revcom.us, December 30, 2019 through January 5, 2020 (#628)

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.

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/627/join-the-outnow-movement-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

 

Trump and Pence #OUTNOW!

Trump and Pence #OUTNOW!!

Trump has been impeached. He has ratcheted up the danger of war with Iran.

Now is a time for determined struggle by the people to go all the way to demand: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

In the first days of January, Trump ordered the assassination of the high ranking Iranian military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. This is objectively an act of war which massively escalates the threat of further conflict and suffering for the people of Iran and the whole region.

EVERY DAY THAT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME REMAINS IN POWER THREATENS THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE PLANET

Everyone with a conscience must face this hard truth. But that alone is not enough—we must now ACT ON IT.

There is a way to remove this whole regime—the #OUTNOW! Movement of sustained, nonviolent protest that doesn’t stop until the regime has been removed from power.

 

Join the #OUTNOW contingents at the Women's Marches and more January plans

#OutNOW contingent at the women's March in DC January 18 meets up at the southwest corner of Freedom Plaza, 14th Street Northwest and Pennsylvania Avenue. Organizers will be there at 9:00 am. People joining the #OutNOW contingent should arrive by 10. March starts at 11.

Sign up

The impeachment of Donald Trump in the House of Representatives is a real advance. For all of us who have looked on in horror as this regime’s crimes escalate—children in cages, environmental protections shredded, violence threatened against political opponents, and more—it is a moment of celebration that at last this fascist criminal is getting a first taste of justice. This greatly heightens the potential for driving out the whole fascist Trump/Pence regime.

At the same time, Trump’s murderous actions in Iraq are extremely dangerous with potentially catastrophic implications for the people of Iran and beyond.

With a new surge of hope and energy from impeachment—and even greater urgency to prevent new U.S. war moves in the Middle East—now is the time to seize the moment and join together, recognizing that only a determined struggle of thousands and ultimately millions taking to the streets in a broad-based movement of continuing protests can create a political crisis from below that could force this whole regime from power.

The stakes have been raised. A great struggle still lies ahead.

The cracks and strains in our political class are more visible than ever. A Republican Party now well-hardened around its fascist core is in full standoff with a Democratic Party that felt compelled to take the momentous step of impeaching a President for only the third time in U.S. history. An impeachment trial is expected in the Senate in January to determine whether Trump will be removed from power. But Trump and the fascist Republicans are in lockstep intensifying their threats and vowing not to convict him. Impeachment without removal would leave the fascist regime intact and full of vengeance and determination to drive forward its program. And in the unlikely scenario that the Senate votes to remove Trump, the Christian fascist wing of the regime, led by Mike Pence, is poised to take over and hammer in their own theocratic vision of society, backed by the Bible taken literally. Now, this volatility is intensified as Trump's act of war against Iran could spiral into even greater conflict and suffering in the Middle East and potentially even sharper clashes at the top of this society.

As the threat of greater war looms and the impeachment of Trump roils, a mass movement of the people demanding Trump/Pence #OUTNOW! must grow... each week making advances and becoming a magnetic force of all who feel that life here and around the world will be unbearable under the fascism the Trump/Pence regime is rapidly imposing.

We must follow the examples of millions all over the world carrying out mass struggle to demand regime change in their countries.

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.

Our power is the power of the people acting with determination—not to protest one day and go home, but flood the streets, with people of many different points of view acting together, in sustained nonviolent protest—starting in our hundreds week after week, soon becoming thousands, and ultimately millions—refusing to stop until the whole Trump/Pence regime has been removed from power.

 

 

Together, we must make January a month of struggle, building a broad based #OUTNOW! Movement to advance this great cause.

Volunteer to join #OUTNOW in DC during the impeachment trial. Contact us at info@refusefascism.org to volunteer, to donate to cover expenses, to provide places for people to stay.

Saturday January 11 mass protests: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW! No War On Iran! Go to refusefascism.org for a protest near you or how to organize your own #OUTNOW! Protest.

January 18-20: Join in bringing the #OUTNOW demand and program of continuing, sustained mass protest to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power into the Women’s Marches and MLK events.

January 25: Mass #OUTNOW protests in cities across the country that mark a leap in sustained non-violent protest demanding #OUTNOW!

 

ACT! January Times and Places

 

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

RefuseFascism.org | @RefuseFascism | 917-407-1286

December 14, 2019: Andy Zee – How to struggle with people to get into the street to drive out Trump and Pence

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.

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/628/introduction-to-january-4-5-refuse-fascism-mass-meetings-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:
Introduction to Guidance for January 4/5 Refuse Fascism/#OUTNOW! Movement Mass Meetings: 

Impeachment...Acts of War Against Iran...

In this moment of conspicuous change, our actions, our daring, our determination, could change the whole game.

| revcom.us

 

Chapters and Organizers:

We enter the new year at a time of great volatility with the impeachment of Trump sharpening up the conflict at the highest levels of U.S. government with profound international reverberations. Ominously, on January 2, Trump ordered—and the U.S. military carried out—the assassination by missile strike the high-ranking Iranian military leader Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani at the Baghdad airport. This is a major and extremely dangerous move with repercussions here and around the world.

This is a moment of conspicuous change—yes at the top of the U.S. government, and between nations. It is at such a moment that our actions, our daring, our determination can have potentially historic impact.

2019 saw a global wave of massive and sustained protests all over the world that took on, and in many cases drove out, hated regimes. No less is needed here. Our mission and our promise to the people of the world now is to launch, inspire, and provide direction to the #OUTNOW! Movement of sustained non-violent broad-based mass protest for the single demand: TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

It is a very big deal and a very good thing that Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. This has had a positive impact on the mood and thinking of many people—breaking down some of the resignation that people have felt that he couldn't be removed. There is some beginning shift towards getting in the streets to demand Trump's removal, this too must be seized and built upon.

Already there is a high stakes battle over the terms of a Senate Trial of Donald Trump with Nancy Pelosi refusing to send the impeachment articles to the Senate for trial until Mitch McConnell agrees to call new witnesses. This after McConnell brazenly said this will not be an impartial trial and bragged of coordinating the whole affair with Trump himself.

No one can say in advance just how much sharper the domestic and international contention will become. No one can say in advance exactly how deeply this impeachment is going to reverberate and impact the masses of people here and around the world. But we can say that if the people take up the kind of massive, sustained, nonviolent protest demanding the ouster of the whole regime that RefuseFascism.org and the #OUTNOW! Movement are fighting for, this could change the whole game.

We must be alert to developments as they unfold, seizing on the crisis at the top of society to build the struggle from below to demand not only the removal of Trump but the ouster of the whole regime. We must carry out our January plans with the orientation of seizing all the ground we can towards bringing forward the thousands, tens of thousands growing to hundreds of thousands and then millions out into the streets to protest again and again and again demanding the whole Trump/Pence Regime must be #OUTNOW until this demand is met. Whether or not this month becomes a moment when what was impossible yesterday, becomes possible now, will only be determined if we step out and lead with the mission of #OUTNOW! infused with the great moral and political stand of RefuseFascism: In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!

With all this in mind, it will be important for us to use these next couple of days to turn as many people out for the mass organizing meetings we are hosting around the country this weekend. RefuseFascism.org should join in protests this weekend against the recent military action/assassinations by the Trump/Pence regime which are arguably acts of war and war crimes opposing this aggression and put forth the mission of #OUTNOW!, the full January Plan, and invite people to the meetings this weekend.

We should call forward all those who stepped forward into the #OUTNOW Movement during the protests we began last October and all those newly energized that we have met through the recent impeachment marches. We should also put a special focus on inviting and organizing young people—from the high schools, the college campuses, the oppressed communities, and those who were active in the climate protests—as well as broader organized forces (religious and others).

Then, at these meetings, we should roll up our sleeves together to wrangle with this historic moment, its potential, and make plans.

From the RefuseFascism.org National Team

Find a meeting near you

See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/628/US-carries-out-assassination-of-iranian-leader-and-escalates-conflict-en.html

On the U.S. Assassination of Soleimani and the Heightened Danger of War:
Oppose U.S. Imperialist Aggression—Trump/Pence Out Now!

Updated | revcom.us

 

The world has been rocked by the U.S. assassination of the Iranian general Qassim Soleimani. Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, an Iranian government force that commands militias in different countries of the region. The assassination of a high government official of one sovereign state on the soil of another sovereign state is objectively an act of war by the U.S. This assassination will set off a spiral of tit for tat which carries grave dangers for the people of that region, and the world as a whole.

To be clear: Soleimani was a longtime butcher for the reactionary Iranian regime, which itself has committed real crimes against the people. But the butchery carried out by America in that region alone is 1,000 times greater than anything the likes of Soleimani could dream of! It is critically important that people in this country oppose this American act of war with mass political action.

Why Is the U.S. Carrying Out Assassination and Mass Murder in the Middle East in the First Place?

The purpose of all the U.S. soldiers and mercenaries in the Middle East is this: to dominate a strategically vital part of the world that has oil and energy resources. The U.S. aims not only to plunder these resources, but even more to gain leverage over other rival and allied powers like China, Japan, and Europe that need these resources (and to contend with local powers like Iran that also seek to project their influence in the region). To do this, the U.S. has directly invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, sponsored wars and coups by puppets and proxies in many more countries, and carried out drone assassinations all over the region.1 In the past three decades alone, millions of ordinary people have died in that region over these conflicts, with the vast, vast majority of these murders “made in the USA.”

Trump is already telling you that the purpose of this was to “save American lives.” Leaving aside the real purpose of this assassination—again, to fight for U.S. domination of an entire region of people—and what these “American personnel” are doing over there in the first place (which was to act as willing tools to the murder and brutality involved in that “mission”), let us make this fundamental point from Bob Avakian: “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.”

These wars and war crimes stem from a system, U.S.-dominated capitalism-imperialism. This system grinds up the lives of billions of people a day all over the globe. The wars that the system wages, generation after generation, are one big reason it must be overthrown, through revolution. And in fact, humanity does not need this system—it could live a whole different way! There is a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, that sets out a blueprint for how a revolutionary society on the road to emancipation could relate to the rest of the world: doing away with relations of exploitation and plunder, and actively healing the wounds of the past and overcoming the inequalities of today. The fact that these crimes are unnecessary makes them all the more painful and intolerable.

Clashes at the Top, Openings for the People

In addition to whatever “blowback” of different kinds the U.S. may get abroad, there is also opposition within the U.S. Demonstrations are taking place all over the country this weekend, and more need to happen. Forces within the U.S. ruling class opposed to Trump (the top Democrats and liberal media like CNN, the New York Times, etc.) are raising questions. Some worry that this is an impulsive move, with no viable strategy behind it, one that could backfire in very serious ways against the U.S. Some point to the way that U.S. allies—and adversaries—around the world are opposing this. Others are openly questioning Trump’s motivations and point out his whole history as a habitual, self-serving liar.

