revcom.us, December 2, 2019 through December 8, 2019 (#624)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of one week's articles. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

Posted December 4, 2019

Posted December 5, 2019

Posted December 7, 2019

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/619/outnow-resources-en.html

 

| revcom.us

A special resource page:

#OUTNOW!

There Is No Santa Claus,
and He Won't Remove Trump and Pence

Join the December Disruptions:

TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

There Is No Santa Claus,
and He Won't Remove Trump and Pence
Join the December Disruptions: TRUMP/ PENCE OUT NOW!

November 26, 2019

A month of flash protests, banner drops, rapidly responding to sharp political events, and other actions to disrupt the advance of fascism, disturb the normalization and complicity of those who oppose Trump/Pence but are passively going along, and build the movement to drive the regime from power.

Nationwide Protests Saturday, December 14

Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

The Trump/Pence regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity. Concentration camps on the border... environmental devastation accelerated... war, even nuclear war, casually threatened... white supremacist rule... 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 stripped away... THIS IS FASCISM UNFOLDING AND IN POWER.

As the impeachment hearings move towards possible conclusion, sharp political lines are drawn with high stakes. Trump has declared the entire lawful process illegitimate and worked with Republicans to defy and obstruct it. Yet, to date, the Democratic leadership has all but conceded that Trump will not be removed by the Senate. Further, they refuse to impeach on the basis of Trump’s full fascist program, thereby leaving intact and even legitimating these crimes.

What can change all of this? WE CAN – the power of the people taking to the streets in sustained non-violent protest, raising the unifying demand: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW! And then, continuing week after week across the country, growing in numbers and determination until our demand is met. THIS IS THE WAY TO REMOVE THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME. At this moment of peril, celebrate this holiday season by struggling together, overcoming all that divides us, and transforming dread for the future into hope for humanity. Let this be the joy of the holidays.

In recent years, Puerto Rico, South Korea and other nations have shown the effectiveness of this method. For this to happen in the U.S., we must together: [1] Disrupt the advance of fascism by standing up against the Trump/Pence regime and its crimes. [2] Disturb the normalization and complicity of those who genuinely hate what Trump/Pence represent, but are passively going along as catastrophe mounts. [3] Build the society-wide influence and numbers of the #OUTNOW Movement, advancing towards the time when we can bring millions into the streets in sustained, non-violent political protest that does not stop until the regime is removed from power.

Join us for December Disruptions: “There is no Santa Claus, and he will not remove Trump and Pence. It’s on us. Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!” This is a month of flash protests, banner drops, rapidly responding to sharp political events, and other actions. This will include “moving protests” on Saturday, December 7th – on public transit or by car caravan – to disturb the air and get the word out on a massive scale. The centerpiece of the month will be mass protests on December 14, injecting the demand “Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!” into the holidays to shake off the numbing mass-consumerism daze. If we truly want to bring joy to children everywhere in this season, we must put an end to the regime that locks them in cages and imperils their future.

Don’t bury your hopes and conscience. Come out and make a difference. NOW IS THE TIME.

There’s still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the planet. What will you tell future generations you did during this last window of hope and opportunity? Let’s stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we’ve got to demand:

TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

TRUMP/ PENCE OUT NOW!

 

THE ESSENTIALS:

The Michael Slate Show 11/29:
Andy Zee: The Need to Remove This Regime from Below, Next Step: Dec 14

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Thursday, December 5, Refuse Fascism Webinar with a live New York audience and Q&A with Andy Zee on The catastrophic danger to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence regime, and why that requires nothing less than the determined sustained struggle of the #OUTNOW! movement.

REGISTER FOR THE NEXT WEBINAR (December 11, 2019, 6 pm Pacific, 9 pm Eastern)

Could it really happen here?

Is the Trump/Pence Regime bringing American fascism?
Is silence complicity?

Dialogue and Teach-In held December 4, UCLA

Letters From a Reader: Why Getting Involved With the Democrats—Even to "Take Them Over From Within"—Will Wind You Up in the Arms of Fascists

Part 1: A Liberal Democratic Politician and a Fascist Functionary Walk Into a Bar... But What Happens Next Is Not Really a Joke

Read more

Part 2: The Democrats' Impeachment Strategy: Whose Interests?

Read more

Part 3: Playing to Save the System, Not Trying to Defeat Fascism

Read more


How Do You Remove A Fascist Regime? #OUTNOW!

THIS IS FASCISM...

IMPORTANT RESOURCES

GET INVOLVED

for example, by spreading these memes and memes you create on social media

 

RefuseFascism.org
Get Involved

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

 

LATEST NEWS:

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

Proposal for Advancing and Building the #OUTNOW! Movement: December – January 1

Read more


Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

Real Advances, New Leaders, and the Challenge We Must Rise To: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

A Report from the Refuse Fascism National Meetings

Read more


"Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

A speech by Andy Zee, co-initiator of Refuse Fascism


#OUTNOW!—Across the Country, November 16: 5 Saturdays Launch of #OUTNOW! Concludes

About 500 people protested nationwide, including many who had come for all 5 weeks of demonstrations—as well as newer people just stepping in. In some cities artists stepped forward with cultural performances that lent a festive and defiant atmosphere. See Sat 11/16: 5 Saturdays Launch of #OUTNOW! Concludes: 500 people protest nationwide in more than a dozen cities


New York, Marching from Union Square to Trump Plaza


Chicago


San Francisco March


An Example to Students across the Country ... And Millions who Hate This Fascism

Snapshot of Berkeley protests against white supremacist Nazi Ann Coulter

November 23, 2019

Read more

Student protesters are put in handcuffs?!
Call UC police to demand they drop the charges: 510-642-6760

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/dialogue-and-teach-in-could-it-really-happen-here-en.html

Could it really happen here?

Is the Trump/Pence Regime bringing American fascism?
Is silence complicity?
Dialogue and Teach-In

Updated | revcom.us

 

Wednesday, December 4
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Franz 2258A, UCLA Campus
(across from the Faculty Center)

Zak Fisher, GSA President, third year law student
Jeffrey H. Solomon, Ph.D, Lecturer, Department of English, UCLA
Atlas Winfrey, National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, Refuse Fascism & one of the UCLA5
Moderated by: Tala Deloria, UCLA alum, Revolution Club & one of the UCLA5

This program will be livestreamed via Facebook live by Refuse Fascism. To watch live, go to Facebook.com/RefuseFascism.


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... theocracy threatened... the rule of law and democratic and civil rights are stripped away... THIS IS FASCISM UNFOLDING AND IN POWER.

Fascist speakers descend on college campuses, trying to crack strongholds of “liberal academia” and shut down critical thinking and dissent – with the Universities themselves paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions, for security. Trump threatens to cut off funding for campuses where there is meaningful protest against these fascist speakers and school administrators enact policies that shut down ANTI-fascist protest (UCLA is where Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was booed and where people protesting – the UCLA5 – were physically removed from their seats and arrested, dragged through the courts but ultimately acquitted). Recently, UCLA hosted Donald Trump, Jr. in what was the equivalent of a Klan rally with a crowd of hundreds of young fascists cohered around the myth of “white genocide,” organizing for a “white ethnostate.” These views, also held by Stephen Miller, are shaping Trump's immigration policies of ethnic cleansing. All while DACA hangs in the balance.

Is it right to call this a FASCIST regime? What is fascism? How would a fascist America impact the world? Is it a pendulum swing that can be stopped through elections or a different form of qualitatively more draconian rule that can only be stopped through mass, sustained, non-violent protest in the streets as put forth and initiated by the Call from RefuseFascism.org of #OUTNOW? What role and responsibility do students have?

As young people, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up, but we are never asked what kind of world we want to live in. This is the question we have to lift our sights to – beyond our cell phones and syllabi, beyond our personal aspirations: what's our responsibility to humanity and the planet?

Co-sponsored by Refuse Fascism, LA and Office of the GSA President, UCLA

Refuse Fascism, LA • 323.946.1742 • SoCal@refusefascism.org • @RefuseFascismLA • RefuseFascism.org 

 


Download PDF of flyer here.

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/proposal-for-advancing-and-building-the-outnow-movement-en.html

Received from RefuseFascism.org:

There Is No Santa Claus,
and He Won't Remove Trump and Pence
DECEMBER DISRUPTIONS
TRUMP/PENCE #OUTNOW!

Proposal for Advancing and Building the #OUTNOW! Movement: December—January 1

| revcom.us

 

1. Overview

December will be a highly charged month that will present both the necessity to speak and act in response to breaking events, and the opportunity to advance the #OUTNOW! Movement as this is the one program that could actually remove the Trump/Pence regime from power. [1] The impeachment of Trump will be moving to a new stage—with sharpening conflict at the highest levels. [2] There will be a ratcheting up of outrages from Trump and the regime. [3] There will be increased focus on the Democratic primaries in early 2020 which will divert all too many people from actively confronting the sharpening situation with the intensification and consolidation of the Trump/Pence fascist program and rule.

Refuse Fascism is calling for the new and developing #OUTNOW! Movement to make December a month of disrupting both the advance of and, especially, the normalization, accommodation, and collaboration with the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime.

There is no savior coming to stop fascism. There is no Santa Claus. Only the mass, sustained, nonviolent protest of the people across the country can stop this unfolding horror. If in our hearts we want children to have the joy of the holidays, then we must act for all those detained on the border, for all those imperiled by climate change, for all who suffer and live in fear of the danger of war heightened by this fascist regime. We act in the name of humanity for the future.

December must be a month where #OUTNOW! involves many more people and different political forces building on the beginning we achieved with the five-week launch from October 19 to November 16, with the nationwide mass protests on December 14 being the nodal point demonstrating the road that needs to be taken. Our December Disruptions must aim to shake people out of their complacency and complicity—making possible the kind of unrelenting and determined struggle that people around the world are waging.

Refuse Fascism has said that people need to overcome fear and uncertainty and act together with conviction because that is the only way to drive out a fascist regime that has mobilized millions to feel this is their last chance to bring about a white supremacist, xenophobic, thoroughly patriarchal fascist America. Our objective is nothing less than moving, as soon as possible, to when hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions of people take to the streets week after week, and day after day, not letting slander, attacks, or hardship deter our struggle to remove a regime that truly threatens the future of humanity and the planet. Acting together in this way can turn dread into hope. That is the message that we bring and act on for the new year.

2. The Situation

December looks to be a month of sharpening conflict between developing fascism and the interests of humanity.

There will likely be an impeachment indictment in the House of Representatives. Thus far the Democratic leadership has said that they are not going to follow the evidence presented at, nor fight to include all of the top officials of the regime implicated in, the October/November hearings. More, they have conducted these hearings on the sole grounds of national security and the legitimacy of the U.S. electoral process—ignoring the full crimes of the Trump/Pence fascist program, thus legitimating the full fascist program. And, as of now, they seem intent on making impeachment symbolic, conceding in advance defeat in the Senate. This is not just weak capitulation, it will serve to strengthen the grip and momentum of the fascist Trump/Pence regime and its disastrous program.

At the same time, this sharp fight at the top heightens the potential for the struggle of the people to break through and win our demand that the whole regime must be removed from power.

The Trump/Pence regime and their shock troops and fascist media are impassioned and geared up to not only defeat the impeachment, but to also rapidly advance their movement and agenda. They will be doubling down on multiple fronts—from immigration to the climate and remaking the rule of law, while their fascist shock troops are on the move everywhere, including on the nation’s campuses.

The Democratic primaries will be looming with masses of people consumed with that... their eyes and minds diverted from the reality of a rapidly advancing fascism and a potential constitutional showdown over impeachment. The illusions and delusions that the Trump/Pence regime is just a bad swing of the pendulum and that the Democratic Party—even reformed by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren—will stop what is now a fascist juggernaut, has turned all too many progressive people into (perhaps unwitting) normalizers and even collaborators of the fascist regime.

3. The Plan

There Is No Santa Claus, and He Won’t Remove Trump and Pence

DECEMBER DISRUPTIONS

TRUMP/PENCE #OUTNOW!

The objective for the month of December is to make real advances on the following two problems which confront everyone concerned about justice and the future in this country, and which no one has yet broken through on. The #OUTNOW! Movement made important beginning advances in setting the stage, but in December we go to work on bringing forward the people and disturbing the air in answer to these two questions:

How to move hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions into the streets in sustained nonviolent protest in cities and towns across the country?

How to move people from “I support you! thumbs up! good luck!” to taking to the streets and organizing others to do so too?

To these problems, to these tasks, we are calling for December Disruptions that [1] expose and confront the fascist regime’s crimes—where and when they occur; [2] challenge and disrupt the normalization and complicity with fascism and the politics and protest as usual that blinds those who should be in the streets to protest the catastrophe that will be, should the regime remain in power; and [3] inspire and mobilize people to take up the #OUTNOW! Movement.

4. The Key Elements of the Plan

KEY ORGANIZED events

Working Groups

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


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


New York, moving the rally on the subway

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/a-report-from-the-refuse-fascism-national-meetings-en.html

Received from RefuseFascism.org:

Real Advances, New Leaders, and the Challenge We Must Rise To: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

A Report from the Refuse Fascism National Meetings

| revcom.us

 

On November 24, RefuseFascism.org held meetings in over a dozen cities, bringing together more than 250 people from diverse backgrounds and political viewpoints. Together, organizers new and old grappled with the big questions of what was accomplished through the five weeks of protest which launched the #OUTNOW Movement, and how to build on this beginning to go forward to drive the whole Trump/Pence regime from power through massive, sustained, nonviolent protest. To this end, important plans were forged for a month of #OUTNOW December Disruptions to advance the reach, influence, and organized strength of the #OUTNOW Movement.

One of the most important things accomplished through the launch of the #OUTNOW Movement, and then taken to a higher level through these mass meetings, was the forging of new cores of leadership and a growing organized movement to drive out the regime. New people helped lead the meetings and new cores of people played active roles in advocating well for the #OUTNOW mission. Overwhelmingly, these new people were attracted by the seriousness of the #OUTNOW Movement in indicting the Trump/Pence regime for being fascist and for modeling the kind of sustained, nonviolent protest that it is going to take (on a much greater scale) to drive it from power.

A big part of the meetings was grappling with the questions: “How to move hundreds of thousands and ultimately millions into the streets in sustained, nonviolent protest in cities and towns across the country? And, how to move people from ‘I support you! Thumbs up! Good luck!’ to taking to the streets and organizing others to do so too?”

There was discussion over whether the answer to these two questions is mainly a matter of finding the right organizing techniques. Or, whether the answer to why there has not been protest here like what is going on around the world is more owing to larger factors in the political situation and how people here have been led to see what can be done about the regime. Increasingly, while recognizing the need to improve our organizing and messaging, the meetings united around the understanding that the biggest obstacles we face have to do with the way millions have allowed themselves to get normalized to the regime and its crimes, and the way far too many who hate this regime are still clinging to the hope that the Democrats, the impeachment, the 2020 elections, or something else besides them acting themselves will stop this nightmare for them. Some themes that emerged:

Key in addressing these questions, as well as others that came up, are the Refuse Fascism website (RefuseFascism.org) and social media (@RefuseFascism). These platforms already provide essential analysis and exposure, particularly through the writing and speeches of the RF Editorial Board. But all this needs to expand with more voices, more exposure of the crimes of the regime, and more polemics with the cost and reasons proffered for not doing here what people are doing around the world. And all this must reach much, much further. Ideas were kicked around for this and people who want to volunteer to write, to produce graphics and design, to assist with the web, or to join the social media team should write in to: info(at)refusefascism.org.

After wrangling deeply with what is described above, people wrestled with and united around plans for a month of activities through the end of the year under the theme: “There Is No Santa Claus and He Won’t Remove Trump and Pence. December Disruptions. Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!”

The centerpiece of these plans include continuing to fight for the mass, sustained, nonviolent protests demanding “Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!” through nationwide protests on December 14, and important protests to disrupt the normalization and get the word out about the 14th on mass transit and in other ways on December 7. At the same time, creative actions and disruptions are being planned throughout the whole month. These include protests to take on representatives of the Trump/Pence regime. This also includes creative flash protests, banner drops, and other political actions. As described in the plan developed by Refuse Fascism, the December Disruptions have three aims, to: “[1] expose and confront the fascist regime’s crimes—where and when they occur; [2] challenge and disrupt the normalization and complicity with fascism and the politics and protest as usual that blinds those who should be in the streets to the catastrophe that will be, should the regime remain in power; and [3] inspire and mobilize people to take up the #OUTNOW! Movement.”

Already, some of these actions have begun to be shared on Refuse Fascism’s social media (@refusefascism) and put on the calendar for December at RefuseFascism.org. In the coming days expect to see more. [Read the full plan here.]

Also key in this period through the end of the year will be a mass movement of fundraising. This will be critical in building up the ability of the #OUTNOW Movement to reach and move millions in the new year and is a critical way of spreading and growing the organized base of this movement now. Donating funds, purchasing and wearing #OUTNOW merchandise, and coming together to raise funds—including through holiday parties in most cities with Refuse Fascism chapters—is one of the most meaningful ways to join a community of others taking responsibility for preventing a fascist America.

In conclusion, while the enormous challenge of shaking millions out of their complicity with fascism and moving them to join the fight to drive out the regime still lies before us—we not only made an important beginning to build on through the five-week launch of #OUTNOW, the mass meetings on November 24 made real advances in forging the necessary leadership, organization, and plans to fight our way forward. In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America! Join us in the fight to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power.

Next up:

Wednesday, December 4, 6 pm Pacific (9 pm Eastern):

Watch the livestream of the #OUTNOW teach-in and dialogue at UCLA, “Could it really happen here? Is the Trump/Pence Regime bringing American fascism? Is silence complicity?” In Los Angeles, attend live at Franz 2258A, UCLA Campus (across from the Faculty Center).

This program will be livestreamed via Facebook live by Refuse Fascism. To watch live, go to Facebook.com/RefuseFascism.

Thursday, December 5, 6 pm Pacific (9 pm Eastern):

Tune into the #OUTNOW Webinar (normally on Wednesday, this week rescheduled so as not to conflict with the UCLA teach-in). This week’s Webinar will have a live New York audience Q&A with Andy Zee on “The catastrophic danger to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence regime, and why that requires nothing less than the determined sustained struggle of the #OUTNOW! movement.” Register here.


In front of Trump Tower, NYC


New York, Marching from Union Square to Trump Plaza


Chicago


San Francisco March

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/a-liberal-democratic-politician-and-a-fascist-functionary-walk-into-a-bar-but-what-happens-next-is-not-really-a-joke-en.html

Letters From a Reader: Why Getting Involved With the Democrats—Even to "Take Them Over From Within"—Will Wind You Up in the Arms of Fascists

Part 1: A Liberal Democratic Politician and a Fascist Functionary Walk Into a Bar... But What Happens Next Is Not Really a Joke

| revcom.us

 

Last week, the former Maryland governor and 2016 wannabe Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley confronted Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security Kenneth Cuccinelli in a Washington, DC bar.

O’Malley loudly called out Cuccinelli as “the son of immigrant grandparents who cages children for a fascist president.” Rather than let this go any further, Cuccinelli left the bar.

In contrast: One week earlier, at the most recent Democratic debate for this year’s candidates, 10 candidates talked for three hours and spilled out 22,000 words, but never once mentioned the “F” word.

It wasn’t because the question wasn’t put. The debate led off with a query to the candidates as to how central should Trump's conduct be to the presidential campaign, given that he was now being impeached. Bernie Sanders even grabbed the headline off the debate by warning Democrats NOT to be “consumed” with Trump—in other words, don’t call out Trump’s egregious and accelerating moves toward a fully fascist form of rule but focus instead on health care, climate change, and housing—lest they lose the election.

Now health care, housing, and especially climate change are all crucially important. But not only can none of these be solved within this capitalist-imperialist system, there will be no ability for any serious movement on any of these outrages to even function should Trump’s fascism fully consolidate. And every other candidate essentially followed the lead of this self-styled “socialist” in answering the question. They went after Trump’s “corruption,” but as to the question of the fascist character of what this entire regime has been doing—the open white supremacy that launched Trump’s campaign in 2016... the fact that his head of immigration, Stephen Miller, had just been revealed to have connections to the “white nationalist”—that is, Nazi—movement... the fact that there are increasing and accelerating moves toward Christian fascist religious domination in reinforcing patriarchy and gender oppression generally and in the spheres of education and culture... to all those, not a mumbling word.

And despite an explicit question on “white supremacist violence,” nobody linked that violence to the Trump/Pence regime and the blatant, open white supremacy of the regime; and only one candidate saw fit to even touch on the cages at the border.

You could also say—and I’ll make the case for it later this week—that the same general approach has been applied by the Democrats to these impeachment hearings.

In looking at the contrast between O’Malley’s simple truth-telling and the evasion and obfuscation of these candidates—and yes, even the “radical” ones like Sanders and Warren—I couldn’t help remembering something Bob Avakian said shortly after 9/11, when the fascist juggernaut now in high gear had picked up tremendous momentum under George W. Bush, and was implementing extremely repressive measures and embarking on criminal wars:

[I]t’s quite likely that if you gave truth serum to the liberals in the ruling class (and their liberal allies in society generally) they would tell you something along these lines: “You don’t understand what’s going on here, there’s a whole police-state fascist thing being set in motion. We’re doing our best to hold the ground against it, but you gotta understand what’s going on here."

O’Malley didn’t need truth serum per se, but a glass of Guinness and the sight of this fascist child-torturer Cuccinelli seems to have performed a similar function. But BA then goes on to make the most telling point:

And there would be a certain truth to what they’re saying, although the standpoint from which they would be saying this is the standpoint of the imperialist bourgeoisie itself; and from this standpoint the ruling class liberals (and those who follow in their wake) will sooner or later (and often it is sooner) take this position: it is better, far better, to have all this war and police-state repression than to have our whole thing called into question or challenged fundamentally. [emphasis added]

Times have changed, and while the Democrats then overwhelmingly supported the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader assaults on countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa, they do not do so as openly today.

But they still refuse to state the truth about what humanity faces, and for the same reason: because to tell the actual truth that there is a fascist in the White House moving to implement this fascism, with all the horror that entails, could indeed lead to the calling into question and even the fundamental challenge to the whole thing.

And guess what? If O’Malley were running this year, he would’ve done the same.

Next: Impeachment... What It Is, and Is Not, Revealing and Why the Democrats Are NOT Playing to Win

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

Watch the entire film here

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/mass-outpourings-worldwide-and-what-is-to-be-done-en.html

Mass Outpourings Worldwide... and What Is to Be Done

| revcom.us

 

Outpourings of mass sustained protests against governments in countries all over the world have been a feature of the past decade, but have increased in intensity and scope in the past few years—South Korea, Puerto Rico (U.S.), Lebanon, Chile, now Iraq, to name just a few... and the list grows almost every week. There is much to learn from what are overall positive examples and their dynamics, especially for the #OutNow struggle that seeks to oust this fascist Trump/Pence regime from power through sustained nonviolent mass mobilization.

