals, the terrible suffering of the masses of humanity and the urgent challenges facing humanity as a whole as a result of the escalating destruction of the environment by this system of capitalism-imperialism as well as the possibility of nuclear conflagration that continues to loom as an existential threat over humanity—all this cannot be seriously addressed, let alone actually solved, by each person pursuing their particular individual interests, and in fact people acting in this way constitutes a major obstacle to bringing about the necessary solution.

 

 

Another aspect of what is involved here is “world-weary cynicism”.... This world-weary pseudo cynicism (or real cynicism, but pseudo world-awareness) is another manifestation of parasitic individualism—excusing your refusal or your failure to do anything about the crimes being committed in your name, and all the horrific things going on in the world, on the basis of: “Yes, I know, but this is just the way it is. And after all, there’s nothing really that can be done about it. Anybody who comes forward and claims they’re gonna do something about it is just as corrupt as the people who are perpetrating this stuff already, so there’s not really anything that can be done.” As it has been put, very insightfully, this is a sentiment that could be translated as: “Oh, I’m so glad that it’s turned out that the right thing to do is to do nothing at all about these outrages and horrors in the world.”

 

 

One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way, and weighing people down, is American chauvinism—the disgusting notion that America and Americans are better and more important than everybody else.

 

 

With regard to the middle class in this country, although today significant sections of this class are not doing as well as in the past—and some are actually struggling—economically, as the social divide and the income disparities continue to widen to obscene proportions, there is still among them, or among many in the middle class, a persistent and widespread sense of “entitlement” as Americans and an identification of their own interests with what is in fact a system of massive war crimes and crimes against humanity: American capitalist imperialism. And, as noted in THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!, this poison of American chauvinism also exerts some influence among the most bitterly oppressed, even as this is in sharp conflict with the systematic oppression to which they are subjected in this country under this system.

 

 

With the invasions and ongoing wars, the coups, the slaughter of civilians in the hundreds of thousands, the wrecking of countries and the reducing of millions to desperation and starvation at the hands of the imperialists of the USA and their “allies” and craven puppets: Where is the mass outrage and active and determined opposition from people in the USA, in whose name these monstrous crimes are continually committed—including where is it from those who call themselves “progressive” or proclaim themselves “woke”?!

 

 

There is a great need for people broadly to break with this American chauvinism. As I have emphasized previously, there are 3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better:

1) People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this.

2) People have to dig seriously and scientifically into how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works, and what this actually causes in the world.

3) People have to look deeply into the solution to all this.

 

 

While it is right and necessary to unite with people broadly in opposing the injustices and outrages committed by those who rule this country, and while this has taken on heightened importance with the coming to power of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, it is a basic truth that without breaking with American chauvinism—without confronting the very real horror of what this country has been, and what it has done, here and all over the world, from its founding to the present—and without coming to deeply hate this, it is not possible, in the final analysis, to retain one’s own humanity and act in the highest interests of all humanity.

 

 

In direct opposition to the poisonous outlook of American chauvinism, the orientation that must be firmly upheld and fiercely fought for is the basic principle and simple, but profound, truth that “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives” and “Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First,” which is contained in BAsics 5:7 and 5:8.

 

And, as gone into more fully in BAsics:

The interests, objectives, and grand designs of the imperialists are not our interests—they are not the interests of the great majority of people in the U.S. nor of the overwhelming majority of people in the world as a whole. And the difficulties the imperialists have gotten themselves into in pursuit of these interests must be seen, and responded to, not from the point of view of the imperialists and their interests, but from the point of view of the great majority of humanity and the basic and urgent need of humanity for a different and better world, for another way. (BAsics 3:8)

Winning continually greater numbers of people to this fundamental orientation is critical in terms of achieving any positive change, and will be decisive in bringing about the revolution to finally put an end to this monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism.

 

 

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

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

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

| revcom.us

 

Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Fascists and Communists:
Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

By Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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.

 

 


 

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

The second theme is the critical role of revolutionary theory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE NEW COMMUNISM

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

Download PDF of book here

Read more

Breakthroughs —

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

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

 

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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.

 

 


 

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Features

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November 2-4, 2019

#OUTNOW!—Across the Country, November 2


  •         At Madison Square Garden, where Trump attended a UFC event

  •         New York City march

  •         Harlem, NYC—Read more

  •         Philadelphia

  •         Los Angeles

November 2, 2019

#OUTNOW!—Across the Country, November 2


  •         New York City march

  •         Philadelphia

  •         Los Angeles

  •         At Madison Square Garden, where Trump attended a UFC event

November 1, 2019

30 years ago Donald Trump called for the execution of 15-year-old Yusef Salaam and four other innocent Black and Latino youth. Watch Carl Dix and Dr. Yusef Salaam talk about the experience of the Exonerated 5, the lessons from Nazi Germany, and why people need to take to the streets to get the Trump/Pence regime #OutNow.

Watch, share, donate, and join #OUTNOW! Today!


October 31, 2019

"The Democrats are fighting this impeachment on very narrow terms. If we allow the whole terms of this fight to be just between the Democrats and the Republicans, this fascism will stay intact, and this cancer of fascism will be legitimized and grow. This is why it has to be driven from power by the masses of people."

 


October 30, 2019

An "onslaught of far left activists"?! NO! We face an onslaught of FASCISM!