This opposition generally proceeds from and often openly couches itself in terms of what will advance U.S.—that is, imperialist—interests in the region, and the spokespeople for it generally reinforce the idea that the U.S. are “the good guys” in the region. These ideas are false and damaging and have to be struggled against. But these conflicts also create more space for others to raise questions and opposition of different kinds.

All of this takes place in the context of Trump’s impeachment and his looming trial in the Senate. Trump will doubtless use this attack on Iran and whatever conflict ensues from it to demand “national unity” around him. But this may not be so easy to do, especially if the suspicion spreads that he may have ordered the attack in part to serve his struggle to stay in office.

To be clear: while the Democrats are themselves defenders of this criminal system and this system itself must ultimately be overthrown, the Trump/Pence fascist regime poses an urgent and immediate threat to humanity—a threat both highlighted and aggravated by this attack—and this regime must be driven out, now. In this context, and especially with forces at the top of society now divided, if people take up the kind of massive, sustained, nonviolent protest demanding the ouster of the whole regime that RefuseFascism.org and the #OUTNOW! Movement are fighting for, this could change the whole equation for the better.

Let us seize the time.

U.S. OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!

TRUMP/PENCE FASCIST REGIME OUT NOW!

REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

 


1. See these articles in the “American Crime” series at revcom.us:

Download PDF of this article for distribution as flier

Stand in Solidarity with Revolutionary Comrades Inside Iran

While we, as revolutionaries within the U.S., welcome the defeat of our own rulers in any conflict, we also support the revolutionary movement inside Iran that aims to overthrow its rulers, as part of emancipating humanity. This movement—led by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist), which takes up the new communism put forward by Bob Avakian—is fighting to overthrow its oppressors, as part of the fight for a whole new world. We stand with them in firmly opposing the U.S. attacks and potential invasion, and the struggle to make revolution, to overcome all the oppressive and unequal relations of this world, and to bring into being a new world of human emancipation.

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/628/revolution-tour-year-in-review-en.html

| revcom.us

 

You Think You're Woke, But You're Sleepwalking Through a Nightmare...
This System Cannot Be Reformed – It Must Be OVERTHROWN!

2019: National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour Launches

You Think You're Woke, But You're Sleepwalking Through a Nightmare...
This System Cannot Be Reformed – It Must Be OVERTHROWN!

2019: National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour Launches

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

The Tour hit Los Angeles first, then Chicago and now New York. We aimed to challenge people to break out of all the thinking that keeps them locked within the system, even—especially—if they think they are "woke" and protesting. We aimed to make a revolutionary impact on a suffocating and extremely dangerous political terrain, in which fascism is on the march all over the world. We aimed to draw forward followers of the new communism developed by Bob Avakian (BA), the strategy for revolution he has forged, and the leadership he provides.

They went from Los Angeles...


Revolution Tour Debut in Los Angeles, June 8, 2019

...to Chicago...


Shutting Down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, August 8, 2019

...to New York...


At the Climate March in NYC, September 23, 2019

...and points in between.


Standing up for abortion rights at a performance of Les Misérables in Los Angeles, June 2, 2019.


Revolution Club Chicago in Louisiana at the #SlaveRebellionReenactment, November 8, 2019


July 4, 2019, burning the U.S. flag in front of the White House


Revolution Tour at OUTNOW! protest, New York City, Fall 2019

Much was done and much was learned. Now, as 2020 dawns, the central task remains to be done: bring forward a critical mass of followers for the new communism of BA and from that place join with the most crucial battles of the day, building them as part of preparing for the revolution that humanity so desperately needs.

And that is something we aim to achieve.

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/628/international-year-in-review.html

2019 Around the World

Righteous Protests... and Big Stakes for Humanity

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Mass outpourings of protests and resistance have broken out in a number of countries. These are in response to multiple and heightening crises, including the worldwide ascendance of fascism, increased repression and attacks against sections of people, global warming, and growing gulfs of inequality. As righteous and mainly positive as these mass struggles against oppressive states and ruling strata are, the decisive question is whether there arises within these struggles a revolutionary trend and core of genuine communist leadership that can transform them into actual revolutions—the overthrow of the reactionary system as part of going for a radically different society and world—OR whether humanity will be consigned to even more grotesque forms of misery, oppression, 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."

 

Puerto Rico:

In July, hundreds of thousands poured into the streets for weeks of determined protest, in defiance of violent police repression, and forced the ouster of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. The immediate spark of the people's anger was exposure of the corruption of Rosselló and those around him—but this was in the context of the tremendous suffering the masses in this U.S. colony have suffered for decades and the particular outrage of how the Trump regime denied Puerto Rico needed aid after Hurricane Maria.

Photo: AP

Iran:

In November, hours after the reactionary theocratic regime announced steep price hikes for gas, protests quickly spread to some 100 cities across the country. Many protesters denounced not only the price hikes, which hit hard at Iranians already suffering from an economic slowdown, but the whole suffocating, oppressive rule of the regime.

Photo: Iran-HumanRights.org

Hong Kong:

Starting in the summer, huge demonstrations and occupations (including of the main airport), strikes, and clashes with the police and armed gangs tied to the government have rocked this city, a key financial center of world capitalism. Students and other young people initially took to the streets against a bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to the Chinese mainland, but soon widened into larger protests against the local government. While U.S. and British imperialists in particular are angling for influence and attempting to manipulate the struggle to their advantage, the main tendency of the struggle is righteous.

Photo: AP

Chile:

In the face of brutal repression, huge protests across the country—including a million people on October 25—sparked by a rise in public transportation fares forced the president to oust the cabinet and lift a curfew.

Photo: AP

Iraq:

Starting in October, people took to the streets against government corruption, unemployment, and Iranian intervention in the country—with their demands escalating to the ouster of the regime. The prime minister and the president have both submitted their resignations because of the protests.

Photo: AP

India:

After the fascist Modi government pushed through a law in early December aimed at further suppressing the minority Muslim population, protests involving people of different religions, and mainly young, spread throughout the country. Nearly 30 protesters have been killed by police and thousands arrested—but the protests are continuing.

Photo: AP

Colombia:

On November 21, hundreds of thousands across the country staged a national strike, taking to the streets in protest against the repressive U.S.-backed government. Protests have continued to rock the country since then, with many calling for the ouster of the president and his right-wing regime.

Photo: Fotogaleria

Algeria:

In February, the announcement by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika that he was running for a fifth term touched off protests that were described as largest in the country in decades. In April, Bouteflika was forced to resign.

Photo: AP

Indonesia:

Protesters—consisting mainly of students from more than 300 universities—repeatedly took to the streets in September against a new law reducing the power of an anti-corruption commission and another law criminalizing extramarital sex and defamation against the president.

Photo: AP

Palestine:

In March 2018, thousands of Palestinians began a weekly protest—called the "Great March of Return"—at the border fence that separates the huge ghetto known as the Gaza Strip from the oppressor state of Israel. Their demands: the right to return to the lands stolen from Palestinians when the Israeli state was created, and an end to Israel's life-crushing blockade of Gaza. The border protests continued into the early months of 2019. Israel responded by murdering dozens of protesters and injuring thousands.

Photo: MEE/Mohammed al-Hajjar

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/626/trump-impeached-take-the-struggle-higher-en.html

Trump Impeached, Fascists React, People Rejoice—Take the Struggle Higher in the New Year!

Updated , from an article originally appearing December 20, 2019 | revcom.us

 

Two weeks ago the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump. This was a major event—and a very good thing! Even with the narrow terms on which the Democrats carried this out, people seized on it with enthusiasm. Thousands poured into the streets. They were both furious and exhilarated at the fact that Trump was finally beginning to be held accountable for some of his towering crimes.

The next step in the process is for the Democrats to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, and for the Senate to then hold a trial of Trump. The Senate is supposed to impartially evaluate the evidence and then vote on whether Trump should be removed from office.

The fascist Republican Party grouped around Trump reacted with fury and arrogance. The Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell openly stated that he would NOT be impartial. McConnell said that he would coordinate the trial with Trump himself—the accused—and that, anyway, since he, McConnell, had already concluded that Trump should NOT be removed, there was no need for further witnesses or other evidence to be added. Whoever heard of such a thing!?! And yet this absurdity is on track to become the “new normal” under the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

Trump himself accused the Democrats of treason, and “making war on democracy.” When hosting a delegation from the Guatemalan government—a government infamous for repression and murder of opponents—Trump went so far as to say that “they knew how to take care of” the kind of opposition he was encountering from congressional Democrats.

The Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responded by holding back the articles of impeachment until she could be sure of a fair proceeding, and other Democrats are putting forward the demand that Congress be allowed to see new, and possibly more damning, evidence.

A Criminal Is Indicted—and That’s a Good Thing!

It is true and important that the Democratic leadership focused on a crime pertaining in large part to “national security”—that is, the imperialist interests of the U.S. around the world. They explicitly did not take on the much more serious outrages perpetrated by this fascist regime against the masses of people and the planet itself. All this works against what is needed by humanity, here and around the world.

But the articles of impeachment do hit at the very important point that Trump had abused power and run roughshod over the rule of law. This includes the way he obstructed the impeachment process itself by refusing to turn over evidence and allow members of his administration to testify, in defiance of the law and the separation of powers. Had there been no impeachment whatsoever, or had the articles been voted down in the House, the fascists would have been further strengthened.

The fact that this criminal WAS impeached and now goes to trial is something to be welcomed and built on. In particular, the #OUTNOW! Movement—with its uncompromising demand to oust the entire fascist regime and its important insistence on mobilizing millions in the street to carry this through—must be built through January. The furious, and unconstitutional, reaction of the Republicans makes the situation extremely unpredictable. People who want to see this regime out—people who are now in anguish but still paralyzed—must be challenged and summoned into the streets to help determine the shape of a situation that is extremely volatile and in which the political equation could change, in a way that is in the interests of humanity.

A New Situation, Full of Uncertainty

The point is that right now, nobody knows what comes next.

But, again, the masses of people responded in a powerful, even if beginning, way to the impeachment. Thousands came into the streets on the night before the vote, furious about Trump and seizing a chance to act. Many responded to and took up the chant of OUT NOW! and the slogans being put forward by the #OUTNOW! contingents. So, again—this shows real potential that must be seized on and built further.

These sharpening conflicts at the top and the heightened uncertainty they bring make the activities called for by Refuse Fascism and #OUTNOW! for January even more important and make it possible to reach out much, much wider.

