revcom.us, June 1, 2020 through June 7, 2020 (#650)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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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)

 

 

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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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian_nothing-less-en.html

| revcom.us

 

A statement from Bob Avakian

revolutionary leader, author and architect of the revolutionary new communism.

 

To all those who have risen up so powerfully and are demonstrating to say “No More!” after the murder of George Floyd, and all the other cold-blooded murders by police.

To all those who have drawn inspiration from this righteous uprising.

To all those who have had the blinders forced from their eyes and have been provoked to think anew about what kind of country it is that we live in.

This has raised the biggest questions about what is needed for people everywhere to live fully as human beings:

AN END TO INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM
AND MURDER BY POLICE—NOTHING LESS!

AN END TO ANY WAY PEOPLE ANYWHERE ARE
USED, ABUSED, AND BRUTALIZED—NOTHING LESS!

We need a world without white supremacy and male supremacy—a world where no one is regarded as “alien”—a world without war, where people from all over the globe, with a beautiful flowering of diversity, act together for the common good and are truly caretakers of the earth.

THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM.

The possibility for this is being powerfully demonstrated in this uprising of the people, of all different races and genders, from all parts of the world—refusing to remain silent or stay passive while all this oppression and brutality goes on.

To Make All This Real
We Need: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

A strategic plan for how to make this revolution, and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and much better world, where all this can become possible—can be found in the work I have done, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

You can learn more about this revolution and become part of making it a reality by going to revcom.us and joining with the revcoms.

We do not need to live in this world where so much of humanity suffers so unnecessarily under this system of capitalism-imperialism that cannot exist without exploiting and degrading people, suffocating their humanity and killing them without mercy.  We can do much better!  Don’t listen to talk about how “it can never happen.” 

Look around you—what seemed impossible yesterday is happening right now!  Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?

WWW.REVCOM.US          

Share everywhere.

Download PDF of this flier, print and spread:

 

 

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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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-violence-its-the-police-en.html

VIOLENCE? IT'S THE POLICE

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Hey!—those of you in the media, and politicians, who want to talk about violence in the protests, instead of keeping the focus where it should be—on the murder of George Floyd, on top of all the other murders by policeWhy don’t you go preach to the police about violence? They’re the ones brutalizing, terrorizing and murdering people time after time! And how about arresting all these killer pigs and charging them with what they are guilty of: murder of the most depraved kind!

 

 

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/650/bob-avakian-not-just-trump-its-democrats-too-en.html

SOUNDING LIKE SOUTHERN SEGREGATIONISTS:
IT'S NOT JUST TRUMP—IT'S DEMOCRATS TOO

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Here’s Donald Trump echoing white supremacists in the South during the 1960s, with his tweet about shooting people protesting the murder of George Floyd (“when the looting starts, the shooting starts”). Trump called the protesters “thugs” to justify shooting them. Every decent person condemns Trump. But remember when Obama called the youth in Baltimore “thugs” when their anger boiled over after the murder of Freddie Gray by police? And what about those Democratic Party politicians now, like the governor of Minnesota, and all these other officials, who speak honeyed words about “justice” but then impose “emergency police powers” and call out the National Guard to attack the people’s protests against outrageous injustice? Some of these Democratic Party politicians are not even ashamed to “sample” southern segregationists from the days of the civil rights movement—talking about “outside agitators” coming in and causing trouble with protests! All this is yet more proof that this whole system has to go!

 

 

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)

 

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-on-black-trump-supporters-en.html

Bob Avakian on
BLACK TRUMP SUPPORTERS:
WHAT IF JEWS HAD SUPPORTED HITLER?!

| revcom.us

 

All this fuss about whether Joe Biden has the “right” to say Black people who support Trump “ain’t Black” misses the mark. Yes, Black “conservatives” who support the white supremacist fascist Trump are obviously technically Black—but let’s face it, their support for Trump is a despicable act of bootlicking, as revolting as if Jews had supported the NAZIs!

So what do you have to say about that, Candace Owens?!

 

 

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/650/make-this-moment-count-en.html

Make This Moment Count...
JOIN THE REVOLUTION!

| revcom.us

 

The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, with graphic new details of the horror on TV and social media coming out daily, drives home again how for 400 years this system has enchained, exploited, oppressed, brutalized, and murdered Black people every single day of its existence. A system that now has a fascist at its head. The pig who did this was an enforcer FOR that system—a capitalist-imperialist system that exploits and oppresses people here and all over the world in horrific ways. A system that generated white supremacy with all its towering crimes and cannot live without it.

But all that is not new.

What is new is the way in which people, especially young people of all nationalities and races, have risen up against this, responding to the violent attacks of the police with bravery and purpose. People have lit up the sky with a very clear message: THIS MUST STOP! NOW! More and more people must get involved in this, standing up and fighting back.

The fearlessness of the people has struck fear into the hearts of those who rule over the people. The mobilized anger of the people makes these rulers scamper around like roaches when the light goes on in the kitchen. The rulers have NO ANSWERS. So they brutalize, arrest, shoot at, teargas, threaten, promise, slander, posture, and lie—all to try to stuff people back into “their place.”

NO! We won’t turn back. We won’t be divided.

The protests of today must be transformed into and become part of a movement for an ACTUAL REVOLUTION. A revolution that does not just reform this system, but overthrows it. A revolution not for revenge but for the emancipation of all humanity. A revolution at the soonest possible time, which we go to work preparing for NOW, even while we’re rising up for justice. The path to make this revolution has been forged by Bob Avakian, BA, the most important political thinker and leader on the planet today.

There is a way for you to be a part of this, to join with the revolution today in fighting the power and getting into BA—doing all this as part of getting ourselves and the people ready for revolution at the soonest possible time. An actual revolution is serious business. It is not easy. But it is necessary and it’s possible. To win requires leadership, strategy and organization... and YOU.

Bob Avakian has said:

...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!

Now as we stand together fighting the power is the time, the moment, for YOU to make the choice for revolution. There’s a world to win.

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

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.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/wanted-for-immediate-positions-en.html

Wanted for immediate positions, unlimited openings:
Outside Agitators

| revcom.us

 

Job Requirements:

Must care about the masses of people worldwide, not just “your own people.”

Must want a world without exploitation and all forms of oppression, and be willing to fight for that world.

Must be willing to work long hours, to think hard about how to change the world to get rid of oppression, to bring that understanding to people everywhere and struggle with them to cast off narrow-mindedness, selfishness, ignorance, and slave mentality and to take up the emancipation of humanity.

Must be willing to stand up against the oppressor in the face of physical attack and slander.

Benefits:

Guaranteed: long hours, no pay. Fringe benefits: the joy of fighting to bring about a whole new and far better world, of being with the masses when they straighten their backs and lift their heads, and of the bonds with your comrades in the struggle.

No experience needed, will accept trainees of all ages.

Apply immediately to the Mighty Mighty Revcoms.

https://www.revcom.us                             @TheRevcoms

 

Download PDFs:

 

 

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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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/what-to-do-now-en.html

NO MORE!
It is time, and long past time, that this system of oppression and murder needs to go!
We need a REVOLUTION at the soonest possible time. We need to get busy working for this revolution.
WHAT TO DO NOW—BUILDING FOR THE ALL-OUT REVOLUTION WE NEED

| revcom.us

 

* Fight the Power and Transform the People for Revolution—don’t let things just keep on going the way they are, where people are used and abused, brutalized and murdered under this system, and they don’t really know why and what can be done to put an end to it. Get more and more people involved in standing up and fighting back, in line with the 5-2-6, and struggle with people to give up the foolishness that too many are caught up in and instead take up the 5-2-6. (See bottom of this page.)

* Go to www.revcom.us and watch The RNL Show -- Revolution, Nothing Less! regularly, where you can learn more about this revolution and the most important leader in the world today—the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA), the architect of the revolutionary new communism. On the basis of the 5-2-6, get the shirt BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! Wear it proudly and let people know this is what they need to get with, and this is the leadership they need to follow.

* Spread the word among people you know, and widely through social media, so that more and more people, in every part of society, will hear the word that revolution is necessary and possible, and revcom.us is the place to go to get hooked up with the revolution and become part of the organized force for revolution.

* Keep on learning while you are working to build this revolution: watch the videos and listen to the recordings by BA. Get into BAsics and other writings by BA, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. Get deeper into the science of revolution BA is bringing forward to make revolution a reality.

* Keep in regular contact with revcom.us—write or record things that can be used by the revolutionary leadership, on revcom.us, through social media, and on The RNL Show, to help build the revolution.

* Do all this with the goal clearly in mind, and work to bring about, as soon as possible, the situation where there are not just thousands but millions who are with this, and the system is in deep crisis, so that an all-out fight can be waged for revolution, with a real chance to win—to bring this system down and bring something much better into being.

* With this COVID-19 pandemic, do all this while also doing your best to apply necessary safety measures that can help keep you, and others, from getting sick and spreading the virus—BUT DO IT!

Get with the REVCOMS!                                                             

www.revcom.us                                                       @TheRevcoms

 

Download, print flier of this call:
English (PDF 2 sided)
English JPG (front)
English JPG (back)

Download PDFs:

 

 

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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/oppose-trump-threats-against-antifa-en.html

White-Supremacist-in-Chief Trump Labels Protestors "Antifa," Threatens to Declare Them "Terrorist"

Oppose Trump's Threats Against “Antifa”

| revcom.us

 

Some basic orientation points on Trump's Twitter threat that the U.S. "will be designating ANTIFA as a terrorist organization":

First, the fascist Trump/Pence regime and its white-supremacist-in-chief has no right to label and declare those righteously rebelling against the horrific police murder of George Floyd as “terrorists.”

Second, to stand against injustice at this moment requires firmly understanding that Trump’s threats and attacks against “Antifa” are designed to confuse, intimidate, suppress, and divide righteous resistance, rebellion, and opposition to fascism. The threats and attacks on Antifa and anyone else standing up against white supremacist police terror and fascism, especially attempts by the state to brand them as “terrorist” or put them on watchlists, must be firmly opposed by all those on the side of justice.

Third, criminalizing protest and resistance is an essential part of the consolidation of fascism which is fast underway under the Trump/Pence regime.

We highly recommend this statement from Refuse Fascism, which was issued in 2017 and is all the more critical today.

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

From Refuse Fascism:

Shameful, Dangerous, Wrong Attacks on Antifa

There is NO moral "equivalence" between those seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism, and those fighting against this nightmare

A controversy has erupted around Antifa, a broad grouping of people who are anti-fascist and anti-racist, many of whom are associated with anarchism. After torch-wielding white supremacists and Nazis brutalized and even murdered in Charlottesville, Donald Trump argued that Antifa and other counter-protesters were just as responsible for violence and hate. In reality, Antifa and others played a courageous role in defending people against the brutal violence threatened and inflicted by fascists. Since then, the media has reported that the Department of Homeland Security has classified Antifa’s activities as "domestic terrorist violence." Nancy Pelosi has called for the arrest and prosecution of members of Antifa. The mayor of Berkeley has called for them to be classified as a "gang." And some voices of the so-called "progressive left" have joined in condemning and distancing from Antifa.

In this context, RefuseFascism.org wants to make the following critical points of orientation:

[1] There is NO moral "equivalence" between those who are seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism on society and those who are fighting against this nightmare. Fascist forces, both within and outside of the government, are seeking to impose an order that not only strengthens white supremacy, misogyny, and all forms of bigotry, but actually returns society to the days of open white supremacy and Jim Crow segregation, anti-Semitism and Nazism, violent and repressive misogyny, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and global destruction through wars and environmental devastation. Their acts and rhetoric correspond to this vision and these goals. All this is happening in a 21st Century context, with the Trump/Pence regime seizing the power to enact and consolidate this vision as quickly as possible. Those standing up against these horrific views and aims and are on the right side of history. One side is right. One side is wrong. There is no equivalency.

[2] To stand against injustice at this moment requires firmly understanding that the attacks against "Antifa" are designed to intimidate, suppress, and divide all opposition to fascism. The threats and attacks on Antifa and anyone else standing up against fascism, especially attempts by the state to brand them as "terrorist" or put them on watchlists, must be opposed. Criminalizing protest and resistance is an essential part of the consolidation of fascism which is fast underway under the Trump/Pence Regime. Given the horrific assault on Muslims, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, Black people, science, the environment, civil liberties, and people around the world by this regime, it is more important than ever that people have the right to stand up to fascism, to protest and to resist. Differences over tactics, where they exist, must not divide the people’s resistance. Distancing and effectively joining in the threats and attack by this fascist regime, and other government authorities, is not only morally bankrupt, it also accommodates and quickly leads to collaboration with fascism. We have learned from Nazi Germany that allowing one group to be criminalized only strengthens the momentum of fascism as it targets group after group.

[3] Refuse Fascism does not initiate violence. We oppose violence against the people and among the people, but we uphold people’s fundamental and legal right to self-defense. We welcome and actively seek to involve people who come from a great diversity of views on many big questions, including when and whether any form of violence is ever legitimate. This is a great strength as it will take millions of people working and struggling together to stop a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime. The efforts we undertake together consist of nonviolent political protest.

[4] Some on "the left" have claimed that the actions of Antifa and others who confront fascist thugs directly are a "gift to the right" by "provoking and legitimizing" repression and assault by fascists. This is wrong. This argument rests on a wrong assessment of the danger we face. We face a fascist regime that is tearing up democratic norms and civil rights. The unleashing of organized fascist thugs to intimidate and terrorize is integral to the consolidation of fascism. It is a key part of how resistance is pacified into compliance. This process is well underway and it is not caused by – nor is it a response to – militant protest against it. This process will not stop if militant resistance stops. Rather, the full imposition of the most brutal and terroristic forms of fascism in America will continue to advance unless and until millions come together to drive the fascist Trump/Pence Regime from power.

[5] Arguments toward moral equivalency must not be allowed to become a rationale for "good people" to stand aside. Paralysis has far-reaching consequences. Silence is complicity, and not making a choice because of a fear of going outside of normal channels and possibly encountering violence allows the horrors of fascism to advance. Those who truly abhor all forms of violence need to honestly ask themselves what they are doing to stand up to the brutal violence of fascism. Staying on the fence with a wait and see attitude is also not a morally neutral position; it is to watch the march of fascism toward genocide and the destruction of the planet, with no more outrage than a shrug of the shoulder. There is no perfectly safe place to wage this struggle. There may be safety for some in staying home and remaining ambivalent, but that comes at a great cost to one’s own humanity.

*****

Every day, the urgency for people to come together from a diversity of perspectives to refuse to accept a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime grows! Join us in getting organized – building the broadest unity possible – to take to the streets starting Nov 4th in a sustained movement that grows day after day and night after night, from many thousands to millions, not stopping until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

In this effort, we must Unite All Who Can Be United and Defeat Attempts to "Divide and Conquer":

Don't allow the ruling forces, or any other force, to divide us or pit us against each other. Don't fall for "divide and conquer" schemes and divisive actions, reject and rise above petty disputes and sectarian squabbles—reach out BROADLY to UNITE ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED, from different perspectives and viewpoints, around the great unifying objective of driving out, through massive, sustained political mobilization, this regime which has already done such great harm and which poses a grave threat to humanity.

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
In the Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

There is no moral equivalency between white supremacy and fascism and those who oppose it.
Tweet this!

 

 

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/650/bob-avakian-revolution-roger-federers-tennis-en.html

REVOLUTION, ROGER FEDERER'S TENNIS:
WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
A LOT, ACTUALLY.

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The title of this article will likely come as a surprise to many—not least Roger Federer himself, since he is clearly not an advocate of the kind of revolution I am talking about, a revolution to bring about socialism and ultimately communism throughout the world, in place of the current capitalist-imperialist system that now dominates the world. Federer himself is not merely a tennis player with world-class—and, as I will speak to, unrivaled—abilities; he is also a multi-millionaire, on the verge of becoming a billionaire, as a result of business deals and investments that his tennis achievements have made possible. (At the same time, Federer has devoted significant resources, and personal efforts, to charity benefitting children in southern Africa in particular, and he is widely respected and admired for being, at the risk of sounding corny, “a genuinely nice guy” on a personal level. Federer, from the small country of Switzerland, is one of the most recognized, and popular, athletes in the world, not only among tennis fans but more generally, and that is not just because of his accomplishments on the court, or simply because of successful “marketing of his brand,” but also because of what people perceive in his personality.)

What is put forward in the title of this article—that Federer’s tennis has a lot to do with revolution—can be understood to be profoundly true, once there is the necessary appreciation for both Federer’s unique, unmatched approach to and performance in tennis and what the revolution I am speaking of is, and needs to be, all about. Here, I am not going to enter directly into the debate about whether Federer, or on the other hand one of his current main rivals, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in men’s tennis ( although I have made a case for why that title legitimately rests with Federer in an Appendix at the end of this article). What defines Federer’s tennis, and more than anything sets it apart from even his greatest rivals—more than all of his great accomplishments, playing at the highest level of men’s tennis for nearly two decades, from the time he was around 20 to the time, now, when he is approaching 40—is the artistry and beauty of his game. And the revolution I am talking about—a revolution guided by communism, in its further development with the new communism that has resulted from decades of work that I have carried out—this revolution, and the radically different society and world that it aims to bring into being, could not do without, and has as one of its main goals and requirements, precisely an appreciation of and the flowering of beauty and artistry, in many different dimensions of human endeavor.

As I have emphasized, one of the essential qualities that defines human beings is “the need to be amazed.”1 Certainly, in the tennis of Roger Federer there is a continual source of amazement. It is not simply that he can—and, in the course of his matches, repeatedly does—hit every conceivable shot (and many that seem inconceivable). It is not just the fact that, if you pay careful attention, you can see an incredible display of skill and artistry even when Federer hits a ball to a ball girl or boy (young people responsible for collecting and distributing balls to the players) between points in a match. It is, more than anything, the footwork, the movement—the flow—as Federer floats around the court to get himself in position to hit the ball. While with more or less everyone else among the world’s top men’s tennis players—including Djokovic and especially Nadal—their movement is broadcast with various noises, and their striking of the ball is often accompanied by audible, and often loud, grunts, Federer moves silently, seemingly effortlessly, and the only sound accompanying his strokes is that of the racket meeting and delivering the ball, with an incredible consistency, to just the spot where he intends it to go. Metaphors that could be invoked to describe this movement, such as those comparing it to ballet or other dance, are not, in this case, cliches but actually come close to capturing the fluidity and beauty of Federer’s movement.

Djokovic and Nadal are clearly great tennis players—legitimately considered among the greatest of all time—but one of the things that sets Federer apart from them (and this may seem ironic or even illogical at first) is the fact that their greatest strength is their consistency, while in the course of a match, or a tournament, Federer is likely to have more “ups and downs.” Nadal is relentless, intensely playing each point, and even each shot, as if the whole match depended on it; and, besides—or, in a real sense, even more than—his highly skilled shot-making, it is the wearing down of his opponents through this relentlessness that marks Nadal’s game and accounts for his great success. The key to Djokovic’s game is his defensive skill, which rests to a large degree on his considerable physical flexibility: he is able to return powerful (and/or well-placed) serves and great ground strokes by his opponent, time after time, in a way that puts Djokovic in at least a “neutral position,” and often at an advantage, in relation to the opponent, enabling Djokovic to eventually turn defense into offense and win the point. Here, again, although in a somewhat different way than with Nadal, it is Djokovic’s consistent relentlessness that is his greatest strength.

With Federer it is different. As more than one observer has commented, Federer is an artist, and with an artist you are going to have times of brilliance, beyond what others are capable of achieving, and you are also going to have times when that brilliance does not fully shine. Ironically again, to some degree errors on Federer’s part (and specifically what, in tennis terms, are considered “unforced errors”) stem from his tremendous abilities, particularly his movement and footwork, which allow him to be in position to hit a variety of shots at a given time, and his “racket skill” which enables him to execute so many different shots. There are many instances when Federer gets himself into a position where he has many options in terms of hitting a shot, and on some occasions having so many options—rather than being more limited and forced to just play quickly and “instinctively”—actually results in Federer “out-smarting” himself, including sometimes when he “changes his mind at the last second” about where and how to hit the ball, causing him to either hit an ineffective shot or to miss a relatively easy shot and lose the point. One of the things that makes Federer so uniquely great and breathtaking to observe is that we see the artist at work, trying things that others would not dare to try, willing to fall down at times, in the immediate, in order to find the way to reach the greatest heights.

This comes through in all aspects of Federer’s performance on the court. There is the unrivaled precision, combined with artful deception, in Federer’s game. This finds perhaps its most concentrated expression in Federer’s serve (starting the point), which is one of the very best and most impactful in the men’s game. In the case of Federer, this is not because of raw speed and power—there are many in the men’s game who significantly exceed Federer in those categories—but rather because of disguise (it is very difficult to tell where Federer is going to deliver his serve) and placement (he regularly succeeds in putting the ball right where, or very near to where, he intends to place it with his serve). With his ground strokes, once the point is underway (on his own serve or that of his opponent), it is the same—the same deception and precision, combined with effective power, or subtle “touch.” Watching Federer “paint the lines” (hit the ball right on, or very close to, a sideline or the baseline) is indeed like taking in a breathtaking painting. And there is no equal, anywhere in tennis, to his balance and racket skill at the net (volleying back a shot by the opponent from a position near the net) and here, too, he often makes even the most difficult of these shots seem effortless.

Once again, it is the movement that underlies all this and makes it all possible. As tennis author and journalist Mark Hodgkinson puts it, in a book analyzing not just Federer’s prowess and accomplishments but his unique presence on the court: Federer “Moves Like A Whisper.”2

To some, in particular those who have never concerned themselves with questions of this kind, this might seem “forced,” but in the way Federer is able to use his movement, and his other remarkable skills, to neutralize and overcome the raw power of the “heavy hitters” in men’s tennis, there is an analogy to how the stranglehold of the world’s most powerful oppressive forces could actually be broken and shattered, by the creative action of masses of people, freeing them to embark on the road of bringing into being a society and world free of oppression. But the comparison and relevance of Federer’s tennis to revolution cannot, and should not, be reduced to that. Beyond that, it is the fulfilling of profound human needs—“the need to be amazed,” the appreciation of artistry and beauty—that is the link between the tennis of Roger Federer and the revolution that humanity needs.

Federer’s tennis is not simply the product of a genetically-established high-level athleticism, but also of a great appreciation for the creative and innovative, beyond that of even his most highly skilled world-class contemporaries and competitors. Among the highest level tennis champions, it is only Roger Federer who will frequently experiment with shots, running the risk of losing a point, or even a game, during the course of a match in a high-stakes tournament. It is only Roger Federer who would feel, and at times say openly, that if he did not do this he could find such a match boring, even while he was winning. This is not a “lack of discipline” on Federer’s part, but once again a real appreciation for, and giving life to, an artistry and beauty that can and should characterize the sport of tennis—and does, in its highest form, in the game of Roger Federer. There are a few others near the top ranks of tennis who are willing, or who feel the need, to try “trick shots” and other displays of artistry, at the risk of losing a point, a game, or even a match. Nick Kyrgios, an athletic and highly-skilled young player from Australia, is the most striking example of this, but neither Kyrgios nor anyone else besides Federer has achieved the combination of brilliant artistry with the necessary focus and, yes, discipline—channeling and translating this into world-class level competitive tennis, with the consistency required to repeatedly win matches and tournaments, including the most prestigious and highly-prized Grand Slam tournaments (which involve all, or nearly all, of the world’s top tennis players and require winning seven consecutive matches, within the two week period of the tournament, in order to claim the title).

As much as there is a “magical quality” to Federer’s tennis, it is at the same time the product of consistent hard work—both off the court, in physical work-outs, to reach the peak of fitness, and on the court, in endless hours of practice. And there is the constant striving to increasingly master the game mentally. Federer is a great student of tennis. It has been noted, and demonstrated in practice, that he is very often able to tell (in observing the footwork and position, and knowing the “preferred tendencies,” of his opponent) where that opponent is going to hit a shot, even before that opponent has begun his stroke. And Federer possesses the greatest ability to adapt his game, including in the middle of a match—something that can be seen not only by serious students of the game but even by more casual observers in paying attention to the changes he makes in his approach, including the kind of shots he chooses to make, whether he “stays back” on the baseline or increasingly “comes to the net,” and so on.

All his mental as well as physical preparation and continual “refinement” of his game underlies and is the basis for Federer’s ability to both have tremendous success competitively and to do so with his unparalleled artistry. Hodgkinson writes that, early on, Federer was inclined toward the stand that doing things with artistry was even more important than winning, even as Federer has always had a very strong competitive drive. This was reflected, even fairly far into Federer’s success atop the men’s game, in the fact that Federer resisted using the “drop shot” (hitting the ball just a little ways over the net, especially when the opponent is far back in the court), believing that this shot was somehow a violation of the aesthetics (and perhaps the ethics) of tennis. But, not only did Federer change his mind on this and develop one of the game’s most effective, and yes artistic, drop shots, but more generally, and fortunately for Federer—and for everyone who appreciates the beauty with which the game of tennis can be played—Federer has achieved an unrivaled combination (or synthesis) of artistry and competitive achievement overall.

And he has continued to adapt to competitive challenges, and to technological changes that have affected the competitive challenges. For example, less than a decade ago, Federer was still playing with a racket that was smaller than those of nearly all of his major opponents, feeling that he possessed the necessary skill to hit the shots he needed/wanted to hit, and to avoid excessive errors, with this smaller racket. But the rising level of competition finally convinced Federer to increase the size of his racket, which has played a significant part in his finally gaining a decisive upper hand over his long-time rival and significant nemesis Rafael Nadal. In coming back from a knee injury and surgery in the latter part of 2016 and resuming competitive play in early 2017, aided by the increase in his racket size, Federer worked systematically to improve his backhand stroke, which was key in enabling him to overcome the tactics Nadal had used against Federer to force him on the defensive and out of position, making him more vulnerable to winning shots from Nadal. (For those interested in some of the more technical aspects involved in how Federer has been able to offset Nadal’s tactics and decisively gain the upper hand in matches with Nadal—or, as Federer himself has put it, “crack the Nadal code”—in a footnote below some of the details involved are discussed.*)

Federer has continued to play competitive tennis on a world-class level, vying still to be at the very top of men’s tennis, into his late 30s (which is extraordinary, since in terms of world-class tennis, this is definitely considered “old”). It is remarkable that Federer has been able to retain a powerful competitive spirit, and at the same time an unequaled “cool,” not only during the time when he was the undisputed “number one” in men’s tennis (and frequently referred to then as the Greatest Of All Time) but for many years after that as well. It is one thing to be “hungry” and “focused” when one is young and “rising,” striving to get to the very top of the rankings—or in the situation with Djokovic, who has yet to become, but has openly declared his intention to become, the holder of the most Grand Slam titles and presumably the honor of being declared the Greatest Of All Time—but it is a whole other matter to continue to strive for greatness at the highest level long after one has seemingly achieved all there is to achieve, as has been the case with Federer for some time now.

But, even as he was planning, after another knee injury and surgery, to return once again in the summer of this year (2020) to compete at Wimbledon, the most prestigious of the Grand Slams—and the tournament where Federer has had the most success, winning 8 times—with the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, including the cancellation of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, it is unclear when Federer will return to tennis (interestingly, the French Open, normally held in the late spring, has been re-scheduled for the fall, and as of now has not been canceled—see below, in the Appendix, for the relevance of this to the “GOAT” question). In any case, before too long, Federer’s age will finally catch up with him, and he will retire from world-class level competition. When he does, it is likely that Djokovic and/or Nadal (who are both about 5 years younger than Federer) will continue playing for a few more years; and, if they have not done so already, it is possible that one or both of them will then surpass Federer’s Grand Slam titles record, which now stands at 20 (again, more on this, and how it relates to the question of Greatest Of All Time, in the Appendix below).

But, as truly great as Djokovic and Nadal are, and with whatever specific number of Grand Slam titles they ended up winning, when they leave tennis there will be others, young and hungry, who will rise to, or near, the level of play that has characterized the best of Djokovic and Nadal. With Federer, however, it is not a matter of quantity, not something that can be captured simply with statisticsthe number of Grand Slams and other tournaments won, the amount of time as the top-ranked player, and so on—but much more one of quality: the artistry and creative genius of Federer, which has no equal in tennis, in any era, including the present one. As much as the governing bodies of a sport—and the television networks and other financial institutions which profit from it—seem to feel the need to market things in terms of “rivalries,” and this is definitely the case with tennis, there really is no “rival” to Federer, no one whose approach to the game and performance on the court compares to his or gives expression to the same synthesis of artistry and accomplishment. When Federer leaves, it will be a long time, if ever, before someone comes along who will bring to tennis the beauty and, yes the awe and wonder, that Federer has embodied and inspired.

To return to the theme of this article, as expressed in the title, in the future being aimed for with revolution based on the new communism, tennis will not play the same role as it does in the world as it is now, dominated by the dynamics and dictates of the system of capitalism-imperialism and consequently restricted far too much to those with (or with backing from those with) a certain level of finances and resources. But, as spoken to in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and far better society and world—there will continue to be a need for and importance to sports, with an emphasis on basic sports activities involving the masses of people, to promote their health and recreation, but also providing for full-time (professional) sports, which will take place within the overall framework of the relations and values of this radically new society, and will serve to foster friendship and comradeship among those competing, and those following such competition, while promoting and giving expression to the joy, the beauty and the wonder that sports, at its best, can inspire.3

From this perspective, as we look forward to and work actively to make a reality of this revolution, and everything it will finally make possible, if we do not wish to diminish the vision and the goal to which this revolution must aspire, and the kind of society and world it must strive to bring into being, we cannot fail to appreciate beauty and wonder, in the natural world and in the creations of human beings, even now amidst the terrible conditions which this currently ruling system of capitalism-imperialism imposes on the masses of humanity. And from that standpoint, the tennis of Roger Federer has a great deal to do with the revolution we need, even as that revolution will give rise to beauty, and give expression to the need to be amazed, in ways beyond what can even be imagined today.

 


* Note on Federer’s Gaining Decisive Dominance Over Nadal:

Nadal is left-handed and, particularly with his forehand, he hits the ball with a lot of “top spin,” which causes the ball to bounce high after it lands (this is true on all tennis court surfaces but is especially so on clay, which is by far Nadal’s favorite surface, on which he is most effective—more on that below, in the Appendix). Both of these factors (Nadal’s “left-handedness” and his extreme top spin) for some time enabled Nadal to create a lot of problems for Federer in their matches, because (for various reasons, including the fact that the net is lower in the middle of the court than it is on the sides) hitting the ball cross-court is easier and less risky than hitting it “down the line” (over the higher part of the net, on the same side of the court the player is on when hitting the ball). So, in the course of points in matches against Federer, Nadal would repeatedly try, with a large amount of success, to hit the ball with his forehand cross-court, where Federer (being right-handed) would be forced to hit the ball, not with his own forehand—his stronger stroke—but with his backhand. And the extreme top spin with which Nadal hit his forehand cross-court—causing the ball to bounce up to shoulder height, or sometimes even higher, before Federer could “make contact” with the ball—often resulted in a situation where Federer either hit a weak shot, setting Nadal up to hit a “winner” ( a shot Federer could not return) or Federer actually “missed” with his backhand (hit the ball into the net or “out” of play), giving Nadal the point. And this was especially so in the frequent exchanges where Nadal would hit forehand after forehand with top spin to Federer’s backhand—something Nadal was often able to do, because it was difficult for Federer to “redirect” the ball “down the line,” to Nadal’s backhand, and in attempting to do so Federer would run a higher risk of mis-hitting the ball and either losing the point outright by hitting it out, or into the net, or hitting a weak shot in response to which it would be easy for Nadal to hit a winner.

In recovering from a knee injury and surgery, and in preparing to return to competitive tennis, in the latter part of 2016, Federer focused on improving his backhand—aided, again, by his now larger racket—which enabled him to “stand his ground” on the baseline (rather than being pushed back farther and farther behind it, in an increasingly defensive position) and, from that position on the baseline, “take the ball earlier” with his backhand (before it could bounce as high), giving him more control and the ability to hit winners with his backhand and generally to hit backhand strokes with more variety, including by “re-directing” balls “down the line” to Nadal’s backhand, his less imposing shot. This resulted in Federer beating Nadal in the final of the Australian Open (one of the four annual “Grand Slam” tournaments) in early 2017. Since then, in matches played between the two, Federer has beaten Nadal 4 out of 5 times—the only exception being a semi-final match in the 2019 French Open (another of the Grand Slams), a match on clay, played moreover in conditions so ridiculous, with such powerful gusts of wind, that it was impossible for Federer to come close to playing his normal game, which relies, much more than other top players, not so much on power but at least as much on finesse and “touch” and fundamentally on movement to get in position to hit an incredible variety of shots—all of which was effectively impossible under the conditions.  [back]

 


Appendix: The Greatest Of All Time

As spoken to in the main part of this article, in one sense the argument about who is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in men’s tennis (a debate that now centers around Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic) is mis-placed, especially if (as is generally the case) this debate focuses on matters of quantity—numbers of Grand Slam titles, etc.—because with Roger Federer it is above all a matter of quality: the unique and essentially irreplaceable artistry he brings to the game, playing on a world-class level. But, without abandoning that decisive understanding, let’s examine the question of quantity—in a scientific way, drawing on relevant evidence in its significant dimensions.

First of all, in what is generally regarded as the most essential measure of greatness and achievement, there are the totals of Grand Slam titles won. While, as I will speak to shortly, this number, taken by itself, is not adequate to determine the issue of greatness (or, specifically, Greatest Of All Time), it does provide one important part of the picture. The current Grand Slam title numbers are: Federer 20; Nadal 19; Djokovic 17.

Looking into this further, however, we see that a clear majority of Nadal’s titles (12 of the 19) have been won on one particular surfaceclay—at the French Open Tournament. It is true that a large number of Federer’s Grand Slam titles have been won on his most favored surface—grass, at Wimbledon—but the majority of Federer’s titles have been won on other surfaces. And it is not simply the case, as more than a few commentators are known to say: “Well, Federer is the best on his favorite surface, and Nadal is the best on his.” If we subtract from Federer’s total of 20 the 8 he has won on grass at Wimbledon and subtract from Nadal’s total of 19 the number he has won on clay at the French Open (12), we end up with this count: Federer 12, Nadal 7—a difference far greater than the total numbers (20 and 19).

Beyond that, clay is not just “another surface.” It is a very different surface than either grass or “hard courts” (courts consisting mainly of asphalt or concrete), the other surfaces on which Grand Slam Tournaments are played. Clay causes the ball to bounce higher and effectively “slows down” the game, with the result that hitting “winners” (either with the serve or other shots) is more difficult, and those players whose game relies to a large extent on lengthy rallies, wearing down opponents, have an added advantage. All this plays heavily into the strengths of Nadal’s game. That there is not just a minor but a qualitative difference between clay and the other main tennis court surfaces is reflected in the fact that, on the one hand, in the men’s game specifically, there are at least 10 people who have won the French Open but have never won another Grand Slam title, while there are a number of tennis greats, with multiple Grand Slam wins (on grass and/or hard courts), who have never won on clay at the French Open—including not only Pete Sampras (with 14 total Grand Slam titles) but also Jimmy Connors (8), John McEnroe (7), Stephan Edberg, and Boris Becker (6 each). (Also, among women, those who have won multiple Grand Slam titles but never won at the French Open include Venus Williams, Virginia Wade, and Martina Hingis. And, although she has won at the French Open, Serena Williams—who can legitimately be considered the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, and indeed is one of the world’s greatest athletes in any sport—has had much less success on the clay at the French Open than she has on other surfaces.)

This difference in surfaces is strongly reflected in the head-to-head competition between Federer and Nadal: On every surface except clay Federer has the advantage, while on clay Federer’s wins against Nadal are less than 15%!

There is also the fact that changes, beginning more than 15 years ago, in the other surfaces besides clay—and in particular the grass at Wimbledon—has meant that, even while it is still the case that on Wimbledon’s grass the ball tends to “skid” through the court, overall the courts at Wimbledon do not “play faster” than many of the hard courts. In short, these surfaces, other than clay, have become much more similar, with grass no longer significantly different than hard courts—and the difference is certainly nothing like that between grass, and hard courts, on the one hand, and clay on the other. Thus, Federer’s wins at Wimbledon—which have come after these changes began there—are in no way in the same category as Nadal’s at the French Open.

All this puts into perspective the actual significance of Grand Slam titles won by each. Even if Nadal were to equal Federer’s total of 20 by winning the French Open this year (assuming it is actually held), that would not change the reality that Federer’s total of Grand Slam titles is much more meaningful in terms of being representative of overall accomplishment.

In regard to Djokovic, his Grand Slam total of 17 titles is also more evenly spread out among the different tournaments, with most coming at the Australian Open, but also significant numbers at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open, the last of the 4 Grand Slam Tournaments. (Notably, Djokovic, like Federer, has only won once at the French Open.) A number of commentators have offered the opinion that Djokovic, who is presently healthy and in “top form,” is likely (some even say “almost certain”) to catch or surpass Federer in number of Grand Slam titles.

This, however, is not certain. Federer won a majority of his titles before 2010, when he was in his 20s—although it is a measure of his greatness that he has won 3 titles in the last 3 years, at the age of 35 or older. Djokovic is now 33, and just as Federer faced very strong competition, from Nadal and then from Djokovic as he hit his prime just after 2010 (when he was in his early to mid 20s), as alluded to in the main part of this article, there are now a number of very talented younger players in the men’s game, who are just as hungry to win Grand Slams as Djokovic is to become the all-time Grand Slam title winner. Besides the question of age in general (and again, in terms of world-class tennis competition, being well past 30, and especially beyond 35, is “old”) there is also the fact that, with increasing age the likelihood of injuries, including more serious injuries, increases, and Djokovic has already not been free of injury during the overall period when he was at, or near, the very top of the men’s game. (It is another manifestation of Federer’s greatness that he has not only won a number of Grand Slam titles at 35 and older, but that he has done so after being sidelined with a knee injury serious enough to require surgery and then a period of rehabilitation.) For these reasons, among others, one is inclined to reply “not so fast” when hearing predictions that Djokovic will (almost) certainly surpass Federer, and overtake Nadal as well, in Grand Slam titles (besides the very real possibility that Nadal will win more Grand Slams, particularly keeping in mind his peculiar success at the French Open, there is also the fact that it would be a mistake—one which has been made before with regard to Federer—to discount the possibility of his winning one, or more, additional Grand Slam titles).

In terms of the GOAT argument, there is the fact that Djokovic has an overall narrow lead over Federer (27 to 23) in head-to-head matches. Here it has to be noted that this is the result of the fact that Djokovic gained the upper hand over Federer in head-to-head matches only after Federer was well past 30, while Djokovic was only in his 20s. Djokovic has continued this overall dominance in recent years, although a number of the matches he won were very close, and in 2 of their last 3 matches Federer has either beaten Djokovic—as he did convincingly in the end-of-the-year championships in 2019—or he has very, very narrowly lost to him, as happened in the 2019 Wimbledon final. (In that final Federer had two “match points”—a situation where he needed only to win one of the two next points in order to finish the match victoriously—on his own serve, but he was unable to finish Djokovic off and eventually suffered a heartbreaking loss in a classic match that was extended to nearly 5 hours. See the footnote below for some analysis of why Federer did not succeed in winning one of those two match points.**)

It was after this devastating defeat that Federer rebounded and decisively defeated Djokovic in two straight sets (2 sets to 0) in the end-of-the season championship (although Federer did not go on to win that tournament). It is true that Federer lost to Djokovic a couple of months later in the semi-finals of the Australian Open (a tournament won by Djokovic), but in that semi-final match Federer was clearly injured and not capable of playing anywhere near his best. Assuming world-class tennis is able to resume, in more or less its full dimensions, before so much time has elapsed that finally Federer has actually passed his prime, it remains to be seen whether, as he has with Nadal, Federer can gain a decisive upper hand over Djokovic, one more time, before Federer does finally decide it is time to give up competitively playing the sport he loves.

In any case, while Grand Slam titles and head-to-head competition are a significant part of the picture, in terms of determining who deserves the title of Greatest Of All Time, they are not the only factors that matter and they do not, by themselves, settle the question. As indicated above, the fact is that Federer has only been overtaken by Djokovic in head-to-head competition in more recent years when Federer has been in his 30s, even past 35—an age when, before Federer (and Serena Williams, in the women’s game), tennis players would have been considered well past their prime, certainly in terms of winning Grand Slam tournaments, something Federer has done as recently as 2018 (and very nearly did the next year at Wimbledon). Federer’s “longevity” is another important dimension to his greatness and to the argument for his status as the Greatest Of All Time. This is not just a matter of “hanging in there,” even at the very highest level, but of continually adding to an incredible record of accomplishment.

Looking at overall achievement, Federer has won far more tournaments overall (103) than either Nadal (85) or Djokovic (79). He has won far more matches (1,227) than Nadal (977) or Djokovic (893). He has gotten to more Grand Slam finals (31) than Nadal (27) or Djokovic (26). Federer has won more Grand Slam semi-finals (47) than Djokovic (36) and Nadal (33). Even more remarkably, Federer has far out-done both Djokovic and Nadal in consecutive appearances inGrand Slam semi-finals (23) and quarter-finals (33), accomplishments that are incredibly difficult to achieve.

It would be possible to go on at greater length into various statistics (and, while I believe the most relevant statistics strengthen the argument for Federer as the Greatest Of All Time, there are some that could be cited that are favorable to Djokovic or Nadal); but again, statistics, while part of the picture, do not give the full story, nor get to the essence of the matter. So, with regard to all that has been spoken to here, let me end with what I wrote near the conclusion of the main part of this article:

But, as truly great as Djokovic and Nadal are, and with whatever specific number of Grand Slam titles they ended up winning, when they leave tennis there will be others, young and hungry, who will rise to, or near, the level of play that has characterized the best of Djokovic and Nadal. With Federer, however, it is not a matter of quantity,not something that can be captured simply with statistics—the number of Grand Slams and other tournaments won, the amount of time as the top-ranked player, and so on—but much more one of quality: the artistry and creative genius of Federer, which has no equal in tennis, in any era, including the present one. As much as the governing bodies of a sport—and the television networks and other financial institutions which profit from it—seem to feel the need to market things in terms of “rivalries,” and this is definitely the case with tennis, there really is no “rival” to Federer, no one whose approach to the game and performance on the court compares to his or gives expression to the same synthesis of artistry and accomplishment. When Federer leaves, it will be a long time, if ever, before someone comes along who will bring to tennis the beauty and, yes the awe and wonder, that Federer has embodied and inspired.

 


** Note on Federer’s Narrow Loss to Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final:

Federer’s failure to win one of the two match points he had on his serve in the 2019 Wimbledon final against Djokovic has to do, on the one hand, with Djokovic’s “grittiness” but even more, and more concretely, with minor mis-steps on Federer’s part. On the first of those two match points, Federer narrowly missed his first serve—which, if he had gotten it in play, would very likely have resulted in his winning the point, and the match—and on the second serve of that point, after Djokovic returned the serve to a spot deep in the middle of the court, Federer attempted to hit the ball back on an angle into Djokovic’s backhand corner, which if it had succeeded would likely have put Djokovic on the run and given the advantage to Federer, with the probable result that Federer would have prevailed. But, in attempting this, Federer “went for a little too much” (hit the ball on too sharp an angle), with the result that the ball landed out and Djokovic won the point. On the next point, Federer’s first serve was in and, in response to a fairly routine return by Djokovic, Federer chose to come to the net, with the aim of finishing the point off quickly with a successful volley that Djokovic could not return (or could return only weakly, setting up Federer to finish off the point with his next shot). But, in this case, Federer’s “approach shot” (the shot he hit to set up his coming to the net) did not have quite enough on it (it was hit toward Djokovic’s forehand corner, but not deeply enough or at a sharp enough angle to force Djokovic into a position where he could only hit a weak shot in return, enabling Federer to finish off the point, and the match, from a solid position at the net). Instead, in response to Federer’s approach shot, Djokovic was able to set up well and hit a forehand winner, which got past Federer at the net and landed securely within the court, beyond the reach of Federer’s attempted forehand volley. From there, a no doubt momentarily deflated Federer lost the next two points and the game—and the chance to finish the match off then and there—although he was far from “folding,” and in fact he continued to fiercely battle Djokovic for another 8 games, before losing the final match-deciding “tie-breaker.”

Again, credit definitely has to go to Djokovic for “hanging tough” and “refusing to fold” when he was on the brink of defeat. But, at least as much, this was a matter of Federer quite understandably feeling the great pressure of being “oh so close” to what would have constituted one of his greatest victories—winning a Grand Slam title, at this late point in his career, in a match against another great player who has dominated Federer for most of the last few years. The result was that, in a situation where literally inches decide things, Federer failed, by the thinnest of margins, to prevail. If Federer had played either of these two match points a little less anxiously, it is very probable that he would have succeeded in winning the match. (With the first match point, Federer could have “gone for a little less” with his first shot after Djokovic’s return of serve—hitting the ball toward Djokovic’s backhand corner but “leaving a little more margin,” to make sure the ball was “in,” while still being an effective shot—and then working from there to gain the advantage in the point and finish it off. With the second match point, here again having an aggressive approach, as Federer did, rather than passive one, is right and necessary—and also difficult, because in a situation like this it is very tempting, and seemingly easier, to just keep the ball in play and hope that the opponent will make a mistake and “give you the point.” But, instead of “coming into the net” right away, Federer could have again “worked the point” a little longer, in order to get a clear advantage and then finish the point by coming to the net or with a winning ground stroke. Or, if Federer were going to come to the net early in the point, as he did following his first shot after Djokovic’s return of serve, then it would probably have been better to hit an “approach shot” into Djokovic’s backhand corner, forcing him to hit a difficult “passing shot,” which could then be volleyed away for the win. Of course—of course!—it is easier to offer these opinions here and now, far removed from the court and the crucial moment of play, and without any of the pressure that inevitably accompanies such a momentous situation, in which a decision has to be made on literally a “split-second” basis; but observations removed from the heat of the moment can be valid and valuable—and, in any case, I could not resist offering these observations here, for whatever they are worth!)

As I wrote in the main part of this article:

It is remarkable that Federer has been able to retain a powerful competitive spirit, and at the same time an unequaled “cool,” not only during the time when he was the undisputed “number one” in men’s tennis (and frequently referred to then as the Greatest Of All Time) but for many years after that as well. It is one thing to be “hungry” and “focused” when one is young and “rising,” striving to get to the very top of the rankings—or in the situation with Djokovic, who has yet to become, but has openly declared his intention to become, the holder of the most Grand Slam titles and presumably the honor of being declared the Greatest Of All Time—but it is a whole other matter to continue to strive for greatness at the highest level long after one has seemingly achieved all there is to achieve, as has been the case with Federer for some time now.

Ironically, however, that very determination almost certainly results in a feeling of tremendous pressure, especially up against one’s major competitors, in a situation where beating them still has great significance, especially after they have for some time had the upper hand over you, as was the case for Federer in his 2019 Wimbledon championship match against Djokovic.  [back]

 

1. See "Materialism and Romanticism: Can We Do Without Myth?" This is an excerpt from Getting Over the Two Great Humps: Further Thoughts on Conquering the World, which is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.  [back]

2. Mark Hodgkinson, Fedegraphica, A Graphic Biography of the Genius of Roger Federer, Updated edition, Aurum Press; Revised edition, 2018“Moves Like A Whisper” is the title of the fourth chapter of this book.  [back]

3. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/brashear-commit-to-1000-conversations-en.html

About BA's Constitution for the New Socialist Republic

Commit to 1000 Conversations

From the blog Just Enough for the City, Urban Ministry for the Global City.

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: We are reposting the following statement by Rev. Dr. Robert L. Brashear, New York Presbyterian clergy, which we believe can contribute to important dialogue and wrangling among people who are coming from different perspectives but share a common concern about the state of the world and the urgency of bringing a different, more just world into being. We especially appreciate his positive comments about the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, and the call for 1,000 discussions of this Constitution.

We strongly agree with Brashear’s statement: “I categorically reject the broadly held opinion that there is a moral equivalence between communism and Nazism.” However, where he refers to “the death counts accumulated by Stalin and Mao,” we do not agree that this is an accurate way to put things. As with all important aspects of reality, the history of the communist movement, and the socialist societies it has brought into being, is a complex matter. As can be seen in the works of Bob Avakian over a number of decades (including Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will from the early 1980s and the recent Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism – A Basic Summary), Bob Avakian has done extensive study, analysis and synthesis of the history of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being, and on this basis has drawn the firm conclusion that this experience has been overwhelmingly positive, although there have been significant errors made, some of them quite serious or in some cases even grievous. There is also a comprehensive discussion of this history in a special issue of Revolution, an interview with Raymond Lotta—You Don’t Know What You Think You “Know” About… The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future—which is available at revcom.us.

With regard to his statement that Bob Avakian, BA, is thorough but at times irritatingly so, and the implication that he is incapable of making succinct statements of his views, the fact is that, in addition to the Constitution which Brashear mentions, BA’s extensive of body of work consists of works of a variety of lengths, including books and substantial essays, speeches that are as long as six hours, and statements that consist of a single paragraph or a single sentence—but all of it is compelling in how it penetrates to the heart of things and shows the completely unnecessary nature of this system of capitalism-imperialism and the massive suffering it causes, and the possibility of a radically different and better world. In this connection, BA has commented:

The truth is that I would very much like to be in a situation where so many people are not so weighed down by so much misinformation, disinformation, ignorance and outright prejudice that it wouldn’t be necessary, so much of the time, to go into things in so much depth and at such length in order to break through the confusion and obstruction that presently keep so many from taking up a scientific approach to pursuing the truth and following the truth wherever it leads. But, then, there will always be new problems which we human beings will find ourselves needing to deeply engage, and so it is likely that there will never be a time when some things do not need to be grappled with at length, at times perhaps even irritatingly so.

 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Living in cronavirusworld 53: Without struggle there can be no progress

Around mid morning, I get a call from one of my communist friends. (I’m really going to have to write that essay some day!) Let me be clear....I categorically reject the broadly held opinion that there is a moral equivalence between communism and Nazism. I am fully aware of the death counts accumulated by Stalin and Mao. The objective fact is that every one of our major belief systems, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Communism....has shown themselves to be fully capable of murder. Period. Communists have been some of the most honorable people I have known. Humble, dedicated, disciplined, capable of self sacrifice and with a deep love of humanity. Nazism, all forms of fascism, ultimately has no love of people and is built on the idea that some people are superior to others and that there is no obligation to the common good. Even Christianity is based on an ultimately negative view of humankind. Communism, on the other hand, is perhaps, hopelessly utopian its view of humanity, which is its blessing, and to me as a reformed Christian, perhaps its curse. Recent studies are showing that the velvet revolutions of the 1980’s were not fought to end communism or socialism. The desire was to replace the sclerotic system of nomenklatura with an authentic socialist structure. As in all systems, the nomenklatura was nimble and was driven to figure out how to simply shift their power into a new configuration. This was not as Fukuyama called it, the end of history. It was not the victory of liberal democracy but of gangsterism. The Soviet Union was no more communist than the U.S. was a democracy. So that’s enough of that for now, just don’t give me the moral equivalent line, OK?

My friend is interested in what is going on out there. Especially among progressives. The fact is, we are at an unprecedented moment. Six months ago, when my friends were seeking to “drive out the Trump-Pence regime now,” and were working to build an actual revolution now, I felt they were badly out of touch with society. Bernie Sanders had made the word socialist acceptable in polite society. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad were giving marginalized peoples representatives who looked and sounded like them, as if voting could actually also result in a voice to be heard. Elected congresspeople could actually express criticism of Israel on the floor of congress and survive. It was not a good time to try and convince people that there was no real difference in who you voted for when objective reality seemed to tell a different story. But that was then. The democratic liberal elite closed ranks to quash the Sanders candidacy and promoted the all but finished Joe Biden whose moribund campaign had been all but buried with obituaries. And then the Coronavirus invaded and the whole world ground to a halt. (Meanwhile, Sanders will not even be on the New York primary ballot, because he’s “not running” anymore and AOC has been bounced from the ostensibly socialist Working Families Party line.) The world has changed.

I told my friend that it was clear to my circle that we are at a critical moment and nothing will ever be the same again. The virus has exposed the abject failure of this system to protect, to care for, the lives of its people, and globally speaking, any people. The U.S. in particular has been revealed to be a failed state incapable of rational response to a health crisis. In the popular view, we have gone from being admired...or feared...to being pitied. And beyond that there is the thought that there might be more method to the madness than we’d like to know. That they may know exactly what they are doing. There is no going back. The question is, where do we want to go and how do we get there?

I have been profoundly moved by the presence of nurses and other health care workers on the lines with Amazon and fast food workers and signage that says clearly that nothing changes as long as capitalism rules.

I urged my friend to get his colleagues to seriously engage people around the proposed Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. (Can be read at https://revcom.us/socialistconstitution/SocialistConstitution-en.pdf)

The work of Revolutionary Communist Party Chair Bob Avakian (or BA as his followers call him), the constitution is the most comprehensive detailed projection of how a truly socialist republic might function that I have seen. Whatever else you might say about Avakian, no one else from the radical left has gone this far in their vision. Avakian is nothing but thorough. Often annoyingly, irritatingly so. (I can’t imagine asking BA for an “elevator speech.”) I suggested to my friend that their cadre ought to commit to a 1000 conversations, engaging friends and neighbors over the question of so what is a better way of doing things? The way the corona virus crisis has been mishandled in this country provides the perfect opportunity to define what a humane and effective policy regarding pandemics would look like. The most interesting aspects of Avakian’s alternative are that it is proactive, international and cooperative by nature and actually takes science seriously. It’s a great place to begin a conversation. A thousand conversations. (A thousand flowers?)

Be clear, I am only saying what I am saying, nothing more. But the conversation about where we are going needs to start now. The fact is, we also need to be aware of what the stakes are. Those currently in power will not move aside any easier than the nomenklatura gangsters. They’re simply gangsters with different tailors. The 50th anniversary of Kent State (and Jackson State) reminds us of how the power structure responds to threat. As do the assault weapon armed thugs who shut down the Michigan state house. At the end of the day, this is serious business.

I needed a long walk. At the Frederick Douglass Houses I saw a sign. “Without struggle, there can be no progress.

In another window, I see lyrics by Si Kahn:

The more I study history, the more I seem to find

That in every generation there are times just like that time

When folks like you and me who thought that we were all alone

Within this honored movement found a home.

 

 

Posted by robert l brashear at 11:41 PM

Labels: ccoronavirusworld, communists, Constitution for the new socialist republic in North America, Governor Cuomo, revolutionary communist party Avakian, urban ministry

About Me

robert l brashear

Pastor, musician and theologian, sharing ongoing reflections on what’s going on in the world around us.


"Without struggle there can be no progress"


...in every generation...



I go to pick up a prescription and walk all the way home. Noticing the restaurants reopening. And those who have given up already, their windows filled with the “never coming back” brown paper. There are “thank you’s” everywhere.


I am clearly feeling worn. I'm tired of this.

 

 

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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.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-dictatorship-and-communism-en.html

DICTATORSHIP AND COMMUNISM—
FACTS AND FOOLISHNESS

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

“Communism is a dictatorship, and I don’t want to live in a dictatorship.”

First of all, people who say this don’t really know anything about communism. To really know about anything of importance, you have to at least do a little work—and for something as important as communism, this is all the more true. The fact is that communism is not enslaving but emancipating—and, through the work I have done over decades to further develop communism into a new communism, it is all the more emancipating and uplifting.

Second, you are living under a dictatorship right now—capitalist dictatorship.This is a system, a dictatorship, founded in the first place on slavery and genocide. It has built up its wealth and power, and its ability to enforce its dictatorship over people, by brutalizing and murdering, using and abusing, masses of people here and literally billions around the world. At the same time, it is plundering the environment and threatening the very existence of humanity in this way, and with its arsenals of nuclear destruction. If you don’t know this is true, you should find out! You can learn about it through the “American Crime” series and other facts and analysis on the website revcom.us.

Third, not all dictatorships are bad. Dictatorship means the institutionalized power to make things happen and to overcome resistance to making them happen. As long as people are divided into different classes with interests that are fundamentally opposed, there will be a dictatorship. Whether it is a good dictatorship or a bad dictatorship depends on: Who is doing the dictating, and for what, toward what end, and with what methods? Is it a bunch of bloodsuckers brutally exercising power over masses of people and stealing away their lives, slowly or quickly, in order to get rich and stay in power? Or is it a dictatorship exercised by the masses of people, with a government and leaders that really represent their fundamental interests in moving beyond all this? A government and leaders that enable them to gain and apply a scientific understanding of what the conditions and relations are that cause people to be exploited and oppressed, and to transform those conditions and relations in bringing a radically new society and world into being, defeating attempts to bring back the old, oppressive system and carrying forward the struggle to put an end to all exploitation and oppression, to get to the point where humanity is no longer divided into masters and slaves, where finally there is no need and no basis for dictatorship—no one with the interests and power to dictate to others, and no one in a position to be dictated over—which is precisely the point and the goal of communism.

You need to know these things—they have everything to do with what kind of future there is going to be, or whether there is going to be a future at all, not just for you but for all of humanity. You can learn about this by going to revcom.us and checking out my writings and talks, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North Americaa sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different, emancipating society and world—and other important knowledge you will find there. In the meantime, for those who ignorantly bad-mouth communism: Stop talking foolishness about something as important as this, when you don’t know a damn thing about it, except what those who are now exercising dictatorship over you, the capitalists, and their intellectual hit-men and mouthpieces, have told you to think.

 

 

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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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-morality-without-religion-en.html

MORALITY WITHOUT RELIGION,
EMANCIPATION THAT IS REAL

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

I heard that when people took out my article Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression to people on the west side of Chicago, someone raised: “Where does our morality come from if we aren’t religious?”

This is another way of saying: Can we be good without god? As I have said before, the answer to that is: We have to be good without god, because there is no god!

But let’s get into it a little deeper. First of all, the fact is that the morality in the Bible is not a good morality—it is a morality that upholds slavery, the oppression and brutalization of women, and all kinds of other horrors. This is also true of the Qur’an and the scriptures of other major religions as well. (If you don’t believe it, look into my book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World—and then go look at those scriptures themselves.)

Still, this is an important question: “Where does our morality come from if we aren’t religious?” The answer is that all morality comes from people—from the society and world that people live in. All the religious scriptures have been written by people living in a particular society at a particular time, and those scriptures are a kind of mirror of those societies. That is why, to cite one important example, the scriptures, and the notion of god in the scriptures, in the main “monotheistic” (one-god) religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are patriarchal, male supremacist (with “god” spoken of in male, patriarchal terms—“God, the Father,” and so on). The relations being described and insisted upon are patriarchal, male supremacist relations, with women being kept in an inferior position, often brutally so. These scriptures were written by human beings who lived within patriarchal, male supremacist societies, and the scriptures they wrote reflect this. At any given time, the morality that dominates within a particular society is one that reflects the existing conditions and relations within that society. And this morality will be promoted especially by those who benefit from those existing conditions and relations.

We need to take up and win people to a morality that is in line with the society and world that is both possible and necessary for humanity as a whole to thrive, in an all-around way, in moving beyond all situations in which one part of the people stands above and lords it over the others—a world without exploitation, inequality and oppression—a communist world.

I will come back to this point, but first let’s look further at how morality reflects the society in which people live. To take one important example, when slavery existed in this country, and played a big part in creating the wealth of this country, those who profited from slavery promoted the idea that slavery was “moral,” was a good thing, not just for the slave-owners but for the slaves as well, who were regarded as inferior and in need of the “guiding hand” of their masters to “civilize” them—as they were being cruelly exploited and oppressed. And these slave-owners used the Bible, and the way it upholds slavery, as a justification for what they were doing. But, as things developed, in the parts of the country where slavery might still have been legalized but did not play a big part in the development of the economy, there were capitalists whose wealth and power rested on other forms of exploitation (not literally owning people but using them as wage-workers—paying people, including children, starvation wages to work long hours under terrible conditions). Over time, the interests of these capitalists, who were centered mainly in the North, came into sharper and sharper conflict with the major slave-owners, who were located in the South. And finally this conflict of interests became so sharp and deep that it led to the Civil War—and, in waging war against the slave-owning Confederacy in the South, the leaders of the Union (in the North), headed by Abraham Lincoln, found that they had to free the slaves in order to win the war, and they actively promoted the idea that slavery was wrong—immoral.

This gets to another important point: Morality reflects the reality—the society and world—that people live in, but that reality is full of contradictionTo give another example from the history of this country, at its very beginning, in striving for independence from England, the founders of the country proclaimed (in the words of the Declaration of Independence) that “all men are created equal.” But here was another sharp contradiction: These words were written by Thomas Jefferson, himself a slave-owner who actively promoted the interests of the slave-owners and the extension of slavery throughout the expanding territory of the United States. Yet this contradiction—between the declaration that all men are created equal and the reality of slavery—was recognized and seized on by those who opposed slavery to argue and fight for the abolition of slavery. And, so too, in the fight for the rights of women: If it was being declared that all men are created equal, which was a claim to some kind of “universal” principle, good for all times and all situations, then why shouldn’t this also apply to women?

Today, humanity is living within the confines of the system of capitalism-imperialism. This is a system of exploitation, but it is not a system of outright slavery (although there are still actual and terrible forms of slavery in the world, including the sex trafficking and enslavement of millions of women and girls). So today, the morality that is promoted through all the major institutions of society, including the educational system, is one which justifies this system of exploitation and oppression, declaring (as the slave-owners did with their system in their time) that this system of capitalism-imperialism is good, is the best system, not only for the super-rich who profit from it, but for everyone, including all those who are exploited and maintained in conditions of deprivation and degradation.

But this system, too, is full of sharp and deep contradictions. Its declaration that it provides “equal opportunity for all” is shown to be a lie by the tremendous inequality that exists everywhere—inequality of status, but also of opportunity, not only in access to wealth but healthcare, education, housing, and every other part of society. So, too, the claim that there is “justice for all,” with “the rule of law” applied equally to all, is shown every day to be a farce, as Black people and other people of color are not only discriminated against through the “justice system” but are repeatedly brutalized and murdered by the police (the enforcers of “law and order”) and there is nothing further from the truth than the claim that a rich person and a poor person can each get “an equal shake” in this “justice system” (or equal treatment anywhere else in society). On an international level, the rulers of a capitalist country, such as this one, claim that they are working to develop relations of “peace and prosperity” in the world as a whole—but this claim is in profound contradiction to the reality that this system relies on maintaining much of the world in desperate conditions, so that there are masses of people who can be super-exploited for the benefit of the capitalist imperialists; and it relies on the threat and the use of force, of massive violence, to maintain countries and people in these dominated and desperate conditions. (Plus, there is the rivalry between the different capitalist countries, including the USA, China, Russia, and others, for the top-dog position in this dog-eat-dog world of capitalist-imperialist domination.)

The answer to all this is NOT to “make this system live up to its promises of justice and equality.” Many have tried this, and all have failed—because this inequality and injustice is built into this system, and the very nature and functioning of the economy in a capitalist-imperialist system continually creates and requires massive poverty, inequality and oppression—and war to enforce all this—throughout the world. 

The answer is to overthrow this system as the first great step to eliminating all the unnecessary suffering that this system imposes on the masses of humanity. The basis exists, in the technology and the knowledge of people, all over the world, to put an end to the outrageous situation that now exists where, amidst fantastic wealth and overall abundance, there is widespread poverty in the world, with millions of children dying each year from starvation and preventable disease, and the masses of humanity maintained in conditions of poverty, ignorance and misery, backed up by unspeakable violence and the resulting destruction. 

It is in the contradiction between what is now possible, in terms of the emancipation and the uplifting of the masses of humanity, on the one hand and, on the other hand, the terrible conditions which this system imposes on those masses, as well as the very real threat it poses to the future of humanity—it is in this contradiction that the basis exists for a revolution to overthrow and move beyond this system, and all systems and relations that treat human beings as less than human, as merely a means to make wealth for and to serve others. And the morality we need is the morality that recognizes this profound contradiction and encourages and inspires the struggle to abolish and move beyond it through the communist revolution.

This is a morality based not on notions of some supposedly all-powerful but really non-existent gods (or other imaginary supernatural beings and forces) but on a scientific method and approach to reality and a scientifically-grounded understanding of the need, and the possibility, for this most radical and emancipating revolution.

Bob Avakian On

EMANCIPATION
FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION

Read more   |   Download leaflet 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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/black-people-revolutionary-struggle-to-end-all-oppression-en.html

The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian on The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression

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.

Bob Avakian

an illustrated excerpt from the film
“THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In The Name of Humanity,
We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America
A Better World IS Possible
A Talk by Bob Avakian”

Watch the entire film here

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

Watch the whole speech here

What will it take for masses of white people to break from white supremacy? A Q&A with Bob Avakian

Watch the whole speech here

WATCHING FRUITVALE STATION WITH BOB AVAKIAN

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

Read here | Download printable PDF

BOB AVAKIAN FOR THE LIBERATION OF BLACK PEOPLE
AND THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY

One of the things that comes through most powerfully in Bob Avakian’s memoir is that a profound hatred for the oppression of Black people has been a defining part of Bob Avakian’s life from the time, as a teenager, he learned about the lives of the Black people with whom he developed deep ties of friendship. Never feeling that, because he is white, “it is not his place” to be involved in the struggle against this oppression—but, on the contrary, determined to contribute whatever he could to this struggle—Bob Avakian (BA), from the time he worked closely with the Black Panther Party in its revolutionary days in the 1960s, has made the liberation of Black people a defining part of his life’s commitment and work. As he developed as a revolutionary communist, and emerged as the foremost revolutionary leader and thinker in the world, this commitment has become even deeper and has been strongly interwoven with a dedication to the emancipation of all humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation.

Read the entire article.

Historic Pieces from Bob Avakian during the Beautiful Rising in the wake of George Floyd's murder by the police

The Revolutionary Potential of the Masses and the Responsibility of the Vanguard

One of the things that I see, something that I haven't lost sight of, is this: I see all the strength of the ruling class, but I also see all the way through all this shit, all the contradictions in society—I actually see a force in this society that, if it were developed into a revolutionary people, actually could have a go at it, could have a real chance of making a revolution, or being the backbone force of a revolution, when the conditions were ripe. I see a force of millions and millions and millions—youth and others—for whom this system is a horror: It isn't going to take some cataclysmic crisis for this system to be fucking over them. The ruling class, ironically, sees them too. It is those who once had but have lost—or those who never had—a revolutionary perspective...it is they who can't see this.

Read more

The New Communism

From “Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution,” an excerpt from the section: 

National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution

Read here

Learn more about the book.

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

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

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:1

Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy

Read online

Listen to MP3 audio:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

American Crimes — The Ugly History of This Country

From the revcom.us series American Crime:

Read the entire American Crime series

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

BAsics 1:1


There is a semi-official narrative about the history and the "greatness" of America, which says that this greatness of America lies in the freedom and ingenuity of its people, and above all in a system that gives encouragement and reward to these qualities. Now, in opposition to this semi-official narrative about the greatness of America, the reality is that—to return to one fundamental aspect of all this—slavery has been an indispensable part of the foundation for the "freedom and prosperity" of the USA. The combination of freedom and prosperity is, as we know, still today, and in some ways today more than ever, proclaimed as the unique quality and the special destiny and mission of the United States and its role in the world. And this stands in stark contradiction to the fact that without slavery, none of this—not even the bourgeois-democratic freedoms, let alone the prosperity—would have been possible, not only in the southern United States but in the North as well, in the country as a whole and in its development and emergence as a world economic and military power.

BAsics 1:8


Determination decides who makes it out of the ghetto—now there is a tired old cliché, at its worst, on every level. This is like looking at millions of people being put through a meatgrinder and instead of focusing on the fact that the great majority are chewed to pieces, concentrating instead on the few who slip through in one piece and then on top of it all, using this to say that "the meatgrinder works"!

BAsics 1:11


If you want to talk about who owes whom—if you keep in mind everything the capitalists (as well as the slaveowners) have accumulated through all the labor Black people have carried out in this country and the privileges that have been passed out to people on that basis—there wouldn't even be a U.S. imperialism as there is today if it weren't for the exploitation of Black people under this system. Not that the exploitation of Black people is the whole of it—there has been a lot of other people exploited, both in the U.S. and internationally, by this ruling class. But there wouldn't be a U.S. imperialism in the way there is today if it weren't for the exploitation of Black people under slavery and then after slavery in the sharecropping system and in the plants and other workplaces in a kind of caste-like oppression in the cities.

BAsics 1:12


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


The Black people, the youth, with their pants hanging down around their knees, their hats on backwards, their swagger, much of which I admire, weren't the ones who picked the jobs up and took them out of the ghetto. The people filling the prisons, the people in the gangs weren't the ones who took the jobs and moved them away. They were not the ones who, when Black people went chasing jobs, relocated them over the decades, discriminated against them, brought the police out to harass them and made it very difficult for them to get a job and keep a job under those circumstances.

None of that was done by the masses whom Bill Cosby so cheaply chooses to attack in this way. These were conditions that were caused by the dynamics of capitalist accumulation in its international dimension as well as within the country and by conscious policies of ruling class politicians in line with this.

BAsics 1:18


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 has 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.

BAsics 1:24


An Appeal to Those the System Has Cast Off

Here I am speaking not only to prisoners but to those whose life is lived on the desperate edge, whether or not they find some work; to those without work or even homes; to all those the system and its enforcers treat as so much human waste material.

Raise your sights above the degradation and madness, the muck and demoralization, above the individual battle to survive and to "be somebody" on the terms of the imperialists—of fouler, more monstrous criminals than mythology has ever invented or jails ever held. Become a part of the human saviors of humanity: the gravediggers of this system and the bearers of the future communist society.

This is not just talk or an attempt to make poetry here: there are great tasks to be fulfilled, great struggles to be carried out, and yes great sacrifices to be made to accomplish all this. But there is a world to save—and to win—and in that process those the system has counted as nothing can count for a great deal. They represent a great reserve force that must become an active force for the proletarian revolution.

BAsics 3:16

Editor's note: Tyisha Miller was a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car, resulting from a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdering her. Bob Avakian addressed this.

If you can't handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people's police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That's what you're supposed to do if you're actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this "serve and protect" bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it's been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that's one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

BAsics 2:16


People say: "You mean to tell me that these youth running around selling drugs and killing each other, and caught up in all kinds of other stuff, can be a backbone of this revolutionary state power in the future?" Yes—but not as they are now, and not without struggle. They weren't always selling drugs and killing each other, and the rest of it—and they don't have to be into all that in the future. Ask yourself: how does it happen that you go from beautiful children to supposedly "irredeemable monsters" in a few years? It's because of the system, and what it does to people—not because of "unchanging and unchangeable human nature."

BAsics 3:17


Even with very real changes in the situation of Black people, as part of the larger changes in the society (and the world) overall—including a growth of the "middle class" among Black people, an increase in college graduates and people in higher paying and prestigious professions, with a few holding powerful positions within the ruling political structures, even to the extent now of a "Black president"—the situation of Black people, and in particular that of millions and millions who are trapped in the oppressive and highly repressive conditions of the inner city ghettos, remains a very acute and profound contradiction for the American imperialist system as a whole and for its ruling class—something which has the potential to erupt totally out of the framework in which they can contain it.

BAsics 3:18


There will never be a revolutionary movement in this country that doesn't fully unleash and give expression to the sometimes openly expressed, sometimes expressed in partial ways, sometimes expressed in wrong ways, but deeply, deeply felt desire to be rid of these long centuries of oppression [of Black people]. There's never gonna be a revolution in this country, and there never should be, that doesn't make that one key foundation of what it's all about.

BAsics 3:19


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

BAsics 4:1


During that time and on the way back after the game I was sitting with some Black friends of mine on the football team, and we got into this whole deep conversation about why is there so much racism in this country, why is there so much prejudice and where does it come from, and can it ever change, and how could it change? This was mainly them talking and me listening. And I remember that very, very deeply—I learned a lot more in that one hour than I learned in hours of classroom time, even from some of the better teachers.

BAsics 4:23


The "Bible Belt" in the U.S. is also the Lynching Belt.

BAsics 5:5


Do Black people need to take responsibility?
Responsibility for what?

Responsibility for REVOLUTION—DEFINITELY! We all need to take responsibility for making revolution—to emancipate all of humanity from this whole system of oppression.

BAsics 5:21

 

 

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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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/black-people-revolutionary-struggle-to-end-all-oppression-en.html#acseries

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/posts-from-the-struggle-en.html

Posts from the Struggle

| revcom.us

 

We urge our readers to write or record things that can be used by the revolutionary leadership, on revcom.us, through social media and on The RNL Show, to help build the revolution.

~~~~~~~~~~

From a member of the Revolution Club, Chicago:

Hey club, really good job. Even for the people who weren’t there. It was really important we did this... it was really fucking beautiful you all what we did today (May 28). And really important so I just wanted to let everybody know.

Ok, my thoughts. the Revolution Club called a protest today and it was really a beautiful thing you know. A lot of youth came out to it, white youth, Latino youth and a lot of women. It was really striking to see that. So the club got there and we were getting ready to do our press conference and what-not and some guys from the life, they came up and they were telling us did we check-in to be here and what-not and we told them we did. So there was some contention among that and they wanted us to leave but so we told them that we were representing something much bigger than Englewood. This is about the people of the world you know. And also the fact is it is not just a particularity to Englewood where Black and Brown people were being murdered. This is all across America.

So that was being contended and actually bringing out the actual revolution to put an end to this. You know people were really resonating with that. We were chanting, “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution, Nothing Less.” We did “1, 2, 3, 4 slavery, genocide and war, 5, 6, 7, 8 America was never great.” And they weren’t dead chants. And we did “Black Lives Matter” and “No More Racist Police,” and they were filled with a lot of emotion and conviction. People showed a lot of spirit and determination.

At one point as we were marching a brother joined us and there was a confrontation with the police. And at one point, we tried to help protect the brother and they ended up grabbing him and putting him in a hot ass paddy wagon. And he was telling people he couldn’t breathe, and people started chanting “Let him go.” And then somebody said “Fuck 12” and that’s when the pigs they started bum-rushing us and one club member got choked and pushed to the ground but luckily people intervened and helped them out.

There was a lot of determination amongst the masses who were out and they could see the lines of who was actually the real enemy and people did have each other’s back and they had the club’s back and that’s really important when you step out into these situations and people actually showing support. It was a beautiful thing.

Some of the other things. A couple people in the community saying “why can’t you leave” and “we work with the police over here.” People weren’t having that. It’s not about this particular community it’s about they keep killing Black and Brown people over and over again. So people really picked that up. Cuz usually you tell “okay white people go home.” If a Black person says that, people start going home. But that was like, “No.” But people didn’t fold, they didn’t bend. And it was really important that happened.

Also it was really important that different club members were speaking to this--the two choices and we kept constantly going back to that. Either we are going to live with this or make revolution. I also thought that really resonated with people.

~~~~~~~~~~

From a reader, Chicago:

On Thursday, May 28, the Revolution Club in Chicago led a protest for Justice for George Floyd in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Englewood is known for police violence and violence among the people. It is one of the South Side neighborhoods where savage inequalities have let the coronavirus ravage the people. Over Memorial Day weekend, unmasked pigs marauded through the Englewood neighborhood, harassing people for not social distancing. (This is in a city where “Reopen” fascists have held multiple rallies without masks and with weapons and confederate flags.) Chance the Rapper called out the blatant racism in a tweet:

“Yo I seen HUNDREDS of ppl at millennium park and pics of even more at the parks on the north side. Outside, no masks, no social distancing, enjoying themselves. Please stop sending large groups of militarized police into our neighborhoods exclusively.”

The protest, called “We Deserve to Live, We Need Revolution,” drew about 50 people, mostly youth, very, very angry, from across the city. They brought their own signs, like one that said, “I can’t stay silent when Black people don’t have the right to breathe.” It struck me these were the youth, when we went out around police brutality, who would be the ones shouting, “Fuck the police.” But this time they came out. There were people there too from Refuse Fascism, with their “Trump and Pence Out Now” signs. I asked people why they came, and could they imagine a world without white supremacy and police murder, a world we’d need revolution to achieve.

A group of young Latinas came to express their outrage and support for Black people. One woman said: “We’re tired of this. I saw the video but I didn't share it. I don’t want to put people through the pain of seeing it. Yes, we need to abolish the police and everything needs to change.”

A white youth said, “This is about white supremacy and capitalism. The police go back to slavery, they come out of slavery. They lie and cover this up. We need to dismantle white supremacy in this country.” He agreed it would take revolution to do that.

Two white youth said, “Black lives matter.” One said, “For too long, when Black people protest, no white people are there. No more. We’re out to change that, we want to mobilize everyone we can.” About imagining a better world, he said, “I can imagine it and we better be working on it.”

A Black youth with a friend said he came because “This is a great injustice, on top of all the other injustices, what happened to Ahmaud [Arbery], and what happens to Black people every day. We need to stand up.” He said he had a hard time imagining the world I described, but wanted to go to revcom.us to find out more about it.

I talked to a young guy from the neighborhood who joined the protest. He said he heard a “commotion” and had to check it out. “I'm really glad to see this. I’m so tired of seeing Black people killed over and over again.” In response to imagining a world without white supremacy and police murder, he said, “I’m not sure what it will take, but revolution sounds good to me.”

At the rally members of the Revolution Club and others spoke. Club members referenced the powerful video statement by Noche Diaz where he says police will never stop murdering Black and Brown people until we get rid of the fucking system, and we can, with the scientific revolutionary leadership of Bob Avakian. And they quoted Bob Avakian: “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.”

Then the march took off through the neighborhood. Chants rang out: “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Ass Police,” “How Do We Get Out of this Mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” “George Floyd, Say His Name,” and “I Can’t Breathe.” Marchers carried a beautiful “Stolen Lives” banner with pictures of a few dozen of the thousands murdered by police.

At one point the march stopped. A Revolution Club member spoke to the neighborhood people:

“We have to come together, no matter what your club or organization. They’re killing us one by one. This is about humanity. Like Bob Avakian said, we have two choices: either, live with all this and condemn future generations to the same or worse, or make revolution!”

Some people joined the protest from sidewalks and porches. On an open mic, a mother spoke: “I was arrested and put in the crazy house for driving on a suspended license. They were trying to get rid of me but I’m still here. Fuck the police, every last one of them.”

A man spoke who had come all the way from the West Side of Chicago: “The people of Englewood, these are hardworking people. We’re taking back the streets of Englewood. I’m not the only crazy motherfucker out here.”

Another revolutionary spoke: “The white supremacists are hunting us down like wild game. If we don’t stand up, they’re going to keep doing it.”

On the way back the march took the street. Some neighborhood people confronted the marchers, saying there shouldn’t be protesters from “outside” of Englewood “going home to sleep in their comfortable beds.” A man from the neighborhood stepped up to say he lived here and was with this. A revolutionary answered back, “I live in America, and I go to sleep every night agonizing over what this fucking system does to people. I represent all the people who say ‘No More!’” Someone from the crowd started a chant, “The people united will never be divided,” and the march took off back into the streets, with a chorus of cars honking raucously in support.

News flash: One protester was arrested. The Revolution Club is calling for his immediate release.

~~~~~~~~~~

More Posts from the struggle:

Englewood, Chicago - May 28, 2020

 

 

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/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

 

 

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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.

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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

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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

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

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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

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

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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/650/justice-for-george-floyd-breonna-taylor-and-ahmaud-arbery-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America! Trump and Pence Out Now!

| revcom.us

 

George Floyd was torturously murdered in plain sight by Minneapolis cops as onlookers begged them to stop. In Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery, a Black jogger was murdered by white vigilantes on video. In Louisville police stormed in and murdered Breonna Taylor in her own home; she was not a suspect in any crime.

In Minneapolis, thousands taking to the streets in grief and anger were met with more brutality – tear gassed, beaten, corralled, and condemned as rioters.

Enough is enough! No more white supremacist murder by police and armed vigilantes! Refuse Fascism stands with everyone fighting for justice for George Floyd.

Police murder of black and brown people was already an ongoing scourge before Trump and Pence, but under this regime, it has and will continue to get qualitatively worse. Encouraged and enforced at the highest levels of power, in tandem with ICE as the American Gestapo and an unleashed reservoir of street-level thugs and vigilantes, a reign of terror has already begun.

What Trump has said is profoundly true: "Cops love Trump and Trump loves cops." He told police to stop being "too nice" and threatens the opposition with his police, military, and Bikers for Trump. Wherever MAGA hordes gather, "Blue Lives Matter" flags fly alongside Confederate, American, and Nazi flags. The Department of Justice has virtually stopped overseeing police brutality cases, and refused to bring federal criminal charges in the outrageous murder of Eric Garner.

Compare the brutality against courageous protesters in Minneapolis to the way police stood aside while the howling, racist, armed mobs of the fascist "Re-open America" rallies marched into Statehouses with impunity, hung governors in effigy, and shouted into the faces of guards.

The hypocrisy is not accidental. The squashing of righteous dissent, along with the emboldening of violent intimidation by fascists in and out of uniform, is key to consolidating power and hammering in a nightmare for humanity. Make no mistake. The aim of these fascists is a world where Black people and other oppressed groups live in constant fear and subordination.

Refuse Fascism will be in the streets demanding justice for George Floyd. We call on anyone, from any race, who is standing on the sidelines right now to join the chorus of outrage and raise your voices.

We also call on everyone to see that the fight for justice now must include a growing movement of people – the millions who do not want to live under white supremacist mob rule in a fascist America – preparing to fill the streets in sustained, non-violent protest to drive the fascist Trump/Pence regime out of power. Should we fail to do so, this and every struggle for justice will be set back and eventually crushed. But if we succeed, we can begin to force the boots of violent oppressors off the necks of our brothers and sisters.

Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery!

In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America!
Trump and Pence Out Now!


Photo: RefuseFascism.org

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


Printable posters at RefuseFascism.org

 

 

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/worst-case-scenario-continuing-to-accept-a-fascist-america-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

The Worst-Case Scenario is Continuing to Accept a Fascist America

by Coco Das

| revcom.us

 

Today’s Sunday New York Times featured an article about the growing fear among Democrats and even some moderate Republicans that Trump will refuse to leave office – either by losing and contesting the results of the 2020 elections, stealing the election through voter suppression, or canceling the election altogether. The article described how think tanks and task forces have been talking about and preparing for worst-case scenarios, “gaming out how to respond to various doomsday options,” but did not actually get around to offering any solutions.

It’s no secret that the Trump/Pence regime is already laying the groundwork for de-legitimizing any result that goes against them. Even before Trump won the 2016 election, he said he might not accept the results if Hillary Clinton won. They’ve even contested the results of the 2016 popular vote despite the fact that they made it to the White House through the Electoral College. They have continually peddled baseless voter fraud conspiracy theories accusing Democrats of stealing elections, and Jared Kushner would not even commit to stating there would be an election in November. Just today, Trump tweeted that mail-in ballots would lead to the “greatest Rigged Election in history,” at a time when we face a global pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 people in this country.

Even more chilling, recently the Republican Party announced a plan to recruit 50,000 “election monitors” who will stand at the polls in 15 key states to “challenge” suspicious-looking voters and ballots. This plan also includes spending millions of dollars on ads that cast the Democrats as “agents of election theft.” It should not be hard to guess what kinds of volunteers will be recruited for this so-called monitoring and challenging – the same forces that have been called out for the Re-open America rallies, 21st Century MAGA Klansmen and brownshirts who have been harassing people for wearing masks and staging displays that threaten bald violence, armed insurrection, and white supremacist and misogynist terror.

People should be planning for and considering worst-case scenarios for the 2020 elections, but the worst-case scenario for humanity is not about whether Trump loses or wins. Worst-case scenario is that the millions of people in this country who hate this regime but have waited to resolve this through the elections – will continue to accept an even more fascist America.

And while the GOP has been laying the groundwork for ensuring their victory, the Democratic leadership has already conceded a lot of ground by stating that the only way to avoid this is by beating Trump by a large enough margin – a landslide – so that the results cannot be contested. Nancy Pelosi said this even before the impeachment, and it was just re-stated in a tweet by the author and activist Amy Siskind. Citing an article full of logical fallacies, Siskind tweeted “It can’t be close to give him any excuse. He must lose 40+ states and take the Senate down with him!”

Look at the logic here and how this allows fascists to set the terms and shatter the rule of law. We are being asked to accept that if Trump loses by a small margin, he should be allowed to contest the results and stay in office. And who do you think will get to decide what is a large enough margin to declare a defeat?

Look at the logic here and how this allows fascists to set the terms and shatter the rule of law. We are being asked to accept that if Trump loses by a small margin, he should be allowed to contest the results and stay in office. And who do you think will get to decide what is a large enough margin to declare a defeat? Who will enforce getting him out of office under any circumstance? Trump’s Supreme Court? His Department of Justice? His federal judiciary? A Senate that the GOP is determined to win by any means? What will the Democrats do when they are confronted with the kinds of armed mobs that fascist forces have already called out in Michigan, forcing legislators to wear bullet-proof vests? What will they do when Trump makes good on his threat that the police, military, and Bikers for Trump are on his side?

Consider this quote from the above-mentioned New York Times article. “’We hope there are safeguards in place,’” said Norman J. Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who participated in the task force. “’Let’s face it, those safeguards ought to include the Senate of the United States and the Justice Department. There’s reason to be nervous.’”

This clearly represents a sharp division at the top of society, with Democrats trying to resolve this on their own terms. But this cannot be resolved without the masses of people being called out to take a visible stand in the streets, something the Democratic Party is loathe to do. The truth of this passage in the Refuse Fascism Statement of Conscience/Call to Act is all the more relevant:

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.

There are too many people wanting you to freak out just enough to vote, but calm down about what this actually means for humanity and the planet we share.

Here is another question for people to confront: What if Trump wins, fairly or fraudulently? There are too many people wanting you to freak out just enough to vote, but calm down about what this actually means for humanity and the planet we share. The body count is growing rapidly with the potential to multiply, not only from COVID-19 but from this regime starting another nuclear arms race, from their climate and science denial, from their rapid destruction of the environment, from their alliances with other fascists around the world, and the list goes on. Wake up, stand up, shake off this deadly passivity. For the love of all the children of the world, we cannot accept this.


Potential Republican "election monitors"? Armed militia occupying the Michigan state Capitol demanding an end to "stay at home" orders intended to slow the spread of Covid-19.

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/508/rf-shameful-dangerous-wrong-attacks-on-antifa-en.html

September 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

From Refuse Fascism:

Shameful, Dangerous, Wrong Attacks on Antifa

There is NO moral "equivalence" between those seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism, and those fighting against this nightmare

 

A controversy has erupted around Antifa, a broad grouping of people who are anti-fascist and anti-racist, many of whom are associated with anarchism. After torch-wielding white supremacists and Nazis brutalized and even murdered in Charlottesville, Donald Trump argued that Antifa and other counter-protesters were just as responsible for violence and hate. In reality, Antifa and others played a courageous role in defending people against the brutal violence threatened and inflicted by fascists. Since then, the media has reported that the Department of Homeland Security has classified Antifa’s activities as "domestic terrorist violence." Nancy Pelosi has called for the arrest and prosecution of members of Antifa. The mayor of Berkeley has called for them to be classified as a "gang." And some voices of the so-called "progressive left" have joined in condemning and distancing from Antifa.

In this context, RefuseFascism.org wants to make the following critical points of orientation:

[1] There is NO moral "equivalence" between those who are seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism on society and those who are fighting against this nightmare. Fascist forces, both within and outside of the government, are seeking to impose an order that not only strengthens white supremacy, misogyny, and all forms of bigotry, but actually returns society to the days of open white supremacy and Jim Crow segregation, anti-Semitism and Nazism, violent and repressive misogyny, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, and global destruction through wars and environmental devastation. Their acts and rhetoric correspond to this vision and these goals. All this is happening in a 21st Century context, with the Trump/Pence regime seizing the power to enact and consolidate this vision as quickly as possible. Those standing up against these horrific views and aims and are on the right side of history. One side is right. One side is wrong. There is no equivalency.

[2] To stand against injustice at this moment requires firmly understanding that the attacks against "Antifa" are designed to intimidate, suppress, and divide all opposition to fascism. The threats and attacks on Antifa and anyone else standing up against fascism, especially attempts by the state to brand them as "terrorist" or put them on watchlists, must be opposed. Criminalizing protest and resistance is an essential part of the consolidation of fascism which is fast underway under the Trump/Pence Regime. Given the horrific assault on Muslims, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, Black people, science, the environment, civil liberties, and people around the world by this regime, it is more important than ever that people have the right to stand up to fascism, to protest and to resist. Differences over tactics, where they exist, must not divide the people’s resistance. Distancing and effectively joining in the threats and attack by this fascist regime, and other government authorities, is not only morally bankrupt, it also accommodates and quickly leads to collaboration with fascism. We have learned from Nazi Germany that allowing one group to be criminalized only strengthens the momentum of fascism as it targets group after group.

[3] Refuse Fascism does not initiate violence. We oppose violence against the people and among the people, but we uphold people’s fundamental and legal right to self-defense. We welcome and actively seek to involve people who come from a great diversity of views on many big questions, including when and whether any form of violence is ever legitimate. This is a great strength as it will take millions of people working and struggling together to stop a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime. The efforts we undertake together consist of nonviolent political protest.

[4] Some on "the left" have claimed that the actions of Antifa and others who confront fascist thugs directly are a "gift to the right" by "provoking and legitimizing" repression and assault by fascists. This is wrong. This argument rests on a wrong assessment of the danger we face. We face a fascist regime that is tearing up democratic norms and civil rights. The unleashing of organized fascist thugs to intimidate and terrorize is integral to the consolidation of fascism. It is a key part of how resistance is pacified into compliance. This process is well underway and it is not caused by – nor is it a response to – militant protest against it. This process will not stop if militant resistance stops. Rather, the full imposition of the most brutal and terroristic forms of fascism in America will continue to advance unless and until millions come together to drive the fascist Trump/Pence Regime from power.

[5] Arguments toward moral equivalency must not be allowed to become a rationale for "good people" to stand aside. Paralysis has far-reaching consequences. Silence is complicity, and not making a choice because of a fear of going outside of normal channels and possibly encountering violence allows the horrors of fascism to advance. Those who truly abhor all forms of violence need to honestly ask themselves what they are doing to stand up to the brutal violence of fascism. Staying on the fence with a wait and see attitude is also not a morally neutral position; it is to watch the march of fascism toward genocide and the destruction of the planet, with no more outrage than a shrug of the shoulder. There is no perfectly safe place to wage this struggle. There may be safety for some in staying home and remaining ambivalent, but that comes at a great cost to one’s own humanity.

*****

Every day, the urgency for people to come together from a diversity of perspectives to refuse to accept a fascist America by driving out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime grows! Join us in getting organized – building the broadest unity possible – to take to the streets starting Nov 4th in a sustained movement that grows day after day and night after night, from many thousands to millions, not stopping until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

In this effort, we must Unite All Who Can Be United and Defeat Attempts to "Divide and Conquer":

Don't allow the ruling forces, or any other force, to divide us or pit us against each other. Don't fall for "divide and conquer" schemes and divisive actions, reject and rise above petty disputes and sectarian squabbles—reach out BROADLY to UNITE ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED, from different perspectives and viewpoints, around the great unifying objective of driving out, through massive, sustained political mobilization, this regime which has already done such great harm and which poses a grave threat to humanity.

This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

 

 

 


 

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.

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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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.

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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]


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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:

 

 

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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.

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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
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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.

 

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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

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

 

 

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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.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/596/message-from-the-national-revolution-tour-en.html

Special REVOLUTION newspaper issue, March 2020

"You Think You're Woke...
But You're Sleepwalking Through A Nightmare

This System Cannot Be Reformed,
It Must Be Overthrown!"

A Message from: The National Get Organized
for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

To you who are fed up with this society and “solutions” that are no solution:

There Is a Way Out of This Madness!

Get Into Bob Avakian (BA)

A Radically Different Leader
Who Has Developed
A Whole New Framework
For Human Emancipation

5-2-6: 5 STOPS, 2 CHOICES, AND 6 POINTS OF ATTENTION - Easy to remember: concentrating the path to getting organized for revolution

5-2-6: 5 STOPS, 2 CHOICES, AND 6 POINTS OF ATTENTION - Easy to remember: concentrating the path to getting organized for revolution

5 STOPS—five horrific forms of oppression that this system can't reform away. The 5 STOPS:

STOP

Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!

STOP

The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!

STOP

Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

STOP

The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!

STOP

Capitalism-Imperialism from
Destroying Our Planet!

Spread these everywhere

2 CHOICES:

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

—Bob Avakian

Spread this everywhere

6 POINTS OF ATTENTION which The Revolution Club upholds, lives by, and fights for.... Spread them. Take them up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spread these everywhere

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.

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."

Read more

BROADSHEET PDFs

(To order printed copies, contact Revolution, c/o RCP Publications, Box 3486, Merchandise Mart,
Chicago, IL 60654-0486 • 773-227-4066 • rcppublications@gmail.com)

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

This System Cannot Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown!”

The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

Bob Avakian

Get Into:
Bob Avakian (BA)
the leader of the revolution

We have a great strength in the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), who over decades has developed the new communism, qualitatively advancing the science. BA breaks down why reality is the way it is, and how people can change it for the better.

He has developed the science, the strategy, and the concrete vision and blueprint for a radically different and much better society and world in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. At the same time, BA deeply understands and connects with the most oppressed, and he provides strategic leadership for the movement today.

The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour

This broadsheet was put out by the National Tour To Get Organized for An Actual Revolution. If you agree with what you have read and want to help spread the word about this revolution, click here. To find out more about Bob Avakian and the new communism, click here.

To find out more and support the tour, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

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

Excerpts from:

Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

by Bob Avakian

Updated | revcom.us

 

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

 

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

Posted December 9, 2019:

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

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

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

 

Posted December 1, 2019:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Posted November 11, 2019:

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

 

 

Virulent Individualism and Oblivious Individualism

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

Posted November 4, 2019:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Posted October 21, 2019:

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

And, as gone into more fully in BAsics:

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

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

 

 

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

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

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

| revcom.us

 

Note Added by the Author, Fall 2019

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Individualism, BEB and the Illusion of "Painless Progress"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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)

 

 

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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.

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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!

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/605/fascists-and-communists-completely-opposed-worlds-apart-en.html

Fascists and Communists:
Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

By Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT IS FASCISM

Statements from Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, bourgeois dictatorship in any form is very bad for the masses of people, very oppressive and repressive of the masses of people, and needs to be overthrown. But an overt fascist dictatorship that tramples on any pretense of upholding rights for people is not something that should be put in the category of “maybe it’ll be a positive change, or maybe it’ll be a negative change.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there is this chilling statement by Lang:

People have no idea it’s going on....

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

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

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

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

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

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


* What Is Fascism?

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

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

Download these quotes as a pamphlet to print and distribute:

 

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

See also:

Fascists and Communists: Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

by Bob Avakian

Read more

NOW AVAILABLE: PDF for printing

See also:

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

by Dr. Hubert Locke

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

Read more

 

 

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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.

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

The second theme is the critical role of revolutionary theory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Revolutionary Theory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE NEW COMMUNISM

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

Download PDF of book here

Read more

Breakthroughs —

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

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

 

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

Watching Fruitvale Station With Bob Avakian

August 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

This article was originally published in 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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