Which side are YOU on?

 

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org


October 28, 2019

Chicago:

Thousands Demonstrate Against Trump as He Attacks "Far‑left Activists" and Once Again Threatens Repression Against Black and Latino Community

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Twitter/WCPT 820

Twitter/WCPT 820


Today! #OUTNOW! Launches Nationwide!

October 26, 2019

The Trump/Pence regime is fascist. It won't be bound by rules and will do anything to stay in power. The only thing that can stop them—and ultimately remove them from power—is the people, us, in the streets. Nonviolent... massive... sustained... and growing. Be part of rising to the challenge.

Go here for location nearest you.


Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Friday marks one year since the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, unleashed against Jews for the alleged crime of supporting immigrants.

October 25, 2019

Since then: more massacres of immigrants and Latinos... more children of immigrants locked away from their parents in cages for the "crime" of seeking asylum, or weeping in the streets after their parents are seized in workplace raids... more massive Nazi-style rallies, each more ugly than the last...thugs on the attack—at demonstrations or even in the halls of Congress... and all headed by a president who loudly claims that he is above the law!

One year after the Pittsburgh massacre and...

NEVER AGAIN IS NOW! WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

TRUMP-PENCE OUT NOW! Saturday October 26—Find a city near you!


FASCISTS, HIGH AND LOW; RACISTS, THEN AND NOW

October 24, 2019

Yesterday, 30 fascist Congressmen prevented a hearing from going forward by their thuggish, mob-like antics. They echo their slavery-defending forefathers of the 1850s in their tactics, their mania to defend white supremacy, and their determination to impose their reactionary order on society. They also echo the thuggish attack on the Refuse Fascism demonstration by their brother fascists in LA last Saturday—who themselves even shouted out, “you want a civil war, we’ll give you a civil war.”

No. But if we want to stop these fascists from violently imposing their will on humanity, with catastrophic consequences, we need to take the streets, in nonviolent but determined mass action, thousands now building to millions. Be part of starting this this Saturday, all over the country.

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

Watch the full film here.


Trump Compares Lawful Impeachment Inquiry to a Lynching

This fascist needs to be OUT NOW!

October 22, 2019

Trump—on the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation—dared to compare the lawful inquiry of the House of Representatives into his outrageous acts to a "lynching."

"Lynching"? As in the lynching of over 5,000 people in this country's brutal racist history, the overwhelming majority of whom were Black?

Don't make us puke!

Trump began his political career calling for the "legal lynching" of the Central Park 5 in New York.

Trump inspired one-man lynch mobs from Pittsburgh to El Paso to Gilroy, California.

Trump tells police "don't be so gentle," and brays that "cops love Trump, Trump loves cops"—cheering on the modern counterparts of the lynch mobs.

This fascist needs to be OUT NOW!

 

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

Watch the full film here.


 

 

 

We've raised $2,560 in our year-end fund drive—that leaves $4,440 to go by the new year! Donate generously or sustain now! .

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/reenactors-trace-the-path-of-the-1811-slave-rebellion-en.html

Hundreds of Reenactors Trace the Path of the 1811 Slave Rebellion in Louisiana

| revcom.us

 

On November 8 and 9, hundreds of people are taking part in a “community-engaged artist performance and film production” that reenacts the 1811 slave rebellion in the area known as German Coast along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. This artwork involves people marching for two days over 26 miles—retracing the steps that the slave rebels took. The 1811 rebellion was the largest slave revolt in U.S. history (see the article in the revcom.us American Crime series for more on the rebellion and its bloody suppression). According to the website for the project, “Envisioned and organized by artist Dread Scott and documented by filmmaker John Akomfrah, Slave Rebellion Reenactment (SRR) will animate a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize and seize Orleans Territory, to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery. It is a project about freedom.” Among the reenactors in the pictures here are members of the Revolution Club who traveled from Chicago to take part in the reenactment.

 

 

We've raised $2,560 in our year-end fund drive—that leaves $4,440 to go by the new year! Donate generously or sustain now! .

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/620/revolution-tour-needs-your-support-en.html

The Revolution Tour needs YOUR support.
After Successful Livestream—All Out for $25,000 Goal by November 15

Updated | revcom.us

 

At this moment when the whole political order in the country is being shaken to its roots and the fight to bring out millions into sustained protest to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power is taking shape, the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour is playing a critical role.  Its members are pouring their energies and understanding into the #OutNow! movement and at the same time inspiring people with their bold message that this nightmare of a system must be overthrown and that a whole different kind of world is possible and urgently needed. 

The Revolution Tour needs YOUR support.

There was a successful Tour Livestream on November 10 (watch here), which made a big step toward meeting the goal of raising $25,000 by November 15. Be part of donating and raising the funds to meet that goal.

Call (646) 717-7161 to donate, pledge or call in additional matching challenges.

"Making Revolution Now— A Challenge, The Joy and The Need" National Tour Livestream

Additional ways you can support the Tour:

  • Become a sustaining donor at any amount from $5 to $500 month
  • Support a Tour member for a month: $1000
  • Donate to the Revolution Tour Travel Fund: Write to tourmilestogofar@gmail.com with your donation of airline miles or funds to enable Tour members to travel to where they are most needed.

Donate to and Sustain the National Get Ready for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

$25,000 Is Needed by November 15

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

You can also make this a monthly donation


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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