revcom.us, June 15, 2020 through June 21, 2020 (#652)

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.

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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_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          

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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/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]

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/bob-avakian-radical-change-is-coming-en.html

RADICAL CHANGE IS COMING:
WILL IT BE EMANCIPATING, OR ENSLAVING—
REVOLUTIONARY, OR REACTIONARY?

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Editors note: This article written by Bob Avakian in June 2020 during the Beautiful Rising is highly relevant right now, especially in the context of recent events, and we highly recommend this to our readers.

For those who cannot help but hunger for a “return” to some kind of “normalcy” as an answer to the madness of Trump, Pence and the rest—forget it, it is not going to happen!

And nobody should want a return to the “normalcy” of this system. The “normalcy” of this system has always included the barbaric oppression of Black people and other people of color, with systematic terror, brutality and murder to enforce this oppression. It has always included vicious discrimination, bigotry and violence against immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, and any others regarded as inferior and “alien.” It has always included unjust wars for empire, and continuing crimes against humanity. It now poses a threat to the very existence of humanity through its increasing devastation of the environment and the ever present threat of nuclear war.

The outpouring of protest in response to the cruel, sickening murder of George Floyd—yet another link in the seemingly endless chain of murders of Black people and other oppressed people by police, acting with a smug sense of impunity, without fear of punishment—this powerful outpouring of outrage, bringing together not only Black people but others, of all races and genders and from all parts of the world, has begun to change the whole political landscape and culture, seizing the initiative in a very positive way from the ruling Trump/Pence regime and its fascist “base,” and challenging the whole paralyzing notion that the brutal reality of this system and its “norms” is the only possible reality and everyone just has to find their place within this and “do for self” as best as possible.

Faced with this rapidly changing situation, Trump has reacted with predictable threats, bullying and intensified repression, while others—who represent the same system but feel it is important at times like this to harness, “pacify” and “domesticate” the outrage—speak once again in terms of meaningless “reforms” and advocate a supposedly “softer” but still vicious version of the “law and order” which oppresses masses of people and represses any who dare to stand up against this oppression. Recognizing that it is likely to further inflame things to simply call for a return to the way things were before this outpouring of righteous rebellion broke through the suffocating routine of life under this system, there are voices representing a section of the ruling class, such as CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who are now speaking of the need for “a new normal” that will supposedly be more “just.”

But there is no “normal” of this system that does not involve systematic injustice, continuing outrage and horror, for people here and all over the world.

And the fascist Trump/Pence regime, which now controls key levers of power, and has called forth and cohered a mass base of fanatical followers, will accept no “new normal,” except one that carries the monstrous oppression of this system to even more barbaric extremes. If anyone is looking to the scheduled election in November as the way to solve things—painlessly and without turmoil and upheaval—first of all, it is not even certain that this election will actually be held. There is a definite possibility that Trump will find a way to “postpone” it, seizing on the continuing coronavirus crisis and/or some other pretext. (Yes, using COVID-19 as an excuse for canceling the election would be hypocritical, given the reckless way the Trump/Pence regime has approached this from the beginning—but who should be surprised by hypocrisy on their part?!)

Even if the election is held, there is a real chance that Trump could “legitimately” win, given the character of the “opposition,” from Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

And anyway, Trump is already preparing the ground to say the election was “rigged” if he is not declared the winner. Remember how, before the last election, he refused to say he would abide by the results if he lost? Now, he is proclaiming that in Michigan, and some other states, preparations for people to vote by mail is massive “fraud”—when, in fact, this is not only legal but highly sensible in the conditions of the coronavirus. At the same time, Trump and the Republican Party are making other moves to suppress votes, especially of people very likely to vote against them. And all this will almost certainly go on, in an even bigger way, as the time for the election approaches.

Further, if the election is held and Trump is not declared the winner but refuses to accept the results and insists he is still president, what about all those fascist followers of Trump, some of whom are already parading around with weapons and threatening people, including elected officials—what do you think they will do if Trump calls “fraud!” and calls on them to rally to his support? Remember how, during the 2016 campaign, Trump threatened his opponent, Hillary Clinton, talking about what “those Second Amendment people” might do to her? Remember how Trump has openly talked about how he has lots of supporters, among the police and the military, and among bikers and other “tough” people? And then, just recently, Trump has threatened to use the military to violently suppress protests against police brutality and murder.

Even if the election takes place and Trump loses, and he is prevailed upon to accept the results, and his MAGA-hatted madmen and women do not “rise up in arms” in the short run, do you really think they are just going to “go away,” or slink off passively, waiting for the next election?

Whatever takes place in relation to the election scheduled for November, nothing good will happen, and really terrible things are bound to happen, if those who cannot stand what is going on now with this regime—and the very real threat of far worse—do not find the ways, even in the conditions of COVID-19, to powerfully manifest that they are determined to drive this regime from power, without waiting for, and regardless of what goes on around, the scheduled November election.1

Digging down even deeper, the basic fact has to be faced that—even while Trump might very well use extra-legal (that is, illegal) means to remain in power—this fascist regime actually came to power in the first place not through a military take-over or some other violation of the principles and functioning of this “great democracy,” but through the “normal workings” of this system. And those “normal workings” will continue to wreak havoc in the world and on the masses of people in the world, through destruction of the environment, wars, massive displacement and desperate migration of people, on top of the ongoing savage inequalities, crushing exploitation and murderous oppression “written into the DNA” of this system and carried out by its brutal enforcers.

Because of all this:

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.2

For some time now, in speaking to the conditions of women, I have been calling attention to the fact that, with the changes in the U.S. and the world economy:

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.

And:

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

This is true not only with regard to women, as important as that is, but for all those who are oppressed, degraded and brutalized under this system. It is true not just for the U.S., but throughout this highly interconnected but terribly unequal world, dominated as it is by this system of capitalism-imperialism.

In the beautiful outpouring of determined resistance to institutionalized racism and police terror, marked by a growing sense that this is somehow bound up with the very nature of this system and the many other injustices it continually perpetrates, we can see the potential for the revolution that can shatter those chains of oppression and open the way to a radically different and far better world, on an entirely new foundation. What remains to be done is to develop that potential into reality, bringing forward greater and greater numbers of people—through this present upsurge sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and through many diverse spheres of life and many different streams of struggle—who are fired with a determination to put an end to all oppression and are gaining the scientific understanding that this system of capitalism-imperialism is the source of all these inter-connected horrors, and are driven by the need and inspired by the possibility of bringing this system down and bringing that far better world into being.

 


1. Many of the points spoken to in this article regarding the dangers posed by the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and the possibility of this regime remaining in power regardless of what happens with the election scheduled for November, are spoken to and elaborated on very compellingly in The Worst-Case Scenario is Continuing to Accept a Fascist America by Coco Das, which is available at revcom.us, reposted from RefuseFascism.org. [back]

2. The Deadly Illusion Of “Normalcy” And The Revolutionary Way Forward. This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

3. This quote and the one above it are from a statement by Bob Avakian that was first published in 1985 and has been cited in a number of works since then, including 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. Emphasis has been added here to the second quote. [back]

See also:

THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF "NORMALCY" AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD
by Bob Avakian

Read more

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

 

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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/652/bob-avakian-on-civil-war-and-revolution-en.html

Bob Avakian on
CIVIL WAR AND REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note (March 9, 2021): The following piece by Bob Avakian was written in the first week of the beautiful rising against the murder of George Floyd and white supremacy.

I began the article “Radical Change Is Coming with this blunt statement:

For those who cannot help but hunger for a “return” to some kind of “normalcy” as an answer to the madness of Trump, Pence and the rest—forget it, it is not going to happen!1

I went on to speak to ways in which the fascist forces aligned with Trump (and Pence) are preparing to react, quite possibly with violence, if the election does not go Trump’s way (or if Trump cancels the election and there is an outpouring of resistance to this). In fact, for more than 20 years now, I have been analyzing the fascist nature of the kind of forces that have rallied around Trump and how they have been increasingly talking about, and preparing for, a civil war.

This is obviously a very serious question. But something even more serious is reflected in a statement I read somewhere recently—that if only one side (the fascist side) is waging a civil war, then it is not really a civil war but murder, and genocide. This is another way of saying what was crudely expressed by the fascist Congressman from Iowa, Steve King, who declared:

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.2

Recently, powerful figures within the Republican Party have turned against King, feeling that his expression of this and other fascist positions is a little too crude, and King has been defeated in his bid for re-election in a Republican primary election. But, expressed more or less crudely, King’s fascist views and stands are shared by the core of the Republican Party and its “base.” And, as I have pointed out previously, there is a “demented insight” in the comment by King quoted here. While the people King is ridiculing are righteously supporting the rights of trans people, gays, women, and others, at the same time far too many are

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.... 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.3

And here is another big part of the picture:

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.4

This whole situation needs to be radically transformed—and with a very definite urgency! We have once again seen the potential for this in the recent determined actions of masses of people whose outrage at the ongoing police murders of Black men and women erupted in response to the cold-blooded execution of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (And a strategically favorable element in this outpouring of outrage is that, at the same time as it has involved significant numbers of Black people, it has also involved large numbers of people of other “races,” including a great many white people, especially youth.) As I said in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, upsurges like this exert a very powerful positive force and influence, and show the potential for revolution, and it is crucial that the righteous resistance and rebellion of masses of people “be transformed...into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization.”5

Looking at this from the strategic standpoint of working for the revolution that is needed to deal with the root causes of all this, it is also important to act on this understanding:

To a significant degree now, the conflict between the sections of society upholding this fascism and those opposing it, from various different perspectives, is shaping the terrain on which the struggle for revolution must be carried out; this conflict is likely to intensify, and could erupt further in violent confrontation, and in any case it would be a significant factor in the context of an all‑out struggle between revolution and counter‑revolution.6

It is not time, right now, for the all-out fight between revolution and counter-revolution: the conditions for this—most of all, a revolutionary people in the millions in a situation of deep crisis for the whole system—have not yet been brought into being. But there is a pressing need to work to accelerate and “hasten” the development of things toward a revolutionary situation. A big part of working to bring that revolutionary situation into being, at the earliest possible time, is waging a determined battle against the injustices and outrages continually perpetrated by this system.7 And

this political battle also needs to be waged in bold and determined opposition to the “base” that is being mobilized by the fascist section of the ruling class—this is important in its own right now, and is important preparation for and will have an important bearing on the “civil war between two sections of the people,” once conditions have fully ripened and the all-out struggle is underway.8

For, when it comes down to it:

The all-out struggle will not just mean going up against the institutional forces of the old ruling class but will also involve “a civil war between two sections of the people,” requiring the revolution to both defeat and disintegrate but also, as far as possible, win over parts of the armed forces among the population that started out on the other side.9

With regard to winning over parts of the armed forces among the population that started out on the other side: First, and fundamentally, the advance of the revolution in the actual fight would have a very powerful positive impact and effect on the thinking of people broadly. Along with that, there would be the powerful moral clarity and authority of the revolutionary forces fighting with right on their side and in ways consistent with the emancipatory goals of the revolution. And then there are specific measures—such as the cancellation of all debt that people have owed to banks and other financial institutions in the old society—that the revolutionary forces would make known as their official policy. Such policies would be in line with and flow from the basic goals of the revolution and the radically new society the revolution is aiming to bring into being; and making such policies known, and actually implementing them wherever and as soon as the basis exists to do that, could play an important part in winning sections of society which started out on the counter-revolutionary side to actual involvement in, or support for—or at least a “friendly neutrality” toward—the revolution. Still, it will be the case that certain die-hard reactionary elements of the population, including many among hardcore fascist forces, will remain stubbornly committed to the counter-revolution; and the revolutionary forces would need to take this into account as part of their overall strategic approach and operational principles, in waging the all-out fight, once the conditions for that had been brought into being.

A one-sided civil war—waged only by the forces of fascism against everyone and everything they hate and are determined to wipe out or beat into submission—would be a disaster. Ignoring the reality that these fascists are definitely prepared to carry out such a civil war, if they see it as necessary to achieve their objectives, will only make such a disaster more likely. And nothing good will come from relying on those, like the leaders of the Democratic Party, who refuse to call out this fascism for what it is and oppose it on that basis, because doing so would call into question the “legitimacy” of their whole system, which has given rise to this fascism.

What is urgently needed is a massive struggle against the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime and determined opposition to the “base” it is mobilizing in its support. This struggle needs to be waged in a serious way, in accordance with the actual stakes involved—not seeking or initiating violence but also not cowed into submission by the actions of the fascists.

And what is needed, in working toward the fundamental solution to all this, is to wage this anti-fascist struggle as part of accelerating—“hastening”—the development of things toward the point where it will be possible to carry out the revolution, the all-out fight, to finally put an end to this whole system of capitalism-imperialism, with all of the horrors it has already brought about for the masses of humanity—and the even worse horrors it will unleash if it is allowed to continue—when all this is completely unnecessary and there is the basis and possibility for a radically different and far better world.

 


1. Radical Change Is Coming: Will It Be Emancipating, Or Enslaving—Revolutionary, Or Reactionary? This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

2. This statement by Steve King is cited in Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism, by Bob Avakian, author of The New Communism, which is also available at revcom.us. [back]

3. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis. [back]

4. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis. [back]

5. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian (Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution) is available at revcom.us. [back]

6. From Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (Part II, “How We Can Really Make Revolution”).The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us. [back]

7. As pointed out in a footnote to the article by Bob Avakian “Boomers”—“X,Y,Z”: The Problem Is Not “Generations,” It’s The System (also available at revcom.us):

In a number of works—including Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution; 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; 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.] [back]

8. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

9. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

 

 

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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/651/bob-avakian-exposes-the-bourgeois-electoral-bullshit-en.html

Bob Avakian Exposes the BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit):

IF YOU WANT TO SEE NO FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE—GO VOTE

| revcom.us

 

“Go Vote!” we are told repeatedly, and with special emphasis at times like this when there is a massive outpouring of outrage at the crimes of this system. Sure, go vote—for one politician or another, all representing the very same system that has caused the outrage of police terror and murder in the first place! Go vote—to give a “mandate” (a big “thumbs up”) to this monstrosity of a system, that is plundering the environment, that has white supremacy and male supremacy poured into its very foundation, and is committing countless crimes against humanity every day—and cannot do otherwise. No matter whom you vote for, from either one of their parties, that is what you are voting for. Sure, voting for this system is bound to solve the problems that are caused by this system! How many times will people be played for fools like this?! If you want to make a real difference, instead of registering people to vote, how about bringing people into the revolution?

 

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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/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/652/bob-avakian-racial-oppression-can-be-ended-en.html

RACIAL OPPRESSION
CAN BE ENDED—
BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, we revcoms boldly put forward: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

This is not just a slogan—though it is a very good and very important slogan. It is the concentrated statement of a very profound truth, which is also captured in our slogan: This System Cannot Be Reformed—It Must Be Overthrown!

But what do we mean in saying that this system cannot be reformed, and why is that true? In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, I speak to the “5 STOPS”—deep and defining contradictions of this system—and all the terrible suffering to which this system of capitalism-imperialism subjects the masses of humanity, and why all this cannot be ended under this system.1 Here I am going to focus on the systematic and murderous oppression of Black people, and racial oppression overall—which has been sharply exposed with the outpouring of outrage sparked by the murder of George Floyd—and discuss the basic reasons why this oppression cannot be eliminated under this system, but can (only) be ended through revolution.

The continuing terror and murder carried out by the police particularly against Black people (as well as Latinos and Native Americans) is not fundamentally because the police are racist—although, speaking of the police overall, that is certainly true. The fact that the police are racist is itself an expression and a function of the fact that terror and murder against Black people (and other people of color) is required by this system—is necessary in order to maintain the “order” of this all-around oppressive system—and this would be much more difficult to carry out if the police were not racist.

The Fundamental Causes of This Oppression

But, going deeper, why is this terror and murder necessary for this system, in order to ensure its “order” and its ongoing functioning? The answer is that, from the beginning of this country, white supremacy has been poured into the foundation and built into the institutions and the ongoing functioning of this system. Specifically with regard to Black people, the centuries of oppression they have suffered—from slavery days to the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, to the present time, with the continuing systematic discrimination against Black people, in every part of society (employment, housing, education, health care, and on and on)—all this has resulted in a situation where masses of Black people today, and in particular youth, have been robbed of a means for a decent life, with many maintained in conditions of desperate poverty and deprivation. This, again, is not simply because those who are in the seats of power and deciding government policy are racist (though that is true of most of them). It is fundamentally because of the nature of the system itself and the historically-evolved requirements and dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

Now, that is a big mouthful (“the nature of the system itself and the historically-evolved requirements and dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism”), so let’s break it down. This country was founded on the enslavement of masses of African people, as well as the genocidal subjugation of Native Americans and theft of their land (and its further development involved the conquest of huge parts of Mexico, reducing people of Mexican origin to second-class status as well). This required the propagation of racism to “justify” all the horrific oppression. Then, when the Civil War broke out over the question of slavery, and even when slavery was abolished as a result of that Civil War, given that white supremacy had been, and remained, such a crucial part of the “glue” holding the country together, the only way to “put it back together,” on the foundation of the capitalist system, was to once again forcefully assert white supremacy. That is why, very soon after the end of the Civil War, Black people were subjected to the system of Jim Crow segregation (backed up by systematic terror, punctuated by repeated lynchings), while the genocidal aggression against and theft of the land of Native Americans was stepped up, and immigrants from Mexico were subjected to ongoing discrimination and violence by the enforcers of this system.

Generations later, during World War 2, because of the needs of the rulers of this country in waging that war, large numbers of Black people were able to migrate to the North and get jobs in industries that served the war effort. And then, largely as a result of the fact that the U.S. was on the winning side of that war—and the fact that the war was not fought on its territory and it experienced no damage to its industrial facilities and infrastructure—there was an expansion of the economy in this country after the war. In this situation, significant numbers of Black people were able to continue getting employment in large numbers, including some better-paying jobs in factories (making steel, cars, and so on).

But, at the same time, because of the white supremacy built into the system over centuries—and the fact that really moving to overcome this would tear apart the fabric of the system and crack its very foundation—Black people continued to be subjected to systematic discrimination, including in employment (with “last hired and first fired” an accurate description of the situation of Black people with regard to employment). To cite another ugly example, government policy with regard to housing involved conscious, deliberate discrimination: after World War 2, loans were given to white people to enable them to buy their own homes, and increasingly move to the suburbs, while this was denied to Black veterans (and others) and instead Black people were piled into segregated housing projects in the inner cities. And this was part of the continuing systematic segregation and discrimination to which Black people were subjected.

As a result of the Civil Rights movement and then the more radical Black liberation movement in the 1960s, some concessions were made, and there has been an increase in the number of “Black faces in high places” and a growth of the Black middle class, although their situation is far more precarious than that of white middle class people (something which was cruelly demonstrated in the 2008 crisis, which resulted in large numbers of Black people losing their homes and much, if not all, of any savings they had). And, in more recent times, huge numbers of factories and other sources of jobs for people in the inner city have closed down, often moving their operations elsewhere—particularly to countries in the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) where the desperate situation of masses of people, including children, has left them vulnerable to being super-exploited, at near-starvation wages.

All this, together with increased automation and “cybernation” of production, when combined with the ongoing segregation and discrimination built into this system, has led to a situation where huge numbers of Black people, and especially youth, have, for generations now, not only been unemployed but are left with no prospect of meaningful employment in the regular (“formal”) economy.

The “Toxic Combination” of Capitalism and Racism

Here we see the “toxic combination” of systematic, historically-evolved segregation and discrimination, enforced with brutal violence by the powers-that-be, together with the basic functioning and requirements of the capitalist economy—which involves the greater and greater concentration not just of wealth, but of the means of production (technology, factories and other physical structures, sources of raw materials, and so on) in the possession and under the control of large-scale capitalist enterprises and financial institutions, which are locked in cut-throat competition with each other, not just within a particular country but increasingly on a global scale, and are therefore driven to ruthlessly exploit people and constantly search for ways to even more viciously super-exploit large numbers of desperate people, including children, in a worldwide network of sweatshops. (For example, cell phones and computers depend on the mineral coltan which is mined under horrific conditions by people, including large numbers of children, in the Congo in Africa; and a large part of the clothes that are bought in the U.S. are produced by huge numbers of women working in horrific conditions in the Asian country of Bangladesh.)

In this situation, and especially with the growth of the international drug trade, and its deep penetration into the U.S., many of those, in particular youth, who found themselves locked out of the “formal economy,” have turned to drug-dealing, as well as other criminal activity—something which has been encouraged by government policy that has actually resulted in the movement of large amounts of drugs into the inner city, even as the authorities seize on this situation to carry out systematic repression against the youth in particular, with such things as “stop and frisk.” The result of all this has been a huge increase in mass incarceration, as well as the continual murder of large numbers of “minority” youth by police.

At the same time, the way that the U.S. has continued to dominate Mexico, as well as other parts of Latin America, and to distort the economies, corrupt the governments and bring ruin to the social relations among the people in those countries—all this has resulted in large numbers of people being forced to flee those countries and migrate to the U.S., where they are vulnerable to being viciously exploited in factories and farmlands, and other parts of the economy of this country. And large numbers of the younger generations of these immigrants have also formed (or joined existing) gangs and become involved in the drug trade and related crime.

More recently, however, in at least many of the inner-city neighborhoods, for a number of reasons—including the fact that the “crack epidemic” had taken a terrible toll on people—there has been a decrease in the trade in cocaine and the high profits this brought for the relatively small number of “higher-ups” in the drug trade hierarchy. For a period, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, given their desolation and desperation, the drug trade was a “major employer” of youth in the inner cities, female as well as male, and a major source of at least a basic income for many (even if the promise of “getting rich” remained an illusion for most). Now, even this source of employment and income—as perverse and harmful as it is—has dried up or greatly diminished for many. This has further added to the miserable situation of massive numbers of inner-city youth in particular who have no future—under this system—no future but prison, an early death or a life of desperate hustling, in one form or another, in the attempt to survive and care for loved ones.

All this cannot be changed—cannot be transformed and overcome—within the confines of this system. Despite what any politician (“liberal” or outright fascist like Trump) may say, there is no way that this system could “reverse itself,” bring large parts of industry back to the inner city and provide meaningful employment, with “a living wage” for all those it is now depriving of this. Even if the government had the “political will” to try to do this, doing so (with the employment of millions of formerly unemployed or “underemployed” people at a “living wage”) would seriously undermine the competitive positions of American capitalists in the global economy. And, if they attempted to do this while at the same time trying to seriously overcome the whole historically-evolved relations of white supremacy, this would completely disrupt the social “cohesion” that “holds this country together,” with white supremacy a crucial part of this.

It is one thing for “good-hearted people”—and in particular many white people—to say (and sincerely mean) that it is wrong for the police to just wantonly, cruelly murder people, and to mobilize in protest against this. But imagine what would happen if, under this system and with the way its economy functions, the government tried to adopt policies that would deal with the long-term unemployment of Black people in the inner cities, who have not only been denied jobs but also the training for the jobs that do exist—imagine what the reaction would be of many white people who would in fact lose their better-off positions as a result of these policies. Imagine what would happen if these kinds of policies were applied not just to employment, but to education, and on down the line. (We have already seen the “backlash” that was fostered in response to even minimal efforts to implement “affirmative action” programs in employment and education.)

Again, this is not simply a matter that “white people are racist.” Many are racist, although many do not want to be. But the deeper problem is that given the basic way the capitalist economy works, and how everyone is encouraged to be “out for yourself”—and, more fundamentally, the fact that people are actually driven and compelled to compete with each other in every significant part of life, including employment and education—it would actually create destructive chaos and conflict among the people, and tear apart the “cohesion” of the society, to try to really and fully undo and overcome the reality and effects of centuries of racist oppression—under this system.

This most definitely and emphatically is NOT an argument for holding back from struggling against every form of discrimination, inequality and oppression in every part of society. Fighting back against oppression, and wrenching concessions from the powers-that-be, is very important—in enabling masses of people to feel their own strength in standing up and standing together in opposing oppression, and drawing people from all parts of society to join in this struggle—rather than feeling isolated, beaten down and hopeless. And it is important in contributing to the ability of masses of people to gain the understanding and build up the organization necessary for the final all-out struggle to bring down the whole oppressive system. But that is just the point—as important as these mass struggles are, if they are not built toward, and do not finally get to the point of, taking on the whole system, with the aim of bringing it down, and bringing something much better into being, then, as I have emphasized before, even where concessions 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,” and people will remain oppressed and once more weighed down with a feeling of demoralization, as they are once again divided and pitted against each other.2

The basic and crucial point is that the fight against racial oppression (and all oppression) must not remain confined within the limits of this system, and instead must be carried out and carried forward as part of the overall struggle toward the goal of abolishing this system. The fact that this oppression cannot be abolished under this system is not a reason for giving up in despair—it is a compelling reason why this system must be and can be abolishedand it is the fundamental basis for why people can be won to wage the revolutionary struggle to finally bring it down!

All this is why there will not be any real and meaningful move by the powers-that-be (and any of its politicians and political parties) to overcome the centuries-long experience and legacy of brutal racist oppression and the situation it has led to today, where millions and millions of Black youth and other youth of color have no prospect of a decent future—under this system.

As I have pointed out before: “So what does this system do with youth that have no future and no prospects? It contains them.... contains them violently.”3

And all this is why there is systemic and systematic police terror directed at Black people and other people of color. It is why this is brought down not only on the youth (and others) in the inner cities, but why it can and does lead to harassment, brutality and murder of any Black person, anywhere, even those with more education and status in society. If the system needs the police to “violently contain” the masses of people in the inner cities—and it does—then this is bound to “spill over” and be applied to Black people, and other people of color, more generally. The police have neither the interests, nor the ability, nor the will to make distinctions between “good” ....... (fill in the blank as to what racist terms they use) and “bad” ones. And, beyond that, the “random” nature of the brutality and murder makes it all the more effective in terrorizing people—making everyone, even the “better off,” feel, correctly, that they could be a target of this.

There IS a Solution: Revolution and a Radically New and Different World

It is for all these reasons that racist oppression will continue so long as people are living under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism. It is not only right but crucially important to rise up and wage a determined fight against this, but it is also crucial to recognize that this racist oppression will never be, can never be, eliminated under this system—and, to finally put an end to it, we need a radically different system.

We need a radically different economic system—a socialist economic system (mode of production) that is geared to and proceeds by developing and utilizing the means of production collectively, to meet the needs of the masses of people, materially (for employment, food, housing, health care, and so on) as well as their needs intellectually and culturally, and to provide them with the means not only to live a life worthy of human beings, but also to scientifically understand the basis and need, and to more and more consciously take part in, carrying forward the transformation of society to finally and completely eliminate all relations of oppression and exploitation, and to support that struggle throughout the world. And, as one of its highest priorities and goals, this will involve the determined struggle to overcome and finally eliminate racial oppression in every aspect of society.

The radically different socialist economy (mode of production) will provide the foundation on which the ongoing process of uprooting racial oppression, and all oppression, can be waged on favorable ground, and can finally succeed in overcoming all this. The following from my work Breakthroughs speaks to this key relation and process:

Ultimately, the mode of production sets the foundation and the limits of change, in terms of how you address any social problem, such as the oppression of women, or the oppression of Black people or Latinos, or the contradiction between mental work and manual work, or the situation with the environment, or the situation of immigrants, and so on. While all those things have reality and dynamics in their own right, and aren’t reducible to the economic system, they all take place within the framework and within the fundamental dynamics of that economic system; and that economic system, that mode of production, sets the foundation and the ultimate limits of change in regard to all those social questions. So, if you want to get rid of all these different forms of oppression, you have to address them in their own right, but you also have to fundamentally change the economic system to give you the ability to be able to carry through those changes in fundamental terms. To put it another way: You have to have an economic system that doesn’t prevent you from making those changes, and instead not only allows but provides a favorable foundation for making those changes.4

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America provides a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for such a radically different economic system, and for government institutions, laws and a legal system, as well as an approach to education, science, art and culture that go along with this mode of production and contribute to its continual development, opening the way to finally eliminating all oppression and exploitation.5 And in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (as well as other works of mine) the basic strategy is spelled out for carrying out the revolution that will make it possible to apply this Constitution in working to bring about a world free of all the unnecessary suffering and madness to which the masses of humanity are subjected under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

This is why, and this is how, racial oppression, and all the oppression, which is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, can be ended—but only through a revolution to abolish this system.

This is why we continue to emphasize this basic truth: 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 why we continue to boldly raise the slogan: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

 

1. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian (Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution) is available at revcom.us. [back]

2. The statement quoted in this part of this article is from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

3. Bob Avakian On Police Brutality And Murder: Consent Decrees Won’t Stop This—We Need A Revolution! This excerpt from a Question and Answer Session with Bob Avakian, after his presentation in 2018 in Chicago of the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, is also available at revcom.us. [back]

4. This statement is contained in Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, by Bob Avakian, which is available at revcom.us. It originally appeared in the book by Bob Avakian, The New Communism: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Insight Press, 2016. Italics in the original. [back]

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

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

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

 

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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/651/into-the-streets-june-19-and-20-en.html

STOP POLICE TERROR AGAINST BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE!

NO TO TRUMP'S MASSIVE INSULT TO BLACK PEOPLE!

TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

INTO THE STREETS JUNE 19 AND 20

| revcom.us

 

Last week, Trump announced plans to do his first campaign rally since the COVID epidemic. He called the rally for June 19—Juneteenth, the day on which the emancipation from slavery is celebrated. This from someone so racist he STILL upholds the Confederate generals who fought to maintain slavery! And he called it for Tulsa—the site of one of the worst racist massacres of Black people in U.S. history, in 1921.

Coming on top of this fascist monster’s continuing threats to use the Army against protesters and his continual justification of murderous police violence against Black people, this was not just an insulting slap in the face against Black people as well as the entire upsurge of the past three weeks (though it was that) but an ugly and vicious threat. The outrage this caused has now forced Trump to back off holding it on Juneteenth, and that shows the potential power of the people. But he is still going ahead with it the next day in Tulsa anyway, and will be sure to try to “get the last word.”

NO WAY! There needs to be a massive outpouring of protest on both June 19 and 20 and within that there needs to be a force proclaiming:

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!

REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

These messages must ring through the streets and into the media those days. Be part of working with the revcoms to make this happen.

PRINT & DISTRIBUTE FLYER OF THIS CALL (PDF)

A statement from Bob Avakian:
NOTHING LESS!

Read more

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/a-beautiful-rising-2-en.html

A Beautiful Rising

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Tens and tens of thousands of people—in the U.S. and across the world—have poured into the streets these past several weeks to draw a clear line: For centuries, and with intensifying horror today, the rulers of America have regarded the humanity of Black people as counting for nothing. Now, in the face of the truly cruel and heartless police murder of George Floyd, people have said NO MORE! They have defiantly asserted that Black lives do and must matter, and this has included a growing section of white people who have denounced white silence as violence. Demonstrations have built around the world, including in places like London and other cities in the UK, where people linked this to other victims of police murder and targeted their anger at symbols of white supremacy and colonialism like statues of slave traders.

The mass outpourings defied bloody police repression, mass beatings, arrests, and violence—in Buffalo, New York City, Louisville, Los Angeles, and other places. After Trump threatened to bring in the military on June 2, people rose in even greater numbers and determination. In fact, Trump and the whole regime he heads and the fascist movement he leads and mobilizes have made clear their antagonism and determination to suppress this beautiful and righteous outpouring. In that light, the actions that are being called by Refuse Fascism are very important and need to grow—with FUCK TRUMP! resounding as a rally cry and choruses of Trump/Pence Out NOW! And the efforts of revolutionaries needs to redouble in “announcing ourselves and making ourselves known to the world,” manifesting Revolution—Nothing Less! and oriented to working towards this at the soonest possible time—and to attract and organize new forces into the revolution.

This page is frequently updated with reports and pictures from the continuing uprising, including from revolutionaries. Check back here often.

July 6, 2020

July 4: Beautiful, Defiant Protests and Flag-Burnings Go Up Against Trump's Fascist, White Supremacist "Make America Great Again" Ugliness

July 4 is a day when the blood-soaked foundations of America built on genocide and slavery and its history of conquest and imperialist domination around the world are celebrated as “greatness.” And now in 2020, it’s a day when the fascist-in-chief on top of this empire is further ramping up the monstrous agenda of his regime—under the banner of “Make America Great Again”—posing urgent and grave dangers to all of humanity and the planet.

But this July 4 was not just marked by this fascist atrocity on top of the usual “USA, USA” ugliness. In a way not seen in a long time, this July 4 was marked by thousands in the streets across the country, NOT in celebration of America but in opposition to the whole way this system does people—in particular the police murders and violence against Black people and the systemic oppression of people of color, of women, of LGBQT people, and immigrants. On this day, people in cities around the country defiantly went into the streets in the face of the Trump/Pence regime’s rabid but very real threats of violent repression against protesters. This included Washington, DC, where the Trump/Pence regime was holding an ultra-jingoistic celebration of America and its military power. People are continuing to bring down monuments of slaveowners, colonizers and other reactionaries—on July 4, a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore was pulled down and thrown into the harbor.

Read more

Revcoms Lead Others in Torching the American Flag


Washington, D.C.

 

Refuse Fascism: TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!


Los Angeles


July 3, 2020

Native Americans Protest Trump Rally Held on Stolen Land

On July 3, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Trump held another rally to spread fascism, white supremacy, and COVID-19. Trump’s speech was a fascist call to arms against all those who have been taking to the streets against police murder of Black people and righteously taking down statues and symbols of white supremacy, the Confederacy, and colonial oppression—and against anyone opposing this regime.

But this did not go unopposed. Native American protesters blocked the highway leading to the rally site—protesting how this ugly rally, beneath Mt. Rushmore, was being held on land sacred to the Lakota and other Native peoples. They protested how this land had been stolen by the U.S. government. They protested the whole history of stolen land and the systematic and genocidal oppression of Native Americans. At the rally’s height, protesters numbered around 200. The protesters were mainly Native Americans of different tribes and others also joined.

Read more


Native American protesters blocked the highway leading to the Trump July 3rd rally site. They protested how this land, sacred to Lakota Sioux, had been stolen by the U.S. government and the systematic and genocidal oppression of Native Americans. (Photo: twitter.com/EEBormett)


June 29, 2020

Uniting in Struggle, Organizing for Revolution

Beautiful Rising in Santa Ana—Joyous, Internationalist, Revolutionary

The sight of dozens of mainly Latino people marching through downtown Santa Ana, California, shouting “Black Lives Matter!” on Saturday afternoon, June 27, was absolutely beautiful. A unity march brought together the fight for Black Lives with the demand “No more kids in cages!” and also merged powerfully for a short time with a protest against the occupation of Palestine. It was initiated by a Latina from the area who had never led a protest before and reached out to the Revolution Club and other groups to take this up with her. The collectivity of groups and individuals that led this together was part of the beauty and power of it, and the large Revolution—Nothing Less! banner became the symbol of unity of the march and the speak-out afterwards.

Read more


“We are the revcoms / the mighty, mighty revcoms”


June 22, 2020

A Beautiful Rising Continues, as Trump Speaks in Tulsa –

Revcoms Join Refuse Fascism in Saying Goddamn to Donald Trump and His Fascist Regime, Bringing Forth Revolution


June 20, Refuse Fascism outside the fascist Trump rally in Tulsa.

Defiant protests around the country continued on Saturday, June 20, many called by Refuse Fascism. The day before, Trump had threatened to viciously come down on anyone coming to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to protest the fascist rally he was holding there. But as an ugly, reactionary crowd attended Trump’s rally, there was righteous and defiant protest outside the arena, capturing the world’s attention and grabbing the split-screen.

Read more


Ugly Trump Rally Met by A Beautiful Day in Tulsa: The Crossroads America Faces – The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go, NOW!

Yesterday in Tulsa was a beautiful day! People from all walks of life and different backgrounds, came into the streets to repudiate Trump's white supremacist fascist America and his attempts to threaten protests & Black people. Hope and an atmosphere of liberation filled the air, in stark contrast to the hundreds of racists camping out in Tulsa the night before.

Throughout the day, people were being told to not go down to oppose this rally, that a “race riot” would ensue – but people, especially young people did not let themselves be cowed by Trump’s repressive threats earlier that day and found their courage and conviction.

Emma Kaplan from Refuse Fascism interviewed on MSNBC by reporter Cal Perry.


June 20 Protests: Selections from @TheRevcom Tweets

Tulsa, Oklahoma

New York City

Chicago

Los Angeles

Stay tuned for more reports...

 


June 19, 2020

Juneteenth—a Righteous Anniversary and Celebration, Even More at This Moment...

June 19 – Tens of thousands of people across the country took to the streets on Juneteenth, the day on which the emancipation of Black people from slavery is celebrated. The protests and celebrations on Juneteenth were a righteous continuation of the weeks of demonstrations in thousands of cities against the police murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people who have been brutalized and killed by the police.

Read more



In Richmond, Virginia people torn down statues of the Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham, and former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Above: the statue of Jefferson Davis.

Righteous Toppling of Statues: Slave Owners, Confederate Generals, Imperialist Colonizers, Genocidal "Heroes," and More....

As protests continue across the U.S. and all over the world against police murder and racism, the people are taking righteous action to topple statues of slave owners, colonial oppressors, imperialist rulers and other enforcers of systematic, racist, oppression.

Read more


June 15, 2020

 

From RefuseFascism.org


June 15, 2020


June 14, 2020

Atlanta: Police Murder a Black Man—AGAIN! People Rise Up to Say NO MORE!


Atlanta Protesters block University Avenue by Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks, 27, was shot and killed by Atlanta police, June 12. Photo: AP

It’s happened again. AGAIN! This time in Atlanta, the life of a young Black man was snuffed out for no reason. Watch the videos—yet again—of this murder by the pigs.

Rayshard Brooks was 27 years old, father of three girls ages 1, 2, and 8, and a 13-year-old stepson. He worked in a Mexican restaurant. At 10:23 on Friday night, Brooks was asleep in his car at a Wendy's restaurant. A cop woke him up and ordered him out of his car. Then a second cop showed up, and for 20 minutes harassed Brooks for nothing. They gave him a field alcohol test and a breathalyzer (he was barely over the legal limit). They patted him down for weapons; he had none.

Read more

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

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

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

Read more


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

 

Chicago:
Marching Through Downtown on the Two-Week Anniversary of Police Murder of George Floyd—and "Growing" the Protest Right on the Spot

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

Read more

Mexico City and Jalisco: Justice for George Floyd, Giovanni López and All Victims of Police Brutality!


Demonstration in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

The following was translated by revcom.us, from Aurora Roja, the blog of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico.

In repudiation of the murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, United States, and the murder of Giovanni López by the police of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, state of Jalisco, Mexico, more than a hundred people demonstrated at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City on June 5, 2020.

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France


BA's Nothing Less! statement distributed in France.

Protests erupted in nearly every big city in France and many smaller ones on June 5 and 6 as tens of thousands of youths and others defied an official ban and police repression. In Paris, as elsewhere, two illegal demonstrations declared solidarity with the upsurge in the U.S. and honored George Floyd and Adama Traoré, a young man killed by French police under similar circumstances. Here marchers surround the U.S. embassy in Paris.

Chicago:
After a week of brutal police attacks and arrests, tens of thousands take to the streets

Thousands had already gone up against police attack and arrests; there was a 9pm curfew and the National Guard locked down the whole downtown. June 6, a massive crowd estimated at 20,000-30,000 people gathered in Union Park on Chicago's near west side—the largest protest to date. The crowd was overwhelming young people of all nationalities, races and genders. The Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism set up at a key entrance to the park. Chants led by the Revolution Club were taken up enthusiastically by the crowd. Among them: "1,2,3,4 Slavery, Genocide and War; 5,6,7,8, America was Never Great" "How do we get out of this mess? Revolution Nothing Less!"

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Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN:
Thousands continue to visit site where George Floyd was lynched

June 6, thousands protested at the governor's mansion in St. Paul, MN linking the murder of George Floyd to the horrendous conditions in the prisons, and the heightened horrors due to the Covid19 pandemic. Carl Dix addressed the crowd, giving people a sense of the magnitude of what the protests and uprising have accomplished and the crucial crossroads we now face...

Organizers of the protest brought the Revolution Tour up to lead chants against Trump during the march and to speak about the need to drive the fascist regime from power in the name of humanity. All day thousands continued to visit the site where George Floyd was lynched, laying flowers, shedding tears, reading the names of others murdered by police....

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June 14: A new grouping of friends of the Revolution Club in Minnesota took up the nationwide call to celebrate Trump's birthday in the streets—at the Minnesota State Capital—to demand "#TrumpPenceOutNow" and "We Say NO MORE! Revolution—Nothing Less!"

Washington, DC:
"It felt like a festival, a festival of defiance"


Washington, D.C. Photo: AP

D.C. saw the largest crowd since the upheaval began... It felt like a festival, a festival of defiance, a festival with a deep yearning for something radically different for Black people, with conviction that this "generation was not fucking taking it no more" and a real seriousness in debating the implications of what this means. The NYC Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism went out in the crowd -- People were asking: Who is Bob Avakian, what did we mean by an actual revolution, why we thought there was a chance to even win.

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Protests Spread Broadly in Society »


May 30 to June 10

Cities Across the U.S.


Minneapolis – Demonstrators gathered outside the governor's mansion where victims of police brutality told of their experiences. Photo: AP.


The Revcoms in Minneapolis


Minneapolis – Police line after firing barrage of tear gas at protesters, May 30, 2020. Photo: CNN.


Refuse Fascism at protest in Minneapolis, June 6.


Revcoms at protest in Minneapolis, June 6.


Revcoms at protest in St. Paul, June 6.


Washington, D.C. – Cops attacking newsmen June 1, 2020, to clear the way for Trump's photo op.


Washington, D.C. – Tens of thousands converged on the newly named Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House, now surrounded by high fences and concrete barriers. Photo: AP.


Refuse Fascism joined by Revolution Club at the protest in Washington, D.C., June 6.


Philadelphia – Thousands of protesters packed the entire area around City Hall. Photo: AP.


Detroit, Michigan – There were several protests in Detroit and the surrounding areas. Photo: AP.


Chicago – 20,000 people protested, shutting down a portion of Lake Shore Drive.


Atlanta – Atlanta Police detain demonstrators protesting, Saturday, May 30, 2020. The protest started peacefully earlier in the day before demonstrators clashed with police.


Starkville, Mississippi – Thousands, many of them Mississippi State University students, protested on the MSU campus.


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - A "lie-in" outside the Allegheny County Jail on June 4, to protest the murder of George Floyd. Photo: AP.


New Orleans – Thousands gather in Jackson Square. Photo: AP.


New York City – There were at least two dozen protests across the city, with many going past curfew and including a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: AP.


Vidor, Texas - 200 rallied in this city that in the past had been a stronghold of the KKK.


Berkeley, CA - Thousands flooded the streets, parks and intersections


Refuse Fascism at protest in San Francisco, June 6.


San Francisco, CA - Refuse Fascism Contingent in the protest where thousands marched across the Golden Gate Bridge.


Los Angeles – Thousands demonstrated in many areas of Los Angeles, with reports of at least 30 separate protests.


Louisville – Thousands gathered at Metro Hall with Breonna Taylor's mother, on what would have been Breonna's 27th birthday. Photo: AP.


Revcoms at protest in Los Angeles, June 6.


On June 5 hundreds of medical professionals in St. Louis lined the street outside the Barnes-Jewish Hospital and stood silently for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, to honor George Floyd. Photo: AP.


Maui, Hawai'i, May 31 – about 300 people held a sunset "paddle out for George Floyd". Surfers held Paddle Out for George Floyd events in Galveston, TX; Malibu, CA; Dakar, Senegal; Biarritz, France, and other locations. Paddle outs are a Hawaiian tradition used to honor surfers who have died with groups paddling out and sitting together on surfboards.


Alabama – Protests were held in Montgomery as well as Birmingham and smaller cities. Photo: AP.

Protests Spread Broadly in Society


Professional soccer player in England, Jadon Sancho, with Justice for George Floyd shirt, May 31


NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, with his car, June 10. Photo: AP


At 9 a.m. on June 9, ports across the U.S. West Coast ground to a halt as longshore workers stopped work to mourn the death of George Floyd. Photo: AP


Singer, Fiona Apple protesting in Santa Monica, CA.


Actor, Michael B. Jordan at protest in Beverly Hills, CA, June 6.


Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner and her husband, singer Joe Jonas, at a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles, CA


A number of professional tennis players have spoken out against the murder of George Floyd, including Coco Gauff who posted a new Tik Tok video, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, she asks, "Am I next?" Some players launched a "Rackets Down, Hands Up" campaign.


500 Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers, staff march to protest George Floyd's death, June 8.


In Richmond, Virginia, protesters pulled down a century-old statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the former capital of the Confederacy.


Protestors in Bristol, UK, take down 100-year-old statue of a slave trader and dump it into the river. June 7. @carlottacorner Around Europe and in the U.S., many statues of slave traders, Confederate generals, and others have been taken down or defaced by protestors.


NBA player Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, drove 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to join the Black Lives Matter protest, June 6. NBA player Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers) also marched in this protest.


Pulitzer Prize winner musician Wynton Marsalis organized a "HearTOGETHER: A Healing Conversation in Music and Words" on June 6, dedicated to "George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and the countless Black Lives wrongfully and tragically lost before them, and to the value and dignity of all Black Lives."


Singer Ariana Grande joined a Los Angeles protest on June 6, wearing a mask and a sign that read "Black Lives Matter."


Sikh-Americans join a Black Lives Matter rally in Easton, PA, June 7. Michael-Kubel-Photography.


A group with Hmong Americans for Black Lives marches into a rally for George Floyd at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, May 31. One protester, Youa Vang lost her son, 19-year-old Fong Lee, shot and killed by a Minneapolis cop in 2006 – an all white jury let the cop go free.


Hundreds of skateboarders "hill bombed" at a Black Lives Matter protest on Twin Peaks, in San Francisco, June 6.


Relatives of Jonathon Tubby, a Native American man killed by a Green Bay cop in 2018, speak out against police murder, June 7


Alameda County public defender Brendon Woods, center, takes part in a rally to support the Black Lives Matter in Oakland, CA, June 8. Other public defense attorneys around the San Francisco Bay Area marched to courthouses with Black Lives Matter shirts.

Latin America


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Hundreds protested up against police tear gas. Photo: AP.


Kingston, Jamaica - Several hundred protested outside the U.S. Embassy.


Mexico City, Mexico – Hundreds of people gathered at a protest/vigil in Mexico City. Sign reads, "Your Struggle is My Struggle". Photo: AP.

Europe


Paris, France – 1,000s defied a government's ban and went up against riot police at the U.S. Embassy


Berlin, Germany – 20,000+ demonstrated (above), and tens of thousands protested in other cities in Germany


Oslo, Norway – Thousands of protesters outside Parliament building


Genoa, Italy – A crowd of about 1,000 protested.


London, UK - Tens of thousands protested in Parliament Square and clashed with the police. Photo: AP.

Asia – Pacific


Sydney, Australia – Protesters also spoke out against racism and police brutality against the Aboriginal people.


Seoul, South Korea – Dozens gathered, some with "can't breathe" masks and signs like "George Floyd Rest in Peace" and "Koreans for Black Lives Matter." Photo: AP.


Auckland, New Zealand - Protesters also spoke out against police brutality of the Māori people. Photo: AP.


Tokyo, Japan - Hundreds of people of various nationalities took to the streets. Photo: AP.

Africa


Nairobi, Kenya – Mural of George Floyd. Haki is Swahili for Justice


Pretoria, South Africa – Re-enacting the murder of George Floyd in front of the U.S. embassy. Photo: AP.


Dakar, Senegal – Protesters in front of African Renaissance Monument – the sign in French reads, "Too Much is Too Much". Photo: AP.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/immigrant-prisoners-stage-hunger-strike-against-police-murder-of-black-people-en.html

Immigrant Prisoners at ICE Detention Center Stage Hunger Strike Against Police Murder of Black People

| revcom.us

 

On June 4, immigrants imprisoned at the Mesa Verde ICE detention center in Bakersfield, California began a hunger strike in solidarity with the people rising up across the country against the murders and oppression of Black people, and against the deadly treatment of ICE prisoners. According to Centro Legal de la Raza, the prisoners issued a statement announcing the strike, which said in part: “We begin our protest in memory of our comrades George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, and Tony McDade.1 Almost all of us have also suffered through our country's corrupt and racist criminal justice system before being pushed into the hands of ICE.” 

According to an article at ourprism.org,2 one of the strikers, Asif Qazi—who is originally from Bangladesh but has spent most of his life in a largely-Black area of East Berkeley—said that almost everyone in the 70-person dormitories was part of the hunger strike. 

The Mesa Verde strikers made a powerful video, which they shared with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, in which they speak about their action. They hold handmade signs and wear masks with slogans like “BLM,” “Change the System,” “We Are Human,” and “Stop Racism.” One of the ICE prisoners says on the video, “We stand united in our protest and fight for change. We want to end racism and racist police. We want the police to stop murdering Black people. We want the police to stop arresting and accusing people of color. We want the police to stop caging and deporting immigrants. We want the Black and Brown people to be free....”

 


1. George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020; Breonna Taylor was murdered by Louisville police on March 13, 2020; Oscar Grant was murdered by BART police in Oakland, California, in 2009; Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed by Tallahassee police on May 27, 2020.  [back]

2. “Immigrants Stage a Hunger Strike for Black Lives Inside ICE Detention Facility,” Jack Herrera, 6/12/20, ourprism.org.  [back]

 

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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/652/atlanta-police-murder-a-black-man-again-people-rise-up-say-no-more-en.html

Atlanta: Police Murder a Black Man—AGAIN! People Rise Up to Say NO MORE!

| revcom.us

 

It’s happened again. AGAIN! This time in Atlanta, the life of a young Black man was snuffed out for no reason. Watch the videos—yet again—of this murder by the pigs.

Rayshard Brooks was 27 years old, father of three girls ages 1, 2, and 8, and a 13-year-old stepson. He worked in a Mexican restaurant. At 10:23 on Friday night, Brooks was asleep in his car at a Wendy's restaurant. A cop woke him up and ordered him out of his car. Then a second cop showed up, and for 20 minutes harassed Brooks for nothing. They gave him a field alcohol test and a breathalyzer (he was barely over the legal limit). They patted him down for weapons; he had none.

Brooks was cordial and compliant but clearly worried, measuring his words so as not to antagonize. At one point he tells the cops, “I can walk home ... I just don’t want to be in violation of anybody.” He offers to “park here, lock the car up and do everything I need to do in the presence of you guys, I can just go home.” Then he says, “I have my daughters there right now, my daughter’s birthday was yesterday.”

The cops don’t give a fuck. They try to handcuff Brooks. Clearly afraid, he tries to get away, a scuffle breaks out and the cops tase him. He disarms one of the cops, Devin Brosnan, grabbing his Taser, and takes off running. The other pig, Garrett Rolfe, chases him, pointing a Taser.

You can see on video as Rolfe coldly moves the Taser to his left hand and goes for his gun with his right. Brooks looks back, apparently fires his Taser wildly; Rolfe then fires two bullets into Rayshard’s back. He falls to the ground, still alive but gravely wounded. The two cops wait three minutes before making even a pretense of medical assistance. After eight minutes, an ambulance arrives. Brooks is pronounced dead at the hospital, 75 minutes after the cops woke him up.

The city authorities were aware that people around the country are rising up against police murder of Black people and they had to take some kind of action quickly. On Saturday, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for the firing (but not the arrest) of Rolfe. And she announced that Chief of Police Erika Shields (considered a “reformer”) had resigned. At the same time, pigs were ordered out en masse into the streets, including with armored vehicles, in the area of Rayshard Brooks’ murder.

But people are NOT willing to accept the continued murder and devaluation of Black life, the continued oppression that police and vigilante violence exists to impose and enforce. Before the murder of Rayshard Brooks, people were already in the streets of Atlanta day after day, as in cities across the U.S. On Saturday, the day after Brooks was killed, hundreds of angry protesters gathered near the Wendy’s. Protesters marched onto the nearby highway, blocking traffic. At least 36 people were arrested. Later that night, the Wendy’s where Rayshard was killed went up in flames.

On Sunday, protesters returned again, setting up a memorial to Rayshard Brooks including a large-scale beautiful portrait. In the wake of this horrific loss and tragedy, the beautiful rising continues...

A correspondent in Atlanta told us, “People aren’t caving to the lip service and concessions from city leaders and others like the rappers and old guard they’ve hauled out to quell people’s anger. Last night most of those arrested in the protests were white ... there’s a palpable change in people’s sentiment. I think it’s similar to the rest of the country—people have had enough. There’s literally protests throughout the city and way into the white suburbs everyday, things are very different.”

Bob Avakian:
Police Murder and a Murderous System

People stop traffic on Atlanta Interstate

Atlanta Protest Stops Traffic June 13, protesters block University Avenue by Wendy's in Atlanta where Rayshard Brooks, 27, was murdered by Atlanta cops. (Photo: AP)

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/la-revcoms-lead-march-for-black-latino-unity-en.html

L.A.: Revcoms Lead March, Speak Out For Black-Latino Unity

| revcom.us

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

 

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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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Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN:
Thousands Continue to Visit Site Where George Floyd was Lynched

| revcom.us

 


People march from the governor's mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 6. Photo: AP.

On Saturday, June 6, thousands protested at the governor’s mansion in St. Paul, linking the murder of George Floyd to the horrendous conditions in the prisons, and the heightened horrors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many white people present expressed that they’d long known on some level of the brutality faced by Black people, but this time felt they could no longer look away. They listened – and really took in, many for the first time – the agony of the parents who courageously told of their sons having been savagely murdered by police or facing inhumane conditions in prisons.


The Revcoms in the protest in Minneapolis, June 6.

When Carl Dix spoke, he asked the protesters to multiply the pain that had just been shared with them by millions for all those who had lost loved ones to police or the barbaric cruelty of mass incarceration. He gave people a sense of the magnitude of what the protests and uprising have accomplished and the crucial crossroads we now face, with the vicious threats from the “Bloated Bag of Fascist Feces” in the White House, borrowing from Bob Avakian’s powerful statement. Dix called on people to take up the gauntlet Trump has thrown down and throw it back by stepping up our struggle in the streets and by digging into the fundamental solution of real revolution and the extraordinary leadership for that being provided by Bob Avakian. Deep cheers and shouts of “Fuck Trump” resounded and hundreds snatched up RefuseFascism.org signs distributed by the National Revolution Tour demanding “Trump/Pence Out Now!” Organizers embraced this and, while keeping the main focus on the prisons and police murder, brought the Revolution Tour up to lead chants against Trump during the march and to speak again about the need to drive the fascist regime from power in the name of humanity.


Refuse Fascism protests in Minneapolis, June 6.

On Sunday, June 7, more than 1,000 people gathered in Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis to listen to speeches and a decision by members of the City Council to defund the city’s police. It is not at all clear yet, including to those on the council, what exactly this will mean and how it will unfold.

Meanwhile, at all times of day thousands continued to visit the site where George Floyd was lynched, laying flowers, shedding tears, reading the names of others murdered by police, praying, chanting George Floyd’s name, or joining in some other of the many organized and spontaneous expressions of mourning, fury and debate over the way forward. The National Revolution Tour set up here several times, agitating to crowds and digging in deeper at the table.

Other acts of protest, large and small, continued across the city, too many to track.

 

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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/652/chicago-tens-of-thousands-take-to-the-streets-en.html

Chicago:
After a Week of Brutal Police Attacks and Arrests, Tens of Thousands Take to the Streets

| revcom.us

 

Thousands of protesters poured into downtown Chicago on May 29 and 30, the first weekend after the brutal police murder of George Floyd. Late Saturday night, May 30, the police attacked people viciously—beating and arresting large numbers of protesters. Following this there were scenes of looting along the posh downtown shopping area known as the “Magnificent Mile” and in the neighborhoods of the oppressed. The newly elected Black, lesbian Democratic mayor came down hard. She ordered a 9 pm-6 am curfew, called in the National Guard and locked down the entire downtown. The lockdown included raising bridges, shutting down all public transportation into downtown, closing freeway exits and streets, and generally making it impossible for protesters to get into the heart of the city where people of all nationalities come together in this segregated city.

Protests didn’t stop, but instead of massive downtown convergences of people from all over the city, protests, some of them of thousands of people, took place in neighborhoods all over the city, including on the predominantly Black South and West Sides, in neighborhoods of Latinos and in neighborhoods that are predominantly white on the North Side and also in many suburbs. As of Sunday, June 7, 3,000 people had been arrested since the protests began.


Protesters at Union Park, Chicago observe 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, the length of time the cop had his knee on George Floyd's neck.

On Saturday, June 6, a massive crowd estimated at 20,000-30,000 gathered in Union Park on Chicago’s near West Side—the largest protest to date. The crowd was overwhelmingly young people of all nationalities, races and genders. They carried homemade signs, many written on pieces of cardboard boxes saying “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice, No Peace,” “Fuck the Police,” “Defund the Police,” also some “White Silence is Violence,” and Latinos with signs expressing Latino/Black solidarity in response to recent attacks on Blacks in Latinx communities.


Chicago Revolution Club marches with 30,000 on June 6 protesting the murder of George Floyd.

The Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism set up at a key entrance to the park. It was a beautiful scene welcoming people as they arrived. The club had a large banner that said: “This System Can’t Be Reformed, It Must Be Overthrown,” and club members in uniform passed out thousands of flyers and posters (saying “We Say No More. We Want Revolution Nothing Less” www.revcom.us), and stickers, and staffed a table with revolutionary literature as people poured into the park. Refuse Fascism had two banners, one a 20-foot “Trump/Pence Out Now” banner. They also passed out signs, flyers and stickers to the crowd. The icing on the cake was 10 percussionists from Degenerate Artists Against Fascism who kept up the beat and further uplifted what was really a cool scene.


Refuse Fascism carrying Trump/Pence OUTNOW banner in the march, June 6.

We could not hear the speakers but heard that the rally focused on issues of policy reform. At one point we all, the Revolution Club, Refuse Fascism and all the drummers, took off through the back of the park, getting a positive response from the crowd. After the rally, people surged into the street and marched for several miles, taking up all lanes in an unbroken mass that went for 1.5 miles. It was very spirited and determined. “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police” and “Black Lives Matter” rang out for much of the march. The Revolution Club led many chants that were taken up enthusiastically by the crowd. Among them: “1, 2, 3, 4 Slavery, Genocide and War; 5, 6, 7, 8, America was Never Great,” “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” “Say his name!” (the crowd would shout “George Floyd!”), “Say her name!” (the response, “Breonna Taylor!,”) “Fuck Donald Trump,” and more. (See the Chicago Revolution Club Twitter for videos.) At a major intersection people took a knee for George Floyd. The march ended at a large field where thousands relaxed on the grass during a final rally. The club member who led many of the chants, and has been on the ground at protests all week, said lots of people were coming up to him and asking him, “When is the next protest?” On Monday the curfew was lifted and downtown was reopened, but to date no one has called for a protest downtown. Today the Revolution Club decided to issue a call for people to pour into downtown on Saturday, June 13, at 3 pm.

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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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/652/chicago-6-14-update-en.html

From Revolution Club, Chicago:

Marching Through Downtown on the Two-Week Anniversary of Police Murder of George Floyd—and "Growing" the Protest Right on the Spot

| revcom.us

 


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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

See: Chicago: After a week of brutal police attacks and arrests, tens of thousands take to the streets.

 

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/652/washington-dc-a-festival-of-defiance-en.html

Washington, DC:
“It felt like a festival, a festival of Defiance”

| revcom.us

 


Thousands gather on Black Lives Matter Plaza to protest the murder of George Floyd in Washington, DC near the White House, June 6. Photo: AP.

From a member of the Revolution Club:

Last Saturday, June 6, after days of unrelenting and defiant protests in cities all over the country, which escalated after the bag of fascist feces tear gassed and brutalized protesters at Lafayette Park across the White House, thousands and thousands of people gathered all day in DC, NY, and in every state in the U.S. to step up the struggle. Refuse Fascism had also called for nationwide protests, starting at 4 pm on June 6 to bring forward a resounding "TRUMP/PENCE OUTNOW!" as part of this. And the NYC Revolution Club joined with the Refuse Fascism chapters from New York and Philadelphia and took up that call.

In DC, it was the largest crowd we had seen since the upheaval began, with different spontaneous marches and gatherings happening all over and people gathering at Black Lives Matter Plaza and Lafayette Park all day. By 4 pm it was a beautiful scene of many thousands, and many of the people coming from New York commented on how the scene was different than they had been part of before. It felt like a festival, a festival of defiance, a festival with a deep yearning for something radically different for Black people, with conviction that this “generation was not fucking taking it no more” and a real seriousness in debating the implications of what this means. Some people talked about how this must have been what the ’60s felt like.


Thousands protest the murder of George Floyd in Washington, DC near the White House, June 6. Photo: AP.

The day was marked by a variety of nonviolent protests, but it did not feel like protest as usual. While there were multiple organized actions in the city, there were also many spontaneous marches and many circles forming around different agitators and other activities going on. The wall built by the Trump/Pence regime to block off Lafayette Park became a canvas for all the different politics and art of the moment to find expression. The streets themselves, as well as all the plywood on the windows of the buildings surrounding the area, also became an extension of that, with all kinds of art being plastered, painted, chalked, and more speaking to the moment. Throughout the day hundreds of people made a point to climb up to take pictures with the Black Lives Matter Avenue sign and some chose to agitate from that perch. It was a sign of the joy, the fearlessness, the community, and the defiance of the moment. At night there was a concert and thousands dancing in the street—performers put on “Out Now!” stickers and chanted “fuck Trump!”

More so than we have seen in New York, the crowds included a lot of youth from inner city neighborhoods as well as the broad swaths of youth from different races and backgrounds that we have been seeing all over the country. And the protests in DC were overwhelmingly Black (one report said 60-70 percent Black). There were people from all generations here, and some immigrants from different countries who wanted it known they were standing with Black people—we saw signs for Sikhs for Black Lives Matter for example, as well as young Latino and Asian people, second-generation immigrant youth. Many groups of friends came together, including some people who set up water stands. There was also a tremendous amount of support from many different sections for the protesters—a church opened up its doors for people to rest when really hot and use the rest rooms, a pizza chain closed down two of its restaurants to make and deliver pizzas just for the protesters. Not everyone felt they wanted to be on the front lines, but many people who weren’t ready for that made it known in word and deed that they were with the protesters and did not want this to be held back.

One thing worth noting was how prevalent the notion was that silence is complicity and that you can’t sit this out. Also worth noting is how frequent fascism was on signs. Mainly white folk had these signs, with older people having signs making historical comparisons and younger people having things like “No Fascist USA.”


The Revcoms and Refuse Fascism in Washington, DC, June 6.

The NYC Revolution Club and Refuse Fascism rolled together among the thousands of people tightly packed along the avenue. We found a good corner where we could gather and rally people and be able to draw people in to listen, and chant together. And while some agitated, others fanned out through the people gathered to pass out flyers of BA’s “Nothing Less” statement and the “What To Do Now” piece from revcom.us, as well as “Trump/Pence OUT NOW!” stickers and to talk to people. While the NYC Revolution Club people agitated, others held up copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by Bob Avakian. When they would agitate that it is the system of American imperialism that has had its knee on the neck of Black people and bringing out how white supremacy and capitalism are intertwined into the fabric of this system and cannot be separated without tearing that fabric apart, people were hungry to get into it. They brought out too how the white supremacist fascist-in-chief sitting in the White House, Trump, was brought forward by this very same system and what it would mean for Black people as well as others here and around the world if this fascist movement was able to suppress this upheaval. You could tell that people were listening because they would not cheer right away but then after a little while—there would be some affirmations from the crowd, some would cheer, the chanting started getting louder and more defiant. One of us said he was a member of the NYC Revolution Club and called on people to become members too, because of what is needed is to actually put an end to institutionalized racism and murder by police. He talked about Bob Avakian, and why people need to know about this leader. And when he agitated drawing, from BA’s “Nothing Less” about the kind of society we could bring into being, one where no Black person would ever have to walk down the street in fear, where every woman could hold her head high, where immigrants wouldn’t have to fear being terrorized, there were the loudest cheers. When people’s sights were raised to a vision of a different society, where all the shit they have to deal with day in and day out, which seems permanent, could actually be brought into being by what we do.

As the handful of revcoms there fanned through the crowd, people were asking questions about who Bob Avakian is, what his history is, what did we mean by an actual revolution, why we thought there was a chance to even win. Another thing that resonated with people is that by this rebellion, the people have rocked the system back on its heels. That this actually has taken the initiative from this system and its forces of repression, and you can begin to see that they are not all powerful and there are deep cracks in how they keep us locked into their way of life. Another thing a Revcom mentioned afterward is that it’s not just that people are open to engaging different solutions and paths forward they wouldn’t normally even consider, but that people are open to struggling over what they think and are open to really looking at reality. And if we lead with reality and what is actually happening, there is real openness with people to change how they are thinking about things. Even as many people even spontaneously took up “Fuck Trump,” by the end of the day it was much more widespread and the “TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!” stickers were literally everywhere.


Refuse Fascism leads chants of Trump/Pence OUTNOW. Photo: AP.

One important thing that happened that evening was in response to agitation from the NYC Revolution Club, several youths from neighborhoods—Black, Brown, South Asian, men and women—did a “speak bitterness” where they brought out for all to hear the daily, unrelenting brutality they face. A 17-year-old woman spoke about the fear she feels each and every day her brother goes outside. They spoke to a deep sentiment that they are not going to live with this anymore—“They fucked with the wrong generation.” People had the conviction that they have right on their side, and many felt themselves and struggled with others that this cannot be turned back—that this was not a photo op, or a party, but deadly serious.

One big challenge we have is working on how to have an impact and how to envision speaking to millions in real ways when we objectively are small forces. Where we set up, we had a big impact on those hundreds who gathered up there and those passing by. But we are wrestling with what it means and how to wield the forces we have so that Revolution—Nothing Less! gets announced and provokes, challenges, and inspires far beyond those right around us.

 

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/652/mexico-city-and-jalisco-en.html

Mexico City and Jalisco: Justice for George Floyd, Giovanni López and All Victims of Police Brutality!

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: The following was translated by revcom.us, from Aurora Roja, the blog of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico.


Demonstration in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

In repudiation of the murder of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, United States, and the murder of Giovanni López by the police of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, state of Jalisco, Mexico, more than a hundred people demonstrated at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City on June 5, 2020.

Posters with “I can’t breathe” were posted on the embassy fence, which were the last words of African-American George Floyd as the white cop took his life, crushing his neck with his knee for nearly nine minutes as he lay handcuffed on the ground, with two other policemen pressing his back down against the pavement. Also the names of many other people killed by the police in the United States, mainly Black people and other people of color, were posted on the sidewalk in front of the embassy, while noise was made hitting the metal fences with which they have armored and protected this hated embassy of Yankee imperialism, precisely in anticipation of demonstrations in repudiation of the crime.

Voices were also raised demanding justice for the murder of Giovanni López committed by the police in the state of Jalisco. Posters with a drawing of Giovanni’s face and demanding justice were posted on metal fences. Giovanni died in police custody after being arrested for filming the police arresting people for not wearing face masks, even though they were sitting in front of their homes. He was tortured for hours, according to the testimony of another person detained at the same time. There have also been angry protests demanding justice for Giovanni in the city of Guadalajara, capital of the state of Jalisco.

Furthermore, the murder of Oliver López in Tijuana on March 29 is being called out, when a pig police officer took his life by standing on his neck, a crime with a chilling resemblance to the murder of George Floyd in the United States.

The response to the protests against police brutality was more police brutality. In Mexico City, police officers knocked down and kicked a young protester in the head. In Guadalajara, municipal and state police, in vans without markings or license plates, some in civilian clothes, arrested and beat several young people who were heading to the demonstration that was taking place for the second day. They then left several of the beaten people at places far from the city.

The rebellion in hundreds of cities and towns in the United States due to the murder of George Floyd and many others has inspired demonstrations of solidarity and protests against police brutality, racism and white supremacy in many countries around the world. And the fact is that everywhere the police are a repressive force to terrorize and control the people oppressed and exploited by this capitalist system. As the People’s Revolutionary Movement pointed out, when participating in the protest in Mexico City, to end this savage police brutality, the system must be gotten rid of which these pigs serve to protect; needed: ¡revolution, nothing less!


Some participants in the People’s Revolutionary Movement in the demonstration in Mexico City. “NO! ¡In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!”


Police knock down and kick a protester in the Mexico City demonstration.


Another protest at the murder of George Floyd at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City on June 4, primarily of young people from the U.S.

 

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/652/refusefascism-on-video-by-project-veritas-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Statement from the Editorial Board of RefuseFascism.org
on the video released by “Project Veritas” on June 10, 2020

| revcom.us

 

I. The massive uprising and protest of people of all nationalities to stop the killing of Black people by police and the institutionalized racism has struck hard at the core of the white supremacist fascist agenda of the Trump/Pence regime. Trump has responded with threats and actions that if fully carried out would represent a serious escalation of a fascist police state rule, including against RefuseFascism.org.

II. Against this backdrop, on June 10, 2020, the organization “Project Veritas” released a video of an illegally and surreptitiously recorded conversation in California in 2018 with Andy Zee,1 a co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org (RF) and member of RF’s Editorial Board. This video, which has gone viral in right wing circles, maliciously and falsely claims that RefuseFascism.org has advocated and trained people in violence. This was done through crudely edited juxtaposed footage of another organization’s martial arts training which itself may have been taken out of context. RefuseFascism.org, since its formation in December 2016, has put forth its principle of non-violence in every public statement—including its first which appeared as full-page advertisements in the New York Times and The Washington Post; in its Mission Statement; as well as on its website: www.refusefascism.org:

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! (underlining added for this statement).

The malicious and slanderous attempts to paint RefuseFascism.org as advocating violence is part and parcel of—and could serve as a pretext for—pronouncements by President Trump to declare the loose knit diverse groups in the U.S. and internationally referred to as Antifa as a “terrorist” organization, which would be an unprecedented and dangerous escalation of fascist rule in the U.S.2 We note that also on May 31, not only did Trump tweet this, but Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement: “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.” That this is an outright lie is no barrier for the Trump/Pence regime seizing on this as a pretext for investigation and far worse in their pursuit to crush dissent.3

James O’Keefe, the founder of “Project Veritas,”4 appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio program on June 5 saying: “This one Sean, is something called ‘RefuseFa’ New York City, Refuse Fascism, part of Antifa.” After which he and Hannity discuss their desire for the Attorney General and the Justice Department to see this video. Meanwhile, rightwing/fascist forces have been flooding the Justice Department, the FBI, Secret Service, etc. with calls for action against RefuseFascism.org and worse.

Two facts: O’Keefe has made up the name “RefuseFA”—to sow confusion. This is not a name that we or anyone have used before. Second, while RefuseFascism.org and the Antifa movement have very different strategies and approaches to thwarting fascism, with RefuseFascism.org focused on the political objectives of building a broad-based political movement to remove the Trump/Pence regime from power, RefuseFascism.org insisted in a statement issued on September 9, 2017 which included the following:

“There is NO moral ‘equivalence’ between those seeking to impose white supremacy and fascism, and those fighting against this nightmare...”

And, that:

“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.”

People concerned about justice must recognize that “Project Veritas” and James O’Keefe’s slanders against RefuseFascism.org in this video, in their media appearances, and in their social media campaign are blatant attempts to provide pretext for harmful action against RefuseFascism.org and one of its key leaders, Andy Zee.

We note, too, that the rightwing nutjob, author and film maker Dinesh D’Souza has in the last two weeks accused RefuseFascism.org, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa of creating “a left-wing ‘paramilitary force’.” These inaccurate accusations are now ricocheting around right wing media and are finding support if not direction from the Trump/Pence regime. This too is ominous, with potential repercussions.

III. The “Project Veritas” video also is a serious attempt to suggest that George Soros and Tom Steyer are funders of RefuseFascism.org. While neither have donated to RefuseFascism.org, there would be nothing wrong with their doing so or supporting other progressive organizations.

In regard to their supposed “scoop” on fundraising, Veritas’s surreptitious video is packed with lies. “Project Veritas’” Christian Hartsock dishonestly posed as a representative of wealthy people interested in making substantial donations to RefuseFascism.org. The video included an RF organizer in Atlanta saying she helped secure a grant for an abortion rights group from the Soros foundation two decades ago (time frame omitted by Veritas) and then edited the video to make it appear as if this grant was to RefuseFascism.org. Then, they took parts of a conversation from RF co-initiator Andy Zee where the Veritas imposter was pushing to find out if RefuseFascism.org was getting and/or would try to get financial support from Tom Steyer. Zee’s answer to this was to say instead that RF was trying to dialogue with Tom Steyer, who was at that time in the early stages of launching a mass campaign to impeach Trump.

The nefarious objective of the fascist regime and its wanna-be operatives like Hartsock and O’Keefe is to go after not just RefuseFascism.org and other political and social movements who are mobilizing masses of people to resolutely oppose the Trump’s agenda of imposing a white supremacist, xenophobic, patriarchal theocratic fascist regime on this country, but to also intimidate, demonize, destroy and/or neutralize their political opposition in government—the Democrats and their funders. This BS attempt to stigmatize funders and those seeking funds should intimidate no one and be given no quarter.

************

IV. RefuseFascism.org has recognized from its inception that this is a regime that is attempting to establish a fascist form of rule in this country at great cost to humanity. We have never wavered from this analysis even in the face of progressive forces that thought this was alarmist and who counseled a wait-and-see approach. We have argued that history shows it can become too late to stop fascism and every fascist escalation must be opposed with increased unity and action.

We recognized that the fascist movements that have grown over the last four decades in this country have seen in Trump’s election their “last chance” to achieve their remaking of the country. This has been especially the case with the Christian fascist theocratic element—represented by VP Mike Pence in the regime. As such, we are not deterred by attacks against us.

WE CALL ON EVERYONE WHO CARES ABOUT JUSTICE AND HUMANITY TO STAND AGAINST THESE ATTACKS... WITH REFUSEFASCISM.ORG

AND WITH ALL WHO COME UNDER ATTACK FROM THIS REGIME.

And last, in October 2017 we called on all principled organizations, media, and individuals to reject, repudiate, and to stop repeating the distortions and lies of these attacks on RefuseFascism.org and the nonviolent protest mobilizations it was planning, and issued this statement:

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.

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

 


1. California Law Penal Code § 632, enacted under the California Invasion of Privacy Act, makes it illegal for an individual to monitor or record a “confidential communication” whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device. California is known as a “two-party” state, which means that recordings are not allowed unless all parties to the conversation consent to the recording. [back]

2. Trump tweet on 05/31 after saying on 05/30, “The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups”:


[back]

3. See front page of the NY Times; June 12, 2020: “Police Dismiss Trump’s Claims of Antifa Plot” [back]

4. “Project Veritas” and James O’Keefe have a sordid history of infiltrating, secretly recording and sending spies into liberal and progressive organizations. This has had, at times, devastating impact, destroying the community organization ACORN, and seriously disrupting Planned Parenthood. Although discredited by much of the media, O’Keefe and his outfit are quoted favorably by Trump and Trump Jr. and are a part of the fascist movement. The pathetic nature of the video they released against Refusefascism.org should not dissuade anyone from the real harm it could do. [back]

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 until our demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! We welcome 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/631/american-crime-case-12-the-1921-tulsa-massacre-en.html

American Crime

Case #12: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the Destruction of Black Wall Street

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

Oklahoma’s statehood in 1907 coincided with the discovery of oil, and the boom years that followed saw its population grow from 10,000 in 1910 to 100,000 a decade later. This included a significant number of Black people, looking for a better life, and hoping to escape the worst of Jim Crow Mississippi, Georgia, and other states of the Old South. In 1921, Tulsa was strictly segregated; Black people could work in town, but all Black residents were required to live and shop in the Greenwood District of Northern Tulsa. In time, Greenwood’s segregated economy, self-contained and self-sufficient, was so successful that it became known nationally as the “Black Wall Street.” About 11,000 Black residents lived in the Greenwood neighborhood. Black-owned grocery stores, banks, libraries, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and more lined Greenwood Avenue.

THE CRIME

On May 30, 1921, Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old Black shoe shiner working downtown, entered the elevator of the only building with a restroom Blacks could use in the area. Sarah Page, a white 17-year-old, was the elevator operator. When the door closed, Page cried out, and Rowland ran off. The most common explanation is that Rowland just stepped on Page’s foot. But Rowland was alleged—without evidence—to have assaulted Page. He was arrested the next morning and held in a jail cell above City Hall.

That afternoon, the Tulsa Tribune ran the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator,” suggesting that Page had been raped, and editorialized: “To Lynch Negro Tonight.” Within an hour of the paper hitting the streets a lynch mob in the hundreds descended on the courthouse.

Word spread throughout Greenwood that whites were storming the courthouse and Rowland was in danger. After debating how to respond, at 9 pm a group of 25 armed Black men, some veterans of World War 1, drove to the courthouse determined to stop the lynching. They got out with their rifles and shotguns, and offered their support to the local authorities. Their offer was refused, and they left.

But the white mob was incensed, and grew into the thousands in no time as word spread, more and more coming with weapons. At 10 pm a group of 75 Black men returned to the courthouse after new rumors that a lynching was imminent. They marched single file to the courthouse steps. Again, their offer of help to protect Rowland was refused. A white man approached an armed Black army veteran and demanded he turn over his gun. A fight broke out, and a gun went off.

Historian and author Scott Ellsworth wrote: “While the first shot fired at the court house may have been unintentional, those that followed were not. Almost immediately, members of the white mob—and possibly some law enforcement officers—opened fire on the African American men, who returned volleys of their own. The initial gunplay lasted only a few seconds, but when it was over, as many as a dozen men, both black and white, lay dead or wounded. Out numbered more than twenty-to-one, the black men began a retreating fight toward the African American district, with armed whites in close pursuit.”1

“They tried to kill all the black folks they could see,” a survivor, George Monroe, recalled in the 1999 documentary The Night Tulsa Burned.

Shortly after the fighting broke out at the courthouse, a large number of whites—many who’d been part of the lynch mob—gathered outside police headquarters nearby. There, as many as 500 white men and boys were sworn in as “Special Deputies” and told to “Get a gun and get a nigger.” Weapons were passed out by other deputies from a sporting goods store across the street. White rioters began firing on Blacks and setting fire to Black-owned homes and businesses late into the night.

“Tuesday night, May 31, was the riot, and Wednesday morning, by day break, was the invasion.” (Unidentified observer to a reporter)

As dawn approached, thousands of armed whites—some estimated as many as 10,000—gathered in three locations on the edges of Greenwood. A siren sounded at daybreak, and the mobs of white terrorists launched their invasion.

These armed white mobs included over 150 Tulsa police. They set about systematically killing, looting, and burning the entire district of Greenwood, block by block. Armed whites broke into Black homes and businesses and forced the people outside, where they were led away at gunpoint to internment centers set up by the authorities. Anyone who resisted was shot. If guns were found inside, the occupant was shot. The homes and businesses were looted, then set on fire with torches and oil-soaked rags. House by house, block by block, Greenwood was demolished. Airplanes were used to shoot Black people from the air and drop kerosene bombs on buildings, setting them ablaze.

Throughout this assault, Black Tulsans, while tremendously outnumbered, fought back. Riflemen took positions atop the belfry of a newly built church to temporarily halt the advance of the white invasion. But the church was burned to the ground. These attempts at resistance could not be maintained because the deputized police and the National Guard units arrested 6,000 Greenwood residents. Black Tulsans did not go down without a fight, but they were out-gunned and out-numbered. “Survivors recounted black bodies loaded on trains and dumped off bridges into the Arkansas River and, most frequently, tossed into mass graves.”2

By noon on June 1, these white mobs had murdered more than 300 Black Tulsa residents. They had turned 40 square blocks of Greenwood into a scorched wasteland. This included 1,256 homes destroyed, along with virtually every other structure—including churches, schools, businesses, even a hospital and library. “Not one of these criminal acts was then or ever has been prosecuted or punished by government at any level, municipal, county, state, or federal.” (Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921)

After order was restored, the Black people who’d been detained were released, but only if signed for by a white person, who also had to agree to accept responsibility for that detainee’s subsequent behavior. More than 10,000 residents were left homeless. Thousands of Black Tulsans spent the winter living in tents. Many left for good, having had enough of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

THE CRIMINALS

The racist mobs of thousands of white Tulsans were directly responsible for the horror inflicted on the people of Greenwood.

The Tulsa police chief and Tulsa deputies had a direct hand in arming, deputizing, and directing the mobs from the very start of the killing of Black Tulsans.

The Tulsa city officials played a decisive role by refusing to take any action to stop the racial massacre. And shortly afterwards, these same officials passed a zoning ordinance that made it too expensive for the Greenwood residents to rebuild their homes.

The local units of the National Guard, by arresting every Black resident of Tulsa they could find and taking them into “protective custody,” left Greenwood property unprotected and aided the “special deputies” who came to burn it. The after-action reports by the local guardsmen show they saw their job not as protecting the people of Greenwood, but putting down the supposed “Negro uprising.”

The Oklahoma State Troopers did not arrive from Oklahoma City until the annihilation of Greenwood was over; arriving earlier could have prevented some of the worst crimes from taking place.

The governor of Oklahoma, from the very start, treated the events in Tulsa as a Black “insurrection.”

The extent of the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement and possible lead role in this heinous act of terror hasn’t been proved, but “Tulsa’s atmosphere reeked with a Klan-like stench that oozed through the robes of the Hooded Order.” (Tulsa Race Riot report.) At that time many of the city’s most prominent men were Klansmen, including the lawyer assigned to represent Dick Rowland. Photographs of the Tulsa massacre were made into postcards, including a close-up of a charred Black body; and another of the Greenwood District in ruins.

THE ALIBI

The blame for the Tulsa Massacre was, from the very start, fully put on Greenwood’s Black residents—calling it a “Negro Uprising,” or “Insurrection.” A grand jury investigation organized by Oklahoma’s governor in the days after the massacre concluded:

We find that the recent race riot was the direct result of an effort on the part of a certain group of colored men who appeared at the court house on the night of May 31, 1921, for the purpose of protecting one Dick Rowland ...There was no mob spirit among the whites, no talk of lynching and no arms. The assembly was quiet until the arrival of armed Negroes, which precipitated and was the direct cause of the entire affair.

THE REAL MOTIVE

The economic success of the people of Black Tulsa—including home, business, and land ownership—fueled resentment, fear, and jealousy within the white community. Many of Greenwood’s Black residents were living more successful lives than white Tulsans. In a community, and a country, where white supremacy was taken for granted—and counted on—the success of the people of Greenwood was seen as a provocation.

The Tulsa Massacre, and the 1919 “Red Summer” of anti-Black violence that preceded it (see American Crime Case #15), took place at a time when the U.S. rulers needed to maintain the brutal oppression of Black people and white supremacy under changing conditions. The beginning of the Great Migration saw Black people leaving the rural South to find work in the cities of the North. Among them were Black veterans of World War 1, returning with a defiant spirit and less willingness to put up with open Jim Crow degradation and terror. Those in power faced the “need” for Black people to be beaten into submission through terror, their defiant spirit suppressed, and white people (including oppressed white people) enlisted to serve and identify with the exploitative, white supremacist order.

Resources:

 


1. “The Tulsa Race Riot,” by Dr. Scott Ellsworth, an essay in Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.  [back]

2. Washington Post, September 18, 2018.  [back]


Systematic killing, looting, and burning of the entire district of Greenwood during Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921.


House by house, block by block, Greenwood, Tulsa was demolished.


A black man being burned on a bed of lumber during the Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. Photo: Unsourced Archive


Mt. Zion Baptist Church burns during Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. Photo: Historical Society and Museum

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/bob-avakian_trump-and-pigs-a-racist-love-affair-en.html

TRUMP AND PIGS:
A RACIST LOVE AFFAIR

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

What percentage of cops (especially white cops) are not supporters of Trump? Maybe (maybe) 10 percent (or less). That small number is about the same percentage of Black people who are Trump supporters. That should tell you something—it should tell you a lot! For one thing, it shows why the struggle against police brutality and murder is closely linked with the need for mass mobilization to demand Trump/Pence OUT NOW! And, beyond that, it shows how rotten to the core this whole system is: a system of power—not “of” the people, but over the people—which has brought to the presidency the hard-core racist Trump, and relies on a police force of hard-core racists! Think about it.

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/bob-avakian_oh-now-theyre-saying-its-fascism-en.html

"OH, NOW THEY'RE SAYING"—
IT'S FASCISM!

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The late sportscaster Dick Enberg frequently used that phrase (“Oh, now they’re saying”) to cover up his mistakes. Here’s an example: In a basketball game Enberg is broadcasting, someone makes a shot—but they are called for a “traveling” violation, so the shot doesn’t count. Yet Enberg doesn’t realize right away that the “traveling call” has been made and the shot doesn’t count—and he goes on for a while raving about what a “great shot” it is, before he finally realizes that the shot doesn’t count. Then, instead of simply admitting his mistake, he says: “Oh, now they’re saying the shot doesn’t count” (when that has been the case all along!).

I was reminded of this in seeing a number of recent articles and commentaries, including by more “mainstream” voices, where comparisons are being made between Trump and the NAZIs and the specter of fascism in this country is finally being discussed by such people. For years now, those of us who have been consistently pointing to the fascist nature and objectives of Trump, and the whole Trump/Pence regime, have been met not only with attacks from the “base” of this regime but with ridicule and dismissal from many “liberals,” who have accused us of using exaggeration, hype, and “alarmism” in the attempt to scare and manipulate people into following us. Now, when what we have said about this is becoming increasingly obvious, to the point where more “respectable” sources are beginning to speak in these terms, a few honest people have readily acknowledged “You were right about this, and I was wrong.” Yet most of those who, for some time, have criticized or dismissed our analysis—but have now finally started to recognize, “Well, I guess this is fascism”—have not had the decency and integrity to acknowledge that we have been correct all along in calling this fascism, and instead they have done the “Oh, now they’re saying” routine.

To be clear, the reason it is right and necessary for people to acknowledge that we have been right all along about this is not a matter of our egos, but a matter of principle and method. If we have been right about something as important as this, maybe there is something to learn from that—not only the particular analysis we have made but the method that underlies that analysis, the scientific method and approach of investigating reality and proceeding on the basis of the facts and evidence about the actual reality, following the truth where it leads, rather than proceeding according to preconceived notions and prejudices and resisting “uncomfortable” conclusions. And this question also needs to be seriously engaged: Perhaps those of us who have applied this method and approach to understanding not only the nature of the Trump/Pence regime but, beyond that, the fundamental nature of the system we live under, are also correct in our conclusion that this system (of capitalism-imperialism) has the most horrendous oppression, exploitation and plunder, of people and the environment, built into its very foundation and its ongoing functioning—and therefore, as we have emphasized: This system cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown, if there is to be a future worth living for humanity.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/bob-avakian_don-lemon-martin-luther-king-and-the-revolution-we-need-en.html

DON LEMON, MARTIN LUTHER KING
AND THE REVOLUTION WE NEED

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Recently, CNN host Don Lemon spoke about reading again Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Lemon called attention to the part of that speech that says now is the time to end racial injustice. Lemon repeated this, speaking of the present: Now is the time. Whatever Lemon’s intent, this raises a very big question:

Why, 57 years after that speech by Martin Luther King, is someone having to say, again: now is the time to end racial injustice? If it was time, 57 years ago, for this to happen, why has it not happened, after all these years?!

Is it because, before now, people have not struggled mightily against this racial injustice? NO—throughout their history in America, Black people have repeatedly risen up and fought heroically against this oppression. And the 1960s was precisely a time when there was massive and sustained struggle against this oppression, with millions of people—not only masses of Black people but many people of other “races” and nationalities, including large numbers of white youth—actively taking part in and sacrificing in the struggle to put an end to this.

And now is not the first time that the powers-that-be (or some of them) have been forced to admit that there is a serious problem of racial injustice in this country and to talk about making real changes. More than 50 years ago, at the height of the 1960s upsurge, the Kerner Commission Report did all that.

There is one basic reason why this oppression has not been ended: The system that we live under, the system of capitalism-imperialism, has this oppression built into it and could not exist or function without it. So long as this system remains in power, no matter which politicians are in the seats of power, and regardless of any promises they make, this oppression will go on... and on.

The conclusion is clear: This system cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown!

As I have said before: “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!

It is now time—it is long past time—to end all this.

And to do that, we need: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/bob-avakian_its-not-the-democrats-its-the-whole-system-en.html

IT'S NOT "THE DEMOCRATS"—
IT'S THE WHOLE SYSTEM!

An Answer to Candace Owens and Other Black NAZI Demagogues

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Candace Owens, and other Black “conservatives” who support the white supremacist fascist Donald Trump, try to justify their contemptible actions by claiming that it is the Democratic Party that is responsible for keeping Black people in a subordinated position. As I have spoken to and concretely illustrated many times, the Democratic Party does play an important part in the subjugation and degradation of Black people, including the way in which masses of Black people, and in particular youth, are robbed of a decent future, cordoned and contained in ghettoes of deprivation and desperation, murdered by marauding police and driven and encouraged to kill each other. But the Democratic Party does this as an instrument—one of the key institutions—of the system of capitalism-imperialism that is the source of this oppression, a system resting on the cruel exploitation and murderous oppression of not only Black people but masses of other people as well, not just in this country but throughout the world. And the Republican Party is certainly no less an instrument of this monstrous system—especially as that party has, over recent decades, become even more overtly white supremacist, male supremacist, anti-immigrant xenophobic and bellicose American chauvinist.

Particularly after World War 2, with major changes going on in this country, and the world as a whole, out of one side of its mouth the Democratic Party portrayed itself as the “friend” and “savior” of Black people. But the Democratic Party had a deep and increasingly sharp contradiction within it: Its “northern wing” presented itself as “liberal” while its “southern wing” (known as “Dixiecrats”) was openly, vehemently and violently white supremacist. This came to a head in the 1960s, when the leaders of the Democratic Party found themselves in a position where they had to make concessions to the struggle for civil rights: the “Dixiecrats” deserted the Democratic Party and became a key force within the Republican Party. Since that time, the Republicans have become more and more openly the party of white supremacy.

Malcolm X spoke very plainly to this situation. He said: one of these parties (the Democrats) says they’re for you, while the other one (the Republicans) says they’re against you—one of them is a “fox,” and the other one is a “wolf,” but they are both part of the canine family—they are both racist dogs. It is tempting to see it as simply an act of incredible stupidity to join with the ones who are openly against you. But, on the part of Candace Owens, and some other Black “conservatives,” their support for Trump and the Republicans is not so much a matter of stupidity, as it is a striving to get in on the “loot”—the spoils that come from the plundering of the world by U.S. capitalist imperialism—and their belief that the best means for them to get the largest possible share of the spoils is playing the servile role of Black people justifying, and even advocating, white supremacy, but doing so while loudly and crudely declaring that any who oppose what they are doing are “racists” who want to keep Black people in their place! That they do this in the name of Black people’s advancement is all the more disgusting and despicable.

There is nothing new or original in this. We have seen it in the ridiculous posturing and the overall performance of Supreme Court “justice” Clarence Thomas. And, going back to the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, there was Booker T. Washington, a Black “leader” who preached to Black people that, instead of rising up against their segregated and terrorized situation, they should strive to do their best while remaining within those terrible conditions. No wonder Washington was one of the most favored speakers at rallies of white supremacist southern segregationists! And no wonder that the likes of Candace Owens are such “darlings” of the overt white supremacist fascists of today.

The answer to this is not to rally behind the Democratic Party, which has played such a crucial part in keeping Black people oppressed and terrorized, while pretending to be their best hope, and which has been such a key instrument of this whole system, with its unspeakable crimes against the masses of humanity. The answer is to oppose the whole monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism, which both the Democrats and the Republicans serve and work to maintain—to rise up against this system and build that struggle toward the goal of revolution to abolish this whole system, and bring a much better system into being.

The strategy for actually making this revolution has been brought forward through the ongoing work I have done over decades, since the 1960s, and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and far better society and world is contained in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—all of which can be found at revcom.us.

Let the Candace Owenses of the world shuffle, scuffle and scratch for a share of the blood-soaked spoils of this system. For all those who hunger for a world without all the atrocity and terror, all the unnecessary suffering that is caused by this system of capitalism-imperialism, let us rise together to put an end to all this, in the only way it can be done: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—a revolution not for revenge, or to “get ours” through the exploitation and degradation of others—a revolution for the emancipation of all humanity.

 

 

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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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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/652/bob-avakian_anything-but-the-truth-en.html

ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH

Bob Avakian Exposes Lies, Distortions, Distractions and Evasions About the Murderous Oppression of Black People

| revcom.us

 

Especially when police terror and murder against Black people becomes sharply exposed, there are those who crawl out from under a rock to hypocritically talk about “Black-on-Black” crime and how more Black people have been killed by other Black people than by police. All of a sudden, the most overt racists are pretending to be concerned about Black people killing each other! They ignore the crucial fact that the police are part of the governmental system—part of the state apparatus—that claims it is “serving and protecting” the people, when in fact it is enforcing their oppression. That is why Black people who commit crimes—and many who have not committed any—are severely punished through the “justice” system (when they are not murdered outright by the police) but when the police kill a Black man or woman, they are very rarely even charged with a crime—and, even when they are, they almost always get off completely, or with only a very light sentence. All this reflects the fact that the oppression of Black people is built into, and enforced by, this system of capitalism-imperialism.

Further:

For those—whether outright racists or people who have allowed themselves to take up the thinking of racists—who try to dismiss outrage about police murder of Black people by talking about how more Black people are killed by other Black people than by anyone else (including police): As I have emphasized in a number of talks and writings, this, too, is caused by this system—it is the system “working on” people, confining masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, degradation and hopelessness, and continually pumping at them the “dog eat dog” mentality that fuels this cut-throat system of exploitation and oppression, from top to bottom.1

That Black people, who are already so viciously oppressed and suffering so terribly, are killing each other in such great numbers is something that should make any decent person heartsick—and it should drive them to seek the way to put an end to this by getting to the deeper causes of this and moving to change all that. If those people who are constantly citing statistics about “Black-on-Black crime” really wanted to do something meaningful about the fact that Black people, and especially the youth, are killing each other in tragically high numbers, they would join with those of us who are working to win these youth to the revolution that can bring down this system which is the fundamental cause of this, and bring into being a system which would uproot the conditions and transform the ways of thinking that give rise to this.

But the overt racists and “Black conservatives” are not really interested in putting an end to all that. Whatever pretensions they put up—whether more obvious or more devious—they are working to fortify this system of capitalism-imperialism which has white supremacy built into it and can only function by keeping Black people oppressed and terrorized.

This attempt to distract attention from the brutality and murder that is systematically carried out by the police, as the armed enforcers of this system, is another link in the chain of distortions and lies that seek to evade the real cause of the oppressed conditions of Black people. Previously, faced with the massive radical upsurge of struggle against this oppression in the 1960s, the argument was made, by defenders of this oppressive system, that “the breakdown of the Black family” is the reason Black people are in the situation they are in. This was another way of saying that Black people are responsible for their own miserable conditions. And this perverted “analysis” has been repeated down to this day. But the situation where many Black mothers have been left on their own in conditions of dire poverty—often scrambling desperately and striving heroically to provide for their children—this is a symptom of the all-around discrimination and savage inequalities to which Black people, male and female, continue to be subjected, with the roots of this in the centuries of oppression Black people have been forced to endure.

During the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, the majority of Black families consisted of two parents—and does anyone want to argue that Black people were not then subjected to the most horrific oppression?! During those times, when so-called “Black-on-Black crime” was not a major part of Black life in the way it is now, but thousands of Black people were being lynched, did those who presided over and benefitted from the exploitation and oppression of Black people raise a cry against the lynching of Black people? Were the Rudolph Giulianis of those days—or the Candace Owens Black lackeys of that time—demanding, and acting to bring about, an end to all the oppression and terror? That question answers itself. And, as I have emphasized before: Since the 1960s, the police have killed more Black people than all those who were lynched during the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror.

Throughout the centuries of Black people’s nightmare in America, there have been always those who have tried to justify all this with lies, distortions, distractions and attempts to evade the glaring truth: Some of the particular ways may have changed, in terms of how Black people have been continually subjected, over centuries, to the most savage oppression, but this oppression has continued because it is built into this system, and it can only finally be ended by overthrowing this system and bringing a radically different and much better system into being—one which does not require this oppression but instead has, as one of its most fundamental and crucial objectives and requirements, putting an end to this, at long last.

 


1. “Lynching, Murder By Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have To Live This Way!” This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

 

 

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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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/652/bob-avakian_mode-of-production-mode-of-production-mode-of-production-en.html

Mode of Production!... Mode of Production!...
Mode of Production!

| revcom.us

 

If you don’t know what this means, and how important it is—you are out of it, and you need to learn about it!

Bob Avakian

 

 

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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/651/the-murder-of-george-floyd-en.html

From Aurora Roja, the blog of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

The Murder of George Floyd: In the Face of a Bestial Crime, a Beautiful Rebellion

| revcom.us

 

Editors' note: The following was translated by revcom.us, from Aurora Roja, the blog of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

A photo, a video of the heinous action that goes around the world, of the police cutting down the life of another Black person, this time on a street in Minneapolis in the United States. George Floyd, another person of color killed by murdering pigs in a system born of slavery and genocide, whose tentacles today span a world empire of exploitation and oppression.

Faced with the mountain of so much injustice, so many horrors, people rebel, shouting out their anger, saying we’ve had enough, taking to the streets in city after city, defying curfews, facing bullets, beatings, and tear gas to demand justice.

This rebellion of people of all nationalities in the United States inspires all of us, all over the world, who long for another future for humanity. And we are inspired by the valiant fight in the very belly of the beast being waged by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, to overthrow this capitalist-imperialist system that is the cause of so much injustice, so much unnecessary suffering.

This righteous rebellion presages the potential for a completely different world. The following has been said by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of that Party and the architect of the New Communism: “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.”

We face the same capitalist-imperialist system wherever we are on the globe, and the fight for another very different and better future for humanity must unite us all. All over the world, revolution, communist revolution, is needed, and nothing less.

Justice for George Floyd and All the People Killed by the Police!

It’s Right to Rebel!

The Problem Is the System, the Solution Is Revolution!

Revolution, Nothing Less!

Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

June 2, 2020


Protest against the murder of George Floyd

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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/652/the-whole-truth-on-the-military-the-police-and-some-lessons-en.html

Reader Thoughts Provoked by Bob Avakian’s article "Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the Whole Truth."

The Whole Truth ... on the U.S. military, the police ... and some lessons

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: Below are excerpted correspondence of thoughts provoked by Bob Avakian's article "Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the Whole Truth." Along with the following, we encourage people to read the original article here.

Dear Friends,

I’m offering some thoughts after reading Bob Avakian’s article “Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the WHOLE Truth:

This week when newscasts featured scenes of some protesters welcoming and even embracing police officers who either marched with them or took a knee, I could not help but think back to the spectacular uprising in Egypt in the winter of 2011 that started the Arab Spring leading to the downfall of the 40-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. At a certain point military leaders declared that they were “with the protesters.” There was a message that they were “all Egyptians” and “in this together.” People were overjoyed and filled with hope but they were being bamboozled. After all, this was the very same U.S. funded and trained military from which the hated dictator came. The same military that had enforced and protected the oppressive system and the rulers of that system for decades. The mis-direction effectively diverted attention, people were completely unprepared for the betrayal and left to not even understand what happened in the disastrous reactionary takeover of the society by that same military that eventually followed.

The news this week featured scenes of some protesters welcoming police officers into demonstrations against the police murder of George Floyd. Numerous observations by commentators in print and on television expressing appreciation of the images of police chiefs and rank-and-file officers taking a knee in these demonstrations and even some protesters embracing policemen. Also this week James Mattis sharply criticized Trump for calling out the U.S. military against the spreading uprising of the people.... These events have been favorably welcomed as signs of positive change by many progressive forces. It causes me to reflect on what BA says in his piece "Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the Whole Truth."

Towards the end he says,

The reality is that this military is, along with the police, the armed enforcer of all this—all the oppression, exploitation and plunder which is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and to which it subjects masses of people in this country and billions all over the world—enforcing this with the most depraved violence and wanton destruction.

and follows that up with:

the U.S. military is—without the slightest exaggeration—a machinery of massive, and unspeakable, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its actions in Vietnam constitute a systematic concentration of this, with a level of destructiveness and depravity that is almost unfathomable...

And last: there is Bob Avakian’s’ quote on the real nature of the police under this system in BAsics 1:24

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation, into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

This is true and independent of anyone’s subjective intentions. Many people have a sense of the truth contained here even when they advocate for various reforms like “defunding” or “community control” of the police because they do not understand that the police are—and always have been an institution whose very purpose is to protect those very same things that people are correctly upset and angry about and determined to change.

 

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

 

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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/652/prisoner-letter-what-humanity-desperately-needs-en.html

Prisoner Thoughts Provoked by "BOB AVAKIAN RESPONDS TO MARK RUDD ON THE LESSONS OF THE 1960s AND THE NEED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION"

| revcom.us

 

We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our website.

Editors' Note: Below are excerpted correspondence of thoughts provoked by "BOB AVAKIAN RESPONDS TO MARK RUDD ON THE LESSONS OF THE 1960s AND THE NEED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION.” Along with the below, we encourage people to read the original article here.

From a prisoner in Texas, 6/2/2020

BA’s article on his response to Mark Rudd on the lessons of the 1960s is a really important piece. One that everyone should get into and really digest what is being said. It is really insightful how Bob Avakian breaks down infantile expressions of anger or accommodating to this monstrous system. Two opposite poles, but both dangerous and harmful to any real movement seeking real and profound change.

It is a scientific fact, that theres no reforming this fucked up system of capitalism and the white supremacy thats intertwined with it. Advocating for anything short of revolution is but a delusion. Only by overthrowing the capitalist system and the institutions that uphold it and re-organizing society will we ever see any type of change. Accommodating to this system and trying to change anything under the terms of this system is insanity, doing the same thing expecting different results.

Its crazy how people like Mark Rudd can think that you can “peacefully” go up to such a hyper-violent system and ask it to change in any type of way. How has that ever worked out? It never has and it never will, the evidence being that we are still going through the same shit, each and every day. People are dying and suffering every day under the grinder of this capitalist system and its violent institutions. Yet people like Mark Rudd and bourgeois liberals want to peacefully march, hold prayer circles and wait to vote-in officials who obviously are down and uphold this system of capitalism and everything thats fucked up with it.

Many people (and I see this a lot) tend to shy away from violence. They shy away from revolution because of the violence involved in overthrowing existing relations in society. But hear me out, who is the one who really starts the violence? People gather together and demand change from their governments, the people have legitimate grievances. The violence begins in the reaction of ... the government not wanting to grant those changes. Main reason being that the dynamics of their capitalist system won’t allow such change. So they (the government) begin the repression to disperse and shut the people up. As it escalates, the government wages war on the people for them wanting and desiring change. So who is really in the wrong? We ask peacefully and they respond violently. So we must respond accordingly if we wish to truly bring about any change, and the only change can come is through revolution. The logic of these reactionaries can best be described by this statement from Mao.

Make trouble, fail, make trouble again, fail again ... until their doom; that is the logic of the imperialists and all reactionaries the world over in dealing with the people’s cause, and they will never go against this logic. This is a Marxist law. When we say “imperialism is ferocious” we mean that its nature will never change, that the imperialists will never lay down their butcher knives, that they will never become Buddhas, till their doom.

Fight, fail, fight again, fail again, fight again ... till their victory, that is the logic of the people and they too will never go against this logic.

I posted the quote above to explain the logic of that which we are up against. So how can one ever think that we can ever peacefully ask the oppressors to change or step down. Please abandon such illusions, it’s illogical and extremely harmful.

Lets be clear, we can’t fall for infantile expressions of anger with no organized and scientific base. There’s a science to revolution as cited by Bob Avakian.

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.

Any party or group separated from the people and the science behind revolution, cannot bring about any change either. It will only bring more repression on the hands of the people and the movement. One has to understand that, yes, the crimes of this capitalist system and its institutions makes one want to take it to these pigs with everything one’s got. But we can’t run by emotions alone. We must hasten while awaiting, organize and strategize. And the way to do it is by having a vanguard party, a communist vanguard party whose every move is a scientific based, calculated step to get us closer and achieve revolution. Groups like the Weathermen Underground should of known better. But emotions got the best of them.

Today and in recent times we see more and more righteous uprisings and mass protest every time the police murder someone, specifically African-Americans or Latinos. Now, when these riots happen, there are some people, bourgeois, right-wingers, the media and even some protest groups like Black Lives Matter who like to isolate those protests and uprisings and declare them to be a “Black” thing only. But No, its much more than that. We must depart from Identity Politics and realize that the oppression and repression dished out by this fucked up system involves and affects everyone, not just here in the U.S., but from all corners of the world. When those righteous uprisings happen over the murder of someone by one of this government’s violent institutions, mainly the police, those uprisings... in their intensity happen because the people are tired of that and every form of oppression that this government and the system dish out. Its to give you what you daily give us through the machinations and workings of your capitalist-imperialist system and its state with its violent institutions. When those righteous riots and uprisings happen over the murder of a person of color by the police. The media and the people say that the protest or movement has been “hijacked” by such and such group or people. They try to isolate, separate it with Identity Politics. To this I say No! The struggle we wage against your system and institutions of oppression is Stop, Eliminate not just the murderous police, but the whole system of capitalist-imperialism and the white-supremacy that upholds and harbors that and all forms of oppression.

Trying to peacefully protest for “some type” of “justice” and “change,” isolating an uprising to Identity Politics or leaving it as just a “Black” thing wont ever bring about any change. Only the overthrow of this capitalist-imperialist system and the white-supremacy intertwined with it, can there be any real and profound change.

Forget Identity Politics and come together for the common goal we all seek and humanity desperately needs. An actual change in the relations in society. Which can only come about through a scientifically based and led communist revolution, whose main goal is to eliminate All forms of oppression and knock out of the box those and their system of capitalism which oppress us and the world. Anything short of that, things will continue to stay the same. And you’ll be left there, still praying and begging the oppressors for change.

Theres much that was learned from those times in the 1960’s, and its not what someone like Mark Rudd is advocating... But from a real revolutionary like Bob Avakian and a real communist vanguard party which he is chairman of. Who actually learned and took heed of past lessons, faced contradictions head on and synthesized what was learned from every communist and revolution of the past to come to the New Communism that he has developed today. In order to correctly lead the masses toward a real revolution and be able to continue the struggle to finally emancipate humanity and the world from the chains of oppression brought about by this bullshit ass capitalist-imperialist system whose right to rule has long been outdated and overdue...

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/bob-avakian-1-2-3-4-we-have-seen-this-shit-before-en.html

1-2-3-4:
WE HAVE SEEN THIS SHIT BEFORE!

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

It’s time to put an end to this!

Confronted with the mass outpouring of righteous outrage sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Trump praises the police, slanders Floyd and the protesters, and threatens and unleashes violent repression. Anyone with a heart opposes and denounces Trump’s actions. But what people also need to recognize, and defeat, are the more deceptive, insidious moves of the “mainstream” section of the ruling class (represented by institutions like the Democratic Party and media like CNN) to kill off more “softly” the rising tide of mass protest and rebellion and prevent people from getting to the root of the problem and pursuing the actual solution.

To help combat this, it is important to identify the basics of their well-worn “four-step method” to “pacify,” “domesticate”—and misdirect into meaningless channels—the mass outpourings of outrage that erupt when crimes of this system, such as police terror and murder, become sharply exposed. So here it is:

Number One: Slander the person killed by police if possible—paint them as a criminal and imply that they did something to provoke the violence by police—but if that won’t get over, and it’s too risky and might backfire and give rise to more outrage, talk about what a “tragedy” this latest murder by police is, express sympathy for the victim (and the family of the victim), and say “we need a ‘conversation’” about the problem. Act as if it is just now coming to light what a terrible, systemic problem institutionalized racism, police brutality and murder actually is. If it cannot be avoided, charge the murdering pigs with a crime (but, if possible, make the charge less than the actual monstrous crime committed, and charge as few pigs as possible).

Number Two: If the protests seem to be getting “out of hand,” in a way that might cause the authorities to “lose control,” bring in the “firemen” (and women) to “pacify” the protesters by preaching to them about being “respectful” and “respectable.” Give media coverage to the mass outpouring of outrage but go on and on about “good protest” vs. “bad protest”—denouncing supposed “outside agitators” who are “hijacking” the “legitimate” protest and “thugs” who are spoiling the “peaceful expression of a grievance.” Criticize some of the violence of the police (and other armed forces of the system) in attacking the protests, when this becomes too blatant to ignore, but keep repeating the mantra about “good protest” vs. “bad protest.”

Number Three: Build up bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces and opportunists who will keep things as much as possible on the terms of the system—who do not call out the system for what it is (a system of exploitation and oppression whose name is capitalism-imperialism) and who do not call for ending this system but instead advocate reforms within this system that are meaningless or impossible (or both). Call for commissions to “study” the problem and advocate “changes” that are largely cosmetic and in any case will do nothing to stop the ongoing terror and murder by police. Preach about how protest is good but, to bring about change, “the energy” has to be channeled into voting—for representatives of the very same system that perpetrates these outrages and will keep on doing so!

Number Four: Once (they hope!) the mass outpouring of protest and rebellion has been “pacified,” “domesticated,” and misdirected into “harmless” channels, do nothing meaningful to address the situation that gave rise to the mass outpouring of outrage. Find a way to let the murdering pigs off, if possible—or, if it might be too dangerous (might once again light the spark to mass outrage) to let them off completely, have the punishment be as light as possible. Work to have any discussion about the problems with the police be cast in terms of “how to improve relations between the police and the communities they ‘serve’”—instead of the reality that the police “serve and protect” the system that rules over the people and enforce the oppression that is built into this system.

Be prepared to repeat all this when, once again, the outrage at the continuing crimes of this system boils over and this outrage needs to be killed off, with “kindness” as well as brutal repression.

THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO GO DOWN ONCE AGAIN! It must not be accepted that terms of how to wage the struggle against the monstrous crimes of this system will be dictated by those who represent this very same system!

How the struggle against oppression must be waged should be determined by a scientific analysis of what is the cause of the oppression, what is required to finally put an end to this, and what are necessary means of struggle that flow from that scientific analysis. This leads to the conclusion that what is required is REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!—and the struggle against all the ways in which this system oppresses, degrades, exploits and plunders people, and the environment, must be waged with a determination to build toward the revolution that will sweep away this system, and bring a much better system into being, laying the foundation and providing the means for moving beyond all the unnecessary suffering, and the madness and destruction, that this system of capitalism-imperialism imposes on the masses of humanity, and ultimately on humanity as a whole.

 

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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/651/bob-avakian-fucker-carlson-fascist-fox-news-en.html

FUCKER CARLSON, FASCIST "FOX NEWS"
AND THE BROADCAST OF WHITE SUPREMACY

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

In the midst of the outpouring of outrage over the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, Fucker Tucker Carlson uses the platform provided him by the fascist network calling itself “Fox News” to mock those protesting and deny the truth that there is a widespread and systematic reign of terror against Black people in this country, which amounts to an ongoing genocide. Carlson might as well wear a Ku Klux Klan hooded sheet when he does his broadcasts. It is easy to imagine Carlson, during slavery days, oozing admiration for the slave owners sitting on their verandas drinking mint juleps and smirking while their slaves were being whipped. We can also easily imagine him, during the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, racing to be part of the leering crowds cheering while a Black man was lynched. And today he engages in sleazy attempts to downplay and justify the continuing murders of Black people by police.

He claims that statistics show that, out of the hundreds of Black people killed by police each year, most were armed. But the fact is that, time after time, police murder unarmed Black people—on the street and even in their own homes! As for the killing of “armed” people, we know that police often claim that someone they murdered “had a gun” when they did not (and what honest and informed person doesn’t know about police often planting a weapon after they have shot someone?). Plus, simply the fact that someone has a weapon does not in itself justify killing them—often people who have had a weapon are shot in the back while running away from police. Still, even if it were “only” 100 Black people who were killed each year by police in completely unjustified circumstances, that would amount to one thousand every decade. And even this understated count brings out the reality that:

since the 1960s, more Black people have been killed by police than all those who were lynched during the whole time of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror. And almost never are the police held accountable for this: almost never are they even indicted and tried; and when they are put on trial, very rarely are they convicted and sentenced in accordance with the severity of the crime—murder—they have actually committed.1

As I have spoken to before, it is a bitter truth—and a damning testament to the actual nature of the system in this country—that every Black male growing up in the South during Jim Crow had a reasonable fear of being lynched.2 The number who were actually lynched amounted to “only” about 5,000 (!)—but the reality that any Black person could be lynched at any time for any reason (or for no reason at all) instilled an ever-present terror in Black people as a whole.

And today the reality is this:

with hundreds of Black people (and other oppressed people) murdered by police every year, and Black people as a whole subjected to systematic terror through things like “stop and frisk,” it is equally true that all young Black males (and this is increasingly true of females as well) are forced to go through life in this country with the constant fear of being subjected to harassment, brutality and even outright murder by the police.3

This is why Black parents have to hold “the conversation” with their sons especially, giving them instruction that they hope will keep them from being murdered by police. This is why, when someone like George Floyd is viciously murdered by police, so many Black people—even among the more bourgeois—cry out: “That could have been me!” In the twisted mind of Tucker Carlson all these Black people must be ignorant and hysterical—when in reality they are responding to a very real and ongoing horror.

Add to this the fact that through the workings of this system—which enslaved Black people for centuries, then brutally exploited them for generations after the Civil War, and continues to systematically discriminate against them in every part of life—there are now millions of Black people who are incarcerated or otherwise in the grip of the system of criminal injustice (which also systematically discriminates against Black people) and you have what, yes, amounts to an ongoing genocide.

Tucker Carlson should be sentenced to be Black in America. If he survived for a week, there would be no end to his wailing and whining about how he can’t believe that he is being so relentlessly subjected to unfair, unjust, cruel and vicious treatment.

 


1. Lynching, Murder By Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have To Live This Way! This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

2. This refers to a 2003 speech by Bob Avakian: Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About. The film of this speech is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us. [back]

3. Lynching, Murder By Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have To Live This Way! [back]

See also:

LYNCHING, MURDER BY POLICE—
DAMN THIS WHOLE SYSTEM!
WE DON'T HAVE TO LIVE THIS WAY!

By Bob Avakian

Read more

 

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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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/651/bob-avakian-colin-kaepernick-lebron-james-and-the-whole-truth-en.html

COLIN KAEPERNICK, LEBRON JAMES
AND THE WHOLE TRUTH

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

These days, with mass protests taking place after the murder of George Floyd, many people are saying that Colin Kaepernick was right when he kneeled on the football field during the national anthem to protest police brutality and murder. Of course, there are those die-hard racists and outright fascists who continue to echo Donald Trump’s attack on Kaepernick (and other professional football players who have also taken part in such protests). In response to these attacks, many—including many prominent people—have spoken out to defend Kaepernick, which of course is very good and important. But, at the same time, some of the expressions of support for Kaepernick have included things that are wrongly defensive and actually deny or distort crucial parts of Kaepernick’s position.

For example, Lebron James has wielded his considerable prestige in support of Kaepernick (and James has expressed his outrage over the murder of George Floyd and support for the outpouring that has erupted in response to this), but at the same time James has insisted that Kaepernick was not disrespecting the flag or the U.S. military. Well, let’s look at what Kaepernick actually said at the time, in explaining his actions: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Clearly, Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag—and righteously so! As he himself put it, why should he respect (“show pride in”) a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color? Why should anyone who stands against oppression?! The flag is the symbol of what this country is really all about—the oppression of Black people and people of color, and all the other monstrous oppression it carries out, here and worldwide.

As for the military of this country, here is the truth: It is not the case, as Lebron James (and others) have claimed, that this military protects the freedoms that people have in this country. What freedoms? The freedom to be brutalized, terrorized and murdered by the police? To be mass incarcerated? To be discriminated against in every part of society? To be locked up in concentration camps on the border? To be subjected to systematic racial and gender oppression? To have the environment destroyed?

The reality is that this military is, along with the police, the armed enforcer of all this—all the oppression, exploitation and plunder which is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and to which it subjects masses of people in this country and billions all over the world—enforcing this with the most depraved violence and wanton destruction.

As I have pointed out before, the U.S. military

is—without the slightest exaggeration—a machinery of massive, and unspeakable, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its actions in Vietnam constitute a systematic concentration of this, with a level of destructiveness and depravity that is almost unfathomable:

the slaughter of millions of Vietnamese civilians, with incessant bombing and shelling, including of schools, hospitals, dams and other crucial infrastructure, and widespread use of napalm, white phosphorous, Agent Orange, and millions of anti-personnel weapons, burning to death and maiming huge numbers of children and others;

ruining the livelihood of millions of Vietnamese—destroying large parts of the soil and livestock so essential for the people in rural Vietnam;

torture of people held as prisoners—including large numbers of civilians—male, female, old and young, including the very young;

mutilating the bodies and wearing as “trophies” body parts of Vietnamese killed;

mass rape of Vietnamese women and girls.1

If you don’t believe (or don’t want to believe) that this is true, get the book by Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves, The Real American War in Vietnam and make yourself read it, and keep reading it.

And, as I have also emphasized, what the U.S. military did in Vietnam is not some kind of exception or aberration—it represents the real nature and role of this military and of the system of capitalism-imperialism that it enforces. (To see more fully the truth of this, go to revcom.us and read the “American Crime” series.)

Everyone, and especially everyone who lives in this country, in whose name these countless crimes against humanity and war crimes are continually carried out, has the responsibility to know and act on this truth—the whole truth about this country and what it does throughout the world—the responsibility, yes, to disrespect, to deeply despise, and more than that to actively oppose all this.

 


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

See also:

BOB AVAKIAN
ON IMPEACHMENT, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY,
LIBERALS AND LIES, PROVOCATIVE AND PROFOUND TRUTHS

Read more

Read the American Crime series

 

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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

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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-says-donald-trump-isnt-tough-hes-a-bloated-bag-of-fascist-feces-en.html

Bob Avakian Says:
DONALD TRUMP ISN'T "TOUGH,"
HE'S A BLOATED BAG OF FASCIST FECES

| revcom.us

 

There is nothing brave or “bad” about Trump, with his threats to use the military to violently attack people protesting against the murder of George Floyd and all the racist brutality and murder by police. Anybody can act “tough” when they are calling on a massive machinery of violence and destruction, like the U.S. military, to back them up.

The ones who are showing real courage and heart are the masses of people, of all races and genders, who have taken to the streets to demand an end to this brutality and murder, and have defied curfews and braved assaults from police and National Guard forces.

This truly heroic struggle of masses of people needs to become even more massive, fired with the determination not to stop until there really is an end to everything that is captured and concentrated in the video of that pig in Minneapolis cruelly suffocating the life out of George Floyd—ignoring, with a calm viciousness, Floyd’s repeated pleas for his life and cries that he could not breathe. And people everywhere need to take up and give powerful expression to the demand that the strutting tyrant Trump, the fundamentalist fanatic Pence, and their whole fascist regime, must be OUT NOW!

The greatest act of courage, and the greatest contribution to ending the heartless oppression and the needless suffering of human beings everywhere, would be to finally rise up and bring down this capitalist-imperialist system that has spawned this fascist regime and bring into being a radically different and much better world, on a completely different foundation, without the exploitation, degradation, brutality and terror that is the very basis and means for maintaining this system we are now forced to live under.

 

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

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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-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!

 

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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-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!

 

 

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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/650/bob-avakian-brings-out-the-truth-en.html

Bob Avakian Brings Out the Truth:
BARACK OBAMA SAYS
POLICE MURDERING BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE NORMAL—
UNLESS HE'S PRESIDENT

| revcom.us

 

Did Obama really say that? No, not exactly. He said these killings by police should not be normal. But when he was president they were normal—they happened over and over. And what did Obama do about it then? Nothing. Well, he said a few weak-ass words about what a tragedy it was—and then he denounced as “thugs” the Black youth who rose up in righteous rebellion after the police murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. And during Obama’s presidency, the so-called Department of Justice, headed by Eric Holder, repeated the lie that Michael Brown did not have his hands up when he was killed by the pig Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. That “Justice” Department refused to file federal crime charges against Wilson, and under Holder it supported every single act of police violence that came before the Supreme Court. Obama might as well have said that it’s alright for Black people to be murdered by police, as long as people like him are president and presiding over this system. So much for things getting better for Black people with Obama as “the first Black president”! And that gets to the bigger truth: Trump is a blatant and vicious white supremacist, but no matter who is president, so long as this system is in power, it will keep on murdering Black people, and other oppressed people—time after time after time. To put a stop to this will take a REVOLUTION to put an end to this system.

Download PDF of this statement for printing and spreading.

Download JPG of this statement.

See also:

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

Read more

 

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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-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?!

 

 

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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/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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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/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

 

 

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

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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/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]

 

 

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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/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

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Hope For Humanity
On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism,
Parasitism and
American Chauvinism

Bob Avakian
Author of
The New Communism

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

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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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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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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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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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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/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

 

 

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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/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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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/639/bob-avakian-responds-to-mark-rudd-en.html

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

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

| revcom.us

 

In the New York Times recently (Friday, March 6, 2020) a commentary appears (“Political Passion Turned Violent”) authored by Mark Rudd, a former 1960s radical. The motivation of the Times editors, in publishing this piece by Rudd, is not difficult to discern. Rudd emphasizes that significant acts of violence today, and the danger this poses to society, is being perpetrated by what he terms the “far right”; and, more generally, he insists that nonviolence is the only legitimate and effective way to bring about desired (and desirable) social change and that all violence, on the part of any social movement for change, must be renounced. Aside from Rudd’s own motivation in writing this commentary, the fact is that both of these arguments by Rudd are in line with the concerns and objectives of the editors of the Times—and of the section of the ruling class of this system of which they are representatives: They recognize the very real threat to the “norms” of the existing social order in what is being done by Trump and those who are aligned with and rallying behind him (the “far right,” in Rudd’s terms); and, more fundamentally, they are concerned that, especially in these times of intensifying polarization and acute “social stress,” social movements and societal conflicts must remain confined within a framework and limits that will not threaten the existing system. And it is no doubt an added benefit for them to have these arguments made by someone identified as a “1960s radical” who has “come in from the cold” and rejoined the ranks of the “reasonable” who insist there is really no alternative to this system.

Because of this—because Rudd claims, as someone who was involved in the radical upsurge of the 1960s, to be offering crucial lessons and universal principles about how the fight against oppression and injustice must (and must not) be waged—it is important to examine what Rudd argues, and in particular what he renounces that should be renounced, and what should not be renounced but upheld and carried forward, while being given a scientifically founded orientation and direction.

In the late 1960s (and into the early 1970s) Rudd was part of the Weather Underground. As he himself refers to, the people who formed the Weather Underground had been part of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which by the late 1960s, at the height of the radical upsurge of that time, had become a mass organization of thousands who represented the broadly held revolutionary sentiments of literally millions of youth at that point. As it came to the understanding that things such as the oppression of Black people and the mass slaughter carried out by the U.S. in Vietnam were somehow tied into the very nature of the system itself, SDS had run up against the question of how to bring about some kind of revolutionary change, although there were different ideas about what that actually meant and how to make it happen, and this resulted in the organization splitting into a number of different trends, each committed to a different approach in regard to these very basic questions. The Weather Underground in effect gave expression to the outrage of frustrated educated youth who had lost patience with the idea of carrying out political work to win masses of people to a revolutionary position and instead adopted what amounted to acts of “excitative terror” to substitute for a mass revolutionary movement. In one of his more truthful and insightful observations, Rudd has made the point that the enormity of the crimes being committed by this system, at home and in Vietnam, was more than those who became the Weather Underground could rationally deal with. And so they adopted an orientation and actions that were divorced from any serious, scientific approach to revolution, and in many ways increasingly divorced from reality. As someone who was part of the broad revolutionary movement of that time, who encountered and struggled against this political and ideological degeneration of people righteously outraged at the crimes of this system, and reflecting back on it now, a paraphrase of the opening lines of the powerful Allen Ginsberg poem Howl comes to mind: I saw some of the best people of my generation destroyed (for a time) by madness.

Unfortunately, the “recovery” of someone like Rudd from that madness has involved falling into another kind of political and ideological “insanity”: the notion that the massive crimes of this system can somehow be addressed through a movement for reform, leaving this system intact and in power. What should be renounced from the position of the former Weather Underground is its abandonment of and departure from the process of bringing forward a movement of millions of people aiming for an actual revolutionary overthrow of this criminal system. What should not be renounced is the profound hatred for this whole system and the determination to put an end to its endless crimes, which in reality requires an actual revolution carried out by masses, millions of people.

A System of Massive Organized Violence

While Rudd refers to Black revolutionaries who were “ruthlessly targeted by the police and the federal government” during the 1960s upsurge, he has seemingly “forgotten” the profound truth spoken by one of the leading Black revolutionaries of that time, Rap Brown: “Violence is as American as cherry pie.”

Under this system, the police kill a thousand people every year and subject millions more, especially people of color, to continual harassment and brutality. Millions of Black and Latino men, and growing numbers of women, are incarcerated in hell-hole prisons, while millions more are ensnared in the “criminal justice system” in various ways. At the same time, the U.S. continues to carry out mass slaughter (and to support such slaughter by its “allies”) in the Middle East and many other parts of the world.

Rudd recognizes some of this, but then distorts history and once more departs from a rational, logical line of thinking in the service of renouncing and ruling out of order anything other than nonviolent protest within the bounds of this system. And, as should surprise no one who has been paying attention to the conventions of the times, as part of this Rudd bends his metaphorical knee, paying the seemingly obligatory obeisance, to the distortions of “identity politics.” He reminds the readers that the people who made up the Weather Underground were “white, middle-class, college-educated kids.” And then comes this:

All of us were overcome both by grief over this country’s violence and by shame at not being able to stop the war. That shame also emanated from our class and racial privilege. We weren’t the ones being carpet-bombed in Vietnam or confronting racist mobs and sheriffs in Mississippi. (emphasis added)

One is tempted to dismiss this whole line of argument (and especially the part I have italicized above) with a simple “So What?!” But it deserves to be dug into more deeply. First of all, Rudd (who refers to Black revolutionaries being subjected to vicious repression by the police and the government) once again “forgets” those Black revolutionaries and the fact that, in moving from the limitations of the civil rights movement to the more advanced position of demanding Black liberation and linking this with liberation struggles in the Third World, those Black revolutionaries exerted a powerful positive force in influencing the movements of those times, including among educated youth, toward a more revolutionary orientation, even as that orientation was (in the parlance of those times) a “mixed bag,” involving a complex of conflicting tendencies, including the revolutionary communism that was coming from China as well as various revolutionary nationalist and other contradictory trends. Rudd’s arguments here are also in line with those raised at the time by ruling class and right-wing advocates of the Vietnam war, who attacked the students who mobilized against that war by denouncing them as privileged middle class brats who had managed to avoid “serving” in that war. This ignores the fact that among the most oppressed sections of society, those with the least “class and racial privilege”—Black people, Chicanos, and Puerto Ricans, whose youth died disproportionately in that war—opposition to the war was very widespread, and the fact that there was growing opposition to the war among the U.S. soldiers (and veterans) of the war, inspired to a significant degree by the anti-war stand and actions of precisely the student movement. Among other things, this reality itself is a powerful refutation of what Rudd seems to be arguing or implying. The “class and racial privilege” that Rudd raises, with regard to those who made up the Weather Underground, and the fact that they were not the ones being subjected to the horrific violence to which he refers, in no way renders their shame at all this invalid, illegitimate, or inconsequential. On the contrary, the fact that they were not being directly subjected to this but were outraged by it, and determined to do something to stop it, is exactly what was right about their orientation. The problem was that they abandoned and rejected the road of building a mass revolutionary movement determined to put an end not only to the slaughter in Vietnam and the violent oppression and repression “at home,” but to the whole system which, out of its very nature, continually perpetrates such monstrous crimes. Instead, they made what actually constituted a retreat into isolated acts of misdirected violence, and into an overall orientation, objectively in opposition to the building of the necessary revolutionary mass movement.

Reflecting back on the death of members of the Weather Underground, who were killed while building a bomb that, according to Rudd, was intended to be detonated at a dance at the Fort Dix military base (a dance which was attended not only by soldiers but by civilians as well), Rudd is correct that such a bombing, had it been carried out, would have resulted in even more widespread and vicious government repression, not just against the Weather Underground but against the broad mass movements of resistance and genuine revolutionary forces at that time. But he is playing with the truth when he portrays U.S. soldiers, like those then stationed at Fort Dix, as simply “our neighbors and fellow citizens.” No, they were something else—something more and something worse: they were part of the massive machinery of death and destruction that was carrying out the mass slaughter of the Vietnamese people, in their millions, in the service of the imperial interests and aims that the military of this system serves and seeks to enforce. In fact, as alluded to above, this was something that growing numbers of those soldiers themselves were coming to realize, and by the time Rudd is speaking of (early 1970) thousands of them had taken to open rebellion against the crimes they were being ordered to carry out and against those, in the military and beyond, who were organizing, training, deploying and ordering them to carry out these massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Certainly, the bombing of the dance at Fort Dix would have been a wrong and very harmful act. But the soldiers of the U.S. military, then and now, do not deserve to be simply embraced as “our neighbors and fellow citizens,” nor still less celebrated as “heroes,” but rather to be condemned for the crimes they have carried out and called upon and struggled with to refuse to continue committing such crimes and to become part of the political resistance to the system that requires and demands such massive atrocity on an ongoing basis—a struggle which, in fact, was carried out by many revolutionary-minded people during the course of the Vietnam war, contributing to the growing opposition among the soldiers themselves and to the broader movement of opposition to that war.1

As part of his repudiation of revolution, Rudd asserts that, in the time since the 1960s upsurge, “the left” has “developed a strong consensus...to control its violent fringe” but that “Violence is once again threatening our social fabric, this time from the far right.”

First of all, and fundamentally, it is not just “the far right” but the whole system—and those who rule in it, including those on the “left” of this system (in the Democratic Party)—that perpetrate violence. Is the Democratic Party what Rudd means by the “violent fringe” of “the left”?! Has the Democratic Party, and those who seek to be its top leaders—have they renounced violence? NO, they have not—and they cannot. Their system continually perpetrates and depends on violence—it could not exist and perpetuate itself without massive violence.

Reform vs. Revolution

Rudd poses a false dichotomy: As he portrays things, it’s either violence by a small group isolated from masses of people, or limiting things to reforms that are achieved through the nonviolent action of millions of people. But what about the truly revolutionary struggle of millions of people, aiming not just to win concessions from the existing system, but to actually overthrow it and bring a much better system into being? There is, of course, a definite place, and a definitely positive role, for massive nonviolent struggles whose aim is short of revolution but which oppose real oppression and atrocities of this system. A very important example of this is the call by Refuse Fascism for nonviolent but sustained mass mobilization to drive out the fascist Trump/Pence regime. But limiting things to nonviolence, in all circumstances and as some kind of supposed absolute principle—opposing a revolutionary struggle carried out by millions of people to overthrow this system when the conditions that make that possible have been brought into being—means at least objectively accepting and accommodating to this monstrous system and the very violent institutions (in particular the armed forces and police) that enforce its rule, here and throughout the world, with the most massive and heinous atrocity. Whatever his intention, this is what Rudd is actually doing.

As I have emphasized:

Certain government concessions to the fight against injustice—for example, civil rights legislation; DACA, which granted temporary legal status to some immigrants brought here as children; court decisions establishing the right to abortion and gay marriage—were hard‑fought victories, but the problem is that they are, and can only be, partial victories, dealing with only some aspects of oppression under this system, but not eliminating the oppression as a whole, or the source of this oppression—which is the system itself. And even where such partial victories are won, so long as this system remains in power, there will be powerful forces who will move to attack and undermine, and seek to reverse, even these partial gains.2

Rudd has not only reversed himself on what was essentially right (and righteous) in his stand during the 1960s—his hatred for and opposition to this system itself—as well as what was very wrong in where that hatred led him (embracing, if not himself actually carrying out, infantile acts of violence divorced from the revolutionary struggle of masses of people). He has even gone so far as to trivialize what is represented by “the far right.” Speaking of its inclination to violence, he says this:

Oddly, I get it: Take away the white supremacy and leave the pain, and it’s not that different from my friends and me 50 years ago.

Yes, it is definitely different—there is a profound difference! Without ignoring the very real problems with the orientation and actions of the Weather Undergroundthere is no similarity, and definitely no equivalence, between the righteous but misguided hatred for the criminal nature and atrocities of this system, which drove the Weather Underground to a kind of madness, and, on the other hand, the violent fanaticism of fascists who are determined to fortify and carry to extreme dimensions every form of vicious oppression and depraved atrocity that is required by this system. Rudd’s comments here fall in with the trend of lending a certain “legitimacy” to what is not just a “far right,” in some vague sense, but a definite fascist force, involving a powerful section of the ruling class, embodied in the Republican Party, and in particular now the Trump/Pence regime, and a significant segment of society which is the hard core “base” of that Party.

White supremacy is not something that is incidental to, but is at the heart of, this fascism—and it cannot simply be discounted (“taken away”) but must be fully recognized for what it is and forcefully struggled against.

Rudd’s expressions of empathy for these fascists include the statement that they “have grievances about the slipping away of what they have always seen as ‘their country.’” But what, really, are those grievances and what is it that they have always seen as “their country” which they want to “make great again”?

As I have pointed out:

There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today, and a direct connection between their white supremacy, their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw “America First” jingoism and trumpeting of “the superiority of western civilization” and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.3

And here it is worth citing important insights from the African-American theologian Hubert Locke, who points particularly to the Christian fundamentalists, who are a driving force in this fascism:

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

Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power—it's about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.4

Rudd even goes so far as to declare that everyone in this country is “in this together.” Apparently, it is not enough for Rudd that he has “made his peace” with this violently oppressive system; he goes so far as insist that common cause must be found with those—fascists—who want to give the most extreme and grotesque expressions to the crimes that are built into this system.

The Basis and the Forces for Revolution

Speaking to the orientation of himself and the others in the Weather Underground in the late 1960s/early 1970s, Rudd characterizes their outlook as one of “clinging to the delusion that violent revolution was imminent.” Among other things, here Rudd is continuing with his portrayal of false dichotomies: He is “negating” the false assumption of the Weather Underground at that time that a revolution could be set off by a small group engaging in acts of violence divorced from, and objectively posed in opposition to, the struggle of masses of people, by now putting forward the false, and certainly no less harmful, declaration that an actual revolution is neither possible nor really desirable. In reality, the question of whether an actual revolution might have been possible in this country at the height of the mass upsurge of the late 1960s/early 1970s, is a serious and complex matter, and not something that should be treated in the irresponsible way that Rudd does, with this dismissal of this question with the facile and fatuous phrase “the delusion that violent revolution was imminent.”

An actual revolution requires two essential factors: a revolutionary situation, and a revolutionary people in their millions. And these two factors are closely interconnected. A revolutionary situation involves not just a crisis in society in some general sense but a situation where the system and its ruling powers are in a profound and acute crisis and millions and millions of people refuse to be ruled in the old way—and are willing and determined to put everything on the line to bring down this system and bring into being a new society and government. Key components and signs of a revolutionary crisis are that the violence used to enforce this system is seen by large parts of society for what it is—murderous and illegitimate—and that the conflicts among the ruling forces become really deep and sharp, and masses of people respond to this not by falling in behind one side or the other of the oppressive rulers, but by taking advantage of this situation to build up the forces for revolution.5

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

By 1968 and for several years after, there were large numbers of people in this country, including millions of youth from the middle class as well as masses of poor and oppressed people, who were motivated by a thoroughly justified hatred of this system and aspirations for a radically different and better world—and this reached deeply into the system’s own armed forces—even if the understanding of most was marked by revolutionary sentiment which, while righteous, was lacking in any deep and consistent scientific basis.6

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

the real failure of that time was that there was not yet a revolutionary vanguard with that scientific foundation and method, and the orientation, strategy, and program that could give organized expression to the mass revolutionary sentiment and lead a real attempt at actually making revolution.7

The radical upsurge of the 1960s in this country was in turn part of a broader wave of struggle and transformation that was taking place throughout the world, and was driven and inspired to a large degree by the struggles, throughout the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, to throw off the yoke of colonial oppression—and beyond that the existence of a revolutionary socialist state in China and the mass revolutionary movement of the Cultural Revolution in that country, involving hundreds of millions in the struggle to defeat attempts to restore capitalism in China and, in opposition to that, to continue and deepen the socialist revolution there and support revolutionary struggles throughout the world. But, as I have analyzed, including in recent works such as Breakthroughs and Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, that upsurge ran into certain limitations as well as powerful opposing forces, and it ebbed, not just in one or another country but as a worldwide phenomenon.8 And since that time there have been profound changes in the world, many of them negative: Capitalism has been restored in China; in the Soviet Union, where capitalism had already been restored in the 1950s but the ruling class there continued for some time to present itself as a bastion of socialism, this deception was finally abandoned as the Soviet Union itself imploded, leading to the open emergence of capitalism throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; and the forces leading liberation struggles in the Third World have either been defeated or transformed into bourgeois ruling forces acting in concert with and essentially as appendages of international capital and the imperialist system. Within this country itself, in the context of this changing international situation, and through a combination of repression and the building up of middle class strata among the oppressed, along with the heightening parasitism of this system, feeding off the super-exploitation of billions of people, particularly in the Third World, over several decades there has been an increasingly deadening political atmosphere and culture and an orientation on the part of most of the forces seeking social change to restrict themselves to the limits of the existing oppressive and exploitative system and its BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit), as we have very rightly characterized it. And all this has been accompanied by a relentless ideological assault, by the ruling forces of this system and their media mouthpieces and intellectual accomplices—an assault on communism, and indeed on every positive aspect of the radical 1960s upsurge—an assault to which Mark Rudd is making his own modest contribution.

But the fact is that, with all these changes, the basis and the need for a scientifically led communist revolution has not disappeared, or diminished, but become all the more pronounced and urgently required. And not all of us who were brought forward through that great upsurge of the 1960s have abandoned the goal of radically transforming society toward the goal of a world without exploitation and oppression and the massive violence that enforces it, and the need and possibility for communist revolution as the means for achieving this. Over what I have very rightly referred to as the “terrible decades” of recent times, some of us have persevered through the very real difficulties in working toward the achievement of that revolution and have deepened our scientific understanding of how that revolution must and can be carried out. Particularly through the work I have done over these decades, there is now a new communism, which is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.9

In the course of the 1960s upsurge, those who became convinced of the need for radical change went about seeking that change “like peasants going off to war” taking up whatever weapons were at hand (to invoke a formulation by Lenin, who led the 1917 Russian Revolution and also made invaluable contributions to the development of communist theory). This became true, in a real and more literal sense, of the Weather Underground; but it was true metaphorically for some others of us—in the sense that we took up the existing theory of the communist movement at that time. This led us, correctly, to the understanding that a revolution must involve, and could only be made by, the organized struggle of masses, of millions, of people, and not by a small group isolated from those masses. But it also led us to adopt what was becoming an incorrect, outmoded concept—that, while serious attention and effort must be devoted to the fight against the oppression of Black people and other minority nationalities, and of women, and other major social questions, the main force for revolution was not just the working class in a general sense but more specifically the workers in large-scale industry—who in fact, in this country in particular, had become to a significant degree “bourgeoisified” from the parasitic spoils of imperialist domination and super-exploitation particularly in the Third World. (As a matter of fact, some of the younger workers in this situation responded favorably to the revolutionary work we were carrying out—marred and limited as it was by some misconception of the revolutionary process and by definite tendencies to economism, the attempt to build a movement for socialist revolution by centering it on and unfolding it around the more immediate economic demands of these workers. But the positive response of those younger workers actually had more to do with the influence of the radical youth culture of that time than it did with the approach of combining economism with general appeals to revolution.)

As has been emphasized here, there have been major changes in this country and in the world overall since that time, decades ago now—and the development of the new communism has involved, as one of its most important aspects, continuing to apply a scientific analysis to the decisive questions of the basis, the strategy and the forces for revolution—something that is spoken to in works of mine such as the book The New Communism10 and Breakthroughs, where the point is made that the backbone forces for revolution will come principally from among the tens of millions—particularly those concentrated in the inner cities, but others as well—who are subjected to savage oppression and brutal repression under this system, while it is also stressed that this revolution must involve a broad uniting of diverse social forces, especially youth and students but others as well among the middle strata, and that this must be led by a solid core of thousands and thousands, firmly grounded in the science of communism, as it has been further developed with the new communism. And I am continuing to grapple with the application of a scientific method and approach to the problems of the revolution, in this country but even more fundamentally in terms of the overall struggle toward the achievement of communism throughout the world.

In terms of the basis for revolution, the new communism emphasizes this very important understanding that is spoken to in a concentrated way in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

The basis for revolution lies not in what people are thinking or doing at any given time, but resides in the fundamental relations and contradictions of the system which cause tremendous suffering but which are unresolvable under this system. (From Hope for Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism)

And “Why We Need...How We Can...” focuses on these important questions:

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

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

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

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

Why is the environment of our planet being destroyed?

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

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

Why is this the state of humanity?

And it provides this scientifically grounded answer:

There is one fundamental reason: the basic nature of the system of capitalism‑imperialism that we live under and the way, because of its very nature, it continually perpetrates horror after horror. And, in fundamental terms, we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—ormake revolution!

Can Mark Rudd (or anyone else) make the case that all this—putting an end to these “5 STOPS” and to the horrific conditions that the masses of humanity are subjected to under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism—can be achieved through reforms within the confines of this system and without the revolutionary overthrow of this system (or is the argument that the best that can be hoped for is that all this will continue, but with—what objectively amounts to—minor mitigation)? No!—the emancipation of humanity from all this is profoundly and ever more urgently necessary, and the possibility of a radically different and far better future demands and requires a real revolution and the advance of humanity beyond this system, with the achievement of communism throughout the world. That this will be difficult to achieve and will require monumental, arduous and self-sacrificing struggle on the part of millions, and ultimately billions, of people, is something that no serious person—and certainly no one basing themself on the scientific method and approach of the new communism—would deny. But a scientific analysis leads to the definite conclusion that this is as necessary as it is difficult—and that it is possible (not certain, and certainly not inevitable—but possible). And all those who refuse to accept the world as it is under the domination of the capitalist-imperialist system, all the unnecessary suffering this imposes on the masses of humanity and the very real existential threat it poses to humanity itself, should dedicate themselves to contributing to this revolution.

In fundamental terms there is a unity between the former infantile, essentially terrorist position that was held by the likes of Mark Rudd at a certain point and the reformist accommodation to this monstrous system which Rudd now promotes. What unifies these two seemingly opposite “political poles” is their common opposition to an actual revolution, carried out through the organized struggle of millions of people determined to overthrow the existing oppressive system and bring a much better system into being. And, in terms of epistemology (the approach to understanding reality), what underlies this unity of errors is the unscientific—or, fundamentally, anti-scientific—method and approach that characterizes both the orientation of something like the Weather Underground and the reformism into which far too many, including Mark Rudd, have allowed themselves to descend.

 


1. In his memoir, From Ike to Mao and BeyondMy Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, Bob Avakian recounts his own approach and efforts, as well as that of others, in struggling with soldiers and veterans of the U.S. military to win them to oppose, and lend their support to the movement of opposition to, the Vietnam war.  [back]

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

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

4. “Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right,” by Dr. Hubert Locke, also available at revcom.us.  [back]

5. This characterization of a revolutionary situation is drawn from HOW WE CAN WIN, How We Can Really Make Revolution (a statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party), which is cited in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolutionboth available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.  [back]

7. Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.  [back]

8. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary; Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism. These works by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

9. The strategy for revolution is spelled out in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution; and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different society is contained in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian. The text of the Constitution, and video and the text of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, are available at revcom.us.  [back]

10. THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipationInsight Press, 2016.  [back]

 

Read more
Updated prepublication PDF, November, 2019
Read or download (searchable PDF)

See also:

The Republican Party Is Fascist
The Democratic Party Is Also A Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
This System CANNOT Be Reformed – It MUST Be Overthrown!

Read more

 

 

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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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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.

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

Fascists and Communists:
Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

By Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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/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.