In this situation, the following point stands out all the more sharply:

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.

All this makes it more important than ever to put forward and struggle for the demand that the whole Trump/Pence regime must go NOW—and that the key to doing this is bringing forward more thousands today, working toward millions, in massive, sustained, nonviolent struggle.

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/609/watch-this-what-if-en.html

Watch This: "What if..."

| revcom.us

 

To Revcom,

I came upon this video posted by the LA Revolution Club on Instagram. Moved in profound ways, I wrote: If you have a heart for humanity... if you feel that the people of the world could be and do so much better than all that is today... here’s a beautiful invitation. I then showed the video to two friends, each teared up. There is more that I could say about the video, about the words spoken and by whom, but instead, watch it, reflect on it, circulate it, and take it to heart and then decide what you are going to strive for and do....

Andy Zee

Watch: www.instagram.com/p/B1NQY38Ak2b/

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/626/reflections-off-reading-hope-for-humanity-part-1-en.html

Reflections off Reading Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

Updated | revcom.us

 

Editors note: The following are edited excerpts of reflections by members of the National Revolution Tour and the Revolution Club, sparked by their reading and engagement with Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism by Bob Avakian. The excerpts are in three parts.

Part 1

I mainly dedicated a lot of time to rereading the piece Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis and there’s a lot to get into, so these are just my initial thoughts as well as questions.

I think that there are many important things that are tightly packed into this piece, including how to approach the ways people are thinking in this moment with a fascist regime in power and acting commensurately with that. It really speaks to where the outlooks of individualism, American chauvinism, parasitism actually come from and are not just forms of “selfishness” that get in the way of people acting in the interest of humanity, but are outlooks that have a real material basis in reality to be taken up spontaneously because of the workings of capitalism-imperialism and how it conditions people to think. Also, if challenged in the right way it can be transformed and has to be seen as a problem of the revolution that we have to solve with the very masses of people who are influenced by it in one way or another in order to change it.

I was thinking more about what BA says: “[T]here’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.”

How do we unleash this hope in a mass way and have a situation where many people are starting to see that the world doesn’t have to be this way even in a basic sense? How does that relate to the two-way street and the role of the revolutionaries in this moment? I think I see a lot of this basic hope within the youth who are striking for the climate around the world, or the students on different campuses more recently protesting against Ann Coulter, Trump Jr., etc., and the people flooding the streets in different countries demanding the ouster of oppressive regimes. Where that goes is a question, but I think that’s where a lot of the potential for things to break open in society lies, and how these different outpourings and responses in society can have an impact on the people who are not acting, and is key in the process of making revolution. I feel like once this basic understanding comes into play, a whole lot of different things can come into question and to the fore even in a short period of time, but there’s a need to follow those basic convictions through because individualism/American chauvinism are actively working against even obtaining that basic understanding. But I think outlining where hope comes from on a scientific basis, and comparing it to faith/religion or lack of hope is important, because it allows people to compare and contrast what is to how things could be, and how there’s a basis to get there in reality, if that makes sense.

Not to jump around, but something I hadn’t thought of more deeply but struck me when rereading this piece was the section on individualism and “indifference.” And I think it’s because this outlook I’ve seen play out and taken up by people I know (including myself) who should know better, and has done great harm to people on an individual level but ultimately great harm to the masses of humanity. And the indifference can go easily unnoticed or unchallenged because it’s very much the norm, but makes it all the more poisonous, frustrating and dangerous. What I see and have seen in people is very concentrated in these two parts:

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.

I’ve experienced and seen a lot of this “I’m doing me,” and thought it was wrong and ugly, but didn’t actually walk it all the way through on what that kind of outlook is bound up with and what the actual effects are in reality when you act like that. People are individuals, but we don’t just exist as individuals and what we choose to do or not do has an effect on the people around us and on society as whole, even if we know it or not.

The thing around being forced into competition and conflict is still something I’m wrestling with, but I can see it in the ways that women are forced to compete with one another over men, or people ignoring the larger world on the basis of doing their own thing, meanwhile, the ability to function that way actually rests on the lives of human beings, especially living in America where everything we have or own is acquired through a global network of exploitation (food, clothes, etc.) And this kind of mentality really reminds me of the dominant social media culture/selfie culture where people live out their whole lives posting pictures of themselves or their brand on social media and it can be liked by thousands of people, who in turn those people are kind of living vicariously through these social media influencers because they want that kind of life and can’t have it, and gives them a way to be consumed with something really meaningless and not pay attention to the world.

* * * * *

There’s a lot to be gleaned from why it is that BA opens up this work, which deals a lot with the obstacles that stand in the way of masses of people acting in the interests of humanity, in a way that shatters the misguided and harmful notion that “things have always been this way” or, at least, “nothing can be done to change things.” BA provides some texture of “the times” of the Sixties, not just because it’s interesting in its own right (although it is), but as a way to illustrate how drastically different circumstances and people can be, and how quickly they can be transformed in a positive direction. This overall analysis and summation of this period, the key social forces and the thinking of the people, is done with a lot of materialism and historical sweep. The section which hits at religion illustrates an approach and method which is consistent with what he put forward in the Dialogue with Cornel West, and the “big arms” of a communist statesman. It’s really important to know why religion is such a mental shackle, what that means in general, and in particular for the struggle against oppression and for revolution and a better world.

The section on individualism deals with both the underlying philosophical and material underpinnings of the forms of individualism that are so dominant in the society and the world and their connection to the world-historic conjunction we face with ascendant, consolidating fascism and the largely passive, inactive masses of people who are effectively collaborating with and allowing this to happen by their inaction. The formulation of Pelosi’s “Three Fears” is particularly relevant for how we both orient people and how we “push on” the objective situation in this period, and without this analysis, masses of people will be left confused and led by one section of the bourgeoisie or another to explain (or explain away) the divisions at the top.

Similarly, the “A Question and A Challenge” on the real possibility of Trump either being re-elected or refusing to leave office, continues to be essential. We’ve used this “provocation” a lot in the course of mass work (although a lot more could be, and should be done going forward, as RefuseFascism/#OUTNOW continues towards another manifestation), and it has transformed some of how we’ve gone at working with people, in that it concentrates a good deal of method: putting the problems of the revolution (and what is, in this case, a BIG problem for the masses of humanity overall, whether they realize it or not) before the masses of people, and active social investigation as a pivot into organizing. This experience has been uneven, particularly when it comes to organizing, and it’s totally different from passive social investigation, which can be a tendency.

The question of individuality being given flight and people’s potential creativity and freedom being unleashed on a whole other level and with a different basis under Communism is something that really connected with me in a way this point hasn’t before. The way it’s put here was very illuminating.

[back to top]

Part 2

This shit really got my brain going... It so well stitched and consistent! BA is so awesome. Mostly I feel like I need to read it two or three more times though to be honest.

While reading Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis there were a lot of things that provoked me, but I felt profoundly struck by this part near the beginning where BA is talking about the relation between the movement for revolution and the immediate need to #OUTNOW the fascists. This is not a one-way street and should not be viewed in a linear mechanical sense, i.e. “first we build a mass movement to remove the Trump/Pence fascists and then turn our efforts to working for revolution.” He makes the point that we have to unite and mobilize masses of people from different perspectives, but that it will be extremely difficult to do this on the scale and with the determination that is needed to meet our objective if there are not greater numbers of people coming forward around the understanding that its both necessary to remove the regime, and the whole system from whose contradictions fascism is born. In particular, I was provoked by the this determination point. I started to wonder about what kind of determination will be required and how that determination will be forged and what kind of understanding is needed to fuel and sustain it. BA does make the point in this same paragraph that “[T]he 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.” I get the sense that hope and determination go together, and that the defining character of that hope is decisive. Will the determination of the people be forged by the kind of hope that is marked by any of the many strands of individualism? Or will the determination of the people be forged, influenced, and strengthened by the understanding, even a basic understanding at first, of why there is no permanent necessity for things to be as they are now? Hope on a scientific basis.

If the latter is to win out, the forces for revolution need to be thinking of strategic, creative, and tactical ways to wage the ideological battle for the emancipation of humanity now in that most crucial arena of Epistemology. Deepening our own understanding and thereby strengthening our own resolve while carrying this out in practice is crucial. Knowing is theoretical vitality, it gives us hope and fuels our determination, it can and must do the same very broadly for humanity and its future. BA makes this clear and emphasizes that it’s not just that Knowing about actual reality and grasping the essential character of the scientific method is crucial for academics, but it is vitally important for those who catch the worst hell under this fucked-up system here and all over the world; for all those who can and must become not just the backbone, but the driving force of a revolution to bend the bars and break the chains of all oppression and exploitation throughout the world.

To uproot a thing you have to have a firm grip. To uproot the parasite of capitalism-imperialism, you’re gonna need the most consistent, systematic, and comprehensive scientific approach to reality, the communist world outlook and method, and more specifically, the work that BA has been doing for decades. On this point of the communist world outlook, it’s actually what is needed. BA says, “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....” Marx and Engels for their part made the declaration over 150 years ago that the communist revolution, and emancipating principles, methods, and aims involves a radical rupture with the traditional property relations that enslave people, and a radical rupture with all the traditional ideas that reflect and reinforce those property relations. Understanding the radical difference between faith and the process of acquiring rational knowledge is of the utmost importance in carrying out the struggle to achieve these two sets of radical ruptures, and taking the next leap toward a whole new and liberating era in human history. All this has really provoked and inspired some ambition in me to dig deeper and fight harder in the arena of epistemology, to step up my game and deepen my understanding, to learn from and alongside my comrades and the masses, while fighting for and seeking out the truth no matter how unpopular it might be.

* * * * *

I have been thinking a lot about the title of the BA’s book: Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis and what the relationship is between hope and a scientific basis. And that there is a dialectical relationship between both understanding scientifically why the world doesn’t have to be this way and hope for something better. Hope in something real. Not religion or things that are unseen but hope for something that could be. I think about Outernational’s song, I got these dreams, when I sleep and I got these dreams that really could be. In a time where the future is in peril, the planet itself and a fascist regime on the brink of consolidating power—big questions of whether or not there is going to be the future, hope on scientific foundation is our biggest strength. If it were to take root, (and how does it take root?) it could be game changing.

I was struck by in the piece where he talks about the tremendous importance to people getting a basic understanding that there is no necessity of existing conditions and why that it is, and I wonder how do we bring that understanding to people, not just in a one-to-one way but to blocs of people and what’s the process people enter into to develop that understanding, not just in an academic sense, although theory is tremendously important for people. One thing that I have gotten a deeper appreciation is the relationship between the Enriched What Is To Be Doneism, putting the problems before people, and the struggle over how people arrive at what’s true and what they understand.

Part of this, is people themselves are then brought into a conscious process of getting at what’s true and I think we need a lot more of this—but also not applying EWITBD because you are trying to get people to think a certain way, but you are trying to get them to THINK CRITICALLY, also wanting to learn a lot from that process vs. we have our fixed way of doing things. This is a big part of what I applied with people who came to the meeting, asking them about the elections, how did they see the elections stopping this? What would happen if Trump won again? Why do they understand about what we are trying to do?

And then there are a lot of other important points BA is making about what we are confronting by, in particular in a country like this, where people whose outlook is self out, and the fact that, yes, people are individuals but they are that IN A larger context.

Some of us were re-watching that movie Human Flow by Ai Weiwei which everyone should see; it’s about the massive refugee crisis and it documents what people go through along with really bringing to life their humanity, and this hits you even harder, because these people aren’t just numbers, but as Rachael Corrie said, “They are us and we are them.” And then you think of people who are have literally spent their whole lives in these refugee camps with nothing, not electricity, no clean water, no clean sanitation, with disease and so forth, and all the gates and walls going up around the country, and then people want to say, well I’m just going to “do me” or follow my dreams. Completely oblivious not only to what is happening in the world, but actually part of why this shit has happened has been because of what YOUR country has done to these other countries in pursuit of its riches, the wars, the destruction to the environment. You want to think you are independent of this but you aren’t, you are part of this, your life, your goodies came from that, you are bound up in this network of exploitation, you didn’t choose it, but you exist in it so let’s all just stop pretending like we are just people following our dreams absent of that. This was one thing that had a big impact on me, when I went to Costa Rica and we stayed in a village, and we stayed in this really nice house with a pool and everything, and next door, people had huts with no electricity. And on my visit—I was seriously considering living there and being off the grid, not working anymore, but then I confronted, actually while I was there, and even more sharply—did I really want to be someone who turned my back on all those other people so that I could have my comforts. And so I decided against it.

This is also what I was thinking about in relation to the American Crime series. That people have no fucking idea what is happening around the world or what these imperialists have done and the murderous organization that the Democratic Party is. I’d like us to have a big chart with all the crimes of the Democratic Party and have people add on to it as a project, something visual that could be taken to different places where you say—how many people have to be massacred by an organization before you declare them a murderous organization... It’s amazing to me you can live in a country responsible for such massive atrocities—as Frederic Douglas said, “For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

There’s a lot to say too about the BEB, the illusions of Painless Progress, & people striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and all this is driven by not what is in the interests of humanity, but by self, not paying attention to the larger dynamics shaping up in society and so forth. The thing that struck me in this piece too is how he identifies all the different expressions of how the individualism takes shape in opposition to a communist outlook—the narrowness of identify politics, the pseudo-cynicism, excusing your refusal to do anything and a persistent sense of entitlement, not wanting to confront the overt leap of fascism because it means you might have to do things differently.

There is really a lot of ugliness in people’s thinking, but all of this is important to compare and contrast, hitting at the American Chauvinism can break people out of that. Even when Colin Kaepernick sat down for the flag, what got cut out was the best thing about it—how he was challenging the narrative that America is the greatest country in the world, and instead what he was doing was “being patriotic” by trying to make this country live up to its true values... So I think there is a question around how do you hit at something that deep and what is the relationship between standing up, and going up against all the ways of thinking in society and bringing to life that fact that the world doesn’t have to be this way—we could have a world without all this white supremacy, exploitation, degradation of women, without the wars and borders and walls and tanks to enforce them, and how truly librating that would be. Something worth fighting and dying for & something worth sacrificing for.

[back to top]

Part 3

When I first read this piece, the part that stood out to me was the one on the youth. How BA was posing questions or where is it that the youth are at and where he provided different observations from the past when he was younger & during the time of the ’60s to some obstacles the youth are going through now. He talked about how the feeling of “who are these people to run things” not coming from a self out or identity perspective but coming from the danger... to humanity or feeling like they are incapable of what is needed to be done. This point led me to pay more attention to art & culture among the youth from popular artists to memes, TikToks & YouTube content creators.

... Every generation has some bit of rebelliousness but the character matters & a lot of what is out there is in alignment with the points on individualism that he makes in this piece.

The other point that I mentioned earlier was the point on the infantilization of the youth and treating them as if they can’t or shouldn’t handle the reality of what’s going on. This made me reflect on my years of high school, some of our work with students, but more so how youth are treated in society overall. I’ve noticed that when talking to youth seriously and speaking plainly to the reality of what is going on, the more common reaction is retreating in to the comfort of that “infancy” or so to speak “I’m too young” or “I can’t vote” and other responses that correspond to this.

It’s very tricky because at the same time there is a major wave of youth stepping out around the climate crises & who are taking up the position of “you guys have fucked up the world and now it’s up to us to save it.” Yet this goes out of focus & that conscious recognition goes back to an oblivious & parasitic state. Modeled in new pop culture trends of alternative lifestyles or “groups” such as VSCO girls—who are eco-conscious but still live consumer lives with talk of saving turtles by having metal straws or e-girls & boys who are modern day “scene kids” that ridicule this lifestyle but seem to have a basic agreement that if anything the environment is being destroyed but who are still proceeding from ME ME ME I I I with their internet personas. I think this new piece not only poses a lot of questions but provides some concrete backing for the potential that there is to tap into what could be a turning point in (1) learning from people & (2) giving people hope on a scientific foundation.

I’ll have to read it again but I hope to write more thoughts on this in the future.

* * * * *

In general I think this is a very complete piece that breaks down some important fundamental theory, and at the same time is struggling big time to break down most of the dominant frameworks in American society, as well as the challenges posed to people who want to fight for revolution.

For example one very heavy insight is brought up when the author at the beginning is talking about the fight to oust fascism, and references Steve King’s comment which is very heavy and as he points out has a “demented insight” of what are some of the dynamics that are at play right now with the fascists and the opposition. BA rightly points out that such comment is full of aggression, but he goes further into acknowledging not only the righteousness of fighting and standing for different rights (in this case trans rights), but also the real limitations of outlook of those people in the right side of the divide: narrowness related to identity (and other things) and the fact that such a narrow approach doesn’t pay attention to the larger dynamics shaping society as a whole and that ultimately are going to be affecting and defining to a large degree what happens with those rights that people are fighting to defend. This is not just a great insight of BA, but is a real problem, because such a narrowness is the most widespread phenomena among those people opposing injustice or even when opposing Trump directly. This is also a model, which runs through the piece, of bringing to life the reality of what we are confronting, and leading the reader to understand why, for example, that approach is narrow without seeming careless about real particular injustices that are being carried out (and heightened).

Quoting the Why/How speech [Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution], there is a statement on how it would be more difficult to mobilize people around the demand of T/P out, at the scale and with the determination that is required if there are not greater numbers of people being brought forward with a revolutionary understanding. I thought when I first heard it that it was a profound statement which was true in part because having a revolutionary outlook would allow for people to more easily identify when the struggle is being hijacked (let’s say solutions that can lead to a resolution short of getting rid of the regime, for example replacing Trump with another fascist who is gonna carry out the same program). Or getting people demobilized given certain concessions short of getting rid of regime. Specially given the level of American chauvinism and illusion in painless progress, any kind of resistance could be corralled back into the workings of the system—like right now in Colombia, given precisely the illusion of painless progress, the uprising that is going on right now in the country is calling for certain demands short of the ousting of the fascist in power, and seeking to meet with the government to get to agreements and reforms- so having a growing core of revolutionaries would strengthen the OUTNOW movement..... Some examples that can be drawn for example have been the mobilizations we have seen across the world in the past months and years, in which the scale and determination of the struggle came more from the workings of the system itself which opened up people’s eyes on what is the role of the police, for example, or the role of the politicians, or the press, and stood up in growing and more determined resistance. (There is an example of mothers in Hong Kong defending their kids in a peaceful way have been attacked by police, which has lead them to more fiercely speak up and defend the protests in a moment when the state have been trying to criminalize them).

“Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism”

I think it is very important specially for people in the middle class everywhere and people living in imperialist countries in general, to wrangle and examine social phenomena they are part of, things they have been led to think, and to enable them to see why people’s minds are occupied with certain things. And this is a big part of what this section is about.

For example the selfie phenomena, the branding yourself, hedonism, acquisitiveness (as the ideological seal of parasitism), and the connection of those seemingly harmless ways of thinking with the parasitism of this society and the fact that whole sections are led into occupying their minds with those things, precisely because in a more globalized capitalism, the main economic activity of imperialist countries (and now middle class in Third World countries too) has to do with finance and financial speculation, or the high end of technology (and not so much the production of basic materials for life). So that is not just a matter of harmless interests, but those interests have been shaped precisely because of the position those countries/class occupy in the world economy. Let’s say for example, branding yourself, the self-creation of status, wouldn’t really be the first thing you would think of if you were a peasant trying to make ends meet every harvest cycle, and in fact, the peasants I have been around have no notion of branding themselves, in opposition to people with more middle-class aspirations. It doesn’t mean that this phenomena doesn’t affect people of all walks of life, precisely because imperialism is like a parasite reaching out to every corner, and in fact even people who don’t have a brand are branding themselves through social media, or just by bragging about things, because we are all forced into this relation of competition. But it is an important understanding that people’s preoccupations are very much shaped by the position they hold in the production chain (themselves or the positions the countries where they are born has). So all of that to say that part of fighting for people to break with the parasitic entitlement that comes spontaneously with living in an imperialist country or by being part of a privileged class, is to show people where those things come from and how disgustingly people get manipulated into accepting things as the natural order of things, when in reality there is a larger phenomena shaping all of that. That ideological part of the parasitism, as well as the material part (that society couldn’t function, or those ways of living couldn’t really be possible without the whole network of production and exploitation worldwide) is something I really appreciate from the piece, that through the whole of it, it is dealing with those more prominent phenomena that hold people into going along with the world as it is, as a fundamental struggle that HAS to be waged and popularized if we are to seek a real change. And again the author goes through it all in a way that is just remarkably accessible, giving living examples on how everyday customs/assumptions/etc. are closely linked with the structural organization of the society.