These mass outpourings and upsurges are the result of and reflect deep contradictions in diverse societies, with many differences and variations. While many of these mass movements reflect a positive development, they have to be analyzed in the concrete for the content and nature of the upsurges and their programs. There are different origins or triggering events, some arising out of economic struggle or drastic measures by government, giving rise to severe hardships; some out of political crises of one kind or another, often with questions of the environment, with cultural/ethnic/religious conflict mixed in—all in the context of the overall workings of the capitalist-imperialist system, and the different histories and ways in how that affects the people in these countries. The overall character of the upsurges is going to be different in each instance, including the role of different ruling classes who see their interests tied to the outcome of the struggle.

Inevitably in these kinds of situations, whatever was the initiating factor, different kinds of class forces are involved—from radical-progressive to bourgeois-(democratic)-imperialist to reactionary-fascist forces and all stripes in between—and they each fight for how they view their interests, often in masked form. Imperialist powers get involved directly or through local actors to influence outcomes that serve their geopolitical interests.

Let’s take Hong Kong as an example. This protracted uprising does involve a just struggle of the people against reactionary laws and restrictions being imposed on them by the Chinese government in Beijing—part of the overall trend of undermining the autonomy of Hong Kong step by step since its reabsorption into China. This struggle has drawn in and been sustained by students and basic masses, broad middle strata, but also significant sections of local ruling figures of the Hong Kong business and political elite who perceive their position, democratic rights, and relative autonomy existentially threatened by the Chinese government’s acts and laws. However, the U.S.’s statements (including the recent bill passed by Trump and the Congress1) supporting the protests are very bound up with this regime’s growing global contention and competition with China. There is complexity to that situation as well, given the particular history of Hong Kong as a former British colony—where British imperialism is an actor behind the scenes, working closely with the U.S. Another factor is the complex character of the movement for “democracy” there against what most see as “communist” China, which is communist “in name” but capitalist in content and essence (China was a genuinely socialist society under the leadership of Mao Zedong, and an inspiring beacon for the world revolution, but has ceased being so since his death in 1976 followed by the restoration of capitalism in China.)2

Several Latin American countries have also witnessed mass protests, but the character of the opposition is different in each of them. For example, the hand of U.S. imperialism is very involved in fomenting and shaping a rebellion against the current government in Venezuela, after the Bolivarian/Chávista experiment that was supposed to benefit the poor has run up against limitations,3 especially as Venezuela’s oil-export earnings have dropped with falling oil prices. In Bolivia, a government that came to power as part of a movement to bring the indigenous majority population into political power, with the presidency of Evo Morales, has run up against its limitations. This has created a situation where reactionary forces identified with the previous order have come to the fore. In both Venezuela under Chávez and Bolivia under Morales, the popular movements that were brought forward did not fundamentally break with the whole imperialist domination of these countries or unleash radical social transformation. These upsurges are marked by dominant reactionary currents involving other sections of the ruling class elites (mostly pro-U.S.), middle strata, and even basic masses. In contrast, in Colombia, the mass protests are targeting forces in the government that are more directly linked to pro-U.S. positions, and a very repressive regime.

The mass upsurges in the Middle East occur in a context shaped by the struggle between the “two historically outmoded”4 forces of American-led imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism, religious conflicts such as between Shia-Sunni, the liberation struggles of nationalities historically oppressed like the Kurds, all intertwined with overall imperialist domination and its geopolitical rivalries, with local powers seeking to exert their influence in this context. The U.S. and other imperialists have played a major role in fomenting many of the crises underlying the mass upsurges. The U.S. has been waging unjust wars and military actions for empire, and instituting harsh sanctions as economic warfare to impose their will on some of these Middle Eastern regimes, as is the case now with Iran.

The growth of these mass upsurges is an expression of the fact that we are at a point in history in which multiple crises are heightening, like global warming and vast gulfs of inequality, and the previous order is straining against its limits, in many cases not holding. The decisive question that is up globally is whether there will be a revolutionary trend within them that does the necessary work to transform those struggles into actual revolutions—the overthrow of the reactionary system through revolutionary war, as part of going for a whole new world—OR whether humanity will be consigned to even more grotesque forms of misery, oppression, and alienation and perhaps even extinction. Those are the choices, and those, nothing less, are the stakes.

As Bob Avakian said on the occasion of the Arab Spring in Egypt, in “EGYPT 2011: MILLIONS HAVE HEROICALLY STOOD UP... THE FUTURE REMAINS TO BE WRITTEN”:

When people in their masses, in their millions, finally break free of the constraints that have kept them from rising up against their oppressors and tormentors, then whether or not their heroic struggle and sacrifice will really lead to a fundamental change, moving toward the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, depends on whether or not there is a leadership, communist leadership, that has the necessary scientific understanding and method, and on that basis can develop the necessary strategic approach and the influence and organized ties among growing numbers of the people, in order to lead the uprising of the people, through all the twists and turns, to the goal of a real, revolutionary transformation of society, in accordance with the fundamental interests of the people.

And, in turn, when people massively break with the “normal routine” and the tightly woven chains of oppressive relations in which they are usually entrapped and by which they are heavily weighed down—when they break through and rise up in their millions—that is a crucial time for communist organization to further develop its ties with those masses, strengthening its ranks and its ability to lead.

Or, if such communist organization does not yet exist, or exists only in isolated fragments, this is a crucial time for communist organization to be forged and developed, to take up the challenge of studying and applying communist theory, in a living way, in the midst of this tumultuous situation, and to strive to continually develop ties with, to influence and to ultimately lead growing numbers of the masses in the direction of the revolution that represents their fundamental and highest interests, the communist revolution.

In light of this, we are drawing attention to the statements from two different revolutionary communist organizations that are working to bring forward and advance such a force—from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist) and the Grupo Comunista Revolucionario (Revolutionary Communist Group) of Colombia. In speaking to the immediate crises in their respective countries and support for the people standing up, they are bringing forward the need for a thoroughgoing revolution against the system itself. Revolutionaries everywhere should give support not only to the just struggle of the people where they are standing up against oppressive regimes. But of great importance is giving support to those forces who are stepping up to the task of fighting for a communist-led revolution, and a whole different and better world in their respective countries but as part of the worldwide struggle to emancipate all of humanity.

 


1. The “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate and by a large majority in the House, was signed by Trump on November 27.  [back]

2. For a full analysis, see You Don’t Know What You Think You “Know” About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future. Interview with Raymond Lotta.  [back]

3. See “Hugo Chavez Has an Oil Strategy... But Can This Lead to Liberation?” by Raymond Lotta.  [back]

4. From Bob Avakian:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

BAsics 1:28  [back]

EGYPT 2011: MILLIONS HAVE HEROICALLY STOOD UP... THE FUTURE REMAINS TO BE WRITTEN

A Statement By Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

February 11, 2011

Millions of Egyptian people from all walks of life, drawing inspiration from the people of Tunisia, have heroically risen up, defied the hated regime of Hosni Mubarak and forced Mubarak to resign. This has shattered the notion that "things can never change." It is a powerful demonstration that there is no permanent necessity to the existing conditions under which the great majority of humanity suffer so terribly. Oppressed people and people who hunger for an end to oppression, in every country all over the world, have deeply shared in the joy and hope of these massive uprisings. And the stirrings of revolt continue to spread.

Read more

"There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about ‘revolution’ but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness."

from the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Special Issue of Demarcations

demarcations-journal.org

This special issue features the prepublication version of Bob Avakian’s historic work, BREAKTHROUGHS: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism. A Basic Summary in multiple languages—English, Spanish, Farsi, Portuguese, German, and Turkish. The latter two are partial, and works in progress.


Read and download PDF

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/revolutionary-communist-group-of-colombia-to-strike-en.html

From Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia:

¡To Strike!

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following is a flyer recently issued by the Grupo Comunista Revolucionario (Revolutionary Communist Group, GCR) of Colombia. The “strike” in the headline refers to the November 21 national strike when hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets in protest against the repressive U.S.-backed government of Colombia. Protests have continued to rock the country since then, with many calling for the ouster of the president and his right-wing regime. The GCR has been in the midst of these struggles and, while speaking to the immediate crisis in Colombia and support for the people rising up, they are bringing forward the need for a thoroughgoing revolution against the system itself.

Right now there is much at stake that is important and urgent. Not only in Colombia, with the thousands of murders by the FFMM [Military Forces] (“false positives”1), the murder of social leaders, and the impunity of the murderers, economic reforms that are harmful to the people, shanty-townization, increasing informal work and unemployment; but worldwide: unfair wars, poverty and overwhelming inequality, oppression and degradation of women, environmental crises endangering life on the planet, without those who run the world do anything to stop it...

And people respond, especially the new generation. Since the beginning of the decade there have been major outbursts of protest and rebellion: the uprising in Egypt in 2011, the Occupy movements in the United States, the movements of the Indignados in Spain,2 derived from the 2008-2011 economic crisis, stating “We are not puppets in hands of politicians and bankers,” or, “Real Democracy NOW! We are not merchandise in the hands of politicians and bankers,” and reaching dozens of countries. From there to the 2013 uprisings in Brazil and Turkey and South Korea to the current ones in Hong Kong, Catalonia, Cairo (Egypt), Paris (France), Moscow (Russia), Beirut (Lebanon), Algeria, Baghdad (Iraq) and Jakarta (Indonesia) going through the growing global movements such as Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future, marked mainly by young people concerned about the environmental crisis, with important contributions, such as the firm defense of science by some of its leaders, including Greta Thunberg.

In Colombia, the decade began with the agrarian strikes3 (which the ruling classes despised to the point of pretending they did not exist) and the MANE student movement,4 inspired in several aspects by the marches of the Chilean Confederation of Students, but placated by McCarthyism and open repression, despite the stupid responses of “cuddling” and similar “cohabitation” with the same repressive forces that are the backbone of the system that exploits and oppresses. All in tune with the worldwide tendency to right-wing (even towards fascism), which has exacerbated the growing polarization of Colombian society.

Everywhere people are standing up, and looking for solutions and philosophies (within the same system). Several programs and political views have gained influence and followers: “movements without leadership,” “real democracy,” “anti-hierarchy,” anti-state and “horizontalism,” “economic democracy” and things like that, essentially showing a lack of hope of achieving a radically better life for everyone in this world, ultimately legitimizing the capitalist-imperialist system that crushes people and quenches the spirit, by presenting “solutions” that really are dead-ends, leaving the people trapped in the swamp of elections, lobbying, NGOs, and the like.

Here, there, or anywhere, protest after protest, independent of how radical they are in form, they have ended up defending the “welfare state,” or “capitalism with a human face,” with conclusions like, “pressure is the only way that they listen to you,” seeing the socioeconomic problem in the sphere of distribution without going to the real root. And here, there, and anywhere, despair has ended up justifying contempt for the achievement of truly radical transformations, calling them utopias, which enthroned movement for movement’s sake.

Thus, the Strike of 21-N, far from being a “Castro-Chávez-inspired conspiracy of the Forum of São Paulo,”5 is part of a global explosion of disagreement, because wealth is still concentrated, there’s growing discontent amongst the middle class due to increases to the cost of living, and there’s a huge sector of informal and precarious workers who remain invisible. It has more to do with the material conditions of existence. There are real cracks that open throughout society: patriarchal oppression, the destruction of the environment, the migration crisis, racism and xenophobia, wars for empire... problems that CANNOT be solved within this economic and social system that produces them.

The capitalist system is a “mode of production.” That is, the way in which society is organized to produce and distribute the necessities for life. Billions of people around the world work collectively to produce for those needs. However, the means to produce that wealth are privately owned and controlled by a minority ruling class, the imperialist capitalists. These capitalists exploit the billions of people on the planet who do not possess such means and have to exchange their ability to work for a salary, or find another way to survive. The capitalists set the framework for the entire society, including the hundreds of millions of people “in the middle classes” who may have a small business or work as a professional, teacher, etc. And those capitalists compete with each other in a ruthless struggle to expand-or-sink to stay on top. On the basis of such ownership and control over wealth, the capitalist-imperialist class dominates politics, culture and ideas, and builds a massive machine of repression and military power to maintain its dominance. They use force, they say, on those who do not accept that framework. And they fight each other on how to govern. Capitalism is the central cause of the cruel forms of oppression that people face today. [revcom.us, #460]

But to address a solution there are real obstacles generated, even by many of the (once) revolutionaries who now adopt economist approaches, or epistemological problems such as simplism, inevitability, and confidence in linear progress, without seeing the possibility of turning the wheel back of history, or that have received the rigged verdicts on the two socialist experiences of the twentieth century, that of the USSR [Soviet Union] (1917-1956) and China (1949-1976), etc.... Or by generational prejudices (not always without some real bases) especially of the environmentalist youth movements that blame previous generations in general (no class distinctions), rather than capitalist-imperialists who have held power...

YES. Right now there is much at stake that is important and urgent. YES, people are standing up and looking for, and weighing up, solutions and philosophies. But most have been trained to think that the only solution that should be ruled out without further ado is the communist revolution. And this has been the product, in large part, of the distortions and shameless lies structured in a true ideological offensive after the collapse of the Soviet Union (after decades of being NO longer socialist), 30 years ago.

However, it is precisely, and only, the real communist revolution that can deal specifically with the problems of society and the world that cause so much agony, and that can realize the highest aspirations that have prompted people to protest. The idea of a “leaderless” movement that could somehow create a fundamental change has revealed itself as a dangerous and harmful illusion and impediment. We have seen the price of the implications of the lack of a truly communist direction, vision and program. YES, the “old” idea initially developed by Marx, which today, with the new synthesis by Bob Avakian of the previous theory and practice and put on a more firmly scientific basis, has become a new communism. YES. What is needed is a real revolution and nothing less!

A real revolution requires that millions of people participate, in an organized way, in a determined and conscious struggle to dismantle this state apparatus and this system, and to replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a completely different way of organizing society, with completely different goals and ways of life for the people. If a revolution is not made, we will protest against the same abuses, generation after generation.

As much about the root of the problems as about the solution, you have to look for the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity and continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to change it in accordance with fundamental interests of humanity, because, as Bob Avakian rightly points out: “If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it’s going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically.”

¡STRIKE DOWN exploitation and oppression! ¡STRIKE DOWN the patriarchy and the war against women!

¡STRIKE DOWN the destruction of the environment! ¡STRIKE DOWN the war against the people!

Grupo Comunista Revolucionario, Colombia. November 21, 2019

 


1. “False positives” refers to the civilians killed by members of the Army who dressed in uniforms of anti-government forces or planted weapons on people they murdered and then presented them as guerrillas or paramilitaries killed in combat.  [back]

2. Indignados is a mass movement that arose in Spain in the summer of 2011, under the slogans, among others: “Homeless—Jobless—Futureless—Fearless,” “Our dreams can’t fit in your ballot boxes,” “System Error—Message from the Spanish Revolution.” See “From A World to Win News Service: Two weeks in May with Spain’s ‘Indignados.’”  [back]

3. These were strikes by peasants mainly over the question of land ownership. The strikes thrust this issue before the eyes of society.  [back]

4. The MANE movement in 2011 was a series of protests led by students, some professors and university employees, workers, and unions throughout Colombia against the Higher Education Reform Bill proposed by the Colombian government.  [back]

5. The Sao Paolo Forum is a conference of left parties and groups from Latin America and the Caribbean, founded in 1990 by the Brazilian Worker’s Party and including the Castro regime in Cuba and the Chávez regime in Venezuela.  [back]

Mass mobilizations began on November 21 in several cities against the government of Colombian president Iván Duque Márquez. Banner: “STOP the War on the People.” “Revolution, Nothing Less!” Anti-Imperialist Brigades.

Protests included university students and professors, workers’ unions, and civil society, as well as artists.

Protesters came out en masse expressing discontent on environmental, social and economic policies of the government of Iván Duque Márquez, as well as the repression against the guerrilla movement.

A banner in Valle del Cauca, November 21 says: “Humanity Needs REVOLUTION and the New Synthesis of Communism of Bob Avakian.” “REVOLUTION, NOTHING LESS!”

«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.»

[Bob Avakian, 2019]

Banners: “STOP the War on the People.” “Revolution, Nothing Less!” and “Raise Resistance to Revolution.”  Anti-Imperialist Brigades.

Cartagena, November 21. To express discontent with the central government in June, Colombian president Duque was booed out of a March for Life to protest the murders of social leaders.

Anti-government protesters stage a die-in, blocking traffic in Bogotá, November 27. Photo: AP

Anti-government protesters march in Bogotá, Colombia, November 27. Photo: AP

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/statement-from-the-communist-party-of-iran-mlm-november-2019-en.html

Statement from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist), November 2019

This statement was issued just before the uprising against petroleum price hikes and does not cover the uprising

| revcom.us

 

Revcom.us Editors’ Note: This is a rough translation of the statement from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist) issued prior to the recent upsurge of the people against gas price hikes by the theocratic regime of Iran. This struggle is in its main aspect overwhelmingly positive, and should be supported by revolutionary and progressive people. What makes this struggle stand out is that here there is an actual revolutionary communist party—the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist)—that is working to transform this into a revolutionary struggle. These efforts in particular should be strongly supported.

As we have covered previously, the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the agreement it and other world powers negotiated with Iran under which Iran renounced the construction of nuclear weapons for a period of at least ten years. After breaking this treaty, Trump then reimposed draconian economic sanctions against Iran and any countries trading with Iran. These have crippled the economy, with devastating consequences for the people of Iran (go here for background on this). This has been a form of economic warfare waged by the U.S. imperialists. With an oppressive regime in power in Iran, the effect of these sanctions on the Iranian economy has been further punitively passed onto the people. Also as we have noted before, the correct stance of revolutionaries in the U.S. toward the aggressive actions of its own government is one of “revolutionary defeatism.” In his book The New Communism, Bob Avakian notes that “Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire.” (See the excerpts from the sections “Internationalism and an International Dimension” and “Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism.”)

Follow revcom.us for more reportage, coming soon, on the upsurge in Iran and U.S. threats against Iran which have ratcheted up recently.

The government of the Islamic Republic (of Iran) announced that from Friday, November 15, the price of gas will increase 300%, meaning that the price of subsidized gas will jump to 1,500 tomans [1 toman is equal to 10 rials, the official currency in Iran—revcom.us] per liter and the price of the open-market gas will jump to 3,000 tomans per liter. The 300% rise in gas prices in Iran is a serious attack on the livelihoods of the people, a particularly heavy burden on the back of the basic masses as well as the lower level of middle classes. Hundreds of thousands of households are making their living directly through transportation of goods by gasoline-powered vehicles, and it is unclear how they would be able to cope with this precipitous price hike. Fuel is an essential commodity whose price increase will lead to rising prices of other commodities and thus increases inflation. The class polarization will widen up, and the new wave of poverty, unemployment and displacement will follow. Many small businesses will sink and transportation of goods from villages to city and vice versa will be disrupted, and many will be forced to migrate from rural areas to the outskirts of cities.

Of course, some clergies of Friday prayers—such as Emami-Kashani—have said the rise in gas prices should not necessarily lead to rise in prices of other goods in society! Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, has complained about the high consumption of gasoline in Iran and called for “conservation.” Of course, this fatwa of the Iranian Supreme Leader does not include the expenses of increasing mobilization and deployment of police and armed forces of the Islamic Republic’s military to further suppress the masses of people in Iran, or engagement in regional proxy and reactionary wars and murdering the Syrian people or Iraqi youth. In the very early minutes after the announcement of the new gasoline price, thousands of armored personnel carriers and law enforcement units moved to the gas stations to prevent the possible people’s riots.

Hassan Rouhani’s government announced that the increase in gas prices was based on the agreement of the three pillars of power in Iran. That is, the totality of the capitalist dictatorship (bourgeoisie) of the Islamic Republic is fully behind this decision. This decision can be analyzed from several different angles:

First, the Rohani government’s move to raise gas prices is part of a neoliberal project to reduce government subsidies and impose the cost of basic commodities such as bread, fuel, water, and electricity on society and the people. This trend started by the end of the Iran-Iraq war in Hashemi Rafsanjani’s government, continued in Khatami’s government, heightened in the Ahmadinejad era by elimination of all subsidies, and is now getting closer to its criminal completion under the Rohani government. The fundamental problem does not reside in the inadequacy of socio-economic plans or the “theft” character or the corruption of this or that Iranian government and its president. The world capitalist system has been able to pursue these policies in the last four decades for various reasons, such as because of the economic and financial crisis, reducing the risk of communist revolutions and other opposition movements and so on. This policy (reduction or elimination of subsidies) is one of the most important proposals of imperialist world capitalist institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (Third World) and has so far brought the lives of several billion people from Egypt, India, Mexico to Ghana and Romania and Chile to the brink of extreme poverty and despair.

But there are other reasons for the Iranian regime to come to this decision. The burden of the U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic government, especially the restrictions on oil sales and international transactions, will create a huge deficit in the government’s next year budget. To meet this deficit, the Iranian government is seeking new sources of revenue growth, and where is the more [lower] hanging fruit than attacking people’s pockets by imposing the additional expenses on people’s livelihoods? Meanwhile, the trillions of dollars expenses of the Islamic Republic’s military, nuclear, missile, and war projects on top of the billions of dollars spent on promoting ignorance and religious superstition will continue to be looted by corrupt and degenerated Mullah princes!

Prior to the announcement of the new petrol rate, all government media, a number of official and semi-official spokespersons and defenders of the Islamic Republic launched an organized propaganda campaign to justify the recent decision of the Iranian government. Justifications such as “fuel and energy prices in Iran are still cheaper than many other countries around the world and the region” or “gasoline prices should be raised to prevent environmental damage and reduce pollution....” In response to the propaganda of these charlatans and supporters of the regime, we must say the Iranian capitalist government’s attack on people’s economic lives is not just about fuel... they have started their attack with raising the price of bread and fifty percent inflation in food, health and education. Secondly, the income level of the majority of the Iranian people is even lower than many other countries in the region, and it cannot be concluded that “the prices of gasoline and mineral water now are the same”! Have it said, many people in the rural areas or villages of deprived areas have no access to tap water or even clean drinking water nor to sanitation and education, and do not even receive adequate daily calorie intake. Thirdly, the concern for the environmental crisis by these relentless supporters of the government is nothing but false and making a face for the government’s criminal invasion to steal from the livelihood of the people. And they say so while they are mainly silent about the devastation of water systems, deforestation, land grabbing, constructions of high-rises and super villas in various areas; constructing of devastating dams by the Revolutionary Guards, Khamenei’s relatives, and mafia-production and financial institutions such as Astan Quds Razavi; the Mostazafan Foundation (religious foundations to extract money from people); and the testing and maneuvering of all kinds of weapons by their... regime.

It is true that limiting fossil fuels, including gasoline, is one of the important strategies to reduce the growing trend of environmental degradation and emergency crisis worldwide. But such a policy cannot be actualized within the framework of the capitalist system and the mode of capitalist production worldwide, including in Iran. To achieve that, it requires diminishing the private ownership of the means of production and a capitalist economy that sacrifices everything in its path for the purpose of generating profit, including the human ecosystem. The elimination and reduction of fossil fuels—in a way that does not seriously harm people’s livelihoods and resolve this conflict properly and favorably for the majority of the population—is not possible within the framework of the capitalist system in Iran. Providing public transport, building the necessary infrastructure and a new urbanization system requires the establishment of a planned socialist economy whose purpose is not to make profit for a minority of people but to meet the needs of all peoples and to eradicate all forms of discrimination, exploitation and oppression in society and the world.

