revcom.us, May 25, 2020 through May 31, 2020 (#649)

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.

Published May 29, 2020

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/633/bob-avakian-a-radically-different-leader-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian is completely different than the endless stream of bourgeois politicians who are put forward as “leaders,” whose goal is to maintain one variation or another of this system of capitalism-imperialism that is founded on and perpetuates itself through cruel and literally life-stealing exploitation, murderous oppression, and massive destruction, in all parts of the world. BA is a revolutionary who bases himself on the scientific understanding that this system must finally be overthrown through an organized struggle involving millions of people, and replaced with a system that is oriented to and capable of meeting the most fundamental needs of humanity and enabling humanity to become fit caretakers of the earth.

Bob Avakian is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism, which is popularly referred to as the "new communism."

BA is the author of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, an inspiring application of the new communism—a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a new socialist society, whose fundamental goal is to bring about a world without classes and class distinctions, a world without exploitation and oppression, and without the destructive divisions and antagonisms among people: a communist world.

Ardea Skybreak, a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and a follower of Bob Avakian, speaks to the importance of what he has brought forward:

Bob Avakian ... on the basis of decades of hard work [has been] developing a whole body of work—theory to advance the science of communism, to advance the science of revolution, to more deeply explain where the problems come from, what the strategy is for getting out of this mess, what the methods and approaches should be to stay on track and actually build a better world, to build a society that most human beings would want to live in. (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)

BA is a leader who is firmly convinced, on the basis of a consistently scientific method and approach, that the goal must be nothing less than all-out revolution, and who at the same time has emphasized:

the new communism thoroughly repudiates and is determined to root out of the communist movement the poisonous notion, and practice, that “the ends justifies the means.” It is a bedrock principle of the new communism that the “means” of this movement must flow from and be consistent with the fundamental “ends” of abolishing all exploitation and oppression through revolution led on a scientific basis. (From Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary)

As a revolutionary leader, BA also embodies this rare combination: someone who has been able 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 broadly accessible.

A leader like this has never before existed in the history of this country, and this leadership is of tremendous importance for the emancipation of all humanity.

What is urgently needed now is for continually growing numbers of people—in the thousands, and ultimately millions—to become conscious and active followers of BA, building the revolutionary movement, based on the new communism, for which BA provides this unprecedented leadership.

Download poster and leaflet:

11x17 poster

8.5x11 two-sided leaflet

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (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/648/bob-avakian-on-covid-19-and-the-oppression-of-women-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN ON
COVID-19 AND THE OPPRESSION OF WOMEN

| revcom.us

 

In The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward, I pointed to this basic fact:

In the context of this current [coronavirus] crisis, the exploitative and oppressive relations built into this system are asserting themselves in a pronounced way, within this country and internationally, just as they have in previous crises....

Even as broad swaths of the population will be hit by the coronavirus, this inequality will once again have its effect in this country in relation to the current crisis—as immigrants, prisoners, the homeless, people in poor communities, particularly among the oppressed nationalities, and others who are subordinated, degraded and despised by the “normal workings” of this system and the powers that be, will be subjected to disproportionate suffering.1

One of the main ways this is happening is with the oppression of women. This oppression is a fundamental part of this system of capitalism-imperialism (and all systems divided into exploiters and exploited), and it takes horrific forms in the “normal” functioning of this system.

As I have previously written, speaking to this horrific oppression:

Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world. And in addition to all the other outrages which I have referred to, in terms of children throughout the slums and shantytowns of the Third World, in addition to all the horrors that will be heaped on them—the actual living in garbage and human waste in the hundreds of millions as their fate, laid out before them, yes, even before they are born—there is, on top of this, for those children who are born female, the horror of everything that this will bring simply because they are female in a world of male domination. And this is true not only in the Third World. In “modern” countries like the U.S. as well, the statistics barely capture it: the millions who will be raped; the millions more who will be routinely demeaned, deceived, degraded, and all too often brutalized by those who are supposed to be their most intimate lovers; the way in which so many women will be shamed, hounded and harassed if they seek to exercise reproductive rights through abortion, or even birth control; the many who will be forced into prostitution and pornography; and all those who—if they do not have that particular fate, and even if they achieve some success in this “new world” where supposedly there are no barriers for women—will be surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways.2

There are many ways in which all this has become even more extreme in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cite just two important examples:

Incidents of women being battered by husbands or boyfriends have significantly increased—not just in the U.S. but in many other countries as well.

And within the U.S. in particular, in a number of states whose governments are dominated by Christian fundamentalist fascists, there have been further attacks on the right to abortion. This is being done specifically in the form of closing down clinics that provide abortions, under the hypocritical pretext that such closures are aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus—at the same time as governing forces in many of these states are promoting reckless defiance of necessary measures to limit the spread of this virus. The fact is that it is definitely possible for clinics that provide abortions to implement measures to protect the health of women who are seeking abortions and to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus; and, given this, as well as the basic fact that the denial of the right to abortion is itself a great social harm, contributing in a major way to the oppression of women, there is no legitimate reason for closing these clinics and creating further obstacles to women exercising their right to abortion—and doing so adds further to the harm that is done to women on a daily basis, and to society overall.

All this is an expression of the fact that the position and role of women in society has become a very acute and concentrated focus of the whole question of the fundamental direction of society, and of humanity. This is something which fascist forces, including the fascist Trump/Pence regime in this country, have seized on as a crucial part of their unrelenting drive to reinforce and carry to extremes the already oppressive relations of this system—and it is something all those who are determined to live in a world free from all forms of enslavement and oppression need to recognize and take up as a crucial battlefront.

In this regard, something I wrote more than 30 years ago has become all the more profoundly true and important:

Over the past several decades in the U.S. there have been profound changes in the situation of women and the relations within the family. In only one of ten families is there the “model” situation where the husband is the “sole breadwinner” and the wife a totally dependent “homemaker.” With these economic changes have come significant changes in attitudes and expectations—and very significant strains not only on the fabric of the family but of social relations more broadly....The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.3

 


1. The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. BAsics 1:10 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian). This is drawn from Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution—Part III: “The New Synthesis and the Woman Question: The Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution—Further Leaps and Radical Ruptures,” which is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. This statement by Bob Avakian was first published in 1985 and has been cited in a number of works since then, including Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution. Emphasis has been added here.  [back]

 

 

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/646/bob-avakian-on-emancipation-from-mental-slavery-all-oppression-en.html

Bob Avakian On
EMANCIPATION
FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION

| revcom.us

 

In 1863, mid-way in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation and, as a result of the Civil War, Black people were formally freed from literal, physical slavery. But today the question is: When, and how, will Black people finally be free from all forms of slavery and oppression? And this poses straight-up this big question:

When will Black people finally emancipate themselves from the mental slavery of religion?!

We have seen the possibility of a world without oppression powerfully expressed in the not-too-distant past, during the radical upsurge that took place within this country and throughout the world during the 1960s and early 1970s.1 Within this country, the struggle of Black people was at the forefront of all this, and as that struggle became more radical in opposition to the system itself, and groups like the Black Panther Party, driven by the impatience and daring of Black youth, grew and gained influence, the advanced role of the struggle for Black liberation exerted an even more powerful positive role. And, as a very significant part of the widely and strongly held conviction that it was not only necessary but possible to put an end to the nightmare that had been endured for so long:

among Black people—who we’re always told are just sort of inherently religious—there was a massive turning away from religion, especially among the youth. Why? Because people were filled with hope, they didn’t believe that there was no hope for a better world. They were full of hope for a better world right in this world. And so, among Black people, there was, on the part of the youth in particular, a major turning away from religion and from all the old conventions that went along with religion that were conservatizing influences holding down the people.2

Hard Truths, Emancipating Truths

But the great promise of the 1960s radical upsurge, and the hopes that it raised, were not realized—fundamentally because things did not go all the way to an actual revolution. And, over the decades since then, through conscious policy by the ruling powers to foster the growth of more bourgeois and petit bourgeois strata among Black people, while at the same time maintaining and containing the masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, oppression and vicious repression, this bitter reality has resulted:

Among the basic masses of people, including Black people (not the more middle class strata being developed through conscious ruling class policy, but the masses of oppressed people), there was a tremendous amount of demoralization and sense of defeat, and the introduction (including through deliberate ruling class policy and action) of massive amounts of drugs further intensified the desperate conditions of the basic masses and further reinforced the sense of demoralization. A lot of people were dying or being reduced to broken wretches on the basis of turning to drugs out of despair—the lack of hope, or the death, in immediate terms, of the hope that inspired so many people, on a real basis, through the course of the 1960s upsurge, which had now ebbed and been transformed. And this situation was made even more desperate and demoralizing with the growth of gangs in the ghettos and barrios of this country (as well as internationally), with youth drawn to the gangs in conditions of increasing deprivation and desperation and what was for most the illusion of getting rich, with the orientation of “get rich or die trying,” fueled by the growth of the drug trade and the influence of the putrid culture promoted throughout society that fostered and extolled the exploitation and degradation of others as the means for making it big, whether on Wall Street and on the world stage, or on the streets in the neighborhoods of the inner city.3

In the face of all this, amidst a feeling of fatalistic hopelessness, there has been, on the part of large numbers of Black people, a retreat into religion. It is often claimed that religion is what has allowed Black people to endure and persevere through all the trials and tribulations—the very real horrors—they have been subjected to throughout their experience in America, and that this remains the case now. But this is a logic of defeat—it rests on the underlying assumption (spoken or unspoken) that the system will basically remain as it has been, and that Black people will continue to be despised and discriminated against, persecuted, brutalized and terrorized, and the best they can hope for is to somehow survive, and strive to thrive, through all this—or, if you suffer in this life but you “get right with the Lord,” or submit to Allah, you will be rewarded in some “next life.”

Once more, the question is sharply posed: How can Black people be finally and fully emancipated from centuries of oppression, and how does this relate to ending all oppression, of all people, everywhere?

The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.

As I have put it, expressing a simple and basic truth: “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—ormake revolution!”4

And, in relation to this, I have also spoken to this profound truth:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.5

But here is another way that, in fundamental terms, there are two choices: either cling to the mental slavery of religion and remain oppressed, or cast off the mental chains of religion while rising up to fight with a real chance to get finally and fully free, in putting an end to all oppression and exploitation.

Religion may seem to give people comfort in the face of the oppression and anguish they are forced to endure, or to make people feel that with religion they can keep from “doing wrong”—or, even though they may “do wrong,” they still have some worth. And it is true that, for some people, their religious views are a motivation to fight against various forms of oppression, and many people who approach things from a religious standpoint have insights and knowledge that it is important to know about and learn from. But it is also true that, as a way of thinking and a guide to acting, religion relies on the invention of supernatural beings that do not exist but which are said to ultimately shape and control reality, including the fate of human beings. Religion calls on people to submit to those imaginary supernatural beings (or, to very human authorities speaking in the name of those imaginary supernatural beings) and to follow scriptures that in reality do not lead to ending oppression but actually promote and reinforce all kinds of degradation and horror. (This is something I have illustrated very concretely in the book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, particularly with regard to the three main monotheistic [one-god] religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.6) In this way religion stands in direct opposition to taking up a consistently scientific approach to understanding reality and waging a scientifically-grounded fight to end all oppression.

This is why the powers-that-be, whose very existence, wealth and power rest on oppression and exploitation, continually promote religion. It is why the very same slavemasters who prohibited Black people from learning to read (and severely punished those who did) actively encouraged their slaves to take up religion and get down on their knees in prayer. And it is why today, the ruling powers in this country are only too willing to provide a platform for, and parade around, any Black people who are inclined to engage in passionate “god-talk.” This may be painful to hear, but the question is: is it true, or not? Think about it.

It is neither possible nor principled—and no one should ever try—to force people to give up beliefs they hold at any given time. In the most fundamental terms, emancipation—from every form of slavery and oppression—must be the voluntary and conscious act of people. But there is a great need and importance to waging ideological struggle, in a principled way but as sharply as necessary, to win people to take up a scientific approach to understanding, and changing, the world and break with ways of thinking that actually contribute to keeping them, and others, oppressed.

Again, it is true that many religious people take part now in important struggles against oppression; and it is also true that many religious people will be among the millions taking part in the revolution to do away with this whole oppressive system. But this revolution, and the continuing struggle to end all oppression and bring about real and complete emancipation, must be led by those, among the most oppressed, and others as well, who have taken up a scientific approach to changing the world and have cast off the mental slavery of religion, along with every other way of thinking that promotes, or at least rationalizes and objectively justifies, oppression.

A bitter truth is this:

Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.7

But, an even greater, emancipating truth is this:

The notion of a god, or gods, was created by humanity, in its infancy, out of ignorance. This has been perpetuated by ruling classes, for thousands of years since then, to serve their interests in exploiting and dominating the majority of people and keeping them enslaved to ignorance and irrationality.

Bringing about a new, and far better, world and future for humanity means overthrowing such exploiting classes and breaking free of and leaving behind forever such enslaving ignorance and irrationality.8

 


1. In HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASISBreaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism (available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to this major change taking place during the 1960s:

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

2. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.

In Bob Avakian Responds to Mark Rudd on the Lessons of the 1960s and the Need for an Actual Revolution (available at revcom.us), this point is emphasized:

in moving from the limitations of the civil rights movement to the more advanced position of demanding Black liberation and linking this with liberation struggles in the Third World, those Black revolutionaries exerted a powerful positive force in influencing the movements of those times, including among educated youth, toward a more revolutionary orientation, even as that orientation was (in the parlance of those times) a “mixed bag,” involving a complex of conflicting tendencies, including the revolutionary communism that was coming from China as well as various revolutionary nationalist and other contradictory trends.  [back]

3. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.  [back]

4. In the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, from which this quote is drawn, Bob Avakian speaks to those crucial questions. The text and video of this speech are available at revcom.us. And in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, (available at revcom.us) there is a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a socialist society aiming for the final goal of communism throughout the world.  [back]

5. This statement, along with other works by Bob Avakian speaking to the oppression of Black people and the road to their full emancipation, is available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, 2008.  [back]

7. BAsics 4:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).  [back]

8. BAsics 4:17, emphasis added.  [back]

Download leaflet (PDF)

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/645/bob-avakian-boomers-x-y-z-en.html

"BOOMERS"—"X,Y,Z":
THE PROBLEM IS NOT "GENERATIONS,"
IT'S THE SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

It is very common these days to hear things posed in terms of generations, and for generations to be pitted against each other. There are the “boomers” and later “lettered” generations (“X, Y, Z”). There is, on the part of some among these later generations, the dismissive taunt “OK Boomer,” accompanied by an indictment blaming the “boomers” for creating the messed-up world that the younger people are inheriting, including the accelerating climate crisis. And there is the tendency among some “boomers” to be dismayed, or even disgusted, by the phenomenon that younger people seem to be cynically self-absorbed, knowing (or caring) little about important history and world events, and failing to act in meaningful ways to oppose the terrible actions of those in power. So it is important to examine how “generations” relate to the very real problems and dangers people are confronting today.

Generations are real societal groupings, and particular generations do have common experiences that differ from other generations. But, first of all, generations are not “homogenous”—they are made up of different classes, nationalities (or “races”), genders, and so on. And, even more fundamentally, everything that is experienced by people, of all different generations, is shaped by the system that people live within—most of all, by the economic system (the mode of production) and its basic relations and dynamics, as well as the corresponding social relations (for example, racial and gender relations) and the political system and the dominant culture and ideas that reflect and enforce these economic and social relations.

With regard to the “boomers,” first of all, there is the important reality that is often not recognized (or not even known about by many) these days, and is covered over and distorted by the dominant powers and institutions:

During the 1960s, a whole generation (or a large and defining part of that generation) broke with American chauvinism...and, at the cost of real sacrifice, dared to stand up against the atrocities committed, here and throughout the world, by the rulers of this country, and fight for a better world.1

And:

By 1968 and for several years after, there were large numbers of people in this country, including millions of youth from the middle class as well as masses of poor and oppressed people, who were motivated by a thoroughly justified hatred of this system and aspirations for a radically different and better world—and this reached deeply into the system’s own armed forces—even if the understanding of most was marked by revolutionary sentiment which, while righteous, was lacking in any deep and consistent scientific basis.2

Along with the understanding of the need for—and a real belief in the possibility of—bringing a radically different and better world into being, and the refusal to listen to tired-out arguments about why things have to be the way they are, there was at that time a marked break with the notion of the “self” as the most important thing in the world, a rejection of putting personal concerns and ambitions above what was going on in the larger society and world. To provide a sharp illustration of this, if anyone in those days spoke in terms like “my career”—a phrase so commonplace now—they were generally met with expressions of disgust (and forget about any notion of “my brand!”).

Of course, while this was definitely true of a “large and defining part of that generation,” it was not true of individuals like Donald Trump (or George W. Bush), who were never part of—and in fact were, and have remained, violently opposed to—everything that was positive about and had overwhelming initiative among that generation as it “came of age” politically and ideologically through the 1960s. And people like Joe Biden were also never part of the powerfully positive radical upsurge of that time.

Since that time, however, as I have also noted:

Unfortunately, all too many (though not all!) of that generation have become disoriented and have allowed themselves to become, as the French say, “récupéré”—that is, they have come back under the wing of the ruling class, in particular its “liberal” representatives in the Democratic Party, and have far too much accepted things on the terms of a system they once, very rightly, recognized as viciously criminal.3

As for why so many have become “récupéré”—and, in the years since the 1960s, the things they were rising up against, as well as additional outrages and in fact existential threats to humanity itself, have continued or even become more extreme—this is not because people have just “gotten older,” tired out, and more conservative, in some abstract sense. It is fundamentally because there was no revolution and the same system that people were rising up against has remained in power. In a number of works, I have spoken to why there was no revolution at that time, and I have examined major changes, largely of a negative kind, that have taken place over the decades since—including the heightening parasitism of this country (the fact that its wealth rests ultimately on a vast international network of sweatshop super-exploitation, especially in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, even as that wealth is very unevenly distributed within this country itself).4 Accompanying this parasitism is the fact that individualism (the nearly single-minded pursuit of personal goals and ambitions, objectively and often aggressively in competition with everyone else) has been promoted to an extreme degree in this country especially.5 All of this has affected (and, it might be said, infected) people of all generations.

In short, the reason the world is in the terrible state it is—including the reason why the climate crisis continues to get worse in an accelerating way—is because the world is still dominated by this system of capitalism-imperialism and this continues to exert a powerful influence in conditioning how people think and specifically how they see what they should be doing in relation to the way things are. The problem is not “generations.” The “boomer generation” is not the cause of the world’s problems because of the fact that far too many of that generation have become “récupéré” (even while many continue to abhor some of this system’s more egregious crimes). Nor is the fact that many of those now presiding over this system are of the “boomer generation” the reason the system is so terrible—it is the nature of the system itself, regardless of who occupies its leading positions. So, too, succeeding generations (generations “X, “Y,” or “Z,” or whatever) are not the cause of all this through the failure of so many to break with American chauvinism or their obsessive focus on the self (even as many also grumble about the state of the world and blame the “boomers” for the ways things are). The solution will not be found by blaming one generation or another for its—real, or imagined—shortcomings and failures. The answer is to cast off blinders, of all kinds, and come to the necessary recognition of what is the fundamental problem—this system—and the fact that no attempt at reforms or electing “better leaders,” within the confines of this system, can deal with the profound ways in which the masses of humanity are subjected to terrible suffering on a daily basis, humanity as a whole is facing very real and growing crises and the very future of humanity is seriously imperiled.

Only an actual revolution, aimed at nothing less than overthrowing this system and bringing a radically different and far better system into being, represents the possibility of dealing with all this in a way that is in accordance with the fundamental interests of the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole. And, to have a real chance of making this a reality, it is necessary to have a consistently scientific approach to understanding and changing the world—which looks beyond secondary phenomena such as generations to the fundamental cause of the problems and to the basis for the solution: an actual revolution and the new society and world for which such a revolution opens the way.6

 


1. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.

In addition to what is said in “Why We Need...How We Can...” (and in THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!), the following sheds further light on significant changes taking place during the 1960s, major components and characteristics of the radical upsurge of that time, and important contrasts with more recent times:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[From HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism. The text of this work by Bob Avakian is also available at revcom.us.]  [back]

3. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!  [back]

4. In a number of works—including Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make RevolutionBreakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic SummaryHOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism; and Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd On The Lessons Of The 1960s And The Need For An Actual Revolution (all of which are available at revcom.us)—Bob Avakian speaks further to “why there was no revolution” at the height of the 1960s upsurges and “major changes, largely of a negative kind, that have taken place over the decades since.” Among these observations are the following (from Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd):

An actual revolution requires two essential factors: a revolutionary situation, and a revolutionary people in their millions. And these two factors are closely interconnected. 

A revolutionary situation involves not just a crisis in society in some general sense but a situation where the system and its ruling powers are in a profound and acute crisis and millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government. Key components and signs of a revolutionary crisis are that the violence used to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate—and that the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp, and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.*

[* Bob Avakian has also characterized a revolutionary situation this way:

What is a Revolutionary Situation? A deep crisis and sharpening conflicts in society and in the government and ruling circles, where they cannot find a way to resolve these conflicts—in society and among their own ranks—which do not make things worse for them and call forth more resistance and further undermine people's belief in their "right to rule" and in the "legitimacy" of their use of force to maintain their rule; programs of "reforming" the system are shown to be bankrupt, totally unable to deal with what more and more people recognize as profound dysfunction and intolerable injustice of the whole setup; those, in society as well as among the ruling class, who are trying to enforce the existing system are on the political defensive, even if lashing out; millions of people are actively seeking radical change, determined to fight for it, willing to put everything on the line to win it, and searching for a force to lead them in doing so; and a solid core of thousands is united around a leadership, an organized vanguard force with the vision and method, strategy and plan—and deepening ties among masses of people—to actually lead the fight to defeat and dismantle the violent repressive force of the existing system and its power structure, and to bring into being a new revolutionary system that can provide the means for people to radically transform society toward the goal of abolishing oppression and exploitation.]

This section of Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd continues:     

At the high point of the radical upsurge of the 1960s/early 1970s, there were definite elements of the necessary factors for revolution: there was a very real and deepening political crisis for the ruling class, and there were masses of revolutionary-minded people. This is an undeniable truth...

But the situation had not yet developed (and, as things unfolded, it did not develop) into an all-out revolutionary crisis; and the revolutionary forces at that time were not clear on and not united around a strategic approach that could have cohered the widespread revolutionary sentiment into an organized force capable of waging a real revolutionary fight to defeat and dismantle the violent forces of repression of the ruling capitalist-imperialist system. As I have summed up:

the real failure of that time was that there was not yet a revolutionary vanguard with that scientific foundation and method, and the orientation, strategy, and program that could give organized expression to the mass revolutionary sentiment and lead a real attempt at actually making revolution. [Here Bob Avakian is quoting Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.]

The radical upsurge of the 1960s in this country was in turn part of a broader wave of struggle and transformation that was taking place throughout the world, and was driven and inspired to a large degree by the struggles, throughout the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, to throw off the yoke of colonial oppression—and beyond that the existence of a revolutionary socialist state in China and the mass revolutionary movement of the Cultural Revolution in that country, involving hundreds of millions in the struggle to defeat attempts to restore capitalism in China and, in opposition to that, to continue and deepen the socialist revolution there and support revolutionary struggles throughout the world. But, as I have analyzed, including in recent works such as Breakthroughs and Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, that upsurge ran into certain limitations as well as powerful opposing forces, and it ebbed, not just in one or another country but as a worldwide phenomenon. And since that time there have been profound changes in the world, many of them negative: Capitalism has been restored in China; in the Soviet Union, where capitalism had already been restored in the 1950s but the ruling class there continued for some time to present itself as a bastion of socialism, this deception was finally abandoned as the Soviet Union itself imploded, leading to the open emergence of capitalism throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; and the forces leading liberation struggles in the Third World have either been defeated or transformed into bourgeois ruling forces acting in concert with and essentially as appendages of international capital and the imperialist system. Within this country itself, in the context of this changing international situation, and through a combination of repression and the building up of middle class strata among the oppressed, along with the heightening parasitism of this system, feeding off the super-exploitation of billions of people, particularly in the Third World, over several decades there has been an increasingly deadening political atmosphere and culture and an orientation on the part of most of the forces seeking social change to restrict themselves to the limits of the existing oppressive and exploitative system and its BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit), as we have very rightly characterized it. And all this has been accompanied by a relentless ideological assault, by the ruling forces of this system and their media mouthpieces and intellectual accomplices—an assault on communism, and indeed on every positive aspect of the radical 1960s upsurge—an assault to which Mark Rudd is making his own modest contribution.

A particularly significant aspect of this setback following the 1960s upsurge is the following (from Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis):

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

At the same time as he has analyzed the major changes, including the very real setbacks and reversals, that occurred since the 1960s upsurge, Bob Avakian has emphasized this:

the emancipation of humanity from all this is profoundly and ever more urgently necessary, and the possibility of a radically different and far better future demands and requires a real revolution and the advance of humanity beyond this system, with the achievement of communism throughout the world. That this will be difficult to achieve and will require monumental, arduous and self-sacrificing struggle on the part of millions, and ultimately billions, of people, is something that no serious person—and certainly no one basing themself on the scientific method and approach of the new communism—would deny. But a scientific analysis leads to the definite conclusion that this is as necessary as it is difficult—and that it is possible (not certain, and certainly not inevitable—but possible). And all those who refuse to accept the world as it is under the domination of the capitalist-imperialist system, all the unnecessary suffering this imposes on the masses of humanity and the very real existential threat it poses to humanity itself, should dedicate themselves to contributing to this revolution. [Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd]  [back]

5. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis contains these important observations about individualism and its role and affect, particularly in this country, today:

As I have pointed out, in Ruminations and Wranglings* (and in other works), the contradiction that people exist as individuals, but they also exist in a larger social context and are largely shaped by that social context, is a complicated contradiction that is important to handle correctly. And this contradiction is acutely expressed today in the fact that while people do exist as individuals, the terrible suffering of the masses of humanity and the urgent challenges facing humanity as a whole as a result of the escalating destruction of the environment by this system of capitalism-imperialism as well as the possibility of nuclear conflagration that continues to loom as an existential threat over humanity—all this cannot be seriously addressed, let alone actually solved, by each person pursuing their particular individual interests, and in fact people acting in this way constitutes a major obstacle to bringing about the necessary solution. Individualism is a significant factor and “unifying element” in much of the negative trends that play a major role in keeping people from recognizing the reality and depth of the horrors continually brought about by this system—and recognizing the urgent need to act, together with others, to abolish and uproot all this, at its very source. This highlights and heightens the fact that individualism, which is encouraged and expressed in extreme forms in this particular society at this time, is a profound problem that must be confronted and transformed.

Virulent Individualism and Oblivious Individualism

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

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

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

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.

[* RUMINATIONS AND WRANGLINGS On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning. The text of this talk by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.]

[** This Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West took place in November 2014 at Riverside Church in New York City, on the theme of REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. The film of Bob Avakian’s talk at that Dialogue is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.]

[back]

6. In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian speaks substantially to those questions; and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, provides a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a radically different, socialist society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as well as the text and video of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, are available at revcom.us.  [back]

Download PDF of this article

Now Available:

Hope For Humanity
On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism,
Parasitism and
American Chauvinism

Bob Avakian
Author of
The New Communism

Read more     |     Download the PDF

Read excerpts here, including
Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of “Painless Progress”
With a Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

Now available in Spanish! PDF and html

BOB AVAKIAN RESPONDS TO MARK RUDD
ON THE LESSONS OF THE 1960s
AND THE NEED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION

Infantile Expressions of Outrage, or Accommodation to This Monstrous System, Are Not the Only Alternatives

Read more    |    Download flyer PDF of this article

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

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

 

 

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/649/these-imperialists-make-the-godfather-look-like-mary-poppins-en.html

This Memorial Day, Imagine a World Without America, and Everything It Stands For

| revcom.us

 

Internationalism —
Revolutionary Defeatism

Excerpt from: THE NEW COMMUNISM By Bob Avakian

What do I mean by revolutionary defeatism, and why is it so important? Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire. It means that you welcome any setbacks they suffer in those wars, because that weakens their oppressive hold over masses of people, here and in the world more generally. Now, we do have to recognize that we have a different situation than back in the day with the war in Vietnam...

Read more

These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:7

From the revcom.us series American Crime:

Read the entire American Crime series

These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.

BAsics 1:7


"Internationalism—The Whole World Comes First."

BAsics 5:8


It is not uncommon to hear these days, from government officials and others, that only 1 percent of the population is in the U.S. military but that this 1 percent is fighting for the freedom of the other 99 percent. The truth, however, is this: That 1 percent, in the military, is in reality fighting for the other 1 percent: the big capitalist-imperialists who run this country—who control the economy, the political system, the military, the media, and the other key institutions—and who dominate large parts of the world, wreaking havoc and causing great suffering for literally billions of people. It is the “freedom” of these capitalist-imperialists—their freedom to exploit, oppress, and plunder—that this 1 percent in the military is actually killing and sometimes dying for.

BAsics 1:5


The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

BAsics 1:3

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


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

BAsics 1:31

 

 

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/avakian/science/31ba-science...internationalism-en.html

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Excerpt from the sections:
Internationalism and an International Dimension

and

Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, The New Communism. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution."

From the section:
Internationalism and an International Dimension

In addition to what has been said about how, when it comes down to the struggle for the seizure of power, there will be aspects of a civil war between two sections of the people—and in addition to what has been emphasized about the need to deal with the problem of encirclement, suppression and pulverization—another dimension of this that has to be taken into consideration is that this will not only be a struggle that must be internationalist in its basic orientation, but it is also likely to have a significant aspect of being international. The point has been made that the borders of this country are anything but sacred to us. If you look at the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, specifically in regard to what is now the Southwest of the U.S., you can see that it is taking account of the close interconnection—historically, in the present time, and looking to the future—between what goes on in (what is now) the U.S., and what goes on to the south. And, given that, when it comes down to it, there would almost certainly be, in significant measure, the interconnection and interpenetration of revolutionary struggle in (what is now) the U.S. and revolutionary struggle to the south, strategic thinking and work needs to be carried out, in terms of the international dimension of this.

 

From the section:
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism

What do I mean by revolutionary defeatism, and why is it so important? Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire. It means that you welcome any setbacks they suffer in those wars, because that weakens their oppressive hold over masses of people, here and in the world more generally. Now, we do have to recognize that we have a different situation than back in the day with the war in Vietnam. In those days, the National Liberation Front (NLF) in Vietnam was a revolutionary organization of the people in South Vietnam who were waging the fight, along with the government and people in North Vietnam, against the U.S. imperialists. And the leader of that struggle, until he died in the late 1960s, was Ho Chi Minh, who called himself a communist but was actually more of a revolutionary nationalist. Beginning soon after the end of World War 2, Ho Chi Minh led the armed struggle of the Vietnamese people to drive out the French, who had colonized Vietnam, and then to drive out the Americans, who, beginning in the 1950s, attempted to replace the French as the colonial master of Vietnam. Now, back in those days we used to go to demonstrations and people would march through the streets chanting, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is gonna win.” It felt very good, and it was right to do it. It was right to be on the side of the Vietnamese people and Ho Chi Minh leading them. It wasn’t just that you wanted your government to lose the unjust war it was waging, you could actually be on the side of the people fighting against your government, because those people represented a righteous cause, they represented a real struggle against imperialism. They weren’t going around attacking civilians. They were fighting against the military of U.S. imperialism that had invaded their country and was bombing it massively. So, in those days, you could actually be with the people fighting against the U.S. government, the U.S. imperialists.

Today, unfortunately, the situation is different and not as favorable in the short run. Nobody coming from a decent place should want to root for these reactionary Islamic jihadists who are in fact also enforcers of brutally oppressive relations—particularly, but not only, horrific patriarchal relations—and who, in the service of that, carry out all kinds of depraved slaughter of ordinary civilians. So you cannot, if you’re coming from the right place, identify in any way with these forces and support them. Now, there are some people around the world who call themselves leftists or even communists or Maoists, people like this guy Ajith, who try to put a pretty face on these Islamic fundamentalist jihadists and insist that they are anti-imperialists, that they’re waging an anti-imperialist struggle. But the fact is that, while they may fight against the U.S., they do not represent a positive, progressive, let alone a revolutionary force; and where they have succeeded in exercising power, their rule is brutally oppressive. That has been shown repeatedly in the real world. In your mind, you can try to make these people into something other than what they are, but that can only do a great deal of harm, because in the real world they are not a positive force, even while, coming from where they’re coming from, they’re opposing U.S. imperialism, to some degree, although not in any thoroughgoing way and not toward any positive end.

This makes for a difficult situation because, especially given how parasitic U.S. society is—where significant sections of the people, particularly among the middle strata, receive some share of the spoils from imperialist domination and plunder in the world—when the U.S. government is able to point to the continuing atrocities carried out by these Islamic fundamentalists, this reinforces the tendency for people to side with, or at least not to seriously oppose, their own country and government in the wars it is waging against these Islamic fundamentalists. It makes it easier for people to go along with what is, and take the position: “I don’t really like these wars, but look at these other people; we have to do something about groups like ISIS.” Never mind the fact that Saudi Arabia, a big ally of the U.S., beheads a lot more people than ISIS does, and embodies and enforces all kinds of horrendous oppression, against women and others. But still, people can say, “Well, look at these people, like ISIS.” This makes it easier for people not to do the hard thing of going up against their own government in the wars it is waging.

Yes, it is true: the Islamic fundamentalists who are opposing these imperialists are no good, they don’t pose a positive alternative. But that does not make the wars of empire being fought by this government just wars. This situation has gone on way too long and needs to be frontally and deeply challenged. These are wars for empire. These are unjust wars. They are carried out with massive means of destruction, killing civilians in the hundreds of thousands, torturing people in the service of these wars. This should be opposed and opposed strongly. It is not acceptable that people just take the stand, “Yes, I wish those wars would be over with, but we gotta do something about these Islamic fundamentalists.” It is crucial that people come to see what the nature of these wars being waged by their government actually is, and why these wars have to be actively opposed; and even if you can’t, and shouldn’t, support the other side, you still have to have the basic approach of welcoming the defeat of your own government in the wars it is waging. The defeat of these imperialists should be welcomed because, number one, their wars are unjust, even if the people opposing them are also unjust. And, two, every such defeat weakens this system and its ruling class and brings closer the time when people can actually bring it down and bring something liberating into being in its place.

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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

From a Vietnam War Vet:

We Were Baby Killers for U.S. Imperialism

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/why-does-the-us-military-celebrate-white-supremacy-en.html

"Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?"—A Short Answer, a Short History

| revcom.us

 

Editor's Note: This a revised version of an article originally rush-published on Monday, May 25, 2020. Minimal edits have been made for accessibility and focus.

The New York Times published an editorial yesterday, Sunday, May 24, with the title “Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy?”1 The editorial questions, exposes and condemns the long-standing naming of U.S. military bases with names and figures drawn from the white-supremacist slave-upholding Confederacy, including some of the largest and most “storied” like Fort Benning and Fort Bragg—and righteously urges their renaming.

This is indeed an ugly reality—and it is positive that the NY Times editorial is highlighting this, especially in the age of Trump-Pence, and their regime’s openly white-supremacist rhetoric, acts, program and social base. It is significant that the Times IS exposing this ugly and outrageous reality—hiding in plain sight—on Memorial Day! And it is positive that there has been a movement to remove the names and monuments to the Confederacy in the last few years since the murder of nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, by white-supremacist Dylann Roof.   

But, at the same time, the NY Times completely omits the far more fundamental truth, that the question of white supremacy and its celebration in the military is not just limited to the Confederate scum criticized by the Times. Since the founding of this country, white supremacy has been interwoven into its history, and with the fabric of this society and its system of capitalism—and the U.S. military, in imposing the rule of this oppressive and exploitative system and carrying out its objectives, is a concentration of this country and system’s attributes, morality and goals. This defining feature has found particular expression as the U.S. has become a global power presiding over the system of capitalism-imperialism, ruthlessly dominating parts of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia with unprecedented brutality and horrific violence, largely carried out against non-white peoples in the service of American imperialism.

The NY Times omits and glosses over the essence of the U.S. military, obscuring the more fundamental truth about the U.S. military, its history, its acts, and its purpose.

The U.S. Military—Origins Soaked in White Supremacy 

Bob Avakian has said:

This system in this country was founded in genocide and slavery. From the beginning, African-Americans and Native Americans were treated as “pariahs,” a caste of people less than human and not deserving of the same rights and opportunities as the European settlers of the territory. White supremacy was poured into the foundation and into every institution of the country.2

The U.S. military is one of the main enforcers of the rule of this system, and one of its main instruments in carrying out its objectives. The U.S. military has a “storied” history in the slavery of Black people and the genocide of Native Americans, from the time of George Washington. Washington—with fellow slave-holders and upholders of slavery like Thomas Jefferson and others—forged the U.S. Army out of the Continental Army that defeated the British in the Revolutionary War for Independence, and was its first general and the country’s first president.

During this war and soon after, the U.S. Army waged a campaign of extermination of Indians, such as in New York (against the Onondagas and the Iroquois) and Ohio (against the Moravian Indians), justifying them as revenge for supposed Indian atrocities, making the frontier safe for settlement and taking British allies out of the war.3 This campaign of genocide against the Native peoples then continued, accelerating in scope, scale and geography as the U.S. expanded westward. There were particularly horrendous campaigns. The U.S. military enforced the Indian Removal Act in 1830 that forcibly relocated East Coast tribes across the Mississippi, with about 5,000 dying in the Trail of Tears,4 with the army deliberately routing the march through areas of known cholera epidemic. There were a number of massacres carried out during the American Indian Wars, in particular the 1864 Sand Creek massacre, where 130 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho were massacred, two-thirds women and children. The U.S. Army men took Indian scalps, fetuses and genitalia as trophies.5

This is the ugly history of the U.S. military.

With the brief exception of the Civil War and Reconstruction that followed,6 the U.S. military, as concentrating the monopoly of legitimate armed force, has been a bulwark of enforcement of the oppression of Black people throughout the slave South. The NY Times in its editorial acknowledges the “toxic legacy” of the Confederacy in the naming of 10 major military installations in the South, namings that “reflect a federal embrace of white supremacy that found its most poisonous expression in military installations where black servicemen were deliberately placed under the command of white Southerners—who were said to better ‘understand’ Negroes—and confined to substandard housing, separate transportation systems and even ‘colored only’ seating in movie houses.”

At the same time, Black soldiers after Reconstruction were marshaled in the genocidal wars against Native peoples, most infamously as the Buffalo Soldiers, Colin Powell’s7 celebrated heroes.

This is the ugly history of the U.S. military.

Bob Avakian has said:

White supremacy and capitalism—they have been completely interwoven and tightly “stitched together” through the whole development of this country, down to today; to attempt to really put an end to white supremacy while maintaining the system of capitalism would tear the entire fabric of the country apart.8

The very fact that it has been more than 150 years since the end of the Civil War and the defeat of the Confederacy—and this naming of bases after Confederate generals remains a continuing practice in the South—is testament to how integral and inter-woven open white supremacy is in the U.S. military—and the system it represents and enforces.

The U.S. Military—A Global Instrument of Wars, Massacres, Violence and Torture

First, with the Mexican American war in 18469 that resulted in the acquisition of large amount of territory that is now modern day Texas and the Southwest, and with the Spanish-American war in 1898,10 the U.S. embarked on the path to becoming a world imperialist power, taking a big leap after it emerged after World War II as the top-dog imperialist power, displacing Britain.

This ascendance and juncture was marked by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 200,000 civilians, with the U.S. becoming the only country in history to have used nuclear weapons. Major General Curtis E. LeMay, who directed the bombing of Japan and relayed President Truman’s order to drop nuclear bombs, commented “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.”11

And he was right, with the U.S. military going on to commit unprecedented war crimes and crimes against humanity—under both Democratic and Republican presidents and administrations—as it strove to achieve and maintain dominance globally, ravaging parts of the Third World, with abandon and without apology. When Obama visited Hiroshima during his presidency, the only debate within the Obama team was over how to make sure the trip wasn’t seen as an apology!

This is the ugly history of the U.S. military.

It is simply beyond the scope of this article to document the entire history of horrors committed by the U.S. military, mostly against the non-white populace of the Third World—for there is no precedent and there are not enough pages. But it is a history filled with the tears and the blood—of civilians, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, in Iran and in Libya, in Vietnam and in Cambodia, in the Philippines and in Cuba, in El Salvador and in Haiti, in the Dominican Republic and in Panama, in Korea and in Indonesia... and the list goes on and on... and on and on... and on and on

In terms of sheer numbers, it is hard to match even the extremely conservative estimates for the number of civilian deaths and bombings that the U.S. military is responsible for—2 million Vietnamese over the course of the war in Vietnam, 500,000 to a million in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 100,000 tons of explosives dropped in Cambodia over the course of little more than a year, a country less than half the size of California! Even within this ugly history, the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam stands out—more than 500 people killed, including young girls and women who were raped and mutilated.12

This violence—of horrific scale and scope—has been integrally bound up with white-supremacy, labeling Asians as “gooks” and “slopes,” Arabs as “sand-niggers” and other racist terms that dehumanize the “enemy” of U.S. imperialism, whoever they be at a given time, rendering them “sub-human” and enabling acts of horrors like My Lai. Much of this has been done in the name of “spreading democracy.”13 But as Bob Avakian has said:

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism. (BAsics 1:3)

What is needed is sweeping this system off the face of this planet through an actual revolution. For more, go to Bob Avakian's talk, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

 


1. Why Does the U.S. Military Celebrate White Supremacy? By the Editorial Board, New York Times, May 23, 2020.   [back]

2. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, a speech by Bob Avakian.  [back]

3. American Crime Case #90: The Sullivan Expedition, 1779— Genocide of Native Peoples and Scorched Earth in Upstate New York, revcom.us, July 4, 2016.  [back]

4. American Crime Case #44: The Trail of Tears, 1838-39, revcom.us, February 19, 2018.  [back

5. American Crime Case #56: The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, revcom.us, October 30, 2017.  [back]

6. During the Civil War, the U.S. Army was the “Union Army,” fighting to preserve the Union against the slave-upholding Confederate states that had declared secession. With the victory of the Union Army (with the participation of Black soldiers released from slavery through the course of the war, with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation), this led to the abolition of slavery.

Following this was the period of Reconstruction and betrayal, which Bob Avakian has characterized the following way in How This System Has Betrayed Black People: Crucial Turning Points:

In the period after the Civil War, during the very short-lived experience of Reconstruction—this was a period that lasted really for only about ten years, more or less from 1867 to 1877—the federal army, the Union army, remained in the South after the war as the enforcers of very real and significant reforms that were carried out, both in the economic base and in the political superstructure.

Today you see the Spike Lee films, and they have a reference to "forty acres and a mule"—this was the promise of land (and the basic means to work the land) that was made to Black people during the Civil War. Land ownership was at that time crucial for Black people to have as some kind of economic "anchor" and basis for them to resist being forced back into conditions of virtual if not literal slavery, of serf-like oppression, on the southern plantations.

Along with "forty acres and a mule," other economic and political rights were promised to Black people. And in fact during the brief period of Reconstruction, while the full promise of these rights was never realized, there were significant changes and improvements in the lives of Black people in the South. The right to vote and to hold office, and some of the other Constitutional rights that are supposed to apply to the citizens of the U.S., were partly, if not fully, realized by former slaves during Reconstruction. And in fact some Black people were elected to high office, though never the highest office of governor, in a number of southern states.

This was very sharply contradictory. The armed force of the state, as embodied in the federal army, was never consistently applied to guarantee these rights, and in fact it was often used to suppress popular struggles aimed at realizing these rights. But there was a kind of a bourgeois-democratic upsurge in the South during this period, and it not only involved the masses of Black people but also many poor white people and even some middle class white people in the South. During these ten years of Reconstruction, with all the sharp contradictions involved, there was a real upsurge and sort of flowering of bourgeois-democratic reforms. This was not the proletarian revolution, but at that time it was very significant.

In 1877, all this was reversed and betrayed. The bourgeoisie had gotten what it needed out of this situation: it had consolidated its hold over the country as a whole; it had consolidated its dominant position economically and politically within the South as well as the North and West.

Many of the old plantation owners were now beginning to move back in and take control of their own plantations, now involving exploitation in basically a feudal (or semi-feudal) form, and millions of Black people in particular were forced into sharecropping and similar relations of exploitation and were reduced to a serf-like condition, which was enforced by a whole system of legal and extra-legal terror. At the same time, banking and other capital from the North had bought into much of the southern economy and was intermingled with the plantation system, as well as other facets of the southern economy, on many different levels. So this whole bourgeois-democratic upsurge that marked Reconstruction was beginning to be a serious threat to the bourgeoisie, as well as to the southern planters. The northern-based capitalists had less and less interest in protecting, or even tolerating, this upsurge. They certainly didn't want to see it continue to grow and perhaps get out of their control more fully.

So in 1877 something very dramatic happened. The federal army was withdrawn from the South and the masses of Black people were stripped of even the partial economic and political gains they had made and were subjugated in the most brutal ways and once again chained to the plantations, only now essentially in peonage instead of outright slavery. And the federal troops that were withdrawn from the South were immediately used in two ways: one, to crush major strikes of what at that time was essentially a white labor movement; and two, to carry further the genocide against the Indians and to finish the job of driving those who survived into these concentration camps of poverty called "reservations" and force them to stay there. Here, once again, we see a very dramatic example of how the ruling class divided and conquered different groups of people it oppressed. And one of the sharpest examples, and real tragedies, of this is how some Black people became Buffalo soldiers fighting the Indians at the very time that Reconstruction was being betrayed.

But the larger point I am emphasizing is that here was a situation involving a major turning point in U.S. history where the question was posed very decisively: Can Black people and will Black people actually be "absorbed," or integrated, or assimilated into this society on a basis of equality? Will not only slavery, but the after-effects of slavery, be systematically addressed, attacked and uprooted...or not? And the answer came thunderously through—NO!—this will not be done. And there was a material reason for that: it could not be done by the bourgeoisie without tearing to shreds their whole system.  [back]

7. Colin Powell is a war criminal many times over. He committed towering war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as a top U.S. military official in the first war against Iraq, in 1991, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and the destruction of much of Iraq's civilian infrastructure—which in turn led to many more deaths. See Colin Powell–And His Endorsement of Obama. [back]

8. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, a speech by Bob Avakian.  [back]

9. American Crime Case #83: The U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-1848, revcom.us, August 30, 2016.  [back]

10. American Crime Case #58: U.S. Conquest of the Philippines 1899-1902, revcom.us, October 9, 2017; and American Crime Case #59: The U.S. Invasion, Occupation, Domination, and Plunder of Cuba: 1898 to 1959, revcom.us, October 2, 2017.  [back

11. American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, revcom.us, May 23, 2016.  [back]

12. American Crime Case #96: Vietnam, March 16, 1968—The My Lai Massacre, revcom.us, May 23, 2016; David Corn, Colin Powell’s Vietnam FogThe Nation, May 2, 2001.  [back]

13. To enforce this system, its rule and structures, it is hard to match what the U.S. military has pioneered and led in torture and wanton cruelty, in coups and massacres—in the service of U.S. imperialism. As an example, the U.S. Army has run a School of the Americas (SOA) since 1946 till recently, in Fort Benning (named after a Confederate general) training military officers from countries all over Latin America, “friendly” countries and regimes carrying out U.S. bidding. As the American Crime Case #91 on the SOA states, “The school’s curriculum includes sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics—including the use of torture, rape, disappearances, assassinations, and mass killings”—put into service in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile and many others by military officers trained at the SOA, affecting hundreds of thousands. (American Crime Case #91: School of the Americas—Training Ground for Mass Murderers and Torturers, 1946-Present, revcom.us, June 27, 2016.)

As the American Crime piece on the SOA states, “A former political prisoner in Paraguay described how a section of these manuals gives ‘interrogators’ instructions on ‘how to keep electric shock victims alive and responsive’ and ‘recommends dousing the victims’ heads and bodies with salt water, and includes a sketch showing how this ‘treatment’ should be carried out.”

This is the ugly history of the U.S. military.  [back]

Clip: The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today

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/293/ba-more-on-choices-en.html

More on Choices...And Radical Changes

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Introductory note: These are comments by BA that were part of a discussion with people that went deeply into the questions of why people oppressed under this system often get caught up in things like crime, who and what is fundamentally to blame for this, and what is the way forward out of this situation. Comments from people in the discussion are in double brackets.

BA: I know by what was reported to me, and I hope I’m not out of line here. [laughs] But I know, for example, over the informal discussion, there was some question from people about what I was just saying, like whether it’s true that it’s the system’s fault that people get into crime or whether it’s people making bad choices. I know that this has come up so I spoke to that some but if people have something they want to throw in about that, either disagree with what I’m saying or ask more about that, it would be good. I know, for example you [...] brought this up, right? That people make these bad choices, am I right about that?

[[“Yeah, like, murderers, that’s they choice, it’s not the system to kill somebody. But they go out and kill somebody just to get a hit, or get anything. The system don’t tell them to do that, that’s by choice. Then they get caught up and they go to jail, stuff like that. And I’m like, I don’t get it how people say it’s the system.”]]

BA: Okay, I think that’s a good question, I think it’s a question that a lot of people have, even if they don’t like the system.

Look, I think you’re right that obviously people do make a choice, in the more narrow sense people do decide to do something or not to do it. It’s not like, in most cases at least, somebody literally puts a gun to their head, says you have to go out and rob somebody, you have to go out and rape somebody, you have to go out and kill somebody. That’s true.

But the point is the reason why we say that it’s the system in a more basic sense is because, both in terms of the conditions people find themselves in that aren’t of their own choosing, and in terms of the ideas that are out there in society that influence people, those things are not things that people thought up all on their own, those are things that come from something bigger than people—namely from the system.

In other words, the idea that you should get yours, and get over on other people, is an idea that has a lot of influence on people. But it is not just something people thought of on their own, that is the culture that we get from the popular... the TV programs, the music, all the things that are promoted encourage people to think in that kind of way.

Now if you are a stockbroker, and you work on Wall Street in New York, you do that by high level swindling and manipulating the stock market to get more money for yourself, or just undercutting other people in billion-dollar deals. And very rarely do you get caught for doing that and sent to prison for doing that. It’s not even always illegal what those people do, they just engage in a lot of high financial speculation and manipulation to make a lot of money off the misery of people who are being exploited to create that wealth in the first place. But that’s the mentality: make as much money as you can, get over on other people any way you can.

But if you are in a position to be a stockbroker then you can do it in a big-time way and you’re called a role model. [appreciative laughter] You’re held up as what people should try to be like.

But if you are on the street and you don’t have any way, you don’t have a background in knowing all about the stock market and everything else, but you have the same kind of thinking that’s been instilled in and influences your mind, then you’re going to go out and rob somebody because that’s the thing that you can do, or you can sell them drugs.

[[Because they can get away with it?]]

BA: Not because they can get away with it, but because that’s what is available to you, if you have the way of thinking that the idea is to get as much as you can get by getting over on other people. You can’t become a big-time stock trader if you don’t have the background to do that. They’re not going to let you just walk up in there and start manipulating stocks, right? [laughter] But you can rob somebody on the street.

[[Yeah, I’m understanding what you are saying now.]]

BA: Okay, so you can rob somebody, right? Now am I saying it is right to rob somebody? Absolutely not. But what I’m saying is if you’re influenced by the way that the culture and all the popular stuff on TV and the music and everything tells you you ought to be trying to get rich and get over on other people. If you get influenced by that and you say that’s the way the game is played, so I’m going to do my thing in it, right, then you are going to do what you can do. If you can’t be a stockbroker... if you can’t be some other person, a banker, who loans money to somebody to buy a house knowing that they can’t pay back the loan, and then forecloses on the house and sells it again, does the same thing again and again... If you can’t make your money that way, but you got the idea in your mind from the whole culture out there that the thing to do is to get over on other people, and get money any way you can, then you’ll do what you can do, which is to stick up somebody, or to sell some drugs, or to pimp out a woman and beat her down when she tries to get out of it, and so on.

Now did you make a choice to do that? Yes, you did. But why?

First of all, where did the ideas come from that told you that that was the kind of thing you should do? You didn’t just wake up one day and have those ideas. Those ideas are coming at you from every direction in the society.

Second of all, why did you have the choice of sticking up somebody instead of being a banker loaning people money? Because you came up in a certain situation that wasn’t of your own choosing. You were born into a certain situation that you were faced with from the moment you slipped out of your mother’s womb. That’s what’s the conditions that you were in. And if you are of a certain color or a certain situation, you are going to have a very hard time getting out of that. Yeah, you could become a rapper, or you could become a basketball player, but they never tell us—but think about it—how many people who are really good at rapping, or how many people who are really good, let’s say, high school basketball players, make it into the big time? One out of a thousand? One out of ten thousand, probably more likely, one out of one hundred thousand, maybe? Not very many people can get out of those situations by going into hip-hop or going into basketball or football or whatever.

So, there you are, and you didn’t choose these circumstances you’re in but you have got this influence of  “okay I gotta get over,” so you do what you can. You can hear people say that, “I gotta do what I gotta do, I gotta do what I can do.” Because they have been poisoned with the ideology—in other words, the way of thinking—of the system and so they do what is available to them to do.

Now, is that bad? Of course it is. It’s bad for the people. It’s bad for the person who does it. And it’s bad for the kind of world we want. And it’s bad for the revolution we need to get to the kind of world we want. So do we have to struggle with people about that? Of course.

But if we don’t give them a sense of a larger thing that this could be all about. If we don’t give them the sense that the world could be a whole different way, and that their circumstances could be a whole different way, that they could be actually using their creativity and their daring and other things to help make a revolution to get to a whole different kind of society where people like them and many, many others could be actually using their abilities to make a better society, then it’s very likely they are going to fall back into what they know how to do.

So this is the way we talk about it’s the system’s fault. It is not that the system literally put a gun in their hand, but it put the idea in their head of what life should be all about, and it put them in conditions where taking a gun in their hand makes a certain amount of sense, if you’re going from the idea of what the system tells you you ought to be going from.

So it’s not that this is a way of “excusing” what people do. It’s not that it’s all right to do it. It’s not like we’re saying “Oh well, you didn’t have any choice.” You know, it wasn’t your fault, in the sense that you couldn’t have done anything else. Yeah, they could do something else, but not as long as you are under the rule and playing by the rules of this system. You are not very likely to find a better choice for millions and millions of people. 

That’s what I meant by saying that this conservative writer said that if you’re in that situation, it makes sense to go into crime, it makes more sense than trying to get a job at McDonald’s.

Now, we need a different society where it doesn’t make sense for people to go into crime and rip other people off. Either the people on the very top—we need to get rid of all that. But also the people on the bottom who get caught up in all of this. We need to change all that so we don’t have people on the top and people on the bottom like this anymore.

So that’s why I say it’s the system, not in the sense that the people don’t have any responsibility, but in the sense that they’re being influenced and their way of thinking is being shaped by a system that then leaves them almost no other options once it’s convinced them through its culture and everything that this is the way that you have to try to live.

You do find people saying, “You know, I’ve got a wife and kids,” or “I got a family I gotta support,” or “I have my mama,” or “I have my kids and what am I going to do out here?” So we need to have a whole different world where that isn’t the situation that people are in.

Does that make any sense?

[[yes]]

BA: But???

 [[no but...]]

 BA: I am just saying, is there something I am missing with this? Is there something I’m skipping over that is part of the picture that we need to think about?

I don’t want to go on and on with this, but I do think maybe if we come across as saying in a kind of a simple-minded way “it’s the system” as if people are just machines that don’t have any mind of their own, then that would be wrong. If the way I’m presenting it is falling into that then that’s a mistake on my part, it is not that kind of crude over-simple thing. But it’s more the way I was trying to describe it, in terms of how people are influenced, and then how that influence causes them to act within the choices that they’re given, the very limited choices by the way the system works and the position it’s put them in.  

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—
A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Read more

On Choices... And Radical Changes

First, people don't make choices in a vacuum. They do it in the context of the social relations they're enmeshed in and the options they have within those relations—which are not of their own choosing. They confront those relations, they don't choose them.

Two, if people feel for whatever reasons that they want to choose to harm themselves and others, we're going to struggle with them—but we're not going to blame them. We're going to show them the source of all this in the system, and call on them to struggle against that system, and transform themselves in the process. Just because a youth "chooses" to sell drugs, or a woman "chooses" to commodify herself sexually, doesn't mean that they chose to have those choices. And there is no other way besides fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution that all this will change for the better. Blaming the masses for bad choices just reinforces the conditions that they are oppressed by.

In sum, people do make choices—but they make them enmeshed and confined within social relations that are not of their choosing. We have to bring into being different social relations and conditions so that masses of people can act differently and relate differently to each other. Fundamentally, that takes a revolution which is aiming for communism.

— Bob Avakian

 

 

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/647/bob-avakian-on-police-brutality-and-murder-consent-decrees-wont-stop-this-we-need-a-revolution-en.html

Bob Avakian on
POLICE BRUTALITY AND MURDER:
CONSENT DECREES WON'T STOP THIS—
WE NEED A REVOLUTION!

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following is the transcript of a question posed to Bob Avakian (BA), and BA’s answer, in Chicago in 2018, after BA’s presentation of the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

Question: As Fred [Hampton] used to say, “And the beat goes on.”1 They just recently passed last week a new Consent Decree in Chicago. What are your thoughts on that?

BA: What’s the content of it?

Q: Police brutality.

BA: This is what the Chicago Police Department is supposed to “not” do? Is that kind of what this is all about, the Consent Decree?

Q: It is.

BA: They’re supposed to limit their brutality. Is that the idea, then?

Q: Exactly. (skeptical laughter)

BA: I mean, on the one hand—I would look at it this way—on the one hand when they are forced to sign consent decrees, it’s a reflection of the struggle of the people... It’s not that they did it out of the goodness of their heart or they woke up one day and said, “Oh, we’ve been brutalizing and murdering a lot of people, let’s sign an agreement that we’re not going to do that, as much, any more.” It’s more that they recognize that the degree and the ways in which they’ve been doing this has kind of exposed something very basic about their whole system and has aroused the anger of a lot of people, including not only the people that they want to brutally keep down—that’s one thing—but also other people like in the middle class, and so on, who want to cling to the illusion that this is a society of justice and fairness and all these kinds of things but who find it harder and harder to do so in the face of these killings, one after the other. We saw, for example, in the Laquan McDonald thing2—let me say one thing: When I was doing up the list of people killed, for this presentation, I kept feeling badly because, “Well, this one should be included, and that one should be included...” But there are SO many people that you can’t include all of them. So I just want to make clear, it’s not that I’m unaware of all—it’s just that there are literally thousands of people and that’s the real striking thing—the list goes on and on. There’s just so many, and it’s seemingly every day there’s another one.

Or if it’s not the police, it’s these Zimmerman types, in Florida.3 You probably all saw, I think it was also in Florida, this “stand your ground law”—I’ll get back to the point, but I just wanted to say, this “stand your ground” law—I don’t know if you all saw this but there was this thing where there was an altercation in a parking lot and this white guy in Florida has a gun and he’s harassing this woman in a car because the car is parked in a handicapped zone or something and [he] takes it upon himself to act like a pig until the boyfriend or whatever of this woman comes out and pushes the guy to the ground, and that would be the end of it except the guy pulls out a gun and kills him, while lying on the ground. This kind of thing is of a piece of what the police do.

And now of course when you have Trump and unreconstructed white supremacists like Jeff Sessions as the chief law enforcement officer in the country who is trying to do away with—see, I told you I’d get back—he’s trying to do away with all these consent decrees.4 So, the point is there’s a certain atmosphere they’re setting. In Chicago they have a Democratic administration with Emanuel who’s all tied in with Obama and everything.5 They’re trying to act as if they’re paying some attention to this, but on the one hand, like I said, it’s a certain recognition that a lot of people are angry about this. On the other hand, these consent decrees, while they may, in a certain limited way, temporarily cause them to be a little more careful, it won’t change anything fundamental, because of everything I was talking about in terms of the role of the police.

Look, here’s the situation. You’ve got a whole section of people, in particular youth—Latino youth and Black youth in the country and in the inner cities... Like I was saying, back in the days when masses of people, like Black people, were living in the rural South, working on cotton plantations, tobacco plantations or whatever, even after slavery ended, that was vital to the economy. And then, as you all know, after WW1 but especially more so after WW2, millions of Black people left the South—on the one hand with the positive thing of hoping they can find a better life, and the negative thing of getting away from the really concentrated oppression in the South, and certain naked brutality. And for a while (and I’ve made this point before but it’s important to understand this better in terms of why things are the way they are right now specifically) a lot of people got jobs, even well-paying jobs after a while even though they were stuck for a long time... (and Carl can talk about that) working in the steel plants and all the Black people who got hired and never got out of the shit jobs in the factories.6 But still there was an opening for a lot of people to get hired in the auto plants in Detroit or some of the meatpacking here, I think, and the steel plants in the South Side of Chicago—thousands of people working there. Gary, Indiana, I think had one of the largest steel plants in the entire world, back in the ’60s. And almost all of those things are gone. First, a lot of the capitalists moved their stuff to the rural South where they could hire people more cheaply, and then they moved it to Mexico where they set up the maquiladoras on the border where they paid people even less and exploited them more. And then they moved from there to places in Asia.

So what’s happened is, the youth coming up have no prospects of that kind of employment that people coming after WW2 had some opportunity to get into. So what does this system do with youth that have no future and no prospects? It contains them. It robs them of any decent future. It contains them and then promotes various ways—contains them violently. That’s why we’re talking about police murders and consent decrees. Violently contains them. And I remember when I was living in Chicago back in the 1970s; actually I lived in Maywood; there was a whole phenomenon. [The person who asked the question laughs.] Did I say something wrong? [The questioner explains that his family is from Maywood.] Oh, I see, OK, well that’s where I lived for a number of years, back in the ’70s. And there was a whole phenomenon where the “gang intelligence unit” that they had [in Chicago] would infiltrate the gangs and set up gangs to fight each other, and then when they would bust somebody they would take them from one gang or set, and drop them off in the territory of another one to get shit going.

I remember back in the days of the Black Panther Party, headed by Fred Hampton, and he was trying to work with some of the gangs. And the FBI sent a letter to Jeff Fort, who was the head of the P Stone Nation, saying that the Black Panther Party had a plot to assassinate him, and so on and so forth, to try to set up this stuff. So this is the kind of stuff that they do. In other words, here was a revolutionary force that didn’t have the science that was needed—it sort of had one foot in reform and one foot in revolution (the Black Panther Party)—but it was a very advanced force for that time, and we all learned a lot from them, I just want to be clear about that. They were trying to win some of these youth who were caught up in the gangs to become part of the revolution—and this is the conscious way the government, the FBI and so on, worked to prevent that. So they have a lot of ways. And they set up these youth. After a while the thing gets going on its own. You get into these conflicts and then the whole thing, first of all the thing of revenge—it’s a never-ending cycle of “you killed my nephew or my kid, now you have to die,” and then it comes back the other way.

So that’s one thing, but also, if you’ve taken away everything from people and they have no hope and no future, people are going to find a way to try to do something that expresses—in the wrong way—expresses their feelings that they’re worth something, no matter how messed up what they’re doing might be. And this is something that’s left to people who form street organizations. And a lot of it is imitating the whole system in the first place, the ways of thinking, the ideology of the system, but you get into it and it takes on a life of its own, and pretty soon you’re deeply into it. And when you’re young, you both get drawn to it but you can also get forced into it. I know many people try to send their kids away so they wouldn’t get forced into the gangs, but it also has an attractive force. It’s a way of having meaning, even though it’s really messed up, but it’s still a way of having meaning.

And, let’s face it, compared to revolution, if you just want to look at things in the very short term, it’s easier. We’re talking about a really big thing of taking on this whole system and doing a lot of work to the point where you could actually have a chance to win. Well, if you’ve got a certain mindset and a certain thing you’re into, going down the street and shooting somebody who’s on the wrong block is easier; in the short run, it’s easier. It doesn’t require you to make big changes; it’s what’s been left to you. That’s why this stuff has to be really struggled with hard and really met deep down where people really feel, and struggled hard over, about what should your life really be about.

A lot of people are into the “Stop the Violence” stuff. (I know I’m getting far afield here but this is important.) A lot of people are into “Stop the Violence” stuff. They have good intentions but at least to some degree in some instances they end up working with the police and everything because they don’t understand—and this has to be really brought home—that you’re not gonna get these youth out of this unless you have a whole different way you’re coming at it that really speaks to the whole thing they’re caught up in, whether they really know that or not yet. You can’t just come to this saying “stop the violence.” And do what? Let’s be real—“stop the violence” and do what? Work for chump change all my life on a job that then goes away anyway?

Listen. There’s not a single sphere of life in this society (you all know this, but I gotta say it anyway) in which Black people do not get the dirty end of the stick—not a single thing. I was reading an article in the New York Times about the changing economy. A lot of these industrial jobs I was talking about are gone. And this applies also to people from El Salvador, and other people... Puerto Rico also. There’s a whole history which we can get into. But there’s a particular history of Black people in this country, and I was reading this article in the New York Times about the changing economy and it was talking about the loss of industrial jobs and the shift from industrial work to service work—people interacting directly with the public in sales. I was reading some statistics from somebody who did some research on it, and 80 percent of industrial production jobs in the world are now done in the Third World, if you include China. So that tells you a lot about where everything has gone. Most of the clothes are made in Bangladesh. Seafood is done in Thailand. Haiti, Pakistan, over in Asia... This country is sitting at the end of the food chain. All these people! The coltan for your cell phone is mined by people under terrible conditions in a place like the Congo. All this work is gone [from the U.S.] because of the nature of the system. They can exploit people much more ruthlessly in these conditions where they’ve messed up these countries. And don’t even tell me, “Well it’s better than not having a job at all; if we didn’t go in and do that, they wouldn’t have any...” Bullshit! There’s lots of raw materials and lots of people, and you could have a whole different economy that didn’t exploit people if you had a revolution. So I don’t want to hear your crap about how “if we didn’t exploit them, they’d be even worse off.”

But anyway, this article I was reading in the New York Times, it made the point that this shift from industrial to service work in this country has hit Black men particularly hard because while a lot of people (and they’re talking about white people, let’s face it) who go into these stores are willing to interact with Black women but not so willing to interact with Black men. It’s good if a Black woman has a job. Let’s be clear, this is not about a thing against Black women at all. But what is the point here? They’ve created this whole image, through the culture and everything. That’s why you have the Starbucks thing in Philadelphia [where they harassed two Black men, and called the police on them, when they were doing nothing wrong].7 And Lake Merritt in Oakland. See, I grew up in the Bay Area; I know about Lake Merritt in Oakland. A lot of people go there and hang out—Black people, white people, whatever. Somebody calls the police on some Black family because they’re barbequing with charcoal briquets which the city of Oakland has a thing against for environmental reasons. They called the pigs on them. Why? Because people have gotten this image that’s been consciously created.

Look, a lot of the youth are into messed up stuff, OK, but there’s also been a conscious effort to portray all these youth as a bunch of savages. It’s all in the way this system operates. You’re not going to change it with consent decrees or calls on people to “stop the violence.” You’ve got to change it with a revolution. And you’ve got to go deep with these youth, deep and hard with these youth about what is really worth living and dying for. Let’s get right down on the ground with this. What is worth living and dying for? If you’re going to fight and die, at least let’s get to the point—we have to get into the science of it and why we can’t just jump the whole thing off now—but let’s get to the point [where] at least if you’re going to fight and die, let it be for something that will leave the next generation coming along a much better world, rather than what they’ve got you caught up in now.

We can understand why they’re caught up in it, but we got to go deep and hard to fight about “make your life count for something that really would be meaningful to people, that you do care about, whether you act like you care about them or not.” You see them out there. I see gang bangers out there with their little kids rolling [them] around in strollers. Don’t tell me you don’t care about anybody else! We got to go deep and hard to get to where people really feel, and struggle with them about what is worth living and dying for.

I have to say one other thing. I know I’m going all over the place but just let me say this: I get really mad when people say, “All this talk about revolution—you’re going to get people killed.” People are getting killed all over the place, all over the world, including right around the corner, right now, for nothing, for no good reason, and we are trying really hard to do this in a scientific way so people don’t die unnecessarily.

Let’s be honest. You can’t make a revolution, you can’t go up against this thing and defeat them and nobody’s going to suffer, and nobody’s going to die. OK, let’s be honest. There’s no good point, in fact it works against everything we need to be going for, if you go up and lie to people and tell them [there is] some easy way to do this. But at least let’s not have it be for nothing. Let’s not have it be only to keep the same thing going for generation after generation. Your kids are going to come up and face the same thing, or worse, than what you’re going through, whether it’s the police or someone just like you who’s going to do them in. So we’re really working very hard to be very scientific so that, yes, people are going to need, when it comes down to it, to fight and die, but at least let’s not have it be for stuff that doesn’t count for anything and really works against what we need to do. At least let’s make it count for a future that’s better for all the people in the world, the great majority of people in the world who are suffering terribly under this system, including for all the violence that’s brought down, and for absolutely no good reason and completely unnecessarily.

So, consent decrees are not going to solve the problem!

 


1. Fred Hampton was the leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, who was murdered by police, with the active involvement of the FBI, as he lay asleep in an apartment in Chicago in December 1969. Another Black Panther, Mark Clark, was also murdered by the police during this middle-of-the night raid. [back]

2. Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old Black youth, was murdered by Chicago police in October 2014. This was followed, for more than year, by a systematic attempt of the Chicago police, and higher-up authorities, to cover up this wanton killing—including the suppression of video footage of the killing. Finally, as a result of massive protest, Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago cop who fired the shots that killed Laquan McDonald, was tried and convicted of second-degree murder; but he was sentenced to only three years and nine months in jail. And the cops involved in the cover-up of this murder were either not indicted and tried or, in the case of three others, were found not guilty by a judge in a separate trial from Van Dyke’s. [back]

3. In Sanford, Florida, in February 2012, George Zimmerman, an armed white wannabe cop, confronted Trayvon Martin, a Black youth who was walking back from a neighborhood store to the nearby home of his father. Zimmerman instigated a confrontation with Martin, which resulted in Zimmerman shooting Martin to death. After a massive outpouring of outrage, Zimmerman—who was not even initially arrested and instead was treated in a sympathetic manner by the police right after this incident—was finally put on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. But, as happens so regularly when it is the police who kill a Black person, the wannabe cop and friend of the police Zimmerman was acquitted! Nonetheless, the murder of Trayvon Martin, followed by the acquittal of Zimmerman, gave rise to a powerful wave of protest against police brutality and murder, which became even broader and more determined after the murders by police of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri (near St. Louis), and Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York City. [back]

4. At the time of this speech and question and answer with Bob Avakian, Jeff Sessions—a white supremacist former senator from Alabama—was the attorney general of the U.S. government. [back]

5. Rahm Emanuel (a Democratic Party politician who was a close adviser of Barack Obama) was then the mayor of Chicago. [back]

6. Here Bob Avakian is referring to Carl Dix, who a number of decades ago worked in a steel plant, where the Black workers were stuck in the dirtiest, lowest-paying and most dangerous jobs—and Carl himself was seriously injured while working in those conditions. Carl, a former soldier who spent time in prison for refusing to take part in the U.S. imperialist war in Vietnam, has been a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party since its founding in 1975. [back]

7. This refers to a situation in a Starbucks in Philadelphia, in 2018, where two Black men were waiting for a friend and one of the Starbucks workers accused them of loitering and called the police. This particular situation was resolved without serious physical harm being done to these Black men— although they were already handcuffed by police by the time their friend showed up! And it is not at all hard to imagine this turning into another one of these cases where the police escalated things and ended up brutalizing, or even killing, Black people who were doing absolutely nothing wrong. Along with the very real danger of being brutalized or even murdered by the police, incidents of this kind, which happen over and over again in this country, take a terrible toll on the psyche of those who are subjected to them—and, on the whole people, in particular Black people, who collectively suffer as a result of this kind of constant treatment. [back]

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/648/fundraising-livestream-for-the-national-get-organized-for-an-actual-revolution-tour-en.html

Announcing:

Fundraising Livestream for The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour and
The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

Sunday, May 31, 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET
$15,000 goal
facebook.com/therevcoms

| revcom.us

 

Fundraising Livestream now taking place Sunday, 4pm PT/7pm ET:
In light of the developments over the last 24 hours, we are postponing the livestream until Sunday afternoon. This situation underscores the importance of building up broad financial support for the National Tour to Organize for an ACTUAL Revolution and The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show.

Spread the word, tune in and join with others in supporting the National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution.

“The World Today Is a Horror – But a Better World IS Possible!” This is the basic message of the National Revolution Tour, out to shatter the myth that there is no alternative to this horrific system of capitalism/imperialism, with its brutal inequalities made increasingly worse by a global pandemic and with mortal dangers of the Trump/Pence fascist regime at the helm. Confronting this crisis and all that underlies it, the Tour is bringing alive the possibility of a radically different world and society achievable only through an actual revolution to emancipate all of humanity based on the new communism developed by Bob Avakian. In challenging new conditions, we are going to work to organize forces for this revolution.

Tune in to hear from Tour volunteers about the work we're doing on the ground in LA and hear from people who are working on The RNL Show. This show is like none other in existence seeking to provoke, challenge and inspire people with the need and basis for real revolution and the critical scientific spirit of the new communism.

None of this is possible without your financial support. There are people who have put their lives toward accomplishing this objective and they can only do this if there are thousands who lend their support and their energy to finance and spread this.

What would you give for growing numbers of people to stop passively hoping for a return to “normalcy” that is illusory and a nightmare to begin with? What would you give for increasing numbers of people to raise their sights to a whole different way the world could be, and put something on the line to fight for it?

Through this livestream, and the work to build towards it, we need to raise $15,000 AND we're aiming to raise this from a much larger pool of donors – building a community of revolution. Imagine if 150 people gave $10, 100 gave $20, 10 people gave half their stimulus check of $600 and 5 gave the full $1,200. This would be more than the needed goal and is the kind of broad mass movement for revolution needed now.

You are needed – to contribute, and to reach out to others. Use your stimulus check to stimulate the revolution! Call friends and family, ask them to match what you are able to give. Now more than ever, there's nothing more important your funds could go towards than this hope for humanity.

For more about the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour click HERE

Ways to Donate to the National Revolution Tour:

  • The National Revolution Tour now has Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • Write in to getorganizedforrevolutiontour (at) gmail.com, let us know if you are taking up collections, or to send statements
  • Or call (323) 245-6947
  • Or send a check or money order, payable to RCP Publications and earmark it for National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/tour-support-statements-en.html

New Statements of Support:

"I KNOW people want to see earth and humanity have a better future"

| revcom.us

 

From a healthcare provider:

I am pledging $300 out of my stimulus check (yes, that stimulus check) to help to advance the cause of the movement for revolution and to help to drive out the fascist, white supremacist Trump/Pence regime. I am also issuing a challenge for people to meet and match this amount so that it can be doubled to $600.

The RNL Show is a lively, engaging and challenging show that puts forth the very real potential for a much different future for humanity.

I am a healthcare provider who has seen over many years, the horror of what the lack of healthcare does to people not just in the U.S. but around the world as well. People with serious medical conditions show up for help in ERs with their conditions worsened because they have no access to healthcare... There are women who have to go miles and spend large amounts of money to get the abortion care/women’s health care that they need and is their right due to the attacks on their reproductive rights. We live in the world where “...5.3 million children under age five died in 2018...” This is all from preventable causes like malnutrition, clean water, and diseases like the measles, pneumonia and so forth. In the U.S., COVID-19 is killing Black, Brown and Native American people in higher numbers out of proportion to their population size. This is genocide in action!

The world does not have to be this way...

* * *

From a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney:

Even though I don’t know about the new communism of Bob Avakian, I want to raise consciousness, and I agree with the diagnosis, so I am donating. People can say to me “then you support communism and violence” but I am saying I do not know, yet, and I am studying... but I DO know that I agree with the goals for a better society. I could say “I don’t know about this...” but I do know about the osmosis between Refuse Fascism and the National Revolution Tour, and even though I am not “fully conscripted”—I agree with the diagnosis. We KNOW fascism is a function of capitalism and imperialism, we can have certitude about that. How to replace it and what to replace it with? I don’t know everything about that and I am just starting... but I KNOW people want to see earth and humanity have a better future. I give to a number of causes. There are a number of people doing good things. Most important on the National Revolution Tour and Bob Avakian: I DO think science should lead the way and I also agree morally, I want humanity to progress. If it wasn’t moral I wouldn’t give, but it IS moral—there is a moral underpinning, and I believe in it.

* * *

From a retired person:

As a retiree with no pension, no retirement account, or no savings, and living on a monthly social security payment, I find it hard to make ends meet each month, but I don’t find life nearly as hard as those who are incarcerated, immigrants that are put in detention, Black and Latinos who are hounded and murdered by the cops and vigilantes, people throughout the world living in refugee camps, children in other countries forced into a life of hard labor, people in the world without water and toilets, women who are forced to sell their bodies in order to live, and those who live in war ravaged countries. These are some of the horrors of capitalism/imperialism. I hunger for, yearn for, and fight for these horrors to be put to an end and a better world be brought into being. The only hope we have is revolution that ends this system of capitalism/imperialism, and this is expressed in what Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, (BA) states in BAsics 3:1, “Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit.”

The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour (Tour) is putting that into practice. They are making revolution today so the world, tomorrow can bring about what I and others hunger and yearn for. The Tour and what it can accomplish—bringing forward many more people who will be followers of BA and the New Communism he has brought forward—cannot succeed without funds. Funding this Tour is a critical element for people to be a part of this revolution that is the only possibility of bringing about a world without oppression.

I am pledging $500 for the May 30th Tour livestream. I am also pledging that I will convince at least one person to sustain the Tour on a monthly basis. To all those who feel the way I do, I challenge you to do the same. You can join, along with me in feeling the great joy in being a part of this and knowing that this is what your life can be about.

This is the uplifting joy that BA expresses in BAsics 6:18:

There is the joy that comes from seeing the ways in which people break free of constraints and rise up and begin to see the world as it really is and take up more consciously the struggle to change it. There is the joy of knowing that you are part of this whole process and contributing what you can to it. There is the joy of the camaraderie of being together with others in this struggle and knowing that it is something worthwhile, that it is not something petty and narrow that you are involved in but something uplifting.  There is the joy of looking to the future and envisioning the goal that you are struggling for and seeing people come to even a beginning understanding of what that could mean, not just for themselves but for society, for humanity as a whole.

* * *

From a $100 donor:

Hotep (peace upon your family),

I am excited to support the Revolution Club. I taught social science at the high school level for almost 20 years and am so happy to hear anyone promoting a scientific approach to analyze what ails society and to synthesize solutions to social ills. The laws that control large-scale social interaction are as immutable as gravity or photosynthesis. Just because we do not know these laws does not mean we are not subject to them. The current foolishness around U.S. exceptionalism negates understanding that the U.S. is a typical empire seeking to exacerbate its global hegemony by any and all means of hierarchical repression. History is replete with examples of the ruthless violence promoted by the top-down systems of feudalism, slavery and now capitalism. The social system of capitalism that the ruling class uses to maximize profit and power keeps the overwhelming majority of planet earth in economic poverty and ecological devastation. It is high time to use the catalyst of revolution to move humanity, and the very planet on which we live, to safety. There are no other solutions that will save us before our so-called rulers destroy us and all those whom we love. Please join the Revolution Club in whatever way you can to promote revolution right now.

Forward ever!

 

Ways to Donate to the National Revolution Tour:

  • The National Revolution Tour now has Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • Write in to getorganizedforrevolutiontour (at) gmail.com, let us know if you are taking up collections, or to send statements.
  • Or call (323) 245-6947
  • Or send a check or money order, payable to RCP Publications and earmark it for National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/rev-club-corner-en.html

Revolution Club Corner

| revcom.us

 

Note to readers: In this regular feature on our website, Revolution Club Corner, we share letters, correspondence, and reflections from members of the Revolution Clubs on different questions, experiences, events, or discussions. These are being shared with the aim to open up the scientific percolation, to invite and involve people who come to revcom.us in a process of working together to grapple with, and contribute to solving, the problems of the revolution. These are not intended to be “full or final” on any subject but instead to further stimulate thought, and some things may be shared that reflect different “takes” or assessments on the same things, but are nevertheless important contributions to the overall process of getting to a scientific understanding.

 

***

NYC: In the Streets Against the Fascist Crackdown in Portland

From members of the Revolution Club, NYC:

About 200 people came out Saturday, July 18, in New York City in response to a call by Refuse Fascism and the NYC Revolution Club to stand up against Trump’s fascist escalation in Portland and demand “No To A Fascist Police State! Trump/Pence Out Now!” The Club had originally been planning a protest against NYPD repression but decided to change our plans and broaden our scope when we saw what was developing on the political terrain.

Some high school students protested earlier in the day and they invited the Club to participate—so a couple of people went out to that—even as we were very stretched. This included one new person who took a big step to represent for the NYC Revolution Club with just one other Club member. We wrote a statement that we shared with them on Instagram too—saying we stand with them and highlighting a quote by BA on “No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over...” (BAsics 1:13) and bringing to people the need for an actual revolution.

Read more


Refuse Fascism New York and the New York Revolution Club in the streets, July 18

At the Union Square rally, people of diverse backgrounds came out, including people who are directly under the boot of the police. It was inspiring to see people come back especially in the face of the brutal repression that people faced here in NYC last week, including one person tased and hospitalized, 20 arrested at a counter-protest of a “blue lives matter” protest. Youths and others told us that this was so beautiful to see because they were beginning to lose hope because the numbers have been dwindling and because of the repression. People chanted “Fuck the system, Make Revolution!” “NO Fascist Police State! Trump/Pence Out Now!” “November is too late. Trump/Pence Out Now!” and “We out here, this shit ain't funny! No Fascism in 2020!” “No Fascist Police State—We Stand With Portland.”

One Black woman said at the speak-out, “I have so much love for you all out here. We are one race, one people. If I cut you, what color would you bleed? The same color.” Another new young member of the Revolution Club spoke about being Jewish and how we say never again—but we have to act on it. The history of this country, genocide, slavery and war, and the seeds of fascism have been here. And she spoke powerfully to how they have thrown everything at us—tear gas, bullets, the police. But if they cut off our heads, three more need to grow back. We aren’t going to stop. At the end we marched to “Abolition Park.”


July 18 march in NY City.

Two members from the Revolution Club both made compelling agitation—about the crossroads we face, the line from the Confederacy to the fascist in the White House, letting people in on our strategy, and straight up recruiting people into the Clubs for this and why we can’t rely on the elections to stop this. Refuse Fascism also did compelling recruiting on the spot: “You are leaving a protest going home. Black van pulls up and 4-5 guys in fatigues jump out, grab you and throw you in the back of a van... What’s different from that and what they did in Nazi Germany?”

And Refuse Fascism did a great job recruiting people into this—“Do you agree with stopping police murder of Black people? Do you agree with stopping the destruction of the environment? Do you agree with stopping the attacks on immigrants? Do you agree Trump/Pence must go? Then you have to join Refuse Fascism.”

We marched from Union Square over to City Hall at what is now “Abolition Park” (where people have been camping overnight and demanding that New York City defund the police). We were part of a second rally/program there, uniting with people there to say “No Fascist Police State!” There was a moment of silence for John Lewis, a musician with Black Joy Experience singing “I love being black!,” and people were dancing and singing together. There was also a beautiful performance by a drag queen around the terror and sorrow of trans lives being cut down and losing your friends.

The Revolution Club gave another speech down there, and put out the role of the police quote and challenged the deadly notions of abolishing the police and the idea of reforming the system, and why we need leadership and science to get out of what we are in. Unlike our previous outing there, there wasn’t hostile pushback—we learned through some active social investigation in the days leading up that people were feeling demoralized by the repression and the fact that powers that be did not meet people’s demands, and one person said he felt very torn—between continuing to fight for this or more trying to go for revolution. They’re leaning more towards revolution but “is that really even possible?” And “how could we do it?”

Going into Saturday, some of these discussions were happening with different forces who were levers to others, as part of our active social investigation—letting people know about the strategy for revolution, the leadership and why from our perspective and our strategy of dealing with encirclement, it was necessary to call people out into the streets and this was also working in conjunction with what had just happened in Portland.

New members of the Revolution Club read the Points of Attention for the Revolution and it was well received. One person, who is one of the organizers, made the points, if you are anti-racism, you have to be anti-fascist, if you are you anti-fascist, you have to be anti-patriarchy—really pulling together a different morality.

One young man who recently joined the Club was telling people in a very basic way, “You don’t have to know everything, I’m not really into all this politics and reading and stuff. But I’m learning. All you have to do is want to be part of making a change and you can join this. So don’t feel like you don’t know enough to step in. You know enough. If you want this to end. You can join up. And all I know is I’m seeing Black people hanging from trees in 2020—and I know that’s enough for me to step in and do something about this.”

A member of Refuse Fascism led people in chanting, “This is what community looks like.” New people joined the Revolution Club and we got messages of support from people who were impressed and moved by what was brought together. When we marched into City Hall, people were cheering. On the basis of what we had done and putting before people an ending to the white supremacy and a celebration of standing up in the face of this oppression—this was a whole different spirit and people coming together that was different than even 3-4 days ago.

There was a sense of “we are all on the same team” in ending white supremacy and institutionalized racism, nothing less, and an end to ALL the abuses people face. Even as there were differences in how people identified the fundamental problem and solution, this sense of team was on the foundation of Bob Avakian’s method and approach; including the application of what some of us discussed in the George Floyd uprising article, about how to identify what’s principal and what’s secondary in any given struggle. What to unite over and where to struggle. And there was struggle in the lead up to this, in particular over “ownership” of the movement or “involving as many people as possible” and this was done through propagating our strategy and what it will take to get free by making revolution.

And it was on the basis of us very boldly putting forward who we are and what we are, and this system needs to be overthrown, and we are organizing now for this. There was also a positive synergy between Refuse Fascism and the Revcoms—I have to think more on why this is so but I think it’s part of the “two way street” and making the revolution not feel like some far off abstract thing and even now with this repression from Trump.

A big part of how the new members of the Club are being trained is on the strategy for revolution, and they’re beginning to get a grasp of impact, accumulate, impact further. And unite all who can be united and struggle where we need to.

 

***

"Why We Die" — A response to the killing of youth in Chicago and everywhere — A Poem

 

***

Washington, D.C., July 4: Burning the Flags Right Near the White House

From a member of the Revolution Club, NYC, and a member of Refuse Fascism:

In Washington, DC, we hosted two separate actions—one, a rally and speak-out with Refuse Fascism (RF) on Black Lives Matter Plaza and another, the #flagburningchallenge as close to the White House as we could get on the same street. The rally/speak-out portion was hosted by people from RF, who both spoke about the urgent need to drive Trump and Pence out of office, while calling out the hypocrisy of the celebration of this country, echoing the RF July 4th statement. The speak-out design was an 8 ft x 12 ft American flag laid on the ground with a microphone on top. People enthusiastically danced over the flag—there was a speaker/PA system so some music—e.g., "F Donald Trump," and "This Is America"—was played between speakers to build an audience and encourage participation, and about a dozen people spoke, while 60-100 people gathered throughout the 3-hour long program.

Read more


Burning the flag in Washington, D.C., July 4th, 2020.

Most of what was shared was bitterness towards the country & the President, the lack of "real” accountability and action by the government, corporations, and other leaders—the insufficiency of performative activism. For example, one woman on the mic pointed out that all these cities now have BLM murals on the ground but offer no real solution to eradicate oppression of Black people in their communities. Another was upset that her dad grew up as a sharecropper and she works in social services—both giving so much of themselves to this country, but she'll never afford to own property. And yet another, a 11-year-old Black kid who rapped about learning to deal with police. Some of it was heavy, some more joyful moments, and overall—standing on the flag was established as optional, but majority expressed feeling liberated, and were happy to do so. In one instance someone who didn't want to speak while standing on the flag addressed the crowd to the side. Other people as they walked by stopped to dance to the music or wipe their feet on the flag. During the RF demo, Jamel from the Revolution Club came up to agitate for the need to drive out Trump and Pence from the perspective of making a revolution to end the oppression of Black and Brown people—and to take up the #flagburningchallenge today as part of properly displaying an American flag—and getting with the revolution.

Later in the evening at around 7:30 pm, Jamel addressed the crowd that had formed in prep for the #flagburningchallenge—some were just hanging around from the RF event, and others were there to hear Jamel and watched as he demo'd a mini flag burn at the end of his agitation. He talked about the crossroads we face with a fascist white supremacist at the helm, Mt. Rushmore, the diverse people who have taken up BLM, the exposure of the hypocrisy of this flag and the celebration of July 4th—and the need to get with the movement for revolution . As Jamel spoke, the crowd grew larger and media attention was significant.

We led the crowd of about 50 people in a small march from BLM Plaza over closer to the White House. Everyone following our group was given the fold and tear flyers, ready to fold and burn the half with the American flag. We lined up in two single file lines, and people pulled out their lighters. And throughout there were the chants of "1,2,3,4 slavery, genocide and war, 5,6,7,8, America was never great!" and "overthrow this f’ing system" as people burned flags. This was quickly met with resistance from a group of young Black men with “GOOD” written on their T-shirts, who had music set up at the gate in front of the White House. As the group marched up chanting—"1,2, 3,4 slavery genocide and war, 5,6,7, 8, America was never great”—you could hear the DJ say, “We are because of the same for the same thing."


Washington, D.C., preparing to burn little flags near the White House, July 4, 2020.

As the group approached the White House fence and lined up ready to light the flags—you can see this group quickly moved in to stop what was happening. They specifically targeted our group, with Jamel at the center. We called for people to form a circle around Jamel and protected him from attack by this group who claimed we shouldn't "give the media what they want." This other group acted like pigs themselves, stomping out the fires and snatching papers out of our hands, claiming that “we didn't have any Black people" (to us, both Black). They pushed and shoved us and others, and one point nearly knocking a young Black woman over. People were upset by this, and we made flag burning and their behavior a mass question, called on people to do what they know is right—and torch that rag. People continued to burn their fold and tears and small flags we distributed in groups and circles everywhere near the front fence. Despite the contention building, and once all 300 flag flyers we distributed were burned, folks were eager to also burn the 8' x 12' flag that was left behind where the rally and speak out were happening.

Organizers of the disruptive group came up to try to talk or negotiate to stop or move us from the front of the White House. We told them to check their people—and asked them, Why are you defending the American rag? We asked them, Why are you defending this rag that flies over concentration camps and on the badges of murdering police? Why are you defending that flag? One organizer came on—and was barely able to get a word in edgewise without talking down to, especially the women, in the crowd and in our group. "You should willingly silence yourself," he told one of the young women who volunteers with RF Yonkers. We told the GOOD organizer to explain why and handed him the megaphone.... There were arguments breaking out everywhere at a certain point not just about flag burning, but where this movement needed to go, and what kind of movement it was actually going to take—and it wasn't just a matter of just listening to Black people. What kind of a world are you fighting for?

And so folks grabbed the BIG ASS flag, brought it to the center of action, and burned that too. which was majorly covered in press and media—CNN, BallerAlert, The Hill, etc. DC Police watched as it all went down from a relatively close perimeter but didn't interfere. Before torching the big flag—we agitated to the crowd again with Joey Johnson's call—talked about Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson—and we raised our fists and chanted the “1, 2,3 4...” chant.


Flag burning July 4th not too far from the White House, Washington D.C.

Overall it was a spirited 6-hour day of protest—RF and Revolution Club actions included. And most of it was a full expression of bitterness towards Trump, this country and the system that holds Black and Brown people down in all sections of society. Where there was contention with the flag—either for it being on the ground, or set aflame by dozens, that was met with strong reaction from organizers and real opposition that didn't back down. People were courageous and steadfast in both actions—defending the movement for revolution, for driving Trump and Pence out of office, and redefining the July 4th holiday through protest.

The core of volunteers from RF Yonkers was very attracted to the movement for revolution—flag burning and July 4th—and are seeing the need for driving out Trump and Pence as part of making a revolution to bring into being a society that could ensure that Black lives matter. This collectivity has also been forged through struggle and contention—as we have been out in the streets together over the past couple of weeks in DC and NYC—bringing “Trump Pence Out Now” to BLM protests with contention. Gonna leave this here for now.


~~~

In talking with revcom.us, Jamel of the Revolution Club put it this way: “Today, on July 4 we took up the call from Joey Johnson, the flag burning challenge in the face of the White House and in the face of Trump’s military style celebration at the White House. We expected to be met by resistance from pigs, but found it instead from some in the crowd. We righteously both challenged and invited people to be part of what it would actually take to create a world where Black lives matter. And to imagine this. And that starts with imagining the end of America and burning that rag.”

 

***

LA, July 4th: Torching the Flag at Trump's Walk of Fame Star

From a member of the Revolution Club, LA:

The protest in Hollywood was about 40 people. Besides our own people, it was mainly people we directly organized to come. There was media who came to cover the press conference with Joey Johnson and the protest, including Reuters and a photographer for the Los Angeles Times. There wasn’t a lot of actual coverage, though. ABC showed some footage of the flag-burning and there was an article in a San Diego newspaper. A local TV station (KCAL) featured Jamel in DC. The LA Times ran a 4th of July article that didn’t talk about the Hollywood protest (it mentioned the Olvera Street protest, which it said was 400 people), but included a good picture (a Revolution Club member centered, a Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirt visible), and a caption, “Protesters march in Hollywood in the ‘Demonstrate How to Dishonor the American Flag’ event put on by the Revolution Club. The group burned a flag at President Trump’s Walk of Fame star.” There weren’t other trends there or groups of fascists. And it seems we were censored by the main group that popularizes protests in the city (inthistogetherla did not list our protest), though there were individuals and smaller groups posting it.

Read more


Burning the flag in Los Angeles.

Joey Johnson and others spoke at Sunset/Cahuenga, and we marched to the star and burned three flags (American flag, Confederate flag, and the pro-pig “blue lives matter” flag). Then, since there was more freedom, we burned a second American flag and invited others up to disrespect the flag or burn a couple smaller ones there. Mainly people were observing, though a woman in a Revolution—Nothing Less! shirt came up to burn a flag and said something like “fuck U.S. imperialism.” Joey said a couple things and we wrapped up pretty quickly.

A number of people who were at the protest came to MacArthur Park afterwards, and other people who didn’t go to the protest or missed it also came to the park. In addition to our people at the park, there were about 25 people. There was a nice display of the American Crimes from the revcom.us series and a good speech by Noche, then a speak-out element of people talking about why they were there/why they wanted to burn the flag, and we played two BA clips from the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! speech and the Tulsa massacre video from the RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less! There were lots of small-group and one-on-one discussions happening in a good way. Then there were some people that hadn’t been part of the action earlier and wanted to burn the flag and we gathered people up to do that. A couple who heard about it on the Michael Slate Show decided to burn the husband’s American flag-themed shoes and did so.


Revolution Club, Los Angeles, July 4th, 2020.

I think the accumulating aspect of the day was very significant. There were people who had worked with us to make the flag-burning happen that really took responsibility and saw that through. There were people who showed up to be part of the day, some in Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirts. There were people we met in Santa Ana who came to be part of the protest and the MacArthur Park gathering. A group of young women at the park, who have been following us on social media and were excited to be with us in person, went through the 5-2-6, and two of them put on T-shirts.

 

***

Chicago, July 4: "This flag stands for imperialism, this flag stands for the genocide of Black and Brown people"

From a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago:

The Revolution Club, Chicago joined Refuse Fascism’s July 4 protest held in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Logan Square is on the northwest side of Chicago. The area where the protest was held is a predominantly white and middle class area filled with millennials, many with small children. A bit farther west, the neighborhood includes lots of Latinos.

Club members coming up from the South Side remarked at how few American flags were flying on July 4th in the neighborhood and how many “Black Lives Matter” signs were posted in windows of the houses and flats in the Logan Square area.

Read more


The Revolution Club Chicago and Refuse Fascism marching through Logan Square, July 4, 2020.

Refuse Fascism posters and posters from the Revcoms (Tulsa, BA’s “Nothing Less!” and RNL Show promotionals) were put up all over the area in the days before. By the time of the march, most had been systematically removed. As the rally gathered, a well-dressed white woman wearing gold jewelry came up to one of the Refuse Fascism (RF) organizers and showed her photos of a “crazy guy who was cutting down all your posters.” She apologized that she was on her way to lunch with her visiting sister so she couldn’t stay but hoped we had a great protest.

Before the rally began, a group of drummers from Degenerate Artists Against Fascism and RF performed as a call to people in the area to join the protest. About 50 people, predominantly white and young, including people from the neighborhood, gathered at the rally site, enjoying the music.

Before the rally, Club members distributed their leaflet calling on youth caught up in killing and dying on the streets of Chicago to lift their sights and get into the revolution. The people in the crowd were generally receptive to this and some said they could consider joining the protest the next weekend in the South Side neighborhoods where the violence is raging. One young woman said, “I have been with you all at a number of protests and I want to help with this,” giving her contact info to a Club member. A bit later in the day, a Filipino youth spoke with a Club member about this, saying what you are trying to do is really important but also really, really hard. There is nothing for these Black youths who are trapped in these horrific conditions in these neighborhoods on the South Side.

The rally was short and was MC’d by Void from the Revolution Club. One of the drummers performed his song “The Trump Regime Has Got to Go.” Lou from Refuse Fascism and Niko from the Revolution Club spoke. The rally was closed out by Paul Street leading people in taking the RF pledge.

In the midst of the rally, a young man wearing a helmet and holding an upside down American flag jumped on the “stage,” an elevated section of the monument where the rally was held. Holding a bullhorn, he proceeded to disrupt the speakers. Monitors were able to move him away from the stage and stop him from using his bullhorn so the rally could conclude. It was unclear initially where he was coming from but this became clearer as the day went on.


Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club marching through Logan Square, July 4th, 2020

After the rally, the crowd, which had grown to about 75 people, took off on a spirited march through the neighborhood. There were few people out on the streets but as the marchers passed houses, families came out on their porches to show their support, holding up their Black Live Matters signs from windows and taking photos from the sidewalks as they waited for buses. Chants of “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide and War, 5, 6, 7, 8, America Was Never Great,” “No White Supremacy, Silence Is Complicity,” “Drive Out the Trump Regime,” “This System Is Outrageous, It Puts Our Kids in Cages,” “Trump/Pence Out Now” and more rang out from the march. Police on bikes followed the march. They did not interfere with the march taking the streets but they kept one lane open for traffic.

A press release sent that morning announced that the Revolution Club would be burning an American flag at the rally site at 4 pm. A news van from Channel 7 was seen circling the area around this time but did not return to cover the action. There was no press at the rally, march, or flag burning.

When the marchers returned to the rally site, some culminating points were conveyed by Refuse Fascism, and the MC announced that the Revolution Club would be taking up the call issued by Joey Johnson to burn a flag. Chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery, Genocide and War, 5, 6, 7, 8, America Was Never Great!” two Club members, surrounded by a security perimeter of other Club members, set the flag aflame. The crowd cheered and many, many came in close to take photos. As it burned, Niko from the Revolution Club called out, “This flag stands for imperialism, this flag stands for the genocide of Black and Brown people.” A second flag was also burned.

 

***

NYC: Acting on the #FlagBurningChallenge at Trump Hotel and Tower, Bringing New People into the Revolution

From a member of the Revolution Club, NYC:

About 60 people took part in the #July4BurnFlag challenge called by the Revolution Club in New York City, with many burning flags of their own outside Trump Hotel in Columbus Circle and again at Trump Tower.

Carl Dix and a member of the Revolution Club spoke about the whole history of America, of why this was nothing to celebrate, and everything America stands for and what it does in the world, drawing from BA’s new statement and also doing this as part of going up against the bloated bag of fascist feces in the White House, to repudiate him and invite people to imagine a world without America, without everything it stands for and does in the world, and to make this real, people were called to not only burn this flag but to get into the revolution. Many people eagerly took up the flag-burning challenge, and I mean eager, and spoke about why they themselves felt compelled to come out. Including being sickened by video after video of police murder, disgust at what the U.S. does to people all over the world, and the recent murder of Vanessa Guillen, a Latina military member who was bludgeoned to death. ...

Read more

...What was notable was how many people were expressing a coming to terms with the lies that they had been told about America and how they have been inspired by what has been happening so far and are getting some hope that things could be different and seeing things that they never thought they would see happen—but at the same time feel that things still haven’t really changed in a fundamental way.


Burning the flag in Columbus Circle, New York City. Photo: AP

One young man expressed that he felt weird going to celebrate the 4th of July, but he couldn’t really articulate it—when he came to the protest he said, wow, this was exactly how I was feeling.

And people spoke to how they have been heartened by people standing up against all of this, and inspired by people together to indict all the 5 STOPS and the need for unity. We spoke about and united about the deep desires that people have to be rid of this and called on people to go deeper; what people need now to put an end to this is science and leadership and what those things mean—and what we have in BA, who has done over 50 years of work in analyzing where this white supremacy came from and how it could be gotten rid of, and to think about what this means that we have a leader like this. And then called on people to act on that desire to see this ended by becoming a member of the Revolution Club to act now to organize thousands into this movement for revolution. We read the Points of Attention and called on people if they agreed with these points to come to the front and get a Revolution—Nothing Less T-shirt. About seven new people did—including people who have been working with the club and reading BAsics.

And then we marched to Trump Tower with great ferocity, hands clapping and chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, Slavery Genocide and War, 5, 6,7 ,8, America Was Never Great! and Revolution—Nothing Less.”


Revolution Club, NYC, burning the flag in front of Trump Tower, July 4th, 2020.

It was intense, beautiful, and moving. And you actually felt that people were getting cohered around revolution—even while there was an unevenness in the understanding. New people took the mic and led the chants. And plans were made for an open-air revolution meeting. A small cluster of people afterwards talked together about the strategy for revolution and some new members took materials down to go to the Occupy City Hall.

 

***

Reaching for the "Power of Science" in Turbulent Times

Editors’ Note: Below are edited excerpts of wrangling and reflections from a newer member of the National Revolution Tour. They have been part of the Beautiful Rising protests, inspired by people “putting their individual interests of fear aside and actually feeling a stronger calling to fight back against these oppressors after experiencing the violent attempts at repression,” while at the same time grappling with the ugly, violent—and inhumane—repression of the police, the fascists and others.

The comrade began by recounting experiences in the recent uprising following the lynching of George Floyd:

“People took to the streets standing together to demand, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and with the heart and spirit set heavy with a determination to end the way Black people are indiscriminately dehumanized, and lynched by the police. Thousands of people had been out around the country and soon after around the world. This continues in a mass and sustained way although the demonstrations have ebbed a little. In the first few weeks there was heavy repression by use of force by the police. Rubber bullets, tear gas, batons, flash bangs. Some people were very frightened by this. I was pretty frightened by the potential physical harm. But like many people I talked to, standing beside comrades and beside strangers with a common sentiment, the sentiment of NO MORE lynchings, no more murder by police, no more institutionalized racism, standing shoulder to shoulder with people who were willing to put aside what individual risk there was to stand for something bigger I found strength. ...

Read more

I felt the strength of righteousness—standing on the right side, and the kind of force used against us gave me more confidence in the position we took. ‘These fucking pigs.’ I have a lot of disdain. I took a lot of footage of the lines being held. Their line, armored and weaponized and ours, righteous and determined, half cowed at times with the fresh masses being very new to protests thinking that by cowering and cooperating the pigs would be nicer. With this footage you can see the kind of contempt these pigs have for us. Some are smirking, flexing, twitching, jaws clenched. Maybe some are scared. I wonder and muse and try to see if there is empathy, if the indoctrination isn’t fully set. Who might come to our side. Part of me keeps pleading with them after arrest. In my head mostly. I say a short stint out loud. ‘Do you see which side you are on? How can you live with yourself? You are shooting at, beating and arresting kids. Do you see what side you are on? Are you not human?’ My outrage is an expression of disbelief that there can be such cruelty in this world and people who carry it out. It’s a part of my feet being in many places at once.

“The protest went on in a sustained way after this. People who were interviewed by the RNL Show stated that the fear of repression wouldn’t keep them away, like I expressed above, a lot of people were feeling that same sentiment of putting their individual interests of fear aside and actually feeling a stronger calling to fight back against these oppressors after experiencing the violent attempts at repression. The lines drawn of ‘which side’ became sharper....”

The comrade went on to reflect further:

“[Reflecting on] the bulk of horrendousness and unnecessariness of ‘it all’ the question surfaces, ‘Why are there mean people in the world?’ Why is there so much ugliness? I think it’s okay to start there, with those questions however it would be wrong to sit atop all that pain and ferment in it for too long as I have before, just woe-ing. Something I have gained in my interacting with the Revolution Club and the new communism is the inclination to pursue and investigate with a purpose, to find truth, to try to locate the source and begin a process of working to change things with a new confidence and sense of direction in that undertaking. I’m not completely set or trained in this but that night I was falling into it a little, I was reminded of the tools and the way to move forward. I think about the process we are trying to involve others in, and the process I am taking up, using a scientific and materialist approach to examining reality and changing it for the better, in the interest of humanity. It’s a kind of hope and lifeline and tool that humanity really needs.

“I’m really digressing, but to round this out, early into joining up with the tour I was feeling fucked up about thinking about the opposing forces in a kind of flat way, not specifically the situation with the pigs suppressing the protests but before that, thinking about the lynchings and other manifestations of the 5 Stops like rape and people who take joy and find power in hurting others. I was initially taking it as this ‘cycle of abuse’ that is ‘nurtured’ into people, but also almost thinking about the ways these behaviors materialize as a result of ‘human nature’ and not external contradiction. That is where the ‘hopeless and defeated’ pain came from—trying to understand why there is some kind of ‘inherent cruelty’ in people. Why and how is there a world where other humans want to inflict pain on each other ‘just because.’

“It wasn’t that much of a scholarly leap to pull myself to a more reasonable and scientific approach. Partly because I was being quite a 5-year-old in my initial emotional response to the fucked-up-ness of the world. ‘Why!?’ with a big sad face. Then there was the part of me telling myself to stop being a baby & figure it out. Look at the way society has developed. What kind of necessity posed itself. With what tools did people set out to understand the world and secure the means to live and reproduce? In the past due to limited technology, understanding and preparedness there was scarcity and insecurity of the resources to live and reproduce and societal structures formed in a way. Hand to mouth, to agrarian societies, to feudalism to capitalism. This is a cheap way of putting things, I know this isn’t a thorough or super accurate analysis but as I’m trying to work through this it may fall short. Anyways, at some point humans developed better tools and technology to secure ways to reproduce the means to live. The models of scarcity are imposed on masses because of an outmoded system of capitalism-imperialism that runs on exploiting masses that can and should be done away with. It’s long, long past its time. This was a helpful and less defeatist way of approaching reality.

“I didn’t have to turn to god or sin or whatever. There is a lot of power to science. Even as I’m just learning about dialectical materialism, I kind of have a love for it. It feels like a lifeline. The point is to get better at using the tool of dialectical materialism and struggling with, inviting and empowering others to take up a process of examining reality in this way. I can relate this further to the two-part talk by BA on revcom.us under collected works/audio: “The Material Basis and the Method for Making Revolution.” He goes into the need for ideological struggle and the importance of working with the masses. He goes into the Enriched What Is To Be Done-ism 6 paragraphs. I want to write more about this tomorrow. I took a lot away from a summary of Lenin’s WITBD and relating it to the way we (Rev Club) take up both ideological struggle with the masses and the—often on my end—neglected need to get further into theory and history. Neglected due to prioritizing ‘tasks’ and trying to make revolution based on that flatness, being task oriented and lacking initiative or bowing down to spontaneity or necessity. I’m not sure which one of these is most accurate but I mean taking up some kind of 1-1 approach and feeling kind of dragged around without proper planning. With these uprisings posing urgent necessity and demand on time we have re-evaluated often in hindsight.

“Re-evaluating in hindsight or summation is good but there should be an advance in what we learn from these observations and how we act in the future. There is a balance between needing to be flexible in a quickly changing environment and needing to plan more than one or two days in advance.”

 

***

Taking "Revolution—Nothing Less!" into March Demanding Justice for Andres Guardado, Killed by Police

From the Revolution Club, Los Angeles:

As the powerful protests for Black lives shake society demanding an end to racist murders by police, sheriffs in Gardena, California, ruthlessly murdered 18-year-old Andres Guardado on June 18. They shot at least six bullets into him at the auto body shop where he worked as a security guard and then ripped out the security cameras at the shop. Three days later, the day after Trump’s racist, violent, fascist speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about 500 people took to the streets in Gardena and Compton in a powerful march and protest demanding justice for Andres.

Read more


Andres Guardado

People and organizations came into the streets who have been part of the ongoing upsurge, and others came into the streets from the neighborhood for the first time.Some people traveled from far-out areas, full of outrage and deciding they could not sit this out. Andres’ family and friends marched together with Salvadoran flags in a contingent with a banner in Spanish saying, “Justice for Andres Guardado.” A network of people took part who have been uniting with the protests for Black lives and demanding “free our kids” from the cages this government is locking immigrants into. The organizers of the march explicitly expressed unity between Black and Brown people, and this was beautifully seen as the mainly Latino march made its way through Compton and Black people came out to watch and support, some with fists up.

As the marchers gathered at the memorial site, members of the Revolution Club spoke about the need to finally put AN END to this, not continue with cycles that keep it going, and then handed the mic to the brother of Anthony Weber who talked about his 16-year-old brother being shot in the back 16 times two years ago and said: We are people and demand to be treated as such.

The Revcoms carried a banner, “This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown,” and an enlarged quote from Bob Avakian (BA), “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people....” During the march we would at times form a horizontal line behind the banner, drawing everyone’s attention to this formation in “Revolution—Nothing Less!” T-shirts, which included new people who had just joined in through the protests of the last two days. At one point we started chanting, “Trump loves cops, cops love Trump, HELL NO! THEY ALL GOTTA GO!” Not everybody caught on to this chant right away, and there was even some opposition to it, while others loved it, including a young woman hanging out of one of the cars riding along in the protest who threw her middle finger up in the rhythm of the chant. Along the march people took signs with “We Say No More! Revolution—Nothing Less!” and taped them on their cars or bodies and grabbed the posters being distributed with BA’s “Nothing Less!”statement and the history and significance of the racist violence in Tulsa and Trump’s campaign starting there. People familiar with the Revcoms in different ways were finding us there, some joining in on the spot to help get out materials. 

When the march got to the Compton sheriff’s station, the sheriffs were lined up in riot gear behind a metal fence and threatening people. Much of the youthful protest defiantly went right up to the fence, shouting and chanting in the face of the sheriffs, and Aztec dancers went to the front and danced. The father of Andres Guardado gathered his courage to speak briefly to the crowd, expressing his grief and pain and his appreciation for people being there together and the need to put a stop to this. This opened up a speak-out where four other families of people murdered by police got on the mic and told their stories, further painting a real picture of the pig nature of these murderous police.

As the rally was coming to a close, the sheriffs put their brutality and inhumanness on full display. On the other side of the building where they were also lined up in riot gear, they began shooting tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bangs at people who were in their faces, refusing to back down. Over and over again they would shoot something and the small crowd would fall back and gather again.

At one point, a couple of young Latino guys went and stood up close directly in front of the sheriffs with their backs turned and hands behind their heads. They had already been tear-gassed and their faces were red and puffy. Some people have said that Andres was shot in the back with his hands up this way when he was killed. Some of us joined with them and gathered others to do the same and formed a line in front of the sheriffs, shouting out Andres’ name. The sheriffs decided not to keep shooting at people in this circumstance. Instead, they started circling a helicopter overhead, threatening people with more violence and arrest. As this was happening, a second standoff was occurring back on the other side of the building. These standoffs went on for about an hour. 

As they were happening, there were other groupings of people who had been part of the earlier rally gathered on the sidewalk away from the building, talking and getting organized. Those in our crew who weren’t in the middle of the standoff were able to talk to people there. A student who grew up in Compton said he wants to be part of an organization and he was attracted to the banner and asked how he could participate. From a report from a comrade: “I gave him the Tulsa statement and asked him to read the BA statement. He said I completely agree, I’m with this. He asked how can he start organizing now and I put the problem back to him that not enough people know about this revolution and its leadership, so spreading the word is an important way in going to work at that. He took a stack of flyers and we talked about the need for growing numbers of people to represent for this revolution and call on others to get organized into this revolution as part of accelerating the process of actually making revolution. We read the 5-2-6 and told him to get a shirt if he agrees, to begin to represent... He ended up buying three shirts (one for him and for his siblings).”

Lots of other important conversations were happening throughout the whole day, and some of these continued at a meeting the next day. More on that soon.


"The organizers of the march explicitly expressed unity between Black and Brown people, and this was beautifully seen as the mainly Latino march made its way through Compton and Black people came out to watch and support, some with fists up."

***

Los Angeles: Snapshot on the June 20 Protest

From a member of the Revolution Club, LA:

A snapshot and few insights from today’s protest:

There were over 100 people on the march and about 140 out at the Trump star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was important that the night before, leading into the event, the Instagram account with many thousands of people added this protest to the 25 events happening in LA today. This was the only event challenging Trump’s KKKampaign rally in Tulsa. Some came off that. This action attracted people we really have to work to consolidate(!). For example, people who had just read Refuse Fascism material over the past couple of days, and the fascist description really resonated with them—they want to connect up from here on out (and want to learn more...). Or one young woman who by herself went to DC from June 6-10, who lives in a small town one hour away from LA, and who, when she and eight other friends protested Floyd’s murder in her town, were set upon by fascists with guns (she has a video of it), and was wrestling with all of it, including why the police did nothing about it. My point at the top here is there were “fresh forces” at this event who were serious about Black Lives Matter AND serious about driving Trump and fascist regime out...

Read more

The action got framed well at the beginning, sharpening the crossroads and stakes and what Tulsa actually represented today, what this tells us about the fascists and their white supremacist genocidal program. Chantelle and Michelle MC’d and Noche spoke for the National Revolution Tour. Noche was particularly sharp on the nature of the U.S. and its history of violent white supremacy—“so don’t tell me it can’t happen here”—zeroing in on the moment we are in, which now powerfully has a NEW situation w/ mass resistance, which needs to be connected with Trump/Pence Out Now and with revolution. Noche did a call-and-response on the main slogan in BA’s “Nothing Less!” statement and invited people to study BA on revolution, and he raised, “How can you get rid of white supremacy and police murder of Black and Brown people when you have an open white supremacist and fascist in the White House and who controls the levers of power?” This first rally also included a speech from Rich Procida, from LA Progressive and Bible Study for Progressives, which was a coherent presentation on how the Trump regime is going after voting rights, rigging the elections, attacking the Constitution etc.—it concentrated an important trend in the Trump/Pence Out Now movement.

The MCs did a good job training the crowd in new chants for the march, when the rally ended and march started. There wasn’t a huge crowd out along the route, but definitely some of the stores and restaurants were open along the route, and there were people out and the march was tight and powerful. It picked up people along the way, including young Black youths on electric bikes who joined the march. There were cars following the march, people who were providing water and some food, and there with people hanging out of cars with posters. A big part of the march—most of the people—had the “#OUT NOW” Refuse Fascism sticker, which had a big impact. The Trump/Pence Out Now / RefuseFascism.org banner was held by seven people from the beginning of the rally to the end of the event.

Once the march got to the Trump star, media that had been there at the beginning and more were waiting: CNN, KTLA Channel 5, Channel 9 and KCBS 2; there were a lot of photographers, including from Getty and AFP. There was a galvanizing speak-out, with different people speaking to the murder of George Floyd and how the police murder us—“SO DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT BLACK ON BLACK CRIME”—and people who made connections between Hitler and Trump. There was some sweet binational/bilingual singing by a woman who had a song about liars in office being no more. The videographers and photographers jumped on it when a whole bunch of people, one after the other, put OUT NOW stickers on the Trump star, which was covered up completely.

A number of these fresh new forces took up small stacks of the new Call to Act/Statement of Conscience from Refuse Fascism. The revcom.us statement about this crossroads and Tulsa was also passed out to the crowd. Some people were planning to come to Grand Park Sunday at 3 pm. During this last part there were brief speeches by the MCs on the fascist program of Trump/Pence and driving out the regime, and returning to the significance of this when Trump is in Tulsa, the site of the massacre of Black people 99 years ago. And that Refuse Fascism is in Tulsa too—challenging this fascist program with orientation of driving out.

***

Chicago: Out at the Juneteenth March

From a member of the Chicago Revolution Club:

As anticipated there were all kinds of Juneteenth events all over the city. I don't yet have a full picture of them and I don't think the local media is very clear on all that happened either. The front page of the print edition of the Tribune has an awesome picture of Black women with their fists raised and huge smiles on their faces (Kente cloth masks on their chins, a big sign saying “I'm here so my kids won't have to be” and a headline “Day Like No Other”). This photo is from what was actually a pretty staid protest of hundreds early in the day that included politicians Gov. Pritzker, Tammy Duckworth, etc. It was organized by ministers. Marched from Columbus and Roosevelt into Grant Park. They had snowplows block entrances on Lake Shore Drive...

Read more

Along King Drive and Cottage Grove early in the day there were small festivals, food giveaways and more. It was a beautiful hot summer day. Juneteenth was in the air all over. I don't know the results of other events but announcements included medical workers for BLM near the University of Chicago hospital. Car caravans from different parts of the city, a protest in Englewood that included the “Trump Resign” demand. Lots of events were planned on the West Side too.

Refuse Fascism and a few Club folks manifested at 10 am at a gathering at Union Park which was much smaller than anticipated—a few hundred people who are part of “fight for 15.” There are beautiful photos of the Refuse Fascism presence on IG. Looked great and included a few drummers. Met some people there who had marched with the Club downtown.

The Club gathered in the Loop at 2 pm anticipating that there would be throngs of people still there from the various gatherings that were supposed to culminate there. We were wrong, but a Club core practiced drilling downtown with “We are the Rev Coms, the Mighty Mighty Rev Coms” and some of us briefly joined a small protest at ICE.

We were able to do a really good orientation, stepping back to the bigger stage and looking at the situation from the perspective of being “strategic commanders.” This was really important because until then we were not in tune with the whole situation, including Trump’s ugly threats on the protests in the Tulsa and the anticipation that we might need to be poised to act on Saturday or Sunday to meet a possible counter-revolutionary assault on those standing up for Black lives and against the fascist Trump/Pence regime in Tulsa.

Around 4:30 we headed over to hook up with the protest called for 6 pm at 2400 S State. (For non-Chicagoans, this is a grassy field where Ickes Housing project used to be in the South Loop which has been transformed over the past 20 years from a site of SROs and projects into a vibrant middle class community of condos and high rise NYC like downtown or just south of downtown, apartments and other living spaces, shopping areas, etc. It is pretty interesting community, diverse and young with many people who work in medical professions—white, Black, South Asian. It is also near the downtown colleges and when the schools are open has 1000's of college students. )

Traffic was backed up for blocks and people were walking along the streets holding homemade cardboard signs heading for this gathering. When the traffic came to a halt, we decided to exit our cars and march the rest of the way. Our crew with a Revolution—Nothing Less banner chanted and marched past people eating at outside restaurants who greeted us with fists raised.

The area was covered with beautiful posters from Revcom.us (Tulsa and BA’s “Nothing Less!”) and also posters for the RNL Show.

When we got to the park around 5:30, there were only a few people there. We set up near the entrance with our banner, the sound. People (mostly 20 somethings of all nationalities, including lots and lots of white people, kids in stroller, etc., most with homemade signs) began streaming into the park. This did not stop for an hour or more. We passed out 11x17 glossy 2-sided posters from revcom together with the “No More” statement. Hundreds took fliers. It was not a much of a “stop and talk to us” group, just streams of people–although a few folks did stop at the banner including a young man who said he had marched with us before in rainbow shorts who ran with the us the whole evening, helping to carry our banner. One of the people we had met with last week (19 years old) greeted us but did not stay to run with us.

This was a fresh newly awakening crowd. Most has no idea who we were unless they had marched with us earlier in the midst of this upsurge.

People fill this “green space.” There was a rally but their sound system was not real good. Heard a little. One person did some very sharp exposure of Tulsa 1921. There were calls for CPAC (community control of police initiative that has been going on here for years and years.)

We were able to get hundreds of Refuse Fascism flyers for the Saturday protest to coincide with Trump's Tulsa speech and got them out widely while people were listening to the rally. The call to protest to coincide with Trump's speech was well received.

When the march finally poured out from the park (maybe 7:30 and an hour later than originally planned) it was huge. There were thousands—it was clearly “The Juneteenth Event” for Chicago. It was joyous and festive. People danced and drummed and chants rang out, “Say her name...,” Say his name...,” “Black Lives Matter” and more.

The Club led a wide array of chants picking up on those the crowd was doing and interspersing our own. Many joined in with “It's Time, It's Time, It's Time to get organized for an actual revolution.” People around us also joined in with “We are the Rev coms.” It was a very cool scene. An old friend and his partner joined with us for a while and helped lead chants but we were not successful in organizing on the spot. There were people around us who were “with us” in a way. Two young white women who chanted along with the “we are rev coms” held up their signs (ones we'd made that say “We say No More, We need Revolution”).

CPD was everywhere but with sort of low-key presence. Just pigs and more pigs standing along the streets in summer pig gear. When we got up to Roosevelt Road which is sort of the main opening to the downtown Loop they blocked all entrances into the heart of the city. Unlike the night of May 30 when people fought the police in the streets, this crowd while defiant was not one to push through the police lines. We got bottlenecked for a while and then the south-bound route opened up and the march continued south and returned to its starting point. Joyous, defiant and chanting, the march finally ended around 10:30 pm. You could see people heading out on all directions, mostly north into the city, and everywhere people raised signs and chanted as they departed.

***

NYC: June 20 March from Union Square to Trump Tower

From a member of the Revolution Club, NYC:

There was a lot that had to do with standing up for justice going on this afternoon in Union Square. People doing art, chalking the sidewalk, making posters and painting on bed sheets the names (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor & Ahmaud Arbery especially); dozens of people riding bikes in a group decked out with Black Lives Matter signs and chanting George Floyd's name. Around 3 p.m. 150-200 people marched into the square and held a brief Black Lives Matter rally. People got on the bullhorn and called out to them not to leave because a Refuse Fascism rally that's demanding Trump/Pence Out Now is starting in a few minutes. “Stay and march with us to Trump Tower to deliver the message...” And most of the people did stay...

Read more

When the rally got started there were 400+ people there, some from the earlier rally and others who come to be part of the Refuse Fascism rally. (A thing to note here is that people go to a Justice for George Floyd list on Instagram to find out what's happening and pick what rally they're going to go to from it. Whoever has been getting events posted on this list has to keep doing it because it does draw people out.)

The Refuse Fascism (RF) speaker and the person repping the Revolution Club did a good one-two getting things started. The RF laid out what was at stake that this inspirational upsurge in resistance that had swept the country was in the cross hairs of a fascist onslaught that aimed to crush it and shut down people's ability to stand up against any of the horrors people are forced to endure. And that to stop that from happening, we needed to drive this regime out. The Club member built on this and took it to that reality that the horrors were baked into the very fabric of the system and that to end them you needed an actual revolution. He also spoke to the leadership we have for this revolution in BA. And wound up by calling on people from whatever perspective to join with RF to drive out the regime. They both spoke to Tulsa as a concentration point in the challenge we faced and how RF had people there among the protesters saying no to Trump at the scene of his KKK rally.

After a dancer performed to “Fight The Power,” and another speaker, Carl Dix underscored a few of the points that had already been hit. He noted how determined people in Minneapolis and here in NYC were to see these horrors ended and told them, “Don't let anyone tell you that determination is just an idle youthful dream.” We can end these horrors, and to do that we have to get serious and get organized. He urged people who wanted to do that to get into the leadership we have for this revolution, to check BA's work, especially the Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution speech, and to connect with people wearing the Revolution—Nothing Less! T-shirts to get with the club. And to watch The RNL Show. And he urged people who saw how the regime was intensifying all these horrors to get with RF.

From there we did a fund pitch and gathered people up to hit the streets. By the time we were in the street, the protest seemed to have grown, maybe to as much as 700-800. The chants coming from the front of the march were pretty much the ones from RF, although given the size of the march there were other chants being done in the middle and the end of the march. The march went to the Trump Tower, where there was another rally, and from there people marched to the West Side Highway, down the highway and then came east back over to Union Square.

***

LA: Getting Out the Tulsa Poster

June 20, 2020

The following is from a Revolution Club member in Los Angeles, reporting on getting out the revcom.us poster on the Tulsa massacre and other revolutionary material at the Juneteenth march.

It sounds like at the end point at Sunset near Crescent Heights, people had some pretty good experience with the posters and impact of having it on the walls, people reading them, getting bundles, and donating. One store owner saying to leave the posters on his store (people had covered his wooden storefront in the morning because they mistakenly thought it was closed down).

Read more

We got out 600 English posters and 150 Spanish and raised $180 in donations.

A big question we heard was, "Where to from here?" One Club member said she told people they need to get into the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian and the strategy for revolution. We were consciously using the back of the 5-2-6 poster, with the article on BA being a radically different leader... and calling on people to watch the Revolution Nothing Less YouTube show. Many people took up the palm cards and really liked the BAsics quote on the back.

Many people got small stacks of the poster to get out and donated, because they didn't really know the true history of the Tulsa massacre and want others to know. Many read the whole thing posted up on walls and then got small stacks and donated.

We are summing up that we need to not just ask people to take stacks or donate, though we need to do that—but really we need to invite people into the revolution and as part of that, taking it up in a myriad of ways. There’s more to develop, including maybe interviewing some store owners about why they are making the important contribution of keeping these posters up on their wall; or the Syrian store clerk who read the poster and said it was horrific—he is from Syria and said 2 million people there have been killed by the war started by the U.S. He took a small stack to let people know the truth.

 

***

LA: Revcoms Lead March, Speak Out For Black-Latino Unity

June 15, 2020

On June 12, 300 people came together to say “Black and Brown United Against This System” in a march led by the Revcoms through downtown LA to the Central American neighborhood near MacArthur Park. Some people heard about it in various ways and came to be part of it, and others just showed up downtown looking to see if people would be in the streets and found it. Many expressed appreciation that there were people continuing to lead people to stay in the streets...

Read more


The banner says "Black and Brown United Against This System"

The march started with the Revcoms talking about the ways people are oppressed by this system and then taught to hate each other, and the fight needed to put an end to the oppression caused by this system, including some vision of what a new society would be like. Latino comrades spoke very frankly about how masses of immigrants, as well as Chicanos, are turned against Black people. 

Slowly, others began to come up to the mic, including a woman from an organization celebrating the anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision of the Supreme Court that legalized interracial marriage and a Latina lawyer who spoke powerfully about the terror her father and family had been subjected to by the police as she grew up and even through law school. Many other people gave moving examples of internalizing the thinking of the oppressor—and breaking free of that thinking.

At different points Noche Diaz in particular strongly brought out the goal of revolution, and the importance of the work that’s been done and the leadership being provided by Bob Avakian. He gave living examples of how things would be different in the new revolutionary society and challenged people there to be part of bringing that into being—and getting with the revolution NOW. From the sound truck came recordings of Bob Avakian, the most important revolutionary thinker and leader today, with short, hard-hitting commentaries on what’s going on. 

All different nationalities of people marched and chanted together, stopping at Rampart police station with its notorious history of brutality and corruption. Then the march entered the stretch of neighborhood where people are everywhere in what feels like an outdoor street vendor shopping plaza. Before marching in, everyone had practiced chanting in Spanish and the whole march entered chanting together, “Afroamericanos y Latinos ahora unidos en contra el sistema.” It was captivating. It was an immediate message to all those filling the sidewalks and they were stopped in their tracks, looking with wide eyes, some smiling and joining the chants.

The march ended in the center of all the vendors and took over the intersection for at least an hour with an open mic speak-out that changed something as people listened to each other. Joe Veale started it off, and when he spoke about what the U.S. has been responsible for in Central America and what it’s done to immigrants, there was applause and deep appreciation from many who had been on the march, and his comments were also translated so the primarily Spanish-speaking people joining in and along the sides could understand. 

An Asian-American man spoke passionately about how this country was built on 400 years of the oppression of Black people. He said, “We are here together, we are one, we are humanity!... We are all human and we must protect our Black community, because they have taken the pain of centuries for us and now is the time that we alleviate that pain.” A Latino man came up and spoke about the racism among Latinos, that he is not even Black but gets discriminated against for being darker-skinned and all of this has to stop. A Black man who said he lives where the rebellion of 1992 began, looked out at the crowd of marchers and all the Central American immigrants everywhere and said with a smile, “It’s been a long time coming, look at this. This looks beautiful, this was Martin Luther King’s dream, this is what he was talking about, all of us coming together, doesn’t matter what we are, all walks of life, it just looks beautiful, man, this is what LA is supposed to look like every day.”

Michelle Xai ended the rally with reading the Points of Attention for the Revolution in English and Spanish and calling on people to join the Revolution Club and get into the big questions with us of how to put an end to this oppression and how to take this struggle forward. Refuse Fascism spoke at the beginning and end of the march, urging people to demonstrate on Saturday to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime. 

Something of real importance was brought forward last Friday—the challenge now is to carry that forward.

***

From Revolution Club, Chicago: Marching Through Downtown on the Two-Week Anniversary of Police Murder of George Floyd — and “Growing” the Protest Right on the Spot

June 15, 2020

When the mayor finally reopened downtown last Monday, we expected someone or some group would call a protest. When no one had by Wednesday, the Revolution Club (together with some new friends we have an online chat group with) concluded that we should call on people from all over the city to converge on downtown Saturday at 3 pm. We set up a Facebook event, made a flyer and posted the event on various online sites...

Read more


Revolution Club Chicago leading a march in Downtown Chicago, June 13, 2020.

Our demands were those put forward in BA’s statement: “An End to Institutionalized Racism and Murder by Police—Nothing Less!” and “An End to Any Way People Anywhere Are Used, Abused, and Brutalized—Nothing Less!” We also put forward the demands “Trump Pence #Out Now” and “#Revolution—Nothing Less.” The text of our call was BA’s statement, which we printed on the back of our flyer and used as the text for our Facebook event.

As of Saturday morning, fewer than 20 people were signed up on Facebook as “going.” We had no idea what to expect. In a pre-protest conference call we decided no matter how big or small, what we were doing was very important and that we would work to “grow the protest” on the spot no matter what happened.

Club members got to the gathering site at Millennium Park before the start time. One young man was already waiting for us. A group of about five friends came up and offered to help set up. By the start time, there were over 100 people (a young and diverse crowd, many with homemade signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd”); a helicopter hovered in the sky overhead and various media were there.

The club did a short rally where club members spoke, uplifting the crowd by bringing out the importance of this upsurge and their still being in the streets and making clear that what is needed to stop this is an actual revolution and calling on people to get into Bob Avakian. A member of Refuse Fascism drew applause from the crowd, which took up the chant “Trump/Pence Out Now!” and encouraged everyone to attend Trump’s Bunker Birthday protest on Sunday [the next day].

The young man who was there at the start offered to help carry the lead banner: “This System Can’t Be Reformed! It Must Be Overthrown!” The banner led as the crowd poured into the street. Two protesters volunteered to carry a Stolen Lives banner (with photos of people killed by police). We headed toward Trump Tower with the crowd taking up the chants led by the Revolution Club: “How Do We Get Out of This Mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” and “It’s Time, It’s Time. It’s Time to get Organized for an Actual Revolution!”. Throughout the march these chants, along with “1, 2, 3, 4. Slavery, Genocide, and War. 5, 6, 7, 8. America Was Never Great” were interspersed with “Trump/Pence Out Now!” and “Say his name ... Say her name ... “No Justice, No Peace,” and more.

While downtown is not yet fully open, the crowd swelled from people on the streets and late arrivals to the protest. The Chicago Sun Times wrote that it grew to hundreds. It rallied on the street outside Trump Tower, took off down State Street through the Loop and then took over Lakeshore Drive for 20 plus minutes.

It was covered by TV news and the Chicago Sun Times website led Sunday morning with an article titled “Revolution Club, advocates for police reform march downtown on 2-week anniversary of massive George Floyd protest” with a photo of club members in uniform.

***

Making the Most Out of Going Into the Struggle in Minneapolis

June 14, 2020

From a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago:

I was asked to go to Minneapolis last week. I took it as a duty to go and to make the most out of it. It was a great learning experience in regards to myself being a Revolutionary.

The importance of watching legendary Revolutionary leadership in action and the excitement of watching a comrade I came with step up to the plate. Seeing faces I haven’t seen a while and realizing how much I truly missed them. Having wonderful conversations as I learned from the masses. Yet there were some heartbreaking stories I have been told by people who were either themselves or had family that were hurt by crimes done by the Minneapolis police department...

Read more

But there were successes and mistakes that were made. But learning from them scientifically to move forward to build the movement for Revolution is the real treasure.

Also try importance of the “5-2-6.” I won’t go into a deep analysis about it now, but my experience in Minneapolis after its uprising made me realize that the police cannot be reformed under capitalism. Basically there is no such thing as a “good cop.” The police refuse to call each other out for the crimes they commit. Making them just as guilty. More importantly, the police are not meant to protect and serve. The police only protect and serve the system that exploits us. That is brought forth on a deeper scientific study done by Revolutionary Leader Bob Avakian.

To quote Bob Avakian from BAsics 1:24, “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system had cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.”

It also made me realize the critical importance of upholding the 6 Points of Attention and what dangers it might have if we compromise on them just a little. All members of the Revolution Club need to hold everyone accountable in a respectable fashion and using possible mistakes as learning experiences without shaming.

My final thoughts are to those people that foolishly judged me for going. Fighting for a better world is something all of us should aspire to. If you judge me for what I am, then be scientific enough to research why I am who I am. You might learn something and realize your head was up your ass all these years....

***

“We Won't Be Pitted Against Each Other”: Working to Forge Unity Between Black People and Latinos in LA

June 10, 2020

From a member of the Revolution Club, Los Angeles

Two of us in the Revolution Club joined with a Latinos for Black Lives rally of maybe 50 or so mostly young people. We worked with the organizer to kick off a speak out. The organizer seemed like she hadn’t led a protest before, said she had seen a lot of fucked up things online coming from Latino people speaking about BLM, and saying some backwards shit, so she decided to act on it and call for this protest and march together to the City Hall protest, and to call for unity and to oppose the racism that she had witnessed. She shared that her family member told her that if she went out and protested, that she should not return home. So she left, really hurt but recognizing the need to be out in the streets in this moment...

Read more

Another young woman who was holding a sign she made, with written history of the oppression of Black people on it. She spoke to the outrage of the fact that people in Central America leave their homes to come to the U.S. seeking a better life, and then powerfully brought out that Black people were kidnapped and forcefully brought to this country and was forced to build the wealth of this country. She thought more Latino people needed to be educated on this history to recognize the oppression of Black people and not be played by the backward shit that many people are caught up in. 

There were a few people who saw themselves as showing up as an ally, and the extent of it for them was letting Black people speak in this moment and thought more Latino people and others needed to come out as allies and support. That wasn't mostly where people were coming from, a lot of people were responding when I spoke about the need to go to work on the fact that there is conscious efforts to de-legitimize the protests and try to pit people against each other, and the need to actually keep coming back with an even stronger movement, with much more Latino and other people coming out and standing with people in the streets. 

When I spoke I brought out some of what has been happening in Chicago where people are being pitted against each other and all the shit I've seen on social media. People were coming up to me during the march and expressing a lot of frustration because they were seeing the same things on social media and talking about their family members saying some ugly shit about black people and not supporting the protests, and repeating a lot of what they are seeing on TV which is that these are just criminals. Some people were digging the idea of a march through MacArthur Park (a large Latino neighborhood) but we didn't make any concrete plans.* A woman was there with her 2 daughters and was in tears thinking about her family that she said were ending relationships left and right because they were getting into arguments with her and her 2 daughters, saying some ugly shit about black people. She has been defending what is happening, saying people are right to be in the streets, people are tired of being treated like animals, and she expressed a lot of anger because these questions are tearing up families, but she knew she was on the right side. I asked her how she thought we needed to work on this problem, she thought we needed to have those kinds of arguments with everyone. She said she didn’t mind losing ties with family members because she knew they had to be challenged and pick a side.

I learned a lot from what people were saying, the fact that people are forced to respond to what is happening, it cannot be ignored. One big problem, I’ve seen a lot of shit on social media saying shit like “Where were they when we needed to protest about children in cages” and calling on Latinos to, instead of being out saying BLM, they need to be in the streets “with our people.” Pitting the struggles against each other. One thing I’m still not super clear about is what Univision and Telemundo are saying about the protest, I haven't had the time to watch anything on TV and hear what they are saying. I have seen a lot of things online where people are talking about how these two networks, in particular, are spreading anti-blackness. I saw one story by Jorge Ramos where he was reporting on the attacks on the media by the police. One thing he did do, which was AWFUL and untrue, was he said the police hadn’t used force until “the looters” started the violence, and therefore, the pigs used violence on everyone including the media. As I'm sitting here writing this, Univision is airing a special called “No to racism” where they are talking about the protest and I haven't heard any backward shit so far. They haven't said anything on the looting, they are mainly focusing on the murders by police, and the brutality of the police on the protesters, and telling different stories of people who have been victims of police brutality and murder, and exploring "solutions" they had CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, LA) on to talk about defunding the police and investing in communities, they had a pig talk about why the brutality from pigs keeps happening and if there could be discourse between pigs and the communities... BARF! But I haven’t seen any backwards shit against Black people. What I was told and seen a lot of was that during the more intense times of the protests, when shit was on fire, they were running out some shit calling black protesters criminals and thugs, and a lot of people in Latino communities took up that narrative and kept repeating it.

So it was important what people came together to do, and there’s some strategizing and talking the Club is doing together with some people about how to work further on the way Latino/Black people are pitted against each other. More to come soon!

 


* Since this was originally written, the Revolution Club and National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution have joined with others to call for a march this Friday at 5 pm, starting from City Hall.  [back]

***

Reflections on the First Week of the Battle...
and Reading BA

June 10, 2020

From a member of the Revolution Tour:

I wanted to talk about what I’ve been learning in terms of like talking to people and talking to some youth out on the ground...

Read more

There was one point when a number of people protesting were getting arrested, there were a lot of youth out there who were processing what was actually happening. There was some of them who were very very afraid, who were like, “What’s going to happen to me? What’s happening right now?” and a little bit like panicked, and a bit like, “Oh my god this can’t happen to me!” But then there were other youth, who were friends with those same youth who were scared, who were like, “NO! I don’t give a fuck! They can arrest me and I don’t care! Because I want this to stop! And this is the only way that this is going to stop by us standing up to it!” So their friends are kind of like inspiring and challenging each other within that.

I talked to one youth, I asked her why did she come out here, and she was very uncorked on, like, seeing the need and seeing that the future is in her hands, and not just in her hands, but in all of these youth who are standing up. And she had gotten so tired and fed up with all of what’s happening.

Someone was telling me the other night too that they’ve been seeing all of these videos on TikTok of youth challenging their parents, like challenging their parents, they didn’t send me a link and I want to investigate more, but there’s youth who are challenging their parents saying, “I don’t care what you say, I’m going out.” So that’s really interesting, that there’s a lot of fear, but there’s also a lot of fearlessness. That they wanna go put some shit on the line and they’re seeing this is actually larger than themselves and they see that the future is their responsibility and is up to them to decide where it goes. So that was one point I was learning from people.

I am also learning that there’s a lot of anti-trump sentiment. There’s a lot of “fuck Trump!” sentiment. You say that chant out there and people are like “YEAH, FUCK TRUMP!” but what I don’t know is, do people understand that Trump went and did this whole speech in front of the White House in the rose garden while people were getting tear gassed like a few feet away, and he went to hold up that bible in front of St. John’s church. I don’t know how much people understand that this represents an actual leap to, like, a police state and calling in the military and that fundamental leap and advancing with their fascist program. I think there is a need to really lead people and bring them to understand that, about the whole regime and the need to drive it out, and the fact that people are in the streets every day and what that needs to be transformed into.

And then, also, the role of the police. I think there are some people getting swayed by the kneeling shit. “Take a knee!” (to the pigs) but once one of us went at that like, “No! don’t take a fucking knee with the police! This is the role of the police, they don’t serve and protect!” Some people were listening and like, “Yeah! Yeah! I agree!” We were able to break that shit down. I’ve even started seeing some people on social media like, “No don’t kneel, these pigs are taking a knee and then 5 minutes later their beating you over the head with a baton.” So I think there is a need to lead people on that because there is that point that without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated by this shit and be swayed by “good cops/bad cops” whatever, so that was also something I was thinking about.

Another thing is that, on BA’s pieces, the way I understand and what I’m learning is that he’s getting at the biggest questions that people are thinking about and aren’t thinking about, and the biggest question of the reality. And in the “nothing less!” piece the clarity of and even the end of it, “Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?” and really putting that as the question to be think about and work on. And the clarity of the BA piece on the violence of the police... the sharpness of his piece on the “bloated bag of fascist feces”... there’s a lot of short and sharp that he’s modeling that I think we need to be really rooting ourselves in.

I was also really struck by that longer piece on revolution and Roger Federer. One, I really learned a lot about tennis and Roger Federer and I actually looked up Roger Federer and spent like 30 mins to an hour watching tennis matches of Roger Federer, which is really like actually fucking amazing watching him play like I was astounded and BA brings life to that in the piece and the need to actually appreciate the artistry of Roger Federer and what he’s doing and to appreciate what’s actually happening right now, and to appreciate the beauty of the diversity of people coming together and not being cowed by lowered sights. One thing that I was taking from and learning about Roger Federer was being really set on the experimentation of things. He’s not so caught up trying to be consistent (which is not necessarily a weakness. BA talks about the other great tennis players Djokovic and Nadal, that their strength is consistency and they’re consistently going at it), and sometimes Federer even misses a shot, but he’s actually willing to take risks even if it means losing a game or losing a really easy point. And that kind of struck me in terms of what we need to be doing right now, a lot of experimentation and running without a safety net.

***

To Those Who Wish to Escape the Real

June 10, 2020

And still there are those who wish to escape the real by trying to act like these events never happened. 

Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Darius Pinex, Justus Howell, Alton Sterling, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice (12 years old), Aiyana Stanley-Jones (7 years old), just to name a few...

Read more

Police has murdered close to 2,000 people since 2019! And you wish to believe that it's not happening?! I was first to mention David Smith, who died very much like George Floyd and numerous others. 

What's so troubling is they didn't do anything to warrant a death sentence by Police! So many people believe that they can navigate through life in these BLACK BODIES UNSCATHED. Like Eric Garner... Sandra Bland... Philando Castile, whose mother said "he lived by the law, obeyed the law, loved the law, and the law took his life!” Manuel Ellis who 3 months ago said, "I CAN'T BREATHE!" before Tacoma police took his life! 

There is way for us to win against this system of death and destruction to our bodies! A Revolution based upon the science of Bob Avakian. Something that will change the conditions under which we currently live. Or we can continue to give up our bodies to them willingly, but yet unwillingly. Revolution Nothing Less. 

Go to www.revcom.us and check out "Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution." Join the Revolution Club nearest you and let's work on getting the millions needed to make an all-out change to this System.

(I own these words.)

XXX from a Revolution Club member in Chicago who did 25 years in prison.

***

Correspondence 1, May 25, 2020:

We’ve gone out to trains running through South Central with signs for The Revcoms on YouTube and the “EMANCIPATION FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION” article from BA, made simple stencils for The Revcoms that could be read from people’s cars and put up at freeway exits.

In taking out the article from BA on “EMANCIPATION FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION,” we’re also studying the article for both content and, fundamentally, for method. BA is leading people and there is struggle to fully appreciate that and take up the same method, including actually leading people to engage what he’s doing. That is in contrast to old ways of approaching things that is our spontaneous go-to and leads people with something else. One simple example: you can start with the first question BA poses and initiate a discussion with that, but leave out the second question, which means it’s a very different discussion. “When, and how, will Black people finally be free from all forms of slavery and oppression?” And this poses straight-up this big question: “When will Black people finally emancipate themselves from the mental slavery of religion?!”...

Read more

A few more examples. BA talks about the 1960s towards the beginning of the piece, but you can talk about it in a way that does something different than what he’s doing. We can talk about the hope people had in the 1960s in a way that makes it seem as if we are trying to hold onto the past for hope. Instead, what BA actually does is mine the reality of what happened at that time to show, among other things 1) the present is not permanent and why and how people’s conditions and thinking have changed, and 2) he’s also showing something concrete about what is meant by getting free of slavery and oppression—which today is easily reinterpreted because so few people are thinking in those terms.

We can talk about how there is now a feeling of fatalistic hopelessness without talking about how retreating into religion is the logic of defeat that assumes these conditions can’t be changed and the best you can do is endure it. You can ask the question “How can Black people be finally and fully emancipated from centuries of oppression, and how does this relate to ending all oppression, of all people, everywhere?” without also going to the answer given directly after that. You can even struggle with people to stop believing in imaginary beings, but outside of the questions of how to end this oppression and how and why the belief is part of and reinforcing oppression and how people have come to take this up but can break free of this and take up the scientific method to understand the real root of their oppression in this system and how this system can be overthrown through revolution and replaced with a different and far better system. If the “struggle” is divorced in that way, it’s doing something else and going somewhere else.

There is a challenge of whether and how we are going to go deep to struggle with people “where they live” and why this is necessary. Does it matter if people hold onto religion as long as they will unite on the basis of fighting back against particular outrages? It does if you are working to make an actual revolution and trying to bring forward the leaders necessary for that. Does it matter when we struggle with people if people are able to confront reality and see societal patterns of why things are the way they are and why people think the way they do, and consciously begin to compare and contrast different approaches to understanding the world? It does if people are actually going to be able to break out of a whole framework that explains the world one way (imaginary beings directing and shaping the world and scriptures that promote and reinforce degradation and horror) and take up a whole different framework, a scientific approach—understanding the world the way it really is and how it changes and can be further changed.

While spreading this article we would tell people the title and then read the two questions to people. In one instance, there were no Black people on our team, and a number of the Black people we talked to would ask initially about why we were talking about this if we’re not Black, or would ask if we were Black. Rather than opening up a whole discussion about that, we would go back to those first two questions, or even read the whole first paragraph. Another way some people responded was saying Black people are free, or “I’m free.” Again, we would go back to those first questions.

A man who said “I’m free,” when I went back and read the two questions, I asked him if he was saying those are not the questions we confront, if this has already been resolved. That changed what he was talking about. Another guy wanted to know what we meant by free from all forms of slavery and oppression and when we got into the part about the 1960s, he understood we were talking about a radical struggle of Black people against the system to get free of oppression. With a number of people we read about half the article with them, and with all those people they were really into hearing it.

In another conversation, we were talking with one man and then brought in another woman to be part of the discussion. He was wrestling with how we could even be talking about ending this oppression through a revolution in the year 2020 when the attempt at this in the 1960s was crushed and people are not even thinking about that now. The woman wanted to know why we were saying Black people need to free themselves from the mental slavery of religion, what that faith has to do with this.

The man said that the ’60s accomplished nothing. How we answered at the time was to say the ’60s produced BA, that we now have the approach and understanding and leadership we need to make revolution that they didn’t have then. But, in thinking back on this, that is not what BA actually says in the article in the whole section when he talks about this. It would have been more consistent with the article from BA to draw from how he addresses what was, and was not, accomplished in this time, pointing to how Black people’s courageous struggle against oppression not only forced the system to grant certain reforms (it matters whether people no longer live in a segregated South with Black and white fountains), which have been under attack ever since, but also this struggle of the 1960s brought forth a terrible beauty that inspired and raised the hopes of people not only here but all over the world. Now, thanks to the work of BA, the lessons of that time have not been lost but rather have been synthesized into a much higher understanding of how to make revolution—indeed, a breakthrough in the understanding of what it will take, and how to achieve, the emancipation of humanity. So this is another example of how we’re learning and struggling to actually wield this article.

When the same man who asked about the ’60s insisted it is impossible to put an end to this oppression, I asked him to respond to this paragraph from BA’s article and tell us where it’s wrong:

The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.

The woman who was also in this discussion had a flurry of questions after this, wanting to know more about who BA is and if he’s running for office and what we mean by scientific approach and not religion and what socialism is and is this something that BA has developed and everybody just needs to follow what he’s saying. She was curious to learn more but couldn’t stick around. Meanwhile the man we were talking to got more seriously engaged and asked if we could really see a million Black people coming together in this time to make revolution. I showed him the 5-2-6 and the basis in those five stops for millions of people, and not just Black people, to come forward to make revolution. But I also went back to the article and the struggle it is waging for Black people to emancipate themselves from mental slavery and take up this scientific approach and understanding, that it is precisely this kind of struggle that is needed in order to transform the people for revolution, and that he is needed to be part of that now. He was intrigued, didn’t want to give a way to stay in contact, said he would watch the Revolution, Nothing Less YouTube show and took extra copies of the article to share with others he talks to.

A Muslim man started off saying he was in agreement, but at the same time was arguing Black people need Islam to free themselves, and was running out the NOI program of getting your own property within this system and men being patriarchs over women. He listened while we read through a large portion of the article—including the part about the logic of defeat and “if you suffer in this life but you ‘get right with the Lord,’ or submit to Allah, you will be rewarded in some ‘next life.’” He again responded by saying he agreed and continued to say what he’d already been saying. Finally we skipped to the part about the harm of believing in supernatural beings that do not exist but which are said to control reality, and the scriptures that reinforce all kinds of degradation and horror (and added in, like that patriarchal domination over women!). Here something finally pierced through and he said, “wait, supernatural beings?” Then the train came and we didn’t continue with him.

These deeper discussions tended to be with people who were older, though that wasn’t always the case. However, there was something that more drew the attention of youth, even though we weren’t able to do that much with it. That was when we were riding on the train and doing some agitation about the article. People of all ages reached for the article. On one train a young Black woman listened intently nodding to the agitation, but then didn’t want to talk more. On another train a young Latino man took out his phone and started filming and was saying this was good to see, we need people doing shit like this, even though he also didn’t stick around and said he has his own revolution going.

***

Correspondence 2, May 25, 2020:

Are we taking people to the crucial questions posed and wrangled with in the article or are we using the article to prove our point or answer people’s questions? Are we interpreting what BA says or leading with BA? Are we ourselves going to where BA takes us to this crucial problem about the oppression of Black people? Are we afraid to challenge people’s deeply held, religious belief? Also importantly, do people grab ahold that this is from the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian?...

Read more

BA models a scientific method and approach, and in this article, as with all of BA’s work, invites people, walks them thru the reality from beginning—title of the article—to the very end. BA reminds readers, keeps coming back, to the crucial question of how can Black people finally and fully be emancipated from all forms of oppression. Why? Because it is a pivotal question in society that everyone needs to engage with. Putting an end to the oppression of Black people is not a Black people problem, it is a problem humanity faces and we all need to be part of putting an end to it! He keeps coming back to the question because we tend to veer in different directions to avoid looking at the reality that Black people continue to be oppressed. Throughout the article, BA reminds the reader why he is struggling with them by posing and reposing questions.

In taking out the article, we’ve had to keep coming back to the first two questions posed because people don’t initially go there. Some say they are religious, believe in Jesus and either don’t take the flyer or don’t want to engage. But they haven’t engaged the questions! The question is not “Do you believe in Jesus or not”! So there has been a need to constantly return to the questions, to reset terms.

We noticed with the Spanish-speaking community, many are unfamiliar with the oppression of Black people and some put forth “what about our (Latinx) oppression?” There was a tendency to chase after this question by utilizing parts of the article to prove that we are talking about ending all forms of oppression. This, of course, is true but, again, it is not addressing the question being posed! This is not leading the masses to confront the reality of the oppression of Black people—not leading the masses to wrangle with what is in the article. This is a good example of how we can take a section, a fact from the article but then end up not talking about what is in the article after all! This is not wielding the article! This is simply utilizing the article as a salad bar, taking a section to prove your point.

BA makes an argument from beginning to end. It’s a scientific journey of history, lessons learned, how to understand why Black people are still oppressed and the possibility for real change by taking up a scientific method and approach. It is a beautiful journey with Hard Truths—cling to the mental slavery of religion and remain oppressed—and Emancipating Truths—cast off mental chains of religion and be part of putting an end to all oppression! We should lead and walk with people through this journey. This is what it means to wield the article with the masses, not just take a section and go off in talking about whatever you or the masses bring up. People need to feel different from our initial encounter to the end of our encounter—people should feel provoked, challenged, and inspired!

People have directly or indirectly said, “Without religion, what will give people hope?” Hope comes from the reality that things are not permanent! The point is that Black people can and need to emancipate themselves as part of emancipating all of humanity by tossing religion and taking up a scientific approach! Hope comes from the reality that, unlike the ’60s and ’70s, today we have the science, strategy, and leadership to make revolution and actually win! And BA in this article walks people through HOPE on a SCIENTIFIC basis.


Read more

A statement from Bob Avakian:
NOTHING LESS!

Read more

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

Ways to Donate to the National Revolution Tour:

  • The National Revolution Tour now has Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • Write in to getorganizedforrevolutiontour (at) gmail.com, let us know if you are taking up collections, or to send statements
  • Or call (323) 671-9839
  • Or send a check or money order, payable to RCP Publications and earmark it for National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/sophies-choice-en.html

"Sophie's Choice"

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: Below is an excerpt of an organizing letter sent out by the organization Never Again Action, which we thought it important for our readers to know about. Never Again Action is a group of primarily young Jewish activists including descendants of Holocaust survivors, who have been on the front lines of the battle to close the ICE detention centers.

Last Friday, I cried.

I’m Ben, I’m part of the Never Again core team, and I write most of our social media posts. A huge part of my job is to stay calm and focused, day after day, while I read gut-wrenching, soul-crushing stories about what this country is doing to people coming here in search of a better life. Calm and focused, so I can put the right words in the right order to get these stories in front of as many people as possible.

Last Friday, I couldn’t hold it together. Just broke down. Because they’re doing it again.

ICE is still keeping families in camps, mostly mothers locked up with their children. These mothers have fled to the United States, risking everything, because they love their children. Now they’re trapped in dirty, crowded detention centers, waking up every day terrified they or their kids will get sick and die in detention.

Now ICE is using their fear and their love as a weapon.

ICE is going to these mothers and giving them what they call “binary choice,” but is actually Sophie’s Choice*:

Option 1: You and your child stay locked in ICE detention indefinitely. Hope and pray that you both survive COVID.

Option 2: Save your child’s life by giving them up. ICE keeps you in the camp, but they send your kid to live with someone else.

Maybe ICE will send your child to live with a friend or relative. Maybe ICE will put your child up for adoption, as they’ve repeatedly threatened to do. Maybe you’ll see your child again. Maybe not.

There are people in this movement who are alive because their parents made an unimaginable sacrifice, sending them away through the Kindertransport. Their parents stayed behind, but they got their child out of Germany, or Austria, or Poland, or Czechoslovakia, before it was too late. Other families stayed together, and perished. One of the many impossible choices that scarred so many of our families. One of the many reasons we say Never Again....

 


* This is a reference to a novel (later made into a movie) of the same name, in which the title character was sent to a Nazi concentration camp with her two children, and was forced to choose which child would be gassed and which would be sent to a slave labor camp.  [back]

 

 

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/649/the-shadow-pandemic-of-domestic-corona-violence-en.html

The Shadow Pandemic of "Domestic Corona-violence"

| revcom.us

 

Excerpts of letter from a Reader:

I had been doing some research on the alarming surge in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. When I saw the article “Bob Avakian on Covid-19 and the Oppression of Women,” it underscored the urgency of the situation... As he says (citing an earlier article of his): “In the context of this current [coronavirus] crisis, the exploitative and oppressive relations built into this system are asserting themselves in a pronounced way, within this country and internationally, just as they have in previous crises....”1 And then Bob Avakian goes on to say: “One of the main ways this is happening is with the oppression of women. This oppression is a fundamental part of this system of capitalism-imperialism (and all systems divided into exploiters and exploited), and it takes horrific forms in the ‘normal’ functioning of this system.”2

According to a recent statement by the director of UN Women, even before the pandemic, an estimated 243 million women and girls between the ages of 15-49 were the victims of domestic violence by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months. 243 million!3

As if this wasn’t horrific enough, a recent report by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) predicted that six months of COVID-19 lockdowns could see 31 million additional cases of gender-based violence worldwide. The report describes a deadly mix of factors contributing to the surge of violence during the pandemic: lockdowns keep women and children locked up with their tormentors, and programs that prevent domestic violence and provide care and support to survivors are disrupted or closed.4

These are just a few examples of reports of escalating domestic violence during the pandemic:

  • Argentina: The number of murders of women during the lockdown doubled—pre-pandemic, the Argentine government estimated a woman was killed every 23 hours.5
  • Spain: In the first two weeks of April alone there was a 47 percent increase in calls to Spain’s domestic violence helpline over the same period last year.6 A 35-year-old woman in Valencia was killed under lockdown by her husband in front of their children.7
  • In many U.S. cities—including Portland, Boston, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Omaha—police departments and domestic violence hotlines have seen double-digit spikes in distress calls since the lockdowns began, compared to pre-lockdown periods. There have been several domestic violence fatalities around the country linked to COVID-19: in one near Houston, a husband left his three young children in the house with his wife’s body.8

The horrors women are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the horrors of “normal” times should explode the myth of the family as a “safe space” for women, or that modern societies have liberated women. This is not a “normal” anyone should tolerate or want to go back to.

 

1. BOB AVAKIAN ON COVID-19 AND THE OPPRESSION OF WOMEN, revcom.us. [back]

2. Talking about the ways in which the oppression of women has intensified under COVID-19, BA states, “Incidents of women being battered by husbands or boyfriends have significantly increased—not just in the U.S. but in many other countries as well.” [back]

3. Violence against women and girls: the shadow pandemic, UN WOMEN, April 6, 2020 [back]

4. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage, UNFA, April 28, 2020 [back]

5. ‘Another pandemic’: In Latin America, domestic abuse rises amid lockdown, Reuters, April 27, 2020 [back]

6. Women killed in Spain as coronavirus lockdown sees rise in domestic violence, The Guardian, April 28, 2020 [back]

7. Spanish Man Brutally Murders His 35 Year Old Wife in Front of Their Two Small Children..., Euro Weekly, March 21, 2020 [back]

8. Some cities see jumps in domestic violence during the pandemic, CNN, April 4, 2020 [back]

 

 

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/649/check-it-out-the-great-influenza-en.html

Check It Out from a Reader:

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

| revcom.us

 

Dear Editors,

I read the book by John M. Barry, The Great Influenza, The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. The 1918 influenza epidemic, after being largely erased from history except for those studying epidemic disease, has become part of the discourse because of its parallels to the coronavirus. In the 1918 epidemic, estimates are that between 50 and 100 million people were killed—most of them in a very short time. And this was bound up with an even more horrific situation, WW 1. What stands out, and which is most decidedly NOT part of the debate and discussion in society generally, is how utterly outmoded and horrific the global system of capitalism-imperialism was then, in 1918, and even more so now, over 100 years later, and how much we need an actual revolution.

Barry’s book starts decades before 1918, and tells the story of the emergence in the second part of the 19th century, first in Europe, and then in the United States, of modern, scientific medicine. Until that time, medicine was a field that still relied on practices and thinking developed originally by the Greeks (the outstanding example is bleeding people to supposedly help them recover from disease—there was no evidence that this worked, it was in fact in most cases harmful, and it had been done for over 2,000 years). On the basis of the overall advance of science in the 19th century, and particularly the theory of evolution, developed by Darwin, there was a series of extremely important scientific advances made which made it possible to begin to take a radically different approach to medicine. Evidence, not theories concocted or taken from the ancients, became central to figuring out what was the problem, and what was the solution in relation to disease. Actual experiments were done to find what caused disease, and the germ theory of disease was developed. Instead of the theory that disease was caused by “miasma” or swamp gas, evidence, rigorously studied and carefully summed up, showed that very small living organisms entered into the body, multiplied, and caused disease. And each disease was caused by a different organism. And this stimulated the development of vaccines and also cures—that were tested, to learn which really worked (or didn’t, so that more work had to be done, as this was a beginning and there was much that was not yet understood). On the basis of these scientific breakthroughs, a battle was waged to transform medical education—to actually require doctors to know chemistry and biology, including the biology of the human body. Part of this involved development and funding of new kinds of hospitals which combined scientific research with patient care.

To give a sense of how things were before this struggle to transform medical education, Barry writes:

[M]ost American medical schools were owned by a faculty whose profits and salaries—even when they did not own the school—were paid by student fees, so the schools often had no admission standards other than the ability to pay tuition. No medical school in America allowed medical students to routinely either perform autopsies or see patients, and medical education often consisted of nothing more than two four-month terms of lectures. Few medical schools had any association with a university, and fewer still had ties to a hospital. (p. 32)

Barry’s book focuses largely on the United States, and he shows how this struggle to transform medicine was backed by a powerful section of the capitalists including John D. Rockefeller. And in some important ways, medicine was transformed. Barry paints a picture of the development of a core of scientist/doctors who saw WW 1 coming, and who set out to make this the first war in which the casualties from disease did not far outnumber the number killed from the war itself. (This touches on some of the weaknesses and limits of the understanding of the scientists of the time—while many of these doctors and scientists had a sense that science should be for humanity, not for this or that nation, at the same time they were focused on reducing U.S. casualties in the war, and tens of thousands of them enlisted in the U.S. Army as the war broke out.)

Ignoring and repudiating science was hardly an invention of the Trump regime—it was stark and egregious in 1918 as well, and is fundamentally rooted in the system of capitalism-imperialism.

World War 1

WW 1 was a huge crime against humanity—it was savage and brutal warfare on a scale never before seen in human history. Horrific trench warfare had gone on for years in Europe by 1918, when the U.S. entered the war. And this was an imperialist war, in which a few European and American capitalist powers fought it out to see which capitalist-imperialist country was going to dominate the world, and especially rule over and exploit vast areas of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The European capitalist countries, which had by that time dominated the entire world, had considered themselves the epitome of “civilization.” Barry paints a vivid picture of this “civilization”:

In the spring of 1918 death was no stranger to the world. Indeed, by then the bodies of more than five million soldiers had already been fed into what was called “the sausage factory” by generals whose stupidity was only matched by their brutality...

Yet nothing expressed the brutality of this war as did a sanitation report on the planned eradication of rats in the trenches to prevent the spread of disease. A major noted, “Certain unexpected problem are involved in the rat problem.... The rat serves one useful function—he consumes the corpses on No Man’s Land, a job which the rat alone is willing to undertake. For this reason it has been found desirable to control rather than eliminate the rat population.”

Given the incredible degree of ravaging of life and health from the war, in some ways it is not a surprise that a major epidemic swept the planet. But this was not inevitable; it was the result of particular chance mutations in the flu virus, and the interaction of the virus with human society at a particular moment. And the virus continued to mutate and went through three waves. The epidemic of 1918-1919 swept through the armies, then the civilian populations—raced around the world, and then came back two more times. It was bad the first time, the second time it was the deadliest flu ever, and the third wave was not as bad. The virus, and its changes, interacted with the extraordinary situation posed by the war. For example, it seems that the virus first emerged in the U.S. army, which was in the middle of a massive mobilization. Two million soldiers had already been mobilized for the war, and a mobilization of two million more was planned. The American soldiers being carried to the trench warfare of Europe also carried the virus, which also, because of the war's heightened spread of war materials and troops to battles in Africa and Asia, rapidly spread all over the planet.

Even though a big battle had been waged (in the developed capitalist countries) to transform medicine, what was sharply posed when the disease broke out was what were the governments and the military going to do about it. Initially, there was a big question posed of even understanding what was going on. When the second, extremely deadly and extremely fast, wave of the epidemic hit, it was by far the deadliest flu anyone had ever seen, and there was a big scramble among the doctors to figure out what was going on. Here, Barry writes about one of the doctors who had led the fight for scientific medicine in the United States going to the first major outbreak at the army’s Camp Devens (p. 189):

Care was almost nonexistent. The base hospital, designed for twelve hundred, could accommodate at most—even with crowding “beyond what is deemed permissible” ... twenty five hundred. It now held in excess of six thousand. All beds had long since been filled. Every corridor, every spare room, every porch was filled, crammed with cots occupied by the sick and dying. There was nothing antiseptic about the sight. And there were no nurses. When Welch arrived seventy out of two hundred nurses were already sick in bed themselves, with more falling ill each hour. Many of them would not recover. A stench filled the hospital as well. Bed linen and clothing were rank with urine and feces from men incapable of rising or cleaning themselves.

Blood was everywhere, on linens, clothes, pouring out of some men’s nostrils and even ears while other coughed it up. Many of the soldiers, boys in their teens, men in their twenties—healthy, normally ruddy men—were turning blue. Their color would prove a deadly indicator.

And before long, the disease spread outside of the military. Philadelphia was one of the places hardest hit. As the epidemic was raging, and as doctors were urging social distancing and the closing down of public life, the city held a huge Liberty Bond parade to raise money for the war effort. Within days there was a mass outbreak in Philadelphia. Barry writes about this:

But the most terrifying aspect of the epidemic was the piling up of bodies. Undertakers, themselves sick, were overwhelmed. They had no place to put bodies. Gravediggers either were sick or refused to bury influenza victims. The director of the jail offered to have prisoners dig graves, then rescinded the offer because he had no healthy guards to watch them. With no gravediggers bodies could not be buried. Undertakers’ work areas were overflowing, they stacked caskets in halls, in their living quarters—many lived above their businesses.

Then undertakers ran short of coffins.

What was the response of the political system and the military leadership to this? The president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, never publicly admitted that the disease was even happening. The disease got the name “Spanish flu” not because it started in Spain, but because Spain was the only major European country not fighting in the war, and so the Spanish press could actually ADMIT that there was an epidemic raging around the world. None of the other major capitalist powers allowed this—it would undermine morale, and it would distract from their paramount objective, victory in WW 1. The U.S. press at times called it a “German disease,” part of whipping up anti-German hysteria as part of the war. The military leadership, despite getting urgent messages from military doctors including people like the army surgeon general, continued to draft soldiers, to train them in over-crowded camps, to pack them into troop trains, and to send them on packed ships across the Atlantic.

This was not because they did not know about things like what we are calling social distancing. People had learned some things about epidemics, and the newly emerging scientific medicine put this together with the germ theory of disease, and other important new understanding, and called for the wearing of masks, forms of social distancing (i.e., when there is an outbreak at an army base, don’t take the troops and pack them in a train and send them to another part of the country).

In short, the science of medicine, which had been brought forward by the capitalist system in the 19th century, was shoved aside and ignored in the midst of the biggest epidemic in history. This was not principally because of bad policies on the part of government officials and generals (though there were horrible policies—and even a few officials who refused to carry out those policies). This was not because the war was an extraordinary situation, where the “normalcy” of “civilized society” was somehow set aside, and this horror had nothing to do with what capitalism is really all about. What the war did was reveal the essential horror of what this system is all about after all, in a concentrated way. The war was a life and death struggle between great powers for dominance of the globe—and the various ruling powers were all willing to pay any price in human blood to win. And the global response to the flu epidemic, and the way it interacted with the oppressive character of global imperialism, shows this even further. This war was in large part about which power was going to dominate and exploit and oppress the nations and people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and how that domination was going to be extended and deepened.

Barry notes that while approximately 680,000 Americans died of the epidemic, about 20 million people in India died. This was because of the way the savagery of British colonial domination came together with WW 1 and the epidemic.


Beds with patients in an emergency hospital in Camp Funston, Kansas, in the midst of the 1918 influenza epidemic. The flu struck while America was at war, and was transported across the Atlantic on troop ships. Photo: Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine.

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE


Read or download the book (PDF) here.
Order the 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/641/resource-page-on-covid-19-pandemic-en.html

The Coronavirus Pandemic — A Resource Page

| revcom.us

 

This is the interactive Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases Chart from the Coronavirus Resource Center, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

 

COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, has spread throughout the world, including the U.S. This pandemic is interacting with the state of the world and the gross inequalities and oppressive social relations of capitalism-imperialism. It is having a huge effect on human society as a whole and in individual countries, and may potentially have even more major impacts beyond even what is happening now. As Bob Avakian has said in “The Deadly Illusion of ‘Normalcy’ and the Revolutionary Way Forward”:

Underlying the immediate crisis, and the danger posed by the Trump/Pence regime and its fanatical fascist “base,” there is the more fundamental reality of the capitalist-imperialist system and the consequences of allowing this system to continue to dominate the world and determine the conditions of the masses of humanity and indeed the very fate of humanity itself. This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity. Even as the capitalists and governments representing their interests have been forced to take certain emergency steps that in some ways run counter to the inherent dynamics of their system (such as massive intervention by the government in the functioning of the economy), the ways in which this system constitutes an obstacle to dealing with this crisis continue to assert themselves—including not only such perverse actions as the hoarding by some of vital medical and other supplies, in order to drive up the price, but also the fact that the creation of wealth under this system proceeds on the basis of ruthless exploitation and the impoverishment of masses of people throughout the world, while even in the “wealthier” countries there is significant poverty and large parts of the population live paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one serious crisis away from disaster; the ongoing rivalry between different capitalists (or associations of capital), with their private ownership of the means of production (land, raw materials, technology, factories and other structures) and private, competitive accumulation of wealth acts as a hindrance to necessary cooperation and the production of things that may be urgently needed but are not productive of private profit—and the whole ideology of advancing one’s interests at the expense of others, the individualism that is fostered by this system and is promoted to an extreme currently in this country, runs counter to and undermines inclinations toward cooperation and, yes, sacrifice for the greater good. Despite the dedicated efforts of many well-meaning people, even if the immediate crisis with the coronavirus is resolved, this will be done on the basis of intensifying the contradictions built into this system and the suffering of the masses of humanity who are already exploited and oppressed under this system. [Bolded emphasis added]

This is a time when having accurate scientific information and understanding is a life-and-death question for people here and around the world. Yet there is a lot of confusion about the coronavirus. There is misleading information coming from people in power, especially Trump. So getting to the truth on this is urgent.

 

Bob Avakian on Revolution and the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the context of this current crisis, the exploitative and oppressive relations built into this system are asserting themselves in a pronounced way, within this country and internationally, just as they have in previous crises.

— Bob Avakian

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

by Bob Avakian

Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth
Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated

The RNL Show — Revolution, Nothing Less!

Episode 4: Bob Avakian on Science and How Real Socialism Would Handle Pandemics. An excerpt of a speech from Bob Avakian that takes us deeper into the scientific method. Then a reading of Communique #4 from The Revcoms.

 

[Back to top]

 

[Back to top]

How is the capitalist-imperialist system making the effect of the coronavirus worse than it has to be?

Letters From Readers:

COVID-19 Catastrophe Inside U.S. Prisons and Jails

Read more


Relatives and friends protest "execution by COVID 19." (Photo: AP)

State of Emergency in COVID-19 Crisis Grows More Dire!

Read more


November 19, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. (Photo: AP)

A Viral Pandemic; A Tidal Wave of Ignorance and Hate; a Fascist Regime Soaked in Suffering and Death

Read more


Armed militia occupying the Michigan State Capitol demanding an end to "stay at home" orders intended to slow the spread of Covid-19.

[Back to top]

[Back to top]

[Back to top]

 

 

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/648/the-danger-and-immorality-of-fascism-denialism-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

The danger and immorality of fascism denialism

| revcom.us

 

Coco Das and Sarah Roark of RefuseFascism.org Editorial Board, were interviewed by Samantha Goldman on May 8. What follows is the transcript of an excerpt of the interview.

Samantha Goldman: I would like both your thoughts on: You see [Trump] shredding the norms. You see him attacking people that disagree with him. And then anyone who’s loyal to him gets defended. You see these clear signs of a fascist regime, whether it’s the attacks on rule of law; the continuation of “lock her up” – Who “her” is changes but the sentiment stays the same; attacks on his opponents; the unprecedented attacks on whole sections of people. The Christian fascists in the judiciary. The anti-science. All of that. And, then, people still will say “Well we got November.” I don’t know if people don’t get or are willfully denying that once this gets consolidated, this being fascism, it closes off the ability for anyone inside or outside the halls of power to challenge or stop them. I would like to hear your thoughts on you how we help people confront this and act accordingly? How do we take on this fascist denial?

Sarah Roark: Coco, your engine is running, you go first.

Coco Das: First I want to say that there’s an article also on our home page that was originally from revcom.us, called Fascism-Denialism Is as Dangerous — and Unscientific — as Climate Denialism: Part One. It’s a very important read. Yeah, there does come a point where it becomes too late to actually stop millions of people from being harmed once the regime consolidates power. We are sort of in a race for time. So, it is really important that we confront people on understanding that you have to step out of normal channels to stop this fascism.

Exactly on the lines that Sam was talking about, yesterday I was listening to – I don’t mean to pick on him because I really like this podcast – Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan. He was interviewing somebody (Nicole Hemmer). They had a really rich discussion. They used the word fascistic, and talked about how Trump might not step down if he loses the election. I was listening really closely where he asked two questions and there was a crucial question he did not ask. I’m starting to think this a big part of where this fascism denialism lies and how we need to break through to the other side. The two questions he asked were what should the media be doing, because the media has been complicit, right? And his other question was what should the Democrats do ... even after saying there wasn’t that much that the Democrats could do. The question that he did not ask was what should we do? 

And it just really struck me that a lot of this denialism is to get out of that question, what do we do? What should we do? And instead looking for the savior in these norms that are being shredded. Those same people who are urging us to take the normal channels are being demonized. I mean, I got a tweet saying that the Democrats are demon-crats, right? The extreme end of this base, which is very activated, actually believes that the opposition is possessed by demons.

SR: Right.

CD: So, this is just going to go away through an election? I think that is one way that I think we have to take on the fascism denialism, just constantly saying what are you going to do about this? 

Sarah, you raised this point that what we allow is not what we just, what we condone, it’s what we become. You’re becoming somebody by waiting for November. Is that the person you want to become?

And I think we do have to help people follow their own logic. I’ve been listening to this Deconstructed podcast for a while and he’s come a long way to even say that this is fascistic. But now, OK, follow your logic to the next step. 

I also want to throw this out there ... you have fascism denial from the fascists themselves. They’ll say “you’re the fascist.” They’ll call you names and stuff. I sort of think when that happens, like on Twitter, or if you’re out in the street you’re answering them it’s for the audience right? (You’re not going to convince the fascists that they’re fascists.) You answer for people who get confused when fascists say the Democrats are being fascist because they’re shutting down the economy. You have to answer that, not for them because you’re not going to convince them, but for the people that are listening.

But then there’s all the denialism among the people who really are on the side of humanity and are stuck in a line of thinking that is actually taking them down a road to complicity. So I was wondering if you have any thoughts on how you handle that or what you think. Have you had any epiphanies lately (laughs)?

SR: (Laughs). Not completely new epiphanies. I see the process continuing, it’s been continuing, which is why I wrote that Drinks at Sobibor: Will We Remain Us? piece, which was really about the fact that you can become something that you didn’t mean. The other book recommendation I would like to make is They Thought They Were Free 1933-45, by Milton Mayer. This is just post-war. He was a Jewish scholar who went to Germany and befriended these various guys who had been in the Nazi party, some of them because they were Nazis, some because they didn’t want to get shot. They didn’t know he was Jewish, he didn’t volunteer the information, so he got really quite intimate conversations and confessions from these men. And one of them who was an engineer and very thoughtful gave an important explanation. Because everybody at that time after the war was asking how this happened ... Germans are not apes, they’re not savages so how did this all become possible in a civilized country? In fact, it was one of the countries which was considered one of friendliest countries for Jews, and sexual minorities and other people. And he said well you know it doesn’t just happen in one step. You don’t go from step A to step B. It comes in stages and if you didn’t resist in Stage B then why should you resist in stage C. And if you didn’t do anything in stage C, then what’s one more stage? And then suddenly one day you’re hearing your small child say “death to Jew swine,” and you realize that you’ve allowed this monstrosity to happen right under your nose. I’m paraphrasing. But that was basically what he said.

What he said was that you can become somebody you didn’t intend to be by your inaction and by remaining in an environment that’s becoming more and more poisonous and not questioning it, and not resisting it. And that was why he counted himself as guilty even though his joining the Nazi party was just to keep his job. So, I found that very powerful and that’s, I think, what a lot of the denialism is about.

I’ve been at presentations where people have straight up said to me – if you pin them down, they will say this – well the problem is if I agreed with you that it was fascism then I would have to do something about it. Then I would need to do something radical about it. And I’m like, okay! So you just reasoned backwards from your desired conclusion, you don’t want to do that so it must not be fascism. That’s not okay! 

And there I will agree with Bob Avakian. By the way, I do want to put in the caveat for folks watching that I am not personally a communist of any kind, including an RCP communist. There are points on which I don’t agree with Bob Avakian, especially as a sort of mainstreamish Democrat. Sometimes his criticisms of the [Democratic] Party are fair, sometimes they are not. But I would encourage people, even in my sector of politics – which was considered wild and out there in the 90s and is no longer considered out there, it’s very mainstream now – open your mind and listen to people whose ideologies are different from yours. If their base principles are where they need to be, that humanity is human; that all humans are humanity; that humanity has to come first; the planet has to survive; science is a thing, you know, these basic principles, if they’re there for them, and Bob Avakian is there for those principles, listen to what he has to say. You don’t have to agree with all of it but the reason that he is quoted in some of these materials is that he has a point. And one of those points he makes is that you can’t reason backwards from what you wanted to do anyway to what the facts are. You don’t get to do that. The facts have to be what the facts are and you have to proceed from them. You don’t get to make them up. You get your own opinions but you don’t get your own facts, as the proverb says.

CD: I think this is really important and I think we will probably have to end on this. We don’t have to agree on everything, but if you agree that the future of humanity and the planet is worth saving, and that this regime is a blocking issue for anything good that any of us want, then join us, and let’s make a united front under this demand: Trump/Pence Must Go! 

SR: Yes.

CD: And we can argue it out in the streets as we’re working non-violently, or we can virtually right now, but join us. And really let’s dig into what it is that is holding people back, and how do we help, with our arms wide open, welcome them into this really just cause that is historic. With that I just want to say I love talking to you Sarah. We need to do this more often. And I’m going to pass it back to Samantha.

SR: Always, Coco.

SG: I don’t want to add any more words, that was a really important way to end this.  I just want to add let’s continue this discussion, let’s share this “Live.” Continue to share it, continue to discuss with your friends and family and neighbors what was brought up in this Live, and what is in the Refuse Fascism Statement and Call to Act. Go to RefuseFascism.org. Read it, share it, sign it and donate to make it a force in the world. Refuse fascism.Org, you can donate there. And Venmo: Refuse-Fascism. We need to stay safe, not silent. Trump / Pence...

SR and CD: OUT NOW!

"We have to really confront people on understanding that you have to step out of normal channels to stop this fascism."

Excerpt of the May 8 interview of Coco Das and Sarah Roark by Samantha Goldman. Watch the full discussion: "This American Fascism with Coco Das and Sarah Roark".

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 Statement of Conscience / Call to Act 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/649/coco-das-in-conversation-with-amanda-marcotte-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Coco Das in conversation with Amanda Marcotte, author of "Oops, they did it again: Trump's refusal to wear a mask as a signal to fascism"

| revcom.us

 

Coco Das is member of RefuseFascism.org Editorial Board. On May 13, she interviewed Amanda Marcotte, Politics Writer for Salon.com & author of “Oops, they did it again: Trump’s refusal to wear a mask as a signal to fascism,” on Inside with #OUTNOW, a project of volunteers with RefuseFascism.org. The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Coco Das: Welcome to Inside with #OutNOW. I’m really excited to talk to Amanda Marcotte.  She is a politics writer for Salon and covers American politics, feminism and culture.  She has a book out, which I’ve read.  It’s excellent.  It’s called Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself. We can say the whole title here because we’re on Facebook, not on the airwaves.

I wanted to talk to you first about this very important article you wrote, Oops, They Did it Again; Trump’s Refusal to Wear a Mask is a Signal to Fascism. Hard to believe, as a lot of things are hard to believe that are coming down right now, but at a time during a pandemic where humanity is facing a novel coronavirus that we do not have immunity to, mask-wearing has actually become a culture-war flash point. At the Mayo Clinic, Pence refused to wear a mask, or said he didn’t know he was supposed to; Trump refusing to wear a mask at the Honeywell factory.  A lot of the media has treated this as just being careless, or stupid, ignorant, unknowledgeable about the need to wear a mask. But in your article you make a very important point about what this means culturally. There’s some deliberation to this, that it’s a fascist signal. So can you break down for us what is going on with this, what is it about, what message is it sending?

Amanda Marcotte: It was interesting to me because scholars of fascism say that core to the idea of fascist ideology – I define it more as a fascist impulse on Trump’s part, I don’t think he’s a studied ideologue or anything of that nature, but I think he thinks this way. He’s sort of instinctually fascist, as it were. Core to the ideology is this notion that the race should be strong, that modern civilization has made people weak, especially men, weak and urbane and feminine, and other synonyms for weak. And that the only way to make your civilization strong again is to functionally cull people that are classified as weak. In Nazism, they targeted Jews mainly, describing them as parasitical and weak. But they also targeted disabled people, gay people, certain women that were seen as patriarchal traitors. You see that kind of mentality nowadays in the refusal to take the coronavirus seriously, in the refusal to take basic health care measures to protest. In this fascist ideology anyone who would die is a weak person who probably is just a leech or a parasite on the herd. The only way they can prove their nobility or worth as a human being is to die for the greater good, to basically peace out because they are a parasite on our culture.

When somebody doesn’t wear a mask, I think it’s important to understand that the mask is not there to protect you. The mask is there to protect other people, because the whole point of the CDC recommendations and public health recommendations in other countries is that we know that a lot of these viruses are asymptomatic, especially at first, so you can be walking around spreading it to other people. And the mask is there to keep you from doing that. I was out at the grocery store the other day. I had a mask on. I had a cough. I didn’t mean to, and I’m not sick but it’s seasonal allergy season. I felt a lot better because I had the mask and it stopped particles from leaving my face. In case I have the coronavirus, I probably prevented someone else from getting it, right?  But when Trump won’t wear it, when Pence won’t wear it, there’s a subtle implication, especially to their more fascist followers that in a sense, if people get the coronavirus and die of it, it’s for the best because they were just dragging the rest of us down anyway. You see this in a lot of the rhetoric about this, like calling on Americans to be warriors by risking getting the coronavirus, saying things like the people that are dying were on their last legs anyway. There’s very much a thread that if it kills you, you probably were a drag on society anyway, and it’s for the best.

CD: And we know from their policy that there are people they feel are worthy.  Make America Great Again is very much about making American white again.  And then there are people that are constantly demonized and targeted, and actually targeted by policy, like these migrant kids that are being sent back to their deaths. There are certain populations that are subhuman, and while they maybe don’t always come out and say that, they will say that torch-bearing Nazis in Charlottesville are “fine people,”  or these Michigan militias are fine people. In your article, you quoted Natascha Strobl, an Austrian political scientist, that “weakness is never worthy of protection and has to be cast out.” This is fascism. She continues, “a fascist believes those viewed as weak have an obligation to die without protest for the greater good, and that if they don’t do it, the weak drag everyone else down, and therefore must be done away with.”

By normal logic, the death toll of over 80,000 in a matter of months would be unthinkable, people would be questioning what gave rise to that situation. It’s hard for me to imagine, if this had happened under Obama, what the reaction would have been, among the entire Tea Party population and this fascist movement that was being cultivated then, and the media as well as the normal people. Yet, Trump’s approval ratings have not plummeted. They fluctuated a little bit, but they haven’t gone down significantly. In fact, it seems like there is a base of people even more solidly behind him and the regime. Could you talk about what you make of this? Is there a way you can help us understand this?

AM: There’s this narrative in the mainstream media now that Americans have become more polarized than ever before. That’s a really misleading narrative because it implies that there are sort of two groups of people that are moving away from each other at equal speed. Whereas what we’re actually seeing happen is that Republican voters, who in the past were loyal Republicans but it was a party identification and it didn’t go a whole lot deeper than that, have really developed into a tribe. These identity politics now run a lot deeper.  It’s tough to name them, it’s so recent.  A lot of these folks are older, most of them, even like 10-15 years ago wouldn’t have thought of themselves as members of a tribe, and may balk at that now, but they are more than a subculture, they are formed into functionally, at least in their self-perception, into something of an ethnic group, right?  It’s this white, Christian, nationalist, group of people. That creates an unwillingness to accept evidence, to listen to countervailing arguments. Part of the reason is when people disagree with you, that is no longer felt as disagreement, it’s felt as an attack on your identity. For Trump voters, it’s just become impossible for them to listen, it’s become impossible for them to take in new evidence that contradicts their point of view because all they hear is, “the fake news media is out to get me.”

Unfortunately, we’ve seen this kind of mentality rising up around the globe, in all sorts of different countries. For whatever reasons, there seems to be right-wing authoritarianism, fascism, whatever name you want to call it, developing in India, in China, in the United States, in some parts of Europe, Turkey.  It’s all kind of the same thing, these people that have decided that they’re under threat, and they’ve decided that evidence, argument and facts don’t matter anymore, that all that matters is this kind of tribal identity, this nationalism.

CD: That’s really important. We talk about that in our Statement of Conscience, which is a really important document. It’s the main way we are organizing, at the moment, through raising this consciousness and need to actually see what we’re facing, face the reality of that, and figure out how we get to a point where millions of people who hate this, who do not want to live in this kind of future, will step outside of normal channels and work to drive out this regime, which is a fascist regime that has its finger on the nuclear trigger, which has the ability to kill 80,000 people in weeks with its negligence, its policy, its anti-science rhetoric. The very first step in stopping a fascist America is getting this regime out of power. This is what we’re organizing for now.

In our statement of conscience that I encourage everybody to read, sign and share, it says “We must say out loud what has been too often spoken in whispers and riddles. An American fascism is here and advancing, wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally—spreading its poison of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and oppressive, fundamentalist “traditional” values.”

In another part of the statement: “It’s long past time we cast aside illusions and self-delusion. For years people have waited—for the Blue Wave, for Mueller, for impeachment. But the normal channels turn into dead ends as the regime shreds norms and changes the rules.”

I want to talk to you a little bit about that in the context of your book Troll Nation. I really appreciated that you mentioned Gamergate. Maybe you can tell us about that. I live in Austin, and when that happened, I was reading about it and thinking, this is horrifying that this woman is getting death threats. They had to cancel one of the panels that these women were on because they could not guarantee their safety at South x Southwest. I remember thinking this is horrifying, but I didn’t see it as a harbinger of things to come. You talk about it as a sign of what was to come, and Trump becoming the president of this troll nation.

There’s a quote in your book where you say, “When social progress cannot be argued against, its opponents instead turn to trolling. And Trump; ignorant, thoughtless, mean, barely literate would be their leader.”

So in that context, I’d like to pose a question to you that was also posed to Lucian Truscott who writes for Salon, who said that it took him awhile to see this regime as fascist, but now he sees it in technicolor. Sam had asked him, “Was there a moment when you saw that?” So I was wondering if there was a moment, or has there been an evolution in the way that you look at what the regime does, and was there a point where you said, I have to use the “f” word, I have to talk about how mask-wearing is actually a signal to fascism rather than just use all the other names people use: alt-right, authoritarian, populism. Why was it important to use the word “fascism?”

AM: That’s a good question. I don’t think I was ever in any doubt that a movement like Gamergate or the alt-right was fascist. They are the online equivalent of Nazi beerhalls. They’ve never not been that.

I think for me the realization that Trump was not even going to hesitate to align himself with that kind of ideology was when I was at the Republican National Convention. He  was doing his best Mussolini impression. It was so obvious, it was impossible to deny it.  But it wasn’t just that he was up there doing the Mussolini thing, yelling “I alone can fix it!” But it was the audience’s reaction. It was absolutely terrifying. I had spent days talking to these people. I’ve been covering the right for my whole career and I’ve been increasingly concerned about how radical they’re getting. But even then it was still shocking to see people that I had been talking to, who I had been hanging out with, and just being around for four days, getting on their feet. This was not like the usual enthusiasm you see at a political rally. It was next level. They were out of their minds.

The realization that hit me, and why it was so traumatic is that I looked at this huge crowd, thousands and thousands of people, and I realized that they were all experiencing the realization, all together at once, that they don’t have to care anymore about arguments, about facts, about anything.  All they have to do is care about power. At that point, you have abandoned any investment in liberal democracy. At that point you have basically converted to fascism.

CD: You make some points about how they use the mantle of free speech to avoid talking about the content of what they’re saying because the content is hard to argue in favor of.  They’re basically white supremacists and misogynists but when you say you’re just fighting for free speech, then you can avoid talking about the content.

We have a few questions from viewers. Can you talk about the intersection of conspiracy theories and the fascist justifications for not wearing a mask?  Another related question: “From what I’ve read I can understand why these fascists refuse to wear a mask, but why do they attack people who do?  What is so offensive to them that they object to other people wearing a mask?”  You started to get at that with the question of who’s dying from this disease and your point about superiority and weakness and weak people being parasites that need to die off. Can you comment more on these questions?

AM: It’s really important to understand how much, and this is what my book Troll Nation is really about, is how much the modern conservative movement as it’s turned toward authoritarianism really embraced the idea of manufacturing reality.  Steve Bannon has famously said that what you do is flood the zone with shit. So a right-wing conspiracy theory has two simultaneous purposes. One is it creates a justification for embracing inhumane policies and views. “I’m the victim of a conspiracy, therefore whatever action I take next was self-defense and so it’s justified.” We see this right now with Trump yelling about “Obamagate.” No one even knows what that is. He’s trying to create this conspiracy where Obama did some vague criminal action against him, and therefore he’s justified in literally anything else he does; whoever he pardons, whatever laws he breaks, however he uses the Department of Justice to persecute his political enemies because they did it first, to him.

The second, and possibly more important thing that a conspiracy theory does, is it dismantles the idea of reality as a legitimate basis for making decisions or settling arguments. That’s what Steve Bannon was talking about when he said “flood the zone with shit.” A lot of conspiracy theorists don’t even believe their own theories. Alex Jones will ping-pong back and forth. He’ll have contradictory ones. The second he gets in trouble, like with the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, he’ll drop them and admit he understands reality. You see this all the time. They know they’re lying. A lot of times they don’t believe this stuff, but that’s the point. There’s a radical agenda at foot of trying to deny that reality matters, that objective truth matters, that all that matters is tribal loyalty and power. Conspiracy theories, the sort of “choose your own adventure reality” is about establishing that, as is phrases like “fake news,” which Trump calls legitimate news. There’s a strong echo of what the Nazis called the press, which is the luden presse, which meant “lying press.” I know that people get tense around these comparisons, but unfortunately, they’re just sitting right there.

CD: I want to read our answer to the question, “What is fascism?” because a lot of people think it’s just an insult. But this is an actual program that has direction and momentum. Our website [from prior statement/call to action] says, “Fascism has direction and momentum. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors.  All of this has taken dramatic leaps under the Trump Regime. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

"... Fascism is not just a gross combination of horrific reactionary policies. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, misogyny, and the aggressive re-institution of oppressive ‘traditional values.’ Fascist mobs and threats of violence are unleashed to build the movement and consolidate power. What is crucial to understand is that once in power fascism essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights.”

Can you talk a little about what you see as our responsibility in the face of this.  Something that struck me in Troll Nation was where you said it seems less cyclical, what’s happening, and more simultaneous. This is something we say – that this is not the worst of a pendulum swing. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed.  You see these norms being constantly shredded. People say “he can’t do that!” but then the regime does it and gets away with it. We saw that through the whole impeachment process. Someone is commenting that recently [Jared] Kushner threatened – and this is not the first time the question has come up of whether there’s even going to be an election – to somehow cancel the election. He wouldn’t commit to whether there would be an election. This is related to the passage I read. Another part in the Statement of Conscience is “Let us not hope against facts that the election alone can resolve this crisis.” This is the election that Trump was on trial for sabotaging. As a journalist, what do you see as your responsibility in the face of this, and what are you hoping that people will do after they read your pieces?

AM: That’s a tough one. Obviously, if Trump could cancel the election he would. And I think everybody should just know that in their heart of hearts. It’s frustrating to me to see people still depend on the idea of norms and laws when you’re dealing with people that don’t accept facts or reality. We have Tucker Carlson on Fox News questioning the germ theory of transmission. If they can question that, they can question anything, and they will.

That said, I don’t know that Trump has the power, or the will to get the election canceled. My greater concern is that he will just reject the results of any election and refuse to leave. I think we should not be Pollyanna-ish about what would happen then because what has happened in other countries when leaders do that is people start siding up, making arguments, and often it’s the person with more power that wins, not the person with the better argument.

I think the best that we can do is continue to tell the truth, continue to speak out, continue to talk to people that we know, especially people we know that are “that’s politics...I don’t like to be political.”  If you can get people like that involved, it will help a lot because literally the only chance we have is such a show of popular will that even some of the tactics like voter suppression, Russian interference, Trump’s inevitable claims that the election was stolen from him ... He’s already done it. He rejected the 2016 election, and he won that. ...So the only hope we have is such a show of popular will and popular force that even he can’t deny it.

CD: What we are working towards, and what people can read more about on RefuseFascism.org, is mass, sustained, non-violent protest, which is not a possibility at this moment, it’s not what we are calling for at this moment [of COVID-19], but we do feel that it is the only realistic way to create a political crisis to get this regime out of power. This is what was done in South Korea, in Puerto Rico when they drove out their governor.

We urge people to read our Statement of Conscience/Call to Act and spread this demand: In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America. This nightmare Must End. The Trump/Pence Regime #OutNOW.  We invite anybody, from any perspective: If you feel that this regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, join us. This is a regime that leads a whole fascist movement and a whole united front of different strains of fascists. The norms have been shredded and the normal channels have turned into dead ends.

I really appreciate that Amanda has been here to get into some of this with us. I want to end with you on this question. You used the term “fascist impulse.” A lot of people will say that Trump is not a fascist because he has no ideology.  But I think what you’ve brought out is the importance of seeing that this has become a pole in society. This way of thinking, this shattering of even the idea of objective truth, the whole idea that “whatever we say is true,” and “might makes right.” That’s a pole in society that people are gravitating towards with very dangerous consequences, whether they’re fully ideologues or not.

I thought maybe you can end with this question: what does this mean for you? For women, for people of color, for immigrants, and why does it have to be understood and opposed?

AM: The main thing to understand is that if you read a lot of historians of fascism they would tell you that fascism as a fleshed out ideology was never ever really truly a thing like an ideology of liberal democracy, or socialism, or something of that nature was. It really is a kind of taped together set of ugly impulses, of bigotry, contempt for the supposed weak, for exultation of patriarchy. Above all things, it’s a belief that power matters above anything else. It’s the will to power. It becomes really clear, then, what that means for most of us.

It means that all the levers that we have to pull to be sure we’re treated as full human beings, like appeals to law, appeals to rationality, appeals to humanity, appeals to very much enlightenment values, don’t matter. They just will step all over you. They will often classify those things as weak and stupid. We see the way they talk about scientists as weak and stupid a lot of the time as if even giving a crap about what scientists say is silly. That gives you a real hint as to what is going on here.

So I think it’s very frustrating for a lot of liberals. I have to imagine the folks in the audience are frustrated by this because you want to argue it down. I want to emphasize more than anything, we’re up against a mentality that does not accept argument as a legitimate form of discourse. They only believe in power, which is why they lie shamelessly because it doesn’t matter as long as it gets them power. Once you understand that, it’s terrifying, but at least you can set aside the notion that you’re going to argue your way out of this. There’s only organizing your way out of this.

Watch the interview.


Donald Trump refused to wear a mask on a tour of a factory making face masks in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: AP

See also:

Fascism-Denialism, Part Two: Left-Wing Bankruptcy in the Pages of Jacobin

Read more


Fascism-Denialism Is as Dangerous — and Unscientific — as Climate Denialism: Part One

Read more

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, Sign and Donate to the Statement of Conscience; Call to Act

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/637/refuse-fascism-statement-of-conscience-en.html

"An American fascism is here and advancing..."

Sign, Spread and Raise Funds For RefuseFascism.org's New Statement of Conscience

| revcom.us

 

Refuse Fascism has issued an important new Statement of Conscience to be signed by many thousands and spread throughout all of society.

This statement comes at a time when tens of millions deeply oppose and fear what the Trump/Pence regime is doing, but have proven as yet unwilling to act en masse in ways that are commensurate. Beginning last fall and continuing through the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, RefuseFascism.org fought to bring forward the kind of growing and sustained protests that could compel the removal of the Trump/Pence regime. But while this set an important standard and was correct to attempt, the people did not respond in adequate numbers to set this dynamic in motion. And yet the urgent need for this regime to be driven from power by the masses of people remains.

It has become clear that there must be tremendous ideological and political struggle with those who oppose the Trump/Pence regime for them to see it for what it is—an American fascism advancing—and to act accordingly. This new statement, which poetically captures the danger we face and the responsibility we have to the people of the world, is a tool with which to wage this struggle. As it becomes known and signed by thousands and tens of thousands it can dramatically change the discourse throughout society.

Everyone who refuses to accept a fascist America should sign their name and contribute to gathering thousands more signatories and raising tens of thousands of dollars in the coming weeks, and then many times more after that. This statement should be spread hand-to-hand and online to: students in high schools and colleges everywhere; prominent figures in the arts, sciences, literature, music, and film; communities targeted by this regime—immigrants, Latinos, Black people, Muslims, and others; legal and religious communities; professionals of all kinds; and far beyond. It should be read from pulpits and discussed in classrooms. It should be posted on walls and debated in the media and social media.

Winning people to sign, spread, and donate to this statement will require struggle and this should be welcomed. It is through struggle over the moral standard and the path forward advanced in this statement that a people can be forged who are willing to rise to the historic challenge of our time.

Start by reading it here, signing your name, making a donation, and then spreading it to others.

* * * * * *

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Preface to the 2020 Refuse Fascism Statement of Conscience/Call to Act:

RefuseFascism.org has updated its 2020 Statement of Conscience/Call to Act, adding the following statement to its powerful indictment of the Trump/Pence regime:

The anti-science Trump/Pence regime hid the danger of the COVID-19 virus, now a pandemic, for months, setting the stage for possibly catastrophic impact and placing those who have been targets of their overall program in the most jeopardy – immigrants forced into shadows and concentration camps; millions of Black and brown people languishing in prisons; the people of Iran facing crippling sanctions; the poor, sick, and homeless here and around the world.”

The Statement is a living document. As the world continues to change rapidly, the need to drive out the Trump/Pence regime at the soonest possible time grows more urgent and yet more challenging by the day. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are suspending actively organizing for sustained mass protests of millions in the streets at this moment, while recognizing the need to put this forward now as ultimately the only way that this fascist regime can be driven from power.  We recognize that a situation could possibly develop where such a response may be necessary in the future, even with an ongoing health crisis caused by the disease, in order to stop the regime from further endangering humanity.

We also recognize that masses of people may feel the urgent need to take to the streets in legitimate protest during this period of social distancing to secure basic needs. We will stand with the people in such situations and advocate that even mass protests try to adhere to the best public health practices.

We also recognize that the Trump/Pence regime with its opposition to science and its fascist program now poses an even greater danger to humanity facing the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that the RF Statement of Conscience is the best expression of what the people of the world face and what is needed; it remains both timely and true, even as we are not working to implement the call for millions to take to the street right now. We urge everyone with a heart for humanity to read this statement deeply, discuss, debate it, take it out where possible – in good ways – to the ICE detention centers and other places where masses of people need this, and overall develop creative means, especially through social media, so that this statement becomes a pole around which millions stand and act. 

The Editorial Board of Refuse Fascism; March 16, 2020

* * * * *

Refuse Fascism Statement of Conscience; Call to Act

Silent No More, We Say:

The hour is late. For over three years, the Trump/Pence regime has brought an unrelenting barrage of insult, injury, and atrocity, with catastrophic consequences for all humanity.

There are times in history when a people must reach deep into their collective conscience and act with extraordinary moral courage to stop the crimes of their government.

We must say out loud what has been too often spoken in whispers and riddles. An American fascism is here and advancing, wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence’s Bible taken literally—spreading its poison of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, and oppressive, fundamentalist “traditional” values.

Thousands fill stadiums and cheer as Trump spews heinous, bigoted rhetoric. His acolytes threaten civil war and carry out acts of terror.

Trump’s acquittal in a sham impeachment trial has set a legal precedent for him to do whatever he wants—even steal an election—as he barrels ahead with alarming vengeance.

The regime bludgeons the very notion of objective truth; trafficking not merely in lies, but in flagrant campaigns of disinformation.

They purge those who refuse to march in lockstep, then pack the judiciary, the police and the military, the executive and legislative branches, and the state houses with fascists and all manner of reactionary zealots—including theocratic Christian fascists—who see this as their last chance to cement their domination for generations to come.

The world as we have known it is being torn asunder. Fascist regimes are taking root everywhere as tens of millions of people are forced to seek asylum from wars, climate change, and enormous economic dislocation. Scientists have “reset” the Doomsday clock that measures the danger of nuclear war and the destruction of the environment to100 seconds before midnight. The anti-science Trump/Pence regime hid the danger of the COVID-19 virus, now a pandemic, for months, setting the stage for possibly catastrophic impact on all of society and placing those who have been targets of their overall program in the most jeopardy – immigrants forced into shadows and concentration camps; millions of Black and brown people languishing in prisons; the people of Iran facing crippling sanctions; the poor, sick, and homeless here and around the world.

The damage already done cannot be easily reversed, while worse is surely to come. We are on increasingly unsteady ground, and any major crisis, international or domestic, could become the catalyst for this regime to drop the hammer. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

Enough. We raise our voices here to say:

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

The hour is late. If we do not intervene now, we cannot ask how the German people accepted the horrors of the Nazi regime. What we allow is not just what we condone...it is what we become.

No longer will we stand aside while this regime shreds the rule of law. No more moving the goalpost of what we will tolerate or retreating into our private lives as the regime fills concentration camps at the border, cages immigrant children, bans Muslims, and threatens whole countries with fire and fury. We will not allow LGBTQ people to be slammed back into the closet and women to lose the right to abortion and birth control.

It is long past time we cast aside illusions and self-delusion. For years people have waited—for the Blue Wave, for Mueller, for impeachment. But the normal channels turn into dead ends as the regime shreds norms and changes the rules.

The Democratic Party cannot be relied on to stop this nightmare. Trump has branded them as enemies and “traitors,” rallying crowds to “lock them up.” Yet, the Democrats have repeatedly jumped to work with Trump when he let them, normalizing what should only be opposed. When they finally moved to impeach, it was on the real, compelling but narrow grounds of cheating on elections, but not the full crimes of the Trump/Pence program. They have not called forth the one force that could change the whole political equation—the power of the people in the streets—and they’ve refused to say publicly what many of them know in private, that Trump is a fascist.

Let us not hope against facts that the 2020 election—the same election that Trump was on trial for sabotaging—is enough to resolve this crisis. What will we do if Trump wins, or loses and refuses to step down? What damage will the fascist forces he has unleashed continue to inflict even if he does lose and leaves vengeful? No election, fair or fraudulent, can legitimize what has been normalized over the last three years.

The hour is late, but we can look to the people around the world who have taken to the streets in sustained, non-violent mass protest to drive out hated regimes and win a chance to shape their own destinies. The eyes of the world are on us now. They want to see whose side we are on. Will we capitulate to this regime with our silence and passivity, or resist every injustice of this regime and act decisively to knock it off its collision course with humanity?

There is a way to stop this. We will follow our conscience, sound the alarm, and organize so that it becomes possible for thousands to take to the streets across the country in non-violent sustained mass protest demanding Trump and Pence Out Now, growing to millions, and staying in the streets until our demand is met. This is not the easy road, it requires sacrifice, yet our actions will reflect our love for humanity, in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and create a serious political crisis for the ruling powers, leading to a situation where this illegitimate regime is removed from power.

WE MUST ACT to make this real. The hour is late, but it is not yet too late.

WE PLEDGE that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself.

WE COME FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES, but united in our determination,
WE SAY:

In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.
This Nightmare Must End:
TRUMP/PENCE #OUTNOW!

 

Sign and Donate to this Statement of Conscience;
Call to Act

Sign and Donate to this Statement of Conscience;
Call to Act

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.

Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/633/fascist-distortion-and-response-of-the-new-communism-en.html

FASCIST DISTORTION AND THE RESPONSE OF THE NEW COMMUNISM

| revcom.us

 

In a February 3, 2020 article, “Impeachment Protestors Call for ‘Nonviolent Revolution’ To End U.S. ‘Fascism,’” in The Federalist (which may not be officially affiliated with the powerful Federalist Society but clearly shares much of its right-wing reactionary outlook and objectives), Krystina Skurk attacks the diverse grouping of #OUTNOW! demonstrators calling for mass mobilization to demand the removal of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and she especially targets those among the demonstrators who are advocates of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA).

In the latter dimension, it seems clear that Skurk has at least looked over and read parts of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA, and she weaves a supposed “critique” of this Constitution throughout her overall attack on the #OUTNOW! protests.  In this regard, it has to be said that it is a commentary on the pathetic state of things politically that someone like Skurk, with a right-wing outlook, in support of the fascism that is concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime, has bothered to somewhat engage this Constitution, while as a general phenomenon those who consider themselves “left,” or “progressive,” or “woke,” including in academia and among the intelligentsia generally (such as it is), have not even bothered to do that, and instead have either simply ignored, dismissed, or engaged in crude distortion and slander of the crucially important work that BA has done, including this Constitution. But let us not give Skurk credit she does not deserve: In accordance with her own reactionary, unscientific outlook and methods, what Skurk has done does not involve a serious and honest engagement with either this Constitution (and the new communism of which it is a concentrated expression) or the #OUTNOW! demonstrators, which include followers of BA but others with a diversity of views as well.  Rather, Skurk’s attack involves a combination of glaring ignorance and crude distortion. Coming from the standpoint of the new communism, this response will focus on answering some of the main ways in which this stands out in her attack on BA and the new communism, while also answering some of her more egregious distortions and mischaracterizations in relation to the #OUTNOW! protests.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

Skurk writes:

Many of the protestors talked about a communist constitution written by Bob Avakian, leader of the Revolutionist Communist Party. This constitution would form a new nation called The New Socialist Republic in North America. Its legislators would be elected by popular vote, and a majority of votes in the nation’s single legislature could pass laws. Members of this legislature would serve as an executive council. Notice there are no separation of powers, something many of the protestors complained Trump was eviscerating.

But, contrary to Skurk’s assertion, this Constitution definitely does envision and institutionalize separation of powers. While the Legislature chooses the Executive, once chosen the Executive is completely separate from and independent of the Legislature, and the Legislature has a definite “oversight” role in relation to the Executive.  Further, there is a whole judiciary, including a Supreme Court, which is separate from and independent of both the Legislature and the Executive and has “oversight” powers in relation to both, including the power to find laws and actions by both the Legislature and Executive unconstitutional.  All this is very clearly spelled out in Article I of this Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, and no one who seriously and honestly engages this Constitution could reasonably fail to see this.

Education, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Dissent

Skurk also says:

In this new communist paradise all education would be centrally administered by the state and mandatory. The educational system would be dedicated to teaching “the dialectical materialist understanding that all of reality consists of matter in motion... and nothing else.” The cultural and historical effects of religion may be discussed, but that is it.

Here we see another glaring and egregious example of the dishonest methods of reactionaries like Skurk who cannot refute what is actually put forward by the new communism, as embodied for example in this Constitution authored by the architect of this new communism, Bob Avakian.  Instead what we get here from Skurk is what can only be conscious and deliberate distortion.  To begin with, the way in which Skurk (mis)quotes this Constitution would lead someone not familiar with it to believe that only “the dialectical materialist understanding” would be allowed to be presented through the educational system of the New Socialist Republic.  Here is what the Constitution actually says, in the part on education (in Article I, Section 2) from which Skurk, very “selectively,” quotes:

The dialectical materialist understanding that all of reality consists of matter in motion, of various kinds, and nothing else, and the application of this understanding and approach to all spheres of natural and social science shall be the foundation and “solid core” of education.  At the same time, as an application of “elasticity on the basis of a solid core,” there shall be provision for other, opposing viewpoints to be presented, including by ardent advocates of those viewpoints, as a part of the overall curriculum and general education.  (emphasis added)

It is very difficult to believe—it strains credulity beyond the breaking point to accept—that Skurk did not see the part emphasized (italicized) here, as it comes immediately after the part which she did choose to quote (in part).  Rather, what is obviously going on here is that, in a manner typical of people with her outlook and method, she is proceeding according to a preconceived prejudice that communism equals a totalitarian nightmare that suppresses all creativity, critical thinking and dissent, and she is superimposing this prejudiced notion onto the actual work (in this case, the Constitution) she claims to be examining.  In fact, the very section of this Constitution (on education) from which Skurk quotes, in a crudely distorted manner, emphasizes this principle:

The educational system in the New Socialist Republic in North America must enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.

And this same basic principle and approach is applied to all spheres of scientific and intellectual endeavor.

Further, with regard to art and culture and the media, and generally throughout this Constitution, provision is made to not only protect but to provide for the expression of a diversity of views and opinions, including dissent from policies and actions of the government, and “advocacy in favor of abolishing this Republic and replacing it with another kind of society and form of government.”  (See Article III, Section 2) This basic orientation and approach is articulated right at the beginning of this Constitution, in the Preamble, and runs throughout it, as a matter of basic principle and method, as concentrated in the formulation “solid core, with a lot of elasticity.”

The Real Consequences of Capitalism, The Actual Character of Socialism and the Ultimate Goal of Communism

Along the same lines, Skurk’s combination of ignorance and deliberate distortion is reflected in her statement that, among the demonstrators demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must be #OUTNOW!, those who are followers of Bob Avakian

point to Hong Kong as an example of a political uprising they’d like to emulate, but don’t mention that the people of Hong Kong are fighting against a communist government, the same type of centrally controlled government their hero Avakian wants to implement.

First of all, as the followers of Bob Avakian understand—and as any scientific analysis will reveal—while the party in power in China continues to, misleadingly, employ the label “Communist,” that Party and the society it rules long ago ceased to be “communist” (or, more accurately, on the socialist road toward the goal of communism) and, instead, for more than four decades now, following the death of Mao Zedong, they have taken the road of capitalism; with certain particular institutions and processes that differ from capitalism in the U.S. and similar countries, China itself is an emerging and increasingly powerful capitalist-imperialist country.

Skurk goes on to say of the followers of Bob Avakian: “They decry capitalism because it oppresses the poor, but don’t consider the millions capitalism has lifted out of poverty.”  Ironically, as a secondary aspect of things—but something not entirely irrelevant or insignificant, given Skurk’s approach and assertions—the fact is that a large part of those who have been “lifted out of poverty” are in (yes, capitalist) China, whose system Skurk condemns.  It is true that, as the rulers of China proclaim, a notable middle class (and, beyond that a smaller group of millionaires and billionaires) has developed with the implementation and functioning of capitalism in that country, but this is part of an overall picture—and a larger truth—that masses of people in China are bitterly exploited under this capitalist system; that hundreds of millions remain mired in poverty; that the health care system in China has gone from being the most egalitarian in the world (as it was when China was actually on the socialist road) to becoming the most unequal; that social ills, such as prostitution and drug addiction, which were largely eliminated in the period of socialism, have now re-emerged and become major social phenomena—and that the development of the Chinese economy is inseparable from exploitation by Chinese capital of poor people in Africa and many other parts of the world.

And there is the fact that, when China was on the socialist road, under the leadership of Mao, the standard of living of the masses of people was greatly improved (for example, life expectancy doubled from around 32 to 65, while the overall population expanded, many devastating diseases were eliminated or their effects significantly reduced, infant mortality significantly declined and in a city like Shanghai was lower than in parts of the U.S., and so on), and this was done through developing the economy and the society overall on the basis of moving to eliminate and uproot exploitation and oppression and supporting revolutionary struggles in other parts of the world.

Of all this Skurk has nothing to say—she is either ignorant of this reality, or is consciously choosing to ignore it, or some combination of both.

And her crediting capitalism for having lifted millions out of poverty is very much akin to those who claim that Black people in the United States should be grateful because—after centuries of brutal, murderous oppression and unspeakable degradation in America—slavery was finally ended in this country (while in fact horrific oppression of Black people has continued since then, in new as well as long-standing forms, including the perpetuation of certain forms of slavery, particularly through the prison system, for a period even after the Civil War).  As for poverty and its consequences, the reality is that, while the numbers have decreased over the past several decades, it is still the case, for example, that around six million children in the world die every year from starvation and preventable disease.  And this in a world where the productive forces at hand (the land, resources, technology, and people with knowledge and abilities) have long since established the basis for such outrages—and in fact for poverty, deprivation, and degradation overall—to be completely eliminated, everywhere in the world, and the fundamental reason that this has not been achieved is because of the private ownership of the means of production in the hands of competing capitalists, and the consequences of this for the masses of humanity, including the rapidly increasing destruction of the environment, when with the abolition of capitalist ownership of the means of production and exploitation of masses of people, and the institution of common ownership of these means of production, in a socialist society on the road to a communist world, the terrible, unnecessary suffering endured by the masses of humanity could be eliminated and moved beyond.

Skurk claims that those who are advocates of the new communism developed by Bob Avakian “naively turn a blind eye to the horrors communism wrought in Russia, China, and Cambodia, convinced they can do it better.”  The fact is that, while much of these “horrors” are inventions and distortions by the likes of Skurk (and, for that matter, “liberal” apologists for capitalism-imperialism), and while the overall experience of socialist societies on the road to communism has been definitely positive and inspiring, secondarily there have been, in this historical experience, real problems and errors, some actually grievous, and in the works of Bob Avakian, over four decades, there is a critical scientific examination of the actual history of the communist movement—its great achievements as well as, secondarily but significantly, its serious errors and severe setbacks—including the experience in the Soviet Union and China (which were on the road of socialism for a number of decades, before capitalism was restored in those countries, in the mid-1950s in the Soviet Union and the mid-1970s in China) and Cambodia, which in reality was never on this road of socialism but represented a departure from it and a distortion of communism.  This scientific study, along with serious engagement with and drawing lessons from many other important spheres of human endeavor, has precisely led to the synthesis that is embodied in the new communism.  And, yes, this new communism does enable those who take it up, and apply it as the living scientific method it is, to do even better.

As for Skurk’s smirking dismissal of the socialist society envisioned in the new communism, and embodied in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, as “this new communist paradise,” this once again displays the combination of ignorance and deliberate distortion that is typical of people with her outlook. Communists, and in particular the advocates of the new communism, as a consistently scientific method and approach, do not think in terms of a “paradise”—that is the province, and fantasy, of religion, and especially religious fundamentalists.  In the very beginning of this Constitution, and throughout, it is made clear that, while it represents a great leap forward toward the emancipation of humanity, socialist society is not, and cannot be, some kind of utopia.  Rather, it is a society in transition—from the capitalism it has overthrown to the communist world it is aiming for—and, as this Constitution clearly explains:

As historical experience has demonstrated, socialist society will—for a considerable period of time—contain, and in fact regenerate, elements of exploitation, social inequality and oppression, which have been, unavoidably, inherited from the old society and cannot be uprooted and abolished all at once, or soon after the establishment of the socialist state. Further, there is likely to be a protracted period in which new socialist states come into existence in a situation where they are, to one degree or another, encircled by imperialist and reactionary states, which will continue to exert significant influence and force, and may even occupy a dominant position in the world for some time.  These factors will, for a long time, repeatedly give rise to forces within socialist society itself, as well as within the parts of the world still dominated by imperialism and reaction, which will attempt to overthrow any socialist states that exist and restore capitalism there.  And historical experience has also demonstrated that, as a result of these contradictions, forces will emerge within the vanguard party itself, including at its top levels, which will fight for lines and policies that will actually lead to the undermining of socialism and the restoration of capitalism.  All this underscores the importance of continuing the revolution within socialist society, and of doing so in the overall framework of the revolutionary struggle throughout the world and with the internationalist orientation of giving fundamental priority to the advance of this worldwide struggle toward the achievement of communism, which is only possible on a world scale—and the importance of struggle within the party itself, as well as in society as a whole, to maintain and strengthen the revolutionary character and role of the party, in keeping with its responsibilities to act as the leadership of the continuing revolution toward the final goal of communism, and to defeat attempts to transform the party into its opposite, into a vehicle for the restoration of the old, exploitative and oppressive society. (From the Preamble to this Constitution)

Further, one of the distinguishing features of the new communism is its recognition that, even with the attainment of communism, throughout the world, there will not be some kind of utopia, but rather a situation in which exploitation and oppression and the corresponding social antagonisms will have been eliminated, but there will remain contradictions which people will need to continually confront and transform.  People will continue to face necessity in various forms and will need to take up the ongoing challenge of developing the ways—including through non-antagonistic struggle among themselves—to transform necessity into freedom... which in turn will be part of new necessity, which will again need to be transformed into freedom... and on and on.  The difference, again, is that exploitation and oppression and the corresponding social antagonisms—and the outlook corresponding to that social situation—will have been overcome and surpassed and will no longer constitute an obstacle to carrying out the process of transforming the world. And, in contrast with previous societies based on exploitation and oppression, there will be a whole new dimension of freedom for humanity—even as, once again, there will be the continuing need to transform necessity into new freedom.

Read online here
Download these quotes as a pamphlet to print and distribute (PDF) here

Christian Fundamentalism—Backbone and Hard Core Force for Fascism

In contrast to one of the headings in Skurk’s piece, no one—or certainly not the advocates of the new communism—assert or believe that “Christianity Is Fascist.” What Skurk is doing here is a “sleight-of-hand” trick typical of those who are, in fact, Christian fascists: attempting to “act the victim” and portray opposition to their attempts to impose fundamentalist theocracy on society as the suppression and persecution of Christians and Christianity. No, it is not Christianity as such but Christian fundamentalism—particularly as it has been politically and ideologically expressed in the U.S. over the past several decades, and as it has striven to in fact achieve a theocratic tyranny in this country—which is fascist.  Bob Avakian has made an extensive scientific analysis of this phenomenon in a number of works (which are available through the website revcom.us as well as the Bob Avakian Institute).  In a formulation that captures much of the essence of this, Bob Avakian, speaking of the fascists in the U.S., among which the Christian fundamentalists are a major, hardcore force, makes the following very important observation:

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.

And in this regard, it is worth quoting, at some length, the African-American theologian Hubert Locke:

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

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

Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power—it's about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America. (“Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right,” by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us—emphasis added)

Skurk employs the tactic of taunting the #OUTNOW! demonstrators with the strange claim that there is no evidence that this fascism, and in particular its Christian fundamentalist backbone and spearhead, has made any real headway with regard to government and law and society overall.  This—possibly out of actual ignorance, but much more probably out of deliberate ignore-ance and distortion—fails (or refuses) to recognize or acknowledge these salient facts, among others:

With the ascendancy of the Trump/Pence regime, Christian fascists themselves boast that they have never had an executive branch so favorable to and supportive of their aims.  Pence himself is an unabashed Christian fundamentalist, and similar aggressive Christian fascists are positioned throughout this regime, including those occupying crucial positions in government, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, who declares war on secularism, denouncing it as an evil enemy that is responsible for all the country’s social ills.

With this regime in power, the attacks on the right to abortion, and birth control, have greatly escalated, the right to abortion is now hanging by a thread and abortion is practically unavailable in many parts of the country, while this regime has succeeded in appointing great numbers of right-wing judges, on many levels of the judiciary, including the very highest level, who clearly oppose the right to abortion (as enshrined in Roe v. Wade), with some also asserting that the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregated education was wrong (and, by extension, should also be reversed).

Attorney General Barr makes ominous threats against Black communities that dare to protest police brutality and murder, while the police kill a thousand people every year, a disproportionate number people of color, many of them unarmed, and Trump crudely spews white supremacist poison and encourages violent white supremacist thuggery, by police and others.

The right to asylum is being violated, in fact eviscerated, by this regime, with large numbers of immigrants summarily deported (many to their deaths), thousands held in concentration camps, and many very young children forcibly separated from their parents.

Science is repeatedly under attack by this regime and its fascist followers, particularly with regard to the climate crisis as well as the fundamental understanding that evolution, including the evolution of the human species, is a well-established scientific fact, one of the most well-established theories in all of science, without which science cannot really be carried out and carried forward.

Trump has more than once threatened to use nuclear weapons and to destroy countries.

All this is taking place, and accelerating, along with many other moves to institute fascist rule, not least the flagrant flouting of the rule of law by Trump, as evidenced for example by his refusal to commit himself to respecting the results of an election in which he is not declared the winner, as well as his claim that the Constitution gives him the power to do whatever he wants, and his open contempt for and trampling on Constitutional principles and provisions, as has been revealed through his impeachment, including his blatant obstruction of Congress.

The fact that this regime has not—yet—fully consolidated its fascist rule and fully implemented its fascist program is no cause for relief and political passivity (let alone for the kind of disingenuous ridicule that Skurk expresses for those acting on the demand that this regime be removed before it can carry out that full consolidation and implementation) but, on the contrary, should be a clarion call to all those—the tens of millions—who deeply despise this regime and everything it is aiming to do, to join with the #OUTNOW! demonstrators and their call for masses of people, thousands growing into millions, to carry out non-violent but sustained protest, whose aim is not “to overturn our system of government,” as Skurk falsely claims, but the removal of this fascist regime before it is too late.

Actually Ending Racist Oppression

Finally, to respond to one other important and illustrative distortion of Skurk’s, it is worth examining the following.  She writes:

The Avakian solution to racism in America is two-fold. All discrimination would be outlawed (if only it were that easy). Secondly, African-Americans would be given the opportunity to decide whether to form autonomous territories, something akin to Indian reservations. The same is true for Hispanics in the Southeast. Alternatively, the new government may consider giving Mexico back the land taken by the “Imperialist United States” in the Mexican American war.

This involves, yet once more, a gross oversimplification and distortion of what is embodied in this Constitution in regard to overcoming racist oppression. In the Preamble of this Constitution, as well as the following Articles, where fundamental orientation and concrete policy with regard to the many diverse dimensions of society are discussed, emphasis is given to overcoming “the egregious crimes, oppression and injustice perpetrated by the former ruling class and government of the United States of America against various minority nationalities” (Article II, Section 3).  And it is not merely stated that “discrimination against minority nationalities, in every sphere of society, including segregation in housing, education and other areas, shall be outlawed and prohibited,” but that “concrete measures and steps shall be adopted and carried out, by the government at the central and other levels, to overcome the effects of discrimination and segregation, and the whole legacy of oppression, to which these peoples have been subjected.”

This whole Section of Article II, which covers 10 pages of the Constitution, speaks concretely to how this shall be applied in terms of government institutions, functioning and policy; and this is also addressed in Section 4 of the next Article (III).

To speak to another gross distortion in Skurk’s “critique,” the autonomous regions that this Constitution says may be created with regard to minority (and formerly oppressed) nationalities are nothing at all “akin to Indian reservations.”  Those reservations, currently existing within the overall framework dominated by the capitalist-imperialist ruling class of this country, were historically established not on the basis of the will of those peoples—as would be the case in the New Socialist Republic in North America—but through the genocidal policy and actions of the United States government and the system it serves, which decimated the native peoples and forced them onto land and into a way of life that was not of their choosing and have acted to maintain the people there in conditions of deprivation and oppression.  In direct and fundamental opposition to this, as the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America lays out, the question of establishing autonomy in regions and areas “of significant population concentration of minority nationalities which were oppressed within the borders of the former imperialist USA,” shall be decided through elections involving only the members of the particular nationality.

Specifically with regard to Native Americans, this Constitution (in Article II, Section 3) emphazies that:

wherever autonomous regions of Native Americans may be established, in the general vicinity of the historical homelands of the various native peoples, the central government will also act to ensure that these autonomous regions not only have the necessary territories but also the resources that will enable a real flourishing of these peoples, within the overall framework of the New Socialist Republic in North America. The central government of the New Socialist Republic in North America will provide special assistance and support to any Native American autonomous regions, on the basis of the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution.

And, in Article III, Section 4, this is also given emphasis:

As evidenced in the historical experience of oppressed nationalities in the imperialist USA (and in experience throughout the world) overcoming inequalities between regions is closely interconnected with uprooting national oppression.  Especially for this reason, the government of the New Socialist Republic in North America will devote special attention, efforts, and resources to the development of regions which, owing to the rule of exploiting classes and the dynamics of capitalism, and other factors, have been maintained, under the old system, in a more backward state, and to overcoming disparities between regions, as well as the gaps between urban and rural areas (in this regard see also Article IV).

Finally on this important question, given the continuing experience of horrific oppression of Black people throughout the history of the U.S. and their current situation as an oppressed nation within the U.S., the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America also upholds the right of Black people to self-determination, up to and including the right to secede from the New Socialist Republic and form a separate country—and it provides the process and means through which a vote, on the part of Black people, might be undertaken to determine this.

All this is an expression of the fundamental principle expressed in the Preamble of this Constitution:

The New Socialist Republic in North America is a multi-national and multi-lingual state, which is based on the principle of equality between different nationalities and cultures and has as one of its essential objectives fully overcoming national oppression and inequality, which was such a fundamental part of the imperialist USA throughout its history.  Only on the basis of these principles and objectives can divisions among humanity by country and nation be finally overcome and surpassed and a world community of freely associating human beings be brought into being.  This orientation is also embodied in the various institutions of the state and in the functioning of the government in the New Socialist Republic in North America.

The Fight Against Fascism and the Real Hope for Humanity

Much more could be written in response to Skurk’s attack, but from what has been shown it is clear that this is not a principled, fact-based and reasoned critique, of either #OUTNOW! or the new communism but, as stated at the beginning here, represents a typical combination of gross ignorance and deliberate distortion in the service of the kind of fascism concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime, for which Skurk is an apologist and which constitutes a very real, immediate and yes dire threat to the very existence and future of humanity.  In opposition to this, what is represented by the #OUTNOW! protesters and what they are calling for—and, in the most fundamental terms, what is embodied in the new communism—represents a real and uplifting hope for humanity and its future.

What are we facing?
A clip from a talk by Bob Avakian
Illustrated film clip

Watch the complete talk, here
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America:
A Better World
IS Possible!
A Film of a Talk by Bob Avakian.

See also:

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

by Dr. Hubert Locke

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/644/bob-avakian-this-republic-ridiculous-outmoded-criminal-en.html

THIS REPUBLIC—RIDICULOUS, OUTMODED, CRIMINAL

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The story is frequently told, by enthusiasts of “this great American democracy,” that at the time of the founding of the country Benjamin Franklin was asked: “What kind of government do we have?” And he replied: “A Republic—if you can keep it.” And it has been “kept” for more than 200 years since then. But the question is now posed more sharply than ever: Is it worth keeping—should any decent person want to keep it?

In the present day, the ridiculous and outmoded nature of this republic stands out, and this is all the more glaring in the context of the developing coronavirus crisis. As just one dimension of this, there is the fact that this particular American bourgeois (capitalist) republic is divided into 50 states, and there are repeatedly conflicts between the different states and between the states and the federal government in their approaches to this coronavirus crisis, which interfere with and undermine a rational unified approach to dealing with this crisis—and this would be the case even if there were not the irrational, anti-scientific Trump and Pence and their fascist regime presiding over the federal government, although of course this regime has only made things far worse.

The fact that this particular bourgeois republic is ridiculous, and in its present form is outmoded even on its own terms, is also expressed in the way that national elections are held—with the head of state (the president) chosen not through direct popular vote but through an electoral college made up of electors chosen through voting in, once again, 50 separate states. (This set-up is also closely related to the fact that the “United States” at its founding contained a number of southern states which rested on a slave-based economy, and one of the main reasons for having the electoral college was to protect the interests of those states and their slave-owning ruling classes—something which went along with the provision in the Constitution that counted slaves as in effect three-fifths human beings, and most fundamentally as property.)

How ridiculous and outmoded this governmental system is (again, even on its own bourgeois terms) can also be seen in the fact that, as part of this set-up, each state elects two people to the Senate, even while some states have far greater populations than others. (It is the case today that states with 30 percent of the population elect 70 percent of the Senators, while the great majority of the population, the remaining 70 percent, is “represented” by only 30 percent of the Senators.)

Many have argued for various remedies to this situation, including abolishing the electoral college and having the president (and vice president) elected directly by popular vote. But, first of all, those who gain advantage in this situation—those who may lose the popular vote but might still win the electoral college count (and these days, this is likely to be Republicans)—are not going to simply give up their advantage.

And, with regard to the “lopsided” way in which the Senate is constituted, relative to the population in the states (the 30/70 vs.70/30 ratios referred to), there is no easy way to change this—and in fact, if anything it will become even more lopsided—fundamentally because the present “configuration” (or “distribution”) of the population in this country is grounded in major changes that have taken place in the economy over many, many decades: the increasing role of agribusiness and a great decline in the relative role of small farms and the number of people engaged in farming; and overall the heightened parasitism of this country, so that increasingly the actual production of things consumed is carried out through a vast international network of sweatshop super-exploitation, especially in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, while the sectors abbreviated as “FIRE” (finance, insurance, and real estate), as well as high tech, play an increasingly significant role, along with services, in the economic activity carried out within this country itself. So, for those—particularly those concentrated in urban areas—who have a legitimate complaint regarding the disproportion between the population and how the Senators are selected, there is no realistic remedy since, given where the “FIRE” and high tech sectors have, for significant reasons, come to be concentrated, it would not be possible (or practical) to change the way the population is distributed (and concentrated) within this country without doing what is also not possible (and is not desired by people in the urban areas): changing the economy back to how it was constituted and how it functioned many, many generations ago, without the same degree of extreme parasitism there is today that allows for the high standard of living of significant sections of the population, including among the middle class (even as many others in the middle class were insecure and struggling economically even before the coronavirus crisis hit, to say nothing of the tens of millions of people subjected to dire poverty, and brutal oppression, in this country). And, once again, people in the smaller states with a representation in the Senate that is disproportionate to (larger than) the size of their populations are very unlikely to agree to having the Senate be chosen in some way that makes it correspond more to population (for example, having it be more like the House of Representatives, with a Senator representing not a state—with two for every state—but instead representing a population of a certain size), thereby eliminating the advantage the less populated states now have and giving the predominance to the urban areas with the larger populations.

And then, related to all this, there is that fascist Trump/Pence regime and (as I have analyzed in The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward) the many ways in which its outlook and priorities actually sabotage a rational, scientifically based approach to dealing with the coronavirus crisis (and problems in general). And, beyond that: “This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity.”1

Outmoded—and Criminal

It is not just that the particularly American bourgeois republic is outmoded, as well as ridiculous, “on its own terms,” but more fundamentally that the whole capitalist system is outmoded and criminal, and the American variant of this system is particularly criminal—and has been from its very founding. The fact is—a fact which cannot be ignored, evaded, or “explained away” without falling into accommodation and complicity with monstrous crimes—that this is a country founded on the enslavement of millions of African people and genocide against the original inhabitants of North America.

These monstrous crimes of slavery and genocide, and an attempt to rationalize and justify them, were enshrined in the founding documents of this country. As noted, the Constitution institutionalized and codified slavery, and as I have put it:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.2

In the Declaration of Independence, among the things for which the King of England is condemned, is the accusation that he promoted slave rebellions (“excited domestic Insurrections amongst us”) and “endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages.”3

And the monstrous crimes committed by the rulers of this country—and built into the very structures, relations, dynamics, and functioning of this system—have not only continued over the centuries since the country was first founded but have greatly expanded, subjecting literally billions of people, and countries all over the world, to merciless exploitation, murderous oppression, and the massive destruction of war, including the use of nuclear weapons at the end of World War 2. In sum, while many “liberals” join with the likes of Ronald Reagan in declaring this country “a shining city on the hill,” a beacon of liberty for the world, the truth is that:

This is a country founded on slavery and genocide, which has continued to viciously exploit and oppress people—and to carry out murderous invasions and coups, while ravaging the environment—with terrible consequences for the masses of people, in every part of the world.4

Putting an end to this ridiculous, outmoded, and criminal system, through a revolution aiming to bring into being a far better society, and world, is the challenge that must be confronted, and taken up, by all people of conscience who are willing to face—or who have no choice but to face—the reality of what this system is, and what it means to allow this system to continue existing and to dominate the world and determine the condition and the fate of humanity.5

 


1. The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. BAsics 1:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).

Additional comments by the author:

Various apologists of “this great American democracy” point out that, after all, the United States had a Civil War which put an end to slavery—as if this somehow eliminates, or at least “softens” the terrible experience of slavery. (Some have even descended so far into moral degeneracy as to claim that Black people in America should be “grateful” for slavery being ended in this way—after more than two centuries of this slavery!) It is true that the Civil War ended up leading to the emancipation of the slaves. And it is for this reason that I have pointed out that, after this country was founded, and its independence consolidated, the Civil War is the only just war this country has ever fought (on the part of the Union side) while, instead of glorifying this war (as they frequently do with wars they wage) they often bemoan it as a tragedy—“pitting brother against brother.” This ignores the fact that, once they were enabled and allowed to do so, nearly 200,000 Black people fought in the Union Army during the Civil War, dying at a higher rate than their white counterparts—and those Black freedom fighters hardly regarded the whites in the Confederate Army, who were fighting to maintain slavery, as their “brothers”!

It is also another searing indictment of this whole system in this country that, only a decade after the Civil War, with the federal government putting an end to Reconstruction in the South, Black people were once again subjected to the most horrific atrocities, through the system of “Jim Crow” segregation, lynching and overall terror carried out by the Ku Klux Klan, with the backing and often the direct involvement of the authorities and the “legal system” in the South in particular. And, even with some concessions wrenched out of this system through the Civil Rights movement after World War 2, the fact is that Black people in this country have continued to be subjected to systematic oppression and continuing terror, now carried out mainly by the police, in all parts of the country.

The American Crime series at revcom.us chronicles and highlights many—though far from all—of the major and monstrous crimes committed by this system and its ruling class(es), throughout its history and throughout the world.  [back]

3. Bob Avakian has written the following regarding the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson:

It is sometimes claimed that Jefferson was actually opposed to slavery and wanted to see an end to it. And you can find statements by Jefferson where he says that slavery is in fact a blight and that it will have negative consequences for some time to come. There have also been misinterpretations of what Jefferson wrote about slavery. To take one important example, there are passages he wrote in drafts of the Declaration of Independence—some of which did not, but some of which did, make it into the final version of that Declaration—where the King of England and the British government were strongly condemned for supposedly imposing the slave trade on the United States. Now, there were, in fact, ways in which Jefferson and the slaveowning class in Virginia generally were opposed to aspects of the international slave trade, even while they themselves were involved in selling slaves to other states and to slaveowners in other territories. In this, the essential motivation of these Virginia slaveowners was that they didn’t want the price of a slave being driven down, since they themselves had become major sellers of slaves within America itself. This is, fundamentally, the reason that they were opposed to the continuation—once they did oppose it—of the international slave trade. They viewed this above all in terms of property, and supply and demand in relation to selling this particular kind of property—human beings. So, here again, Jefferson acted in the interests of the slave-owning class, and his “agrarian society” turned out to be a slaveowning plantation system—not a society of small independent yeomen.

This is of course related to, and in an overall sense part of, the larger contradiction between Jefferson’s lofty sounding statements in the Declaration of Independence about the equality of all men (note: all men) and their “inalienable rights” and, on the other hand, the glaring fact that Jefferson not only owned slaves himself but consistently acted on behalf of the class of slaveowners and the institution of slavery, even while voicing certain moral qualms about slavery and musings about its long-term consequences for the new American republic. (Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, available in BA’s Collected Works, at revcom.us, emphasis in the original.)  [back]

4. Bob Avakian On Impeachment, Crimes Against Humanity, Liberals and Lies, Provocative and Profound Truths, available at revcom.us.  [back]

5.  In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian speaks substantially to those questions; and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, provides a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a radically different, socialist society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world, with the abolition of all exploitation and oppression. These works are also available at revcom.us.  [back]


Click to enlarge

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/644/bob-avakian-revolting-barbarity-shameless-hypocrisy-simple-questions-en.html

REVOLTING BARBARITY, SHAMELESS HYPOCRISY

For Those Who Cling to the Myth
of "This Great American Democracy":
Some Simple Questions

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Can anyone honestly deny the plain truth of the following words boldly spoken by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass in a July 4th speech in 1852?

For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

This statement echoes down through time, expressing a profound truth today.

If you doubt, or recoil at, this statement, then think about this: After slavery was formally ended through the Civil War, not only were Black people virtually enslaved once again during the long years of “Jim Crow” segregation, but the constant terror they were subjected to was repeatedly punctuated by thousands of lynchingsand lynchings were the cause for public celebrations, where huge crowds of white people, adults and children, gathered to watch and cheer the lynching and claim parts of the mutilated body of the lynched Black person—and postcards were made from photographs of these lynchings and were sold throughout the country.

This was not a one-time orgy of perverse violence—it happened over and over again, generation after generation. Nor is it some kind of “aberration” from the “especially good” nature of this country. And it is not just “ancient history”—atrocities of this kind are not something that is being left behind as this country carries forward its journey toward “a more perfect union.” Despite the rising of Black people through the Civil Rights and Black Liberation struggles after World War 2, which reached a high point in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has continued in various forms and on various levels since then (and despite the fact that, breaking with the despicable history of this country, large numbers of white youth in particular have actively supported these struggles), the fact is that, in the time since 1960 the police have killed more Black people than all those lynched during the days of “Jim Crow” segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, and Black people as a whole live with the ever-present threat of being brutalized or murdered by police.

And all this, in turn, is a concentrated expression of everything this country has been about, from the beginning and down to today. This is the reality of how the rulers of this country, while proclaiming themselves “the leaders of the free world,” have amassed their wealth and power—through grotesque brutality, plunder and destruction in every part of the world—something which is extensively laid out in the American Crime series at revcom.us, and which leaves no doubt as to the huge scope of these crimes and the fact that they are “built into” the very nature and structure of the system in this country. To repeat the words of Frederick Douglass:

For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

One final question: Is it not time, at long last, to face up to all this and act with determination to put an end to all this, with the recognition that for this to become a reality a radically different system and a radically different kind of country is needed?*

 


* The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, provides a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for “a radically different system and a radically different kind of country.” This Constitution is available at revcom.us.  [back]

See also:

THIS REPUBLIC —
RIDICULOUS, OUTMODED, CRIMINAL

by Bob Avakian

Read more

American Crime

See all the articles in this series, including:

 

 

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/648/american-crime-case-11-violent-suppression-of-black-peoples-right-to-vote-en.html

American Crime

Case #11 (Part 1): The Violent Suppression of Black People's Right to Vote

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one of three “Reconstruction Amendments” passed as the Civil War ended, says that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This marked a radical transformation from previous law and entrenched custom in all the U.S. Even in the North on the eve of the Civil War, only five states, all in New England, allowed Black men to vote.

During the short period of Reconstruction, Black people in the South, along with some whites, fought heroically for their constitutional right to vote. About 1,500 Black men were elected to various state and local offices across the country. For the first time, Black people sat in the U.S. Congress.

This was bitterly opposed from the beginning. Vengeful white supremacy was the open ideology of the Democratic Party, which dominated the South. Armed vigilantes, many of them former Confederate soldiers, were coalescing into the KKK, and acted as the armed wing of the Democrats. They carried out murderous terror across the South. (Before and during the Civil War, the Republican Party was the party of those ruling class forces that to one degree or another opposed slavery, and that, for about a decade after the war, supported more rights for Black people. But for over a century since then, the Republicans, like the Democrats, had been a party of white supremacy.)

More recently, relentless efforts to suppress Black people’s votes and to rally whites around white supremacy have been a hallmark of Republican campaigns since Richard Nixon launched his “Southern Strategy” in 1968. Lee Atwater, advisor to presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, described it this way in a 1981 interview: “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say nigger—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like uh, forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.... Now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites... ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’”1

Today the Trump/Pence fascist regime is continuing this ugly all-American tradition in new ways—openly supporting white supremacists, organizing its fascist foot soldiers to intimidate Black and Latino people at the polls, and launching multipronged efforts costing tens of millions of dollars to keep Black and Latino people from voting at all.

The Crimes

New Orleans, July 1866

In the spring of 1866, the Louisiana State Legislature, entirely composed of white supremacists, passed a set of “Black codes”—laws designed to restrict and deny Black people's freedom. Among other repressive measures, this “code” denied the right to vote to Black men. Black and some white delegates to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention—then meeting in New Orleans to draw up a new charter for the state after the end of slavery—were furious.

As the mostly unarmed delegates marched to Mechanic’s Hall, the site of the convention, they were attacked by a heavily armed mob consisting of ex-Confederate officers and soldiers, white supremacists, and most of the New Orleans police, led by the city’s mayor. The Black and white delegates beat back the mob and drove them out of the hall, where they had taken refuge. But reinforcements with more ammunition arrived for the racists, and they again attacked Mechanic’s Hall, this time successfully. They also rampaged through the streets around the hall, killing people who had nothing to do with the Convention. Estimates of the number of dead range from 150 to 238.2, 3

Eutaw, Alabama, October 1870

Throughout the summer of 1870, as November elections for governor neared, Klan terror ripped through the area around Eutaw in Alabama’s Black Belt. At least five Republicans, four Black and one white, were lynched in July. That same month, Gilford Coleman, a prominent Black Republican, was pulled from his home by Klan night riders and his body mutilated. In October, an unarmed outdoor meeting of about 2,000 Republicans, mainly Black people, was attacked by Klansmen who fired into the crowd, killing at least four and injuring many more. A contingent of federal troops did nothing to intervene. Most Black people in the area stayed away from the polls in November, and the open white supremacist won. Alabama officials took no action against the murderers, and although a federal grand jury returned indictments against 20 people, they were never convicted.4

Colfax, Louisiana, 1873

On April 13, Easter Sunday, over 300 heavily armed white men, mostly former officers and soldiers in the Confederate Army, shot, stabbed, burned, and maimed Black people seeking shelter in a courthouse. At least 150 people were murdered in what historian Eric Foner described as the “bloodiest single instance of racial carnage in the Reconstruction era.”5 The terror came in the midst of a bitterly contested election, and was part of a campaign to prevent Black people from voting, and to institutionalize white supremacy at all levels of state and parish (county) governments.

None of the murderers, who were widely known in the area, were tried in state court. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions of the three murderers who had been tried for violating the civil rights of people they killed on the grounds that federal law cannot protect Black people from violations of their civil rights (or mass murder!) by mobs, only violations of those rights by government agencies. This opened the door to rampant, unpunished lynching that raged across the South for the next 80 years. 132 years later, in 2005, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing its “remorse” for having never acted to outlaw lynching!6, 7

Hamburg and Ellenton, South Carolina, 1876

As another election for governor approached, a group of white farmers went to court to complain that their passage along a road had been blocked by a Black militia. About 100 armed whites came to the court on the appointed hearing date, opened fire, and killed four Black people. During the same period a reign of Klan murder and violence spread across central South Carolina, terrorizing Black people at political gatherings and church meetings. While several white assailants were killed in these raids, estimates of the murdered Black people range from 30 to over 100 or more. They included Simon Coker, a prominent Black state legislator. A leader of the racist attacks in both Hamburg and Ellenton was Ben Tillman, a life-long white supremacist who went on to be a founder of Clemson University, governor of South Carolina, and U.S. senator. While in the Senate, Tillman defended lynching and boasted of his involvement in the murder of Black people and consolidation of white supremacy in South Carolina.8

Wilmington, North Carolina, 1898

Wilmington at this time was the largest city in North Carolina. A majority of its population was Black. Black people were prominent in the political and business leadership of the city, at a time when white supremacist Democrats dominated in the state. The presence of a largely Black leadership of the city was intolerable to these racists, who had proclaimed, “North Carolina is a WHITE MAN’s State and WHITE MEN will rule it...” In early November a “white man’s rally” in Wilmington drew over 1,000 armed people. At around the same time, local businesses refused to sell arms or ammunition to Black people in Wilmington.

On November 10, on the pretext that an editorial in a Black-owned newspaper had insulted white women, a wealthy former Confederate officer led a mob of 400 whites that stormed through downtown Wilmington. They burned down Black-owned businesses, broke out windows, and killed at least 14 people. An estimated 2,000 Black people were forced to flee the city. Black authorities in the local government were replaced by whites, and the leader of the mob became mayor.9, 10

Ocoee, Florida, 1920

Throughout the summer and early fall of 1920, some Black people associated with the Republican Party were part of an effort to register voters for the upcoming presidential election. This was the first U.S. election in which women could vote, and the core of activists made a particular effort to register Black women. They wanted to contribute to breaking the stranglehold that the Klan and the openly white supremacist Democratic Party had on Central Florida.

But they met fierce opposition from the entrenched white power structure. The Florida History Project wrote that the day before the election, “... with robes and crosses, the Klan paraded through the streets of the two Black communities in Ocoee late into the night. With megaphones they warned that ‘not a single Negro will be permitted to vote’ and if any of them dared to do so there would be dire consequences.” Shortly after Moses Norman, a Black man, attempted to vote, hundreds of white WWI veterans from throughout the county swarmed into Ocoee. They eventually burned down almost all the buildings in north Ocoee, where most Black people lived. Many Black residents resisted, but they were outnumbered and outgunned. As many as 60-70 were killed by the racist mob, and hundreds were driven from the town. The mob descended on the home of July Perry, Norman’s friend, because they heard that Norman had fled there. Perry, and possibly other people, defended themselves from inside the house, killing two of the mob and wounding the Ocoee police chief. 

The lynch mob fled, but returned with a caravan of 50 cars filled with Klansmen, who overwhelmed July Perry. They brutalized Perry and brought him to the city jail. Later that night, with the cooperation of the sheriff, the mob pulled him from his cell, chained him to a car, and dragged him through the town before hanging and shooting him. They left his body there, with a sign saying, “This is what we do to niggers who try to vote.”

As late as 1959, a sign reading “Dogs and Negroes Not Welcome” was posted at the city limits of Ocoee.11, 12

The Civil Rights Era

The “Black codes” enacted in the late 1800s and upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court had devastating impact for the next 70 years. For example, in 1958, at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, Gadsden, a majority Black county in Florida’s panhandle, had a population of 12,261 Black people. Seven of them were registered to vote. Similar situations existed across the South. By the early 1960s, youth and others launched courageous struggles to confront and overcome this situation.

McComb, Mississippi, 1961

Activists with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized voter registration in McComb and surrounding areas of southwestern Mississippi. Authorities in Mississippi, like elsewhere in the South, “maintained a savage system of oppression, repression, retaliation and legal restrictions to keep Blacks politically disenfranchised.... Brutal violence, often deadly, and swift economic reprisal were used to deter Black men or women who dared attempt to gain the political franchise.” 

Brenda Travis, a 15-year-old high school student in McComb, canvassed the streets with the SNCC voter-registration workers. She also led a sit-in at a local diner that didn’t serve Black people—she soon was sentenced to a year in the state juvenile prison and expelled from high school. The Klan, the Citizens’ Council, and racist whites in general reacted violently to the Black people trying to register, and “night riders” armed with rifles and shotguns prowled through the Black communities. As tension and violence increased throughout the summer, two SNCC workers were assaulted by a mob in downtown McComb and thrown in jail. In an outlying area, Herbert Lee, a local man working with SNCC, was murdered by a state representative in broad daylight. An all-white jury ruled that his murderer acted in “self-defense.”13, 14

Canton, Mississippi, 1964

Canton’s Freedom House, in northern Mississippi, became a center for students and others organizing to overcome deeply institutionalized Jim Crow. In 1963 and 1964, a group called the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) led a voter registration drive as part of Mississippi Freedom Summer. They faced constant threats, harassment, and dismissal. Over an eight-month period in 1963, when COFO prepared more than 1,000 people to register to vote at the Canton courthouse, only 30 were accepted. The youth were repeatedly assaulted by both Klan and the police, sometimes acting together. Many were arrested and sent to the county jail and to Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm prison. In May 1964, the Klan bombed the Freedom House. In her memoir, Coming of Age in Mississippi, author Ann Moody described how she and others had taken to sleeping in the cornfields behind the house because of constant threats and attacks—fortunately, no one was in the house the night it was bombed.

In 1964, people involved in Freedom Summer and others came together to form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In the face of opposition from the official, segregationist Democrats, and the murderous violence that reached a terrifying pitch in Mississippi that summer, they selected a group of 68 delegates, 64 of them Black, to represent Mississippi at the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. When they got there, the Freedom Party delegates rejected a “compromise” proposed by President Lyndon Johnson that would have allowed two to serve as “at-large delegates.” The openly white supremacist, segregationist delegation represented Mississippi at the convention.15, 16

Neshoba County, Mississippi, 1964

James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were also part of the Freedom Summer voter registration campaign. On June 21, the three traveled from Meridien, Mississippi to the town of Longdale, where the Mt. Zion church had been burned down—by the Klan, as it turned out. The three men had recently spoken at the church and urged parishioners to form a Freedom School at it. They knew they were heading into a perilous situation. Schwerner told people in Meridien, “If we’re not back by 4 p.m., then start trying to locate us.”

They were arrested for an alleged traffic violation in Philadelphia, Mississippi, after they left Mt. Zion. The police held them in jail for several hours, then, at night, followed the three out of town and alerted a lynch mob to join them. The car with Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman was forced to stop just before leaving Neshoba County. The three men were seized by the mob, then shot, beaten, and buried under an earthen dam. That night a Philadelphia cop who organized the lynch mob told them, “Well, boys, you’ve done a good job. You’ve struck a blow for the white man. Mississippi can be proud of you.” 

The murders of the three civil rights workers became news across the country. A massive search was launched, and during it, the bodies of eight other dead Black men, including two students who “disappeared” in May 1964, were found in the swamps and woods of Neshoba County—their deaths, likely by lynching, had never attracted national attention. A search went on for almost two months before their bodies were found.

The state of Mississippi refused to try the lynchers—who included Klansmen, Philadelphia police, and Neshoba County sheriffs—for murder. In an October 1967 federal trial, seven were convicted of violating the civil rights of the three murdered men. None served more than six years in prison.17, 18

Selma, Alabama, 1965

In February, 27-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson participated in a demonstration for voting rights of 500 people in Marion, a town near Selma. Police viciously attacked the march, and when Jackson tried to protect his mother, he was shot in the abdomen. Jimmie Lee Jackson died eight days later in a Selma hospital. The first of the famous Selma-to-Montgomery marches was organized in the wake of Jimmie Jackson’s murder. Hundreds of people marched in protest of his murder, and as part of the Selma voting project. The second march—“Bloody Sunday”—was memorialized in the movie Selma. It was viciously attacked by police and Alabama state troopers as they crossed a bridge over the Alabama River. The cop who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson was not indicted by a local grand jury until 42 years after Jackson’s death.

The Alabama Klan also sent a murderous message to the growing number of white people who had come to Selma to participate in the marches. Viola Liuzzo, 37 years old, traveled from Detroit before the first march, and helped coordinate logistics for people coming into Alabama. She was shot and murdered as she returned to Selma after driving some people to an airport in Montgomery. An FBI agent was in the carload of Klansmen who murdered Viola Liuzzo. 

James Reeb was a 38-year-old Unitarian minister who traveled from Boston. He and two other ministers were savagely beaten by a pack of racists as they left an integrated restaurant in Selma. Reeb suffered severe head injuries. He had to be driven two hours to Birmingham—the hospital in Selma that treated Black people did not have the capacity to treat his level of injury; the white hospital refused him. James Reeb died shortly after arriving at the Birmingham hospital—no one was ever found guilty in his murder.19, 20

The Criminals

The murderous, hate-filled mobs.

The local cops and officials who led these mobs, looked the other way while they lynched, and never charged anyone for killing Black people.

The state officials who devised and enforced bizarre regulations and laws to prevent Black people from voting, and punished and humiliated them if they tried.

The many congressmen and senators who encouraged and egged on the racist violence, and the others who looked away and never lifted a finger to stop it.

The political leadership of both the Democratic and (since the betrayal of Reconstruction in 1876) Republican parties, including each and every president, who never denounced, much less acted to stop, lynching and routine violations of supposedly basic rights.

The courts and judges, up to the U.S. Supreme Court, who upheld the lynch mobs by ruling, essentially, that it wasn’t their problem, and who refused to enforce the plain language of their own Constitution as Black people were systematically, massively, and violently prevented from voting.

An entire system responsible for the oppression, repression, and denial of fundamental rights of Black people.

The Motives: In Their Own Words

The incidents described above—only a small portion of the attacks to suppress voting rights of Black people over the past 150 years—illustrate the relentless, violent white supremacy that is deeply embedded in every dimension of U.S. society. The packs of hooded racists, the local police and political officials, the senators and Supreme Court officials—all serve a system that thrives on and perpetuates white supremacy.

Ben Tillman, founder of Clemson University, governor of South Carolina, and U.S. senator, in a speech to the U.S. Senate in 1900: “We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.”21

Theodore Bilbo, in his successful run for senator from Mississippi in 1946: “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the niggers away from the polls. If you don’t understand what that means you are just plain dumb.”22

Since the 1960s, it has been Republicans working to suppress the votes of Black people—the language they use has been coded (see the words from Republican strategist Lee Atwater at the beginning of this article), but is every bit as vicious and threatening as that of the arch segregationists from America’s earlier times.

Justin Clark, a top official in Trump’s re-election campaign, talking earlier this year about suppressing votes of Black people: “Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are.... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.23 (Emphasis added)

Donald Trump in late March 2020, referring to efforts aimed at removing barriers to voting that disproportionately impact Black and Latino people: “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”24

Repeat Offenders

As protest and upheaval raged across the U.S. in the mid-1960s, and the gross injustices of the brutal oppression of Black people in “the land of the free” were broadcast around the globe, Congress passed and President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was meant to remove the “Black code” barriers to Black people’s right to vote. Many more Black people did begin to vote, and the number of Black elected officials grew significantly.

See Part 2 of American Crime #11 for assaults on Black people's right to vote since then.

 


1. Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy, Rick Perlstein, The Nation, 11/13/12.  [back]

2. New Orleans Massacre (1866), https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/new-orleans-massacre-1866/  [back]

3. An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866, LSU Press, 2001, by James G. Hollandsworth, Jr.  [back]

4. The Eutaw Riot of 1870, Black Then https://blackthen.com/the-eutaw-riot-of-1870/.  [back]

5. The 1873 Colfax Massacre Crippled the Reconstruction Era, Danny Lewis, Smithsonian Magazine, 4/13/16.  [back]

6. Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, Harper Collins, 2011.  [back]

7. The Colfax Massacre of 1873, revcom.us.  [back]

8. The Zinn Education Project, https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/hamburg-massacre/.  [back]

9. NCpedia, The Wilmington Race Riot.  [back]

10. The Ghosts of 1898: Wilmington's Race Riot and the Rise of White Supremacy, Observer Company, 2005, Timothy Tyson.  [back]

11. Ocoee on Fire, Florida History.  [back]

12. The Ocoee Massacre, The Zinn History Project.  [back]

13. Civil Rights Movement History, 1961.  [back]

14. Mississippi Encyclopedia, McComb.  [back]

15. Canton Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi Encyclopedia.  [back]

16. Coming of Age in Mississippi, Doubleday, 1968; Ann Moody.  [back]

17. We are Not Afraid, Macmillan, 1988; Seth Cagin, Phil Dray.  [back]

18. Lynching of Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman, Mississippi Freedom Summer Notes.  [back]

19. At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-69, Simon & Schuster, 2006, Taylor Branch.  [back]

20. SNCC in Alabama, Encyclopedia of Alabama.  [back]

21. American Passages, A History of the U.S., Volume 2: Since 1865, Wadsworth, 2004, by Edward L. Ayers, Lewis L. Gould, David M. Oshinsky, Jean R. Soderlund.  [back]

22. One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, Bloomsbury, 2018, by Carol Anderson.  [back]

23. Trump Advisor Caught Discussing Aggressive Voter SuppressionRolling Stone.  [back]

24. Trump Says Republican Could Never Be Elected Again if Voting Was EasierThe Guardian.  [back]

The Oppression of Black People and Other People of Color

From the speech by Bob Avakian:
Why We Need An Actual Revolution And
How We Can Really Make Revolution

Watch the complete speech here.


New Orleans, July, 1866: A mostly unarmed group of Black and white delegates to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention who were protesting the passing by the state legislature of white supremacist laws, including denial of the Black vote, were attacked by white racists. The mob not only attacked delegates but others who had nothing to do with the convention, killing 150 to 238 people. Sketch by Theodore R. Davis, Courtesy NY Public Library


Colfax Massacre: 1873: A drawing from Harper's Weekly depicting Black people collecting the bodies of the murdered after the massacre.

 

American Crime

Case #71: The Colfax Massacre of 1873... and the Supreme Court Stamp of Approval for Racist Terror

Read more


Hamburg and Ellenton, South Carolina, 1876: Klan murder and violence spread across central South Carolina, terrorizing Black people at political gatherings and church meetings. (Drawing from Harper's Weekly)


Wilmington, North Carolina, 1898: A white mob led by a former Confederate officer burned down Black-owned businesses and killed at least 14 people.


Voter intimidation, 1876. (Drawing from Harper's Weekly, October 21, 1876)


Miami, Florida, 1940: Effigy of a black man hanged with a sign reminiscent of the lynching of July Perry in Ocoee, Florida, 1920.


Neshoba County, Mississippi, 1964: FBI poster of three missing civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Henry Schwerner.


Selma, Alabama, March, 7, 1965: A demonstration for voter rights was viciously attacked by cops on what is known as "Bloody Sunday." (Photo: AP)

 

 

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/649/american-crime-case-11-part-2-gutting-voting-rights-act-disenfranchising-millions-of-black-people-en.html

American Crime

Case #11 (Part 2): 1965 to Today: Gutting the Voting Rights Act and Disenfranchising Millions of Black People

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

The Crime

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was signed into law in 1965, as the civil rights movement crested. It was designed to enforce the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Efforts to undermine the VRA began almost immediately after it was enacted, and accelerated after Barack Obama was elected president. In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the VRA. As Revcom.us wrote, “The heart of the Voting Rights Act—what gave it its enforcement power until this Supreme Court ruling—is Section 5, which requires certain states and other jurisdictions to get pre-clearance from the federal government or court for any changes in laws or procedures relating to voting. This had prevented many schemes to limit the voting of Black and other oppressed people from going into effect up to this point.”1 The Court ruled that the conditions to ensure fair voting the VRA placed on Shelby County, Alabama, a stronghold of institutionalized white supremacy since the days of slavery, were no longer valid, because outright segregation had ended in the state!2

Within hours of the Shelby County decision, Greg Abbott, then the Texas attorney general, announced, “With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.” These maps have effectively assured the domination of the white supremacist Texas Republicans in a state where white people are a minority of the population.3 Within two months, North Carolina had “instituted a strict photo ID requirement; curtailed early voting; eliminated same day registration; restricted pre-registration; ended annual voter registration drives; and eliminated the authority of county boards of elections to keep polls open for an additional hour.”4 By 2018 at least 25 states had developed similar measures.

Purging Voter Rolls

Tiny typographical errors have triggered purges of registration rolls in different states.5 In 2017, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, purged almost 600,000 people from the voting rolls. Then in 2018, while Kemp was running as the Republican candidate for governor—and still holding on to the position of secretary of state—he blocked the registration of 53,000 Georgia residents, 70 percent of them Black. Kemp won in a very close election.6

Polling places have been dramatically reduced in areas with large Black populations.7 The population of McClennan County, Texas, grew by more than 15,000 people between 2012 and 2018—more than two-thirds of that growth came from Black and Latino people. In that same period, the county closed 44 percent of its polling places, largely in Black areas. Similar closures took place in Brazoria, Harris, and other Texas counties.8 ,9

The impact of measures like these on the 2016 elections was summed up by Carol Anderson in her book One Person, No Vote: “Minority voters did not just refuse to show up. Republican legislatures and governors systematically blocked African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans from the polls.”10

Disenfranchising Former Prisoners

In addition, the Sentencing Project estimated that as of 2016, 6.1 million people in the U.S. had been stripped of the vote by laws restricting or preventing those convicted of felony-level crimes—over five times the number in 1976. They wrote, “One in 13 African Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate more than four times greater than that of non-African Americans.” In Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia more than one in five African Americans is disenfranchised.11

In 2018 Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment restoring the right to vote to the state’s 1.4 million former felons. Two months after it had taken effect, the Florida legislature passed a measure again imposing restrictions on ex-prisoners’ voting rights. The measure has since been at least temporarily struck down in courts.12

Multi-Million Dollar Campaign to Prevent Black People from Voting

In 2018, a federal court ruled that for the first time in almost four decades the Republican Party could initiate campaigns against alleged “voter fraud” without court approval. Previously, courts had ruled that Republicans repeatedly intimidated or tried to exclude Black and Latino people from voting in the name of “preventing voter fraud.”13

Today Republicans are funneling tens of millions of dollars into escalating what the New York Times called “a focus on limiting who can vote that became a juggernaut after the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act in 2013.” Various fascist organizations are initiating lawsuits, recruiting “poll monitors” to intimidate voters, and launching their own “anti-fraud” campaigns. Spearheading this effort is the well-funded “Honest Elections Project,” formed by a staunch Trump ally. A prominent member of the Conservative Political Action Committee said that as November approaches, “It’s going to be all hands on deck.”14

And now, with the coronavirus pandemic still raging, Republicans from Trump on down are fighting to prevent voting by mail, despite the dangers that waiting in long lines and at crowded polling stations carry. The fascist attorney general of Texas has threatened criminal prosecutions of organizations that encourage voters under 65 years of age without COVID-19 to send in absentee ballots.15 The supreme court of Wisconsin recently ruled against delaying an election there, even as the virus raged in Milwaukee (a city where 4 in 10 residents are Black)—thousands of people wanting to vote were forced to wait crowded in long lines, since only five of the city’s 180 polling places were open.16

The Criminals

The U.S. Supreme Court. The Trump/Pence fascist regime, and the entire Republican Party. Governors and former governors across the country, like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Greg Abbott of Texas. Republican dominated state legislatures across the country who passed vindictive and punitive measures. The “think tanks” and law firms who devise ways to prevent people from exercising what is supposedly a constitutional right. The legions of white supremacist foot soldiers who mobilize to carry out voter suppression of Black people, and right now are preparing to do it on a massive scale in November.

The Alibi

The fascists behind voter suppression efforts claim they are acting to preserve the integrity of the vote. Trump says that “there’s a lot of fraudulent voting going on in this country.”17 In fact, the number of people arrested and convicted for voting fraudulently is almost non-existent. The Brennan Center for Justice summed up its investigation into allegations of voter fraud: “Extensive research reveals that fraud is very rare. Yet repeated, false allegations of fraud can make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to participate in elections.”18

The Actual Motive

Starting in the 1960s the Republican Party, then led by Richard Nixon, began to implement its “Southern strategy”—openly courting the votes of backward whites, while suppressing the votes of Black people. This was articulated by Lee Atwater, advisor to presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush in a 1981 interview: “You start out in 1954 by saying ‘Nigger, nigger’ nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say nigger—that hurts you—backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff.... Now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites ... ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger. ’”19

The ugly white supremacy that is and has always been deeply woven into the fabric of this system is reaching grotesque expressions under the Trump/Pence regime—suppressing and disenfranchising millions of Black people and openly appealing to white supremacism—as it moves to consolidate fascism.


1. Supreme Court Guts Voting Rights Protection for Millions of Black and Latino People, Revolution, July 7, 2013 [back]

2. How Shelby County v. Holder Broke America, Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic, July 10, 2018 [back]

3. The Effects of Shelby County v. Holder, the Brennan Center for Justice, August 6, 2018 [back]

4. Ibid. [back]

5. New Voting Restrictions in America, the Brennan Center for Justice, updated November 19, 2018 [back]

6. America’s Relentless Suppression of Black Voters, The New Republic, October 24, 2018 [back]

7. Southern U.S. states have closed 1,200 polling places in recent years, Reuters, September 10, 2019 [back]

8. Texas closes hundreds of voting sites, making it harder for minorities to vote, Richard Salame, The Guardian, March 2, 2020 [back]

9. Super Tuesday Plagued By Hours Long Wait In Parts Of Harris County, Houston Public Media, March 3, 2020 [back]

10. One Person, No Vote–How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, Carol Anderson, Bloomsbury, 2018 [back]

11. Felony Disenfranchisement, The Sentencing Project [back]

12. Voting Rights Restoration Efforts in Florida, The Brennan Center for Justice, May 31, 2019 [back]

13. Freed by Court Ruling, Republicans Step Up Effort to Patrol Voting, Michael Wines, New York Times, May 18, 2020 [back]

14. Ibid. [back]

15. The fight over letting Texans under 65 vote by mail, explained, Ian Millhiser, Vox, May 22, 2020 [back]

16. What we know about why Milwaukee had only 5 voting sites for Tuesday's election while Madison had 66, Alison Dirr and Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 9, 2020 [back]

17. Trump: ‘There’s a lot of fraudulent voting going on in this country,’ The Hill (YouTube), April 8, 2020 [back]

18. The Myth of Voter Fraud, the Brennan Center for Justice [back]

19. Lee Atwater‘s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy, Rick Perlstein, The Nation, 11/13/12. [back]

states voting restrictions
The Supreme Court‘s ruling in 2013, that a key section of the Voting Registration Act was unconstitutional, accelerated actions in at least 25 states including strict photo ID requirements, early voting cutbacks, and registration restrictions. Map: Brennan Center for Justice

Wisconsin voters
The supreme court of Wisconsin ruled against delaying an election there, even as the virus raged in Milwaukee – thousands of people wanting to vote were forced to wait in long lines, since only five of the city‘s 180 polling places were open. (Photo: AP)

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

Clip: “The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today”

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format 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/641/bob-avakian-conspiracy-theories-or-a-scientific-approach-short-version-en.html

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

(Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth)

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The coronavirus crisis has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think). While many “liberals” and “progressives” have, for far too long, allowed themselves to become paralyzed by ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, are firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives.

Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while). The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality. (On some levels, the truth of things is obvious—for example, the truth that if it is raining hard and you are exposed to the rain for any length of time, you will get wet. But there are deeper levels to things, and the truth about them is more complex and requires more developed knowledge—for example, what causes rain, why it is raining where you are and not somewhere else, and so on. But in all cases, on all levels, the fact remains: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.) To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

Ardea Skybreak, a professionally trained scientist and an advocate of the new communism as a further advance in the science of revolution, has made the point that science is not just somebody’s opinion but involves and requires investigating reality and systematizing what is learned through this process. She emphasizes that “Science is an evidence-based process” and

Science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence.1

If you don’t judge things by whether there is compelling evidence for them—and if you don’t evaluate what people claim by weighing it against what the evidence shows about the actual reality—you can end up believing almost anything! Or, as Skybreak puts it:

Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.2

Skybreak emphasizes the point that science is not mysterious, but is something that anyone can learn and apply. She also speaks to the fact that there has been bad science (including bad science used for racist purposes) but that you can and should use good science—the actual methods of science—to understand reality and expose and refute bad science. As she puts it, in simple and basic terms: “Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.”3

Opposing the scientific method and approach—and denying the possibility of arriving at important truths by applying this method and approach—can only lead to bad, sometimes extremely bad, results, leaving people weighed down by all kinds of ignorance and prejudice, depriving people of the ability to understand and change the world in a fundamentally positive direction. When, for example, Jonas Salk announced that he had finally developed a vaccine to deal with the terrible disease polio, should the response actually have been to be suspicious of this claim and reject it without even looking into it? Should people actually respond in that way if, or when, a vaccine is developed for COVID-19?! Examples of this kind could be cited almost endlessly.

It is worth repeating the very important point emphasized by Ardea Skybreak:

Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.

And specifically in terms of making a better society—in opposing the fascism of the Trump-Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this system of capitalism-imperialism (which has given rise to this fascism) and bringing into being a far better world—you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

 


1. 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, emphasis in the original. Ardea Skybreak is a professionally trained scientist in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology and an advocate of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. Skybreak is also the author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006. The entire interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is available at revcom.us.

In this interview Skybreak goes in some depth into how Bob Avakian, in summing up the historical experience of the communist movement and drawing from a broad range of human experience, has brought forward a new communism that embodies a further leap in the application of a scientific method and approach to the question of how a better society and world, free of exploitation and oppression, can actually be brought into being. This new communism is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.

In a number of works, and in particular the book THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, and Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to what is new in the new communism and its relation to previous communist theory.  [back]

2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—
A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Read more

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/641/bob-avakian-conspiracy-theories-or-a-scientific-approach-long-version-en.html

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

(Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The coronavirus crisis has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think). Even as people in the medical field are proceeding on the basis of a scientific approach and, in the context of this coronavirus crisis, “liberals” are insisting that it is vitally important now to “listen to the scientists,” for far too long many “liberals” and “progressives” have allowed themselves to become paralyzed by relativist agnosticism, lacking—and often even rejecting the very idea of—certitude (with ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on). Meanwhile, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, and firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives, are eagerly embracing callous philistinism, willfully rejecting critical thinking, smugly ignoring, defying and denigrating science and the scientific method.

Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while). The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality. (On some levels, the truth of things is obvious—for example, the truth that if it is raining hard and you are exposed to the rain for any length of time, you will get wet. But there are deeper levels to things, and the truth about them is more complex and requires more developed knowledge—for example, what causes rain, why it is raining where you are and not somewhere else, and so on. But in all cases, on all levels, the fact remains: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.) To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

Science is not another “dogma”—another untested and unproved “set of beliefs”—it is the opposite of that. Conclusions based on the application of the scientific method are obviously important, but science is not just some “collection of conclusions,” and still less is it a set of “precepts” which are not drawn from reality and are out of keeping with reality, or which once reflected reality but have become frozen and “ossified” and no longer correspond to a changing reality. Science is above all and most essentially a method. In this regard the following, from an interview with Ardea Skybreak, a professionally trained scientist and an advocate of the new communism as a further advance in the science of revolution, is very relevant:

So I think it might be worth starting a little bit by talking about what is science, to demystify it a little bit. I mean, science deals with material reality, and you could say that all of nature and all of human society is the province of science, science can deal with all that. It’s a tool—science—a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is. In that sense, science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence. It is an evidence‑based process. That’s very important. Science is an evidence‑based process.1

If you don’t judge things by whether there is compelling evidence for them—and if you don’t evaluate what people claim by weighing it against what the evidence shows about the actual reality—you can end up believing almost anything! Or, as Skybreak puts it:

Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.2

And:

Whether you’re talking about the material reality of a disease, of a natural ecosystem, or of a social system that human beings live under, science allows you to analyze its components, its history, how it came to be the way it is, what it’s made of, what are its defining characteristics and underlying contradictoriness (and we’ll come back to that) and therefore also what is the basis for it to change, or to be changed, if your intent is to change it. Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.3

Skybreak emphasizes the point that science is not mysterious, but is something that anyone can learn and apply. She also speaks to the contradiction that sometimes people are turned off to science, partly because they have been given the wrong sense of what science is, and

Another reason people are sometimes turned off by science is because there has been bad science....sometimes in the course of history science has been used to promote the idea that some races are inferior to other races....Well, that’s junk science. In fact you can use rigorous scientific methods to prove that that was all bad science. It’s not just “morally” bad—it is that, but it’s also scientifically bad—it’s completely false and you can use good science to prove that.4

As I have put it, in line with the essential point made by Skybreak:

It is the “good science”—the scientific method and approach of proceeding from the evidence about reality to understand how reality actually is, why it is the way it is, and how it is changing and could be changed further—that we need to consistently apply if we want to transform the world to uproot oppression and exploitation.5

Consistently Applying a Scientific Method, Following the Truth Wherever It Leads

Far too often, and with no small amount of irony, educated middle class “liberals,” “progressives” and the “woke” act as if they are asserting some profound truth when they reject the very notion of “truth” and decry and denounce as dogmatic (or even tyrannical) those who say that they have arrived at certain definite truths. But, once again, opposing the scientific method and approach—and denying the possibility of arriving at important truths by applying this method and approach—can only lead to bad, sometimes extremely bad, results, leaving people weighed down by all kinds of ignorance and prejudice, depriving people of the ability to understand and change the world in a fundamentally positive direction. And is this approach—of denying the possibility or desirability of knowing the truth and denouncing those who say they have brought forward definite important truths—is this really valid and viable, something people can or should stick with? When, for example, Jonas Salk announced that he had finally developed a vaccine to deal with the terrible disease polio, should the response actually have been to be suspicious of this claim and reject it without even looking into it, and to criticize (or even ostracize) Salk for having the nerve to claim that he arrived at an important truth (an understanding of the disease polio and how to combat it)? Should people actually respond in that way if, or when, a vaccine is developed for COVID-19?! Examples of this kind could be cited almost endlessly.

As I have emphasized, speaking to what is a fundamental epistemological principle of the new communism:

The truth is an actual correct reflection of reality, including in its motion and development. And, of course, it is true that nobody can ever have all of the truth. That’s part of understanding reality correctly, part of the scientific method. But...it is true that you can come to definite and definitive determinations about the reality of many particular things, even while you always have to be open to learning more, and to the possibility that some of what you thought to be true may not turn out to be true, or new developments occur which mean that the world has changed in such a way that your understanding has to be modified. That’s all part of the scientific method as well. When we talk about the truth, we’re not talking about THE TRUTH as an absolute and final truth, but we are also not talking about a narrative. We’re talking about a scientific approach to understanding reality and then, on that basis, transforming it. And the scientific approach to that process of analyzing and synthesizing reality can come to important definitive conclusions, even as this is an ongoing process which is never complete because you can never grasp all of reality—including because it’s constantly changing and because there will always be aspects of reality that human beings will not even have penetrated at any given time, let alone come to understand.6

There is a definite connection between the relativism and agnosticism of far too many educated middle class “liberals” and their reluctance, if not stubborn refusal, to recognize the fascist danger posed by the Trump-Pence regime for what it is and what is required in the face of this—which is a determined struggle against this fascism, a struggle that does not rely or depend upon the “mainstream” section of the ruling class (as represented by institutions like the Democratic Party) and the system they serve, which has given rise to this fascism (out of whose basic contradictions this fascism has arisen as an attempt at a resolution of these contradictions within the confines of this system and in the most extreme terms).

Even more fundamentally, there is a definite connection between the relativism and agnosticism of such “liberals” and their resistance or stubborn refusal to apply a consistently scientific evidence-based approach, and on this basis to follow the truth wherever it leads, particularly when it comes to historical, social and political questions—because where it leads is to demolishing cherished illusions and prejudices of “liberals” regarding the actual role of this “great American democracy,” throughout its history and throughout the world; the actual nature of the system we live under, capitalism-imperialism; and the actual experience of revolutionary struggle against this system, and more particularly the experience of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being.

It is in deeply engaging these questions, and drawing from many different dimensions of human experience, that I have brought forward a new communism, which is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.

In regard to all this, it is worth repeating the very important point emphasized by Ardea Skybreak:

Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.

And specifically in terms of making a better society—in opposing the fascism of the Trump-Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this capitalist-imperialist system (which has given rise to this fascism) and bringing into being a far better world—you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

 


1. 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, emphasis in the original. Ardea Skybreak is a professionally trained scientist in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology and an advocate of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. Skybreak is also the author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006. The entire interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is available at revcom.us.

In this interview Skybreak goes in some depth into how, in summing up the historical experience of the communist movement and drawing from a broad range of human experience, Bob Avakian has brought forward a new communism that embodies a further leap in the application of a scientific method and approach to the question of how a better society and world, free of exploitation and oppression, can actually be brought into being. As this article points out, the new communism “is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.”

In a number of works, and in particular the book THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation (Insight Press, 2016) and Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is available at revcom.us) Bob Avakian speaks to what is new in the new communism and its relation to previous communist theory.  [back]

2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

4. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

5. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summaryavailable at revcom.us.  [back]

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—
A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

Read more

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/640/bob-avakian-the-deadly-illusion-of-normalcy-en.html

THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF "NORMALCY" AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Even before the coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic, a New York Times columnist wrote about the lure of boredom—arguing that, after the years of Trump madness, having a sleep-inducing president (like Joe Biden) might be just what is needed. The impact of the coronavirus has reinforced and strengthened this tendency toward a “yearning for normalcy,” especially on the part of the section of the ruling class represented by the NYT and that section of society, particularly among the more formally educated middle strata, that for some time has, to a significant degree, identified with what is represented by the NYT.

But, in fundamental terms, this notion of a “return to normalcy” is an illusion that will be exploded by the nature and workings of the system of capitalism-imperialism to which the masses of humanity are subjected.

In the context of this current crisis, the exploitative and oppressive relations built into this system are asserting themselves in a pronounced way, within this country and internationally, just as they have in previous crises. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit, in New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, even as broad sections of people suffered, it was poor Black people who were hit in the most devastating ways, because of the oppression and savage inequalities to which they were already subjected and because of the not-so-benign neglect and often malign actions of those in power. The same has been true with regard to AIDS—it is those who have been discriminated against and denigrated who have suffered the most—and the lop-sided burden of suffering has been especially pronounced on an international scale, with people in sub-Saharan Africa in particular enduring tremendous devastation.

Even as broad swaths of the population will be hit by the coronavirus, this inequality will once again have its effect in this country in relation to the current crisis—as immigrants, prisoners, the homeless, people in poor communities, particularly among the oppressed nationalities, and others who are subordinated, degraded and despised by the “normal workings” of this system and the powers that be, will be subjected to disproportionate suffering.1

And internationally the same dynamics apply in an even greater way. As I have pointed to previously:

we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming.2

It is those, worldwide, who are maintained in these conditions who will be hit hardest in this crisis, as they have been in the past.

All this, combined with the continuing and rapidly deepening climate crisis, rooted in the dynamics of this system and increasingly posing an existential threat to all of humanity, will drive masses, millions and ultimately billions, of people to even further desperation, and no one on the planet will be able to avoid the repercussions and effects of all this.

The Immediate Dangers, the Fundamental Problem and the Revolutionary Solution

Several years ago, I pointed out:

Today, while the U.S. is, and loudly proclaims itself to be, the world’s number one superpower, it is riddled with sharpening contradictions, and facing growing challenges, within the country and internationally, and this has brought forth a fascist regime that now holds the reins of power, with the finger of a demented bully on the nuclear button—a regime that, without exaggeration, threatens not just greatly heightened suffering for the masses of humanity but the very existence of humanity itself.3

And, in a number of other countries, fascism has continued to gain strength, as a response—a fanatical, lunatic, and violent reaction—to changes being driven fundamentally by the necessities and dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system and the fact that this system does not have, and cannot have, any positive resolution to all this. Despite what many (especially many “liberals”) would like to believe, the notion that especially in times of crisis like this “we are all in this together” is in conflict with and is refuted by reality and specifically is not adhered to by the fascist forces. For example, gun sales in this country have skyrocketed even higher amidst this crisis, as “Second Amendment types” stock up even further on lethal weapons to “protect themselves” from “criminals” (and, on the part of many, to prepare themselves for the “civil war” they see coming). To refer again to the insights of African-American theologian Hubert Locke, what is involved with the fascist movement in this country is not just some abstract battle for the “hearts and minds” of people but a deadly serious struggle for power, with the aim—on the part particularly of the Christian fundamentalist driving force of this fascism—of “seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.”4

This is why the commonly propagated notion that what has given rise to the sharp polarization in this country, and the madness associated with Trump, is a “departure from civility,” or more specifically that it flows from a failure on the part of educated middle class “liberals” to communicate with and try to understand the views of people in the “heartland”—all this is not only completely erroneous but actually a dangerous delusion. Writing a little more than 20 years ago, in her book Mobilizing Resentment, based on her extensive investigation into the right-wing movement in this country, Jean Hardisty recounts how, even where her efforts to engage in civil and friendly conversation with people of this kind would initially be returned with a certain superficial kindliness, as the conversation progressed she would repeatedly be subjected to the “brutal intolerance” that would come to the fore on the part of these right-wingers. As she graphically puts it: “when I give rightists the benefit of the doubt, out of respect for their right to their own worldview, they reward me every time with a kick in the teeth.” She sums up that what we are dealing with is

a well-financed, well-coordinated, savvy movement that has developed brilliant techniques of manipulation and has captured and molded a hospitable moment in history. The right’s quest for political power has become a frightening reality.5

And things have only gotten worse, and the danger this poses even greater, in the 20 or so years since Hardisty wrote this.

In very immediate terms, the outlook and methods as well as the priorities of the fascists, as concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime—with the appointment of the anti-scientific Pence to head government efforts around COVID-19; Trump’s initial denial of the scope and danger posed by this virus and his continuing lies about this; his gross American chauvinism, pitting this country against the rest of the world; his repeated tendency to recklessly deny medical science and ignore the recommendations of medical experts where it runs counter to his own narrowly conceived and dangerously shortsighted interests and objectives; and more—all this amplifies and fortifies the barriers that the “normal functioning” of the capitalist-imperialist system places in the way of a systematic and coordinated approach to combating the coronavirus. At the same time, there is the question of whether Trump will actually recognize the results of the election in November if (even in the electoral college count, as well as in the popular vote) he is not the winner—or whether there will even be an election, since it is not unthinkable that Trump would “delay” (or even outright cancel) the election, declaring that in the context of the coronavirus crisis it is too dangerous to have an election!

All this must be resisted and overcome to the greatest extent possible, while at the same time recognizing that it will require a radical transformation of society, and ultimately the world as a whole, to remove the powerful restraints that this system places on human beings and their ability to act in common to confront and transform the necessity they face, in an ongoing way and acutely so in times of crisis.

Whatever happens in regard to the elections that are scheduled to be held this November, and however the coronavirus crisis is resolved—or if it is not really resolved but becomes part of “cascading crises,” with one crisis leading to another... and another—there will be no returning to some idealized notion of “normalcy.” And, while there is certainly a legitimate and positive desire on the part of people everywhere to get beyond the scourge of this virus, taking into account what is the actual situation for the masses of humanity under the “normal” domination of this system, no one should desire a return to the “normalcy” dictated by the capitalist-imperialist system.

Underlying the immediate crisis, and the danger posed by the Trump/Pence regime and its fanatical fascist “base,” there is the more fundamental reality of the capitalist-imperialist system and the consequences of allowing this system to continue to dominate the world and determine the conditions of the masses of humanity and indeed the very fate of humanity itself. This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity. Even as the capitalists and governments representing their interests have been forced to take certain emergency steps that in some ways run counter to the inherent dynamics of their system (such as massive intervention by the government in the functioning of the economy), the ways in which this system constitutes an obstacle to dealing with this crisis continue to assert themselves—including not only such perverse actions as the hoarding by some of vital medical and other supplies, in order to drive up the price, but also the fact that the creation of wealth under this system proceeds on the basis of ruthless exploitation and the impoverishment of masses of people throughout the world, while even in the “wealthier” countries there is significant poverty and large parts of the population live paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one serious crisis away from disaster; the ongoing rivalry between different capitalists (or associations of capital), with their private ownership of the means of production (land, raw materials, technology, factories and other structures) and private, competitive accumulation of wealth acts as a hindrance to necessary cooperation and the production of things that may be urgently needed but are not productive of private profit—and the whole ideology of advancing one’s interests at the expense of others, the individualism that is fostered by this system and is promoted to an extreme currently in this country, runs counter to and undermines inclinations toward cooperation and, yes, sacrifice for the greater good. Despite the dedicated efforts of many well-meaning people, even if the immediate crisis with the coronavirus is resolved, this will be done on the basis of intensifying the contradictions built into this system and the suffering of the masses of humanity who are already exploited and oppressed under this system.

All of this stands in sharp contrast with what is needed to deal in a truly meaningful way with crises like that occasioned by the coronavirus, and to meet the fundamental needs of humanity on an ongoing basis. It stands in sharp contrast to the socialist system envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, where there is social, not private, ownership of the means of production, social wealth is produced through cooperation not exploitation and is increasingly distributed in accordance with the needs of the people, not those of competing capitalists, and there is a government that represents and is geared to meeting the fundamental interests of humanity, and promotes that outlook among the people and involves them in the process of governance toward that end—not a government that is an extension of and can only represent the demands and dynamics of capital, with all the anarchy and ruthless exploitation that involves, within particular countries and on an international scale.6

Beyond the borders of any particular country, there is the great importance and potentially very positive role and impact of internationalism, which can only be really and fully realized with the overcoming of the barriers erected to international unity and cooperation by the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system—which is international in its scope of operations (that is, its exploitation) but consists of competing capitalists and rival capitalist states.7

Overcoming all this can be—and can only be—accomplished through the communist revolution and the increasing establishment of socialist countries in the world, proceeding on an internationalist basis and carrying out the economic, social and political transformations, as well as transformations in the ways of thinking and culture of the people, that will enable humanity to leap beyond the constraints and the terrible consequences which are imposed by the “normal” functioning of the capitalist-imperialist system and are greatly intensified in situations of crisis. This unprecedented revolution will make it possible for people to engage reality, and to confront crises, in a truly cooperative way as members of a world community of freely associating human beings, not separated and pitted against each other by divisions of country, class, nationality (or “race”), gender and other oppressive relations.

 


1. Materials posted at revcom.us, including communiqués from the revolutionary communists (revcoms) and the interview with Lenny Wolff on the Michael Slate radio show, speak to how this dynamic is already being expressed in this current crisis.  [back]

2. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make RevolutionThe text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

4. Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right, by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us.  [back]

5. Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment, Conservative Resurgence From The John Birch Society To The Promise Keepers, Beacon Press Books, 1999, pp. 5, 6, 8.  [back]

6. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is available at revcom.us.  [back]

7. In the section “Globalization, the Nationality of Capital, and the Imperialist Nation‑State,” in Notes on Political Economy: Our Analysis of the 1980s, Issues of Methodology, and The Current World Situationpublished by the Revolutionary Communist Party (available online at revcom.us), there is an analysis of this major contradiction in the world today:

In the imperialist era, the circuits of capital become internationalized—and accumulation grows ever more global in reach and process. But imperialist capital remains anchored to national markets and national state formations....

In short, the anarchy bound up with global processes of capitalist development creates new problems of "control." The contradiction between internationalized accumulation and the national character of capital, far from being transcended, is intensified.

As “Notes” further states:

At the same time, capital requires an apparatus (the imperialist state) and the military wherewithal (which means a military industry) to secure the international environment within which it can globally thrive.  [back]

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

See also:

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

by Dr. Hubert Locke

Reposted October 7, 2019. Originally posted January 29, 2006

Read more

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/640/bob-avakian-sean-penn-covid-19-and-mass-murderers-en.html

SEAN PENN, COVID-19 AND MASS MURDERERS

Penn's Myopia Is Malignant

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

In a recent appearance on CNN, in discussing the possible role of the U.S. military in the current crisis related to the coronavirus COVID-19, the prominent actor Sean Penn actually said the following: “There is no greater humanitarian force on the planet than the United States military.”

In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010, Penn devoted himself for an extended period to relief efforts in that country. That, taken by itself, would be admirable. But, proceeding from his cooperation with the U.S. military in relation to those relief efforts, Penn has completely misrepresented and covered over the overall and essential nature and actions of the U.S. military, and he has gone so far as to glorify this military which, by its very nature and in accordance with the system it serves and seeks to enforce, has been and continues to be guilty of the most horrendous war crimes and crimes against humanity.

To begin with, the following gives a graphic sense of the larger role of the U.S., and in particular its military, in its overall relations with Haiti over the past 100 years and more.

At the time of the 2010 earthquake, speaking of the U.S. role in Haiti, Bill Quigley, legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said: “We have kept the country dependent. We have kept the country militarized. And we kept the country impoverished. We have dumped our excess rice, our excess farm produce and that stuff on the country, thereby undercutting the small farmers who would make up the backbone of the place... We didn’t create the earthquake, but we created some of the circumstances that made the earthquake so devastating....” (Democracy Now!, January 14, 2010)1

**********

In the 20th century, the U.S. asserted itself as the dominant power in its “backyard.” In 1915 it invaded and occupied Haiti. U.S. Marines went straight to the Haitian national bank and removed its gold reserves to Citibank in New York City. The Haitian constitution was rewritten to allow foreign ownership of Haitian property; land was seized from small peasants to create large plantations; the economy was reorganized so that 40% of Haiti’s gross domestic product flowed to U.S. banks.

The Haitian people fiercely resisted the occupation in a series of revolts which the U.S. military ruthlessly crushed, murdering leaders, burning villages to the ground and killing 15‑30,000 Haitians. The occupiers did not leave until 1934, leaving behind the brutal, U.S.‑trained, Haitian National Army to repress the people.

In 1957, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier came to power and set up his own army of thugs—the Tontons Macoutes. The Duvalierist reign of terror—supported and backed by the U.S.—killed roughly 50,000 people.

When Papa Doc died in 1971, U.S. warships were stationed just off the coast of Haiti to oversee a smooth transition of power to Duvalier’s son, Jean‑Claude (“Baby Doc”). Baby Doc was closely associated with the “American Plan,” which explicitly aimed to cut the ground out from under peasant agriculture by large‑scale imports of cheaper U.S. goods, driving hundreds of thousands of peasants into the cities and shantytowns, desperate for work in U.S.‑owned assembly plants being set up by the likes of Disney and Kmart, which paid workers 11 cents an hour to make pajamas and t‑shirts.

In 1985‑86 a powerful uprising swept Haiti, forcing the U.S. to rescue Baby Doc and fly him to the French Riviera, in order to preserve their basic control of the country through the Haitian Army. A series of military governments followed, known to Haitians as “Duvalierism without Duvalier.”2

**********

Racist attitudes toward the Haitian people by U.S. occupation forces were blatant and widespread. Robert Lansing, then U.S. secretary of state, justified the occupation by claiming Haitians had “an inherent tendency toward savagery and a physical inability to live a civilized life,” so were incapable of self‑government. Medill McCormick, a senator from Illinois, wrote in 1920 that the American occupation was necessary “to develop the country, the Government, and above all, the civilization of the people, of whom the overwhelming majority have African blood in their veins.” There were many reports of U.S. Marines sexually assaulting Haitian women. The occupation included segregation and enforced chain gangs to build roads and other construction projects....

Haitian people fiercely resisted the occupation in a series of revolts, which the U.S. military ruthlessly crushed—murdering leaders, burning villages to the ground, and killing thousands of people. Haitian‑American author Edwidge Danticat wrote: “My grandfather was one of the Cacos, or so‑called bandits, whom retired American Marines have always written about in their memoirs. They would be called insurgents now, the thousands who fought against the occupation. One of the stories my grandfather’s oldest son, my uncle Joseph, used to tell was of watching a group of young Marines kicking around a man’s decapitated head in an effort to frighten the rebels in their area.” Danticat also talks about how the Marines murdered one of the occupation’s most famous resistance fighters, Charlemagne Péralte, then pinned his body to a door where it was left to rot in the sun for days.

During the 19 years of the U.S. occupation, at least 15,000 Haitians were killed. In 1918 there was an uprising of some 40,000 people. After the Haitian Gendarmerie was overwhelmed, U.S. Marines helped put down the rebellion, killing 2,000 people. During a December 1929 demonstration in the city of Les Cayes, part of a nationwide strike and ongoing rebellion, U.S. Marines fired on 1,500 people, wounding 23 and killing 12.3

**********

In other words, during the last 16 years that Haiti has been occupied by various combinations of UN and U.S. troops—and not just since the earthquake—most people's lives have gotten much worse.4

What the U.S. has actually done, over the course of more than a century, in Haiti is consistent with and part of a larger pattern that involves repeated atrocity, slaughter and destruction on a mass scale carried out by the U.S. military, as well as the CIA and other “intelligent services” working with—and forcefully backed up by—the U.S. military throughout its history and right up to today.

Without going back through all the atrocities committed by the U.S. military from the beginning of this country, including its genocidal wars against the native peoples and its vicious enforcement of slavery and suppression of uprisings against slavery, the following, drawn from the experience of just the last 75 years, gives a fuller picture of the truly grotesque nature and role of this military:

Dropping atomic bombs on two Japanese cities at the end of World War 2 in 1945, immediately killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and subjecting many others to excruciating suffering and eventual death.

Carrying out numerous invasions and coups, in countries all over the world, through which masses of people were slaughtered and the countries subjected to decades of tyrannical rule (for example: coups in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia, in 1965, and the invasion of the Dominican Republic, next door neighbor to Haiti, killing thousands, in 1965, at the same time as the U.S. was escalating its war in Vietnam).

Killing several million people during the Korean war of 1950-53 and, among other things, virtually flattening the entire country of North Korea.

Slaughtering several million more and poisoning large parts of the countryside during the Vietnam war, from 1964-73, including the use of such grotesque chemical weapons as napalm (flesh-burning jellied gasoline), white phosphorous and Agent Orange.5

And so it has gone over the time since the Vietnam war, with continuing bloody coups and invasions. In more recent times, for example:

Over the course of 18 years, three [U.S.] administrations have deployed nearly 800,000 troops to Afghanistan, and 50 NATO countries and their partners have sent tens of thousands more.

The violence unleashed by the U.S. has been staggering. Between 2004 and 2018, it dropped over 38,000 bombs on Afghanistan. As of March 2020, it had carried out over 12,000 drone strikes.

U.S. forces and their Afghan clients terrorized people with dead‑of‑night house searches. They created a network of prison and detention centers where at least 15,000 Afghans have been detained on little or no evidence, brutally beaten, tortured, and sometimes killed. This week the International Criminal Court stated it had proof that U.S. forces had “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape, and sexual violence”—war crimes—in Afghanistan.

By August 2016, some 111,000 people had been killed and over 116,000 injured in the war. And one study found that the “war on terror” had directly or indirectly led to around 220,000 deaths in Afghanistan by 2013. On top of this carnage, nearly five million Afghan people have been forced from their homes by the war.6

This, along with what the U.S. and its military has done through waging war in Iraq, including the 2003 invasion of that country and its aftermath, which constituted an international war crime and (as I have pointed out previously) “unleashed a maelstrom of death and destruction in that part of the world.”7

And then there is the role of the U.S. military within this country in more recent times—backing up the police in suppressing urban rebellions during the 1960s and again in 1992 and killing hundreds of people in the process, many of them unarmed (rebellions which in large part erupted in response to violence—brutality and murder—by police).

Is all this what Sean Penn has in mind—or has he “conveniently” remained ignorant of, or chosen to ignore, all this—when he praises the U.S. military as the greatest humanitarian force in the world?!

That the U.S. military, as part of U.S. efforts to maintain control and “order” in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, might have taken actions that facilitated relief efforts in some aspects is not difficult to believe. Heads of criminal enterprises, such as Mafia Godfathers, drug lords and cartel bosses, often engage in charitable acts in the effort to burnish their reputation and win good will, or at least acquiescence, from those they prey upon, even as violent terror is their main way of imposing their influence or dominance. And the partial review presented here of the role of U.S. imperialism and its military, not only in Haiti but throughout the world and throughout its history, amply illustrate the truth of the statement that “These imperialists make the Godfather look like Mary Poppins.”8

Whatever their actions might be in any particular situation, the overall and essential nature and role of the institutions of massive violence of this capitalist-imperialist system (the military, and the police as well) must not be covered over and distorted, and still less should these institutions be extolled and glorified. And especially for those, like Sean Penn, who have a platform to speak to masses of people, there remains the responsibility to go beyond one’s own partial and limited experience and corresponding narrow perspective, to seek an understanding of the overall and essential reality and to speak truthfully and responsibly—and not, as Sean Penn is doing, acting in effect as not only an apologist but an intellectual accomplice of the continuing crimes of this system and its armed enforcers.

 


1. “Hurricane Matthew:  A Horror in Haiti, A Cold‑Blooded Response By the Rulers of the U.S.,” Revolution #460, October 10, 2016, available online at revcom.us.  [back]

2. “The U.S. in Haiti: A Century of Domination and Misery,” Revolution #525, January 8, 2017, available online at revcom.us.  [back]

3. “American Crime Case #80: 1915-1931: The U.S. Invasion, Occupation and Domination of Haiti,” Revolution #456, September 12, 2016, available online at revcom.us.  [back]

4. “Cholera in Haiti: a foreseeable result of a criminal system” (From A World To Win News Service), in Revolution #223, January 23, 2011, available online at revcom.us.  [back]

5. For a fuller picture of the horrors visited upon Vietnam and its people by the U.S. during that war, see Bob Avakian, On Bargains With The Devil—Trump Fascism, “Obamanation,” And The System They Serve, available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. “America Leaves Afghanistan After Killing Over 100,000 People in Its ‘Good War,’” posted at revcom.us, March 9, 2020.  [back]

7. Bob Avakian, David Brooks—The Not So Great Pretender—And The Profound Differences Between Trump, Sanders And Actual Socialism, available at revcom.us.  [back]

8. BAsics 1:7 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).  [back]

BOB AVAKIAN: A RADICALLY DIFFERENT LEADER—
A WHOLE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN EMANCIPATION

Bob Avakian (BA) is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.

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/639/skybreak-a-scientific-approach-to-society-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

A Scientific Approach to Society, and Changing the World

 

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.

This excerpt from the interview discusses what a scientific method and approach to society and changing the world is, and what it means to have a scientific outlook. This discussion draws from key elements of the new synthesis brought forward by Bob Avakian. (The topic of “What is New in the New Synthesis?” is discussed in another excerpt from this interview with Ardea Skybreak, posted November 16, 2015.)

A Scientific Approach to Society, and Changing the World

Question:       I thought we would start by briefly asking some questions about science and the scientific method. So I actually wanted to start with kind of a provocative question: What does science have to do with understanding and changing the world? And, just quickly for some background on that, I think most people, including most natural scientists, don’t think that you can, that you need to, or that you should take a scientific approach to analyzing society, or analyzing the “social world,” much less changing it. So I wanted to ask you: Why is that notion wrong, what does science and the scientific method have to do with understanding and changing society and the world?

Ardea Skybreak:     Well, I think that’s a very important question because, as you say, even many people who are scientists in the natural sciences and who apply very rigorous scientific methods when trying to deal with the natural world (biology, astronomy, physics, and so on), when you talk to them about society–the problems of society, the way societies are organized–all of a sudden it seems like their grasp of scientific method goes completely out the window! Many natural scientists actually start to revert then to a kind of crass populism, to just kind of talking vaguely about the “will of the people,” or about elections, or some other things that really have little or nothing to do with analyzing in a scientific way the main features of a given society–how it’s set up, how it functions–or with analyzing in a scientific way what’s wrong in a society, or how societal problems could be solved in a scientific way. Not everyone is like that, but it’s striking–the degree to which many advanced thinkers in the natural sciences seem to forget or drop everything they know about scientific methods whenever they try to think about the problems of society!

I think it’s very, very important to understand that science as a method has not been around in the history of humanity for all that long. So people generally are simply not accustomed to trying to understand and transform reality in a scientific way. For most of the history of human beings on this planet, the understanding of both the natural and social world was derived more from a sort of basic trial-and-error approach, trying to figure things out catch-as-catch-can, and trying to solve problems that way–often making up all sorts of mystical and supernatural explanations to fill in the gaps in people’s understanding. So, you know, people used to think lightning was the anger of the gods, or something like that, because for a long time they didn’t have a scientific understanding of what actually caused lightning.

So I think it might be worth starting a little bit by talking about what is science, to demystify it a little bit. I mean, science deals with material reality, and you could say that all of nature and all of human society is the province of science, science can deal with all that. It’s a tool–science–a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is. In that sense, science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence. It is an evidence-based process. That’s very important. Science is an evidence-based process. So whether you’re just trying to understand something in the world, or trying to figure out how to change reality–for instance, you might be trying to cure a disease, or you might be trying to understand the dynamics of a rain forest or a coral reef ecosystem, or you might be trying to make a revolution to emancipate humanity, you know, the full range of material experience–science allows you to figure out what’s really going on and how it can change.

I read somewhere that Neil deGrasse Tyson, in popularizing the importance of science, said something like‑I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something like: Science allows you to confront and identify problems, to recognize problems and figure out how to solve them, rather than run away from them. And I think that’s an important point, too. Science is what allows you to actually deal with material reality the way it really is. Whether you’re talking about the material reality of a disease, of a natural ecosystem, or of a social system that human beings live under, science allows you to analyze its components, its history, how it came to be the way it is, what it’s made of, what are its defining characteristics and underlying contradictoriness (and we’ll come back to that) and therefore also what is the basis for it to change, or to be changed, if your intent is to change it. Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence-based process.

One thing about science is that it asks a lot of questions about how things came to be the way they are, and about how things have changed over time. I’ve always been very interested in what’s called the historical sciences–for instance, biological evolution, but there are also other historical sciences, including the science of human society–which deal with how things change over time. And then, of course, if you’re studying how things change over time, you can study how things can change some more, including in directions that human beings might be inclined to have it go. All of reality has evolved, has changed over time, and it’s still changing all of the time, whether you’re talking about the natural world or the social world. If you want to change life, if you want to change the way a society is organized, if you want to change the world, if you want to change anything in nature or society, you need a scientific method, because that’s the only way to deeply and systematically uncover how reality really is, on the basis of systematic observations and interactions, manipulations, and transformations of reality. That’s how you learn how things really are, how they got to be that way, and how they can be changed. Again, it’s an evidence-based process, it’s not just “what you think” or “what I think.” We need evidence, accumulated over time. This is what reveals what reality is made up of, how it came to be a certain way, how it may be changing right now, or how it may be possible for human beings to further change it.

Here’s an important point: Without science, you can only say what you as an individual think reality is, or maybe you can say what a whole bunch of people think reality is, or maybe you can say what a government, or religious authority, or some other authority might tell you reality is like, but that doesn’t make any of it true. Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false. If you really want to know what’s what, what’s true, and what to do, you need science–not fantasies or wishful thinking, but concrete evidence and a systematic process, a systematic method of analysis and synthesis. The analysis breaks down experience and knowledge over time; synthesis brings it back together in a higher way, in a more systematic way, getting the bigger lessons, the core lessons out of the accumulated experience.

So this is one of the reasons why you need scientific revolutionary theory if you really want to change a society at its roots. You know, we talk about radical change in society. Well, the word “radical” comes from the Latin meaning “root”; it means get to the root of the problem. Don’t just stay on the surface of what the problem appears to be, on a superficial level or at just one moment in time. Get underneath it, get deeper, the way a good scientist does, to understand what are the deeper rules of the system, what are the deeper ways the contradictions inside a system make it work certain ways that cause problems, or that can bring forth possibilities.

Question:       Well, if I could interject just for a second, this strikes me as really important and critical in terms of what is science and what’s involved in a scientific approach to reality; what you’re saying about the importance of science being evidence-based and the different points you were making about that, I think are very important there. One  thing I wanted to interject is to kind of zero in on this question: I think a lot of people would recognize, including a lot of natural scientists–and obviously you, yourself, were trained as a natural scientist, and so maybe you would have some particular insights on this–but a lot of even natural scientists would probably look at what you were saying and respond, OK, I see how that process can be applied to the natural world, to the natural sciences–patterns, looking for evidence, synthesis–but then they would kind of recoil at the idea that you could actually apply that to human beings and human society. Or maybe another way to go at it is that some people would say, Well, OK, but human beings and human societies, that’s just too complicated to be scientific about or to apply science. So maybe we could zero in a little bit on what does it mean specifically to take a scientific approach to human beings and human society and their development, and why is that correct?

AS:     Well, look, for one thing, in any system, whether it’s in the natural world or human society, there’s both complexity and simplicity. The idea that human beings or human societies are just too complex to analyze with science is ridiculous. It’s the exact opposite. How could you possibly deal with the complexity of human social organizations and interactions over various historical periods and up to today, and all the contradictions within that, all the complicated patterns and things, and the different forces, and so on, and different objectives of different peoples and different periods of history–how could you deal with all that without science? How could you even begin to make sense of it and understand it? And it’s not true that natural systems are somehow simpler, you know. If you want to understand the dynamics of complex ecosystems–like, for instance, a rain forest, which has many different layers of trees and shrubs in the undergrowth and so on, and which is characterized by very complex dynamics in terms of the many different kinds and levels of interactions among and between the incredibly diverse plant and animal species–I mean, you could spend a lifetime, and many people do, just trying to get a beginning understanding of a lot of these complex dynamics. Or, if you wanted to better understand coral reef ecosystems, or desert ecosystems, or the differences between different ecosystems and which ones might be more vulnerable to being disrupted and which ones might be relatively more stable, or assess relative species diversity or how to preserve diversity...so many questions worth exploring further... Look, I’m not trying to get into all that right now because I know you want to talk mainly about human social systems, but what I am saying is that in both the natural and social world, material reality is very complex, and that while we as human beings always have some shortcomings in our understanding (things that at any given time we don’t quite get yet) we also have tremendous abilities and a lot of accumulated knowledge. Our brains are capable of actually investigating and exploring all sorts of questions, from many different angles, and we’re actually capable of summing things up over a period of time, accumulating historical experience and knowledge that way. This is one of the things that’s very particular to human beings: our great ability to accumulate understanding over generations, over centuries, over millennia, and to understand some of the patterns of organization of societies or of natural systems or whatever we turn our minds to.

And we humans are also capable of doing some very important projections into the future, not just the future tomorrow, or of a month from now, but also trying to understand what could be happening to this planet, for instance–the entire planet–from an environmental standpoint, looking ahead generations, not just tomorrow. Similarly with social systems, we actually have the ability to analyze different patterns of social organization throughout past human history and up through today, and we can also project ahead to the way things could be in the future. We can therefore also make some conscious decisions about what we want to work on now–in which direction do we want to try to push things, because we do have conscious initiative to do that. So, for instance, when you talk about a human society, about human social organization, you can see that a society is basically a way that human beings come together–work together, or oppose each other or whatever–but come together to essentially work on meeting the requirements of life of people in a given time. It might be done well, or it might be done poorly, but this is what a human society is, it’s a form of organization. Right? And, you know, we’ve all lived in this capitalist-imperialist world for so long, those of us who are alive today, that sometimes it’s hard to remember or to think about the fact that human societies haven’t always been organized this way, and they don’t have to be organized this way. Capitalism-imperialism is not the only way to organize a human society, and I would argue strenuously that it’s certainly not the best way. But in any case it’s not the only way, and that is worth understanding and thinking about. The fact is we can apply science to try to understand some of those earlier social systems. For instance, many societies in the history of human beings were organized on the basis of slavery, the exploitation of slaves, the domination of slaves who were literally the property of the slavemasters, and the slavemasters made them build the economy that way. And I won’t get into all the details of it, but that’s a very different kind of society than the ones that mainly prevail today, on a large scale at least. There’s still slavery in the world, by the way, including sexual slavery, which is a very big problem. But the fundamental and dominant forms of organization of societies in the world today are mainly not organized on the basis of slavery. But for a long time in the history of human beings, that was a dominant form of social organization.

Another significant form of social organization was the system of feudalism, and there are certainly still remnants of feudalism in many parts of the world today, we see it everywhere. But in feudal systems you had lords and masters, you had nobilities, you had aristocracies, and you had oppressed and dominated people like serfs and peasants, who would typically be growing the crops and having to turn much of it over to the lords of a region or whatever, and they had to pay terrible taxes and tributes to the lords, and they were just barely one notch above being outright slaves. It was even very common for a serf to have to turn over his daughter to the local lord of the region, to basically have sex with and do with whatever he will and there was nothing serfs could do about any of that under the existing rules of the feudal system. Feudalism in turn is a very different system than what’s called bourgeois democracy, the kind of more typical capitalist-imperialist system of social organization that dominates the world today. I’m not going to try to get into any of this in detail right now, but I will say that it is worth thinking about the fact that scientific methods can be–and have been–applied to analyzing the patterns of social organization of all those different past social systems; and if we can do it for the past, we can also do it for the future.

Some people will say, well, OK, systems such as slavery, the feudal system, and maybe even the capitalist system, are not good ways to organize society, but what we should really do is just go back to an early communal system. Such people argue that we just need to organize on a small scale in our local areas, so that people can work together in small groups, and make all the decisions together, and can create “genuine democracy” and make collective decisions about how to meet the needs of the people, and promote local agriculture, local production, and so on. The problem with such views is that they are simply not rooted in the actual reality of the world today! Look, I would agree that there’s a lot we could still learn from hunter-gatherer societies that prevailed for most of the history of humanity, that there’s a lot we could still learn from some remnants of those societies in the world today, and that there’s a lot we can learn from people today who have all sorts of ideas about how better to organize things, in a more rational way, on a relatively small and local scale, in terms of such things as agricultural production, waste reduction, promoting use of local products, and so on. So yes, there are things that we can learn from some of the social experiments that people are doing, trying to figure out how to get away from some of the problems of modern society that cause natural and social dislocations, pollution, the destruction of soils, and so on and so forth. But let’s get real, OK? We need to talk about the scope and scale of the human species spread out throughout this entire planet. Billions and billions of people. You’re not gonna resolve the problems of society by going backwards to some kind of idealized, romanticized primitive communalism! So if that’s not going to cut it, if that’s not going to be able to meet the key and critical problems of  today, and certainly not with sufficient scope and scale, then what? Look, a slave-based system, a feudal system, a capitalist-imperialist system, these are all just material ways of organizing human societies and they can all be analyzed by science and critically evaluated. But you can also apply the same scientific methods to figuring out how to build completely new and different societies that would not only be better, but also be able to encompass the whole planet. Because I’m really not interested in talking about philosophies and methods that cannot, ultimately, encompass and benefit all of humanity.

One of the things you get from Bob Avakian [BA] which I really appreciate is that he’s promoted this concept that we need “emancipators of humanity” and that we need to move in the direction of making this world, this entire planet, a good place to live in and function for all of humanity, where we can get away from the idea that some groups of people, and some categories of people, or some whole countries, are lording it over others, and exploiting and dominating and oppressing others. That’s the whole idea of this revolutionary communism, and one of the things you really get from BA is the need to always think and proceed back from the need to emancipate all of humanity. Otherwise, you can easily fall into things that go off track. BA has talked about how the goal is not for the last to be first and the first to be last, it can’t be about revenge, about the oppressed taking revenge on people. I agree that’s not the kind of world we should be striving for. And my point here is that without science you’re going to be lost, because without a scientific method to analyze the patterns, to really understand why things are the way they are and how they could be different, and on what basis could they be different, you’re going to go off track all the time.

You know, one of the hallmarks of good science–because there is bad science, too–but one of the hallmarks of good science is really having a critical spirit and promoting critical thinking–which, by the way, is another hallmark of BA’s work. He’s really stressing the need for everyone to get into this–it doesn’t matter what your level of education is...I would like to talk about this. Science is not something that should only be done by an elite, or by people who have gone to graduate school or gotten Ph.D. degrees or something like that. I firmly believe–and I can provide evidence of this–that people who are not even trained in basic literacy can actually function as scientists. You know, you can train people in scientific methods, in even just a weekend you can start to do that. If you want to get people doing science in the natural world, you can spend a weekend doing some good science in a rain forest or in a desert, and I guarantee you it will be real scientific work, real scientific investigation. And I don’t care if you don’t even have a sixth-grade education. If you are a healthy human being, you can take up and apply scientific methods, whether to the problems of nature or of human society. And one of the things I’m very concerned about is that we promote scientific understanding and scientific methods very, very broadly, so that everyone can learn to use these methods, and it’s not just the province of a few or a province of the elites.

 

A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What is New in the New Synthesis? An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA; Understanding the World, And Changing It For the Better, In the Interests of Humanity Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

ORDER HERE

ABOUT THE BOOK, WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING AND MORE HERE

Updated pre-publication PDF of this major work available HERE

Get Into BA 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/634/bob-avakian-on-the-law-justice-and-ending-oppression-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN ON THE LAW, JUSTICE, AND ENDING OPPRESSION AND EXPLOITATION

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian grew up in Berkeley, California in the 1950s at a time when segregation was being challenged in the courts and in the streets, and the issues of inequality and racial discrimination were being debated throughout society.  His father was a lawyer and later a Superior Court judge, and Bob Avakian was raised in a family where discussions of legal cases, constitutional rights, and the judicial process were a staple of dinner time conversation. Not only did this upbringing shape his early political awareness and passion for social justice, but this informal legal training gave him a keen appreciation for legal principles. This developed into a lifelong interest in the law and in jurisprudence (the science and philosophy of law).

Bob Avakian came alive as a revolutionary in the 1960s—taking part in the great movements of those days. As he came to the recognition that oppression and exploitation were woven into the fabric of the current capitalist-imperialist system and could only be abolished through communist revolution, he also came to see that social justice could never be achieved within the confines of the existing legal system that serves capitalism-imperialism. At the same time, he has maintained his passion for fighting against social injustice, and for the rights of the people targeted by the state and its repressive apparatus, within the confines of the current capitalist system, while linking this to the more fundamental struggle to abolish this system and bring into being a system whose aim is to eliminate and uproot social injustice and all oppression and exploitation.

Bob Avakian has spent decades summing up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far and drawing on a broad range of human experience to develop a new synthesis of communism—popularly known as the “new communism”—a consistently scientific method and a vision and strategy for a new and much better society and world.  In his talks and writings on this subject of law and rights, Bob Avakian brings a sweeping sense of history and the development of human society to his analysis of the economic, philosophical, and political underpinnings of the legal system in today’s capitalist society and the role that this legal system plays in reinforcing oppressive and exploitative relations.

In comparing and contrasting the concepts of Constitution, law, and rights under both capitalism and socialism, Bob Avakian highlights the profound differences in social content and role. His vision of the legal system and fundamental rights under socialism draws from, but also represents in significant dimensions a radical rupture with, the past historical experience of socialist states in the legal sphere and reflects his re-envisioning of the character of the future socialist society as one qualitatively more lively and vibrant than ever before. A living sense of this is contained in Constitution, Law, and Rights—in capitalist society and the future socialist society, a selection from the writings of Bob Avakian, and it is spelled out fully in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian. In this regard, the following sections of this Constitution are of particular interest: “Justice and the Rights of the People” (Article I, Section 2, D); Article III, “Rights of the People and the Struggle to Uproot All Exploitation and Oppression,” in particular Section 2, “Legal and Civil Rights and Liberties”; as well as Article I, Section 3, “The Judiciary and Legal Adjudication.”

Bob Avakian is also the author of the following provocative statements with regard to the law.

The denial of bail, including for the most serious accusations (or charges), is in contradistinction to—is fundamentally in conflict with and hostile to—the presumption of innocence.

There is—or there should be—no such thing as “victims’ rights,” particularly as applied to criminal proceedings.

The criminal legal process is not—or should not be—a contest between individuals but a confrontation between the state and people whom the state seeks to deprive of freedom on the basis that they have violated societal norms that are embodied in criminal statutes. The whole point of a legal system is, or should be, to remove disputes or perceived wrongs from the sphere of individual grievance—and the corresponding attempts to settle such grievance through individual acts of revenge or reciprocal wrongdoing—by providing a framework in which society, through established institutions and statutes, which are to be applied and work equally in regard to all, can adjudicate such disputes or claims of wrongdoing. The concept of “victims’ rights,” particularly as applied to criminal proceedings, is not merely in opposition to what should be the purpose and effect of the law—and is not merely a sham—but is an undeserved tool strengthening the prosecution, an illegitimate weapon in the hands of the state, adding unjustly to the already existing imbalance of power it possesses, as the state, in its confrontation with those individuals it seeks, rightly or wrong, to deprive of freedom. The essence of legal rights, particularly with regard to criminal proceedings, is—or should be—the provision for a fair process for people who are accused by and are forced to confront the state in situations where the state is seeking to deprive them of their freedom.

The practice with regard to trying juveniles as adults is completely upside down and contrary to elementary logic. This is also the case with the way the statute of limitations is applied.  

The whole point with regard to juveniles and the law, and specifically what is—or should be—the treatment of juveniles in regard to alleged violation of that law that is different from how this is approached with regard to adults, is that juveniles do not have the same developed capacity as adults to make judgments, including those regarding the effect and consequences of acts which may be against the law.  This basic principle should be applied apart from the question of how serious the alleged crime is, which should in no way negatively influence the basic logic and justness of trying juveniles differently than adults and punishing them differently if convicted. Or, in fact, if the seriousness of the crime should be considered at all, it should be according to the principle that the more serious the crime, and correspondingly the greater the consequences of conviction, as an adult, the greater the argument against trying juveniles as adults.

The point of the statute of limitations is not to set a time limit after which people can “get away with having committed a crime.” Rather, it is that, after a certain period of time, it becomes increasingly difficult, if not practically impossible, to have a fair trial, since evidence (including but not limited to the memory of possible witnesses), becomes irreparably tainted and/or much more difficult, if not impossible, to refute.   And, since the more serious the crime, the greater the punishment, greater concern and care should be taken not to have a trial in which the accused could face conviction, and a greater punishment, on the basis of a process (a trial) vitiated by the passage of time. Hence, all crimes should have a statute of limitations—and the more serious the crime, the shorter, not the longer, should be the statute of limitations.

Both of these upside-down and backward practices—with regard to trying juveniles as adults and making the statute of limitations longer (or eliminating it entirely) for more serious crimes—are once again undeserved tools strengthening the prosecution, illegitimate weapons in the hands of the state, adding unjustly to the already existing imbalance of power it possesses, as the state, in its confrontation with those individuals it seeks, rightly or wrongly, to deprive of freedom.

Even with the profound differences between socialism and capitalism—with regard not only to the law but the fundamental relations, aims, institutions, and functioning of society—these basic principles of jurisprudence apply (or should be applied) not only under the current system of capitalist rule but in socialist society as well.

Bob Avakian (BA) — Official Biography

To know and change the world... get into Bob Avakian (BA), the leader of the revolution.

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/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/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/642/bob-avakian-liberals-what-is-their-problem-en.html

LIBERALS: WHAT IS THEIR PROBLEM?

Reform vs. Revolution
A Reply to a "Liberal" Critique of My Response to Mark Rudd

by Bob Avakian, Author of The New Communism

| revcom.us

 

Recently a middle class professional, who was sent an article of mine (my response to an opinion piece in the New York Times by the former “1960s radical” Mark Rudd),1 replied that despite the fact that he was very busy

I took the time today... to read Bob Avakian’s entire response to Mark Rudd’s NYT piece and I was very disappointed. Despite Rudd’s focus on the issue of violence as a tool for revolutionary change, Avakian hemmed and hawed, trying to have it both ways. He condemned the “madness” of the Weather Underground and called the intended bombing “wrong” but then vaguely criticized the strategy of “non-violence” as being too “limiting.” What????

Apparently, the New Communism would endorse violence once an “actual” massive revolution was underway. If that assumption is true, then why doesn’t Avakian say so instead of being so coy about it in his response to Rudd. Apparently the Weather Underground was only tactically “wrong” in prematurely planning a violent attack.

Very confusing and garbled.

This deserves a response—not by way of singling out this particular person, but precisely because his comments are typical of a whole section of middle class “liberals,” whose basic problem is that, despite inclinations to oppose certain forms of injustice and oppression, they are so wedded to this system that they strongly resist engaging, or even outright refuse to engage, the decisive question of what is really necessary to end oppression and exploitation—the decisive question of reform vs. revolution—and in particular they have a strong aversion to engaging a substantial presentation of why reforming this system of capitalism-imperialism in a way that would be in the fundamental interests of humanity is impossible, and this system must be overthrown, through an actual revolution, and replaced with a radically different and far better system.

The essential and pivotal question that is addressed in the article to which this person is responding is not violence or no violence, it is reform or revolution. And, flowing from that decisive question—or, more precisely, from the scientific determination that revolution is necessary—is the question of what then is necessary to carry out such a revolution, as well as what is the content of that revolution. Instead of speaking to these questions, this response indulges in what is unfortunately an all-too-common glib liberal dismissiveness, offering only a superficial, false and misleading critique: that my article (my response to Rudd) is “hemming and hawing” on (not speaking clearly to) the question of violence. Whether it is a matter, on this person’s part, that he cannot or that he will not see what is obvious, the following sections of my response to Rudd make abundantly clear what my position is on this question:

Rudd poses a false dichotomy: As he portrays things, it’s either violence by a small group isolated from masses of people, or limiting things to reforms that are achieved through the nonviolent action of millions of people. But what about the truly revolutionary struggle of millions of people, aiming not just to win concessions from the existing system, but to actually overthrow it and bring a much better system into being?2

And:

There is, of course, a definite place, and a definitely positive role, for massive nonviolent struggles whose aim is short of revolution but which oppose real oppression and atrocities of this system. A very important example of this is the call by Refuse Fascism for nonviolent but sustained mass mobilization to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime. But limiting things to nonviolence, in all circumstances and as some kind of supposed absolute principle—opposing a revolutionary struggle carried out by millions of people to overthrow this system when the conditions that make that possible have been brought into being—means at least objectively accepting and accommodating to this monstrous system and the very violent institutions (in particular the armed forces and police) that enforce its rule, here and throughout the world, with the most massive and heinous atrocity. Whatever his intention, this is what Rudd is actually doing.3

There is only one possible—or logical and reasonable—conclusion that can be drawn from the way this article poses things here (as well as elsewhere), and that conclusion is definitely not that the article is “hemming and hawing” about what kind of struggle of millions of people is necessary to do away with this system and bring into being a much better system. If this person were genuinely confused about this, he could have turned to the speech of mine, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, which is quoted (and footnoted) in this response to Rudd, where the question of how the revolution to do away with this system must and can be carried out is spoken to in some depth and detail, and at the same time with a great deal of precision, leaving no room for honest misunderstanding about what is (and is not) being said.4 (Given that, as this person indicated, he was very busy at the time he wrote this critique, if somehow he were genuinely unclear about what was being said about the matter of overthrowing this system, the principled thing to do would have been to simply state that unclarity and indicate that, given how important a question this objectively is, he was planning to pursue a further understanding of what that position actually is by reading “Why We Need...How We Can...” when he had the time to seriously engage that. In the meantime, I am sure that, if he gave it some thought, this person has the capacity, and the experience, to understand why, if one is serious about an actual revolution, certain things need to be said not “coyly” but carefully and responsibly, with an eye to not making it easier for this to be misconstrued and for the powerful repressive apparatus of this system to act on the basis of a misrepresentation of what is being said.)

Anyway, “apparently” this person does get the point of what is being said about violence and nonviolence—even if the way he puts this is not the precise way this should be formulated. This is revealed in his statement that “Apparently, the New Communism would endorse violence once an ‘actual’ massive revolution was underway.” But his next “apparently” once again misses the mark: It is not that “the Weather Underground was only tactically ‘wrong’ in prematurely planning a violent attack.” It is that they attempted to substitute acts of “excitative terror” for an actual revolution involving millions of people, and that such acts were wrong and harmful, were different not just in “timing” but in nature from an actual revolutionary struggle for power that would be waged according to the principle that the revolutionary fighting forces must, “Always conduct operations and act in ways that are in line with the emancipating outlook and goals of the revolution”—which includes drawing a distinction between the armed forces fighting to preserve and enforce the existing system of exploitation and oppression, and on the other hand ordinary civilians.5

Once More: Reform vs. Revolution

But, again, all this alleged uncertainty amounts to a “dodge,” a diversion, to avoid what is in fact the decisive question in reality and in what is being centrally addressed in the article responding to Mark Rudd: Can this system be reformed, through a struggle relying solely and as an absolute principle on nonviolence—or, in fact, is a revolutionary struggle of millions, to overthrow this system, necessary in order to open the way to eliminating the exploitation, oppression, inequality and injustice that is built into this system?

My response to Rudd speaks to profound contradictions that characterize this system, as formulated in the “5 STOPS” (which involve the oppression of Black people and other people of color, the oppression of women and other oppression based on gender, the targeting of immigrants, unjust wars and crimes against humanity, and the intensifying destruction of the environment) and the tremendous, truly horrific suffering this system imposes on the masses of humanity and the very real existential threat it poses to the future of humanity. It states very clearly that, “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!”6 It then poses this challenge:

Can Mark Rudd (or anyone else) make the case that all this—putting an end to these “5 STOPS” and to the horrific conditions that the masses of humanity are subjected to under the domination of this system of capitalism‑imperialism—can be achieved through reforms within the confines of this system and without the revolutionary overthrow of this system (or is the argument that the best that can be hoped for is that all this will continue, but with—what objectively amounts to—minor mitigation)?7

It would be very good if, instead of evading things with the spurious claim that my response to Rudd is “hemming and hawing,” the person who wrote this “critique”—and, beyond that, all like-minded “liberals”—would answer this challenge and speak directly and honestly to this question. That could help to further and contribute to what is a much needed mass, society-wide debate about the decisive question of reform vs. revolution, and everything of profound importance bound up with that.


1. Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd On The Lessons Of The 1960s And The Need For An Actual Revolution. This article is available at revcom.us. [back]

2. Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd,emphasis in the original. [back]

3. Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd, italics in the original, boldface added. [back]

4. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us. [back]

5. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

6. Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd, emphasis in the original. (Here the response to Mark Rudd is quoting Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.) [back]

7. Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd. [back]

Read more
Updated prepublication PDF, November, 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/639/bob-avakian-responds-to-mark-rudd-en.html

BOB AVAKIAN RESPONDS TO MARK RUDD
ON THE LESSONS OF THE 1960s AND THE NEED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION

Infantile Expressions of Outrage, or Accommodation to This Monstrous System, Are Not the Only Alternatives

| revcom.us

 

In the New York Times recently (Friday, March 6, 2020) a commentary appears (“Political Passion Turned Violent”) authored by Mark Rudd, a former 1960s radical. The motivation of the Times editors, in publishing this piece by Rudd, is not difficult to discern. Rudd emphasizes that significant acts of violence today, and the danger this poses to society, is being perpetrated by what he terms the “far right”; and, more generally, he insists that nonviolence is the only legitimate and effective way to bring about desired (and desirable) social change and that all violence, on the part of any social movement for change, must be renounced. Aside from Rudd’s own motivation in writing this commentary, the fact is that both of these arguments by Rudd are in line with the concerns and objectives of the editors of the Times—and of the section of the ruling class of this system of which they are representatives: They recognize the very real threat to the “norms” of the existing social order in what is being done by Trump and those who are aligned with and rallying behind him (the “far right,” in Rudd’s terms); and, more fundamentally, they are concerned that, especially in these times of intensifying polarization and acute “social stress,” social movements and societal conflicts must remain confined within a framework and limits that will not threaten the existing system. And it is no doubt an added benefit for them to have these arguments made by someone identified as a “1960s radical” who has “come in from the cold” and rejoined the ranks of the “reasonable” who insist there is really no alternative to this system.

Because of this—because Rudd claims, as someone who was involved in the radical upsurge of the 1960s, to be offering crucial lessons and universal principles about how the fight against oppression and injustice must (and must not) be waged—it is important to examine what Rudd argues, and in particular what he renounces that should be renounced, and what should not be renounced but upheld and carried forward, while being given a scientifically founded orientation and direction.

In the late 1960s (and into the early 1970s) Rudd was part of the Weather Underground. As he himself refers to, the people who formed the Weather Underground had been part of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which by the late 1960s, at the height of the radical upsurge of that time, had become a mass organization of thousands who represented the broadly held revolutionary sentiments of literally millions of youth at that point. As it came to the understanding that things such as the oppression of Black people and the mass slaughter carried out by the U.S. in Vietnam were somehow tied into the very nature of the system itself, SDS had run up against the question of how to bring about some kind of revolutionary change, although there were different ideas about what that actually meant and how to make it happen, and this resulted in the organization splitting into a number of different trends, each committed to a different approach in regard to these very basic questions. The Weather Underground in effect gave expression to the outrage of frustrated educated youth who had lost patience with the idea of carrying out political work to win masses of people to a revolutionary position and instead adopted what amounted to acts of “excitative terror” to substitute for a mass revolutionary movement. In one of his more truthful and insightful observations, Rudd has made the point that the enormity of the crimes being committed by this system, at home and in Vietnam, was more than those who became the Weather Underground could rationally deal with. And so they adopted an orientation and actions that were divorced from any serious, scientific approach to revolution, and in many ways increasingly divorced from reality. As someone who was part of the broad revolutionary movement of that time, who encountered and struggled against this political and ideological degeneration of people righteously outraged at the crimes of this system, and reflecting back on it now, a paraphrase of the opening lines of the powerful Allen Ginsberg poem Howl comes to mind: I saw some of the best people of my generation destroyed (for a time) by madness.

Unfortunately, the “recovery” of someone like Rudd from that madness has involved falling into another kind of political and ideological “insanity”: the notion that the massive crimes of this system can somehow be addressed through a movement for reform, leaving this system intact and in power. What should be renounced from the position of the former Weather Underground is its abandonment of and departure from the process of bringing forward a movement of millions of people aiming for an actual revolutionary overthrow of this criminal system. What should not be renounced is the profound hatred for this whole system and the determination to put an end to its endless crimes, which in reality requires an actual revolution carried out by masses, millions of people.

A System of Massive Organized Violence

While Rudd refers to Black revolutionaries who were “ruthlessly targeted by the police and the federal government” during the 1960s upsurge, he has seemingly “forgotten” the profound truth spoken by one of the leading Black revolutionaries of that time, Rap Brown: “Violence is as American as cherry pie.”

Under this system, the police kill a thousand people every year and subject millions more, especially people of color, to continual harassment and brutality. Millions of Black and Latino men, and growing numbers of women, are incarcerated in hell-hole prisons, while millions more are ensnared in the “criminal justice system” in various ways. At the same time, the U.S. continues to carry out mass slaughter (and to support such slaughter by its “allies”) in the Middle East and many other parts of the world.

Rudd recognizes some of this, but then distorts history and once more departs from a rational, logical line of thinking in the service of renouncing and ruling out of order anything other than nonviolent protest within the bounds of this system. And, as should surprise no one who has been paying attention to the conventions of the times, as part of this Rudd bends his metaphorical knee, paying the seemingly obligatory obeisance, to the distortions of “identity politics.” He reminds the readers that the people who made up the Weather Underground were “white, middle-class, college-educated kids.” And then comes this:

All of us were overcome both by grief over this country’s violence and by shame at not being able to stop the war. That shame also emanated from our class and racial privilege. We weren’t the ones being carpet-bombed in Vietnam or confronting racist mobs and sheriffs in Mississippi. (emphasis added)

One is tempted to dismiss this whole line of argument (and especially the part I have italicized above) with a simple “So What?!” But it deserves to be dug into more deeply. First of all, Rudd (who refers to Black revolutionaries being subjected to vicious repression by the police and the government) once again “forgets” those Black revolutionaries and the fact that, in moving from the limitations of the civil rights movement to the more advanced position of demanding Black liberation and linking this with liberation struggles in the Third World, those Black revolutionaries exerted a powerful positive force in influencing the movements of those times, including among educated youth, toward a more revolutionary orientation, even as that orientation was (in the parlance of those times) a “mixed bag,” involving a complex of conflicting tendencies, including the revolutionary communism that was coming from China as well as various revolutionary nationalist and other contradictory trends. Rudd’s arguments here are also in line with those raised at the time by ruling class and right-wing advocates of the Vietnam war, who attacked the students who mobilized against that war by denouncing them as privileged middle class brats who had managed to avoid “serving” in that war. This ignores the fact that among the most oppressed sections of society, those with the least “class and racial privilege”—Black people, Chicanos, and Puerto Ricans, whose youth died disproportionately in that war—opposition to the war was very widespread, and the fact that there was growing opposition to the war among the U.S. soldiers (and veterans) of the war, inspired to a significant degree by the anti-war stand and actions of precisely the student movement. Among other things, this reality itself is a powerful refutation of what Rudd seems to be arguing or implying. The “class and racial privilege” that Rudd raises, with regard to those who made up the Weather Underground, and the fact that they were not the ones being subjected to the horrific violence to which he refers, in no way renders their shame at all this invalid, illegitimate, or inconsequential. On the contrary, the fact that they were not being directly subjected to this but were outraged by it, and determined to do something to stop it, is exactly what was right about their orientation. The problem was that they abandoned and rejected the road of building a mass revolutionary movement determined to put an end not only to the slaughter in Vietnam and the violent oppression and repression “at home,” but to the whole system which, out of its very nature, continually perpetrates such monstrous crimes. Instead, they made what actually constituted a retreat into isolated acts of misdirected violence, and into an overall orientation, objectively in opposition to the building of the necessary revolutionary mass movement.

Reflecting back on the death of members of the Weather Underground, who were killed while building a bomb that, according to Rudd, was intended to be detonated at a dance at the Fort Dix military base (a dance which was attended not only by soldiers but by civilians as well), Rudd is correct that such a bombing, had it been carried out, would have resulted in even more widespread and vicious government repression, not just against the Weather Underground but against the broad mass movements of resistance and genuine revolutionary forces at that time. But he is playing with the truth when he portrays U.S. soldiers, like those then stationed at Fort Dix, as simply “our neighbors and fellow citizens.” No, they were something else—something more and something worse: they were part of the massive machinery of death and destruction that was carrying out the mass slaughter of the Vietnamese people, in their millions, in the service of the imperial interests and aims that the military of this system serves and seeks to enforce. In fact, as alluded to above, this was something that growing numbers of those soldiers themselves were coming to realize, and by the time Rudd is speaking of (early 1970) thousands of them had taken to open rebellion against the crimes they were being ordered to carry out and against those, in the military and beyond, who were organizing, training, deploying and ordering them to carry out these massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Certainly, the bombing of the dance at Fort Dix would have been a wrong and very harmful act. But the soldiers of the U.S. military, then and now, do not deserve to be simply embraced as “our neighbors and fellow citizens,” nor still less celebrated as “heroes,” but rather to be condemned for the crimes they have carried out and called upon and struggled with to refuse to continue committing such crimes and to become part of the political resistance to the system that requires and demands such massive atrocity on an ongoing basis—a struggle which, in fact, was carried out by many revolutionary-minded people during the course of the Vietnam war, contributing to the growing opposition among the soldiers themselves and to the broader movement of opposition to that war.1

As part of his repudiation of revolution, Rudd asserts that, in the time since the 1960s upsurge, “the left” has “developed a strong consensus...to control its violent fringe” but that “Violence is once again threatening our social fabric, this time from the far right.”

First of all, and fundamentally, it is not just “the far right” but the whole system—and those who rule in it, including those on the “left” of this system (in the Democratic Party)—that perpetrate violence. Is the Democratic Party what Rudd means by the “violent fringe” of “the left”?! Has the Democratic Party, and those who seek to be its top leaders—have they renounced violence? NO, they have not—and they cannot. Their system continually perpetrates and depends on violence—it could not exist and perpetuate itself without massive violence.

Reform vs. Revolution

Rudd poses a false dichotomy: As he portrays things, it’s either violence by a small group isolated from masses of people, or limiting things to reforms that are achieved through the nonviolent action of millions of people. But what about the truly revolutionary struggle of millions of people, aiming not just to win concessions from the existing system, but to actually overthrow it and bring a much better system into being? There is, of course, a definite place, and a definitely positive role, for massive nonviolent struggles whose aim is short of revolution but which oppose real oppression and atrocities of this system. A very important example of this is the call by Refuse Fascism for nonviolent but sustained mass mobilization to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime. But limiting things to nonviolence, in all circumstances and as some kind of supposed absolute principle—opposing a revolutionary struggle carried out by millions of people to overthrow this system when the conditions that make that possible have been brought into being—means at least objectively accepting and accommodating to this monstrous system and the very violent institutions (in particular the armed forces and police) that enforce its rule, here and throughout the world, with the most massive and heinous atrocity. Whatever his intention, this is what Rudd is actually doing.

As I have emphasized:

Certain government concessions to the fight against injustice—for example, civil rights legislation; DACA, which granted temporary legal status to some immigrants brought here as children; court decisions establishing the right to abortion and gay marriage—were hard‑fought victories, but the problem is that they are, and can only be, partial victories, dealing with only some aspects of oppression under this system, but not eliminating the oppression as a whole, or the source of this oppression—which is the system itself. And even where such partial victories are won, so long as this system remains in power, there will be powerful forces who will move to attack and undermine, and seek to reverse, even these partial gains.2

Rudd has not only reversed himself on what was essentially right (and righteous) in his stand during the 1960s—his hatred for and opposition to this system itself—as well as what was very wrong in where that hatred led him (embracing, if not himself actually carrying out, infantile acts of violence divorced from the revolutionary struggle of masses of people). He has even gone so far as to trivialize what is represented by “the far right.” Speaking of its inclination to violence, he says this:

Oddly, I get it: Take away the white supremacy and leave the pain, and it’s not that different from my friends and me 50 years ago.

Yes, it is definitely different—there is a profound difference! Without ignoring the very real problems with the orientation and actions of the Weather Undergroundthere is no similarity, and definitely no equivalence, between the righteous but misguided hatred for the criminal nature and atrocities of this system, which drove the Weather Underground to a kind of madness, and, on the other hand, the violent fanaticism of fascists who are determined to fortify and carry to extreme dimensions every form of vicious oppression and depraved atrocity that is required by this system. Rudd’s comments here fall in with the trend of lending a certain “legitimacy” to what is not just a “far right,” in some vague sense, but a definite fascist force, involving a powerful section of the ruling class, embodied in the Republican Party, and in particular now the Trump/Pence regime, and a significant segment of society which is the hard core “base” of that Party.

White supremacy is not something that is incidental to, but is at the heart of, this fascism—and it cannot simply be discounted (“taken away”) but must be fully recognized for what it is and forcefully struggled against.

Rudd’s expressions of empathy for these fascists include the statement that they “have grievances about the slipping away of what they have always seen as ‘their country.’” But what, really, are those grievances and what is it that they have always seen as “their country” which they want to “make great again”?

As I have pointed out:

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.3

And here it is worth citing important insights from the African-American theologian Hubert Locke, who points particularly to the Christian fundamentalists, who are a driving force in this fascism:

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

Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power—it's about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.4

Rudd even goes so far as to declare that everyone in this country is “in this together.” Apparently, it is not enough for Rudd that he has “made his peace” with this violently oppressive system; he goes so far as insist that common cause must be found with those—fascists—who want to give the most extreme and grotesque expressions to the crimes that are built into this system.

The Basis and the Forces for Revolution

Speaking to the orientation of himself and the others in the Weather Underground in the late 1960s/early 1970s, Rudd characterizes their outlook as one of “clinging to the delusion that violent revolution was imminent.” Among other things, here Rudd is continuing with his portrayal of false dichotomies: He is “negating” the false assumption of the Weather Underground at that time that a revolution could be set off by a small group engaging in acts of violence divorced from, and objectively posed in opposition to, the struggle of masses of people, by now putting forward the false, and certainly no less harmful, declaration that an actual revolution is neither possible nor really desirable. In reality, the question of whether an actual revolution might have been possible in this country at the height of the mass upsurge of the late 1960s/early 1970s, is a serious and complex matter, and not something that should be treated in the irresponsible way that Rudd does, with this dismissal of this question with the facile and fatuous phrase “the delusion that violent revolution was imminent.”

An actual revolution requires two essential factors: a revolutionary situation, and a revolutionary people in their millions. And these two factors are closely interconnected. A revolutionary situation involves not just a crisis in society in some general sense but a situation where the system and its ruling powers are in a profound and acute crisis and millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government. Key components and signs of a revolutionary crisis are that the violence used to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate—and that the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp, and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.5

At the high point of the radical upsurge of the 1960s/early 1970s, there were definite elements of the necessary factors for revolution: there was a very real and deepening political crisis for the ruling class, and there were masses of revolutionary-minded people. This is an undeniable truth:

By 1968 and for several years after, there were large numbers of people in this country, including millions of youth from the middle class as well as masses of poor and oppressed people, who were motivated by a thoroughly justified hatred of this system and aspirations for a radically different and better world—and this reached deeply into the system’s own armed forces—even if the understanding of most was marked by revolutionary sentiment which, while righteous, was lacking in any deep and consistent scientific basis.6

But the situation had not yet developed (and, as things unfolded, it did not develop) into an all-out revolutionary crisis; and the revolutionary forces at that time were not clear on and not united around a strategic approach that could have cohered the widespread revolutionary sentiment into an organized force capable of waging a real revolutionary fight to defeat and dismantle the violent forces of repression of the ruling capitalist-imperialist system. As I have summed up:

the real failure of that time was that there was not yet a revolutionary vanguard with that scientific foundation and method, and the orientation, strategy, and program that could give organized expression to the mass revolutionary sentiment and lead a real attempt at actually making revolution.7

The radical upsurge of the 1960s in this country was in turn part of a broader wave of struggle and transformation that was taking place throughout the world, and was driven and inspired to a large degree by the struggles, throughout the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, to throw off the yoke of colonial oppression—and beyond that the existence of a revolutionary socialist state in China and the mass revolutionary movement of the Cultural Revolution in that country, involving hundreds of millions in the struggle to defeat attempts to restore capitalism in China and, in opposition to that, to continue and deepen the socialist revolution there and support revolutionary struggles throughout the world. But, as I have analyzed, including in recent works such as Breakthroughs and Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, that upsurge ran into certain limitations as well as powerful opposing forces, and it ebbed, not just in one or another country but as a worldwide phenomenon.8 And since that time there have been profound changes in the world, many of them negative: Capitalism has been restored in China; in the Soviet Union, where capitalism had already been restored in the 1950s but the ruling class there continued for some time to present itself as a bastion of socialism, this deception was finally abandoned as the Soviet Union itself imploded, leading to the open emergence of capitalism throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; and the forces leading liberation struggles in the Third World have either been defeated or transformed into bourgeois ruling forces acting in concert with and essentially as appendages of international capital and the imperialist system. Within this country itself, in the context of this changing international situation, and through a combination of repression and the building up of middle class strata among the oppressed, along with the heightening parasitism of this system, feeding off the super-exploitation of billions of people, particularly in the Third World, over several decades there has been an increasingly deadening political atmosphere and culture and an orientation on the part of most of the forces seeking social change to restrict themselves to the limits of the existing oppressive and exploitative system and its BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit), as we have very rightly characterized it. And all this has been accompanied by a relentless ideological assault, by the ruling forces of this system and their media mouthpieces and intellectual accomplices—an assault on communism, and indeed on every positive aspect of the radical 1960s upsurge—an assault to which Mark Rudd is making his own modest contribution.

But the fact is that, with all these changes, the basis and the need for a scientifically led communist revolution has not disappeared, or diminished, but become all the more pronounced and urgently required. And not all of us who were brought forward through that great upsurge of the 1960s have abandoned the goal of radically transforming society toward the goal of a world without exploitation and oppression and the massive violence that enforces it, and the need and possibility for communist revolution as the means for achieving this. Over what I have very rightly referred to as the “terrible decades” of recent times, some of us have persevered through the very real difficulties in working toward the achievement of that revolution and have deepened our scientific understanding of how that revolution must and can be carried out. Particularly through the work I have done over these decades, there is now a new communism, which is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.9

In the course of the 1960s upsurge, those who became convinced of the need for radical change went about seeking that change “like peasants going off to war” taking up whatever weapons were at hand (to invoke a formulation by Lenin, who led the 1917 Russian Revolution and also made invaluable contributions to the development of communist theory). This became true, in a real and more literal sense, of the Weather Underground; but it was true metaphorically for some others of us—in the sense that we took up the existing theory of the communist movement at that time. This led us, correctly, to the understanding that a revolution must involve, and could only be made by, the organized struggle of masses, of millions, of people, and not by a small group isolated from those masses. But it also led us to adopt what was becoming an incorrect, outmoded concept—that, while serious attention and effort must be devoted to the fight against the oppression of Black people and other minority nationalities, and of women, and other major social questions, the main force for revolution was not just the working class in a general sense but more specifically the workers in large-scale industry—who in fact, in this country in particular, had become to a significant degree “bourgeoisified” from the parasitic spoils of imperialist domination and super-exploitation particularly in the Third World. (As a matter of fact, some of the younger workers in this situation responded favorably to the revolutionary work we were carrying out—marred and limited as it was by some misconception of the revolutionary process and by definite tendencies to economism, the attempt to build a movement for socialist revolution by centering it on and unfolding it around the more immediate economic demands of these workers. But the positive response of those younger workers actually had more to do with the influence of the radical youth culture of that time than it did with the approach of combining economism with general appeals to revolution.)

As has been emphasized here, there have been major changes in this country and in the world overall since that time, decades ago now—and the development of the new communism has involved, as one of its most important aspects, continuing to apply a scientific analysis to the decisive questions of the basis, the strategy and the forces for revolution—something that is spoken to in works of mine such as the book The New Communism10 and Breakthroughs, where the point is made that the backbone forces for revolution will come principally from among the tens of millions—particularly those concentrated in the inner cities, but others as well—who are subjected to savage oppression and brutal repression under this system, while it is also stressed that this revolution must involve a broad uniting of diverse social forces, especially youth and students but others as well among the middle strata, and that this must be led by a solid core of thousands and thousands, firmly grounded in the science of communism, as it has been further developed with the new communism. And I am continuing to grapple with the application of a scientific method and approach to the problems of the revolution, in this country but even more fundamentally in terms of the overall struggle toward the achievement of communism throughout the world.

In terms of the basis for revolution, the new communism emphasizes this very important understanding that is spoken to in a concentrated way in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

The basis for revolution lies not in what people are thinking or doing at any given time, but resides in the fundamental relations and contradictions of the system which cause tremendous suffering but which are unresolvable under this system. (From Hope for Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism)

And “Why We Need...How We Can...” focuses on these important questions:

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

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

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

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

Why is the environment of our planet being destroyed?

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

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

Why is this the state of humanity?

And it provides this scientifically grounded answer:

There is one fundamental reason: the basic nature of the system of capitalism‑imperialism that we live under and the way, because of its very nature, it continually perpetrates horror after horror. And, 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—ormake revolution!

Can Mark Rudd (or anyone else) make the case that all this—putting an end to these “5 STOPS” and to the horrific conditions that the masses of humanity are subjected to under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism—can be achieved through reforms within the confines of this system and without the revolutionary overthrow of this system (or is the argument that the best that can be hoped for is that all this will continue, but with—what objectively amounts to—minor mitigation)? No!—the emancipation of humanity from all this is profoundly and ever more urgently necessary, and the possibility of a radically different and far better future demands and requires a real revolution and the advance of humanity beyond this system, with the achievement of communism throughout the world. That this will be difficult to achieve and will require monumental, arduous and self-sacrificing struggle on the part of millions, and ultimately billions, of people, is something that no serious person—and certainly no one basing themself on the scientific method and approach of the new communism—would deny. But a scientific analysis leads to the definite conclusion that this is as necessary as it is difficult—and that it is possible (not certain, and certainly not inevitable—but possible). And all those who refuse to accept the world as it is under the domination of the capitalist-imperialist system, all the unnecessary suffering this imposes on the masses of humanity and the very real existential threat it poses to humanity itself, should dedicate themselves to contributing to this revolution.

In fundamental terms there is a unity between the former infantile, essentially terrorist position that was held by the likes of Mark Rudd at a certain point and the reformist accommodation to this monstrous system which Rudd now promotes. What unifies these two seemingly opposite “political poles” is their common opposition to an actual revolution, carried out through the organized struggle of millions of people determined to overthrow the existing oppressive system and bring a much better system into being. And, in terms of epistemology (the approach to understanding reality), what underlies this unity of errors is the unscientific—or, fundamentally, anti-scientific—method and approach that characterizes both the orientation of something like the Weather Underground and the reformism into which far too many, including Mark Rudd, have allowed themselves to descend.

 


1. In his memoir, From Ike to Mao and BeyondMy Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, Bob Avakian recounts his own approach and efforts, as well as that of others, in struggling with soldiers and veterans of the U.S. military to win them to oppose, and lend their support to the movement of opposition to, the Vietnam war.  [back]

2. Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. The text and video of this speech are available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. A film of this speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

4. “Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right,” by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us.  [back]

5. This characterization of a revolutionary situation is drawn from HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution (a statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party), which is cited in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolutionboth available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.  [back]

7. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.  [back]

8. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary; Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism. These works by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

9. The strategy for revolution is spelled out in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution; and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different society is contained in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian. The text of the Constitution, and video and the text of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, are available at revcom.us.  [back]

10. THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipationInsight Press, 2016.  [back]

 

Read more
Updated prepublication PDF, November, 2019
Read or download (searchable PDF)

See also:

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

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/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 consequenc