I also appreciate of this section the profound analysis of how this whole imperialism leads people to identify their interests, and status, with the dominant position of the U.S. This is very close to me also because I have seen that in my own family, that once moved to the U.S., see themselves as holders of more status, even as in this country they are being oppressed. And that seems as a general rule even for those in a worst situation, like the family who stayed, who also would see the ones living in the U.S. as better people and those staying in as of lesser status. It was very spontaneous, and if one thinks about it, it’s so disgusting to make an equivalence of the dominant position of a country that accomplished it by destroying other peoples lives, to make an equivalence of that to your own worth. Definitely comes down to getting in on the oppression, even as it is not a conscious decision. So this as a very literal example, but in the document BA struggles hard on the fact that silence is complicity and in the face of all the horrors that this country commits against the people of the world, knowing about it and being silenced is one of those forms of just getting in on the oppression.

“Identity Politics and Individualism”

This whole section in general is so important because is directly polemicizing against the most common and spontaneous paths that people take in dealing with oppression and how identity politics is shaping the terms of people’s opposition to the system and its horrors, terms that are all upside down and actually work counter to any attempt to get rid of oppression. To a great degree this section sets the criteria by which things should be judged and acted on (example with trauma phenomena, the cancel culture, etc...) and walks people thru some of the texture of why one path could lead to liberation and not the other one.

Identity politics can be seen as a liberating outlook because it upholds oppressed people, and I appreciated the quote from All Played Out, which is very enlightening: “there is the ‘politics of ‘identity’ that really comes back down to me.’” Reflecting on it, that outlook of identity politics doesn’t look into strategies for getting rid of oppression, but instead just seeks to provide with some gratification or some sort of “reparation” to oppressed individuals in the form of “letting them speak, giving them a platform, having a safe space, etc....” And leaving out of the picture the whole fight for full liberation of the whole section of people.

In characterizing some of the elements associated to identity politics, in speaking about the trauma, I can’t agree more about the extreme to what this is taking to, and how idealistic is to carve out safe spaces, or pretend that the world goes around anyone’s particular trauma. But I actually think that when speaking about where the horrors that generate trauma come from, and the need for people to come together with determination to put an end to the causes of it, ... is the fact that the real trauma, depending of its levels and specifications, does need to be treated in itself, with the right tools and particularities. [I feel] ... only being part of a collective to fight to end the source of the atrocities that traumatize people, is not enough (nor the only thing needed) for people to actually be enabled to contribute as much as they can to such a goal. So not turning inwards is fundamental in the approach to end the source of oppression, as individuals who need it, should undergo a process of healing according to their situation. I think that is a more dialectical-materialist take on it, and something important to acknowledge.

“Individualism and ‘Indifference’”

I also appreciate the quoting of Ruminations and Wranglings on the personal ties of people. Ruminations and Wrangling has been such an important work to be able to understand a lot of the social relations (and all the dynamics intertwined with them, as the 4 Alls) that people enter into, to demystify them and see them for what they are, a network of relations which appear independent of the dynamics of capitalism, but in reality, a network defined by those dynamics. So “rumination” has been particularly helpful in the struggle to break with petit bourgeois illusions. And I really appreciate how in this piece: “Hope On A Scientific Basis,” the point that Marx makes on the apparent independence of personal ties is analyzed in how it takes the form of individualism and the indifference towards other people as “I am just a person, my own interests, doing me” and being forced to be indifferent towards others because of the relations people are forced into (competition, conflict) I think that is correct, and even as that formulation by Marx has been extremely helpful, I hadn’t analyzed that in this way.

“Particular Interests and General Interests”

This comment is actually something that runs through the whole piece (and in general in the works of BA) which we still can have a hard time doing, and is the way in which he doesn’t dismisses people’s fight against different forms of discrimination or exploitation, but he is able to draw out even as those fights are important, and shouldn’t be opposed, they don’t deal with the essence of what the problem is, and how they sometimes (like putting women in positions of power given their discrimination) end up reinforcing the relations of oppression. And he just breaks it down, the fundamental truth that other than revolution, everything else is BS, but done in a way in which people are led to understand why is that so. And a lot of why I think he is able to do that, is because he departs from reality, and not from dogma, from investigating and probing reality and not making “our truth” fit the real world. I think this is something we as a movement need to exercise more and develop so that it is how we approach things consistently.

I also want to highlight after the brief but in depth analysis of the forces for revolution, there is a challenge that get posed, as to what is it we need to do now, to do what is in the interest of humanity “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.” And that it is our responsibility, the responsibility of those who have come to a scientific understanding of the problem and solution, to go and wage that tremendous struggle among people. And this is really a call to go wage the necessary struggle, which means to go in the middle of where all the frameworks that keep people from understanding the world as is are taking hold, to get in the mix of things and fight to bust people off their frameworks. A positive example of this is the intervention done at the FTP rally in NYC. And we must be full energized and full confident that that is what we are supposed to be doing, and fight to do it even better, develop better forms to inspire more people, to challenge more people... and if there has been any kind of hesitation because of people’s response to our challenges, etc., then we have to consistently go back to this point that in order for this rev to be taken up by masses of people, we have to wage a tremendous struggle against all the dominant ways of thinking, and that is what would give us the confidence and the determination to go up against whatever odds we confront. Our slogan of “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution” has real meaning.

There is much more to say, about the rest of the piece, but given time I won’t be able to write it down, but I am looking forward to wrangling collectively about the implications and significance of the content of this piece, as well as the transformations we can make using it as part of the tools to inform our work, outlook, and method.

[back to top]

 

Table of Contents

Trailer for the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

See the complete film here.

The following is taken from the talk
Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

by Bob Avakian

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of “Painless Progress”

With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

Read more

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 5.5x8.5" brochure
DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 8.5x11 pamphlet

Also available in Spanish

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

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 by Bob Avakian in 2009.

Read more

Breakthroughs —

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

Updated prepublication PDF, November, 2019

 

Read or download (searchable PDF)

Now also available in Spanish

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/627/a-big-question-how-do-i-connect-up-with-the-revolution-club-if-i-dont-live-nearby-en.html

We received the following correspondence. We invite your comments and help in solving this problem.

A Big Question: How Do I Connect Up with the Revolution Club if I Don't Live Nearby?

| revcom.us

 

From a Tour member

We had a conversation with a young guy who was wrangling with the fact that it was very difficult for him to connect up with the Revolution Club. He says there are a lot of youths who would be interested in this who are having conversations online about the state of the world and how to change it but there’s no form for them to actually act on those ideas and get organized. He said in these chat rooms he sees youths getting into all kinds of radical ideas although they don’t offer real solutions. He said this was opposed to the fascists who put out ideas and they also offer a way to get organized into their movement.

He thought it was unfortunate that the only reason he knew about revcom was because a family member told him about it, and even now that he knows, it’s hard for him to be involved because he is from a next door county and has to come all the way down to LA to be a part of things like protest. He was wondering what he could do, but he was also posing that we need a forum to decentralize organization and provide an on-ramp for people. He suggested “discord,” which he says many youths know about. He said another family member (a computer programmer) could help set up some type of online program for revcom; he said if it was a revcom platform versus using “discord,” more youths would view it as “legit.” He thought this (discord-type thing) could serve as a place for people to talk about theory because when he tries to talk to people, they don’t always wanna hear it (and he was saying he would appreciate collectivity and conversation with others), and he thought this could be a place where we can put out a simple call to spread the word, where people can report back about how it went, and where people can unleash some creativity through the process of deepening their understanding. He was for allowing this to unfold versus carefully managing it. (He was going to write down his concrete ideas/suggestions and send to revcom.). He said the website currently is not so easy to navigate and he had a hard time finding the Rev Club and how to get linked up and what to do.

He is thoughtful, thinking about big questions, how does a situation like in Iran change from what it is to more of a revolutionary situation in the future? Do the communists there take up the new synthesis? I read to him the quote on “There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole” and about what’s represented by the new synthesis. And that we are fighting to bring forward a new stage of communist revolutions. This was in context of him asking whether others around the world are taking this up. And he thought we should promote those groups that are taking this up. He said he’s been showing clips of BA films to his friends. He said he read The New Communism online... and reading BA on fascism gave him a better understanding of why it could actually happen here. We told him that thinking and contributing thoughts, observations, (like he was doing) is part of what’s needed. You don’t have to come to protests in order to be a part of this (he said he would not be able to come to lots of these protests). He was asking about what does the Rev Club do. I had previously gotten into the 5-2-6 and POA. Gave him copy. We got into what it means to be part of this movement for rev... and the 2 things we need as BA put it... a mass movement for rev and a growing organized expression... more to be gotten into.

Anyway, that’s the basics of it.

 

 

Donate to the National Revolution Tour

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

You can also make this a monthly donation


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

Connect with the Revolution Club:

Bay Area:
revclub.bayarea@gmail.com
facebook.com/revolutionclub.bayarea/
Twitter and IG: @revclub_bay

Chicago:
(312) 804-9121
Revclub.chi@gmail.com
facebook.com/revclubchi/
1857 E. 71st Street
Chicago, Illinois 60649

Los Angeles:
(323) 245-6947
revclub_la@yahoo.com
@revclub_la
2716 S. Vermont Ave Unit 8
Los Angeles, CA

New York City:
646-717-7161
nycrevclub@gmail.com
@nycrevclub
or visit Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Blvd./Lenox Ave., Harlem, NYC

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.

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/625/bob-avakian-statements-on-what-is-fascism-en.html

WHAT IS FASCISM

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 “America First” jingoism and trumpeting of “the superiority of western civilization” and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.

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


* What Is Fascism?

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]

Download these quotes as a pamphlet to print and distribute:

 

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

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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.”

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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/618/bob-avakian-excerpts-en.html

Excerpts from:

Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

by Bob Avakian

Updated | revcom.us

 

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

 

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

Posted December 9, 2019:

The following from Part 2 of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution* remains extremely relevant and important:

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

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

 

Posted December 1, 2019:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Posted November 11, 2019:

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

 

 

Virulent Individualism and Oblivious Individualism

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

If something makes people uncomfortable—and still more, if it holds out the prospect of sacrifice, necessary sacrifice, on their part—far too many people turn away from it.  As I’ve pointed out before, there’s this whole attitude of approaching reality as if it’s a “buffet,” or approaching it like a consumer: “Well, that makes me uncomfortable. I’ll just leave that to the side. I don’t want to look at that because that makes me uncomfortable.”

 

 

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

 

 

One of the most common and problematical forms of this repeated and stubborn insistence on chasing after the illusion of “painless progress,” particularly among people who consider themselves somewhat enlightened (or progressive, or “woke,” or however they want to put it), is what we very rightly term BEB—Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit—and the phenomenon that people continually confine themselves to the narrow limits of what is presented to them by one section of the ruling class, as embodied in the Democratic Party:  “These are the limits of what I’ll consider in terms of possibly bringing about change”—because this is the well-worn rut of what is, at least up to this point, relatively safe in terms of political engagement.

 

 

The people who voted for Trump are the kind of people who would have been pro-slavery, had they been around at the time of slavery in the United States. And those who find it acceptable to have the overt white supremacist Trump in the White House are the kind of people who would have ignored or would have openly accepted and justified or rationalized slavery when it existed.

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

Posted November 4, 2019:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Posted October 21, 2019:

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

And, as gone into more fully in BAsics:

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

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

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/627/correspondence-from-readers-on-hope-for-humanity-en.html

Correspondence from Readers about Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

| revcom.us

 

Reflections off Reading Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

Editors note: These are edited excerpts of reflections by members of the National Revolution Tour and the Revolution Club, sparked by their reading and engagement of Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism, by Bob Avakian.

I mainly dedicated a lot of time to rereading the piece Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis and there’s a lot to get into, so these are just my initial thoughts as well as questions.

I think that there are many important things that are tightly packed into this piece, including how to approach the ways people are thinking in this moment with a fascist regime in power and acting commensurately with that. It really speaks to where the outlooks of individualism, American chauvinism, parasitism actually come from and are not just forms of “selfishness” that get in the way of people acting in the interest of humanity, but are outlooks that have a real material basis in reality to be taken up spontaneously because of the workings of capitalism-imperialism and how it conditions people to think. Also, if challenged in the right way it can be transformed and has to be seen as a problem of the revolution that we have to solve with the very masses of people who are influenced by it in one way or another in order to change it.

I was thinking more about what BA says: “[T]here’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.”

How do we unleash this hope in a mass way and have a situation where many people are starting to see that the world doesn’t have to be this way even in a basic sense? How does that relate to the two-way street and the role of the revolutionaries in this moment? I think I see a lot of this basic hope within the youth who are striking for the climate around the world, or the students on different campuses more recently protesting against Ann Coulter, Trump Jr., etc., and the people flooding the streets in different countries demanding the ouster of oppressive regimes. Where that goes is a question, but I think that’s where a lot of the potential for things to break open in society lies, and how these different outpourings and responses in society can have an impact on the people who are not acting, and is key in the process of making revolution. I feel like once this basic understanding comes into play, a whole lot of different things can come into question and to the fore even in a short period of time, but there’s a need to follow those basic convictions through because individualism/American chauvinism are actively working against even obtaining that basic understanding. But I think outlining where hope comes from on a scientific basis, and comparing it to faith/religion or lack of hope is important, because it allows people to compare and contrast what is to how things could be, and how there’s a basis to get there in reality, if that makes sense.

Not to jump around, but something I hadn’t thought of more deeply but struck me when rereading this piece was the section on individualism and “indifference.” And I think it’s because this outlook I’ve seen play out and taken up by people I know (including myself) who should know better, and has done great harm to people on an individual level but ultimately great harm to the masses of humanity. And the indifference can go easily unnoticed or unchallenged because it’s very much the norm, but makes it all the more poisonous, frustrating and dangerous. What I see and have seen in people is very concentrated in these two parts:

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.

I’ve experienced and seen a lot of this “I’m doing me,” and thought it was wrong and ugly, but didn’t actually walk it all the way through on what that kind of outlook is bound up with and what the actual effects are in reality when you act like that. People are individuals, but we don’t just exist as individuals and what we choose to do or not do has an effect on the people around us and on society as whole, even if we know it or not.

The thing around being forced into competition and conflict is still something I’m wrestling with, but I can see it in the ways that women are forced to compete with one another over men, or people ignoring the larger world on the basis of doing their own thing, meanwhile, the ability to function that way actually rests on the lives of human beings, especially living in America where everything we have or own is acquired through a global network of exploitation (food, clothes, etc.) And this kind of mentality really reminds me of the dominant social media culture/selfie culture where people live out their whole lives posting pictures of themselves or their brand on social media and it can be liked by thousands of people, who in turn those people are kind of living vicariously through these social media influencers because they want that kind of life and can’t have it, and gives them a way to be consumed with something really meaningless and not pay attention to the world. [back to top]

 


There’s a lot to be gleaned from why it is that BA opens up this work, which deals a lot with the obstacles that stand in the way of masses of people acting in the interests of humanity, in a way that shatters the misguided and harmful notion that “things have always been this way” or, at least, “nothing can be done to change things.” BA provides some texture of “the times” of the Sixties, not just because it’s interesting in its own right (although it is), but as a way to illustrate how drastically different circumstances and people can be, and how quickly they can be transformed in a positive direction. This overall analysis and summation of this period, the key social forces and the thinking of the people, is done with a lot of materialism and historical sweep. The section which hits at religion illustrates an approach and method which is consistent with what he put forward in the Dialogue with Cornel West, and the “big arms” of a communist statesman. It’s really important to know why religion is such a mental shackle, what that means in general, and in particular for the struggle against oppression and for revolution and a better world.

The section on individualism deals with both the underlying philosophical and material underpinnings of the forms of individualism that are so dominant in the society and the world and their connection to the world-historic conjunction we face with ascendant, consolidating fascism and the largely passive, inactive masses of people who are effectively collaborating with and allowing this to happen by their inaction. The formulation of Pelosi’s “Three Fears” is particularly relevant for how we both orient people and how we “push on” the objective situation in this period, and without this analysis, masses of people will be left confused and led by one section of the bourgeoisie or another to explain (or explain away) the divisions at the top.

Similarly, the “A Question and A Challenge” on the real possibility of Trump either being re-elected or refusing to leave office, continues to be essential. We’ve used this “provocation” a lot in the course of mass work (although a lot more could be, and should be done going forward, as RefuseFascism/#OUTNOW continues towards another manifestation), and it has transformed some of how we’ve gone at working with people, in that it concentrates a good deal of method: putting the problems of the revolution (and what is, in this case, a BIG problem for the masses of humanity overall, whether they realize it or not) before the masses of people, and active social investigation as a pivot into organizing. This experience has been uneven, particularly when it comes to organizing, and it’s totally different from passive social investigation, which can be a tendency.

The question of individuality being given flight and people’s potential creativity and freedom being unleashed on a whole other level and with a different basis under Communism is something that really connected with me in a way this point hasn’t before. The way it’s put here was very illuminating. [back to top]

 


This shit really got my brain going... It so well stitched and consistent! BA is so awesome. Mostly I feel like I need to read it two or three more times though to be honest.

While reading Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis there were a lot of things that provoked me, but I felt profoundly struck by this part near the beginning where BA is talking about the relation between the movement for revolution and the immediate need to #OUTNOW the fascists. This is not a one-way street and should not be viewed in a linear mechanical sense, i.e. “first we build a mass movement to remove the Trump/Pence fascists and then turn our efforts to working for revolution.” He makes the point that we have to unite and mobilize masses of people from different perspectives, but that it will be extremely difficult to do this on the scale and with the determination that is needed to meet our objective if there are not greater numbers of people coming forward around the understanding that its both necessary to remove the regime, and the whole system from whose contradictions fascism is born. In particular, I was provoked by the this determination point. I started to wonder about what kind of determination will be required and how that determination will be forged and what kind of understanding is needed to fuel and sustain it. BA does make the point in this same paragraph that “[T]he 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.” I get the sense that hope and determination go together, and that the defining character of that hope is decisive. Will the determination of the people be forged by the kind of hope that is marked by any of the many strands of individualism? Or will the determination of the people be forged, influenced, and strengthened by the understanding, even a basic understanding at first, of why there is no permanent necessity for things to be as they are now? Hope on a scientific basis.

If the latter is to win out, the forces for revolution need to be thinking of strategic, creative, and tactical ways to wage the ideological battle for the emancipation of humanity now in that most crucial arena of Epistemology. Deepening our own understanding and thereby strengthening our own resolve while carrying this out in practice is crucial. Knowing is theoretical vitality, it gives us hope and fuels our determination, it can and must do the same very broadly for humanity and its future. BA makes this clear and emphasizes that it’s not just that Knowing about actual reality and grasping the essential character of the scientific method is crucial for academics, but it is vitally important for those who catch the worst hell under this fucked-up system here and all over the world; for all those who can and must become not just the backbone, but the driving force of a revolution to bend the bars and break the chains of all oppression and exploitation throughout the world.

To uproot a thing you have to have a firm grip. To uproot the parasite of capitalism-imperialism, you’re gonna need the most consistent, systematic, and comprehensive scientific approach to reality, the communist world outlook and method, and more specifically, the work that BA has been doing for decades. On this point of the communist world outlook, it’s actually what is needed. BA says, “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....” Marx and Engels for their part made the declaration over 150 years ago that the communist revolution, and emancipating principles, methods, and aims involves a radical rupture with the traditional property relations that enslave people, and a radical rupture with all the traditional ideas that reflect and reinforce those property relations. Understanding the radical difference between faith and the process of acquiring rational knowledge is of the utmost importance in carrying out the struggle to achieve these two sets of radical ruptures, and taking the next leap toward a whole new and liberating era in human history. All this has really provoked and inspired some ambition in me to dig deeper and fight harder in the arena of epistemology, to step up my game and deepen my understanding, to learn from and alongside my comrades and the masses, while fighting for and seeking out the truth no matter how unpopular it might be. [back to top]

 


I have been thinking a lot about the title of the BA’s book: Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis and what the relationship is between hope and a scientific basis. And that there is a dialectical relationship between both understanding scientifically why the world doesn’t have to be this way and hope for something better. Hope in something real. Not religion or things that are unseen but hope for something that could be. I think about Outernational’s song, I got these dreams, when I sleep and I got these dreams that really could be. In a time where the future is in peril, the planet itself and a fascist regime on the brink of consolidating power—big questions of whether or not there is going to be the future, hope on scientific foundation is our biggest strength. If it were to take root, (and how does it take root?) it could be game changing.

 I was struck by in the piece where he talks about the tremendous importance to people getting a basic understanding that there is no necessity of existing conditions and why that it is, and I wonder how do we bring that understanding to people, not just in a one-to-one way but to blocs of people and what’s the process people enter into to develop that understanding, not just in an academic sense, although theory is tremendously important for people. One thing that I have gotten a deeper appreciation is the relationship between the Enriched What Is To Be Doneism, putting the problems before people, and the struggle over how people arrive at what’s true and what they understand.

Part of this, is people themselves are then brought into a conscious process of getting at what’s true and I think we need a lot more of this—but also not applying EWITBD because you are trying to get people to think a certain way, but you are trying to get them to THINK CRITICALLY, also wanting to learn a lot from that process vs. we have our fixed way of doing things. This is a big part of what I applied with people who came to the meeting, asking them about the elections, how did they see the elections stopping this? What would happen if Trump won again? What do they understand about what we are trying to do?