The establishment of such an economy is possible through the process of launching a movement for the communist revolution and the revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic Republic in order to establish the new socialist republic of Iran on the ruins of this regime. To launch such a movement and such a revolution, to break free from the deadly decisions and consequences of the capitalist economy, to end the suffering and suffocation caused by poverty and pollution, to live in a healthy society that all the people of the earth deserve to live in—there is no other way to save the future of next generations of mankind except the communist revolution and the establishment of the new socialist republic.

In the draft constitution of the new socialist republic of Iran, our party wrote about the nature of such an economy and its relation to the needs of the people:

The guiding principle of a socialist economy is direct social production, not the law of value (production and exchange of labor and labor exploitation) and profit. Direct social production means that production will be based on a direct assessment and evaluation of social needs (providing for the welfare of the people, the need to narrow social gaps and also meeting the needs of advancing the world revolution), not on the basis of profitability and compliance with the criteria of capitalist productivity. Economic development in this republic does not compete with a variety of private interests, and the socialist economy is capable of overcoming the devastating chaos of capitalist economics and enabling the conscious will of humans to govern economic development.

But now what about the government’s policy of raising gas prices? The Islamic Republic was so scared of the possible uprising of people that it announced its plan without any preview and warning but suddenly on the midnight of the Friday. So far, protests and burning of gas stations have been reported in several cities, including Isfahan, Ahvaz, Shiraz, Bushehr, Tehran, Bandar Abbas and Yasuj. This fight and the rage must grow. We should not stay silent in the face of the attack by the Islamic Republic against the people’s livelihood. We should not allow the parasitic economy of capitalism and its... rancorous looting of Iran. We should not allow these entities that are organized into a vast network of public and private capitalists, army commanders, bureaucrats and ayatollahs, religious mafia and religious seminaries to continue their brutal attack on the lives and livelihoods of the people, especially the oppressed, the workers and the toilers. The response to such an offensive is now a widespread national movement whose specific aim is to pressure the government to halt the policy of raising the price of gasoline and expose corruption and plunder of all the leaders of the Islamic Republic, all commanders, banks and government institutions and financial institutions, and all public and private production and government depended institutions. This fight must go on in the context of a nationwide movement that our party has formulated in a document called “Seven Stops.” This document on the issue of poverty and economic misery of the people says:

Work and housing mean the right to life. The Islamic Republic’s invasion of the right to life should not be tolerated. All the wealth accumulated in the hands of foundations, credit institutions, and banks, numerous mullahs, army and public and private corporations belongs to the people and are the fruits of their hard work. The other side of the coin of embezzlement and robbery of various factions and figures of government... is poverty and hunger for many people, deprivation of working children from education and bankruptcy and misery. Poverty, hunger, unemployment and displacement of the poor people must be stopped.

Down with the Islamic Republic!

Long live the communist revolution!

Towards the New Socialist Republic of Iran!

The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist)
November 2019
cpimlm.org

For the book in English:

ABOUT THE BOOK, ORDER HERE

See excerpts HERE

Updated pre-publication PDF of this major work available HERE

For the book in Spanish:

ABOUT THE BOOK, ORDER HERE

See excerpts HERE

Updated pre-publication PDF available HERE

For the book in Farsi:

Download the PDF HERE

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

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

English

Special Issue of Demarcations

demarcations-journal.org

This special issue features the prepublication version of Bob Avakian’s historic work, BREAKTHROUGHS: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New CommunismA Basic Summary in multiple languages—English, Spanish, Farsi, Portuguese, German, and Turkish. The latter two are partial, and works in progress.


Widespread protests in Iran followed government-set gasoline prices spiking. Photo: Human Rights Watch

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/massive-protests-rock-iran-en.html

Massive Protests Rock Iran:

Islamic Republic Shoots Down More Than 100, Injures or Arrests Thousands More

U.S. Sheds Crocodile Tears While Intensifying Collective Suffering, Risking War

| revcom.us

 

Massive protests have swept Iran. They began November 15, hours after the reactionary theocratic regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) announced gas would be rationed and prices would rise sharply—with increases ranging from 50 percent up to 300 percent. These steep price increases immediately worsen the suffering of millions of Iranians who are already facing rampant inflation, high unemployment, and a harsh economic slowdown. (See the November 2019 statement from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist) on these developments.)

The protests quickly spread across Iran to as many as 100 cities, large and small. In Tehran people used Waze, a navigation app, to organize “car protests”—parking on roads, creating road blocks and traffic jams.

The protests reportedly were largely peaceful, but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei denounced protesters as “thugs” and “villains,” and the IRI responded violently—with water cannons, tear gas, and live ammunition fired from rooftops, helicopters, and police forces on the ground. At this writing, Amnesty International estimates that more than 140 Iranians have been killed—some shot at close range or while they were running away. Journalists inside Iran told the New York Times they believe that more than 200 have been killed, more than 1,900 wounded, and 7,000 arrested. There are reports that hospitals are overflowing with the wounded.

The IRI also shut down the internet in an attempt to halt the protests and prevent the world from witnessing its violent crackdown. It was reportedly the largest nationwide internet blackout ever to take place in Iran. Some journalists were also reportedly arrested.

A report by Amnesty International highlighted the viciousness of the IRI assault:

The frequency and persistence of lethal force used against peaceful protesters in these and previous mass protests, as well as the systematic impunity for security forces who kill protesters, raise serious fears that the intentional lethal use of firearms to crush protests has become a matter of state policy.... Several eyewitnesses have said that security forces have been taking away dead bodies and injured people from roads and hospitals. In a pattern consistent with past practices, intelligence and security forces have refused to return the bodies of many of the victims to their families or have forced families to bury their loved ones in a rushed manner and without an independent autopsy to establish the causes and circumstances surrounding the deaths. This is contrary to international law and standards on the investigation of unlawful killings.

These murderous assaults sparked justified outrage, as Iranians courageously continued, even stepped up, their resistance. Many denounced not only the price hikes but the whole suffocating, oppressive rule of Iran’s Islamic theocrats, and in regions like Kurdistan and Khuzestan against the national oppression the Kurdish and Arab people experience. In different places, protesters attacked, ransacked, and/or set fire to government offices, businesses, religious schools, state-run banks, and other symbols of the regime. Some chanted “Death to Khamenei.” Cities large and small reportedly looked like war zones.

The Trump/Pence Regime: Shedding Crocodile Tears, Escalating Collective Punishment

Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly declared that they’re standing with the protesters and the “Great Iranian People,” as Trump claimed in a tweet, and they’ve condemned the IRI’s violence and internet shutdown.

In reality, it’s America’s unilateral pullout from the multinational Iran nuclear deal1 and re-imposition of draconian sanctions as a form of economic warfare—in conjunction with the IRI’s dependence on oil exports—that have strangled Iran’s economy, causing a sharp drop in Iran’s oil exports, and fueling 40-plus-percent inflation. This has resulted in tremendous hardship.

As described by journalist Jon Letman:2

U.S. sanctions have put a chokehold on Iran’s economy, isolating nearly every sector of society from the global financial system and hurting ordinary citizens in a range of ways. Everything from Iran’s industrial base and vital oil production, to food, medicine and international scientific partnerships and research is being affected. Universities can’t buy books, engineers can’t purchase software, consumers are cut off from global online services and hospitals are unable to get vital life-saving supplies.... The many Iranian people I have interviewed have described some of the worst sanction impacts as hurting children and patients suffering from cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. Media and academic reports back up their stories. Even when medicines, supplies and equipment are available, they are increasingly unaffordable.

This is precisely what the U.S. sanctions were intended to do—create massive suffering, discontent, even death and potentially revolt among the people in order to weaken or even topple the IRI’s theocratic regime so that U.S. imperialism can tighten its hold on the Middle East.

As we wrote earlier on the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear treaty and its imposition of crippling sanctions:

Controlling the Middle East, with its massive oil reserves and location at strategic and trade crossroads between Europe, Africa, and Asia, has been crucial to the power, dominance, and functioning of the U.S. empire for some 70 years. But over the past two decades, U.S. dominance has been shaken. Its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to solidify America’s grip on the region and instead helped fuel more crisis, upheaval, and the spread of reactionary Islamic jihadism. In 2011, mass upheavals deposed pro-U.S. tyrants in Tunisia and Egypt, and led to a savage seven-year-long proxy war in Syria. Today, the U.S.-backed Saudi war has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world in Yemen.

In the face of U.S. aggression, including its 2003 invasion of Iraq and support for Saudi Arabia, and these changes and upheavals, the oppressive, theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), has been driven by its own perceived needs—and its ambitions—to expand its reactionary reach and influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and now potentially Yemen. In the eyes of the U.S. rulers, Iran’s growing influence is the main regional threat to their stranglehold on the Middle East and to their barbaric allies, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Now U.S. officials are reportedly bragging about how well their sanctions are working.

The Iranian government claims it has crushed the protests and arrested hundreds of the leaders, with some in the regime calling for the “maximum penalty”—in other words death—and the regime continues to greatly restrict internet use. These are not the actions of a regime confident of its power and its people, and the outrages and abuses by the IRI—and the U.S. imperialists—which drove the protests have not been resolved or gone away.

In that light, as we write in the editors’ note to the accompanying “Statement from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist), November 2019”: “This struggle is in its main aspect overwhelmingly positive, and should be supported by revolutionary and progressive people. What makes this struggle stand out is that here there is an actual revolutionary communist party—the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist)—that is working to transform this into a revolutionary struggle. These efforts in particular should be strongly supported.

Also, as we have noted before, the correct stance of revolutionaries in the U.S. toward the aggressive actions of its own government is one of “revolutionary defeatism.” In his book The New Communism, Bob Avakian notes that “Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire.” (See the excerpts from the sections “Internationalism and an International Dimension” and “Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism.”)


1. For background, see previous revcom.us coverage including: “America—the Lying, Deal-Breaking Aggressor in the Persian Gulf” and “How Long Must This Go On? Tankers Damaged in Persian Gulf—America Again Ratchets Up Threats, Danger of War Against Iran.” [back]

2. “Intensified US Sanctions Bolster Iran’s Hardliners and Fuel Angry Protests,” truthout.org, November 19, 2019 [back]

 

A Region in Upheaval, Potential for War Looms

The upheaval in Iran is taking place as outbreaks of mass protest and rebellion erupt across the region, including protest directed against the oppressive Iranian-backed regime in Lebanon and against the U.S.- and Iranian-backed Iraqi regime. On Wednesday, November 27, protesters burned down Iran’s consulate in Najaf, Iraq, demanding “Iran Out.” More than 35 protesters were reportedly murdered by the Iraqi authorities.

Dangerous military threats and tensions also continue between the U.S. and its allies and Iran. Israel has provocatively attacked Iran-allied forces in Syria. Over the past months, the U.S. has deployed ships, high-tech weapons, and 14,000 more troops to the Middle East. Recently the U.S. commander there warned that Iran was under extreme pressure and may lash out. In response to the protests in Iran, a top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard blamed the U.S., Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Israel for stoking the unrest and ratcheted up threats of all-out military escalation.

When the reactionary theocratic regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) announced gas would be rationed and prices would rise sharply, protests quickly spread across Iran to as many as 100 cities, large and small. In Tehran people used Waze, a navigation app, to organize “car protests”—parking on roads, creating road blocks and traffic jams. Photo: AP

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/50th-anniversary-of-the-murder-of-fred-hampton-en.html

On the 50th Anniversary of the Murder of Fred Hampton
What Is Worth Living and Dying For?

Statement from Revolution Club, Chicago

Updated | revcom.us

 

Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was shot to death, December 4, 1969, at 4:45 am. The Chicago pigs working with the FBI and the state’s attorney had an informant drug his food the night before and then assassinated him while he slept in his bed. They busted in shooting at the West Side apartment where he lived with other members of the Black Panther Party, also murdering another Panther leader, Mark Clark.

Fred Hampton, revolutionary leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, led people to put their lives on the line for something liberating. He showed people how to live for the people and die for the people. He said, “When I die, you remember I said, the last word on my lips was, I am a revolutionary.” He said, “We love the people,” and “I’m high off the people.”

Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party of the 1960s put their lives to fighting to end hundreds of years of oppression of Black people and others. They were a vanguard force in the revolutionary movement that involved not only thousands of Black people who came to join the Panthers, but also millions of people of all nationalities who were inspired by this: the university students and others in the antiwar movement, people everywhere who were throwing off the shackles of this society and lifting their sights to liberation. In Chicago, Fred was also working to bring people in the gangs into the revolution. The whole society was being shaken and more and more people were getting radicalized.

For these reasons, the government massively targeted the Black Panther Party. One way the FBI tried to do that in Chicago was by sending fake letters to Fred Hampton and to Jeff Fort of the P Stone Nation, trying to get them to kill each other, divide and conquer. Fred was leading people to get clear on who the real enemy is, and these letters didn’t work. The pigs put informants into the BPP and tried to use anything they could to paint the Panthers as thugs and dangerous, and they used these informants to help lock up and murder revolutionary leaders. These are bitter lessons that those fighting for revolution today must learn from and learn well.

Fred Hampton’s death weighed heavier than a mountain. His life had been about something that actually mattered, that was higher than himself, liberating, part of actually changing something. The revolution he was fighting for then still has not been made, but his efforts to make it actually did help change how millions of people think and point the way forward.

What is worth living and dying for?

Today, more than ever we need revolution. Now, this system has produced a fascist regime in power which is preparing for a police state speed-up of genocide against Black people and Latinos, putting immigrants in concentration camps, taking away basic human rights of women and LGBTQ people, and intensifying a nuclear threat to the world. The planet itself is now at the edge of catastrophe for all of humanity.

But today, people are walking around with the outlook of the system that causes all this: talking about, “I gotta make money,” and “I gotta worry about me,” trying to get property, including turning women into property. Trying to get over on everybody else, killing and dying with no good purpose. Instead of millions of people fighting to get humanity free, millions are thinking about survival, revenge, comfort, “safe spaces” or just straight-up “me, me, me.” Wasted lives and deaths that are lighter than a feather. They don’t mean anything, and worse, they keep this all going.

Who today is going to break with all that shit and take up the fight to get humanity free? Who is going to put their lives on the line for something higher than themselves, for a fight that could change everything?

Today, we now have the revolutionary leadership we need, that has broken through with new understanding about the kind of revolution we need and how to make it and the science to see this—the new communism, including developing the strategy for how to win and the plan for leading a new society. This breakthrough leader we have today is Bob Avakian, who was inspired by and worked with the Panthers back in the day and has never stopped doing the work to see how to go forward and leading others to see it and fight for it. We also now have a determined core taking up this leadership and fighting to grow the revolutionary leaders and revolutionary movement NOW that could go all the way, working to hasten the conditions that would make it possible for an all-out fight to win.

This core, right now most concentrated in the National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution, lives by and fights for the Points of Attention for the Revolution. ANYONE who wants to contribute to fighting for this revolution, to get out of all the “me, me, me” and live and die for something that will really matter, can and should start living by and fighting for those Points of Attention, get organized with the Revolution Club, and go to work NOW on making revolution.

Bob Avakian has said,

If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it’s going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically.

What are YOU going to do?

 

Revolution Club Chicago
312.804.9121
revclub.chi@gmail.com
FB/Twitter: @revclubchi | IG @revclub.chi


Outside the U.S. Courthouse October 29, 1969, Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, speaks at a protest against the trial of eight persons accused of conspiracy to cause a riot during the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Photo: AP 

BA Through the Years - 1969, 1979, 2003.

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/fred-hamptons-legacy-en.html

An excerpt from From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian

Fred Hampton’s Legacy

| revcom.us

 

The following is an excerpt from From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian, chapter 13, pages 264-265

Fred Hampton was from Maywood, and he had led the Panthers in the Chicago area. I had followed very closely the whole outrage when he, along with Mark Clark, was murdered by the pigs in Chicago in December 1969. The newspapers and the authorities had put out this story that the Panthers were the aggressors, that they’d fired on the police and the police were only firing back in self-defense. But then the Panthers led tours of people through the apartment where Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot, showing that all the bullet holes were made by bullets coming from the outside in, and that what the police and media claimed were bullet holes from inside out were actually nail holes, and things like that.

I was very aware of and I had tremendous respect for Fred Hampton, though I knew him, so to speak, more from a distance, as compared to the relationship that I had with leaders of the Panthers like Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, and Eldridge Cleaver. When I got to Chicago, I discovered, not surprisingly, that all the comrades in the RU had been tremendously influenced and inspired by Fred Hampton and, of course, tremendously devastated by the way in which he was murdered. This was one of the strengths of the RU comrades in that area. Even though we had developed differences with the Panthers, the influence of Fred Hampton was a very positive one overall. He would openly proclaim that he was an all-the-way proletarian revolutionary — he would popularize that stance. By the time I moved to the Chicago area, it was several years after he had been murdered, and the Panther organization wasn’t at the high point that it had been while he was alive, although there were still Panthers in that area, and there were some people who had been in the Panthers who either joined the RU or worked very closely with it.

Of course, it wasn’t just the RU comrades in that area, but many, many people throughout the country had been moved by Fred Hampton and had made a leap in their revolutionary commitment because of his influence — the whole way in which, before he was killed, he boldly put forward: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” When people saw how he was just shot down in cold blood by the police, this caused even more people to make the leap to becoming revolutionaries.

Get to know BA

Listen
to Bob Avakian
read the first six chapters from his memoir

Read
excerpts from
the memoir

Order
the book
from
Insight-Press.com

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/25000-goal-reached-8000-more-needed-by-january-1-en.html

$25,000 Goal Reached—$8,000 More Needed by January 1 for the National Revolution Tour

In the New Year... Let's Fight for a New World!

| revcom.us

 

Racist graffiti and taunts at Syracuse University while fascist spokespeople are given a platform at UCLA and Berkeley; according to UN reports, the U.S. is increasing its greenhouse gas emissions while the planet burns; immigrants trapped in hellish conditions at the border are prevented from even applying to enter the U.S.; the fascist Trump/Pence regime digs in and doubles down in the face of the Democrats’ impeachment hearings—the hell of this imperialist system grinds forward with outrage upon outrage. The need for revolution cries out, the need for a whole different kind of society based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour has been in the thick of these fault-line battles, boldly breaking onto the scene in the spirit of “You Think You’re Woke... But You’re Sleepwalking Through a Nightmare—This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown.” The Revolution Tour has been fighting to build the #OUTNOW movement to mobilize millions into the streets to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power, bringing its scientific understanding and approach based on the revolutionary leadership of Bob Avakian.

Hundreds of people around the country donated to meet the $25,000 goal. They were inspired by a force of people who are going out to build a movement for revolution, who are fighting for a whole new world free of exploitation and oppression and living that morality today, and who—coming from that place—are also challenging others to join into and build this #OUTNOW movement. This developing financial base for the Tour is an important part of organizing forces for that revolution.

A great deal is demanded of these revolutionaries in times like these—and now a minimum of $8,000 more is needed by January 1 to sustain their basic needs, produce materials, and enable them travel to wherever they are most needed.

Contribute towards fighting for a new world—there are many ways to contribute:

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

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/622/demarcations-special-issue-en.html

Announcing New Special Issue of Demarcations

| revcom.us

 

This special issue features the prepublication version of Bob Avakian’s historic work, BREAKTHROUGHS: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism. A Basic Summary in multiple languages—English, Spanish, Farsi, Portuguese, German, and Turkish. The latter two are partial, and works in progress.

Demarcations, in announcing this special issue, states, “At a moment when it is no exaggeration to say that vast swaths of humanity and the planet are confronting a catastrophic future and even potentially existential risks due to the workings of this system of capitalism-imperialism, there is no greater need and contribution to a radically different world than to take up and spread Bob Avakian’s whole new framework for human emancipation, concentrated in this work, EVERYWHERE.”

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/check-it-out-occupied-territory-en.html

Check it out:

Occupied Territory, by Simon Balto

| revcom.us

 

Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (Justice, Power, and Politics) is an important new book well worth checking out.  This book covers in depth the history of policing in the city of Chicago.  Simon Balto makes clear in telling detail and with analytical rigor how from its inception through every stage of its existence the Chicago PD has principally existed to control certain populations (European immigrants in the late 1800s, then beginning at the turn of the century Black people in particular), to repress political activity that took on the power structure, and to control, regulate and channel crime (rather than stop it) to serve those mechanisms of social oppression.  He shows the incredible violence this has entailed against Black people in particular, how even sincere efforts at “police reform” actually served to increase state violence against Black people, and how the police in particular went after the Communist Party in the 1930s and then the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.  It is in covering the crucial 50 years between 1919 and 1969 where Balto’s work is most valuable.  There are things to probe more deeply and things to disagree with in some of Balto’s conclusions and ideas on where to go and perhaps in some of how he analyzes the era of mass incarceration, but these are very secondary to the valuable historical exposure and analysis at the heart of the book. 

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/623/a-call-for-student-volunteers-en.html

The Nazification of the American Academy, and Resistance to This Horror:

A Call for Student Volunteers to contribute to special resource page

| revcom.us

 

The Nazification of the American academy, the fascist advances on college campuses, has ratcheted up with the fascist Trump/Pence regime in power: The appearance of white supremacist speakers and manifestos, Nazi organizers and organizations with student chapters, intellectual rationalizations for fascism in the name of seeking to "correct" the absurdities of identity politics and other silliness, and the list goes on.

At the same time, there is some beginning resistance, some defiant and heroic (for example, Berkeley protests against Ann Coulter), though mostly still far from commensurate in scale, scope and passionate intensity.

We will be introducing a special resource page for those seeking to spark the kind of resistance needed. We have compiled some significant research, but it's initial, still very much a work in progress, and we are looking for student volunteers to contribute with this page, to help organize it so it is accessible, and to fill in with new developments and updates. We are also looking for those who can really SPREAD THIS CALL far and wide on social media, so everyone across the country can contribute to and use it.

 


Hundreds of students link arms creating human chains to block people who were trying to get into Ann Coulter's speech at UC Berkeley.


Protesting Donald Trump, Jr. at UCLA November 10, 2019. Photo: NoBS Media


Hundreds of students link arms creating human chains to block people who were trying to get into Ann Coulter's speech at UC Berkeley.


Protesting Donald Trump, Jr. at UCLA November 10, 2019. Photo: NoBS Media

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/avakian/hope-for-humanity-on-a-scientific-basis/index.html

Hope For Humanity
On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism,
Parasitism and American Chauvinism

Bob Avakian
Author of The New Communism

Prepublication copy
November 2019

Copyright © 2019 by Bob Avakian. All rights reserved.

This is an important new work by Bob Avakian, from which the excerpt "Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of 'Painless Progress,'" which has been posted on this site since the summer of 2019, has been drawn. Excerpts from this talk are available here.

Hope For Humanity
On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism,
Parasitism and American Chauvinism

Bob Avakian
Author of The New Communism

This is an important new work by Bob Avakian, from which the excerpt "Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of 'Painless Progress,'" which has been posted on this site since the summer of this year, has been drawn.

| revcom.us

 

CONTENTS                              

No Hope—vs. No Permanent Necessity

The Problem of Individualism

Virulent Individualism and Oblivious Individualism

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of “Painless Progress”

Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism

Identity Politics and Individualism

Individualism and “Indifference”

Particular Interests and General Interests—Differing Class Interests and the Highest Interests of Humanity

Contrasting the Communist with the Capitalist Viewpoint and Approach to Individualism and Individuality

Differing Views on the Meaning of Life, and Death:  What Is Worth Living and Dying For?

Breaking Free of Parasitic Individualism

No Permanent Necessity—and Hope, on a Scientific Basis: A Radically Different and Far Better World Really Is Possible, But It Must Be Fought For!

Notes


 

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. These are the major questions I am going to be speaking to here.

 

No Hope—vs. No Permanent Necessity

First, it’s important to speak to the contrast between today and the 1960s period in this country and in the world overall. At that time, back in the 1960s, masses of people all over the world, including in this country, were filled with hope and determination about the prospect of bringing into being a radically different and better world. Throughout the Third World, there were liberation struggles aimed at throwing off the yoke of colonial oppression that had been imposed on them for decades, generations and even centuries. And in the imperialist countries themselves—including, in particular, the U.S.—the generation that came of age in the 1960s had both the understanding of the need and a real belief in the possibility of bringing a radically different and better world into being, and was not interested in hearing all the arguments about why things had to be the way they are.

This was true among the educated youth, many of whom were among the first in their families to go to college, when things were being opened up by the ruling class because of its needs internationally, punctuated for example by the whole Sputnik episode when the Soviet Union sent a satellite into orbit and, all of a sudden, the U.S. was confronted with the so-called “space race” as part of the overall contention with the Soviet Union, which was itself at that point firmly on the road to restoring capitalism and striving to become a major world imperialist power but was, as such, posing a real challenge to the domination in the world by U.S. imperialism. So there were millions of new educated white youth who in turn were inspired by educated youth who had come from among the basic masses, in particular Black people, and had come to the fore of the civil rights struggle in the 1950s, particularly the late 1950s, and who, in the mid to late 1960s, became much more radicalized and went from civil rights to Black Liberation with a definite revolutionary orientation and impulse, however broadly defined and however differently understood among different people.

And this spread among the basic masses of people, the bitterly oppressed people in this country—Black people, but also Chicanos and others within the confines of the U.S. who’d been long oppressed—so that you had among these basic poor and oppressed people, as well as millions among the middle class educated youth, a desire for a radically different and better world, and a genuinely and strongly held revolutionary sentiment that this whole world needed to be turned upside down, and “We’re not gonna listen to anybody telling us about how ‘this is the best of all possible worlds,’ and we’re not gonna listen to the hypocrisy of the people who have presided over all these horrors all this time.” That was exemplified by the slogan, especially among the educated youth, “Don’t trust anybody over 30,” which, while a little mechanical, nevertheless had a real point: We don’t want to listen to these tired-out old “leaders.”

I remember myself, when I was about 20 (and now I have to look back and think about this as someone who’s gone on for decades after that!—but back when I was 20), I remember going with my father to Washington, D.C. and we went to the House of Representatives. And, at one point, we got into an elevator and all these decrepit old men got in the elevator who were congressmen, and I thought, “My god, these are the people running the country? This can’t stand! This is not what we need!” And this was a sentiment broadly shared in that period. (Of course, Jerry Rubin, one of the leaders of the youth movement of that time, once he became 31, adjusted the slogan to say “Don’t trust anybody over 35.”  Nonetheless, whether 30 or 35, this was a real sentiment.)

Also, I have to say I was shocked when I went into the House of Representatives, because from the civics textbooks and how you’re brought up, I had this image of this very somber chamber, the “hallowed halls” of the House of Representatives. Well, I went in there and I was just amazed by what I saw. Here was some guy giving a speech. There were probably only a dozen people in the House of Representatives at the time, most of whom were doing things like eating and spitting on the floor, and so on. And then all of a sudden a bell rang and everybody came running in and put their hand up for a vote and then went back out again. This was not exactly the august chambers of the great democratic system that you’re taught in civics classes to believe is what’s happening.

So this was a sentiment that wasn’t simply a matter of age. It was more like: These people cannot be allowed to run the world and ruin the world in the way they are. This sentiment was held by millions and millions of poor and oppressed people, but also broadly among the middle class youth. And, as I pointed out in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution,1 by the end of the 1960s this had spread broadly and deeply throughout society, even into the armed forces of the very system, the capitalist-imperialist system, in this country itself. I remember, for example, that there was a poll taken by the military which, among other things, asked the question: whom did the soldiers, rank-and-file soldiers, of the U.S. army look to for political leadership—and, particularly among the Black soldiers, the president of the United States was way down on the list. The plurality, the highest “vote-getter,” if you will, was Eldridge Cleaver, a leader of the Black Panther Party. So when you have things like this, you have a real problem for the system. Even with Eldridge’s weaknesses and limitations, which were very real, this reflected something very, very positive.

As one manifestation of all this, among Black people—who we’re always told are just sort of inherently religious—there was a massive turning away from religion, especially among the youth. Why? Because people were filled with hope, they didn’t believe that there was no hope for a better world. They were full of hope for a better world right in this world. And so, among Black people, there was, on the part of the youth in particular, a major turning away from religion and from all the old conventions that went along with religion that were conservatizing influences holding down the people. Remember, there was Malcolm X, who would give speeches where (even though he was still religious, had taken up Islam) he said to people, “I don’t care” (I’m paraphrasing, but this is the essence of what he said) “I don’t care if you’re a Methodist or a Baptist or AME, or whatever you are, when you come out here into the world you need to leave that religion in the closet, because for all the good it’s done you, you need to put it aside.” Even though Malcolm X was still religious, he wasn’t saying, “Don’t be a Christian, be a Muslim”—he was saying, “We don’t need that stuff out here in the public sphere.” And he also said to the older generations: “These youth today, they don’t wanna hear anything about the odds, they don’t wanna hear you old Uncle Toms telling them about how the odds are against them.” This was a sentiment broadly taken up particularly by the youth, but also some older people. And this was not only among Black people. Malcolm X was a great inspiration and radicalizing influence, a very positive radicalizing influence and inspiration among educated youth, including many in the white middle class.

So this question of religion was manifested very differently. People were turning away from it. If you remember the movie Panther (not the recent movie Black Panther, but the older movie Panther, about the Black Panther Party), there is this scene where one of the youth is talking to his mother, sort of on the periphery of a Black Panther Party rally. The mother says something about religion, and the youth responds along these lines: “Well, the Black Panther Party says we just need to leave that religion alone, it’s not doing us any good, that’s not what we need.”  (I’m paraphrasing again, but that’s the essence of it.) And the mother replies: “You believe that?” Well, a lot of Black youth at that time very much believed it.

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 other-worldly 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? It was pointed out by Ardea Skybreak in the interview Science and Revolution,2 that it’s unrealistic to think that you could ever completely do away with human suffering, but there’s a tremendous amount of unnecessary suffering that people are subjected to in the world today because of the dynamics and the basic relations of this system that dominates the world, the system of capitalist imperialism. And it is definitely possible, and urgently necessary, to put an end to that suffering.

Now, to present a fully accurate, all-sided picture of this, we know that 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. So there’s a need for continuing exposure and struggle around the role of religion ideologically, its role in terms of being a mental shackle on people, even while it’s also necessary to unite with and, yes, respect people who out of religious sentiment or viewpoints take a positive stand and often sacrifice in the struggle against various forms of oppression.

Things are very different, however, with regard to religious fundamentalism—and in particular in this country Christian fundamentalism. 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!).3

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.4

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. In relation to all this, and in particular the question of hope, there is great importance to the following statement by Marx which is cited in Part I of the RCP Manifesto, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage:

Once the inner connection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions breaks down before their collapse in practice.5

This is extremely important because it gives emphasis to the importance of theory and of science—theory that’s grounded in and is an application of a consistently scientific method and approach—to reveal what are the actual relations and dynamics, what are the inner connections and “inner workings,” of the system that people are subjected to. First of all to reveal that there is a system that they are subjected to, and what are the inner workings and dynamics of that system and how it fits into the whole historical development of human society. (Or, in basic terms, that people are living within the confines of a system; that this system is not just something imposed by some powerful people, but is the result of certain historical development; that this system operates, and must operate, according to certain “rules” that flow from its basic relations, and that this embodies and gives rise to contradictions that cause all kinds of suffering for the masses of humanity, contradictions that are fundamental and essential to this system and cannot be eliminated without eliminating this system itself). And this scientific theory reveals that there is a way out of all this—and what that way out is.

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.

The following (the conclusion of the article “‘A Leap of Faith’ and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods”) emphasizes these extremely important points of orientation:

Knowing about actual reality—and continually learning more about it—is vitally important for humanity and its future; it is vitally important not only for people in the sciences and the academic world but for the brutally oppressed and exploited people of the earth, who must and can be the backbone and driving force of a revolution to throw off and put an end to all forms of exploitation and oppression, throughout the globe—to be the emancipators not only of themselves but ultimately of all humanity. 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. In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who founded the communist movement over 150 years ago, declared that the communist revolution, and its emancipating principles, methods, and aims, involves a “radical rupture” not only with the traditional property relations that enslave people, in one form or another, but also a radical rupture with all traditional ideas that reflect and reinforce those traditional property relations.

The struggle in the realm of epistemology—the theory of knowledge and how it is acquired by people, the theory of what is true and how people come to know the truth—is a crucial arena in the overall battle for the emancipation of the oppressed and exploited majority of humanity, and ultimately of humanity as a whole. Grasping the defining characteristics and the importance of the scientific method—and, most of all, the most consistent, systematic and comprehensive scientific approach to reality, the communist world outlook and method, which can embrace without replacing or suffocating the many fields of human knowledge and endeavor and can give expression to the richest process of learning about reality and transforming it in the interests of humanity—is of vital importance for this emancipatory struggle. Understanding the profound difference between the attempt to impose “faith-based” notions on reality and, in opposition to that, pursuing a scientific understanding of reality, including of religion and its origins and effects—understanding the radical difference between “leaps of faith” and the ongoing acquisition of knowledge through continual leaps from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge—this is a crucial part of carrying forward the struggle to achieve the two radical ruptures that mark the communist revolution as the leap to a whole new, liberating era in human history.6

This question, of seeing the possibility for revolution and a radically different and better world, on a scientific basis, is obviously extremely important, and is something to which I will return later.

 

The Problem of Individualism

As I have pointed out, in Ruminations and Wranglings7 (and in other works), the contradiction that people exist as individuals, but they also exist in a larger social context and are largely shaped by that social context, is a complicated contradiction that is important to handle correctly. And this contradiction is acutely expressed today in the fact that 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. 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.

So there are these different kinds, or two broad types, of individualism (with many gradations, obviously). But what is the unifying element in them? Self. The self. As I pointed out in the Dialogue with Cornel West8 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.

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.

Now here let me be very clear: There are people in the world, masses of people in the world, whose lives are so chaotic and whose suffering is so terrible that it’s very difficult for them even to engage, let alone learn about, much of what’s going on in the world. I’m not talking about those people whom the operation of this system grinds down and subjects to so much horror that, on their own, they are really deprived of even the opportunity to learn about and to engage the larger world. I’m talking about people who have every opportunity to do so but, either with a malignant (or virulent) mentality, or in a more “benign” but nevertheless oblivious way, choose not to pay attention to these things. 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.

[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.

[End of Note added by Author, Fall 2019]

 

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 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. 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 Fascism9: 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.”10

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 (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 War on Whistle-Blowers”11 by Edward Wasserman, who’s a professor of journalism and the Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. 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 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”12 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.”13

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, “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.14

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, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza 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 a 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.15

Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism

Interestingly, in an article about privacy and the problems that the internet poses for people in terms of having any privacy (“Just a Face in the Crowd? Not Anymore”),16 the authors of the article, Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger, refer to this as a “status-obsessed culture,” and they particularly talk about how this is a problem in terms of people having any privacy because people want to use the internet to boost their status all the time: “Look at me doing this, look at me doing that,” and so on, and so forth. But this phrase, I think, is very apropos, is a very relevant and meaningful phrase: a “status-obsessed culture.” This is what’s been continually encouraged through the major institutions of this society, and it is a particular variant, obviously, of the widespread individualism, both virulent and oblivious.

And this goes along with the coupling of individualism and commodification, a phenomenon whose essence is captured very well in the incessant promotion, the undisguised and unapologetic promotion, of the “brand.” 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.

All this is very much bound up with the parasitism of American society, which (as explained in Breakthroughs—The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, by Bob Avakian) refers to the fact that an increasingly globalized capitalism:

...relies to a very great degree for production and for maintaining the rate of profit on a vast network of sweatshops, particularly in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while capitalist activity in the capitalist-imperialist “home countries” is increasingly in the realm of finance and financial speculation, and the “high end” of (not the production of the basic physical materials for) high tech, as well as the service sector and the commercial sphere (including the growing role of online marketing). As Lenin phrased it, this puts “the seal of parasitism” on the whole of societies such as the U.S.17

This has both a material and an ideological dimension. Materially, it puts the seal of  parasitism on the whole society because the whole society and the very functioning of the economy would be impossible to maintain, and certainly to maintain on the level that it’s on, without this vast network of sweatshops. The standard of living and the very functioning of the economy could not be what it is, it could not be maintained as it is, without this parasitism and in particular the super-exploitation of millions, tens and hundreds of millions, ultimately billions of people, through this vast network of sweatshops throughout the Third World in particular.

And in terms of the ideological dimension, this seal of parasitism on the whole society encourages and in turn is reinforced by the promotion of individualism, and the all-too-common phenomena of narcissism, acquisitiveness and hedonism. Once again: “I want it all and I want it now!”  They’re not even ashamed to put this in an ad, more than once—you get hit with this kind of thinking all the time. To invoke a passage from my memoir (From Ike to Mao and Beyond),18 this is a matter of sticking your snout in the trough and just scarfing up as much as you can, without a thought to where this comes from. And, again, there is both the more virulent form of this—“I don’t give a fuck, fuck those people, I want it all and I want it now, I want what I want!”—and the more oblivious form: “I don’t really know where all this comes from, I’m just trying to pursue my own life and my dreams.”

So, both in the material sphere and in the ideological sphere, this seal of parasitism on the whole society is a very real thing. And this ties in with the overall relation between American chauvinism and individualism: identifying personal interests, prospects and status with the dominant position of—and the plundering of the world and the masses of humanity by—U.S. capitalist imperialism. And one grotesque expression of this—whether virulent or oblivious—is this: 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”?!

Another aspect of what is involved here is “world-weary cynicism” and its relation to parasitic individualism. Who has not heard this?—“Oh, I know there are a lot of things wrong in the world, but that’s just the way things are. Yes, of course, the U.S. commits crimes around the world, but so do all these other countries. Yes, Trump is no good, but all these politicians are corrupt. I don’t have time to pay attention to that. I’m way too sophisticated to get involved in that, or to get emotionally wrought up over all that. I just have to pay attention to the things that really matter to me and my chickens in my back yard” (or whatever else it might be).

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.”

In THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, in terms of the struggle to prevent the consolidation of fascist rule by the Trump/Pence regime (and more generally in regard to the struggle for a radically different and better world), I highlighted this point:

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.19

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.

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.20

And, as put forward sharply in “The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us”:

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.”21 [emphasis added]

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 5:8.22

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) 23

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.

Identity Politics and Individualism

As pointed out in “All Played Out,” there is the “politics of ‘identity’ that really comes back down to me.”24 We see all the time that, even while this identity is associated with a group, in fundamental terms it’s really about “me” and “mine”;  it is posed, at least objectively and often consciously, against other people, even other bitterly oppressed people, in a way that smacks of disgusting individualism and petty rivalry based on that outlook. Along with this, there is the whole phenomenon of “woke” parasitism and seeking “safe” privileged enclaves within, and on the basis of, the depredations and exploitation by this imperialist system of the masses of people of the world as well as the environment.

“Identity politics” distorts, corrupts, misdirects and undermines the exposure of and the needed struggle against what are, in fact, horrific forms of oppression. In this connection, let’s contrast experience in the 1960s vs. today’s phenomena of  “triggering” and trauma.

Back in the 1960s, drawing from my own experience, I remember that, in the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in 1964, the culmination and the high point of that struggle was when there was a massive sit-in, in the administration building on the Berkeley campus. Hundreds of people sat in and refused to leave until their demands were met. Ultimately, 800 were forcibly ejected from the building and arrested when the governor (the Democratic Party governor) of the state called out not only the local police, but the county sheriffs and the state police to come in and roust us out of the administration building. We were confronted with these police who were roughly arresting people—grabbing people, particularly women, by the hair and throwing them down the stairs as a way of evicting them from the administration building. Well, it strikes me now, in looking back on this, that the one thing we forgot to do, in the face of this, was to say: “Wait, you’re triggering us. You can’t do this. You’re causing us trauma.”  I’m sure that would have worked to prevent the police from acting in that brutal manner.

Or, when Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, together with others who made up the first members of the Black Panther Party, carried out their armed patrols against police brutality and murder, and they encountered police who threatened them and demanded that they put down their weapons (which the Panthers were legally carrying), well then, Huey and Bobby should have said to those pigs: “Stop—don’t you know you’re triggering and traumatizing us!” Yes, I’m sure that would have made the pigs back off.

Or, we can think about “Stop the Draft Week,” when thousands of people went to demonstrate at the Oakland induction center at the height of the struggle against the Vietnam war, in the effort to shut down the induction center (where people were conscripted—forced—into the U.S. military). People sat in, to block the doors. And the Oakland police, who are known for their racism and brutality going back generations, came in and brutally attacked people, and dragged them away in the most vicious manner. Well, it strikes me now that the real failing at that time was that, as those people were sitting in and the police were approaching, they should have said: “Stop! You’re triggering us.” I’m sure that would have stopped the police from brutally rousting people away from the doors.

And there are many other examples. Think about People’s Park in Berkeley, when, at its high point, there was a massive demonstration of tens of thousands in support of the seemingly modest demand to have a park in an area that the university wanted to turn into a parking lot. During the course of this struggle, people were shot by police and one of the demonstrators, James Rector, was killed as part of a police attack on a demonstration. And in addition to people being shot, the National Guard had been called out, and there were a number of us, hundreds, who went to the fence that the university and the authorities had put around the People’s Park area. The National Guard was stationed inside the fence, and many of us were at the fence, shaking it. Well, because the National Guard was armed and was being ordered to be prepared to shoot—that was very clear—the question for us was: Should we tear down this fence and face the fusillade of bullets coming at us for doing so? And people decided, in those circumstances, that this wasn’t the right thing to do. But obviously we were completely mis-directed in those circumstances. We should have said to the commanders of the National Guard: “Not just pointing those guns at us, but just having those guns near us, is triggering us. You can’t do this. You have to stop this right now!”

Now, obviously, I’m being ironic here. But the point that comes through—and these examples are deliberately ludicrous to make the point—is that in any real struggle to deal with any real oppression, up against powerful enforcers of that oppression, you are going to have to face the prospect of real sacrifice, including the prospect of being physically attacked. And if you think that you can carve out little safe enclaves, and that this is somehow going to lead to any kind of significant change in society, you are full of illusions and delusions.

So, this is something important to understand. The trauma that results from directly suffering horrific forms of oppression and degradation is very real, and no one should deny or underestimate that—but, instead of an individual “turning inwards,” this needs to be transformed into anger and determination to be part of a collective struggle to put an end to all the atrocities, everywhere, whose fundamental source and cause is this system of capitalism-imperialism. And, yes, this will require struggle and sacrifice. But it’s worth it, it’s what needs to happen.

Now, along with these negative tendencies associated with “identity politics,” we get what could be called the politics of indictment—indictment of individuals, instead of transforming society (and the whole world) to uproot all oppression. There is the phenomenon of not only targeting and seeking to tear down individuals, but along with that, or as part of it, going through the whole history of people’s lives, going back decades—even into someone’s very early years—and seeing if you can find something around which they can be condemned and which therefore disqualifies them from any positive role in anything. Now, as I have stressed many times, where people have committed real crimes and outrages they should be held accountable; but there is also the need to look at the arc of someone’s life and what is the principal and defining aspect of their life. Is it the mistakes they’ve made, or even a really terrible thing they’ve done at some point? Is that the essential aspect of their life and what defines it? Or has their life involved real transformation, where what has come to define what they are about are the positive things that they have done and the positive trajectory to their life overall?

What is involved here is a very wrong and harmful approach of “canceling” people—indicting them (in the realm of public opinion if not legally) and canceling them out—which is different than holding people accountable for serious acts of oppression or other outrages that they’ve committed but then also looking at the whole arc and main content of what their life has been about. (And this is made all the worse by the fact that it is often amplified through “trial in the media and social media,” with neither any prospect nor even any pretense of due process or any real attempt to get at the truth, fueled by the dangerous notion that a mere allegation is enough to condemn someone and make them a permanent pariah, and marked by a refusal to apply any measure of proportionality, to make any distinctions between different kinds and degrees of wrongdoing.)  This also goes along with and is in an overall sense part of the same phenomenon of turning inward and seeking “safe spaces” and pursuing “self-care” and “personal healing,” in place of, and at least objectively in opposition to, directing outrage at oppression and degradation “outward,” becoming part of a collective struggle aimed at transforming the world to put an end to all such atrocities, to all oppression and exploitation (which is also the best context for overcoming real trauma that people have experienced).

Individualism and “Indifference”

Here is a very important statement by Marx, from the Grundrisse—one of his major works—as cited in Ruminations and Wranglings:

In the money relation, in the developed system of exchange (and this semblance seduces the democrats), the ties of personal dependence, of distinctions of blood, education, etc. are in fact exploded, ripped up (at least, personal ties all appear as personal relations); and individuals seem independent (this is an independence which is at bottom merely an illusion, and it is more correctly called indifference), free to collide with one another and to engage in exchange within this freedom....25

Marx is getting at something very penetrating and insightful about the relations among people in capitalist society—the commodity relations that characterize capitalism, as represented by money (or today by credit and abstractions of credit). Notice the word “indifference” here. This goes back to individualism. And it can be particularly applied to oblivious individualism. You’re indifferent to other people, and you think of this as your independence, when really you are all tied together by the network of relations, including the money relations, that characterize this society and its underlying exploitative relations. You’re all caught within that web, yet within that web you have the illusion that you’re acting independently, when the terms of how you interact are being set by the dynamics of the capitalist system and its underlying economic (production) relations, as well at its social relations (such as the oppressive relation between men and women, for example) that go along with those economic relations. You think you’re acting independently, but you’re really just caught within a web which conditions how you act (and how you think), while, at the same time, this “independence” often takes the form—and here again is the phenomenon of oblivious individualism—of indifference toward other people. This can be expressed in the outlook that “I’m not consciously trying to mess over other people, I’m just pursuing my own interests and my ‘dreams’ (I’m just ‘doing me’)”—but in reality you’re being forced into competition and conflict with other people, and you’re being impelled to be indifferent to the effect of all this on those others by the “spontaneity” of how this system operates.

This relates to a point that was emphasized in The New Communism, regarding Lenin’s observation that the system of capitalism and its commodity relations forces people to calculate with the stinginess of a miser. So, again, people are forced to be indifferent toward others by the dynamics that put them in competition and in conflict with other people for all kinds of things: who gets a job, who gets a raise, who gets a promotion, who gets a scholarship to college, who gets an internship (and on, and on, and on). You are forced to be in constant conflict with other people, and you are forced to calculate with the stinginess of a miser even to the point of, “Well, I’m sorry that this has a negative effect on or may even cause real harm to someone else, but I gotta do what I gotta do for me and my family.”  And so on. It’s not that people are inherently selfish, in accordance with some concept of unchanging “human nature.”  The particular word Lenin uses is very important—under this system people are forced to calculate with the stinginess of a miser. They are forced to be indifferent toward other people and how things affect them.

Lenin also points out—and this has to do with the basic nature and functioning of the capitalist system—that capitalism puts in the hands of individuals what is produced by all of society (and ultimately all of the world, especially today this is so—all of the world). This has two manifestations: One, it is manifested in the private accumulation by capitalists, competing capitalists, of the wealth that is socially produced by masses of people working in collective organizations of production. So that’s one manifestation of what Lenin talks about when he says that capitalism puts in the hands of individuals what is produced by all of society.

The other manifestation of this is individual consumption. Capitalism puts in the hands of individuals, in terms of their individual items of consumption, what is produced by all of society—in other words, to a very large extent, these needs have to be met, under this system, through commodity exchanges (people have to pay for them)—as opposed to these needs being socially met, and provided without cost, as would be the case in communist society. Now, just to be clear, in contrast to the slanders and ridiculous distortions that are frequently presented: No, everybody under communism will not have to use the same toothbrush! That’s not the point here. Of course in communist society there will be items of personal consumption. People are not all gonna eat the same food, either figuratively in the sense of having to have exactly the same meals all the time (nor, obviously, in the literal sense that somebody takes a bite and then somebody else has to eat the second bite, and so on, and so forth)!  Obviously, this is not what’s being talked about. What’s being talked about is that, in a communist society, where the appropriation and distribution of what is produced conforms to the character of the productive forces and the corresponding socialized nature of production itself, many needs—housing, health care, and things of this nature—could be and will be socially met, rather than involving and depending on individual expenditure (and, again, this is very different than individual toothbrushes or other items of personal consumption).

So this is another important manifestation, or dimension, of what Lenin is talking about. And this also relates back to Marx’s point about independence which is better called “indifference,” the competition among individuals that this involves, and the fundamental need for the transformation of society (and ultimately the whole world) to transcend and move beyond individualistic indifference toward others, in moving beyond the economic, social and political relations, and the corresponding ideas, that dictate and reinforce competition, conflict and antagonism not only between individuals but whole social classes and groups.

 

Particular Interests and General Interests—Differing Class Interests and the Highest Interests of Humanity

In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,26 Marx makes the point that every class viewpoint identifies the particular interest of the class it represents with the general interests of society. Referring back to what is said about the “4 Alls” in Breakthroughs (and elsewhere)—that is, the abolition of all class distinctions, of all the production relations on which those class distinctions rest, of all the social relations that correspond to those production relations, and the revolutionizing of all the ideas that correspond to those social relations—referring back to those “4 Alls,” and in particular the relation and interconnection of production and social relations, it is important to recognize how, even spontaneously, different classes (that is, people who are part of different social groups in terms of the relations of production) differently experience and respond to social relations of oppression.

For example, among Black people—and this phenomenon is something you can see in the television program Black-ish, for example—Black people as a whole suffer horrific oppression in many forms, including one of the most egregious expressions of this, murder by police, as well as rampant discrimination and racism throughout the society; but different classes, strata and sections of the Black population experience this differently and respond to it differently. You can see it in people like Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The basic outlook they hold, and propagate, is essentially this: The way to deal with all this is to get big bank—get that paper, that’ll deal with all this. Well, this is obviously the outlook and the aspiration of bourgeois strata, what have become bourgeois strata among Black people. And then there are other manifestations of the same kind of outlook among the more bourgeois and petit bourgeois strata of Black people who see the solution as working within the system and getting a better place within this system. That is their spontaneous inclination, their spontaneous view of the problem and the solution. And, among other things, this explains why there has been such enthusiasm for having Obama as the first Black president.

Now, it’s been pointed out before, and it bears repeating, that among all strata in society the outlook that characterizes the petite bourgeoisie and ultimately the bourgeoisie has significant influence. So it’s not like the basic, more proletarian or semi-proletarian masses of oppressed people are somehow immune from this petit bourgeois and bourgeois thinking. Far from it. Nevertheless, in terms of what this represents, what social position and outlook it corresponds to, it is representative essentially of the petit bourgeois and bourgeois strata.

The same thing applies to the oppression of women. As with any oppressed group (in this case, half of humanity), with regard to women any injustice or oppression against any part of women does great harm to women as a whole. But, again, different strata among women—and women in different parts of the world, for that matter—experience this differently and spontaneously have different notions of what is the problem and the solution. Among the more bourgeois-aspiring and petit bourgeois professional women, and so on, a significant spontaneous inclination is: Let’s get more women into positions of authority and power, more women CEOs, more women in the professions, and in government, and so on. That is seen as the solution, or a big part of the solution, to the problem. Now (to use a grammatical double negative) it is not that discrimination against women in the spheres of business and the professions, etc., should not be opposed. It should definitely be opposed, fundamentally because this does harm all women. But this does not deal with what the essence of what the problem is and what the solution is. And, in fact, in certain ways this can end up reinforcing this system and its oppressive relations. To be clear, it is not that the fight against discrimination in these spheres is itself harmful (as I have emphasized, the opposite is the case); but what is harmful is the notion that getting more women (or, for that matter, other oppressed people) into positions of influence, authority and power within this society, in the functioning of this system, is the answer, the solution, to inequality and oppression. That is a harmful illusion that can only mislead and misdirect people and actually serve to reinforce the very system that is the source of oppression and exploitation. So here is another complex contradiction that requires the application of the scientific method to achieve the necessary synthesis: waging the fight against discrimination and oppression of any section of women (or other oppressed groups) while combating the notion that fulfilling the aspirations of the petit bourgeois and bourgeois strata among the oppressed is the solution, that it can or will lead to the end of oppression and exploitation of the masses of people and ultimately to the emancipation of all humanity.

This goes back to Marx’s point in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, that every class—or the outlook corresponding to different classes—all consider that the particular interests of their class represent the general interests of society, of the people. The reality is that only for one class at this point is it true that its interests as a class—not in a narrow or reified sense, but in the most fundamental sense—correspond to the general interests of society, or of the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole. That class is the proletariat, the exploited class under this capitalist-imperialist system, because in the fundamental and ultimate sense only by ending all oppression and exploitation—only with the achievement of those “4 Alls” throughout the world—can the exploitation and oppression of the proletariat as a class be finally ended.

As for the ruling capitalist class of this country, and in general the capitalist-imperialists in the world, their interests lie in maintaining and reinforcing the system of capitalism-imperialism and in their striving to be in the “top-dog” position in a world dominated by this system, with all the terrible suffering and truly dire consequences this involves for the masses of humanity. The petite bourgeoisie (or middle class) is itself incapable of offering any alternative to this present horrendous system.

The outlook corresponding to the position and the aspirations of the petite bourgeoisie, as well as that of the ruling bourgeoisie, is strongly reinforced by the basic nature and functioning of the capitalist-imperialist system which rules in this country and is dominant in the world as a whole, and this, once again, has significant influence among all sections of society, including those most viciously and brutally exploited and oppressed. (And among the basic masses in this country in particular, this outlook is reinforced in significant ways by the extensive “petit-bourgeoisification” among many of the basic oppressed masses, as discussed in Breakthroughs). This outlook is fostered and reinforced by the “spontaneity” of everyday life under this system, as well as the operation of the political system that serves and reinforces the underlying economic relations and dynamics of capitalism-imperialism, and the ceaseless propagation of the corresponding outlook through all the major institutions of society.

And here we come up against the problem, also spoken to in Breakthroughs, of making a proletarian revolution “with a proletariat that does not exist.” The reason I put that in quotes is because it’s not the case literally that there is no proletariat in the U.S. (and this is certainly not the case in the world as a whole). But the point is (and this has to do with the phenomenon I’ve spoken to in Breakthroughs and in a number of other works—the phenomenon of the separation of the communist movement from the labor movement) that, while the exploitation of the proletariat under this system, including within this country, is a real phenomenon and one of the bases for mobilizing people in revolutionary struggle toward the ultimate overthrow of this system, the revolutionary movement that needs to be built cannot be, and must not be reduced to, a simple struggle between the exploited proletarians and those who exploit them, or even the immediate and partial interests of the proletariat (or a section of the proletariat) at any given time, rather than its largest and most fundamental interests in abolishing all exploitation and oppression throughout the world. The revolution that is needed is not going to take place as a direct extension of the struggle of the proletariat, as such, into some kind of general strike, or some other form in which the proletariat, by itself and in itself, is going to make the proletarian revolution. There will need to be a lot of different forces involved, and with regard to the fighting forces who are brought forward when the ultimate all-out showdown comes, while some will definitely be drawn from the ranks of especially the bitterly exploited proletarians, as opposed to the more bourgeoisified strata of the working class, many will be drawn from other strata who suffer terrible oppression but are not strictly speaking part of the proletariat as a class.

So here is a sharp contradiction: The fundamental interests of the proletariat, in eliminating all exploitation and oppression, everywhere, through the revolutionary struggle to bring into being a communist world, and the scientific world outlook, method and approach representing those fundamental interests—this corresponds to the general interests of society, or we could say to the interests of humanity as a whole, but in order for those ideas to be taken up by masses of people and made into a powerful material force for revolution, a tremendous struggle must be waged against “spontaneity” and the overall influence of the currently dominant ways of thinking.

For all those who have come to a scientific understanding of the problem with which humanity is profoundly confronted, and the revolutionary solution to this problem, the challenge and the responsibility is to wage the critically necessary ideological struggle, in regard to people’s world outlook, methods, morality and aspirations, while uniting with masses of people in waging struggle around the defining contradictions of this system which are unresolvable under this system and the major manifestations of the oppression and exploitation to which the masses of humanity are continually subjected under this system—and working to win growing numbers of people to a conscious understanding of the need and possibility for revolution, whose ultimate goal is a communist world. This is the meaning and purpose of Fight the Power, and Transform the People—for Revolution.

 

Contrasting the Communist with the Capitalist Viewpoint and Approach to Individualism and Individuality

First, let’s examine the contradiction of capitalism-imperialism and bourgeois hypocrisy, or the “exalting” of the individual and the crushing of billions of individuals under this system. As noted in Ruminations and Wranglings:

This is a point that was emphasized in Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity,* where (toward the end of Part 1) it refers to all the great and grand talk from proponents and apologists of the capitalist system about the rights of individuals, and yet this system functions, and can only function, by—quite literally and with no exaggeration or hyperbole—grinding into the dirt the lives of millions and even billions of individuals, including hundreds of millions of children, people whose individuality, whose individual aspirations, are counted as nothing in the actual operation of this system.27

Here it is necessary to step back and look at the changes that the bourgeois revolution and capitalist society have brought about in regard to the individual in particular, especially in contrast to feudal society. In feudal society people had an assigned place from which they could very rarely, if ever, escape—and all this was reinforced with church doctrine and the notion of the divine right of the monarch, and so on—while the bourgeois revolution and the functioning of capitalist society broke apart, shattered, a lot of those particular constraints on different sections of the population (this is also what Marx was referring to in the statement I cited from the Grundrisse about the developed relations of exchange characteristic of capitalism). And capitalism did give much greater expression to the role of people as individuals even as, more fundamentally, they are part of different classes and different social groups (men and women, different nationalities or “races,” and so on).

With the bourgeois revolution and the emergence of capitalism as the dominant system, there was a real freeing of the individual from some of the constraints, very real constraints, that feudalism, with its “divinely ordered” status of different sections of people, had imposed for centuries. This is an actual achievement of the bourgeois revolution which should be acknowledged. At the same time, there is the reality of the masses of people under the rule of capitalism-imperialism and the dynamics and relations of this system, which are fundamental to it and which involve, and cannot help but involve, the crushing and pulverizing of individuals. And, particularly in capitalism’s imperialist stage, this is a worldwide phenomenon, involving billions of individuals.

As pointed out in Breakthroughs:

Speaking to the social mobility that is often raised as one of the great features of capitalist society, Marx, in another major work of his, the Grundrisse, pointed out that individuals may change their social and class position within a society like this, but the masses of people [and again, this applies, above all, on a world level, but the masses of people] can only escape from oppressive production and social relations by revolutionary means—by overthrowing and abolishing the system that is founded on and embodies those relations.28

And, as I have emphasized in a number of works (including Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy,29 as well as Breakthroughs), individuals always exist within a social context—within a society (that is, a social organization of people) whose foundation is the economic relations (or the relations of production) and the corresponding social relations that set the basic terms of how society functions and what will be the dominant political processes, structures and institutions, and the prevailing ideas and culture. All this shapes how people—groupings of people as well as individuals—interact with each other and how, “spontaneously,” they think about things. Contrary to the much propagated notions about “human nature”—and, in particular, supposedly “unchanging and unchangeable human nature”—there is no such thing as unchanging human nature. Rather, as Marx emphasized (in The Poverty of Philosophy),30 all of human history embodies the continuous transformation of “human nature” as human society is changed, especially through revolutions which fundamentally transform the system of economic relations, the corresponding social relations, and the political and ideological superstructure (the political processes, structures and institutions and the corresponding ideas and culture). These revolutions arise on the basis of the fundamental and essential contradictions of the existing system, which are “built into” the given system and cannot be resolved, or fundamentally transformed, within the confines of that system. These revolutions are led by groups of people who recognize the need and possibility for transforming society to bring about a major, qualitative, transformation of these contradictions, leading to a radically different system. With the bourgeois revolution, for example, the basis for this revolution lay in the more and more acutely posed contradictions of feudal society, and there were forces that emerged within feudal society who recognized these contradictions (to one degree or another consciously) and went to work to transform things and were brought up against the need for a revolution in order to do so. This is how these dynamics actually work out in the real world.

And such is the basis for the proletarian-communist revolution—which, in resolving the fundamental and essential contradictions built into the capitalist system, can bring about a transformation of human society, throughout the world, of a radically new and unprecedented kind, putting an end not just to the rule of a particular group (or class) of exploiters and oppressors of the masses of humanity, but to all exploitation and oppression, bringing about the emancipation of humanity as a whole from all systems and relations embodying exploitation and oppression.

On this historically new foundation—and with the continuing transformation of society in these radically new conditions—of communism, the basis for individualism to be a significant social phenomenon will have been eliminated and surpassed, while the basis will be continually expanded for individuality to find expression, in a positive “synergy” (a mutually reinforcing positive relation) with the fundamentally cooperative nature of human social relations.

To invoke another extremely concentrated insight of Marx’s: Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and the culture conditioned thereby. To state this in terms of its positive corollary, so to speak: Freedom is always conditioned by and fundamentally depends on the underlying material foundation—the mode of production (that is, the relations of production corresponding to the character of the productive forces). And more than that, in communist society this material foundation is being continually transformed to increasingly free human beings as a whole from spending most of their time in reproducing the material requirements for survival. As this happens, and as people are freed from what Marx (in the Critique of the Gotha Programme)31 characterized as the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, as these two things go hand-in-hand, the more the scope for individual initiative and freedom will be expanded, once again within the overall cooperative relations and ethos of society.

 

Differing Views on the Meaning of Life, and Death:
What Is Worth Living and Dying For?

Here it is worthwhile to quote at length from the discussion of this in Ruminations and Wranglings—the full title of which is Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning. What I am going to cite here is drawn from the section “Life With a Purpose: Different Experiences, Different Spontaneous Views, and Fundamentally Different World Outlooks”; and this includes part of the sub-section “Human life is finite, but revolution is infinite”:

Going further, [this section begins] there are two things that are relevant to all this, things which do bear very significantly on human life, human relations and human thinking: one, all human beings die; and two, human beings are not only conscious of this but in many ways acutely aware of it. Now the point is not to “wax existential,” or to lapse into existentialism as a philosophical outlook, but there is a value, if you will, to exploring this, at least a little bit. Why do I raise this? Well, often, for example, in existentialist literature, but more generally in a lot of literature which seeks to deal with “profound ironies and tragedies of life,” this contradiction—that human beings are living beings but all human beings die, and that human beings are conscious of this—forms a significant theme, a significant phenomenon with which people wrestle. This is true in philosophy but also in the arts. Especially in a society which places so much emphasis on “the individual,” in an ideological sense, even while it grounds down individuals in material reality—and this is particularly true of U.S. society and U.S. imperialism—it is not surprising that this phenomenon, that human beings die and they are conscious of this, has a prominent place in the culture.

This is also one of the main elements that factors into religion, and in the way people understand and explain the phenomenon of—and, as many portray it, the need for—religion. Some people even argue that you will always have religion because people will need a way to deal with death—not only their own death, but perhaps even more the death of loved ones. ...

This is something worth exploring a bit—precisely from a materialist standpoint and in relation to our communist outlook and communist objectives. First of all, it is necessary to recognize that while death is universal for human beings—all human beings die, sooner or later—there is not one common viewpoint about death: people in different social conditions have different experiences with and different viewpoints on all kinds of phenomena, including death.

In this connection, I was thinking of a statement attributed to Mao near the end of his life .... His statement was something to the effect that “human life is finite, but revolution is infinite.” ... In the dimension in which Mao was speaking about human beings and human society, he was pointing to the contradiction that individuals can play a certain role—and specifically if they become conscious of the need for revolution, and more especially if they take up the outlook and method of communism, they can contribute a great deal to radically transforming human society—but, in all cases, their role and their contributions will still be limited, not only by their particular abilities (and shortcomings) and by their circumstances, but also by the fact that human life is finite, that people live only a few decades. But revolution—that is, not only the overthrow of exploiting classes but, even far into the future in communist society, the need for the continual transformation of society, the need to recognize and transform necessity into freedom—will constantly pose itself and human beings will constantly, and with varying degrees of consciousness, act in relation to that. So, with regard to human society, that is the essential meaning of the statement (attributed to Mao) that human life is finite, but revolution is infinite.

This poses an important challenge morally and, if you will, psychologically—or in terms of one’s basic orientation. It is true, everybody is going to live a relatively short life—certainly compared to the life of the cosmos. Even though, over millennia, we’ve prolonged human life for several decades, it still involves a relatively brief period of time. But the fact remains that your life, whether shorter or longer (within this overall finite framework), is going to be devoted to one kind of objective or another. It is going to be shaped by larger forces that are independent of your will, but then there is the question of how, yes, each individual—as well as in a different, larger dimension, social classes—respond to the way in which the contradictions that are shaping things confront and impinge on them. And there is conscious volition and conscious decision in terms of what people do with their lives, in relation to what they see as necessary, possible, and desirable. After all, it is not as if revolution is something outside of human experience, nor certainly is it outside of material existence; in other words, it’s not as if revolution is not made by people. It is not as if “revolution is infinite” means that there is something called Revolution, with a capital R, that’s some sort of metaphysical force, like nature with a consciousness, or history with a consciousness, that is marching on, in accordance with some sort of teleological notion [in other words, a pre-determined notion of where it should all go].

No, people make revolution. They do so on a certain foundation. That is Marx’s point, which I have repeatedly referred to, and for good reason: People make history, but they don’t do so any way they wish—they do so on the basis of certain definite material conditions which are inherited from previous generations and are independent of the wills of individuals. But, within that framework, people have a great deal of initiative, and a great deal of scope for conscious decision about what they’re going to do with their lives; and the more they become conscious of the way that the world and the contradictions driving the world actually are and actually move and change, the more conscious their decision can be about what they’re going to do with their lives.

I was further provoked to think about this whole question, in watching a film about the P-Stone Nation gang in Chicago. As part of this film there were interviews with some “O.G.s”—veteran or former members of the gang, who are now in their 50s and 60s—people who were in the P-Stone Nation way back when, and who remained in for several decades, but now have gotten out of it, let’s say. One of these guys was being interviewed about the situation with the gangs and the youth who are drawn into the gangs now, and it’s kind of funny, but very often when you hear one generation of people who have gotten a little bit older than the teenagers and people in their early 20s who make up the “soldiers” of these gangs, they make the comment about these younger guys: “Well, things were crazy when I was doing this, but these younger guys nowadays, they’re really crazy, much crazier than we were.” But what stood out to me in what this guy was saying was his comment that these young guys don’t expect to live to be 21—and they just don’t care. And then he went on to acknowledge: That’s the way I was when I got into this—I didn’t expect to live to be 21, and I just didn’t care.

This is a contradiction that was pinpointed and focused on by George Jackson in talking about the question of revolution, emphasizing that gradualism can never appeal to youth like this—that, as he put it, the idea of revolution as something in the far-off distant future has no meaning to a slave who doesn’t expect to live beyond tomorrow. This is a very difficult and very important contradiction that we have to continue to grapple with. But here what I want to emphasize is that this viewpoint (not expecting to live past 21, and just not caring) flows from a certain social experience—it is a more or less spontaneous response to that social experience. It’s not that, somehow, mysteriously and magically, an existential philosopher and a gang member are likely to have very different views of life and death. This flows out of different social experience (again without reifying things—without ignoring or pounding down into an undifferentiated whole the actual differences among different individuals within the same social grouping, having the same social experience, broadly speaking)....

Or we can think of youth and others giving their lives in struggles and wars—doing so willingly, many times, especially today, for what are ultimately dead-ends or bad ends. But, on the other hand, there has been historical experience—and, yes, even today, there is experience—where this is done for truly liberating ends, for emancipating goals and objectives....

This has a lot to do with the point in “Out Into the World—As a Vanguard of the Future”* about why, in initiating the People’s War in China, Mao drew on what he called the brave elements. As he said, they were less afraid of dying, they were more willing to take a risk that could involve dying. It’s like the line from the Bob Dylan song: “When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.” Now let me emphasize that it is most emphatically not the case that communists count human life, or the lives of the masses of people, as cheap or as nothing. Quite the contrary. As Mao also powerfully articulated: Of all things in the world, people are most precious. But the reality is (a) no one is going to escape death and (b) people’s lives, and even their deaths, are going to have one content or another, and count for one thing or another. It is a tragedy, to put it that way, if people’s lives are given for what are ultimately dead-ends—or, still worse, bad ends. And it is never a light thing when anyone gives her/his life even for a truly liberating objective. To paraphrase another powerfully poetic statement by Mao: While dying in the service of the imperialists and reactionaries is lighter than a feather, to die for the people is as weighty as a mountain. (This basic orientation is also emphasized in the statement I made on the occasion of the murder of Damián García.**) The content of people’s lives—the quality of those lives, what they are dedicated and devoted to, and ultimately what they’ve been lived about, whether their death comes sooner or later—is the most important thing and gives meaning, one way or another, to people’s lives, short as they are in relation to the infinite existence of matter in motion.

This is a basic point of orientation which has to do with the question of whether we can actually confront, and should confront, reality as it actually is—in opposition to the notion that human beings (or at least some human beings) need some sort of consolation in the form of distortions of reality—and in particular inventions of gods and/or other supernatural beings and forces. This is a fundamental point of ideological orientation—and ideological struggle. Can we and should we face reality as it actually is? Can human beings actually have, and how can they most fully have, a life with meaning and purpose, and is that best done by actually confronting and, yes, striving to transform, reality on the basis of how reality actually is and the potential for change within that; or should we descend—and I use that word very consciously—into inventions, obfuscations and distortions of reality, in an ultimately failed attempt to provide consolation—consolation not only for the fact that people will die, but also for the fact that most people’s lives, in the world as it is, under the domination of the imperialist system and relations of exploitation and oppression, are not lives that are richly lived (and I don’t mean that in a monetary sense, I mean that in the sense of the fullness of their lives, the humanity of their lives, if you will)?32

This part of Ruminations and Wranglings also includes the following from The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism—Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak, which speaks very sweepingly and powerfully to this question:

There is no particular special purpose to our existence in the grand scheme of things—except what we make of it. Whether we’re even here or not doesn’t really matter (at least not consciously) to anything on this planet except ourselves; and certainly (at least at this point) our existence or non-existence can’t possibly have the slightest impact on anything in the greater cosmos, where objectively we are of no greater significance than a single grain of sand on a beach. But so what? Does that mean we don’t matter? Does it mean that we might as well kill each other off because there’s no god out there to care what we do one way or the other? Does it mean that our lives have absolutely no purpose? Of course not! Our lives are precious and we do matter a great deal... to each other! We should decide to “do the right thing”—and act with each other with some integrity and in ways that are “moral and ethical”—not because we’re afraid we’ll get written up by some warden-like god if we don’t, but because what we do directly affects the quality of human life. And, of course, our lives can and do have purpose (though different people will define that in different ways in accordance with their world outlooks), because we humans can choose to imbue our lives with purpose!33

And Ruminations and Wranglings focuses on this profound question:

How should we deal with the glaring contradiction between the fact that most people’s lives are ground down, and while they exist their lives are full of misery, and on the other hand that this could be radically different and the world as a whole could be radically different and better? What should be our orientation toward that contradiction? What should we seek to do about that? Should we, because lives are short and all human beings die and we know it, shrink from the sacrifices that are necessary in order to make human life radically different and better—or should we more and more consciously and willingly devote, dedicate and in an overall sense give our lives to the emancipating goals of the communist revolution?34

Now, in connection with all this, 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]35 

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,”36 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.37 

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!38

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. Revolutions are always driven by the daring, creativity and initiative of youth. As emphasized in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:

There is special importance to the youth and students—both among the most oppressed and among the middle classes—because, even with all the bullshit that this system works to get the youth caught up in, they are less “invested” in the way things are and less worn down to accepting that this is the only way things could be.39

This is a very important point of orientation in relation to everything that I’ve been speaking to, including the individualism that exerts such a strong pull—yes, among the younger generations as well as the whole of society. There is the phenomenon where the youth are coming up against the fact that their future is growing more and more bleak under this system; it is becoming harder and harder not to be aware of this, no matter how much some people may try. And it is the truth that, as a general phenomenon, youth are the ones who take initiative in challenging “the way things are” and the much-propagated insistence on “doing what is realistic” (which actually means going along with, doing nothing meaningful to oppose, the continuing horrors perpetrated by this system).

Here again let’s go back to the youth in the 1960s and what I was saying about the daring and determination of youth at that time to reject and repudiate everything putrid that was embodied in this system, and to have the belief and the determination that it was possible and necessary to strive for a much different and better world and that revolution was what was required to make this happen. In this connection, we should revive the slogan that was raised by the youth in particular in the May 1968 uprising in France: “Soyons réalistes, demandons l’impossible!”—“Be realistic, demand the impossible!” This is another expression of the defiance and daring of the youth. The refusal to accept what was “realistic” and “possible” was crucial to the orientation of breaking out of the suffocating confines imposed by the existing system. And this was combined with, and in an overall sense based on, a conviction that a radically different and better world than this is both necessary and possible. As this was characterized in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, speaking to this period in this country:

By 1968 and for several years after, there were large numbers of people in this country, including millions of youth from the middle class as well as masses of poor and oppressed people, who were motivated by a thoroughly justified hatred of this system and aspirations for a radically different and better world—and this reached deeply into the system’s own armed forces—even if the understanding of most was marked by revolutionary sentiment which, while righteous, was lacking in any deep and consistent scientific basis.40

Breaking Free of Parasitic Individualism

However, in terms of the youth today, and facing problems squarely, in a significant way we are back to the problem, particularly in this country, of individualism, which is bound up with the extreme parasitism of this society and its relation to the rest of the world. As pointed out in THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! the USA is “sitting atop a lopsided world of profound inequalities and plunder of the environment (it would take the resources of nearly 5 Earths for the rest of the world to have the kind of ‘consumer society’ that exists in the U.S.).”41

And here it is worth recounting something I saw on the news recently—a woman who was commenting on the recent scientific report about the prospect of the extinction of a million species and its relation to the growing environmental crisis. She said something to the effect that it is going to take a whole change in society and in people’s thinking, a whole different way people consume things, we’re not gonna be able to continue consuming the way we are and having the kind of society that we do, if we’re gonna avoid a real catastrophe (I’m paraphrasing, but this is the essence of what she said). Then she went into what could be called a “Jared Diamond mode,” talking about how we have to appeal to the heads of business and government and so on, that they have to make these changes for the future and the benefit of humanity—which, of course, is completely unrealistic. As we have scientifically analyzed, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t make the kind of changes that are necessary.

But there is the “5 Earths” question. It has been pointed out that, if we make revolution and have socialism in this country as part of the world revolution, there are not going to be all the designer coffees that people, particularly in the middle class, have now when they go to someplace like Starbucks. The necessary change in the way people relate, and in their values—all that can only be brought about with the change in the underlying conditions, that is, the economic system (the mode of production) and the social relations, and along with that the political system, institutions, structures and processes. It has to be a whole revolution dealing with every one of those “4 Alls” and their interrelation.

The problem of extreme individualism among the youth today (even if much of this is more in the category of oblivious individualism) cannot be skirted around or avoided, but has to be taken head-on. This individualism is reinforced by what could be called the infantilization of the youth in this country, particularly now speaking of youth in the middle class (or sections of the middle class). On the one hand, many are extremely pampered, or coddled: “Oh, Janie, what do you feel like having for dinner tonight—you don’t want what has been prepared—well, would you like something else to be made for you? ...Johnnie, do you want to put on your pajamas and go to bed, or do you want to stay up until you can’t stay up any more? It would be really wrong for me to impose my views on you. After all, we’re all human beings here and we can’t have any micro aggressions against the youth.”  Now, obviously, I’m caricaturing and hyperbolizing here somewhat, but not completely.

So, on the one hand, they are coddled, but at the same time they’re commodified. There is a kind of an unholy combination here, if you will, of being coddled and being commodified—the pampering goes hand-in-hand with the fevered competition to get these youth on the track to wealth and privilege. Not only do you have to go to the best high school, not only do you have to go to the best middle school, not only do you have to go to the best elementary school, not only do you have to go to the best kindergarten, not only do you have to go to the best nursery school, but you have to go to the best pre-nursery school in order to get on a track where you can go to an elite university and become part of the well-off stratum that you are “entitled” to be part of. (This is also related to the phenomenon where, in defiance of overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines against common childhood diseases are safe when administered properly, some parents from the privileged strata refuse to have their children get these vaccines, even with the very negative consequences this can have for children, and society, more generally.)

In The New Communism, I invoked what I called the George Carlin phenomenon, where in one of his routines he starts talking about this phenomenon of parents pampering their kids. They won’t let them roll around in the dirt or do anything like that—they always have to be  “protected” beyond what is necessary and reasonable. In this routine Carlin points out that, within reasonable limits, it’s actually good for kids to go out and roll around in the dirt, even to eat some dirt, because that can help build up their immunity. Then, a little ways into this routine, he poses this provocative question: “He’s not gonna say something bad about little kids, is he?”—and then he immediately and emphatically answers: “Yes, he is!” Well, invoking this routine by Carlin, I sharply posed in The New Communism: “He’s not gonna say that the youth should rebel against their parents, is he?” “Yes, he is!” Not that the parents I’m referring to here are “the enemy” or should be treated as part of the enemy, but the point is that this whole way in which the youth are being coddled and commodified and raised in a certain parasitic environment, among sections of the middle class especially, has to be struggled against. There needs to be a rebellion against this on the part of the youth, as part of an overall rebellion against the whole way in which this society functions and the whole putrid ethos and culture it spews forth.

This problem is also heightened by the nature of the educational system in this country, including its lack of emphasis on—and in fact its undermining of—critical thinking. Everything is now geared to “getting on the right track,” studying for the test, taking only those courses in school that can lead to the “right” career and income. Even youth who would like to do something different and better—“I would like to study history, I would like to know about anthropology”—are steered away from it because of the tremendous amount of debt they incur if they go to college, and the constant insistence that they have to aspire to be in a certain position in society or their lives will be ruined. And, to refer again to the important observation by Lenin, there is the reality under this system that people are forced to calculate with the stinginess of a miser, forced to compete with each other, in so many spheres of life. There is the reality that, if you don’t get on a certain track and this system remains in effect, your life will be difficult—not anywhere near as difficult as it is for the “wretched of the earth” (to use that phrase), but difficult. But that is the point: This system should not remain in power, and it should not be people’s orientation, with which they are reared from a very, very early age, that this is how you have to make your way in the world, this is the only thing that’s possible, so you just have to do what you can do for yourself within this world as it is. It’s that whole orientation that has to be shattered, that people have to break out of, have to rebel against.

In terms of whether the educational system encourages or actually undermines critical thinking, there is also class and social differentiation with regard to this. Jonathan Kozol in one of his books (I believe it is Savage Inequalities)42 makes the point that the orientation of the educational system of gearing everything to the test reinforces and widens social divides and inequalities. For example, he pointed out that if you go to a suburban school system where the kids come from well-off families and are pretty assured of being able to reproduce that position (he wrote this a couple of decades ago, so maybe it’s a little less true now, but it still describes the situation to a significant degree), the teachers are willing to allow their students to deviate somewhat from the rigid education plan and not strictly do everything for the test, because they know these kids are going to do alright anyway; but, if you go into schools in the inner cities, even the well-meaning teachers, who might like to lead the students to explore many different dimensions of society and nature and many spheres of art and culture, are reluctant to do so because they know that, if the kids don’t bear down on preparation for the test, they are going to really suffer when it comes to taking the test and the implications of that—they are already at a great disadvantage to begin with because of their whole life conditions. So already existing social inequalities are made worse, exacerbated, on this basis.

With all this, there is the fact that overall, and even in regard to students from more well-off backgrounds, the educational system—with its emphasis on STEM (Science, meaning especially “applied science,” particularly related to Technology; Engineering; and Math) and on preparing more elite students for the world of business and finance (and perhaps government), and gearing education overall to competition with other capitalist countries, including the rising rival China—acts to undermine the all-around development of “the life of the mind” and critical thinking as a crucial part of that. (And all this is being made even worse by the Trump/Pence regime, and its Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who, even before being appointed to this position, had dedicated considerable effort, and millions of dollars, to undermining public education and promoting voucher programs for so-called educational institutions with a Christian fundamentalist agenda and approach—something DeVos is now in a position to carry out on a far greater level, with even more terrible consequences.)

Contrast all this with what is set forth about education in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America,43 where it emphasizes that the purpose of the educational system in this radically new society is “providing not only for literacy and other basic skills and abilities but also for a grounding in the natural and social sciences, as well as art and culture and other spheres, and in the ability to work with ideas in general”; and that “The educational system in the New Socialist Republic in North America must enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.” [emphasis added]

Now, to implement an educational system of this type will require a revolution. But the fundamental orientation that is embodied in this approach to education is something that right now can be and needs to be sharply struggled for, up against all the ways in which this is undermined and distorted under the present educational system serving this oppressive system.

And here we come back to the larger situation with the youth, and a stark example of the problem with the youth today in this country: In many countries youth have been rising up around the environmental crisis—raising the need for rebellion against the status quo and those who are maintaining it (with one part of this youth resistance explicitly calling itself “Extinction Rebellion”), while this country has stood out in the negative sense because, until recently, only small numbers had been involved in this rebellion of youth around the urgent crisis with the environment. More recently, there has been a significant mass outpouring of youth (and others) in this country around the environmental crisis and the existential threat it poses to the future of humanity. This could represent a positive turn in regard to this urgent situation (and more generally), and the question remains, around which there must be ongoing work and struggle: whether this will be limited to one or a few protests and funneled into the functioning of this system and its BEB, which is the fundamental cause and driving force of this environmental crisis—or whether those, and in particular the youth, who have now massively manifested their expressions of deep anxiety and outrage about this crisis, will follow to its logical conclusion their declaration that they refuse to be robbed of a future because those in power are doing nothing meaningful in regard to this increasingly acute crisis—whether those who have mobilized around this crisis will maintain and carry through on the orientation of following science and the truth it brings to light where that actually leads, which will mean confronting the fact that this system is the cause of this rapidly intensifying environmental crisis, and it is necessary to bring about a radical alternative to this whole system in order to have a chance of dealing with this crisis in a way that will hold out the possibility of a future, a future worth living, for the masses of humanity.

For youth who came of age in the 1950s and into the 1960s, the possibility of nuclear annihilation was a continual threat looming in the background—sometimes less and sometimes more intense, and punctuated by episodes of acute existential danger, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s. This was something that, whether you thought about it all the time or not, was always in the background and was a cause of unrest among the youth and the searching, with various levels of consciousness, for a way out of this kind of situation and everything bound up with it. This was a significant part of the basis for the rebellion of youth that arose then, fully spurred on by the civil rights movement and then the liberation movements of oppressed nationalities within the U.S. itself, and anti-colonial national liberation struggles around the world, as well as pseudo-socialist countries like Cuba and actual socialist countries like China, with the mass revolutionary outpouring, particularly of youth, through the Cultural Revolution there, beginning in the mid-1960s.

Today, as the environmental crisis poses a very real existential threat, in particular for the  youth (even as the possibility of nuclear annihilation remains very real), the kind of stirring among youth that is taking place in many countries needs to be further broadened, and at the same time deepened, not only around the particular question of the environmental crisis (as important as that is) but also as a more general rebellion against the way things are and those who are doing nothing to change the way things are, and who can do nothing to fundamentally change the way things are, because they are the functionaries and enforcers of the existing system, which is the basis for things being the way they are and for the direction in which they are heading, posing a very real existential threat to humanity as a whole as well as imposing, on a daily basis, horrendous oppression of the great masses of humanity.

In an overall sense, there is an urgent need to dig into and struggle fiercely against the things that are keeping the youth in this country in particular confined within the limits of this system, with its BEB—a system which is the fundamental cause not only of the intensifying environmental crisis but all the other horrors to which the masses of humanity are subjected and with which humanity as a whole is confronted. It is important to keep clearly in mind—and to carry out the necessary work, including the necessarily sharp struggle, to bring to life and give expression in the fullest way to—what I have cited here from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution about the positive qualities of youth in relation to the need for fundamental change, for revolution whose ultimate goal is a radically new, communist world, with the abolition of all exploitative and oppressive systems and relations, and the antagonistic conflicts to which they give rise.

(Here, I have spoken to what I believe can be identified as forces and influences on youth, particularly in the U.S., that are working to confine their thinking and actions within certain definite limits and constraining them from acting in a way that is commensurate with and required by the terrible suffering and acute crises to which the masses of humanity, and ultimately humanity as a whole, is subjected and with which it is confronted. At the same time, it is important to emphasize the need for further, ongoing active investigation, among youth broadly, to more fully and deeply learn about, analyze and synthesize a scientific understanding of what is keeping masses of youth, of different strata, from acting in the ways that the urgent situation, and the fundamental interests of humanity, demand, and to carry out an even more powerful and effective struggle to break the masses of youth—basic oppressed youth and educated youth of the middle strata—out of the confines and free of the constraints that are holding them back from acting as the creative and daring force of determined revolutionary struggle that they can, and urgently need to, become.)

No Permanent Necessity—and Hope, on a Scientific Basis: A Radically Different and Far Better World Really Is Possible, But It Must Be Fought For!

Here again it is important to speak to what is (and what is not) the basis for revolution. The basis for revolution lies not in what people are thinking or doing at any given time, but resides in the fundamental relations and contradictions of the system which cause tremendous suffering but which are unresolvable under this system. At the beginning of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, it speaks to “the intolerable outrages that are continually perpetrated by this system and that cause so much unnecessary suffering for the masses of humanity” and then it points to the crucial question of why these horrors are continually perpetrated by this system—and what it will take to make all these outrages really stop. It focuses attention on these contradictions:

Why are Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans subjected to genocidal persecution, mass incarceration, police brutality, and murder?

Why is there the patriarchal degradation, dehumanization, and subjugation of all women everywhere, and oppression based on gender or sexual orientation?

Why are there wars of empire, armies of occupation, and crimes against humanity?

Why is there the demonization, criminalization, and deportations of immigrants and the militarization of the border?

Why is the environment of our planet being destroyed?

It continues:

These are what we call the “5 STOPS”—deep and defining contradictions of this system, with all the suffering and destruction they cause, which must be protested and resisted in a powerful way, with a real determination to stop them, but which can only be finally ended by putting an end to this system itself.

And it goes on:

Why, along with all this, do we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming?

Why is this the state of humanity?44

Why is this the state of humanity when the fundamental basis exists, in terms of the productive forces at hand, for all human beings everywhere to be free from all these conditions? As explained, in a concentrated way, in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:

There is one fundamental reason: the basic nature of the system of capitalism-imperialism that we live under and the way, because of its very nature, it continually perpetrates horror after horror.45

This is also expressed in a concentrated way in HOW WE CAN WIN:

This system of capitalism-imperialism cannot be reformed. There is no way, under this system, to put an end to the brutality and murder by police, the wars and destruction of people and the environment, the exploitation, oppression and degradation of millions and billions of people, including the half of humanity that is female, here and throughout the world—all of which is rooted in profound contradictions built into the basic functioning, relations, and structures of this system. Only an actual revolution can bring about the fundamental change that is needed.46

And in Part 2 of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, it speaks directly to this critical contradiction:

It is true that, shaped as they are by this system, the masses of people, in any part of society, don’t know shit and have their heads up their asses, when it comes to an understanding of how things really are, why they are the way they are, and what could and should be done about this. But this stands in sharp contradiction to another important truth—that millions of people really do care about one or more, and many care about all, of the “5 STOPS.” This is a contradiction that we have to go to work on, to move masses of people in the direction of the revolution that is needed to finally put a stop to those “5 STOPS” and the horrific conditions to which the masses of humanity are constantly subjected.47

So there is need—a pressing need, but also the possibility and the means—for waging, on a scientific basis, a determined struggle to raise people’s sights, bring forward and give meaningful expression to the aspirations they do have for a better world. And here is the importance of not only what’s said in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution about this, but also the importance of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as well as the Points of Attention for the Revolution, which bring alive and give reality and clear expression to the possibility of a positive radical alternative to the present horrific world.

Here, once again, it is important to learn from historical experience. Going back to what I was saying earlier about the 1960s and what is spoken to about this in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, in a real sense 1968 can be seen as a turning point—with things dividing into two, into a main and a secondary phenomenon. To put this sharply, it could be said that, in the United States in particular, 1968 represented the end of a big illusion, including for people who were striving sincerely and vigorously for a different and better world. In 1968, not only were there the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, which shattered certain illusions, but it also became clear that it would not be possible to bring a better world into being by, as some people thought of it, “making America live up to what it’s supposed to be all about.” This was an illusion which even some of the more radical-minded people had still carried along with them. To use that phrase, they had “two kinds of goods in stock.” As I pointed out in an earlier essay (which was included in Reflections, Sketches & Provocations,48 more than 30 years ago), Phil Ochs was a kind of personification of this very intense contradiction. On the one hand, he had some very good songs, very appropriate songs like “Love Me, Love Me, I’m a Liberal,” with its searing exposure of liberalism’s hypocrisy and half-hearted opposition to oppression, which very much applies today (that song has one unfortunate anti-lesbian line—or something not actually part of the song but which Ochs spontaneously added during a live performance which was recorded—but in an overall sense what the song is getting at still very much applies and remains very relevant today). And he had songs like “Cops of the World,” which is also very relevant today, with biting ironic lines like “And the name of our profits is democracy / so like it or not you will have to be free, / ’cause we are the cops of the world.” And there was his song about “The Ringing of Revolution.”  Then, on the other hand, as he himself pointed out, he also had a song lamenting the death of John Kennedy—not just lamenting his death but being naive about and romanticizing what was represented by Kennedy. Ochs himself commented on this contradiction. He said, “I still can’t get away from this feeling about Kennedy and that’s why a lot of my Marxist friends think I’m an idiot,” or something to that effect. My point is not to pick on Phil Ochs, who met a tragic end in suicide. The point, again, is that he was kind of a personification of the end of the illusion that somehow you could make this country be a force for good in the world and live up to what are supposed to be the better aspirations embodied in its founding. (Of course, that there was an “end” to this illusion was true only in a relative and temporary sense. With the ebbing of the radical upsurge of that time, and major changes that occurred in the world, and within the U.S. itself, that were associated with—and also continued after—that ebb, the influence of this and similar illusions and delusions was reasserted as a major phenomenon. This is something to which I will speak further shortly).

So there was a dividing out—and there was a main and a secondary aspect or phenomenon. The main aspect was that huge numbers of people became further radicalized and recognized—even if in somewhat undeveloped or inchoate ways, but still in a basic way—the unreformability of the system. And the secondary phenomenon at that time was that some people became disoriented and demoralized, and gave up (or became, as the French say, “récupéré”), went back into working for (or at least within) the system, even if they kept alive some progressive inclinations and aspirations. So this was a real dividing out and, again, the main aspect was the further radicalization of large numbers of people, precisely on the basis of recognizing more fully, if not fully scientifically, that it was not possible to make America a force for good in the world. This included people who had at first opposed the Vietnam war on the basis of thinking that it was just a “mistake,” or something that just a section of the ruling class (or the “power structure”) was responsible for, but in huge numbers came to see that this war flowed out of the basic nature and the basic necessities of imperialism, in particular U.S. imperialism.

But we know that, since that upsurge of the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, there have been major changes in the world, including many negative changes, from which we also have to draw the appropriate and necessary lessons. There have been changes in the objective situation. For example, not only has there been the defeat of revolution and socialism in China with the restoration of capitalism there, and the emergence of China as an imperialist power itself, contending with the U.S. and other imperialists; but there has more broadly been the shifting of things in the Third World. With regard to a lot of the forces that were struggling for national liberation in the Third World in the period after the end of World War 2 (in 1945) into the early and mid-1970s (and some of these struggles continued, in one form or another, into the 1990s), those revolutions or liberation struggles ran their course: either they were defeated, or they turned into something else, something other than revolutionary, and became absorbed within the overall imperialist system. And many of the people who were leading those liberation struggles in that period (or their descendants, literally or politically) have now become either outright bourgeois rulers and appendages of imperialism, or have ceased to play a significant role. (This is a phenomenon I discussed in The New Communism.)

So this is another major change. There was what happened in Vietnam when the U.S. was forced out and finally the regime the U.S. had been propping up was toppled in 1975, but then the Vietnamese turned increasingly to the Soviet Union, which was itself an imperialist power (“social-imperialist,” as we say—socialist still in name, at that time, but imperialist in fact and in deed). The Vietnamese leadership turned to the Soviet Union for economic and other backing, and this led them down a path which, especially when the Soviet Union itself unraveled, caused Vietnam to become basically another Third World country being plundered by imperialists against whom the Vietnamese people had heroically fought, including especially the U.S.; and today there is the bitter reality that Vietnam has become part of the international network of sweatshops for imperialist capital.

And then there was the phenomenon of Cambodia, which started out as a liberation struggle in the face of horrendous destruction of that country by the U.S., which many people have been led to forget about or simply do not know about—the massive bombing and destruction of that country by the U.S.—and then in the mid-’70s the Khmer Rouge came to power, which had been leading the resistance to imperialism in that country, but which then perpetrated all kinds of terrible things on the basis of a whole wrong outlook, while doing so in the name of Marxism or communism.

All this became very disorienting to people. Obviously, I don’t have time here to go into all this—I’ve examined important aspects of this in some other works (including The New Communism), and it is important to grasp the essential lessons involved in this experience, both because of the way that the imperialists and their intellectual camp followers have used this to slander genuine communism, but also and more fundamentally in order to deepen the scientific approach to waging the struggle to defeat imperialism and bring into a being a new, emancipating society, with all the profound and complex contradictions involved in this. The point here, in terms of the shifts that have occurred since the widespread revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s and into the mid-1970s, is that a lot of these things became disorienting and demoralizing to people—people who had fought hard against the war in Vietnam, people who had been in the streets in support of liberation struggles around the world and had been active in the fight against oppression in the U.S. itself.

There has also been the phenomenon that the ruling class in this country, while viciously suppressing the basic masses of oppressed people—among Black people, for example—also worked to generate larger numbers of middle class and bourgeois forces among Black people, as a buffer against the oppressive conditions and the potential for massive uprising among the masses of people.

All this, again, has had a negative effect on masses of people, in particular with regard to the possibility, and even the desirability, of determined struggle to bring about the fundamental transformation of society and of people. On the part of different strata there has been, as a mass phenomenon over the decades since the 1960s upsurge, accommodation, or at least “adjustment,” to this “new reality.” I say accommodation, “or at least adjustment” (of differing kinds),  because with regard to many of those millions and millions of middle class educated youth who became radicalized and genuinely revolutionary-minded in that period—and were not just playing a game, but were sincere—a lot of them, with these changing conditions, fell back into being “realistic” and going back and working within the system, even as they held on to a watered-down version of their radical and revolutionary sentiments.

Among the basic masses of people, including Black people (not the more middle class strata being developed through conscious ruling class policy, but the masses of oppressed people), there was a tremendous amount of demoralization and sense of defeat, and the introduction (including through deliberate ruling class policy and action) of massive amounts of drugs further intensified the desperate conditions of the basic masses and further reinforced the sense of demoralization. A lot of people were dying or being reduced to broken wretches on the basis of turning to drugs out of despair—the lack of hope, or the death, in immediate terms, of the hope that inspired so many people, on a real basis, through the course of the 1960s upsurge, which had now ebbed and been transformed. And this situation was made even more desperate and demoralizing with the growth of gangs in the ghettos and barrios of this country (as well as internationally), with youth drawn to the gangs in conditions of increasing deprivation and desperation and what was for most the illusion of getting rich, with the orientation of “get rich or die trying,” fueled by the growth of the drug trade and the influence of the putrid culture promoted throughout society that fostered and extolled the exploitation and degradation of others as the means for making it big, whether on Wall Street and on the world stage, or on the streets in the neighborhoods of the inner city.

Along with all this, there has been a relentless ruling class political and ideological counter-offensive—a relentless assault on communism, and indeed on every positive radical element of that mass upsurge (of, more or less, the mid-’60s to the mid-’70s)—while at the same time there has been the “denaturing” (that is, the watering down and distorting) of that positive upsurge into different, and often opposing, “identities” and the corresponding notions of truth and the right to speak as a matter of “identity” and “identity standpoint” (a phenomenon that has also provided a convenient target and vehicle for the growing fascist forces to attack the struggle against very real oppression and injustice, while this “identity” politics and ideology offers no real solution to that oppression and injustice and no real alternative to the system that has bred this fascism).

Among the revolutionary forces themselves—and in particular our own Party, which has the responsibility to be a genuine vanguard of the revolution—these “terrible decades,” and this relentless ideological and political assault over these decades, has taken a terrible toll, leading in large part to an abandonment of the goal, or any serious orientation toward, revolution and communism, and even a doubting of whether this is in fact a positive radical alternative to the present world order—all of which has necessitated a Cultural Revolution in this Party which has gone on over more than 15 years and is still continuing, although in new forms and with new priorities, with this taking a concentrated expression in the ongoing Revolution Tour (the “National Get Organized for An ACTUAL Revolution Tour”)49 to take revolution out broadly, among basic masses, students and other sections of the people, impact the country as a whole, create a great stir in society around the question of revolution and communism which has been strikingly lacking from the political landscape and the culture, and to concretely organize now thousands of people, new people coming forward into this revolution, while working to influence millions, as a key part of hastening and preparing for the conditions where it will be possible to carry out the revolutionary struggle to defeat and dismantle this horrific system and its institutions of violent repression, and bring into being a radically new, emancipatory society based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Here it is necessary to speak to the “toxic combination” that is described in the article “THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF...” which appeared in Revolution, the situation “characterized by the predominance of anti-scientific revisionism in both our own Party and the international movements, combined with the frustrating degree to which masses of all the different strata have NOT been correctly identifying the source of ‘the problem’ confronting society and all of humanity, or have not been in any serious way looking for this kind of ‘solution.’”50

This “toxic combination” formulation acutely poses the problem, and it is to this acute problem that the Revolution Tour is addressing itself, because the point is that instead of—in opposition to—capitulating to this “toxic combination” and the overall difficulties, the challenge must be met of radically transforming this. As this article goes on immediately to emphasize: “We have to confront this reality, and yet figure out ways to not let it defeat us.”

An important part of overcoming this “toxic combination” is dealing with the contradiction that is posed near the end of Part 1 of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, in terms of what we do have, and what we don’t have and urgently need in relation to the revolution that is the fundamental solution to the problem facing the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole. This is how I posed that contradiction in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution:

Particularly because of the work I have done and the leadership I have been providing over the decades since the 1960s, we do have the further development of the scientific method and approach to revolution, with the new communism; we have the strategic approach and plan for making this revolution; we have the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a sweeping vision and concrete “blueprint” for a radically new and emancipating society aiming for the emancipation of humanity as a whole. But let’s be straight up: what we do not have, yet, are masses of people who are won to revolution and driven to work for it, especially youth, who are always the driving force of any revolution; and, although we have the foundation and scaffolding of revolutionary organization that could be built on and expanded into a vanguard force capable of actually leading the revolution all the way through, we do not yet have the necessary cadre of leadership, on all levels and in all parts of the country, who have not only the determination but also the scientific grounding to lead the masses who must be brought forward in making revolution.51

This is the contradiction that growing numbers of people—those who have been involved in working for this revolution for some time, and those who are new to this revolution—must actively apply ourselves to addressing, and solving. And a key part of this is putting the problems of the revolution before the masses of people, including people who are just being introduced to and beginning to become part of this movement for an actual revolution, and involving them in helping to solve these problems.

As spoken to in Breakthroughs:

Correctly understood and applied, it is a very important principle that, in a fundamental and ultimate sense, revolution is made by the masses. That is not, and should not be taken as, a recipe for tailing the masses and their spontaneity. But they are the ones who have to make this revolution and they need to be involved, at every stage, in grappling with and contributing to the process of coming up with the means for struggling through and transforming the contradictions you face, the problems of the revolution, in order to make breakthroughs and advance. This is a very important principle and it’s something which should not be identified with tailing the masses and thinking that, in a reified sense, all wisdom resides in the masses and all you have to do is tell them what a problem is and they’ll immediately come up with the solution. It is a matter of involving them, in increasing numbers, on a scientifically-led basis, in the process of struggling to confront and transform the contradictions that have to be fought through on the road to making the revolution.52

And, as has been emphasized recently:

It seems that there may still be some reluctance to put this aspect (our shortcomings, and the pressing needs) directly and plainly to the people we are encountering. In opposition to any such reluctance, it is important to stress that actually putting before the masses, including people we are encountering for the first time, the problems and needs of the revolution, and involving them, from the beginning, in helping to solve (and in certain aspects to further identify and help solve) the problems and needs of this revolution is a crucial part of actually making the breakthroughs we urgently need to make in building a real movement for an actual revolution, and is in fact a key part of organizing people into the revolution.

It is also emphasized that this needs to be done not with hype but with genuine “élan and enthusiasm” that comes from knowing that people can play an active part, together with others, in developing collectivities, in “bringing their creative ideas into the scientific process” of solving both immediate and strategic problems of this revolution, which, with all its difficulties and challenges, represents the way forward, the only way forward, out of the horrors that are daily life for the masses of humanity, and the looming disaster for humanity as a whole, under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

In opposition to this monstrosity of a system, its towering crimes against humanity, and the putrid ways of thinking and culture it continually spews forth, there is great importance to boldly putting forward the positive alternative: the science, the leadership, the strategy for revolution and a sweeping and concrete vision and plan for a radically new, emancipating society and world.

In conclusion, as I put it in From Ike to Mao and Beyond:

If you have had a chance to see the world as it really is, there are profoundly different roads you can take with your life. You can just get into the dog-eat-dog, and most likely get swallowed up by that while trying to get ahead in it. You can put your snout into the trough and try to scarf up as much as you can, while scrambling desperately to get more than others. Or you can try to do something that would change the whole direction of society and the whole way the world is. When you put those things alongside each other, which one has any meaning, which one really contributes to anything worthwhile? Your life is going to be about something—or it’s going to be about nothing. And there is nothing greater your life can be about than contributing whatever you can to the revolutionary transformation of society and the world, to put an end to all systems and relations of oppression and exploitation and all the unnecessary suffering and destruction that goes along with them. I have learned that more and more deeply through all the twists and turns and even the great setbacks, as well as the great achievements, of the communist revolution so far, in what are really still its early stages historically....

When I look at all this, I think again of my friend who decided to dedicate his life to ending cancer—and of the even greater need to put an end to this system of capitalism-imperialism and all the suffering and oppression this system embodies and enforces throughout the world. You see that there isn’t anything more important that your life could be about, and whatever you end up contributing during the course of your lifetime is the most important and the most uplifting thing that you could possibly do. And yes, there are moments of great disappointment, but also moments of great joy as part of this. There is the joy that comes from seeing the ways in which people break free of constraints and rise up and begin to see the world as it really is and take up more consciously the struggle to change it. There is the joy of knowing that you are part of this whole process and contributing what you can to it. There is the joy of the camaraderie of being together with others in this struggle and knowing that it is something worthwhile, that it is not something petty and narrow that you are involved in but something uplifting. There is the joy of looking to the future and envisioning the goal that you are struggling for and seeing people come to even a beginning understanding of what that could mean, not just for themselves but for society, for humanity as a whole.53

 

NOTES

1. Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. Film of a speech given in 2018. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

2. 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 (Insight Press, 2015). Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

3. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World (Insight Press, 2005). [back]

4. Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation (Insight Press, 2016). Also available as an eBook. Also available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

5. Marx to Kugelmann, 1868, cited in Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, September 2008 (RCP Publications, 2009). Available at revcom.us. [back]

6. Bob Avakian, “‘A Leap of Faith’ and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods,” Revolution #10, July 31, 2005. Available at revcom.us, thebobavakianinstitute.org and BAsics from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian. [back]

7. Bob Avakian, Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning. From a talk given in 2009. Revolution, May-September 2009. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

8. REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN (2015). Film of the November 2014 dialogue available as a 2-DVD set from revcom.us.  Also available online at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

9. As explained on the website RefuseFascism.org:

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

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—joining together behind the single unifying demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go—NOW!

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

10. Raymond Lotta, “Slavoj Žižek Is a Puffed-Up Idiot Who Does Great Damage,” Revolution, updated November 15, 2016. Available at revcom.us.   [back]

11. Edward Wasserman, “Julian Assange and the War on Whistle-Blowers,” New York Times, April 27, 2019. [back]

12. Bob Avakian, “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It,” Revolution, July 16, 2018; originally posted July 24, 2005. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

13. Bob Avakian, “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,” Revolution, June 27, 2005. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

14. Paul Krugman, “Racism Comes Out of the Closet,” New York Times, July 15, 2019. [back]

15. Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. Film of a speech given in 2018. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

16. Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger, “Just a Face in the Crowd? Not Anymore,” New York Times, April 18, 2019. [back]

17. Bob Avakian, BREAKTHROUGHS: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism; A Basic Summary. Updated prepublication copy, April 10, 2019. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

18. Bob Avakian, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, A Memoir by Bob Avakian (Insight Press, 2005). Excerpts in Revolution and audio of Bob Avakian reading selections from his memoir are available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

19. Bob Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible, A Talk by Bob Avakian. Film of a talk given in 2017. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

20. Bob Avakian, “3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better,” May 1, 2016. Available at revcom.us. [back]

21. Bob Avakian, “The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us,” a talk given in 2017. Revolution, August 31, 2017. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

22. Bob Avakian, BAsics from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian (RCP Publications, 2011). Also available as a free eBook at revcom.us.  [back]

23. Ibid. [back]

24. “All Played Out,” spoken word piece with words by Bob Avakian and music by William Parker (Centeringmusic BMI, 2011). Available at soundcloud.com/allplayedout.  Also available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

25. Karl Marx, Grundrisse, translated with a foreword by Martin Nicolaus, Penguin Books/New Left Review, "The Chapter on Money," pp. 163-64, emphasis in original.  Cited in Bob Avakian, Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning. From a talk given in 2009. Revolution, May-September 2009. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

26. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (Foreign Languages Press Peking, First Edition, 1878). [back]

27. Avakian, Ruminations and Wranglings.
*Bob Avakian, Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity. A talk by Bob Avakian, Revolution,  October 2007-February 2008. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

28. Avakian, BREAKTHROUGHS. [back]

29. Bob Avakian, Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy (RCP Publications, 2008). Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

30. Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (Foreign Languages Press Peking, Third Edition, 1977). [back]

31. Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (Foreign Languages Press Peking, First Edition, 1972). [back]

32. Bob Avakian, Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning. From a talk given in 2009. Revolution, May-September 2009. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org.

*Bob Avakian, Out Into the World—As a Vanguard of the Future. From a talk given in 2008. Revolution, February-April 2009. Available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.

**Comrade Damián García, a much-loved member of the RCP, was assassinated by police agents in Los Angeles on April 22, 1980. Two weeks earlier he had raised the red flag over the Alamo, in place of the Texas flag, as part of the campaign to bring forward a revolutionary outpouring for May Day 1980. Bob Avakian’s “Statement on the Death of Damián García” was published in Revolutionary Worker (now Revolution) #51, April 25, 1980. A portion of it is quoted in his memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist (Insight Press, 2005), pp. 408-409. [back]

33. Ardea Skybreak, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism—Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters (Insight Press, 2006). [back]

34. Avakian, Ruminations and Wranglings. [back]

35. Avakian, BAsics. [back]

36. Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, “HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution,” Revolution #457, September 19, 2016. Available at revcom.us. [back]

37. The 6 Points of Attention for the Revolution

The Revolution Club upholds, lives by and fights for the following principles:

1. We base ourselves on and strive to represent the highest interests of humanity: revolution and communism. We do not tolerate using the revolution for personal gain.

2. We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or “jokes” about people’s gender or sexual orientation.

3. We fight for a world without borders, and for equality among different peoples, cultures and languages. We do not tolerate insults, “jokes” or derogatory names about a person’s race, nationality, or language.

4. We stand with the most oppressed and never lose sight of their potential to emancipate humanity—nor of our responsibility to lead them to do that. We work to win people of all backgrounds to take part in the revolution, and do not tolerate revenge among the people.

5. We search for and fight for the truth no matter how unpopular, even as we listen to and learn from the observations, insights and criticisms of others.

6.  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. [back]

38. Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

39. Ibid. [back]

40. Ibid. [back]

41. Avakian, THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! [back]

42. Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities (Crown Publisher, 1991). [back]

43. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). Authored by Bob Avakian, and adopted by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, 2010 (RCP Publications, 2010). Also available at revcom.us and thebobavakianinstitute.org. [back]

44. Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

45. Ibid. [back]

46. Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, “HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution.” [back]

47. Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

48. Bob Avakian, Reflections, Sketches & Provocations: Essays and Commentary, 1981 - 1987 (RCP Publications, 1990). [back]

49. For more information about the “National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour,” go to revcom.us. [back]

50. “THE NEW COMMUNISM COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING—IF...,” Revolution, March 15, 2018.  Available at revcom.us. [back]

51. Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

52. Avakian, BREAKTHROUGHS. [back]

53. Avakian, From Ike to Mao and Beyond. [back]

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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 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.

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/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.

 

Now available to be printed as a pamphlet:

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

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 8.5x11 pamphlet

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

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/605/fascists-and-communists-completely-opposed-worlds-apart-en.html

Fascists and Communists:
Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

By Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/616/skybreak-bob-avakian-a-true-scientific-visionary-en.html

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

Bob Avakian–A True Scientific Visionary

| revcom.us

 

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

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

The New Synthesis of Communism and the Residues of the Past

by the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

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)

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/349/watching-Fruitvale-Station-with-Bob-Avakian-en.html

Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian

August 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/624/letter2--the-democrats-impeachment-strategy-whose-interests-en.html

Letters From a Reader: Why Getting Involved With the Democrats—Even to "Take Them Over From Within"—Will Wind You Up in the Arms of Fascists

Part 2: The Democrats' Impeachment Strategy: Whose Interests?

| revcom.us

 

Yesterday the impeachment process moved to a new phase. The head of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, gave his report to the House Judiciary Committee. This committee will hold hearings and then vote on whether Trump should face trial in the Senate.

The Democratic leadership only began these hearings after years of opposing any effort to impeach Trump. What changed their minds? Was it the way in which Trump continually incited hatred and violence against people who aren’t white, telling four congresswomen of color who opposed him to “go back where they came from” and saying that Central American refugees were “invading” the U.S.? Was it the way that Trump has torn up rule of law and called for suppression of dissent? Was it his gross misogyny and attacks on the right to abortion and on LGBTQ rights? Was it the concentration camps for immigrants at the border, the “Muslim ban,” and the ripping of children from their parents who were seeking asylum from persecution? Was it the racist massacre in El Paso, and everything that concentrated? Was it the attacks on truth and science and the intensified plunder of the environment? His threats to “totally obliterate” countries, including through use of nuclear weapons?

No. None of this, to the Democrats, was cause for removal. In fact, at the very time that lives were being lost and mutilated and catastrophe was being threatened, these Democrats were vowing to “work with Trump” and kept trying to make deals on this or that reform, only to find themselves played for suckers. And they are STILL doing that, and still telling people that all the most heinous crimes and gravest threats of Trump need to “wait for elections.”

So what did cause the Democrats to begin impeachment? It was the revelation that Trump had tried to withhold military aid from Ukraine to force that government to dig up or invent dirt on Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate. This revealed, in the words of Nancy Pelosi, “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”

Whose Interests?

The very first thing that has to be said about the Democrats and their terms for impeachment, is the following from Bob Avakian:

...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...

These Democrats do have big differences with Trump over how best to ensure U.S. domination of the world, and much of that is focused up on how to approach Russia. But are those our interests? Is that what keeps you up at night? Should it?

In fact, their interests are not our interests! Their war crimes in defense of empire range from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam to Obama-era drone assassinations throughout the world. Like the Trump/Pence fascist regime, these Democrats represent a section of the U.S. ruling class which cannot live without dominating, exploiting, and carrying out murder and mayhem around the world. The sharp differences between the Trump/Pence fascists and the Democrats focus on how best to pacify and control people here while they plunder the world and carry out exploitation within the U.S.

Those are their interests. Our interests fundamentally lie in doing away with their rule altogether to emancipate humanity, even as right now there is an urgent battle to oust this fascist regime and the very direct threats it poses to humanity.

So that is the first thing:  they are banning mention of the most urgent and pressing issues bound up in this fascist regime and they are couching everything that is up for debate in terms of what is best for American–that is, capitalist-imperialist–interests. AND they are trying to get us into that same mind-set.

Now in making the point that these Democrats are also imperialists who commit horrendous war crimes around the world, that is NOT to say that “oh, who cares, they’re all the same.” Yes, on one level, these competing blocs are essentially the same, and the system they represent must be overthrown in order to emancipate humanity and end these horrors—and that is critically important! But at this time the Trump/Pence regime represents an immediate threat of catastrophe for the planet and humanity, and the direct repression of any attempt to change things for the better. This fascist regime represents an acute and immediate danger, now, and we really do have to drive it out the only way it can be driven out at this point, through massive, sustained, nonviolent struggle.

See Part 1 of "Letters From a Reader: Why Getting Involved With the Democrats—Even to 'Take Them Over From Within'—Will Wind You Up in the Arms of Fascists"

A Liberal Democratic Politician and a Fascist Functionary Walk Into a Bar... But What Happens Next Is Not Really a Joke

Watch the entire film here

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/revolution-club-speakout-in-chicago-en.html

Revolution Club Speak-Out in Chicago:

From the slave-catchers to the KKK to the brutal, killer pigs of today... This system cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown!

| revcom.us

 

Field Report from a Member of the Revolution Club, Chicago:

On Thanksgiving Day, Chicago police slammed Bernard Kersh’s head into a curb. Someone passing by in a car caught the brutality on video–Bernard standing there in front of the pig, the pig picking him up off the ground and then throwing him onto the street, his head slamming sickeningly into the curb of the sidewalk. Bernard survived this attack. And for that, HE is now in jail, facing charges of battery on a police officer, because he supposedly spit on the cop. The pig who nearly killed him has essentially been given a vacation, temporarily “relieved of police powers.” The video went viral, and in Chicago many are outraged, but at the same time many are numbed and “used to it.”

The day after this happened, the Revolution Club connected up with a supporter who was furious about this and together made a plan to do a speak-out on the corner where it happened, a busy intersection on the South Side. The word went out on social media and we did the speak-out the next day.

We had just issued a statement on the 50th anniversary of the murder of Fred Hampton by Chicago pigs and FBI, a sharp challenge on what is worth living and dying for. We took this statement to the speak-out, passing it out and speaking out loud the challenge concentrated there. What we were saying connected with a lot of people who responded in different ways. One thing that people connected with was that Fred Hampton died for the people, his life and death meant something.This in contrast to people today talking about “I gotta make money” (including right on that corner) and taking each other out, while the police are slamming people’s heads in the concrete, and it is all getting worse with a fascist regime in power. People just looking out for self is keeping this all going instead of doing something to put an end to it and bring something new into being.

We brought out that the revolution Fred Hampton was fighting for wasn’t made, but we need to make revolution now and we have the leadership for that in Bob Avakian and the new communism he’s developed.We called on people to get with the Revolution Club, to step up and be part of working now to make this revolution, including speaking out right on the spot. We had a display with the Points of Attention for the Revolution and told people they could start to live by and fight for this now and be part of the first to step forward and challenge others.

Some people came up to speak on the microphone. A woman talked about how the police shouldn’t be doing this to people, if the police are supposed to serve and protect, who protects us from the police? A man waiting for the bus was furious and spoke about how the cop who did this should be in jail. Another man came up and called on people to stop killing each other and come together. Other people were listening closely, but didn’t come up. Some were sharply challenged and felt the need to reply to the challenge; there were a number of debates and discussions going on, some over the mic, some on the sides among people listening, sometimes both.

Significantly, we were joined halfway through by a woman whose 17-year-old son was killed by police two years ago. She walked up wearing her Revolution–Nothing Less! T-shirt. She has kept up with the Revolution Club mainly through Facebook and text messages, and was in touch with the supporter of the Club who had posted about the speak-out. She told us she first met members of the Revolution Club right after her son was killed, but it was hard for her to pay attention at that time and now she wants to be involved. She spoke powerfully at the end of the speak-out about what happened to her son and called on people to think about humanity and join the revolution. Her speaking drew forward other people on the spot who had children killed by police. They didn’t want to speak on the mic but took flyers and the 5-2-6 message from the National Revolution Tour and gave a way to stay in contact.

Overall I felt there was an appreciation that we were sharply struggling against the individualism this system has people locked in: the “me, me, me” outlook while millions are suffering unnecessarily and the meaninglessness of people’s lives and deaths up against what could really give it meaning, acting in the interests of humanity to put an end to this system and a way to do that. There were times where it specifically resonated with people that we were talking about not only putting an end to what is being done to Black people, but humanity, including immigrant children in cages, etc. However, there were not many people trying to follow through on really getting with the revolution themselves.

We were waging a struggle, but we also could have done more to help people step into the revolution. We didn’t do enough of drawing people together to talk about how to go to work together on these problems we confront and unleash people to start working on that. We plan to get back out to the area and try to talk with some of the younger people who were hanging around listening, to struggle for people to engage what’s in the statement and come be part of the commemoration this Sunday.

See also:

On the 50th Anniversary of the Murder of Fred Hampton

What Is Worth Living and Dying For?

Statement from Revolution Club, Chicago

Which Side Are You On?

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/andy-zee-an-appeal-to-save-revolution-books-en.html

A Letter From Andy Zee:

An Appeal to Save Revolution Books

A Beacon in Dangerous Times

| revcom.us

 

To the Revolution Books Community,

I write to ask for your support for Revolution Books when it is needed more than ever—a moment of stark contrast between our hopes and dreams for the future and the stark reality that great catastrophe looms as fascist regimes take root here and around the world.

Revolution Books embodies the potential for humanity in these dark times. You felt this when you first walked through our door and found the literature, poetry, history, science, art, and the revolutionary theory for a radically different world. You experienced programs and engagement with us and with each other that percolated with emancipatory possibility. What you felt at RB is precious and especially so when this beacon that lights the way forward is so needed.

Revolution Books is alive with the scientific understanding that a different and better world is possible. RB is the political, intellectual, and cultural center of a movement for an actual revolution and that is why it is a unique incredible bookstore—a resource for the world.  The animating heart of the store is the framework for unleashing the revolutionary potential of humanity: the breakthrough in scientifically knowing and radically changing the world through revolution, the new communism developed by Bob Avakian, a leader who never gave up asking the hard questions of the road forward to human emancipation and developing the path to that future.

This past month marks the fourth anniversary of Revolution Books in Harlem. RB has been enriched by the diversity and great cultural legacy of Harlem and has enriched the community. Yet, too few even in Harlem know we are here. RB urgently needs your financial support as well as your problem solving creativity so that this year not be our last. Our volunteer staff are determined that this end not come to pass, but that will only be possible with you. We are confident that working together we can solve the problem of making RB financially viable. Our immediate goal is to raise $50,000 by January 31, 2020.  And do so in a way so that going forward Revolution Books is sustainable and known far and wide—filling a great need for revolutionary possibility in dangerous times.

The heart of the problem Revolution Books confronts is a society wide problem. In the face of the danger of the white supremacist fascist Trump/Pence regime and with the future of humanity threatened by global warming, way too many people have turned inward. We have a culture of the “selfie”—a society obsessed with “look at me” as I look out for just me—while the world literally burns and drowns.

Revolution Books brings a whole different ethos and culture—you’ve experienced it. Books that matter. History that tells the truth. Novels that imagine the past, tell of other peoples, or imagine a different future. Children’s books that reach across cultures and foster a positive morality. Author readings and discussions with progressive writers from Pulitzer Prize winners to new authors who enlighten and challenge, and mix it up with RB’s spokespeople who probe and elicit the best from our guests. At RB we seek to foster a culture of revolt against a revolting culture while nurturing art that imagines in the present what a future world and people could be. And, at RB people experience and can take up the science of revolution in the extensive body of work of Bob Avakian that shatters demoralized defeatist preconceptions that the misery and spirit crushing world of today is all that could be.

If RB were known everywhere throughout Harlem, NYC, and damn it— the world, it could be self-sufficient. With you, this is possible. With the funds to get the word out—mass publicity, a robust internet presence, and an even wider stock of books—that could change the equation. But, to get there, we need you and others like you problem solving and working with us on raising funds, awareness and programming. With that, RB would not only thrive, but more, we would all be a leg up on changing the culture and the world.

Donate generously today to raise the $50,000 needed to sustain the store. And become a monthly sustaining Friend of Revolution Books.

The great playwright Bertolt Brecht posed:

In the dark times
Will there be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.

At Revolution Books there are the songs and poems of the bitter fruit of the past and present, but at our core is a conquering spirit, a radical imagination, and a scientific method to illuminate the fight out of the darkness and to a world fit for humanity.

¡Adelanté!

Andy Zee
Spokesperson
Revolution Books

437 Malcolm X Blvd.
Harlem, NY 10037

PS: Join us for wine and cheese Fridays at RB and give a book to and open the world for someone you care about.

Donate generously to Revolution Books HERE


Andy Zee and author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o at Revolution Books

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

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/624/kicking-out-the-jams-to-raise-the-funds-to-save-revolution-books-en.html

"You find wisdom on the way to finding freedom"

Kicking Out the Jams to Raise the Funds to Save Revolution Books

| revcom.us

 

On December 3, 25-30 people gathered at Revolution Books to hear from Andy Zee about the very particular role that Revolution Books plays in society and to confront the reality that without the active involvement of many more people, problem solving and working together to save Revolution Books, we could in fact lose this precious resource for humanity. The presentation had at its core this letter from Andy Zee to the Revolution Books community, An Appeal to Save REVOLUTION BOOKS—A Beacon in Dangerous Times.

For all of us, those more familiar with and supportive of Revolution Books for a few years, as well as the newer volunteers and donors, it was important to be reminded of the experiences you have at this store that could be lost—you got a visceral sense of what it means to have a store about the world, and for a radically different world. Andy talked about how this is the fourth anniversary of Revolution Books in Harlem, and how the bookstore has been enriched by the diversity and cultural legacy of Harlem, and he pulled the lens back to all of humanity and the world: this bookstore is about dreaming and fighting for what may seem impossible, but is in fact the only realistic option: the emancipation of all of humanity. A bookstore volunteer read out a quote from a recent visitor: “Revolution Books is like a stop on the underground railroad. You come in, you can rest a little bit, and you find wisdom on the way to finding freedom. It's a godsend."

This opened up a lot of ideas and initiative—how can we introduce Revolution Books to new networks of readers, and people who love books, like Harlem reading circles, sororities and other groups of people who join together to raise money for good causes but don't have an idea about something truly meaningful they could be contributing to? How can the children and youth from the beautiful historic brownstones to the crushing projects just blocks away from Revolution Books come in and engage a different morality and ethos in opposition to the culture of getting mine or getting crushed. We broke up into groups to get concrete with some of these plans to meet the great challenges ahead of us, bringing in the people and raising the $50,000 to get Revolution Books on a more sustainable and viable basis. Andy Zee emphasized that we had to kick out the jams to spread the word—raising funds and raising the people to save RB. This means getting out to a lot of people straight up with why Revolution Books is so precious and to bring them into the fight to save this bookstore, financially and by becoming part of the Revolution Books community; by spreading the word all over Harlem and the city about Revolution Books, encouraging many, many people to visit and buy their loved ones books and gifts that matter for this holiday season.

This December and January we aim to have a fuller schedule of programs, films, and discussions, so everyone should keep tuned to the Revolution Books website for upcoming events. The centerpieces, which everyone should put on their calendars now, are the RB Holiday Open House & Fund-raising Party on December 15 and “A Conversation between Dread Scott and Andy Zee” on Dread’s recent public art performance Slave Rebellion Reenactment on January 17.

So read Andy Zee’s letter here and donate generously to raise the $50,000 and join us December 15 at Revolution Books to celebrate and save this store.

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/624/response-to-Bob-Avakian-hope-for-humanity-on-a-scientific-basis-en.html

A Reader Responds to Bob Avakian’s Talk:
“Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism”

| revcom.us

 

This new piece from Bob Avakian, “Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism,” has had a big impact on me.  There were questions here that have been a struggle for me before but became more sharp after reading this piece.

The part that really struck me was the section “Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism.”  First off, there is a lot in those four pages. And all those three things come together really blew my mind.  He starts off with a critique of the “status obsessed culture,” “look at me doing this, look at me doing that” and how that culture feeds into the individualism, and the idea of your “brand” which goes hand in hand with the entre-manure-alism which is basically going for getting a piece of the pie and getting in on the oppression. But on its face, you don't see the underlying dynamics of capitalism and how all this is sitting on top of the millions all over the world, and you don't see the conditions of the existence of those people. 

This all made me think of this article I was recently reading on the exploitation of children in Madagascar.  It describes these children living their whole lives mining these minerals called Mica which is used in paint among other things, including glitter on makeup. This article described the horrible conditions these kids are living in, they interviewed a 6 year old, and one of the things he said was that he couldn't imagine life different than what he had been living and he couldn't imagine going to school.  In stark contrast, you think about an American, living off the backs of all that, looking at glittery makeup going “ooh, pretty!” without knowing or thinking about where it all comes from, and why, what is underneath it all.  In the piece, BA ties all this back to the American chauvinism.  He makes the point that people end up “identifying personal interests, prospects and status with the dominant position of – and the plundering of the world and the masses of humanity by – U.S. capitalism imperialism.” The most grotesque manifestation of this is that there is no outcry about the mass destruction and crimes being done by the U.S. on the people of the world, and in our name.

BA makes the point that “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.”

All this made me confront some shit on a whole other level: the reality of the horrors that this system creates on the people of the world (not to over simplify it but...) so that Americans can put on pretty glitter makeup! While these children are living their lives in holes where they can hardly breathe to mine the Mica, and the countless other children who have been condemned to a life of misery and brutality, even before they are born!  In the face of this, millions of people are stuck in that individualism, that parasitism, American Chauvinism. I was one of those people, the conditions of people in other parts of the world seemed abstract to me, and I was forced to confront the reality of how people are living their lives right now! It was one of these questions that seemed on the surface like “yeah, I'm aware that there is exploitation of people all over the world” but since I read this new piece, I find myself constantly thinking about these questions and seeing it all around us.  I guess I was forced to confront this on a whole other level.

All I keep thinking about is the people all over the world who can't even begin to imagine life the way Americans live it, and we are able to live that way on the backs of all those people. In that same section BA says that in opposition to the poisonous outlook of American Chauvinism, the orientation that must be fought for is “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives” and “Internationalism – The Whole World Comes First.” This is also taking on a whole other meaning to me and I feel like I get these quotes on a whole other level: it's not abstract!  We are taught our whole lives that all that matters is what is directly in front of you, we get conditioned to not even question why is it that Americans are able to live this comfortable lifestyle, that we end up ignoring the conditions of actual human beings in other parts of the world. The reality is the interests of those people, in Madagascar and other countries where people live their whole lives in horrific conditions, are the same interests of us here in America.  Most of these people here who don't see that, who are stuck in this gross individualism and American chauvinism are capable of breaking free from that shit and coming to see that our interests are the same, and fight for a different and better world.

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/624/revolution-books-is-the-place-to-be-this-december-en.html

Revolution Books is the place to be this December...
the bookstore about the whole world, for a radically different and better world

| revcom.us

 

Every day during the holidaysbooks and gifts that matter,
Open Tuesday-Sunday, noon-9 pm
7 days a week starting December 15

“Revolution Books is like a stop on the underground railroad. You come in, you can rest a little bit, and you find wisdom on the way to finding freedom. It's a godsend."  Comment from two visitors to Revolution Books – one formerly incarcerated and his partner, after a tour of the store, looking at books, and watching a short clip of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian.

★ Thursday, December 5, 7 pm—Sinan Antoon, the highly acclaimed Iraqi-born writer reads from and discusses his new novel Collateral Damage.

★ Wine, Cheese & Revolution Nights—Every Friday through December, 6:30-9 pm

★ Saturday, December 7, 1 pm—Children’s program. Griot World reading Lubna and the Pebble. Lubna is living in a refugee camp, and her best friend is a pebble.

★ Wednesday, December 11, 7 pmThe Two Killings of Sam Cooke Documentary film about the R&B/soul legend—his artistry and the little-known history of his civil rights activism and his murder under suspicious circumstances.

★ Sunday, December 15, HOLIDAY PARTY:
CELEBRATE AND SAVE REVOLUTION BOOKS
A Beacon in Dangerous Times

★ Friday, January 17, time TBA – the artist Dread Scott in conversation with Revolution Books spokesperson Andy Zee. Dread Scott recently staged Slave Rebellion Reenactment – the extraordinary live reinterpretation of Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811, the largest uprising of enslaved people in U.S. history.

Fundraising all through December: $50,000 by January 31. 
Donate
 and help raise funds.

Humanity needs revolution
Revolution needs Revolution Books
Revolution Books needs you.

Revolution Books
437 Malcolm X Blvd (at 132nd St). #2/3 to 135th
212-691-3345 www.revolutionbooksnyc.org

Revolution Club, Chicago—Joining the #SlaveRebellionReenactment in Louisiana!

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/624/letter3--the-democrats-impeachment-strategy-whose-interests-en.html

Letter From a Reader #3:
There Is No Santa Claus, and the Democrats Cannot Be Relied on to Drive Out Trump

Playing to Save the System, Not Trying to Defeat Fascism

| revcom.us

 

Yesterday’s letter dug into the fact that while the Democrats and Republicans each represent competing forces of capitalist-imperialist exploiters and war-makers, Trump represents an immediate and extremely dangerous threat to humanity as a whole and must be driven out. We exposed that the Democrats are fighting this on the extremely narrow terms of the “national interests” of the U.S. empire. But it’s more than that: the Democrats at the head of the impeachment process—Piglosi and the rest—do not at this point seem to be aiming to oust Trump, even on these narrow terms.

Take one example: Two weeks ago, the Trump-appointed ambassador Gordon Sondland said that “everyone was in the loop” of the attempt to blackmail Ukraine into giving up, or creating, dirt on Joe Biden. Sondland named not only Trump, but Vice President and Christian fascist Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, the maniacally aggressive former National Security Advisor Bolton (now on the outs with Trump), and others. Other witnesses have similarly implicated higher-ups in the regime. Trump has utterly violated the Constitution by forbidding these people to testify before Congress.  Their testimony would make it even more undeniable and might even drag more of their foul stuff into the light.

Yet the Democrats refuse to bring these people before Congress. They say that they are worried that the courts will delay this. If they are worried about delay, why are they not calling masses into the street to demand the full story? Why are they not bringing legions of lawyers into the courts? Why are they not, in short, doing everything possible to drag everything into the light of day to win

And why are they virtually conceding that after the indictment is brought they will lose in the Senate trial? What kind of fight is it when you acknowledge your defeat in advance?

The Three Fears of the Democrats

The Democrats do want to check Trump. They want to prevent him from bringing in competing imperialist powers to aid them in their election.  More overall, they worry that if he gets away with this, he will go even further in violating the Constitution and the rule of law itself. And they worry that if they do nothing, they will lose legitimacy among a large part of those they are in charge of corralling and controlling.

This goes back to the “three fears” that Bob Avakian describes in “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’”.  The Democrats fear both the fascist thugs in power and among the people. They worry that if they did win, then Trump would just not comply with impeachment or legal verdicts. And then the Democrats would do... what? Call out the army against Trump and risk a split in the military?  Declare the (fascist-packed) courts illegitimate? And then what?

Along with this and most important, the Democrats do not want to risk the upheaval that would be involved by unleashing the masses, either against the outrageous stonewalling now going on or in whatever even more outrageous moves could come later.  In that BEB piece just cited, BA writes:

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. ... 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.

What Must Be Done by Us?

Those who do see the need to oust the Trump-Pence regime should take deep note of this. The specter of the masses in the streets is their nightmare.  But for humanity worldwide, the vision of millions surging in protest through the streets of America against this regime, while raising and debating questions over what kind of a system brings forward such a monstrous regime, would be a most welcome sight indeed. And this is what WE must do.

The future remains unwritten. If millions flood the streets, even this tightly constrained impeachment process might play a role in providing a further opening for that struggle. But absent the masses, acting from below, this will come to naught. Worse still, it would leave the fascists wounded, needing to hit back, and with the initiative to do so. And it will leave those who will be hit by them in a position of passivity and/or collaboration.

In this light, the December Disruptions called by Refuse Fascism represent the direction we urgently need.

Next, part 4: How The Fascists Are Using Impeachment To Consolidate And Prepare For the Offensive

See previous parts of "Letters From a Reader: Why Getting Involved With the Democrats—Even to 'Take Them Over From Within'—Will Wind You Up in the Arms of Fascists"

Part 1: A Liberal Democratic Politician and a Fascist Functionary Walk Into a Bar... But What Happens Next Is Not Really a Joke


Part 2: The Democrats' Impeachment Strategy: Whose Interests?

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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/625/bob-avakian-statements-on-what-is-fascism-en.html

Statements On WHAT IS FASCISM

Recent statements from Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: Besides the two-paragraph statement “What IS Fascism* that regularly appears on revcom.us, and along with the article by Bob Avakian (BA) that contrasts fascists and communists, and in particular the advocates of the new communism (“Fascists and Communists: Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart”), the following excerpts from recent works by BA, are relevant and helpful in getting a basic sense of what fascism is and what are some of its main features, in general and specifically as embodied in the Trump/Pence regime. Also, although its outlook differs in some significant aspects from that of the new communism, the 2005 speech by African-American theologian Hubert Locke (“Reflections on Pacific School of Religion’s Response to the Religious Right”), which was originally posted on revcom.us on January 29, 2006, and reposted on October 7, 2019, contains some very valuable and insightful analysis of fascism, and in particular Christian Fascism.

We are confronted by—we are now being ruled by—a fascist regime: relentlessly assaulting civil rights and liberties and openly promoting bigotry and inequality; acting with callous disregard or cold-blooded malice toward those they consider inferior and a drain or stain on the country; on a mission to deny health care to millions who will suffer and many who will die without it; crudely degrading women, as objects of plunder, breeders of children without the right to abortion or birth control, subordinate to husbands and men in general; defying the science of climate change, attacking the science of evolution, and repudiating the scientific method overall; a regime brandishing an arsenal of mass destruction and threatening nuclear war; intensifying state terror against Muslims, immigrants, and people in the inner cities; unleashing and giving encouragement and support to brutal thugs spewing vile “America First,” white supremacist, male-supremacist, and anti-LGBT venom—a regime that boasts of all this and declares its intention to do even worse.

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America,
A Better World 
IS Possible
.
The film of this talk by BA, given in October 2017,
is available at revcom.us.

And then there are the ruling class “news media.” There are media, like Fox (I can hardly say it) “News,” that represent the fascist section of the ruling class—which aims to impose undisguised capitalist dictatorship without the rule of law, with open hostility toward other sections of the ruling class itself, that these fascists regard as enemies, and vicious repression against immigrants, Black people, Muslims, women, and LGBT people—all those whose degradation and criminalization is essential for the fascist program of “making America great again.” Lying, systematically distorting reality, is a function and mission of these media.

Why We Need An Actual Revolution
And How We Can Really Make Revolution
.
The film and the text of this speech by BA,
given in the summer of 2018,
are available at revcom.us.

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.

Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis—
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism
.
A prepublication copy of this talk by BA is available at revcom.us.

In an article in the New York Times, “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!

Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis—
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism
.
A prepublication copy of this talk by BA is available at revcom.us.

Stewart further summarizes Lang’s views this way: “Modern fundamentalism, like fascism in earlier times, he says, involves a strong feeling of persecution, typically at the hands of godless liberals or a religious ‘other’; the belief that one belongs to a pure race or national group that is responsible for past greatness, suffers unjust oppression in the present, and is the rightful ruler of the world; the impulse to submit unquestioningly to absolute authority; and the relentless drive for power and control. It is, he says, a kind of supremacist movement, with religion rather than race at its core.”

And there is this chilling statement by Lang:

People have no idea it’s going on....

What does it mean that the conservative church that’s growing in America is an end-times church? What does it mean that we are raising a generation of children to believe that they are the last generation? What is going to happen if we keep on telling them, “Don’t care about the environment, and bring on the war, because we’re going to be lifted out of here, and you can forget about loving your neighbors, because they’re just going to get blown away?’

So, that is the insight of someone very familiar with these Christian fascists. And the fact is that in this country, with its whole history of genocide, slavery and racism, any form of fascism, including one basing itself on “Christian supremacy”—any urge to “restore past greatness”—cannot help but be bound together with white supremacy.

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America,
A Better World 
IS Possible
.

† Stewart refers to Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club, The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children  [back]

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

THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America,
A Better World 
IS Possible
.

 

* Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.”

At the same time—and this can be seen through studying the examples of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini—while it will likely move quickly to enforce certain repressive measures in consolidating its rule, a fascist regime is also likely to implement its program overall through a series of stages and even attempt at different points to reassure the people, or certain groups among the people, that they will escape the horrors—if they quietly go along and do not protest or resist while others are being terrorized and targeted for repression, deportation, “conversion,” prison, or execution.  [back]

 

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

See also:

Fascists and Communists: Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

by Bob Avakian

Read more

NOW AVAILABLE: PDF for printing

See also:

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

by Dr. Hubert Locke

Reposted July 3, 2017. Originally posted January 29, 2006

Read more

 

 

We raised $2,085 for #GivingTuesday, exceeding our goal! Thanks to all who contributed. Now we need to raise another $5,000 by the New Year. Stay tuned to revcom.us for updates.

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: