revcom.us, July 20, 2020 through July 26, 2020 (#657)

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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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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

| revcom.us

 

A statement from Bob Avakian

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWW.REVCOM.US          

Share everywhere.

Download PDF of this flier, print and spread:

 

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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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

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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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/655/rnl-show-episode-16-announcement-en.html

Episode 16 of
The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

| revcom.us

 

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"July 4, 2020: A Battle of Ideas, History, and the Future"

Premieres on youtube.com/therevcoms
Thurs, July 9, 2020
5pm PDT / 8pm EDT

The Revolution, Nothing Less Show

This year's 4th of July was like none before. On one side: Protests for Black lives continued, the RevComs led in burning the American flag across the country, and people of the Lakota Nation and others protested a broken treaty as Trump spoke on their land. On the other side: The fascist-in-chief, Donald Trump, doubled down on Manifest Destiny, white supremacy, and outright fascism. Join us as we dig into all this and more.

Also in this episode: a look at the work by the Chicago Revolution Club to get the youth out of killing each other and into the revolution, straight talk on the gangs from Bob Avakian, and a new American Crime installment on the Trail of Tears and Andrew Jackson.

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Special Event for Patreon Supporters*:
The RNL Show Episode 16 Talkback with Sunsara and Luan 
Thursday 6:30 pm PDT / 9:30 pm EDT 
* A free link to join this talk-back will be provided to all who join the live-chat on YouTube during the premiere of the episode.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel, leave a comment, and spread the word all over social media to help extend the reach of The RNL Show — Revolution, Nothing Less!

 

 

 

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Episode 17 of
The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

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"The Fight Against Fascism and the Revolutionary Struggle—
In the Streets and in the Courts"

Premieres on youtube.com/therevcoms
Thurs, July 16, 2020
5pm PDT / 8pm EDT

The Revolution, Nothing Less Show

The fight for the future is intensifying! In this episode:

  • Andy Zee speaks directly to those who have poured into the streets for Black lives and all those inspired by them about how and why to join the fight for a real revolution. He shared from Bob Avakian's speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.
  • Sunsara Taylor talks with Michelle Xai and Chantelle Hershberger of the LA Freeway 9 about their recent victory in having all charges dropped against them after nearly three years and two trials for their courageous protest demanding “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”
  • Lenny Wolff and Noche Diaz look at the heart-rending situation in Chicago, where Black youth are killing each other, and the work being done by the RevComs to turn this around and bring these youth into the fight for real revolution and the emancipation of all humanity.

Patreon event next week: The RNL Show – Revolution, Nothing Less! Episode 18 Talkback with Sunsara Taylor and Luan Xocoyote
Thursday, July 23, 2020
6:25 pm PDT / 9:25 pm EDT 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/bob-avakian-police-prisons-reformist-illusions-revolutionary-solution-en.html

POLICE AND PRISONS:
REFORMIST ILLUSIONS
AND THE REVOLUTIONARY SOLUTION

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

In the course of the beautiful uprising against institutionalized white supremacy and police terror, the notion of “defunding,” or even “dismantling,” the police—replacing the existing police with a different kind of force, and accompanying this with a focus on meeting the social needs of the people who are now the main target of police violence—has been put forward as a “solution.” But does this idea of changing institutions and shifting priorities and funding, within this same system, really represent a way to put an end to police brutality and murder, and at the same time overcome the conditions of discrimination and poverty that cause people to be caught up in continual violence—both the violence carried out by the police and the violence among the people themselves, and in particular the youth in the inner cities?

No. In reality, this idea (of “defunding” or “dismantling” the police and shifting priorities and funding) is something that will not, and cannot, solve the problems it claims to be addressing. It is something that will not, and cannot, happen under this system of capitalism-imperialism. It is actually a dangerous illusion—or delusion—which will lead people to being disarmed ideologically in a demoralizing dead-end. This is because of the fundamental nature, functioning and requirements of this system itself. To end police terror you have to put an end to the system that needs police terror.

Let’s get into why this is true.

The “Priorities” of This System Are Determined by the Basic Nature of the System

Thinking about this, I was reminded of the days of the mass movement against the U.S. imperialist war in Vietnam, when groups like the tired-out “Communist Party” (which in fact was not about real communism or actual revolution) would raise demands like “Money for Jobs, Not War!” It had to be pointed out then that the reason that the U.S. imperialists were waging war in Vietnam was the same reason that there were unemployed people in this country: both of these things flowed out of the basic nature, functioning and requirements of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

People were unemployed within this country because they could not be profitably employed—that is, exploited—by the capitalists who rule this country (or they could not be exploited profitably enough, given the compulsions these capitalists faced in cut-throat competition with other capitalists, not just within this country but on an international scale). It was more profitable, and conformed to the competitive compulsions of the capitalists, to introduce technology to replace many workers in this country, and at the same time to super-exploit people, at much lower wages, in other parts of the world (in particular the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia). And waging war in Vietnam was part of the same fundamental necessity of those who rule this system—in this case their need to control strategic parts of the world in order to maintain their dominant position in the world. For the capitalist-imperialist rulers of this country to have “shifted their priorities”—ending their war in Vietnam and using the money instead to create jobs for unemployed people in this country—would actually have gone against their fundamental needs and interests.1

And it is for the same basic reasons that, under this system, there will be no “dismantling” or real “defunding” (or changing of the essential role) of the police and no meaningful shifting of priorities and funds into the social needs of the people now violently targeted by the police.

The fact is that even the allocation of huge amounts of money for social programs in the inner cities could not overcome the desperate conditions of millions of people that has resulted from years, decades, generations and centuries of oppression, through slavery, segregation and ongoing discrimination. As I pointed out in Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under 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.2

On the terms of this system, and from the point of view of its ruling class, to bring about the severe damage to the competitiveness of “American capital” and the massive “social upheaval” that would be caused by actually attempting to overcome the conditions of oppression and deprivation of masses of people in the inner cities of this country—and the inequality built into this—would be highly destructive and irrational. And that is why this will not happen under this system.

There Is Police Terror Because This System Needs Police Terror

Growing numbers of people have begun to get a basic sense that white supremacy has been built into this system in this country from its very founding. In a number of writings (and most recently in Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System), I have analyzed scientifically and in some depth why the oppression of Black people (as well as Latinos and Native Americans) cannot be abolished under this system, but is bound to continue, as a result of the “toxic mix” of racism and capitalism. And this is a major reason why the police cannot be either literally “dismantled” or fundamentally “reformed” to function without terrorizing, and outright murdering, masses of oppressed people.

But the ruling powers of this system need this kind of brutal police force not only to violently enforce racial oppression, as significant as that is. This system rests upon, and continually gives rise to, social divisions and conflicts—between masses of people and the ruling class, and among the masses of people themselves—conflicts which hold the potential for, and frequently erupt into violence and “chaos,” which in some circumstances can reach dimensions that threaten the “stability” of the system. So the capitalist ruling class requires a force of organized institutionalized violence—the police (as well as the military)—to contain and control these conflicts, and to forcibly suppress them when they erupt into violence and “chaos” that does immediately, or potentially, threaten the “established order.” Even with real, and in some ways sharp, differences among them, about some of the particulars of how this should be carried out, the entire ruling class is in fundamental agreement on the need for this, because once again it flows from and corresponds to the fundamental nature and requirements of this system.

A serious contradiction in this society—something which is the result of the “workings” of this system itself but at the same time does cause real problems for the system’s ruling class—is the fact that there are large numbers of people among the oppressed who have been effectively “locked out” of the regular “formal economy,” and for whom, in the conditions and on the terms of this system, crime seems like the only means to make a way in the world, or for some the only means of survival, even with all the risks it involves. A heartbreaking part of this is the fact that, in this situation, large numbers of oppressed youth in the inner cities are killing each other. These days especially, there are all these fascist asses braying about “Black-on-Black” crime. These racists are complete hypocrites: They care nothing about the horrors that the masses of Black people suffer, and they raise “Black-on-Black crime” only to distract attention from, or to justify, the police terror and murder against Black people—to convey the “message” that Black people are “a bunch of animals” who need to be kept in check, as violently as necessary, by police. But the reality is that Black people, and in particular the youth, killing each other is a very real and serious problem, and a cause of deep anguish for all those who genuinely want to see an end to this and to the conditions (and ways of thinking) that have given rise to this and keep it going.

The way forward out of this terrible situation is not unleashing even more terror against these youth by police (or the National Guard or the army!), or simply preaching at them to stop the violence, but winning growing numbers of them to become part of the revolution aiming to put an end to their oppressed conditions, and all oppression, by putting an end to this system.

But, of course, crime is not committed only by some people in the inner cities. Crimes, including violent crimes, are and will be a significant phenomenon and problem, in the society as a whole, so long as society is marked by relations of exploitation and oppression and the divisions and conflicts they give rise to—all reinforced by the ideology (the way of thinking) of “getting yours” and advancing your own interests at the expense of others, which is widely promoted throughout this society, from top to bottom.

And here is a heavy contradiction: In this kind of society, on the one hand, without the police crime would be an even greater problem, not just for the ruling class but for the society and the people overall; while, on the other hand, the police will be directed to “selectively” enforce the law, and to use the fact of crime as a “justification” for terrorizing whole sections of people, especially masses of Black people (and others) whose mere existence, in conditions of systematic discrimination, oppression and deprivation, is seen as posing a threat to the system. There is no way out of this under this system.

To sum up the essential point: So long as society is founded on relations that embody exploitation and oppression, and give rise to antagonistic conflicts and violence, including violent crime—so long, in other words, as this system of capitalism-imperialism continues to rule and set the terms for how society functions—there will be a police force that will use violence and terror to maintain the “order,” and enforce the conditions and relations, that conform to the basic nature and requirements of this system. No illusions or wishful thinking can change this reality.

And the same applies to the existence and role of prisons.

Under this system, prisons can never and will never be abolished, or play any fundamentally different role than what they do now: to exercise control and, yes, terror, over those (both those actually in prison and those for whom prison is a real and ever present possibility) who might pose a threat to the “orderly functioning of this system,” in one way or another—through “subversive political activity,” or “common crime,” or merely because their oppressed condition itself, and the likelihood that it will lead to rebellion, is seen as posing a potential threat to the system.

For these basic reasons, under this system, the politicians who get into, and remain in, the seats of power will never actually adopt policies that will have the police (or the prisons) do anything fundamentally different. Even if (or where) someone might be elected to office on a platform of “re-envisioning the role of the police” (or “prison abolition”) they will be frustrated, defeated and turned away from any attempts to implement changes that seriously threaten or undermine the basic functions of these institutions and forces of violent repression and control—whose role and “mission” is to maintain the rule and “order” of this system—whether in more blatantly extreme forms (as with the fascist program, represented by the Trump/Pence regime and the Republican Party) or with minor and ultimately meaningless reforms (as with the “mainstream” section of the ruling class, represented by the Democratic Party).

The reason politicians pushing such platforms are bound to fail is not simply that they would be outnumbered by “outdated” and “behind-the-times” representatives of the “old status quo.” More fundamentally, it is because this system could not function—it would “come unraveled,” or be torn apart, actually descending into destructive chaos—without these institutions (the police and prisons) performing these repressive functions, as viciously and violently as necessary.

This is a system which cannot be “pressured” to become other than what it is, just because some people, or even many people, would like it to. It can function only in accordance with its fundamental nature, requirements and dynamics. And, sooner or later (most often sooner), anyone who tries to have things work in a fundamentally different way under this system—in a way that runs counter to its basic nature and requirements—will be reminded, often forcefully, of the impossibility of this.

All this can be ended—not, however, under this system, but only through the revolution to abolish this whole system and bring a radically different and much better system into being.

Revolution: A Radically Different Society, Radically Different Public Security

As set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and emancipating society—in that new, socialist society there will still be a need for laws and institutions of public security (and armed forces), as well as prisons, because (in addition to the threats from remaining imperialist and other reactionary governments and forces in the world) there will still be contradictions within the socialist society itself that give rise to conflicts, including violent conflicts. Although “common crime” will no longer be a major social problem, it will not yet be possible to eliminate all such crime. There will be forces who will seek a return to the old society through violent means, and they will need to be defeated in this. But there will be no need for, and no tolerance for, police that trample on the rights of people and terrorize whole sections of the population—and, in fact, any such actions will themselves constitute a violation of the law, and will be punishable under the law. It will be a basic principle guiding the institutions of public defense and security that one of their main purposes is to safeguard the rights of the people in this new socialist society, including the right of people to dissent and protest. Even the right to oppose the new system and seek a return to the old, exploitative society will be protected, so long as this does not involve violence.

With regard to prisons, for the reasons referred to here (and spoken to more fully in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America), they will still be necessary for some time, in dealing with serious violations of the law. But prisons, too, will be radically different in this new society. Torture in any form, and cruel and unusual punishment of any kind, will be outlawed in dealing with people imprisoned (and in society as a whole). As this Constitution explains, the basic orientation with regard to people convicted of crimes and imprisoned will be to rehabilitate them, and to “release them and reintegrate them as productive members of the larger society, as soon as it may be possible to do so, in accordance with the judgment that this can be done without unacceptable risk and danger to society and the people, and where doing so would not be contrary to what is set forth in this Constitution.” And no one will be “kept in prison for a period longer than that provided for by law and through legal proceedings embodying due process of law.” Further:

To this end, education, in accordance with the principles set forth in this Constitution... including education in the communist worldview and values but also access to a wide variety of political and philosophical, scientific, literary and other works, expressing a diversity of views—shall be afforded prisoners, and they shall be provided with the means to engage in productive work which can make a contribution to society, under conditions which are not only humane but which conform to the general standards of work in society at large.3

Only with the advance to communism throughout the world—with the abolition and uprooting of all economic relations and social relations that contain elements of exploitation and oppression and give rise to antagonistic conflict, and with the revolutionary transformation of the culture, morality, and ways of thinking of the people—only then will it be possible to do away entirely with armed forces and institutions of public security as well as prisons. But, with the overthrow of the system of capitalist-imperialism, which is based on exploitation and oppression, it will be possible for these institutions to be radically different and to serve the process not of exploiting, oppressing and degrading people but of moving toward the goal of ending all exploitation, oppression and degradation.

If there is going to be a real dismantling of police that terrorize masses of people, this can only happen, and can only really lead to something positive, if it happens as part of the revolution that is needed. And, with this revolution, the institutions of organized repression and violence of this system (the police and the armed forces, as well as the prisons) will be replaced by new institutions which are led with a radically different outlook and are serving a radically different purpose and goal.

Does this mean that the only thing that can be done now is to wait for this revolution to somehow “magically” come about? NO. This revolution must be actively, consciously, scientifically worked for. And a big part of this is fighting back now against institutionalized white supremacy and police terror, as well as the other ways that this system oppresses, degrades, and slaughters masses of people, in every part of the world, while plundering the environment—building these struggles as powerfully as possible, linking them together on the basis of the recognition that they all have a common source in this system of capitalism-imperialism, and building up the basis to bring down this system through an actual revolution.

Working for this revolution—working now to Fight the Power, and Transform the People, For Revolutionthis is what is urgently needed. This means:

strengthening the resistance and rebellion of masses of people against the outrages and injustices of this system, while waging struggle to win people to the emancipating outlook, methods, goals, and morality of this revolution, based on the scientific understanding that only the overthrow, the defeat and dismantling, of this whole system, and all its oppressive and repressive institutions, can finally put an end to all these injustices and outrages;

organizing growing numbers of people into the ranks of the revolution on this basis;

moving to make the “political terrain” and the thinking of masses of people more favorable for revolution, in order to “hasten” the development of things toward the situation where this revolution becomes possible, and building up the organized revolutionary forces that will be capable of seizing on that situation.

This is what we revcoms are dedicated and determined to do, now and going forward.

In this we base ourselves on the new communism, which has further developed communism as a consistently scientific outlook, method and approach, program, strategy and guide to action, bringing alive the need, the possibility, and the means and goals of this revolution, whose ultimate aim is the emancipation of all humanity from every form of exploitation and oppression with the achievement of communism throughout the world.4

This is what everyone who really wants to see an end to institutionalized white supremacy and police terror, and all oppressive relations, needs to become actively involved in, now—casting off illusions and working for revolution.

 


1. The U.S. imperialists were eventually forced to withdraw from Vietnam, because they were unable to achieve their objective of defeating the Vietnamese liberation fighters and subjecting Vietnam to U.S. domination, and a “consensus” finally developed, among the political representatives of this system, that it was best to “cut their losses” in Vietnam before this fundamentally undermined and threatened their position in the world overall—and within the U.S. itself, where there was massive opposition to the war and militant protest and rebellion against the oppression of Black people and other outrages perpetrated by this system, a radicalization that reached right into the U.S. imperialist armed forces themselves. But neither this withdrawal from Vietnam, nor later the “victory” of U.S. (and allied) imperialists in the “cold war,” with the unraveling of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s—none of this produced the “peace dividend” (government spending for social programs, etc.) that various reformists had declared could be the result of ending these (“cold” and “hot”) wars. Why this did not happen is once again because of the basic nature, functioning and requirements of this system of capitalism-imperialism.  [back]

2. This article by Bob Avakian (Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System) is available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is available at revcom.us. The passages from this Constitution quoted (or referred to) are from Article III, “Rights of the People and the Struggle to Uproot All Exploitation and Oppression,” Section 2, “Legal and Civil Rights and Liberties.”  [back]

4. The substance of the new communism, brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA), is contained in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us. This includes BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution. Along with the sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different society in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, the strategy for the revolution leading to this radically new society is spelled out in BA’s speech, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (the text and video of which are available at revcom.us), and is spoken to in more recent writings by Bob Avakian, in particular A Real Revolution—A Real Chance to Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution, which is also available at revcom.us. As the title suggests, a basic summary of the new communism, and its relation to the communism founded by Karl Marx, is found in BA’s work Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is also available at revcom.us); and there is a fuller presentation of the new communism in the book by BA, 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).  [back]

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RACIAL OPPRESSION CAN BE ENDED—BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/656/bob-avakian-further-developing-the-strategy-for-revolution-en.html

A REAL REVOLUTION—
A REAL CHANCE TO WIN

Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

In Part II of Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, as an important application of the new communism I have developed over a number of decades, I speak directly to the fact that everything that we are doing now needs to be aiming for something very definite: a revolutionary situation. In that speech (as well as a number of other works), I have discussed key features of a revolutionary situation, including the crucial element of a revolutionary people in the millions, in the context of a deep crisis for the whole system. Here, I want to focus on the following from the same part (II) of “Why We Need/How We Can”:

we need to work back from that [revolutionary] situation and what would be required then—how the all-out fight would need to be waged—to have a real chance to defeat the powerful violent forces of this system.1

There follows, in Part II, a discussion of key principles that would need to guide the revolutionary forces waging such an all-out fight, when the conditions for that had been brought into being. But, of course, the problem of actually defeating the powerful violent forces of repression of this system (and counter-revolutionary forces allied with them), even in the radically changed and more favorable conditions of a revolutionary situation, represents a difficult and complicated challenge. So, even now—when the conditions required for this all-out fight do not yet exist—it is necessary, and of great importance, to continue to grapple with the theory and the strategic conception and principles involved.

The Struggle Against Fascism Now and the Future All-Out Fight

One important dimension to all this is addressed in the following—speaking to the challenges in going up against the Trump/Pence fascist regime and its “base,” and how this relates to the fundamental goal of revolution to do away with this 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.2

Hastening and preparing for the revolutionary showdown needs to proceed, and is proceeding, in accordance with the basic principles for the revolution that are concentrated in the 5-2-6, including Point 6 of the Six Points of Attention for the Revolution:

We are going for an actual overthrow of this system and a whole better way beyond the destructive, vicious conflicts of today between the people. Because we are serious, at this stage we do not initiate violence and we oppose all violence against the people and among the people.3

At the same time, it is noteworthy that the threats of violence, and actual violence, by fascist thugs, often heavily armed, have not succeeded in intimidating people from righteously protesting against institutional racism and police terror, and in fact there have even been instances where disciplined groups of Black people have shown up to make very clear that they will defend protesters from attacks by these fascist thugs. And it is important to keep the following clearly in mind, especially given the threats and inclination to violence of the fascist thugs who have attacked demonstrations and even stormed into government buildings while armed:

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.4

In line with what is said there, it is even possible that this “conflict between the sections of society upholding this fascism and those opposing it” could at some point, in combination with the heightening and intensifying of other key contradictions, lead to (or develop into) the all-out fight. And this conflict would also likely influence where different sections of people, within different institutions, would be inclined to line up (or could be won to line up).

Defeating “Encirclement and Suppression”—Carrying the Revolutionary Fight Forward

With all that, however, it is very likely that, when it comes down to it—when the revolutionary situation has finally emerged and the all-out struggle is underway—the main thing the revolution would then need to confront would be “the institutional forces of the old ruling class,” even while this would almost certainly involve a significant element of “a civil war between two sections of the people,” and this element would interact with (and influence) the conflict between the revolutionary forces and “the institutional forces of the old ruling class.”5

With this in mind, there is the need to take into account the following, even as it is coming from the point of view of the counter-revolutionary forces of the old, oppressive order:

The only way [for the counter-revolution] to gain the necessary control is to garrison troops 24/7 among the civilians; periodic “sweep” or “cordon and search” operations, even when conducted by counterinsurgents as cruel as the Nazis, fail because civilians know the rebels will return the moment the soldiers leave and exact a terrible revenge on anyone who collaborated with them. The populace will embrace the government only if it is less dangerous to do so than to support the insurgency, which is why successful population-centric policies aim to control the people, not to win their love and gratitude. As John Paul Vann, the legendary American adviser in South Vietnam, said, “Security may be ten percent of the problem, or it may be ninety percent, but whichever it is, it’s the first ten percent or the first ninety percent. Without security, nothing else we do will last.”6

This statement presents things in a crudely distorted and upside-down way: It is not the revolutionary forces that would bring down murderous violence against the masses of people; it is the military forces fighting to maintain the oppressive and exploitative system of capitalist imperialism who would do so in the attempt to terrorize people into supporting the counter-revolution. In opposition to that, the revolutionary fighting forces, guided by and proceeding in accordance with the basic principles of the new communism, would work to win the support of the people through applying an approach and methods that flow from and correspond to the emancipating goals of the revolution. Nevertheless, in spite of the reactionary viewpoint and distortion of the author of the above-quoted statement, it raises something very important, whose implications would need to be taken into account in the strategic approach of the revolutionary forces.

This points to the need to include the following in the basic strategic approach that is discussed in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Part II, as the basis for winning (actually defeating them) in the future conditions of a profound revolutionary crisis and with a revolutionary people in the millions:

There would need to be an added emphasis on the need for the all-out revolutionary fight to be country-wide in scope, from the beginning, or very quickly after the start, for the revolutionary forces to have organized strongholds of support in many different parts of the country—and to have the ability to act simultaneously, or in quick succession, in many different parts of the country (to effect a “popcorn” phenomenon of actions breaking out repeatedly and in quick succession all over the country)—in order to effectively counter the “encirclement and suppression” of the revolution by the counter-revolution, and in particular the ability of the counter-revolution to not only concentrate forces against but to actually occupy the areas that constitute the strongholds of support for the revolution (even while those strongholds are not yet being openly controlled and administered by the revolution), particularly in the early stages of this all-out fight.

The above would constitute an important further development of what is spoken to in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Part II, in terms of the strategic approach and principles that would need to be applied in waging the all-out fight in the most effective way, in accordance with the fundamental orientation and goals of the revolution, in order to have a real chance to win, once the conditions that would make that possible had been brought into being.

At the same time, it needs to be strongly emphasized that none of this will be possible—and even the development of a truly profound crisis in society is very likely to be resolved in a negative, or even a very negative and potentially disastrous, way—if there is not “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.”

Bringing forward an organized movement for revolution, numbering not just in the hundreds but in the thousands—growing numbers of people with a basic scientific understanding of the need and possibility for revolution, grounded in the new communism, and concretely working together to apply the strategy laid out in “Why We Need/How We Can” to “hasten” and prepare for, and then lead millions to seize on, the revolutionary situation when it has fully ripened—this is the critical immediate challenge and goal for all those who hunger for the chance to bring a radically different and much better world into being.


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

Besides what is said in that speech, in terms of key elements of a revolutionary situation, this question is also addressed in a number of other works by Bob Avakian, including the following:

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.

The above is a footnote to the article by Bob Avakian, “Boomers”—”X,Y,Z”: The Problem Is Not “Generations,” It’s the System; this footnote includes a passage from another work, Bob Avakian Responds To Mark Rudd On The Lessons Of The 1960s And The Need For An Actual Revolution. These works are also available at revcom.us. [back]

2. Bob Avakian On Civil War And Revolution. This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

3. The 5-2-6 refers to the 5 STOPS—five deep and defining contradictions of this system of capitalism-imperialism—5 ways in which this system oppresses people, plunders the environment, wages unjust wars and continually commits massive crimes against humanity; the two choices articulated by Bob Avakian (“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!”); and the Six Points of Attention for the Revolution. The full presentation of the 5-2-6 can be found at revcom.us. [back]

4. These statements, cited in Bob Avakian On Civil War And Revolution, are originally from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

5. These statements, cited in Bob Avakian On Civil War And Revolution, are originally from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

6. Max Boot, Invisible Armies, An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (Liveright Publishing, 2013). The quote here is from the concluding chapter, “Implications” (p. 563), emphasis added. [back]

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/trump-gestapo-violently-assaults-snatches-portland-protesters-en.html

Trump Gestapo Violently Assaults, Snatches
Portland Protesters
Not “Theater”—Part of Deadly Serious, All-Round
Fascist Escalation

| revcom.us

 

Around 2:00 am Wednesday morning, July 15, Mark Pettibone was taking part in a protest in Portland, Oregon. Suddenly an unmarked van drove up right in front of him and four men in military-style camouflage jumped out. They “just grabbed me and threw me into the van,” Pettibone told reporters. “Another officer pulled my beanie down, so I couldn’t see.” Pettibone didn’t know if they were police or right-wing vigilantes, and they never identified themselves or told him why they detained him for 90 minutes. “I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time, and that apparently is grounds for detaining me... It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon.”

On July 2, heavily armed federal police forces—authorized and deployed by Trump—invaded Portland, Oregon. They have shot and tear gassed protesters, and carried out military-style operations where unidentified cops in unmarked vans snatch people off the streets.

This is intended to crush the protests against police terror and white supremacy in Portland—with the aim of repeating this clampdown across the country. It is also part of an overall effort by Trump to “impose” the federal fascist regime’s “will” and authority over and against state and local governments that are controlled by Democrats, with very ominous consequences. While Democratic local authorities have been highly repressive against the recent protests, such as unleashing the NYPD to use excessive force as documented in the New York Times, Trump is attempting to exert his authority over them and insisting on even more brutal, openly fascistic means of repression. All of this is part of a major move to consolidate all-out fascism.1

Trump’s Response to Black Lives Matter—Dispatching His Gestapo

The beautiful, powerful nationwide uprising against police murder and for Black lives triggered by the murder of George Floyd has deeply impacted the whole country. In response, Trump has repeatedly denounced and slandered the protesters and vowed to “dominate” them.

Portland has now become a focal point. As of Saturday, July 18, righteous protests had taken place for 52 straight nights, some involving protesters blanketing one of Portland’s main bridges—the Burnside—lying down for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the time pigs had their knees on George Floyd’s neck. And these protests have continued to focus on the Portland police and federal government buildings, which has enraged Donald Trump.

“First off, people here are really profoundly mad at their police department and they saw what Minneapolis got in terms of reform,” investigative journalist Robert Evans of Bellingcat told the New York Times. “Here, they’re not willing to take the minimal $25 million budget cut that they are offering police.... There’s an understanding there’s an opportunity to either accept how bad things are or you can go out every night and try to do something about it.”

In June, Trump began deploying federal police forces from over a dozen agencies to different cities. Then on June 26, he signed an “Executive Order on Protecting American Monuments, Memorials and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence.” As a letter from a reader on revcom.us summed up, “This Order is a fascist call to arms, a frenzied tirade against the uprising, culminating in a concrete plan to suppress it.”2

Among other things, the Order authorized the use of federal forces in local areas, without being requested by local officials. As the revcom.us piece reported, “Two days later, it was reported that these teams had been sent to a number of cities, including Portland and Seattle, while others were being pre-positioned to be able to reach anywhere in the U.S. within six hours!” (Letter from a Reader: “Trump Regime Escalates Fascist Repression in Response to the Beautiful Rising,” revcom.us, July 13, 2020 )

The pigs who detained Mark Pettibone are part of “rapid deployment teams” organized by the Department of Homeland Security. These teams now include, according to the New York Times, 2,000 agents from Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard.

Think about it: For the first time, there is now a “rapid deployment” force at the command of the federal government that can be sent to suppress protest, or anything else for that matter! And this is being deployed and commanded by a fascist lunatic, heading into the next election.

Trump Vows to Quell “Out of Control Protests” in Portland

Trump has repeatedly and directly attacked and smeared Portland’s courageous protesters as well as the city’s liberal democratic establishment. On Monday, July 13, two days after federal forces, who’d been on patrol at least since July 2, seriously wounded a peaceful protester in Portland, Trump brayed, “We’ve done a great job in Portland ... Portland was totally out of control, and they went in, and I guess we have many people right now in jail. We very much quelled it, and if it starts again, we’ll quell it again very easily.”3

On Thursday, July 16, acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, flew to Portland supposedly to inspect damage to the Federal Building. “Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it,” Wolf claimed. Never mind that the vast majority of the violence carried out in the last 50-plus days was done by the police, not the protesters. “Instead of addressing violent criminals in their communities, local and state leaders are instead focusing on placing blame on law enforcement and requesting fewer officers in their community.”

Trump’s Storm Troopers in Portland

While Wolf denounces protesters as “lawless anarchists” and a “violent mob,” it’s Trump’s storm troopers, supposedly sent to guard federal buildings, who’ve been acting lawlessly and greatly escalating the violence.4

Federal forces have fired supposedly non-lethal munitions at protesters, including from inside the Federal Building. On July 11, one of them hit a protester—Donavan La Bella—in the head as he was holding up a sign. He remains in the hospital in serious condition with a skull fracture. “Federal police have also been witnessed shooting heavy clouds of tear gas into city parks, firing countless munitions at groups of people, and pinning down a person who appeared to be having a seizure,” reports PortlandMercury.com.5

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” said attorney Juan Chavez of the Oregon Justice Resource Center. “You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he said. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”6

The federal violence has been so naked that Portland’s mayor and police chief, who themselves have been at odds over how to end the protests, refused to meet with Wolf.

“What is happening in Portland right now... it’s as close up to the line as you can get to actual war without live rounds,” Robert Evans, who has reported from war zones, says. “It’s really hard for me to see how things go much further without people dying.... The federal law enforcement violence is unpredictable violence.”

“Portland is being used as a bellwether to see what this administration can get away with,” Evans concluded. (“50 Nights of Unrest in Portland,” New York Times, July 17)

ACLU: “This is police escalation on top of police escalation”

The ACLU of Oregon has filed court actions against this Trump/Pence deployment as a blatant violation of the rights of people to protest, as has the attorney general of Oregon and other legal groups. These are very important refusals to allow the Trump/Pence regime’s assault to stand.

The ACLU denounced the federal forces for “indiscriminately using tear gas, rubber bullets, and acoustic weapons against protesters, journalists, and legal observers,” and its lawsuit “seeks to block federal law enforcement from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers.”

“This is a fight to save our democracy,” said Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon. “Under the direction of the Trump administration, federal agents are terrorizing the community, risking lives, and brutally attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality. This is police escalation on top of police escalation. These federal agents must be stopped and removed from our city. We will continue to bring the full fire power of the ACLU to bear until this lawless policing ends.”7

Liberals, Democrats Condemn Trump, Demand Fed Forces Leave

Oregon’s liberal establishment and national Democratic Party leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer have denounced the deployment of federal forces to Portland and their brutality. Senator Bernie Sanders decried “unmarked federal agents ... pulling protesters off the street and jailing them without charge.” Gov. Kate Brown condemned it as a “blatant abuse of power by the federal government.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted that Portland does not “need or want [federal] help.”

On Friday, Oregon’s attorney general sued the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Marshals Service, asking a federal court to issue an order preventing federal agents from arresting people in Portland. She stated, “The current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary.”

Meanwhile, Portland Pigs Continue Acting Like... Pigs

Meanwhile, Portland’s own police continue to act like—well—police serving this oppressive system that both liberals and fascists serve. “City police have continued to respond to protests with disproportionate violence,” wrote PortlandMercury.com. “On Tuesday, a PPB officer was caught on film removing a protester’s protective face mask to pepper spray a protester in the eyes. This morning, the public witnessed a gaggle of PPB officers chase and tackle a person who was biking down SW 4th in downtown Portland—despite that street being open to public use.”8

On Thursday night, July 16, Portland police cleared two parks that have been hubs for protesters, including forcing out a barbecue stand—Riot Ribs—that’s been giving out free food. Nine people were arrested. This ongoing pig violence is one reason protests are continuing, demanding changes in how the police oppress the people.

Portland Clampdown—Part of a Broader Fascist Assault

Oregon’s Governor Brown claimed this federal deployment was “political theater from President Trump.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is not only part of a serious campaign to clamp down on protests against police terror, it is also an assault on, and attempt to take over the authority for, handling—“dominating”—protesters and other matters from Democratic-ruled local, state, and city governments. It’s part of an overall strategy that includes attacks on sanctuary cities, and using these same tactics in ICE raids to terrorize immigrant neighborhoods. Trump has also threatened to use this force in Chicago against Black communities, supposedly to “stop crime.”9

Trump said as much in his speech Monday, July 13—vowing to “take over” liberal cities if the Democrats couldn’t stop violence. “The radical politicians are waging war on innocent Americans. That’s what you’re doing when you play with the police....Things are happening that nobody’s ever seen happen in cities that are liberally run.”10


1. “Trump Regime Escalates Fascist Repression in Response to the Beautiful Rising,” revcom.us, July 13;” N.Y.P.D. Says It Used Restraint During Protests. Here’s What the Videos Show,” New York Times, July 14. [back]

2. “Trump Regime Escalates Fascist Repression in Response to the Beautiful Rising,” revcom.us, July 13. [back]

3. “President Trump Says Portland Protest Was “Totally Out of Control,” but the Feds “Very Much Quelled It,” Willamette Week, July 13. [back]

4. “Portland officials decry aggressive tactics of federal agents in their city,” Washington Post, July 18; “Federal Agents Unleash Militarized Crackdown on Portland,” New York Times, July 17. [back]

5. “DHS Director Decries “Violent Anarchists” Taking Over Portland,” PortlandMercury.com, July 16. [back]

6. “Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 17. [back]

7. “What is happening in Portland is an unconstitutional nightmare,” adds Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “This is not law and order. This is lawlessness. The ACLU will not let the government respond to protests against police brutality with still more brutality. We will continue to hold law enforcement at all levels of government accountable, just as we have nationwide.” “ORGANIZATION SEEKS TO BLOCK FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS, LEGAL OBSERVERS IN PORTLAND,” ACLU, July 17. [back]

8. “DHS Director Decries ‘Violent Anarchists’ Taking Over Portland,” PortlandMercury.com, July 16. [back]

9. “Federal officers are using unmarked cars to arrest Portland protesters,” Guardian, July 17. [back]

10. This past week, acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan called the protesters criminals and threatened a broad assault on the Trump/Pence regime’s opponents: “the Department of Justice is going to be involved in this, DHS is going to be involved in this; and we’re really going to take a stand across the board. And we’re going to do what needs to be done to protect the men and women of this country.” President Trump Says Portland Protest Was “Totally Out of Control,” but the Feds “Very Much Quelled It,” Willamette Week, July 13. [back]

What is Fascism?

Trump Gestapo in Portland

Heavily armed Federal police forces – authorized and deployed by Trump—invaded Portland, Oregon. They have shot and teargassed protestors, and carried out military-style operations where unidentified cops in unmarked vans snatch people off the streets. (Photos: Doug Brown, ACLU/Oregon)

Trump Gestapo in Portland

From Refuse Fascism:
No To Federal Agents Sweeping Up Protesters!
Stop Police Violence Against The People!
No To A Fascist Police State: Trump/Pence Out NOW!

Also see: Protests Continue Against the Fascist Crackdown in Portland

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/protests-continue-against-fascist-crackdown-portland-en.html

Protests Continue Against the Fascist Crackdown in Portland

| revcom.us

 


Moms, wearing helmets, linking arms chanted: "Feds stay clear, moms are here." They weren't backing down. (Photo: Mark Graves)

This week, in an ominous escalation of fascism, the Trump/Pence regime sent federal agents from multiple agencies to storm the streets of Portland, Oregon, and crush ongoing protests. But protesters in Portland are continuing to take to the streets, going up against tear gas, flash bangs, and vicious attacks. And there have been protests by people around the country who are outraged at Trump’s fascist pigs in Portland.

On Friday night, July 17, people in Portland took to the streets again. Hundreds, including city officials and religious forces, gathered for a vigil outside the downtown Justice Center, near the courthouse. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that across the street, dozens of other protesters dismantled the chain link fence around a recently closed city park. After protesters entered the park, federal agents came out of a building next door and used impact munitions, stun grenades, and tear gas to clear the area. Just before midnight, federal officers then deployed tear gas after some protesters placed dismantled fencing in front of plywood doors covering the entrance of the federal courthouse. The Portland cops declared the gathering unlawful and then joined the federal pigs in advancing on protesters to clear the streets, arresting several people.

Saturday night marked the 52nd continuous day of protests in Portland since the police murdered George Floyd. In the face of days and days of violent fascist attacks by the federal agents and cops, people aren’t getting intimidated, aren’t backing down at all. In fact, protesters are even more determinedly continuing their defiant actions in the streets, with broader forces supporting the protests and speaking out against the government’s repression.

The Friday night protests ended with the feds and cops attacking and arresting people in the early morning hours of Saturday. And then in the face of all this, people came back with even more force on Saturday night. According to news reports, some protesters broke into the Portland Police Association building, set it on fire and started dumpster fires. It was reported that people also took fencing that had been placed around the federal courthouse and made it into barricades. There were tense standoffs between the pigs and protesters. The cops declared the gathering a “riot,” threatening arrests and the use of “crowd control munitions.” When people refused to leave, the pigs moved in, clearing the downtown area, deploying tear gas and flash bang canisters, and arresting several people. Protesters also gathered at the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct where there were reports of people throwing rocks and paint-filled balloons. According to one news report, a video shows cops hurling a flash bang canister, then apparently a tear gas canister at a group of mothers who had come out to demonstrate against police brutality. The video shows the women, wearing helmets, linking arms while chanting, “Feds stay clear, moms are here.” They weren’t backing down.

Also on Saturday, July 18, in Salt Lake City, Utah, people protested at the state capitol and the governor’s mansion to demand a stop to police brutality—according to one news report, there were counter-protesters, some armed, waving American and pro-police “blue lives matter” flags. There have been several such protests in Utah in the last month or so. The ACLU of Utah released a statement Saturday condemning “militarized, state-sanctioned police violence” and calling out the local police for infringing on people’s First Amendment rights.

Refuse Fascism had put out a call for people around the country to protest the fascist federal crackdown in Portland. The following are reports from these protests. Refuse Fascism is planning more protests against the fascist crackdown in Portland so stay tuned.


Friday night protests ended with the feds and cops attacking and arresting people in the early morning hours of Saturday. (Photo: Doug Brown, ACLU/Oregon)


Hundreds, including city officials and religious forces, gathered for a vigil outside the downtown Justice Center, near the courthouse. (Photo: Twitter)


Salt Lake City, Utah, people protested "state-sanctioned police violence" at the state capitol, July 18. (Photo: Yukai Peng_DeseretNews)

New York City

People marched as they stretched the bright orange Refuse Fascism banner across the whole street. They went from Union Square to City Hall, chanting, “Trump, Pence Out Now,” “No Cops No KKK, No Fascist USA,” “No Fascist Police State, November Is Too Late.” And the Revolution Club led the chant “What do we need to get outta this mess? Revolution, Nothing Less!” At the rally, Travis Morales addressed the crowd saying, “You’re walking down the street, you’ve been to a protest. You’re going home then some black van pulls up and four or five guys in camouflage fatigues jump out. They don’t have any identification, you don’t know who they are. And they grab you and they throw you in the back of that van and take you somewhere. And start interrogating you. Let me ask you something, what is different between that and what they did to people in Nazi Germany?” Emma Kaplan from Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club said, “Trump sending in these federal agents. It is a test run of what’s to come. And if they are allowed to get away with this in Portland, they will be bringing it to other cities.”

San Francisco

People rallied in front of the Federal Building. One woman said, “It is time to make time. We have to find a way to get in the way! We have to find a way to make good trouble. We have to find a way to stop what is happening now.... Every day this regime does something to take away our rights, to strip our children of their future...” Another speaker said, “When we talk about driving out this regime, which is a central guiding principle of Refuse Fascism, we have looked around the world and have seen this happen over and over again—hundreds of thousands, millions have gathered in the streets and determined mass nonviolent protests have driven out hated tyrants. It can happen here and it must happen here.”

Los Angeles

People marched through the streets and rallied in front of City Hall. There was a speak-out where different people got up to talk about the horrors of what is happening under Trump, including what the fascist federal police are doing in Portland. And people took the pledge saying, “In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America. We will stay in the streets, we will bring others with us, and not stop until our demands are met. Trump/Pence Out Now!” A member of the Revolution Club addressed the crowd saying, “There is no guarantee where any of this is gonna go. But there is not going to be a normal we’re going back to and there is a possibility that we could wrench out of this a struggle to put an end to the system that gave rise to Donald Trump, to put an end to the system that needs terror by police, how it enforces white supremacy, how it enforces relations of exploitation and exploitation, how it divides people and pits them against each other...”

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/four-months-into-global-covid-economic-crisis-en.html

Four Months Into the Global COVID-19 Health and Economic Crisis...
Notes on the Utter Cruelty and Obscene Irrationality of Capitalism-Imperialism

by Raymond Lotta

| revcom.us

 

[W]hile 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

Bob Avakian, from The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward

These are some initial reflections on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the imperialist world economy and the people of the world. These reflections are offered to contribute towards understanding this unprecedented situation and the potential for radical upheaval. Further reflections will be coming.

Part I

 1) A point of basic understanding and orientation. COVID-19 is a natural-biological phenomenon. It is a highly transmissible and lethal virus. But how this health crisis has unfolded and how it has been responded to...that has everything to do with, is stamped by, the system we live under. That system is capitalism-imperialism.

Humanity is facing a global health crisis on a scale unparalleled since the 1918 influenza pandemic. That pandemic infected one-third of the world's population and led to 50 million deaths. COVID-19 (coronavirus) was first detected in China in December 2019—and quickly became a global health crisis. Worldwide, there are now almost 14 million confirmed cases and over 590,000 (known) deaths.

There is no vaccine yet for the coronavirus, no effective therapy treatments. It is uncertain how long (now calculated in years) humanity will be facing the coronavirus and its consequences. This disease is occurring within, and humanity is tightly bound by, a global economic system: capitalism-imperialism.

This system is the greatest barrier to coping with this crisis in the interests of the billions on this planet. Why? 

Capitalism is organized around private ownership of highly developed and socialized means of production: factories and equipment, raw materials and technology, transport and communications, along with vast networks of distribution. This system has an inner dynamic. Capitalists are driven by competition to produce profit and more profit based on the exploitation of laborers who do not own or control those means of production.

Competition compels individual capitals to cheapen costs and expand production in order to gain market share and beat out rivals... or find themselves beaten. In telecommunications, Nokia, Apple, Samsung, and Huawei battle it out for markets, over patents, and for cost-efficiency in production (which includes child labor in the mines of Congo). 

This is a system in which profit governs, shapes, and distorts investment priorities and decisions through all sectors of the economy.

Consider these two facts in relation to disease prevention and treatment under capitalism:

No Conscious and Comprehensive Economic-Ecological Planning

Under this system, the resources and capabilities of human society are not utilized for the benefit and betterment of world humanity. There is NO conscious and comprehensive economic-ecological planning. On the one hand, the modern imperialist-capitalist economy is highly interdependent: GM needs aluminum and machine tools, trained workers, and people buy their autos. But in an economy of private ownership and control, of competing capitals, each aiming to maximize profits—those requirements are met through buying and selling on the market. Whether investments “pay off” is discovered “after the fact.”

Huge blocks of capital dominate the U.S. economy as a whole—and interact with each other fundamentally as rivals. The U.S. imperialist state safeguards the strategic interests of the capitalist ruling class (even as sections of the ruling class fight over how those interests should be met or might be changing).

So for all these reasons and more, it is NOT possible under this system to take the measure of the great needs of humanity and to rationally organize production and allocate resources to meet basic social needs, like food, shelter, and health, and to provide for a rich intellectual and cultural life. It's not what happens... and it can't. But it is possible! By making a revolution to overthrow this system and replace it with socialism in transition to communism as set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian.

In an economy of rapidly shifting markets, profit opportunities, and high-stakes competition—the horizons of individual capitals are short term. Tesla, Dell, Microsoft and others are not concerned about the long-term environmental impacts of mining cobalt for lithium batteries (not to mention the human cost). Again at the society-wide (and global) level, there is no advance planning. To anticipate and prepare for natural and health disasters, to the greatest degree possible given existing knowledge and forecasting capacity. To prepare for climate emergencies (like hurricanes and longer-term sea-level rise); for disease and health emergencies; and for other near- and longer-term challenges.

So before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a criminal lack of preparedness: little funding and little research and development of treatments for the kinds of animal-to-human diseases that have appeared more recently and more frequently worldwide... the abysmal failure to produce and stockpile protective medical equipment and supplies... and now the scattershot and fragmented response to this crisis... all exacerbated by an anti-science, fascist lunatic commanding the U.S. imperialist state.  

A Pandemic Taking Place in a System Divided Into Oppressor and Oppressed Countries

This is a system in which a handful of powerful capitalist countries like the U.S., China,** Japan, Russia, and Germany dominate and plunder the poor countries of the “global south.” As the coronavirus health emergency unfolded and worsened, these imperialist powers were competing for scientific and medical supplies. “Bidding away” (paying a higher price for) masks, gowns, gloves, and ventilators. In some cities of Brazil, supplies of chemical reagents for virus testing were effectively hijacked to the U.S.

Early in the crisis, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to restrict U.S. exports of key medical supplies, leaving many poorer countries scrambling for equipment to contain the virus and protect healthcare workers. On July 1, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had purchased virtually the entire three-month global supply of remdesivir, a drug that has cut recovery times from the virus. 

It is often remarked in the mainstream media that the healthcare systems and infrastructure of the poor countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (the so called “global south”) are “fragile” in these times of pandemic. That is a cruel and self-serving euphemism for healthcare systems stunted and decimated by imperialism.

In 2019, 64 countries, nearly half of them in Africa, spent more on paying back their external debt to imperialist lending institutions than on health! These countries have had to cut health budgets, health training, and health research over the years as a condition for receiving more loans from the imperialist countries. These loans reinforce and serve a whole structure of imperialist domination—export-oriented production, raw materials extraction, and other ways in which these countries are subordinated to serve the needs of imperialism. And with economies of the poor nations now experiencing steep economic declines, and when billions of additional dollars are needed to cope with this health crisis, debt payment will become an even greater weight on these countries (see Raymond Lotta, “From Vise Grip to Death Grip...”).

Imperialism “Warping” the World

Let's remind ourselves, a pandemic is a worldwide phenomenon (“pan” means “everywhere”). And here we are into the pandemic... and the development of a vaccine that might effectively prevent the disease is itself the object of intense rivalry between pharmaceutical giants and the national-imperialist states backing them, especially the U.S. and China. In the perverse logic of capital, “getting there first” will yield enormous profits for the companies that do so (“protected” by so-called intellectual property rights). And “getting there first” will accrue enormous leverage and control to the imperialist powers that do so.

Trump has christened the U.S. vaccine development effort “Operation Warp Speed.” Actually, the dictates of profit and imperialist maneuvering “warp” the safe development, application, and use of technology and scientific knowledge. A vaccine for “America first”? Fuck that... the whole world comes first!

To go back to the basic point of understanding: This pandemic is a natural-biological phenomenon, but how it has unfolded and how it is being dealt with are inextricably and horrifically bound up with the system we live under: capitalism-imperialism.

2. The world is experiencing both the biggest pandemic and the biggest economic contraction in 100 years. The immediate precipitant of the economic crisis was the coronavirus: the interruptions to production and disruptions to world trade. But the underlying character and dynamics of the ongoing economic crisis that is taking a huge toll on the lives and well-being of billions across this planet... is the profit-based system of capitalism-imperialism

The world capitalist economy was already facing weak economic growth and the massive, destabilizing build-up of debt before the pandemic. The pandemic and the measures by the major imperialist powers to contain this crisis, including through bail-outs of corporations and the injection of funds into the financial system, could destabilize things further.

Economic and geopolitical rivalry between U.S. imperialism and Chinese imperialism was intensifying before the pandemic, disrupting global trade and investment flows. This rivalry has sharpened through the pandemic.

Imperialist Supply Chains... Supply “Shocks”... and the Onset of Crisis

Let's start with imperialist supply chains, because this crisis started as what is called a “supply shock.” The world capitalist economy has grown more globalized over the past few decades.

Most products, whether cars, electronic devices, aircraft engines or pharmaceuticals, are produced through a vast global division of labor in which different units of production are part of a complex process of production. Raw materials that go into a computer are mined in Africa; assembly may go on in China. Target, H&M, and Walmart subcontract to firms in Bangladesh to produce T-shirts, dresses, and jeans—in hellish sweatshops that mainly employ women.

The physical product moves through different links and crosses multiple borders in global supply chains. And at each phase of production and transport, profits are siphoned off and concentrated outward and upward to the large transnational banks and corporations, headquartered in the imperialist countries, that organize and control these supply chains and to the imperialist governments. They pressure multiple suppliers to compete with each other to hold on to contracts by reducing costs—by more savagely exploiting their work force.

In March, the coronavirus was spreading through the global supply chains. It was infecting workers and causing disruptions to production. The early signs were plant closures in China and parts of Asia. Inventories of components that entered into production in different parts of the world from these supply chains were dwindling. China shut down much of its economy. As the virus spread to Europe and the U.S., measures were taken to contain the spread: restrictions on travel, retail closings, shelter-at-home and quarantines. Orders to suppliers in the poor countries were cancelled—resulting in massive layoffs. 

This led fairly quickly to a “shock” to the world capitalist economy: firms cutting back on investment as they faced declining demand; interruptions in supply; and uncertain future earnings prospects. Massive layoffs followed; banks stopped lending; key sectors in the imperialist countries, like the airlines industry. saw the wholesale evaporation of earnings; bankruptcies were looming; and many small businesses permanently closed. In the oppressed countries, economic activity ground to a halt, closing ports, shutting factories, canceling flights and emptying resorts. As mentioned earlier, governments in the dependent countries are liable for billions of dollars of debt payments.

Some Measures of Crisis

It is estimated by a financial arm of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that many of the world's economies may have shrunk in the first three months of this year anywhere between 25 and 40 percent (at an annual rate). According to projections by the IMF World Economic Outlook, June 2020, growth in the developed capitalist countries is expected to drop 8 percent in 2020. In India, the economy is projected to contract by 4.5 percent; Mexico and Brazil are expected to contract by 10.5 and 9.1 percent, respectively. Global trade is expected to decline by 11.9 percent in 2020.

Why is the above data important to take in, and why should we care? Because it reveals the serious plunge in economic activity. And exactly because of that, with masses of people losing sources of income and having to scramble for survival-- being subjected to even harsher social and economic conditions—it portends even worse suffering and impoverishment.

The “normal” workings of this system are intolerable for world humanity. This contraction will intensify and multiply the horrors.

Profitability, Stimulus, and Parasitism in the Imperialist Countries

With production and investment collapsing in March, the stock market tumbled and financial markets froze. The Federal Reserve Bank (the central bank of the U.S. that influences money flows and financial policy, like interest rates) stepped in with a massive injection of funds. This was to the tune of $3 trillion to prevent a financial meltdown bigger than what happened in 2008-9. It effectively lowered interest rates to zero to stimulate corporate borrowing. It purchased all kinds of debt—the outcome of which is that trillions of dollars were channeled to financial investors.

In the 4 months since then, the stock market has reached new highs. There has been a kind of decoupling of the stock market from the underlying economy, from the globalized base of production on which it ultimately rests and from which it ultimately cannot break free (to be discussed at another time). But there is this relative disconnect: the vast accumulation of financial wealth in the stock and bond markets by a stratum of investors—based on all manner of speculation—while the underlying economy is in crisis, and while billions suffer across the planet.

It is a reflection, and the further intensification, of the pre-pandemic situation. As several commentators have noted, the U.S. economy had been in a credit-fueled bubble for the 10 years since the Great Recession of 2008-09. The U.S. and other capitalist economies, but the U.S. in particular, have experienced low growth in productive investment and rising debt. Profitability, the return on investment, has been pinched in the productive sectors of the U.S. economy, and this has constrained investment.

The world economy had been growing at slower rates over the past few years. In 2019, global growth was the lowest since the global recession of 2008-9. And in this low-growth climate, competition for markets, for technological advantage, and for control over supply chains has grown. Corporate debt was already at high levels. Now, four months into the pandemic/economic crisis, corporate filings for bankruptcies are at their highest since 2009.

These are volatile financial and economic conditions that could lead to a “financial shock” and crisis that could undermine the stability of the dollar, the main currency in the world economy.

U.S.-China Rivalry Escalates

These conditions are also part of the backdrop of escalating U.S.-China imperial rivalry, economically and militarily. China's economy has rebounded slightly from the low point of production when the pandemic hit. China is expected to grow 1 percent this year. Given the expected decline in growth in the U.S., this means that the gap between the economies of the U.S. and China will shrink in China's favor, though the U.S. remains the dominant economic power in the world. Tensions between the U.S. and China have heightened through the pandemic: on trade and access to markets, around new telecommunications technologies, and about the role of the World Health Organization in contributing research and understanding to solving the crisis. And both China and the U.S. have bolstered military capabilities. The danger of conflict between these two powers is accelerating. I will be writing more about this and its implications for the people of the world.

In a highly interconnected world... in a world in which a pandemic is causing untold suffering... in a world in which international cooperation could not be more important... the dictates of imperialism reign supreme. It is cruel, it is irrational, it is unnecessary.


*Lifting the Patent Barrier to New Drugs and Energy Sources, New York Times, 4/12/16 [back]

**The People's Republic of China calls itself socialist. But it is a thoroughly capitalist society—organized around profit and based on exploitation. China exports capital throughout the world and has forged a global network of exploitation and influence challenging and contending with the U.S. and other imperialist powers. In 1949, a genuine revolution led by the communist revolutionary Mao Zedong came to power. A socialist society was created and hundreds of millions took up the cause of building a society free of exploitation and oppression. But a new capitalist class arose within the structures of the Communist Party and socialist state. Mao waged the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 to deepen the revolution and prevent capitalist restoration. But in 1976, this new capitalist class seized power. China has evolved into an imperialist power today. [back]

 

 


Major drug companies “opted out” of developing a vaccine against the malaria parasite that was killing hundreds of thousands of children in poor countries each year, especially in Africa, because there was no profit to be made from children who could not pay to be vaccinated. (Photo: WHO/Chris Black)

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)


Bangladeshi garment workers block a road demanding their unpaid wages during a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 16. More than a million of the 4.1 million workers in Bangladesh's garment industry have been furloughed or fired due to cancelled orders. (Photo: AP)


The maquiladora owned by the TECMA group in Ciudad Juárez was the center of a major COVID-19 outbreak. Thirteen employees at the factory have died of the disease, according to Mexican health officials. (Photo: Wikipedia)


Residents from all walks of life line up for a food giveaway in a neighborhood of Chicago, May 12. Food insecurity has added to the anxiety of millions of people, according to a new survey that finds 37 percent of unemployed Americans ran out of food in the past month, while 46 percent worried that they would. (Photo: AP)

See also:

The Coronavirus Pandemic —
A Resource Page

Read more


Locals provide drinking water to Indian migrant laborers making their way on foot back to their home villages because big cities were on lockdown amid fear over spread of coronavirus in New Delhi, India, March 28. (Photo: AP)

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/the-republi-fascists-drive-to-win-the-november-elections-en.html

Letter from a reader:

The Republi-Fascists’ Multi-Pronged Drive to “Win” the November Elections

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: This letter from a reader exposes systematic efforts by the fascist Trump/Pence regime and its supporters to undermine the integrity of upcoming elections in their favor. This is an extremely dangerous attack on democratic—and in the case of Black people, extremely hard fought*—rights, and escalation towards fascist consolidation.

These moves need to be firmly opposed and fiercely struggled against—even while the content and role of elections under this system legitimize the functioning of this system. (See “Bob Avakian on the Elections Trap.”)

All of this needs to be much more broadly understood—and debated—as part of making revolution, and the struggle against white supremacy and fascism.

*See revcom.us American Crime series articles on the suppression of Black people’s right to vote: Part 1: Violent Suppression of Black People’s Right to Vote and Part 2: 1965 to Today: Gutting the Voting Rights Act and Disenfranchising Millions of Black People.

Different voices in the U.S. are expressing ample concern that the Trump/Pence regime has no intention of giving up power in January—no matter how unpopular they are, and no matter what happens in the November elections. These fears are certainly justified, given what Trump and the fascist forces are doing in relation to voting and elections, as we’ll get into in this article.

It’s probably the case that Trump and those behind him would prefer to be able to wrap themselves in the “democratic legitimacy” of an election victory, as the regime consolidates its fully fascist authority. So on the one hand, the regime and the Republican Party are pulling out the stops to “win” the presidential election, including by suppressing the vote of those sections of people likely to vote against them, particularly people of color. On the other hand, they are trying to “delegitimize” the election by claiming in advance that it is “rigged”—then if they lose, they can try to hold onto power while contesting or denying the results.

Subverting the Election

Republican-controlled state legislatures have spent decades trying to strip Black, Latino, and Native American people of the right to vote, using a variety of seemingly “race-neutral” laws labeled as “preventing voter fraud.” Republicans claim that such “voter fraud” is widespread, but it is actually almost non-existent, as various studies have documented. Here is a small sample of these laws1:

Since the Trump/Pence regime came to power in 2016, this Republican campaign has escalated, now with the backing of the federal government and the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) “Civil Rights” division dropped lawsuits against Texas and Ohio for violating voting rights. (In Ohio, the DOJ actually switched sides to oppose local civil rights groups.) In Florida, the legislature gutted a constitutional amendment that extended voting rights to ex-prisoners—60 percent Black or Latino—that had been approved by 64 percent of voters. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that to stand, likely preventing hundreds of thousands of people from voting in November.

Intimidation

Now, on the foundation of a vast array of laws, rules and policies that people have to navigate in order to exercise their right to vote, the fascists are bringing in another element—vigilante enforcement.

The New York Times reported in May that the Republican Party had launched a $20 million campaign to recruit “up to 50,000 volunteers in 15 key states to monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious.”

If you look at what these fascists are actually saying and doing, it becomes clear that what they mean by “suspicious” is “people of color,” and what they mean by “monitor” is “intimidate.” Check out the following comments from voter suppression activists at a February “strategy session” organized by the Council for National Policy, a Christian fascist organization.2

In a discussion about who to recruit as poll watchers, one activist asked: “Do you want to go into an inner-city precinct or a tribal precinct and be the Republican there to oversee things? I mean, that is not a comfortable place to be and that is where the fraud happens.” Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, a group that lobbies for tougher restrictions on voting, addressed this concern by saying, “You get some [Navy] Seals in those polls and they’re going to say, ‘No, no, this is what it says. This is how we’re going to play this show.’”

After the conference, True the Vote launched its “Continue to Serve” website specifically to sign up ex-cops and ex-military. The site features a video message from ex-Navy Seal Ed Hiner, who was an active supporter of Eddie Gallagher, another Seal, who was turned in by his own squad for murdering civilians and a wounded, unarmed prisoner. This tells you the kind of “monitors” they are looking for.

In the wake of the police murder of George Floyd and the racist vigilante murder of Ahmaud Arbery, imagine the impact of possibly armed white men approaching Black people near polling places, insisting that they justify their right to vote! Imagine the impact on Latinos (whether immigrants or not) of “poll watchers” demanding “Show me your papers”! This Republican push for “poll watchers” is aimed at scaring people away from polling places, nothing else.

Then on top of all of this, authorities in “red” states have been systematically cutting back on places to register and to vote that are accessible to people of color. They have also been eliminating the practice of early voting and extended hours, which accommodate people with jobs that don’t allow workers to leave for two hours to vote. And these policies have been amplified by the COVID-19 epidemic, because the mostly elderly people who staff the polling stations aren’t coming in because of legitimate fear of the virus. The consequence of all this has been, and will be, people in the cities lined up for many hours—and then, if they’re lucky to get in, entering crowded polling places where they have to risk exposure to coronavirus.3

Delegitimizing the Election in Order to “Legitimize” Staying in Power

As one voting rights activist described what Trump and the Republicans are doing, “This is a burn-it-down strategy, a strategy to win at all costs.” It includes other components that we haven’t gotten into in this article—like social media disinformation campaigns, or possible hacking attacks similar to what Russia is alleged to have attempted in 2016. Taken together with the reality that the Electoral College gives much greater weight to voters in more rural states who tend to favor Trump, there is a very good chance that this will work in November, and Trump will be able to claim victory.

But there are clear signs that the fascists are simultaneously preparing for the possibility that their strategy for winning the election will not work, and that they may be compelled to hold onto power in the face of a major electoral defeat.

The way they are doing this is by claiming in advance that the election is “rigged.” Trump has led the charge on this by attacking mail-in (or “absentee”) voting, which is going to be much more common this year due to the pandemic. Various researchers have put forward that mail-in voting is a virtually fraud-proof method,4 already widely used throughout the U.S., especially by seniors, rural people, and those in the military (constituencies that usually lean Republican). But now that it is needed for Black, Latino, and Native people, it’s another story for the fascists.

On May 24, Trump tweeted, “The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history.” Four days later, it was “MAIL-IN VOTING WILL LEAD TO MASSIVE FRAUD AND ABUSE. IT WILL ALSO LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY.” On June 21, Attorney General Barr chimed in, telling Fox News that it “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud.” The Republican Party is suing California to block the state from mailing ballots to all registered voters. Trump supporters in Michigan publicly burned absentee-ballot applications they (as voters) received from the state.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this could play out if Trump loses the election. The Republicans could unleash an army of lawyers to sue in every state he lost. Trump could claim it was “rigged,” just like he had “predicted.” His supporters, including the armed ones that are increasingly active, could be mobilized and pour into the streets to defend Trump, perhaps backed or led by the “Rapid Deployment Forces” who are now rampaging in Portland and other cities. This, together with the likely real confusion and disorganization created by the epidemic and a massive increase in mail-in voting, could provide the basis for the regime to “dig in.” And at that point, it would take a tremendous outpouring from below to drive him out.

Relying on the Elections to Stop Trump Is NOT “Realistic”!

All this refutes the argument of the Democratic Party that the only “realistic” way to stop Trump is, from now to November, to focus all our energy on getting out the vote. It is time and past time for people to fully come to grips with the fascist character of this regime and the movement that it is leading. It is time and past time for people to ACT on that understanding and the need to drive this regime out, before it can further consolidate power and before it can cause any more unnecessary death and suffering.

It is time and past time for people in growing numbers, ultimately in the millions, to take to the streets and stay there until the demand is met: Trump/Pence Out Now.

 

1. For more on voter suppression, see “Disenfranchising Millions in Service of White Supremacy and Fascism” at revcom.us, and “The New Voter Suppression” from the Brennan Center for Justice. [back]

2. For more on the Christian fascists, see “Trump/Pence Regime—Racing Towards Theocracy at an Accelerating Pace” at revcom.us. [back]

3. In April, when COVID was spiking, Wisconsin Republicans sued to prevent an extension of the deadline for applying for mail-in ballots. In Milwaukee, which has about two-thirds of Wisconsin’s Black population, only five polling stations were open in the whole city, down from 180, leaving tens of thousands of people on lines for hours. [back]

4. Among other things, voters have to sign the ballot, and then their signature is compared to the one on their voter registration form. [back]

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/coronavirus-and-a-system-in-crisis-en.html

Coronavirus and a System in Crisis:
Tidal Waves of Evictions, Mass Impoverishment Loom

| revcom.us

 

Millions of people in the U.S. are living on the brink of disaster. On July 24, a four-month moratorium (delay) on evictions that was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act ends for many people. On July 31, a $600 weekly increase of unemployment checks for people laid off from their jobs ends.

“We’re looking at 20 million to 28 million people in this moment, between now and September, facing eviction.... That means that there are a number of evictions that are just waiting for the sheriffs to execute.... And right now, 29 states lack any state level moratorium against evictions,” Emily Benfer, chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction, said in a July 10 interview.1

Homelessness and Evictions—Acute Expressions of a Systemic Condition

Homelessness and evictions are one of the most prominent features of capitalism-imperialism’s grip on the entire planet. Globally, at least 150 million people are completely homeless, and experts estimate that 1.6 billion people—more than 20 percent of the world’s population, are “housing insufficient.”2 Within the U.S., almost 600,000 people were homeless before the virus hit.3 Homeless encampments are a commonplace sight in virtually every city in the country.4

The deep oppression of Black people baked into every aspect of U.S. society is expressed in the disproportionate toll evictions and homelessness takes. Black and Latina/o households are about twice as likely as white households to rent their homes.5 Black people are about 13 percent of the U.S. population but “account for 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness and more than 50 percent of homeless families with children. Other racial groups and ethnicities are also overrepresented, but African-Americans make up the largest group.”6

In a study of homelessness in Milwaukee, Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond found, “The eviction court survey population was predominantly Black (74 percent) and poor. The majority paid at least 50 percent of their incomes for rent, and one-third devoted more than 80 percent of their incomes for rent. Only 6 percent received housing assistance.”7 Desmond wrote that “in Milwaukee’s poorest Black neighborhoods, eviction had become commonplace—especially for women... If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished Black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women. Poor black men were locked up while poor Black women were locked out.”8

Decent, livable housing is a basic human need. But as Bob Avakian breaks down in his article “‘Preliminary Transformation Into Capital’ ... and Putting an End to Capitalism,” under the system of capitalism-imperialism, human need is subordinated to the need of capitalists to make investments they think have the greatest likelihood of not only returning their initial investment but making a profit on it. The massive housing bust and foreclosure crisis that began in 2008 forced about 10 million homeowners to lose their property.9 It also accelerated tendencies that focused future development on high-cost housing, drove up almost all rents nationwide, and further concentrated ownership of rental units in the hands of “institutional investors ... including partnerships, companies, trustees for estates and nonprofit organizations.”10

This relentless quest for maximizing profit from housing rentals was facilitated by government policy. The New York Times reported that “dozens (of financial companies) in the U.S. ... load(ed) up on foreclosed properties at a discount of 30 to 50 percent and rent(ed) them out. Rather than protecting communities and making it easy for homeowners to restructure bad mortgages or repair their credit after succumbing to predatory loans, the government facilitated the transfer of wealth from people to private-equity firms. By 2016, 95 percent of the distressed properties ... were auctioned off to Wall Street investors without any meaningful stipulations.”11,12

The CARES Act and “A Perfect Storm of Human Suffering”

The main purpose of CARES (which also funneled massive amounts of money to corporations, large businesses, and various institutions) was not to enable the tens of millions of people already living gig to gig, or check to check (whether paycheck or unemployment check), from being thrown into the street, or to enable them to provide food, medicine, and other necessities for their households. It was mainly intended to keep the entire U.S. economy from taking on further damage, and to mute the potential for widespread discontent and possible outpourings if tens of millions of people were abruptly without homes or any means of support as a pandemic raged across the country.

While CARES temporarily prevents landlords from evicting tenants living in properties backed by federally supported mortgages, and renters in federally assisted housing, all rent payments not met while CARES is in effect must be fully paid, either immediately when it ends, or through an agreement reached between the landlord and tenant. For many people, the debt they face as and if society emerges from this pandemic is mounting as time runs out on CARES.

Many states, including California, have announced extensions of the moratorium. Others, such as Texas, are not moving to extend it. Various politicians have proposed measures to extend the moratorium, and to continue the enhanced unemployment money. But whether any of that will happen at all, and to what extent the eviction moratorium will be extended nationally, and unemployment check increases continued, hasn’t been settled.

Aaron Carr, executive director of the Housing Rights Initiative, summed up this situation in an interview with the website Vox: “The United States is facing an eviction crisis of biblical proportions. Allowing eviction moratoriums and expanded unemployment benefits to expire will undoubtedly lead to a perfect storm of instability, homelessness, and human suffering.”

A Turbulent Mix

Protests demanding a halt to evictions have begun breaking out across the U.S. Many more are likely. These protests are righteous and important in their own right, and should be supported. They are also entering into the turbulent “mix” of protest, uprising, and turmoil that is tearing at the social fabric of this country—the beautiful uprising against the plague of police murder of Black people, the protests of the Trump/Pence regime and their hordes of fascist supporters, the conflicts erupting around the government’s response to the virus.

As this turmoil continues and intensifies, masses of people are being jolted into protest and resistance, with millions and tens of millions of people beginning to question the nature of an economic and social system that routinely inflicts such suffering. People in these outpourings must be challenged to lift their sights to the necessity and possibility of revolution, and to contribute to and get organized into that revolution.


1. CNBC interview with Emily Benfer. [back]

2. As Cities Grow, So Does Number of Homeless, Yale Global Online. [back]

3. State of Homelessness, 2020, the National Alliance to End Homelessness. [back]

4. Sociologist Matthew Desmand told an Interviewer from the Marketplace website that in the U.S. in 2016 there were “… about 900,000 evictions. That equates to about an estimated 2.3 million people evicted in that year, many of them children. So, how do we get our hands around that number? That’s about 6,300 people a day that are evicted. That’s twice the number of people who die in car accidents every day in America.” In his book Evicted Desmond examines and explains how millions of people, in particular poor Black women in cities, are forced to shuffle constantly from one home to another, as they are repeatedly evicted from derelict housing and go on a desperate search for another equally bad or worse apartment, sent to homeless shelters, move in with relatives, and often forced outright to live on the streets. [back]

5. More US Households Renting Than at Any Time in 50 Years, Pew Research Center. [back]

6. State of Homelessness, 2020, the National Alliance to End Homelessness. [back]

7. How Housing Matters, The MacArthur Foundation. [back]

8. From excerpts from Desmond's book Evicted, in Locked Out, Wisconsin.uwalumni.com, Fall 2016. [back]

9. Many Americans Ended up Homeless During the Real Estate Crisis 10 Years Ago, Business Insider. [back]

10. Mom and Pop Own Fewer Rental Units, New York Times. [back]

11. A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street, New York Times. [back]

12. See Revolution article “The Illusions of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Why Nothing Short of Revolution Will Meet the Needs of Humanity” for an analysis of why the false “solution” of simply placing homeless people in vacant apartment building constructed for the wealthy will not, and cannot, resolve the systemic problem of homelessness in capitalist society. [back]


Homeless man living in a shelter in Florida, spared eviction for the moment. (Photo: AP)

See also:

Communique #2 from the Revcoms:
The Coronavirus… and the Savage Inequalities of America

Read more


People rally for protection from evictions, June 27, near Boston. (Photo: AP)

 

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Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/fascist-ghouls-push-to-reopen-schools-en.html

From a reader:

Fascist Ghouls Push to Reopen Schools in a Rising Pandemic

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following letter from a reader draws attention to, and has very important insights into, the Trump/Pence regime’s relentless drive to open schools in the next two months even as the COVID-19 epidemic rages on. We received permission from the writer to add the following editors’ notes to this letter.

This alarming push by the Trump/Pence regime defies science and scientists, who understand that the virus can spread rapidly in large gatherings of people (including children!) indoors, potentially turning schools into virtual “petri dishes” for growing and spreading disease there and in the wider community. 

From the standpoint of humanity, this is insane

But it makes perfect sense for the rulers of this capitalist system, for whom the lives of people—even children—are mere tools for the accumulation of profit. They need to “restart the economy”—they are losing billions, while watching their capitalist competitors in Europe, and China, reopen. And the fascist regime now in power doesn’t give a damn about the lives of the masses, as shown when Trump declared meatpacking plants to be “critical infrastructure,” forcing workers to return to plants where more than half of employees tested positive for coronavirus—hundreds died

The fascists also fought bitterly against enhanced unemployment benefits because it would provide workers with a survival option other than returning to jobs that might kill them. As Florida senator Rick Scott said, “The moment we can go back to work, we cannot create an incentive for people to say ‘I don’t need to come back to work...’” (See Jamelle Bouie, New York Times, July 10 Trump Would Like to See You Now.)

But even if workers are ready to go back due to financial desperation, the capitalist economy cannot be restarted without reopening schools, the default and de facto childcare for those working in that economy. The reader’s letter quotes the business magazine The Economist: “Those who work outside the home cannot do so unless someone minds their offspring.” And Jamelle Bouie quotes Trump’s Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia: “... if we closed all our schools and day care for just a month—just, hypothetically, if we did that—the impact on U.S. productivity would be in the order of $50 billion.” 

What Scalia and these fascists don't talk about is that children need to go to school... to learn, to interact with and learn about each other, and to learn to work with others. This poses an extreme contradiction in this highly lopsided society. If schools stay closed, then the children of those on the bottom of society will suffer the most as those who have parents with the wherewithal to help them with online remote learning will have at least a minimal education while those without those resources will be further left behind. And the great divide in this society between those who have access to education and advanced learning will be exacerbated, and millions who have no access to education will further suffer in the wake of this pandemic. 

All of this points to extreme contradictions of this system brought into sharp relief with the pandemic—where the needs of the children, the economy and the public health measures needed to deal with the pandemic are in sharp conflict, all further intensifying the needless suffering of the masses of people. As Bob Avakian, BA, has written, “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.”

How long will this heartless system be allowed to continue to dictate on matters of life and death for billions here and around the world?

In a week when COVID-19 cases in the U.S. spiked above 3.5 million and deaths above 135,000—the highest numbers in the world—with some states recording record levels of infection, the Trump regime was pushing K-12 schools to reopen as early as next month. This ghoulish demand reaches new lows of disdain for science and human lives by the fascist regime and puts millions of children, their families, teachers, and communities in the crosshairs of a killer virus.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on the governors and the schools to reopen,” Trump said at a White House event on school reopenings. “Open your schools in the fall,” Trump told state officials and schoolteachers in attendance. He has threatened to cut off funding for those who don’t reopen.1

His Christian fascist secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, echoed this: “I think the go-to needs to be kids in school, in person, in the classroom. Where there are little flare-ups [!] or hotspots, that can be dealt with on a school-by-school or a case-by-case basis.”2

In a brazenly fascist move, the regime tried to bully the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into changing its very minimal guidelines for reopening schools. Trump’s vice president, Pence, declared, “We don’t want the guidance from the CDC to be the reason schools don’t open up.”3

Despite a fig leaf of concern for the impact of closed schools on children, business magazines like Forbes and others have made clear the connection between opening schools and re-opening the economy. The Economist argued: “Those who work outside the home cannot do so unless someone minds their offspring.” In other words: schools are childcare, consequences be damned.4

Anti-scientific rumors to the contrary, children do test positive for coronavirus.5 Recently in Virginia 150 teenagers between 16 and 18 tested positive for the virus and a county in Missouri revealed that 82 children, counselors, and staff tested positive at a local summer camp.6 At least 36 students at Lake Zurich High School in a Chicago suburb have tested positive for the coronavirus. County officials said they have traced the infections to three summer athletic camps and “recent social gatherings.”7

The coronavirus crisis has revealed the savage inequalities in U.S. society.8 And this is outrageously true in schools. Millions of children, especially children of color, attend schools that are crowded, crumbling, and unsanitary in the best of times, where measures like social distancing, regular hand washing, and routine cleaning would be a cruel pipe dream.

Take Detroit, for example. Students of five Detroit schools had to sue to win the right to literacy, claiming that because of deteriorating buildings, teacher shortages and inadequate textbooks, the state of Michigan failed to provide them with the most fundamental of skills: the ability to read.

Their suit also describes school buildings in shocking disrepair: broken toilets and water fountains, leaking ceilings, shattered windows. In warmer months, the complaint says, a lack of air conditioning caused some students to faint; in winter, students regularly had to wear hats, coats, and scarves in class. Students became accustomed to seeing cockroaches, mice, or rats scurrying across the classroom floor.9

Imagine schools like this with millions of children in a pandemic—death traps!

It’s not only children who will be in danger if schools reopen too soon. Nearly 30 percent of American public and private school teachers are 50 years old and over, and some have medical vulnerabilities such as obesity or diabetes. A report from the American Enterprise Institute placed more than half a million teachers in the highest-risk category for COVID-19.10

In one “little flareup” last month, three teachers who shared a summer classroom at a school in Arizona all contracted COVID, and one of them, Kimberly Byrd, died. Seven of her relatives, including a four-year-old, were infected. Her school superintendent said: “We can’t even keep our staff safe by themselves... how are we going to keep 20 kids in a classroom safe? I just don’t see how that’s possible to do that.”11 Another Arizona teacher said, “I want to serve the students, but it’s hard to say you’re going to sacrifice all of the teachers, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers and bus drivers.”

On social media, angry teachers across the country are promoting the hashtag #14daysnonewcases, with some pledging to refuse to enter classrooms until the coronavirus transmission rate in their counties falls, essentially, to zero.12 United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, said schools should remain closed while COVID rates continue to rise. “It is time to take a stand against Trump’s dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students, and our families at risk,” said union president Cecily Myart-Cruz.13

And it’s time for people to think about what kind of system cares nothing for the health and well-being of children and will literally kill them for profits—and how can we get rid of this system as soon as possible through revolution. The situation with COVID and young people makes this quote from Bob Avakian, the most important political thinker and leader in the world today, even more poignant and urgent:

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

 


1. Trump vows to pressure governors to reopen schools in the fall, CNBC, 7/7/20.  [back]

2. Education secretary won't say if schools should listen to CDC guidelines on reopening, CNN, 7/12/20.  [back]

3. How Many Sick Children and Teachers Are Worth It? What About Dead Ones? Esquire, 7/10/20.  [back]

4. Teachers: Refuse to Return to Campus, Medium, 6/30/20.  [back]

5. The CDC say that about two percent of confirmed cases across the U.S. are of children under 18. With over three million cases in this country, that means roughly 60,000 kids have had it. While COVID-19 death rates for children are low, they’re more than zero, and the long-term effects of COVID on children’s health are unknown, as well as the extent to which they can transmit the virus.  [back]

6. 3 things to know about kids, schools and COVID-19, ABC, 7/9/20.  [back]

7. Lake Zurich COVID-19 cases: At least 36 high school students..., Chicago Tribune, 7/15/20.  [back

8. See Communique #2 from the Revcoms: The Coronavirus... and the Savage Inequalities of America at revcom.us.  [back]

9. Court Rules Detroit Students Have Constitutional Right To An Education, NPR, 4/27/20   [back]

10. For Schools, the List of Obstacles Grows and Grows, Atlantic, 5/24/20.  [back]

11. Three Arizona teachers who shared a classroom got coronavirus. One of them died, CNN, 7/12/20.  [back]

12. “I Don’t Want to Go Back”: Many Teachers Are Fearful and Angry Over Pressure to Return, New York Times, 7/11/20.  [back]

13. Teachers union in nation's second-largest school district wants schools to remain closed, CNN 7/10/20.  [back]

 

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.

— Bob Avakian
From: "THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF ‘NORMALCY’
AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD
"

See also:

The Coronavirus Pandemic —
A Resource Page

Read more

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
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You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/oppressed-who-fall-for-lie-that-jews-control-everything-are-played-for-fools-en.html

Oppressed People Who Fall for the Lie That "the Jews Control Everything" Are Being Played for Fools While the Real Enemy Is Let Off the Hook

| revcom.us

 

In early July, a storm of controversy broke out prompted by a mix of social media posts, interview comments and statements by different Black athletes and entertainers including DeSean Jackson who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL; comedian Nick Cannon; and former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was a friend of George Floyd and has spoken out against his murder by police, and television and radio personality Charlamagne tha God.

DeSean Jackson reposted a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler which states Jews "will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won't work if the Negroes know who they were." In a podcast interview with “Professor Griff” formerly of the rap group Public Enemy, Cannon claimed that Black people are the true Hebrews, that Jews have usurped that identity and that “Jewish people, white people, Europeans...are a little less” and have a “deficiency.”

The day after DeSean Jackson’s post, the Chair of the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial posted that he had a FaceTime call with DeSean who “apologized for his hurtful comments...” and had accepted an offer of “an education session ... Confident we can turn this into a positive together.” Immediately after controversy broke out over his post, Cannon tweeted “First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth.”

DeSean Jackson was suspended by the Eagles and Nick Cannon’s planned day time talk show was shelved, at least for now, by ViacomCBS. Cannon reacted to the canceling of his show saying ViacomCBS was "on the wrong side of history,” and added, "Systemic racism is what this world was built on and was the subject in which I was attempting to highlight in the recent clips that have been circulating from my podcast. If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize.”

Stephen Jackson insisted that DeSean Jackson was “speaking the truth.” Charlamagne tha God responded to the postponement of Cannon’s show claiming, “If there's one thing Jewish people have showed us, it's they have the power. I can't wait until the day black people are able to fire people for saying things about us that we deem racist. We can barely get cops fired for actually killing us!"

The boiling controversy has surfaced the question of anti-Semitism, including among those who are against the police murder of Black people. The following is an essential point of orientation towards this:

***

Anti-Semitism—views that in one way or another demonize and dehumanize the Jewish people as a people—has absolutely no truth or validity, should not be “up for debate,” and must be exposed for the reactionary poison that it is. Such views have led to or justified genocidal acts for several thousand years, including but not limited to the Nazi murder of many millions of Jewish people, and until very recently were “stock in trade” of most European ruling-class institutions, including the Catholic Church. 

The “theory” of an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers who pull the strings on all governments and run everything has been extremely useful to all manner of vicious and oppressive regimes. The “virtue” of anti-Semitism to the various kings, czars, capitalists and imperialists and wanna-be oppressors that have promoted it is that it funnels the anger of people on the bottom of society, as well as the fear and insecurity of people in the middle classes, away from the system that is responsible for the condition of society, and towards an oppressed minority. And because many Jews (for a variety of historical reasons) are in visible sections of the middle or even upper classes—in the arts, in academia, in business and so on—and some are even part of the ruling capitalist class, anti-Semitism can present itself as “punching upwards” towards the “elites” and the “powerful”... while actually protecting the system as a whole and the class that runs it.

There is now a white supremacist, fascist in the White House fueling the resurgence of anti-Semitism, saying there were “good people” marching with the Nazis in Charlottesville. Those who today promote anti-Semitism—from Alex Jones to Louis Farrakhan to David Icke to ISIS, etc.—generally do so as part of a profoundly reactionary and often straight-up fascist discourse and program, and those views and programs must also be firmly opposed. As for oppressed people who fall for the lie that “the Jews” were responsible for the slave trade or today “control everything” behind the scenes: you are being played for fools and suckers, while the real enemy—the capitalist-imperialist system—is let off the hook.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/prisoner-writes-on-prison-under-lockdown-en.html

Prisoner Writes on Prison Under Lockdown:

"We're sick, baking in these ovens, and starving"

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: We at revcom.us periodically publish letters from prisoners on revolutionary theory and struggle, as well as other aspects of human experience and thought, including conditions and struggle within the prisons themselves. We appreciate and learn from all correspondence from the prisons. The opinions in the letters we publish are those of the writers and not necessarily those of Revcom.us.

We want to thank the prisoner for the following letter giving us and our readers a revealing—and outrageous—glimpse into what he and other prisoners are facing now with the COVID crisis, on top of the ongoing horrors. This letter is a significant contribution in its own right, bringing alive for our readers some of the horrors of this society, this system, and this regime. The voices of this and other prisoners have real meaning—they are playing a valuable role with their correspondences to revcom.us.

The situation faced by this prisoner and others is completely unnecessary, a product and manifestation of the workings of this system of capitalism-imperialism, which needs to be overthrown at the soonest possible time through an ACTUAL revolution.

From a prisoner in Texas:

To: PRLF (Prisoner Revolutionary Literature Fund)

An update to our current condition here at the XXXXXXX unit. They currently have us on a quarantine lock-down. Some people tested positive for COVID-19, including some officers. But the way things have been getting handled here is all fucked up. I don’t even know where to start.

To begin with, I don’t know if y’all know, but there’s no A/C at these Texas State Prisons. So being stuck in these cells is already a torture, in these record breaking Texas heat. These cells literally turn into ovens. Cold water and respite showers are not provided to us as one would think it should. I guess it’s part of the punishment, aside the long term sentences.

I mentioned the heat to say this. The virus is here, a lot of people have been getting sick. Yet, knowing the severity of this virus, those people get ignored by the officers and nurses. We can’t even be provided with something as simple as a non-Aspirin let alone medical attention. What’s the point of quarantine against the COVID virus if when people report to be sick, they get ignored.

So just imagine, we’re sick, in these extremely hot cells, oh yeah and they’re starving us too, don’t let me forget to mention that. So we’re sick, baking in these ovens, and starving. All this is happening, not in a foreign country, but in a concentration camp here in the United States. It’s genocide right in your backyard. But what can one expect in a country run by fascists and a country whose very foundation rely on the oppression of others.

Things are going from bad to worse, I can only hope to stay alive at this point, and under these tortures conditions, one questions if he even wants that.

XXXXXXXXXXX

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

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You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/it-takes-science-and-leadership-to-truly-get-free-en.html

To Those Rising Up and Awakening:
It Takes Science and Leadership to Truly Get Free

| revcom.us

 

This is written especially to those who have been righteously standing up and fighting back against murder by police and the oppression of Black people more generally, and to all those who have taken heart and inspiration from this, who are newly encountering the Revolution. Welcome! We stand side by side with you in this struggle and unite with your outrage and fury against centuries of oppression that truly must be NO MORE. This outpouring of resistance must continue and it must grow. People must stay in the streets, and this upsurge must get bigger, broader, deeper, and even more determined. At the same time, the big question that now presents itself—one that literally millions of people are asking—is: What will it take to truly put an end to police brutality, murder by police, and the oppression of Black people, once and for all?

The answer is that it will take far more than just people staying in the streets and fighting back, as critically important as that is. And this oppression can never be ended by trying to make a few reforms to a system that is completely rotten to its core. As with any big problem—whether a natural disease like COVID-19 or a social disease like racial oppression—solving that problem will take a deep understanding of the cause of that problem and the solution to it. In other words: It will take science. And it will take leadership. So let’s talk about what science and leadership have to do with changing the world.

Many people hear “science” and think biology and ecology; climate change and the environment; chemistry and physics; labs and microscopes; medicine, technology and new inventions. All of these are very important examples of—or closely related to—science. But for some reason, many people don’t think you need science to understand and change human society as a whole, or even that you can apply science for this purpose. This makes absolutely no sense. Science means investigating reality, gathering evidence, analyzing that evidence, identifying patterns, and drawing conclusions about reality on that basis. Why would it possibly be that this scientific method can’t or shouldn’t be applied to understanding and changing society? Because human society is complicated? All the more reason you need science to understand it!

Many people hear “leadership” and think of an activist with a bullhorn or a person leading a protest. These can be important and necessary examples of leadership, but leadership in the most important sense is something much bigger than that: Leadership in that sense is a matter of identifying and leading others to see the most fundamental problems confronting humanity and the solutions to those problems. Leadership is a matter of saying “Here’s why we’re in this situation and here’s how we can get out of it.

In Bob Avakian (BA), we have the science, the leadership, and the understanding of problem and solution we need to not only emancipate Black people but all of humanity from centuries of oppression. Sound like a bold statement? GOOD. It’s meant to be. And it’s backed up with more than 50 years of substance.

BA came forward as a revolutionary in the 1960s, working and struggling alongside the Black Panthers. In the decades since he has been working tirelessly on bringing forward and continuing to develop the deep, scientific understanding of the need to NOT reform but rather overthrow and completely sweep away this system through an actual revolution; the strategy for bringing into being the conditions necessary to make that revolution and win in those conditions; and the vision for a completely new and radically different system, society, and world. Underlying all of this is BA’s scientific method, which he continues to apply to the biggest questions facing humanity while leading a movement for revolution. A deep understanding of and visceral hatred for the oppression of Black people and the ways that Black people suffer, and a burning desire to see Black people free of this oppression, is at the core of BA and everything he is about, and is a constant thread that runs through his life and work over decades.

People throughout society and throughout the world need to know about BA. Thousands now and ultimately millions need to follow him in order to make an actual revolution to get free of this monstrous system and bring a far better society, world, and future into being.

See for yourself. Start with BA’s powerful new statement, “NOTHING LESS!Read it and spread it to everyone you know. Go to revcom.us to see the latest articles from BA on an incredibly broad range of topics related to revolution and radically changing the world, and learn more about and find out how to get involved in the revolution BA is leading. Check out BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution, and the film Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Could Really Make Revolution. Go to the BA portal to get deeper into his extensive works. Learn more as you get involved in spreading this throughout society. Write to us to find out how you can specifically learn more and get involved. Write to us with your questions and let us know what’s on your mind.

One last thing: Make no mistake—hell yes, this is controversial. Once again, we say: GOOD. Think about this: Could there ever be a genuine movement for an actual revolution that didn’t offend anyone or make them uncomfortable!? There are all kinds of people out there who might talk a big game but are scared of an actual revolution, who want to get in on this system and try to get a better deal for themselves, or who just plain don’t know what they’re talking about. There are people who would have you believe that if the skin color of a person who has a way out for humanity is white, you shouldn’t listen to that person. Needless to say, these people are not going to like BA and what he stands for. And they’re going to come up with all kinds of lies, cheap shots, and slander to attack BA and cover their own asses. This kind of behavior is despicable, it is very harmful and it must be taken seriously and fought against. But it is not at all surprising.

So let’s end with a question back to you: Are you going to listen to lies and bullshit from the mouths of people who—in one form or another—want to keep the world basically the way it is? Or will you have the courage, integrity, and intellectual honesty to go directly to the source, get into BA, and see for yourself? Just how badly do you want to end oppression, change the world, and get free once and for all?

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

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

Read more         

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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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/655/bob-avakian_barack-obama-and-cancel-culture-en.html

BARACK OBAMA & "CANCEL CULTURE"

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Since “canceling” individuals—instead of working for the actual revolution that is needed to do away with this whole oppressive system—seems to be all the rage among certain people, here is a question that could be posed, if one were to apply the perverted logic of this cancerous “cancel culture”: Given that Barack Obama—who has been the chief executive and “commander-in-chief” of this monstrous system—is guilty of committing horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity, should all those people who have supported Obama be “canceled”?!

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

Get Into BA »

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/nyc-in-the-streets-against-crackdown-in-portland-en.html

NYC: In the Streets Against the Fascist Crackdown in Portland

| revcom.us

 

From members of the Revolution Club, NYC:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


July 18 march in NY City.

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Revolution Club in Los Angeles joined protests called by Refuse Fascism against the federal crackdown against protesters in Portland, Oregon, and demanding "Trump/Pence OUT NOW!"


Refuse Fascism LA and the Revolution Club LA, July 18. (Photo: Roy Hernandez @royfotography)

 

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

 

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You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/reflections-constitution-new-socialist-republic-north-america-on-individuals-and-social-relations-en.html

Reflections by a member of the National Revolution Tour, off of a discussion of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (CNSRNA), authored by Bob Avakian (BA)

Individuals, Constitutions, and State Power....
Notes on: “More on Individuals and Social Relations”

| revcom.us

 

The deeper appreciation also came from learning about the contradictions the Constitution and institutions in the new socialist society would be dealing with. The profound contradiction of people needing communist revolution, but not always desiring it, and the contradiction between individuals existing as individuals within a society. The way this is expanded upon in Bob Avakian’s RUMINATIONS AND WRANGLINGS, in the section “More on Individuals and Social Relations” which really made clear the stark differences between individualism as weaponized against the people by bourgeois forces, and individuals existing as individuals but their existence also being a social existence.

This article acknowledges humans DO exist as individuals, yet their existence is shaped by social and production relations that correspond to the social relations. And while the capitalist-imperialist system projects some god-like ideal or quality to the right of the individuals, individuality without a social context is bleak and numbed. The bourgeoisie exalts individualism in line with a system that breeds cutthroat competition between capitalists and between people. Demanding people step on each other to get ahead. The conflict is between the kind of society we have under this system that is argued for with the Categorical Moral Imperative philosophy Kant put forward that says the best society protects individual rights, when in reality this system is grounded in the need to exploit masses of people and grind humanity and individuality into nothing, in gross and violent ways. The hypocrisy of who gets to be an individual and for whom individuality and humanity is kept away from or beaten out of will depend on random chance between which border you are born within, what nationality or gender you are. This is not a system that cares about the individual.

Individualism promoted by capitalism-imperialism and its philosophy is very different from individuality, which is good and real, and any attempt to grind it down would go against an emancipatory future and further reinforce anti-communist stereotypes. The kind of communist revolution we are seeking appreciates individuals and the contradiction of individuality to society and production relations and all the richness and life that brings about. We are not sea sponge. And this non-homogeneity is a strength and a reason for beauty. But this means at all stages and always, there is a need to handle this contradiction. All the way through, from capitalist society struggling for revolution, to making revolution, to being well into socialism, and even within a future communist society, the contradiction between how people exist as individuals and how their lives, aspirations, etc. are shaped by production relations and social relations that correspond to that. The CNSRNA authored by Bob Avakian serves to be a reflection of the superstructure of the future socialist society with the eventual goals of communism, and how that is set up and functions matters in order to keep society on the socialist road and eventually get to communism.

Reading Constitution with Friend

This reading of “More On Individuals & Social Relations” became even more useful and applicable in going up and clearing away the lies and conventional slander of communism “cutting down the individual” and making everything grey and flavorless.

I was reading through the Introduction and Preamble to the CNSRNA with a friend.... He opened the Constitution on his laptop and we read through the Intro and Preamble.... He will put forward some honest thoughts and he readily brings up what he’s heard and understood about communism/the slander. He does this in good spirit.... We talked about the difference between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the so-called “democracy” dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.... This section in Ruminations became relevant as he brought up in good spirit the kind of stuff he hears and thinks about when imagining a communist society. That everyone becomes a tool of production without a say or individuality, that everyone is meant to be flattened and their individuality stifled. He was skeptical of that being true but just laying it out there to parse through why it is said. I brought out the paragraph in “More On Choices... and Radical Changes” that ends in the way this system pulverizes the individual. We talked about the hypocrisy and illusion of holding up “the individual” as we are all pitted against each other through the workings of this system and what that leads to. He’s reading it in full now....

Additional thoughts on class as a whole

During the class, the person leading the class asked what we were “hoping to get out of it” and what we expect from ourselves. I wanted to join this class for various reasons. I was excited to understand more about the workings of society now, why it is the way it is and how the proposed future society we are working to bring into being would function in relation to the goal of emancipating humanity. I was excited to have this be a collective process. A part of that had to do with a more solid feeling of committed routine and structure to get into the material. The main thing about the collectivity of this class relates to the ending of the “Introductory Explanation” section in the CNSRNA: “For, again, that is our purpose in publishing this Draft Proposal: to stimulate, as broadly as possible, such serious and substantive engagement with this Draft Proposal, and vigorous discussion and debate about what is put forward as the kind of society and world to not only be imagined but actively struggled for.”

Although I recognized “base and superstructure” as a common thing that was said, it had a vague meaning to me. I didn’t have as much materialism to go with it. Sure, I understand “base” to mean “economic base” but even superstructure was fuzzy to me. Like some amalgamation of force drooling a kind of evil over the people suffering in the world. People abstract “system” in this way, maybe even personifying it instead of understanding it in a more material and detailed way. I had a sense and some knowledge that the superstructure meant the ways this system enforced itself; examples I could come up with were limited to the police, the military, the criminal justice system. I wouldn’t even reach for the legal documents like the Constitution and how it is interpreted.

After reading the assigned reading leading up to the first class, I got a much deeper appreciation for what it means to have state power. Before the assigned reading I understood a necessity for state power in a more abstracted and secondary way than I do now. I was framing it in a kind of begrudging way almost, like, “Yes, we’ll haaaave to have state power to keep on the socialist path and defend against our enemy.” And like others said, I had less respect for the role of constitution, laws and institutions that make up the superstructure of a society. I think this is mainly because the superstructure that enforces the economic base of this system of capitalism-imperialism leads to all kinds of disgusting things. So I’ve lived with some rebellious, childish aversion to engaging in it and its contradictions to get a deeper understanding of this system, its mechanisms, “how” it is kept, enforced & “regulated.” Understanding this is valuable and necessary to work towards a different future and system including by comparing and contrasting.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

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         

Ruminations and Wranglings
by Bob Avakian

Read more...

 

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You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/first-portland-now-trump-threatens-chicago-en.html

Letter from a Chicago Correspondent:

First Portland... Now Trump Sending Federal Pigs into Chicago

| revcom.us

 

As the revcom.us article Trump Gestapo Violently Assaults, Snatches Portland Protestors—Not “Theater” vividly showed, the sending of federal forces to Portland is “part of deadly serious, all round fascist escalation.” Trump sent in these militarized police forces to Portland in defiance of both the local mayor and the state governor. Trump is attempting to exert his authority over these Democratic local authorities and insisting on even more brutal, openly fascistic means of repression. It is a threat to protesters in other cities and it is establishing a “model” for wielding a national gestapo force which can be deployed in other cities on Trump’s command.

Today, Monday, July 20, in comments at the White House, Trump repeated the threats: “I’m going to do something, that I can tell you, because we’re not going to leave New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore, and all of these—Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country, all run by liberal Democrats.”

“We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you,” Trump said. “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time, no problem.”

The Chicago Tribune reported it had learned that the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for example, is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to the city this week.” (Chicago Tribune, 07/20/20)

Conveniently, the new head of the FOP (Fraternal Fascist Order of Police) in Chicago wrote an open letter to Trump asking for federal help, saying the mayor “has proved to be a complete failure who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here.” He also bragged about how he is a Trump supporter.

What will this mean? In late 2019, Trump spoke to the International Association of Police Chiefs and recounted his story of the Chicago motorcycle cop who told Trump that he could solve the shootings going on among the masses in one day because “we know the names of all the bad guys.” Think about the implications, sweeping up of people because pigs think they are “bad guys” and in a context where cops are trained to think ALL Black and Latinos are “bad guys.” So this would almost certainly mean widespread repression unleashed on oppressed neighborhoods. Trump has made the issue of youth tragically killing each other in Chicago a signature issue of his fascist program, saying things like he can "solve the problem in one day."

Now, the repression is already extremely heavy in these neighborhoods, but if you think this will just be more of the same you’re mistaken. To draw an analogy, India has for decades viciously repressed the people of the area of Kashmir, with murder, torture, and false imprisonment. But after he was re-elected, the fascist Indian Prime Minister Modi took this to another level. Overnight and without warning, Modi cut off all cell phone and internet communication in Kashmir, closed all the schools, and called a curfew, and has kept it that way for months, occupying the area with a massive number of troops. That is how fascists like Modi—and his backer Trump—do it when they “solve the problem in one day.” And don’t tell yourself “it can’t happen here.”

The ACLU responded to the news that Trump is sending federal forces to Chicago. “Make no mistake: Trump’s federal troops will not be a constructive force in Chicago,” Colleen Connell, executive director of the group, said in the statement. “As our colleagues have seen in Portland, Trump’s secret forces will terrorize communities, and create chaos. This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country, the specific protections of protest and press in the First Amendment, and the Constitution’s assignment of policing to local authorities—not from a president acting like a despot.” (as reported in the Chicago Tribune)

Like police in other cities, the Chicago police have a long and brutal history right down to today. Just in the immediate past: numerous police shootings of youth in the back as they ran away; an entire secret detention site (Homan Square); the “blue code of silence” that covered up the murder of Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times as he was walking away from cops; “deportations” of youth out of the downtown area, putting them on el trains running non-stop to the south side. As mayor, Lori Lightfoot backed her new police chief’s plan to sweep up youth off the corners and hold them in preventive detention over the extended July 4th weekend.

Trump berates Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker for not coming down hard enough. Trump’s conflict with Lightfoot is not over whether to embark on major police repression but a) whether the society should be openly organized on a white supremacist basis or whether there should be a “multicultural” ethos which gives some recognition to oppressed nationalities (and other “minority” groups) and even “diversifies” ruling-class institutions and structures, while preserving the essential content of white supremacist and male supremacist relations that are indispensable to the system’s functioning; and b) whether to take this to a full-out leap to fascism, where the masses of people have absolutely no rights whatsoever and where Black, Latino, Native American, and other oppressed nationalities are targeted for a “fast” genocide.

The Revolution Club Chicago has been urgently out among the youth in these communities calling on them that they are capable of something much greater than the negative and tragic conflicts – with each other – they are forced into, and they are caught up in ... fighting to win them to get with the revolution that can actually overthrow the system of capitalism that requires brutal murdering police and uproot the conditions of savage inequality that keeps millions suffering so needlessly here as well as the billions around the world. (See “Revolution Club in Chicago Marches to Challenge the Violence Among the People: ‘Get Out of This Madness & Get Into Revolution’”) In this situation, “Anything But the Truth: Bob Avakian Exposes Lies, Distortions, Distractions and Evasions About the Murderous Oppression of Black People” needs to get out far and wide.

If Trump is able to consolidate his grip through these moves and make a big leap to fascism—and again, remember what happened with Modi in India—this will be immeasurably and qualitatively worse, for the lives of millions of people right now and for the prospects of revolution itself.

From:

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

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.

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.

Read the whole article here

See also:

Revolution Club in Chicago Marches to Challenge the Violence Among the People: ‘Get Out of This Madness & Get Into Revolution’

Read more

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/rnl-show-special-episode-announcement-en.html

Episode 18: A Special Episode of
The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

| revcom.us

 

Share this widely

"The Truth about Black soldiers in America's war against Vietnam?
.... Not in Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods"

The Revolution, Nothing Less Show

What really happened with Black soldiers in America’s war against Vietnam?

You won’t get it in Spike Lee’s movie Da 5 Bloods. Not even close.

But you will get it on The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!" 

Featuring a deep exchange with Black Vietnam era vet-turned-revolutionary communist Carl Dix who led The Fort Lewis 6 to refuse to fight the Vietnamese; and David Zeiger, who made Sir! No Sir!, the “must-see” film about resistance to that war right inside the U.S. armed forces—both in conversation with Andy Zee, the host of The RNL Show. A special episode bringing unsparing truth-telling, archival film and no bullshit—only the real truth.

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Become a patron: patreon.com/therevcoms

Subscribe to the YouTube channel, leave a comment, and spread the word all over social media to help extend the reach of The RNL Show — Revolution, Nothing Less!

 

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/revolution-books-nyc-sidewalk-discussion-with-carl-dix-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Revolution Books, NYC:

A Sidewalk Discussion with Carl Dix, on the important article by Bob Avakian:
"Racial Oppression Can Be EndedBut Not Under This System"

Sunday, July 26, 4 pm
437 Malcolm X Blvd. /Lenox Ave. (Take #2/3 to 135th)
Safely distanced, masks required

 

"It is not only right but crucially important to rise up and wage a determined fight against this racist oppression, 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."

— Bob Avakian, "Racial Oppression Can Be EndedBut Not Under This System" 

Bob Avakian is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. He is the architect of a whole new framework for human emancipation, the new communism

Read Bob Avakian's article or listen to the podcast

All are welcome to join this discussion on Sunday. Bring your questions, your insights, and your determination that the horrors of white supremacy and police brutality cease once and for all.

For over 400 years the forms may have changed, but the oppression of Black people continues in all its savagery, as we see video after video of Black people being murdered by police in cities across America. 

Can this oppression be ended? YES, IT CAN! But only by getting rid of the capitalist/imperialist system that brought this nightmare into being... and keeps it well-greased and operating with horrible efficiency. THERE IS A SOLUTION: REVOLUTION AND A RADICALLY NEW AND DIFFERENT WORLD.

Join Carl Dix, along with the Revolution Club, this Sunday at 4:00 pm on the sidewalk in front of Revolution Books.

Carl Dix is a long-time revolutionary and an advocate for the new communism. In 2011, Carl joined with Cornel West to form the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and in 2016, he was a co-initiator of Refuse Fascism. 

Sunday, July 26, 4 pm
437 Malcolm X Blvd. /Lenox Ave. (Take #2/3 to 135th)
Safely distanced, masks required

Phone: 212-691-3345
Email: revbooksnyc@yahoo.com
Website: revolutionbooksnyc.org

Events at Revolution Books are sponsored by the Revolution Books Educational Fund in NY, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, and are hosted by Revolution Books NYC. Contributions to the RBEF are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. 

Listen to the podcast:

Or read the article:

Racial Oppression Can Be EndedBut Not Under This System

Read more

 

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

 

Especially right now, funds are urgently needed to spread BA's work and leadership and the movement for an actual revolution.
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You’ve read this article, now think about the crucial role revcom.us plays.  White supremacy and fascism are running rampant, and women’s basic rights are being ripped away.  America threatens wars on Venezuela and Iran, as it terrorizes immigrant families and wantonly plunders our environment—imperiling humanity’s very future.  At revcom.us you learn where these horrors come from, how they can be ended through an actual revolution, and how people are working now toward revolution.  You can find, engage and spread the work of Bob Avakian, the leader of this revolution, the architect of the new communism, and author of a concrete blueprint for a new society moving toward full emancipation. So become part of fighting for humanity’s future: sustain or donate now.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/bob-avakian-capitalism-imperialism-the-suffocation-of-seven-billion-en.html

CAPITALISM-IMPERIALISM—THE SUFFOCATION OF SEVEN BILLION— AND THE PROFOUND NEED FOR A WORLD ON NEW FOUNDATIONS

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The rulers of this country, and those who represent their interests, are forever boasting about the supposed “freedom, initiative and creativity” that, according to them, the capitalist system (and only the capitalist system) makes possible, and the great wealth this has created for people in this country especially. And they continually slander communism as a repressive system where people have no freedom and their initiative and creativity is not encouraged and rewarded but stifled and suppressed. All this is fundamentally wrong and completely upside-down.

First of all, the wealth that these people boast about is extremely unevenly distributed, even within this country, where a very small percentage of the people control the great bulk of the wealth. But, beyond that and more essentially, this wealth rests on a foundation of unspeakable crimes against humanity, historically and right up to the present time. To begin with:

The USA is a country which established its territory and built the foundation of its wealth through the armed conquest of land, genocide, slavery, and ruthless exploitation of successive waves of immigrants to America.1

And today, “the wealth and power of the U.S. rests today on a worldwide system of imperialist exploitation”—an international network of sweatshops, mines and corporate-controlled farms—“that ensnares hundreds of millions, and ultimately billions, of people in conditions hardly better than those of slaves.”2

This system of capitalism-imperialism—a system resting on ruthless exploitation, and super-exploitation, of masses of people, and marked by the cut-throat competition between major capitalist enterprises and financial institutions, and rivalry between capitalist states—suffocates the freedom, initiative and creativity of billions of human beings (the great majority of the more than seven billion people on the earth) including the huge numbers of children who are slaving away at near-starvation wages, and the vast masses of people who have been uprooted from the countryside, throughout the Third World (of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) and are crowded into swelling shantytown slums in rapidly expanding urban areas, where most can only survive by hustling in the “informal” economy, legal and illegal.

The freedom, creativity and initiative of literally billions of women is suffocated and suppressed, often with extreme brutality, under this system, with the patriarchal male supremacy that is built into it.

Tens of millions of people have died, and countries have been devastated, in wars directly waged by rival imperialists (such as World Wars 1 and 2), or wars in which they have backed contending local forces—all to gain (or maintain) control of strategic parts of the world, in the bloody pursuit of key natural resources, markets, and domination of populations whose desperation leaves them vulnerable to life-stealing exploitation.

Here is a “snapshot” of the ugly reality beneath all the grand talk about the “greatness” of this system of capitalism-imperialism:

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.3

And the very future of humanity is seriously, and increasingly, endangered by this system with its accelerating destruction of the environment as well as its ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation.

Within the U.S. itself (this “richest of all countries”) tens of millions, especially in the inner cities, are living in conditions of severe deprivation, with many denied the opportunity to find work at a “living wage,” or denied the opportunity to be employed at all (in the regular “formal economy”) while they are also subjected to discrimination in education, housing, health care, and every other dimension of society—with all this enforced through continual police terror, punctuated repeatedly by outright murder.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and heightened the profound inequalities, in the world as a whole, and within this country, as people who were already bitterly oppressed and impoverished, and denied access to decent health care, have been hit hardest by this pandemic.

And, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with its crushing effects on the livelihood of masses of people, tens of millions in this country who had been regularly employed were living paycheck-to-paycheck, striving to provide for loved ones and hoping to provide a better future for their children, with many saddled with huge debt and only a serious health crisis away from financial ruin, while their work created wealth for a capitalist (or capitalist corporation) dictating the conditions of work, treating people as cogs in a machine or in many cases the extension of a machine—whether on an assembly line or a computer—work that, in these conditions, can only be alienating and mind-numbing.

In these (and countless other) ways, this system crushes and deadens the human spirit as well as grinding away the life—or outright stealing the life—of billions of people in every part of the world.

Think of the tremendous waste—and outright destruction—of human potential that results from all this. All this is the consequence of the fact that the world, and the masses of humanity, are forced to live under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism

All this is the basis on which a relatively small part of the people within this country, and a very small part of humanity as whole, has the conditions and the “freedom” to develop and apply their initiative and creativity—only to have this serve, under this system, to reinforce the “lopsided,” highly unequal and profoundly oppressive conditions in the world as a whole and for the masses of people in the world.

And all this is completely unnecessary.

Revolution, the New Communism and the Unleashing of Human Potential

Even under these conditions imposed by this outmoded, monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism, creativity bursts through repeatedly in many different ways—and notably in music, literature and other expressions of art and culture—from every part of society and every part of the world, including among those most downpressed and despised by this system and its rulers. Think of how much greater this creativity could be—and all the ways it could be unleashed to meet the needs of the masses of people, materially as well as culturally—if the ways in which billions are chained down and suffocated by this system were shattered and cast off through revolution.

Through the decades of work I have carried out, drawing crucial lessons from the previous experience (positive but also negative) of the communist movement and a wide range of human experience, I have developed a more consistently scientific communist theory, the new communism, which provides the basis for leading this revolution: the methods and principles, and the strategy for carrying out this revolution and, in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and much better society, on an entirely new foundation—a radically different economic system (mode of production) based not on exploiting the masses of people but on unleashing their creativity and initiative to do away with exploitation and oppression of every kind.4 With this socialist mode of production the means of production (land, raw materials, machinery and other technology, factories and other physical structures, and so on) will be publicly owned (not privately owned by capitalist exploiters locked in chaotic and destructive competition and rivalry). This public ownership will make it possible to marshal and utilize the resources of society in a planned and flexible way, to meet people’s needs, both materially (for food, shelter, health care, and so on) and culturally and intellectually, in a continually expanding wayand to respond in a timely way to unforeseen developments and emergencies, while supporting the revolutionary struggle worldwide toward the goal of eliminating all exploitation and oppression everywhere with the achievement of communism throughout the world.

With this mode of production, people’s initiative and creativity will be encouraged and fostered, and there will be the basis for people to apply this initiative and creativity, in unprecedented ways, in the interests of the masses of people, and ultimately all of humanity: Everyone will be able to work and to acquire the basis for a decent life, while contributing to the development of society on the road to overcoming exploitation, inequality and oppression—contributing through their ideas as well as their work—without being forced into relentless competition with each other in order to survive, or striving to advance at the expense of others (a poisonous way of thinking that will be continually struggled against).

It is a fundamental understanding and principle of communism, which is given great emphasis in the new communism, that people are the most important productive force—not just as “producers” of the social wealth but also as conscious participants in the planning and overall development of the economy, not only for the benefit of the people in the particular country but most fundamentally to serve the revolutionary transformation of the entire world toward the goal of communism. And:

The development of the socialist economy has as its source and relies upon the initiative and work, intellectual as well as physical, of the masses of people, of the members of society broadly, in conditions which are increasingly freed from relations of exploitation, and with the aim of overcoming all vestiges and aspects of such relations, and the effects of such relations, not only in... [a particular socialist country] but everywhere on the earth.5

Along with, and fundamentally on the basis of, this radically different mode of production, there will be radically different political institutions and processes, and an ongoing struggle to transform the social relations which have embodied oppression, with the goal of abolishing and uprooting all relations of oppression as well as exploitation. There will be a radically different approach to education and culture—one which fosters and unleashes the scientific curiosity and artistic creativity of masses of people and “embraces” all this and enables it to contribute, “through many divergent paths, to the advance along a broad road toward the goal of communism.”6 There will be a radically different relation with the rest of the world—not exploiting and super-exploiting people around the world but supporting the struggle everywhere to throw off the rule of exploiters and oppressors and advance toward the goal of eliminating and uprooting all exploitation and oppression. And there will be a radically different relation with the environment—where human beings, instead of being chained to a system that plunders and destroys the rest of nature, are working together to be fit caretakers of the earth.

This will be a new society aiming for a whole new world, without the suffocation, suppression, and disfiguring of the potential for the masses of humanity to understand and change the world in accordance with what are in fact the fundamental interests of humanity—to live in a world where no part of humanity is subordinated to and dictated to by another part, and where all of humanity is no longer dictated to by the fundamental workings and dynamics of a system that requires antagonistic relations among people, enforced with the continual threat and use of massive violence, where the masses of humanity are no longer reduced to merely a means to make wealth for a small number who rule over them, or are cast off as “surplus” populations that can no longer be exploited in this way.

This new society and world will not be some kind of “utopia” where all problems and difficulties have “magically disappeared”—and it will not come as a “gift” from some non-existent god—but will be the result of the struggle of masses of people to cast off unbearable exploitation and oppression, and to transform themselves and their thinking in close inter-connection with this struggle to transform their conditions—struggle led by those who have taken up the scientific method and approach of the new communism and are winning growing numbers of people to themselves take up and apply this scientific method and approach to transforming the world in an increasingly conscious way on the basis of their voluntary initiative and cooperation.

All this will involve whole new dimensions of freedom, and unleashed initiative and creativity of the masses of humanity, on this whole new foundation, with radically different institutions and relations among people, and radically different ways of thinking that correspond to these emancipating relations among people.

 


1. From 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. BAsics 1:4 (Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian). This statement by Bob Avakian is originally from Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, which is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.  [back]

3. This is from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make RevolutionVideo and the text of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us.  [back]

4. The strategy for revolution is spoken to in depth in the speech by Bob Avakian Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (video and the text of which are available at revcom.us), and further thinking on this is contained in A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution (which is also available at revcom.us). The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

5. From Article I, Section 2, sub-section A2, page 19 of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. The principles and guidelines for the development of the socialist economy are more fully laid out in Article IV of this Constitution.  [back]

6. From the “Preamble” to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.  [back]

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

Get Into BA »

See also:

Four Months Into the Global COVID-19 Health and Economic Crisis...
Notes on the Utter Cruelty and Obscene Irrationality of Capitalism-Imperialism

by Raymond Lotta

Read more

The New Communism

Click to read and download (PDF)

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/56th-straight-day-of-protests-in-portland-en.html

Protests Righteously Defying Escalated Repression by Fascist Trump/Pence Regime

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: Trump sent a fascist federal rapid deployment force to violently repress protests in Portland that have been continuing since the police murder of George Floyd. Despite this, protests have continued and drawn forward even more people in righteous defiance across the country. This is very positive, and needs to continue. In that light, these points remain important.

In the face of the federal and local pigs, on Tuesday night, people protested courageously in Portland for the 56th straight night against police terror and white supremacy. These protests have included mothers courageously stepping to the front lines to defend protesters against state repression. 

First and foremost, it is extremely positive that people have come back stronger in the face of this vicious and violent repression—night after night. Demonstration of solidarity and manifestations of support are needed from across the country.  

At the same time, the fascist regime—and its violent forces of repression—are doubling down. On Wednesday, the protesters, again numbering in the thousands—who were joined by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler—were again tear gassed by federal agents, and activists are still being snatched off the streets.1 

On Monday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said, “I don’t need invitations by the state... to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” That same day, Trump threatened, “We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you.”2

These moves have rightly alarmed wide segments of society. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote, “Protesters are being snatched from the streets without warrants. Can we call it fascism yet?”3 Yes—this is not a strategy to gain votes, or a “distraction” from the COVID-19 disaster, or “the feel of fascism.” It is FASCISM! 

Second, the deployment of paramilitary units, directly under the command of the Trump/Pence regime—with the full backing of federal law enforcement—represent an extremely serious escalation of fascism. 

The Trump/Pence regime has faced some opposition from the U.S. military for various moves related to enforcing domestic repression, law and order.4 Now, the forces deployed in Portland, being tested for deployment elsewhere, are paramilitaries loyal to and under the direct control of the Trump regime. These “rapid deployment teams” are made up primarily of Border Patrol and ICE agents, notorious for being thuggish, fanatical supporters of Trump. They’re primed to do what the regime orders them to, without any regard for the law or the Constitution. This could give the regime tremendous leverage against opposition from any quarter.

Third, these deployments represent a major attack on the masses of people, and on liberals and Democrats who now control the governments of many cities and states. 

The command of many local police forces is in the hands of Democrats who oppose Trump. By deploying federal forces, and establishing joint task forces of local and federal pigs, the regime is advancing its fascist power in the centers of both bourgeois opposition to the regime as well as the mass upsurge of protest. The American Civil Liberties Union warns, “Trump’s secret forces will terrorize communities, and create chaos. This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country, the specific protections of protest and press in the First Amendment, and the Constitution’s assignment of policing to local authorities.”

Federal reach into local law enforcement, over the objections of local elected officials is part of advancing fascist rule and defeating those sections of the bourgeois ruling class who oppose the fascist regime. “Policing is a local and state function,” says a statement from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “For the federal government to come uninvited... and arrest their residents without probable cause is an unprecedented and dangerous threat to our democracy and to the future of our great country.” Mayors from 15 U.S. cities also co-signed a letter to Chad Wolf and Department of “Justice” head William Barr demanding “immediate action to withdraw your forces.”5 

Fourth, Trump’s deployment has ominous implications for the November elections.  

Trump has never played by the rules and norms of liberal democracy—he’s a fascist hell-bent on shattering those rules and norms. It’s a dangerous illusion to think he’ll act otherwise before, during, or after the coming election. He’s already refused, in a July 19 interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, to commit to abiding by the results of the election—saying, “We’ll have to see.” 

One can envision how these federal paramilitary forces can be deployed if there were outbreaks of mass protests against Trump's illegitimate moves around the election. A recent letter posted at revcom.us exposes the “systematic efforts by the fascist Trump/Pence regime and its supporters to undermine the integrity of upcoming elections in their favor. This is an extremely dangerous attack on democratic—and in the case of Black people, extremely hard-fought—rights, and escalation towards fascist consolidation.”6 

All this underscores the urgency of confronting the fascist nature, program and danger of the Trump/Pence regime and of building mass, sustained, nonviolent protest to drive the Trump/Pence regime from power now—NOT waiting for the election.

 


1. Trump Gestapo Violently Assaults, Snatches Portland Protesters, Not “Theater”—Part of Deadly Serious, All-Round Fascist Escalation, revcom.us, July 20; Protests Continue Against the Fascist Crackdown in Portland, revcom.us, July 20, 2020.  [back]

2. Letter from a Chicago Correspondent: First Portland... Now Trump Sending Federal Pigs into Chicago, revcom.us, July 20.  [back]

3. Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun, New York Times, July 20.  [back]

4. On June 1 Trump attempted to unleash the regular military forces against the uprising nationally by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807. There was pushback from various military leaders and Trump could not go ahead with his plan.  [back

5. Statement: U.S. Conference of Mayors Voices Opposition to Deployment of Federal Law Enforcement to Cities, prnewswire.com, July 21, 2020; Oakland, San Jose mayors tell Trump sending agents to Portland and other cities is 'abuse of power', Mercury News, July 22, 2020.  [back]

6. Letter from a reader: The Republi-Fascists’ Multi-Pronged Drive to “Win” the November Elections, revcom.us, July 20.  [back]


Protester vs the pigs at Portland Courthouse, July 21, 2020. Photo: AP

See also:

  • Trump Gestapo Violently Assaults, Snatches Portland Protesters Not "Theater"—Part of Deadly Serious, All-Round Fascist Escalation
  • Protests Continue Against the Fascist Crackdown in Portland
  •  

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/trump-deploys-more-pigs-to-chicago-en.html

    Trump Deploys Federal Agents to Chicago:
    A Deadly Serious Fascist Escalation

    | revcom.us

     

    On Monday, we published a letter from a correspondent going into Trump’s plans to send federal police into Chicago to repress the youth. As we posted the letter, there was another round of heartbreak in Chicago: on Tuesday, 15 people were shot while at a funeral for someone who was killed in recent shootings.

    The fascist pig Donald Trump held a big press conference at the White House Wednesday to seize on this situation to bring in what he called a “surge” of 200 federal agents as part of this phony “Operation Legend.” Trump used military talk and war-time terminology borrowed from Iraq and Afghanistan to make clear—he and those around him see Black people in places like Chicago as the enemy.

    Trump, when announcing this “surge,” had the nerve to talk about stopping “violent criminals who are able to maim and murder with impunity.” Meanwhile, he slobbered praise all over the police—the real violent criminals who are able to maim and murder with impunity. In case that wasn’t clear enough, he repeatedly condemned the beautiful uprising of protest across the country that began after the police murdered George Floyd. And he blamed the recent killings among the people on those who have risen up to demand an end to institutionalized racism and murder by police.

    Trump even brought out Chad Wolf, his acting secretary of Homeland Security, to talk about keeping four-year-olds safe... while this ghoul heads up the department responsible for caging immigrant children, locking them under dangerous conditions, and separating kids from families.

    These are open WHITE SUPREMACISTS. They care NOTHING for the lives of Black people lost in Chicago or anywhere. They cynically make use of the heartache to further their fascist program and attempts to beat down the beautiful uprising of people.

    The Fascists and Open White Supremacists Make Use of Liberals Who Talk Tough and Then Cave In

    Meanwhile, the Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot soft-pedaled and backed off her earlier criticism of Trump and threats that she would not allow him to deploy federal forces to the city. Now she’s saying “this (these federal pigs) may add value.”

    Value to what?!? To a system that, as Bob Avakian has said, offers these youth nothing but a boot in the ass and a bullet in their brain? That grinds up and kills people here and all over the world?  

    Let’s be clear. Trump is creating a violent strike force accountable only to him. They will commit all kinds of mayhem against the youth that he and Lightfoot claim to be protecting (from their different, and sometimes sharply conflicting, viewpoints.) They will also spy on and repress the people and forces who are carrying out righteous protest and actually trying to change things for the better. And at a time when the fascists are doing everything to stop Black and Latino people from voting in the next election, it’s very possible that these pigs will be used for that, too.

    What IS Needed

    Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader and architect of the new communism, has said:

    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. (From ANYTHING BUT THE TRUTH: Bob Avakian Exposes Lies, Distortions, Distractions and Evasions About the Murderous Oppression of Black People)

    Noche Diaz, a leader of The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour who spent several years building the movement for revolution in Chicago, said, “We in the Revolution Club are grieving over lost loved ones, and grieving with our friends and comrades who have also lost family in the recent wave of shootings in Chicago... But we will not let hurt become despair, or let the pain and anger be turned into a weapon against the people. Our comrades there, and in the Clubs everywhere, are fighting hard to win people—yes, even and especially those who right now have their guns pointed at each other or have only revenge on their mind—to the emancipating outlook, methods, goals, and morality of this revolution based on the scientific understanding and strategy developed by Bob Avakian. This is something really worth living and fighting for: a revolution that can leave a much better world for ALL humanity, where ALL our children can grow up with the future they truly deserve.


    The Revolution Club Chicago protesting against the fascist police state.

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/657/3-questions-on-resistance-to-federal-crackdown-in-portland-en.html

    Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

    3 Questions on "Resistance" to the Federal Crackdown in Portland

    by Coco Das

    | revcom.us

     

    1. What the hell is political theater and “performative authoritarianism?”
    2. Why are you waiting for this to come to your city instead of flooding the streets now to say no to a fascist police state?
    3. What makes you think you can vote this out?

    The Trump/Pence regime has sent in a federal occupying army into Portland to “quell” ongoing protests. Overseen by the Department of Homeland Security and cobbled together from a number of federal agencies, including Customs & Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, these anonymous thugs in camouflage, looking virtually indistinguishable from right-wing militias, have seized the authority to kidnap protesters.

    This is Trump’s Gestapo and secret police, but the regime has hardly been secret about its intent. Trump himself, who once said he longs for the days when protesters are carried out on stretchers, said, “I’m going to do something—that, I can tell you. Because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these—Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country.... Look at what’s going on—all run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by radical left. If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell. And we’re not going to let it go to hell.”

    White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “You’ll see something rolled out this week as we start to go in and make sure that the communities—whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or some place across the heartland of the country.”

    Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of DHS, said, “You can expect that if violence continues in other parts of the country, the president has made no secret of the fact that he expects us where we can cooperate or have jurisdiction to step forward and expand our policing efforts there to bring down the level of violence.”

    Clearly the regime only supports states’ rights when they are defending the Confederacy.

    Using any allegation of “threats to federal facilities and officers,” or a “spike in crime,” these fascist law and order forces can be “rapidly deployed” to anywhere they see fit. In his July 22 press conference, Trump said, “...Portland’s a very different place than Chicago, but Chicago should be calling us. And so should Philadelphia and Detroit and others to go in and really help them. Because when you’re losing many people a weekend, many, many people, you see the same numbers as I do. When you’re losing these people, they should call us and they should say, ‘Come on in.’ And it’s incredible to me, but they’re not doing it. At some point, they will. At some point we may have no other choice, but to go in.”

    In fact they are going in, sending a “surge” of 150 federal agents to Chicago, 35 to Albuquerque, 200 to Kansas City. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said she will cooperate with these agents as long as it’s an “actual partnership,” not a “dictatorship.” Trump has targeted Chicago as the bogeyman of urban violence since his campaign in 2016 and has been threatening to take it over for years.

    It is tragic that the Black and Brown masses of these cities are killing each other in such large numbers, but a white supremacist regime has no intention of fixing it in a way in which those communities will not suffer even more. Like “free speech” and “freedom of religion,” “public safety” is a mantle for advancing their program. A regime that routinely calls for violence to deal with their enemies does not actually care if the people they hate take their violence out on each other. Fascist law and order means the regime and the “volk” they represent are the law, and can legitimately use as much violence as they see fit to enforce their power.

    Portland is different from the more diverse cities Trump is targeting now, and if they’re kidnapping the mainly white protesters and tear-gassing moms and the mayor there, imagine what they can do to thousands of Black and brown youth around the country, already facing severe repression from local police, under a regime that has unleashed open white supremacy and called on cops to be more brutal.

    And while Portland mayor Ted Wheeler rightly said on CNN that “sending federal troops into cities based on the political affiliation of the people who run the cities” is a “blatant abuse of federal policing power,” he also ended a different interview with this message to the protesters: “You’ve been heard...but let’s stay safe and let’s remember we’re in the midst of a pandemic. It’s time to end it.”

    No, it’s not time to end it but to grow to a nationwide uprising of millions of people in the streets refusing to accept a fascist police state. These are not just any federal troops. They are Trump’s federal troops infused with his fascist fervor and lunacy. As Jamelle Bouie wrote in the New York Times, “...Trump actively cultivated both the leadership and the rank-and-file of the border police and ICE. In turn, they gave him his support — unions for both agencies endorsed Trump for president. Under his leadership, these agencies have shown themselves to be deeply simpatico with the administration’s draconian approach to immigration at the southern border, with aggressive action against migrants, asylum-seekers and unauthorized immigrants.”

    Considering all this, I have 3 questions for those who are alarmed by the federal crackdown on Portland but see no need to get in the streets everywhere now to demand the removal of a fascist regime consolidating its ability to use every tool and lever of power at its disposal to kill the right to dissent and eliminate all opposition to its program.

    What the hell is political theater and “performative authoritarianism?

    To all those calling this a political stunt, political theater, performative authoritarianism, and whatever other cute phrases you can think of to hide the danger of kidnappings by secret police, enough already. These are not actors, this is not a stage play, and this is not a stunt just to see Trump through the election or encourage more protests to be used as campaign ads. Actual lines are being drawn, with catastrophic consequences for all of humanity. If we lose the right to protest—through legal or extra-legal means—all bets are off. Fascism is not just the worst of a pendulum swing. It is a qualitative change in how society is governed. Dissent is piece by piece criminalized. The truth is bludgeoned. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory that leads to real horrors. All this has been happening for more than three years, yet with concentration camps at the border, Trump acquitted in a sham impeachment trial, and an executive order to protect monuments while First Amendment rights are criminalized with actual jail time, too many still want to bask in the comfortable delusions that this is not really happening. This is fascism. It is happening, and time is running out to stop it.

    A special note to those who say Trump must be doing this because he wants us to protest. Someone who wants protest doesn’t attack football players who kneel for the national anthem, encourage his followers to use violence against protesters, call for criminal penalties for protesting, and clear out protesters with hovering helicopters and the military. You are drawing the conclusion you want to based on an unintended outcome—the “dictator’s dilemma” – that heightened repression sometimes creates more resistance—with no evidence from Trump’s actual history to support that claim. Stop with the intellectual laziness and start connecting some actual dots.

    Why are you waiting for this to come to your city instead of flooding the streets now to say no to a fascist police state?

    The people of Portland have responded appropriately. Resistance has grown, with the Wall of Moms and others taking a righteous stand against the divide and conquer slander that the feds have to “go and take over” liberal cities to protect its citizens from “domestic terrorists.” Too many outside of Portland, while taking inspiration from this, have said the equivalent of “Get ready for when this happens to your city.” This is a hammer coming down on your right to dissent, and the time to stop it is now. The forces cohered around Trump have seen him accomplish what they’ve wanted for decades—confirming a record number of pro-fascist judges and voicing the “grievances” of a population that can’t stand the social progress of the last fifty years, and they will not give up power easily. What’s happening in Portland should tell you that you’ve waited long enough.

    What makes you think you can vote this out?

    How many hints do you need that Trump may not step down if he loses the election? Ever since he won the last election, the regime has been laying the groundwork to declare any defeat illegitimate. He just did it again in his Fox News interview with Chris Wallace. And if the results are contested, whose hands will be on the levers of power to enforce his removal? They are showing you now that those levers of power will be deployed not to stand by the Constitution or maintain peace by marching Trump and Pence out of the White House but to brutally put down any uprising of the people. The Democrats cannot be relied on to stop this – even now, as they come under ruthless political attack and face constant erosion of the rule of law, the Democratic Party leadership will not call for Trump’s resignation and will not call their base into the streets to demand an end to all this.

    And what will you do if he wins?

    Our power is in the streets. Dangerous regimes all over the world have been driven out by the people in sustained, non-violent protest demanding the removal of the regime and refusing to go home until their demand is met. To stop an American fascism that threatens the very future of humanity and the planet, the necessary demand is Trump Pence Out Now! This must grow to millions, and we must not stop until our demand is won.


    Heavily armed Federal police forces – authorized and deployed by Trump—invaded Portland, Oregon. They have shot and teargassed protestors, and carried out military-style operations where unidentified cops in unmarked vans snatch people off the streets. (Photos: Doug Brown, ACLU/Oregon)

    Protest Trump's Gestapo
    Saturday July 25 and Beyond

    No Terrorizing Black Communities,
    No Fascist Police State

    TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    Learn more at 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!

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

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

    Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

     

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