And then there are a lot of other important points BA is making about what we are confronted by, in particular in a country like this, where people whose outlook is self out, and the fact that, yes, people are individuals but they are that IN A larger context.

Some of us were re-watching that movie Human Flow by Ai Weiwei which everyone should see; it’s about the massive refugee crisis and it documents what people go through along with really bringing to life their humanity, and this hits you even harder, because these people aren’t just numbers, but as Rachel Corrie said, “They are us and we are them.” And then you think of people who are have literally spent their whole lives in these refugee camps with nothing, not electricity, no clean water, no clean sanitation, with disease and so forth, and all the gates and walls going up around the country, and then people want to say, well I’m just going to “do me” or follow my dreams. Completely oblivious not only to what is happening in the world, but actually part of why this shit has happened has been because of what YOUR country has done to these other countries in pursuit of its riches, the wars, the destruction to the environment. You want to think you are independent of this but you aren’t, you are part of this, your life, your goodies came from that, you are bound up in this network of exploitation, you didn’t choose it, but you exist in it so let’s all just stop pretending like we are just people following our dreams absent of that. This was one thing that had a big impact on me, when I went to Costa Rica and we stayed in a village, and we stayed in this really nice house with a pool and everything, and next door, people had huts with no electricity. And on my visit—I was seriously considering living there and being off the grid, not working anymore, but then I confronted, actually while I was there, and even more sharply—did I really want to be someone who turned my back on all those other people so that I could have my comforts. And so I decided against it.

This is also what I was thinking about in relation to the American Crime series. That people have no fucking idea what is happening around the world or what these imperialists have done and the murderous organization that the Democratic Party is. I’d like us to have a big chart with all the crimes of the Democratic Party and have people add on to it as a project, something visual that could be taken to different places where you say—how many people have to be massacred by an organization before you declare them a murderous organization... It’s amazing to me you can live in a country responsible for such massive atrocities—as Frederick Douglass said, “For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

There’s a lot to say too about the BEB, the illusions of Painless Progress, & people striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and all this is driven by not what is in the interests of humanity, but by self, not paying attention to the larger dynamics shaping up in society and so forth. The thing that struck me in this piece too is how he identifies all the different expressions of how the individualism takes shape in opposition to a communist outlook—the narrowness of identify politics, the pseudo-cynicism, excusing your refusal to do anything and a persistent sense of entitlement, not wanting to confront the overt leap of fascism because it means you might have to do things differently.

There is really a lot of ugliness in people’s thinking, but all of this is important to compare and contrast, hitting at the American Chauvinism can break people out of that. Even when Colin Kaepernick sat down for the flag, what got cut out was the best thing about it—how he was challenging the narrative that America is the greatest country in the world, and instead what he was doing was “being patriotic” by trying to make this country live up to its true values... So I think there is a question around how do you hit at something that deep and what is the relationship between standing up, and going up against all the ways of thinking in society and bringing to life that fact that the world doesn’t have to be this way—we could have a world without all this white supremacy, exploitation, degradation of women, without the wars and borders and walls and tanks to enforce them, and how truly liberating that would be. Something worth fighting and dying for & something worth sacrificing for. [back to top]

 


When I first read this piece, the part that stood out to me was the one on the youth. How BA was posing questions or where is it that the youth are at and where he provided different observations from the past when he was younger & during the time of the ’60s to some obstacles the youth are going through now. He talked about how the feeling of “who are these people to run things” not coming from a self out or identity perspective but coming from the danger... to humanity or feeling like they are incapable of what is needed to be done. This point led me to pay more attention to art & culture among the youth from popular artists to memes, TikToks & YouTube content creators.

... Every generation has some bit of rebelliousness but the character matters & a lot of what is out there is in alignment with the points on individualism that he makes in this piece.

The other point that I mentioned earlier was the point on the infantilization of the youth and treating them as if they can’t or shouldn’t handle the reality of what’s going on. This made me reflect on my years of high school, some of our work with students, but more so how youth are treated in society overall. I’ve noticed that when talking to youth seriously and speaking plainly to the reality of what is going on, the more common reaction is retreating in to the comfort of that “infancy” or so to speak “I’m too young” or “I can’t vote” and other responses that correspond to this.

It’s very tricky because at the same time there is a major wave of youth stepping out around the climate crises & who are taking up the position of “you guys have fucked up the world and now it’s up to us to save it.” Yet this goes out of focus & that conscious recognition goes back to an oblivious & parasitic state. Modeled in new pop culture trends of alternative lifestyles or “groups” such as VSCO girls—who are eco-conscious but still live consumer lives with talk of saving turtles by having metal straws or e-girls & boys who are modern day “scene kids” that ridicule this lifestyle but seem to have a basic agreement that if anything the environment is being destroyed but who are still proceeding from ME ME ME I I I with their internet personas. I think this new piece not only poses a lot of questions but provides some concrete backing for the potential that there is to tap into what could be a turning point in (1) learning from people & (2) giving people hope on a scientific foundation.

I’ll have to read it again but I hope to write more thoughts on this in the future. [back to top]

 


In general I think this is a very complete piece that breaks down some important fundamental theory, and at the same time is struggling big time to break down most of the dominant frameworks in American society, as well as the challenges posed to people who want to fight for revolution.

For example one very heavy insight is brought up when the author at the beginning is talking about the fight to oust fascism, and references Steve King’s comment which is very heavy and as he points out has a “demented insight” of what are some of the dynamics that are at play right now with the fascists and the opposition. BA rightly points out that such comment is full of aggression, but he goes further into acknowledging not only the righteousness of fighting and standing for different rights (in this case trans rights), but also the real limitations of outlook of those people in the right side of the divide: narrowness related to identity (and other things) and the fact that such a narrow approach doesn’t pay attention to the larger dynamics shaping society as a whole and that ultimately are going to be affecting and defining to a large degree what happens with those rights that people are fighting to defend. This is not just a great insight of BA, but is a real problem, because such a narrowness is the most widespread phenomena among those people opposing injustice or even when opposing Trump directly. This is also a model, which runs through the piece, of bringing to life the reality of what we are confronting, and leading the reader to understand why, for example, that approach is narrow without seeming careless about real particular injustices that are being carried out (and heightened).

Quoting the Why/How speech [Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution], there is a statement on how it would be more difficult to mobilize people around the demand of T/P out, at the scale and with the determination that is required if there are not greater numbers of people being brought forward with a revolutionary understanding. I thought when I first heard it that it was a profound statement which was true in part because having a revolutionary outlook would allow for people to more easily identify when the struggle is being hijacked (let’s say solutions that can lead to a resolution short of getting rid of the regime, for example replacing Trump with another fascist who is gonna carry out the same program). Or getting people demobilized given certain concessions short of getting rid of regime. Specially given the level of American chauvinism and illusion in painless progress, any kind of resistance could be corralled back into the workings of the system—like right now in Colombia, given precisely the illusion of painless progress, the uprising that is going on right now in the country is calling for certain demands short of the ousting of the fascist in power, and seeking to meet with the government to get to agreements and reforms- so having a growing core of revolutionaries would strengthen the OUTNOW movement..... Some examples that can be drawn for example have been the mobilizations we have seen across the world in the past months and years, in which the scale and determination of the struggle came more from the workings of the system itself which opened up people’s eyes on what is the role of the police, for example, or the role of the politicians, or the press, and stood up in growing and more determined resistance. (There is an example of mothers in Hong Kong defending their kids in a peaceful way have been attacked by police, which has lead them to more fiercely speak up and defend the protests in a moment when the state have been trying to criminalize them).

“Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism”

I think it is very important specially for people in the middle class everywhere and people living in imperialist countries in general, to wrangle and examine social phenomena they are part of, things they have been led to think, and to enable them to see why people’s minds are occupied with certain things. And this is a big part of what this section is about.

For example the selfie phenomena, the branding yourself, hedonism, acquisitiveness (as the ideological seal of parasitism), and the connection of those seemingly harmless ways of thinking with the parasitism of this society and the fact that whole sections are led into occupying their minds with those things, precisely because in a more globalized capitalism, the main economic activity of imperialist countries (and now middle class in Third World countries too) has to do with finance and financial speculation, or the high end of technology (and not so much the production of basic materials for life). So that is not just a matter of harmless interests, but those interests have been shaped precisely because of the position those countries/class occupy in the world economy. Let’s say for example, branding yourself, the self-creation of status, wouldn’t really be the first thing you would think of if you were a peasant trying to make ends meet every harvest cycle, and in fact, the peasants I have been around have no notion of branding themselves, in opposition to people with more middle-class aspirations. It doesn’t mean that this phenomena doesn’t affect people of all walks of life, precisely because imperialism is like a parasite reaching out to every corner, and in fact even people who don’t have a brand are branding themselves through social media, or just by bragging about things, because we are all forced into this relation of competition. But it is an important understanding that people’s preoccupations are very much shaped by the position they hold in the production chain (themselves or the positions the countries where they are born has). So all of that to say that part of fighting for people to break with the parasitic entitlement that comes spontaneously with living in an imperialist country or by being part of a privileged class, is to show people where those things come from and how disgustingly people get manipulated into accepting things as the natural order of things, when in reality there is a larger phenomena shaping all of that. That ideological part of the parasitism, as well as the material part (that society couldn’t function, or those ways of living couldn’t really be possible without the whole network of production and exploitation worldwide) is something I really appreciate from the piece, that through the whole of it, it is dealing with those more prominent phenomena that hold people into going along with the world as it is, as a fundamental struggle that HAS to be waged and popularized if we are to seek a real change. And again the author goes through it all in a way that is just remarkably accessible, giving living examples on how everyday customs/assumptions/etc. are closely linked with the structural organization of the society.

I also appreciate of this section the profound analysis of how this whole imperialism leads people to identify their interests, and status, with the dominant position of the U.S. This is very close to me also because I have seen that in my own family, that once moved to the U.S., see themselves as holders of more status, even as in this country they are being oppressed. And that seems as a general rule even for those in a worst situation, like the family who stayed, who also would see the ones living in the U.S. as better people and those staying in as of lesser status. It was very spontaneous, and if one thinks about it, it’s so disgusting to make an equivalence of the dominant position of a country that accomplished it by destroying other peoples lives, to make an equivalence of that to your own worth. Definitely comes down to getting in on the oppression, even as it is not a conscious decision. So this as a very literal example, but in the document BA struggles hard on the fact that silence is complicity and in the face of all the horrors that this country commits against the people of the world, knowing about it and being silenced is one of those forms of just getting in on the oppression.

“Identity Politics and Individualism”

This whole section in general is so important because is directly polemicizing against the most common and spontaneous paths that people take in dealing with oppression and how identity politics is shaping the terms of people’s opposition to the system and its horrors, terms that are all upside down and actually work counter to any attempt to get rid of oppression. To a great degree this section sets the criteria by which things should be judged and acted on (example with trauma phenomena, the cancel culture, etc...) and walks people thru some of the texture of why one path could lead to liberation and not the other one.

Identity politics can be seen as a liberating outlook because it upholds oppressed people, and I appreciated the quote from All Played Out, which is very enlightening: “there is the ‘politics of ‘identity’ that really comes back down to me.’” Reflecting on it, that outlook of identity politics doesn’t look into strategies for getting rid of oppression, but instead just seeks to provide with some gratification or some sort of “reparation” to oppressed individuals in the form of “letting them speak, giving them a platform, having a safe space, etc....” And leaving out of the picture the whole fight for full liberation of the whole section of people.

In characterizing some of the elements associated to identity politics, in speaking about the trauma, I can’t agree more about the extreme to what this is taking to, and how idealistic is to carve out safe spaces, or pretend that the world goes around anyone’s particular trauma. But I actually think that when speaking about where the horrors that generate trauma come from, and the need for people to come together with determination to put an end to the causes of it, ... is the fact that the real trauma, depending of its levels and specifications, does need to be treated in itself, with the right tools and particularities. [I feel] ... only being part of a collective to fight to end the source of the atrocities that traumatize people, is not enough (nor the only thing needed) for people to actually be enabled to contribute as much as they can to such a goal. So not turning inwards is fundamental in the approach to end the source of oppression, as individuals who need it, should undergo a process of healing according to their situation. I think that is a more dialectical-materialist take on it, and something important to acknowledge.

“Individualism and ‘Indifference’”

I also appreciate the quoting of Ruminations and Wranglings on the personal ties of people. Ruminations and Wrangling has been such an important work to be able to understand a lot of the social relations (and all the dynamics intertwined with them, as the 4 Alls) that people enter into, to demystify them and see them for what they are, a network of relations which appear independent of the dynamics of capitalism, but in reality, a network defined by those dynamics. So “rumination” has been particularly helpful in the struggle to break with petit bourgeois illusions. And I really appreciate how in this piece: “Hope On A Scientific Basis,” the point that Marx makes on the apparent independence of personal ties is analyzed in how it takes the form of individualism and the indifference towards other people as “I am just a person, my own interests, doing me” and being forced to be indifferent towards others because of the relations people are forced into (competition, conflict) I think that is correct, and even as that formulation by Marx has been extremely helpful, I hadn’t analyzed that in this way.

“Particular Interests and General Interests”

This comment is actually something that runs through the whole piece (and in general in the works of BA) which we still can have a hard time doing, and is the way in which he doesn’t dismisses people’s fight against different forms of discrimination or exploitation, but he is able to draw out even as those fights are important, and shouldn’t be opposed, they don’t deal with the essence of what the problem is, and how they sometimes (like putting women in positions of power given their discrimination) end up reinforcing the relations of oppression. And he just breaks it down, the fundamental truth that other than revolution, everything else is BS, but done in a way in which people are led to understand why is that so. And a lot of why I think he is able to do that, is because he departs from reality, and not from dogma, from investigating and probing reality and not making “our truth” fit the real world. I think this is something we as a movement need to exercise more and develop so that it is how we approach things consistently.

I also want to highlight after the brief but in depth analysis of the forces for revolution, there is a challenge that get posed, as to what is it we need to do now, to do what is in the interest of humanity “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.” And that it is our responsibility, the responsibility of those who have come to a scientific understanding of the problem and solution, to go and wage that tremendous struggle among people. And this is really a call to go wage the necessary struggle, which means to go in the middle of where all the frameworks that keep people from understanding the world as is are taking hold, to get in the mix of things and fight to bust people off their frameworks. A positive example of this is the intervention done at the FTP rally in NYC. And we must be full energized and full confident that that is what we are supposed to be doing, and fight to do it even better, develop better forms to inspire more people, to challenge more people... and if there has been any kind of hesitation because of people’s response to our challenges, etc., then we have to consistently go back to this point that in order for this rev to be taken up by masses of people, we have to wage a tremendous struggle against all the dominant ways of thinking, and that is what would give us the confidence and the determination to go up against whatever odds we confront. Our slogan of “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution” has real meaning.

There is much more to say, about the rest of the piece, but given time I won’t be able to write it down, but I am looking forward to wrangling collectively about the implications and significance of the content of this piece, as well as the transformations we can make using it as part of the tools to inform our work, outlook, and method. [back to top]

An Urgent Question: What Are YOU Gonna Do NOW?

To Revcom.us:

Every time I have gone over the article “Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of ‘Painless Progress’” that you have been running by Bob Avakian, I have been struck by the following questions that he poses “for the millions and tens of millions who hate everything Trump stands for but have failed or refused to mobilize, in their masses, in non-violent but sustained action around the demand that the Trump/Pence regime be removed from power, as has been called for by Refuse Fascism.”

The questions are:

If you will not take to the streets now to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, what will you do if Trump is re-elected (perhaps through the electoral college, even if he again loses the popular vote)? And what will you do if Trump loses the election (even by the electoral college count) but then refuses to recognize the results and insists he is still President?!

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

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

 

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?!

From "Individualism, BEB and the
Illusion of Painless Progress"

by Bob Avakian

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

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. [back to top]

 

The following is taken from the talk
Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

by Bob Avakian

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of “Painless Progress”

With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

Read more

DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 5.5x8.5" brochure
DOWNLOAD PDF for printing 8.5x11 pamphlet

Also available in Spanish

Trailer for the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN

See the complete film here.

See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

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 by Bob Avakian in 2009.

Read more

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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)

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

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

 

This article was originally published in 2014.

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/628/people-must-oppose-deadly-bombings-by-US-aggressors-in-Iraq-en.html

People Must Oppose the Deadly Bombings by the U.S. Aggressors in Iraq

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: As we post this article on the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria this past weekend, tensions have been quickly and dangerously escalating. On New Year’s Eve, thousands of people protesting the U.S. bombing surrounded the heavily fortified American embassy in Baghdad—the largest U.S. embassy in the world. They reportedly threw rocks at the embassy, drew graffiti on the walls, and demanded that the U.S. get out of Iraq. A group of protestors broke into the embassy compound, setting fires and smashing windows and doors. The group eventually left the embassy compound, but the protestors said they were going to camp outside to press for their demands.

U.S. officials immediately blamed Iran for the embassy protest. Trump tweeted that Iran “will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.” The U.S. announced the deployment of 750 additional troops to the region, where the U.S. already has a huge force of nuclear-armed warships, fighter bombers, and thousands of troops. This is a very volatile and dangerous situation, and brings even more urgency to the need for people to oppose U.S. aggression and war moves. Stay tuned to revcom.us.

~~~~~~~~~~

On December 29, the U.S. military carried out bombings from the air on three locations in northern Iraq and two right across the border in Syria. U.S. officials declared that the airstrikes—which reportedly killed 25 people and wounded about 50—were a reprisal for a rocket attack on a U.S. base in Kirkuk, Iraq, in which one U.S. contractor was killed. The U.S. has blamed a pro-Iranian group in Iraq for the attack on its base. Trump’s secretary of state Pompeo declared that “we will not stand for” Iran taking “actions that put American men and women in jeopardy.”

But who has actually been responsible for the deaths of millions across the Middle East? Look at the enormous toll from U.S. actions just in Iraq over the last two generations: The 100,000 and more killed during or immediately after the 1991 Desert Storm invasion. The estimated 1.2 million Iraqis, including 500,000 children, who died from starvation or disease in the 1990s due to U.S. sanctions and destruction of Iraq’s electrical and water systems. The astronomical number of Iraqis who have been killed or died as a result of the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, and the ongoing conflicts that they touched off: 2.4 million, according to the most accurate studies available. All this doesn’t even include the 105,000 Iraqis killed in the 1980-89 Iran-Iraq war, which the U.S. rulers fueled in pursuit of their own interests.

Last weekend’s airstrikes in Iraq and Syria are part of this bloody history of American war and aggression in Iraq and the Middle East. And they take place at a time when the Trump/Pence fascist regime is continuing to ratchet up tensions, escalate aggression, and heighten the danger of a potentially devastating war against Iran.1 Iran is a Third World country ruled by a reactionary Islamic theocracy that oppresses the Iranian people, supports reactionary forces around the region, and does not represent any liberating alternative to global capitalism-imperialism. But that doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. is the biggest aggressor and oppressor and represents a far greater danger to the people of the region and to humanity overall.

What gives the U.S. the right to set up bases halfway around the world in Iraq—and elsewhere across the globe, some 800 bases in over 80 countries—and declare that anyone who attacks them is an “aggressor” who is subject to devastating military attack? This is gangsterism in service of the U.S. rulers’ need and drive to lord it over the world—in particular, controlling the Middle East, with its vast oil reserves and strategic location, has been crucial to the power and dominance of the U.S. empire for decades.

All people of conscience, especially in this country, need to oppose the U.S. attacks in Iraq and Syria, and any further threats and aggression by the U.S. And there is a basic point of orientation that people in the U.S. need to take up when “our” rulers try to round up support for their actions against people of other countries:

American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives. 
–Bob Avakian, BAsics 5:7

 


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]

For some background on U.S. crimes in the region, see these installments of the revcom.us American Crime series:

U.S.-UN Sanctions on Iraq—“A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter”

“Operation Iraqi Freedom,” 2003

November 2004—War Crime Fallujah

1953 CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression – Made in the U.S.A.

Mass Murder in the Skies Over Iran: The Shoot-Down of Passenger Flight 655... by the U.S. Navy

 

 

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

 

Together, WE passed $40,000 in revcom's Winter fundraising campaign to “Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence”!

Reaching this goal is a real achievement and a victory for the people of the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of many people working creatively and collectively to meet this pressing need: those who donated whether large or small contributions, who fundraised, who spread the campaign, who sent statements, who raised comments, questions, criticisms or suggestions – and of course those who worked so hard on modernizing and upgrading our web technology and presence. It all made a difference!

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

During this four month fund drive, Revcom.us continued to incur thousands of dollars of costs each month for our office, maintaining our existing site and other expenses. But thanks to our existing monthly sustainers we were able to meet these expenses and use all the funds raised in the drive to transform the website.

So we encourage all our donors and those who’ve not yet donated to become monthly sustainers at whatever level you can afford.

Remember, humanity’s fate truly hinges on millions taking up the revolutionary science, strategy, and new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian which they can find at revcom.us.

You’ve read this article and now you need to be part of making sure revcom.us is able to make an urgently needed leap and transformation.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us: