revcom.us, July 27, 2020 through August 2, 2020 (#658)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

Bob Avakian ... on the basis of decades of hard work [has been] developing a whole body of work—theory to advance the science of communism, to advance the science of revolution, to more deeply explain where the problems come from, what the strategy is for getting out of this mess, what the methods and approaches should be to stay on track and actually build a better world, to build a society that most human beings would want to live in. (From Science and Revolution, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak)

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

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

As a revolutionary leader, BA also embodies this rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it broadly accessible.

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

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

Download poster and leaflet:

11x17 poster

8.5x11 two-sided leaflet

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

 

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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/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

 

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
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

 

Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-revolution-roger-federers-tennis-en.html

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

 


Appendix: The Greatest Of All Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

As I wrote in the main part of this article:

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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"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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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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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/657/56th-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/658/portland-thousands-go-tit-for-tat-against-trump-federal-agents-en.html

    Portland: Thousands Go Tit-for-Tat Against Trump's Federal Agents

    | revcom.us

     


    Portland, July 24. Photo: AP

    In Portland, in the face of violent fascist assault by the federal forces sent in by the Trump/Pence regime as well by the local cops, people of all ages, nationalities, and genders are standing up, defying the regime and their pigs—and making history. People had been protesting for weeks since the police murder of George Floyd, and the city cops had been brutally suppressing them, with some formal pretense of respecting the right to protest under some conditions. All this then sharpened dramatically when Trump deployed his Gestapo to the city, in a major escalation of fascism. Trump wants to make an example of Portland and send a message that the people will not be allowed to protest and speak out, day after day, against the police murders of Black people and institutional white supremacy. But the people in Portland – and increasingly around the country – are saying NO to Trump’s fascist moves and upping the ante, not retreating and bringing even more people into the streets.

    Friday Night, July 24. At least 4,000 protesters took to the streets once again in Portland, for the 58th consecutive day of protest since the police killing of George Floyd. Protesters showed up prepared, with more protective gear to defend against the violent attacks by the feds and cops – helmets, gas masks, and homemade shields. Not only are more people joining the protests, but more kinds of people of all ages are coming out. Many of these are organized, for example: Healthcare Workers Protest, Teachers Against Tyrants, Lawyers for Black Lives, the “Wall of Moms,” a group of vets dressed in white and a “Wall of Dads" carrying leaf blowers to combat the tear gas.

    To the sound of drums people chanted "Black Lives Matter” and “Feds go home” at the federal courthouse serving as a sort of staging center for the federal pigs. Some people carried signs that said, “White Silence=Violence.” A group of veterans lined up along the fence, joining the “Wall of Moms” who on previous nights, had linked arms to protect protesters and challenge the presence of the federal agents.

    A 79-year-old woman said she had watched the protests but stayed away because she feared getting COVID-19. But when the feds were sent in, she joined with a thousand other protesters in the street. She said, “It’s like a dictatorship,” and carried a sign that said, “Grammy says: Please feds, leave Portland.” A group of grandparents held a rally on Friday, gathering outside the federal courthouse wearing aprons and holding signs and forming their own “Wall of Grandparents.” One of them said, “We can turn on our television and keep watching people getting killed in cold blood, and we're just supposed to sit back and not feel any kinda way about it. I have grandchildren, and I want a different world – period – for all of us." 

    Two white women, sisters, said they had first avoided the protests because of COVID-19 fears. But when Trump sent in the fed forces, they overcame their anxiety to join in. One of the women said, “Black lives are so important. And it is important to have the right to protest. To see that wasn’t happening was disconcerting.” (oregonlive.com, 7/25

    By 9 pm the crowd grew larger when a march from the waterfront arrived. According to a news report: “Many marchers wore distinct colors tied to specific professions or community groups. Social workers wore green. Dining industry workers wore chef coats. Health care workers wore blue. Groups of parents, who started the collective attire trend nearly a week ago, wore yellow and orange.” There was a marching drum core of at least 25 people. The volunteer Riot Ribs stand provided people with first aid, protective gear and food.

    At 11 pm federal pigs from inside the courthouse tear-gassed the crowd, shot impact munitions, including pepper balls, and released irritants—and then came outside to attack. People retreated, and then came back when the feds went back inside. The back-and-forth went on through the night till past 2 am

    Saturday Night, July 25. Protest continued Saturday night into Sunday morning. Again, different organized “Walls” lined up in front of the federal courthouse: nurses in scrubs; mothers wearing yellow; fathers in hard hats, vets, and more. Once again, thousands filled the streets and people lined up along the barricades around the federal courthouse. Soon after 1am, local cops declared the protest a “riot” and ordered people to leave. Federal pigs then threw more tear gas canisters and moved in to arrest people.

    Vietnam veteran and photographer Mike Hastie confronted the militarized federal police, telling them, “We murdered people every day” in Vietnam “and your generation doesn’t know that. And that’s why this Vietnam veteran combat medic, who took injured and dead soldiers off helicopters” was there to tell them this. As he challenged the line of federal police, who were about to be ordered to advance on and attack protesters, federal police pepper sprayed him in the face, right into his eyes. But he continued to speak: “I took an oath to defend my country and then when I got to Vietnam, we committed atrocities every single day when I was in Vietnam... I stood next to a ditch in Vietnam and we murdered 170 Vietnamese people and you guys don’t know that!”  Hastie had been out at the protests six days in a row. Video of his powerful statement and the brutal assault on him by the feds has been seen by 3.5 million people.

    A 52-year-old woman, an immigrant from India, who lives in Kirkland, Wash., said she had been protesting in the streets since May and said about the violent police response to protests: “This is not the country I immigrated to. It feels like we are rapidly becoming a fascist state and a police state.” (New York Times, 7/26) 

    A 46-year-old white environmental analyst at a laboratory said he was yelling at one of the federal agents across a steel and concrete fence: “"I told that man he should go home. I know they have orders, but they also have a choice. And I told him that. And then he pepper-sprayed me." A 37-year-old Black nurse, who drove down from Seattle to join the protests here, said, “We've been quiet. We told society that there needed to be justice. And there is no justice, so there will be no peace.” Another nurse, a white woman, who had organized fellow medical workers to join the protests said, “Our country is sick. We as nurses and medical workers take care of people. And right now we need to care for Black lives. Because they are being killed. They are being murdered.” (USA Today, 7/26) 

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/federal-pigs-deployed-en.html

    Federal Pigs Deployed Against Protesters and Black Communities Across U.S.

    TWO “OPERATIONS”—ONE FASCIST OFFENSIVE

    | revcom.us

     

    From a reader:

    Over the last few weeks, the Trump/Pence regime has launched two different, quasi-military operations. So far, federal forces have been sent to Portland; Kansas City, Missouri; and Seattle. Albuquerque and Chicago are on the list; Detroit has been targeted. And on July 23, Trump said “We’ll go into all the cities, any of the cities,” with 50,000 to 75,000 federal agents.1 [Emphasis added.]

    These two operations—”Operation Diligent Valor” and “Operation Legend”—are different in many ways. But each is an outrageous assault on the masses of people and on constitutional rules and norms in the U.S. And if the regime is allowed to get away with this, taken together they mark a major leap in consolidating fully fascist rule—the “exercise of blatant dictatorship of the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence...”2.

    Operation Diligent Valor (ODV)

    ODV is a direct attack on the uprising of millions of people against police brutality and systemic racism after George Floyd’s murder. It started in Portland (and now in Seattle). In Portland, in early July, unidentified feds in paramilitary gear began grabbing people off the streets and throwing them in unmarked vans; dousing unarmed protesters in tear gas; and shooting them with rubber bullets, fracturing one man’s skull.

    What’s more, this is being done in spite of the fact that Portland’s mayor and city council and Oregon’s governor and attorney general didn’t ask for these forces and are demanding they leave, joined by many other mayors. In fact, Portland’s mayor was himself tear-gassed while attending a protest.

    ODV grew out of Trump’s June 26 Executive Order, in which Trump described anti-racism protests as “a sustained assault on the life and property of civilians ...” carried out by “rioters, arsonists, and left-wing extremists,” some of whom “have explicitly identified themselves with ideologies—such as Marxism—that call for the destruction of the United States system of government.” And these radicals “... advance a fringe ideology that paints the United States of America as fundamentally unjust ... [and] shamelessly attack the legitimacy of our institutions and the very rule of law itself.”3 Since then, Trump has justified repressing the protests by blaming the demand to “defund the police” (which has not been implemented anywhere!) for an alleged increase in violent crime.4

    Besides the obvious slander against and distortion of the demands of millions of protesters who have been overwhelmingly the victims of police violence, there is something even more ominous here. Trump is criminalizing protests on the basis that they are “fringe ideologies,” or critical of core American institutions—i.e., for their beliefs. This is a screaming violation of the First Amendment. It is the regime declaring that it can decree what kind of dissent is allowable and what will be crushed. And it’s happening in plain sight.

    And not only are the protesters being criminalized, so are Trump’s ruling class opponents. Trump’s Executive Order claims that local and state leaders “have lost the will or the desire to stand up to the radical fringe and defend the fundamental truth that America is good, her people are virtuous, and that justice prevails in this country....” So even though these are the elected leaders in their areas, and even though the U.S. Constitution delegates responsibility for policing to local governments, Trump (using the pretext that federal property has been defaced) is replacing the authority of these leaders with his own authority. And more than that, he has begun publicly branding Democrats as the “extreme radical left“ who are responsible for the “crimes” he alleges protesters are committing.

    This leads to two other crucial points:

    First, the paramilitary forces in both these operations are directly under the command of the regime. As revcom.us noted last week, “The Trump/Pence regime has faced some opposition from the U.S. military for various moves related to enforcing domestic repression, law and order.” So these operations are relying on forces under the direct command of Trump and key loyalists like Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security and Attorney General Bill Barr. And ODV in particular is apparently drawn mainly from Border Patrol and ICE—agencies trained to see the people they police (i.e., immigrants) as less than human and without rights. Notoriously thuggish and fanatically loyal to Trump personally, they are primed to do what the regime orders them to, without regard for the law or the Constitution.

    Such a force, inserted into cities around the U.S. and working closely with local police (who are also generally Trump supporters), could give the regime tremendous leverage against opposition from any quarter.

    Second, this deployment has ominous implications for the November elections. Trump is the leader of a fascist regime that has zero regard for the rules and norms of liberal democracy and is hell-bent on consolidating power. He has made very clear that he will only accept the results of an election if he deems them “fair”—and he will only consider them “fair” if he wins.

    Many people are pointing out that the situation between election day and inauguration day is very likely to be confused and contested. Imagine the impact of these federal paramilitaries being deployed in major cities in the event of outbreaks of mass struggle around Trump’s illegitimate efforts to maintain power. Imagine their potential to ensure a “smooth transition”... to fascism!

    Operation LeGend (OL)

    OL is named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, killed in gun violence in Kansas City, Missouri, in June. Ever since 2017, Trump has been threatening to “send in the feds” to Chicago, using the cynical pretext of concern for the terrible violence among Black youth.5 At that time he claimed a Chicago cop had told him, “We know the names of all the bad guys.” All that was needed to “solve the problem” in Trump’s eyes was to overrule the “liberal Democrat” politicians who are “restraining” the police, send in the feds and round up everyone the cops claim is a “bad guy.”

    That didn’t happen at that time, but Trump continued to push for it. Now with OL, he is threatening multiple cities with large Black and/or Latinx communities. On July 21 he declared, “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.”

    The exact features of Operation Legend are not being made clear. Reportedly, it involves “hundreds of federal agents” drawn from the FBI, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). Two hundred have already been sent to Kansas City and 200 are slated for Chicago. But keeping Trump’s call for 50,000-75,000 agents in mind, these initial deployments are likely just a foot in the door, with more to follow.

    And what will these forces do to “end the bloodshed”? The mayor of Kansas City was told it would be “a pinpointed operation that looks to solve uncleared murders, particularly murders of young people, particularly tough cases. And it uses resources, the federal government to do things like studying ballistics on firearms, does things like tracking illegal weapons across state lines.” Attorney General Barr and Acting Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Wolf are sticking to this story as well.

    Nonetheless, it is beyond belief that in the midst of the current intense crisis, a fascist regime headed by an all-but-open white supremacist is deploying hundreds—perhaps thousands—of federal agents to major cities to help overworked cops clear their cold case files and protect the lives of Black youth!

    To the fascists (and to the imperialists generally) Black youth (and other youth of color) are the “problem” that has to be “solved.” Viciously exploited, robbed, and oppressed for generations by this system, which now has no future for them, these oppressed youth are seen as “dangerous” and “undesirable.” Police brutality and murder, racial profiling and mass incarceration, have been the program of both fascist and Democratic politicians for decades.

    But to Trump, even the horrors that have come down have been too little—police have to stop being “too nice,” dissenters need to be “carried out on a stretcher,” and so on. Trump openly admires Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, whose “solution” to crime was to unleash police and vigilantes to kill anyone “suspected” of being a drug user. An estimated 7,000 were killed in just six months.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that the regime will pursue that exact approach, but it underscores that the fascists deeply believe that the way to solve the problems that the system confronts is ruthless violence in one form or another—unfettered by the Constitution, laws, compassion, or the qualms or strategic disagreements of their ruling class opponents.

    So as Trump starts down this path of pushing aside the Democrats in order to crush a massive protest movement, and to round up “the bad guys” in communities of the oppressed, THAT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, A “BREAK GLASS” MOMENT. RefuseFascism.org has long said that fascism must be stopped “before it becomes too late,”—before the point at which any voice or act of resistance will be snuffed out before it can gain momentum.

    We are perilously close to that moment!

    In that context, it’s extremely inspiring to see very broad sections of people—nurses, vets, “moms”—taking to the streets in the thousands to defend the protesters in Portland, night after night. And solidarity protests have now erupted in cities around the U.S.

    But there should be no underestimation of the gravity of the situation or the stakes, and no illusions that the drive to fascism can be stopped without actually driving the fascist regime from power.

     


     

    1. “Trump: We could deploy 50,000-75,000 federal agents to cities facing increased violence,” Washington Examiner, July 24, 2020. [back]

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

    3. See “Trump Regime Escalates Fascist Repression in Response to Beautiful Rising,” revcom.us, July 13, 2020. [back]

    4. “In recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police department,” Trump said on July 22 at a White House event, blaming the movement for “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.” [back]

    5. See “Anything But The Truth” by Bob Avakian at revcom.us for more on this cynical “concern.” [back]

    See also:

    Bob Avakian on
    CIVIL WAR AND REVOLUTION

    Read here

     

    Bob Avakian Says:
    DONALD TRUMP ISN’T “TOUGH,”
    HE’S A BLOATED BAG OF FASCIST FECES

    Read here

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

     

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

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/protests-against-trump-federal-agents-spread-throughout-country-en.html

    Protests Against Trump's Fascist Federal Agents Spread Throughout the Country

    | revcom.us

     


    Black Lives Matter protest near the Seattle Police East Precinct headquarters in Seattle. (Photo: AP)

    In the face of the brutality by federal forces sent in by Trump, protests in Portland have gotten bigger, more diverse and more determined. The continuing viciousness of the federal pigs in Portland – AND the fact that people are going up against all this—has inspired people around the country and led to more protests in other cities. The New York Times noted on Sunday, “Weeks of violent clashes between federal agents and protesters in Portland, Ore., galvanized thousands of people to march through the streets of American cities on Saturday, injecting new life into protests that had largely waned in recent weeks.” Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club were in the mix in all this in many cities. The following are reports on some of these protests around the country in recent days.

    Seattle

    The day saw thousands march in the largest Black Lives Matter protest in weeks in this city. Signs included “Feds Go Home” and “We are living in a police state.” People chanted, “No justice, no peace.” According to news reports, the building that is the site of a future youth detention center was set on fire and windows were smashed at the King County court facility. Police attacked this protest viciously with flash grenades and pepper spray. Seattle pigs declared an unlawful gathering and arrested at least 45 people before retreating.

    Refuse Fascism led a protest through the streets of some 200 people behind banners “Get Secret Police Out” and “Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!” People chanted “November is too late, Trump/Pence Out Now!” and “No fascist police state, Trump/Pence Out Now!” Speakers included a Chilean immigrant who brought to light the horrors of living under murderous fascism in that country in the 1970s and ’80s, and sharply challenged people to confront that this is happening here, now.

     


     

    New York

    Hundreds rallied and marched with Refuse Fascism. They were joined at Union Square by several thousand in the #UniteNY2020 Black Lives Matter protest that marched across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. Dozens of the BLM marchers joined with Refuse Fascism to march to Times Square and then Trump Tower in solidarity with Portland protestors, chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.”

     


     

    Louisville, Kentucky

    Protests continued Friday night, July 24, against the police murder of Breonna Taylor. People started with a “March for Freedom” through downtown. Organizers then blocked off an area downtown with metal barricades for a block party where there was food, games, and artwork. Around 5 p.m. police, some in riot gear, showed up, declared the gathering unlawful and started arresting people. People responded by chanting, “Arrest the police.” The pigs arrested 76 people on charges including obstructing a highway and disorderly conduct, and assault, accused of throwing bottles at cops.

    A Black group called NFAC (Not Fucking Around Coalition), based in Atlanta, Georgia showed up in force—about 300 people, armed and dressed in all-black fatigues, demanding justice for Breonna Taylor. They stated they intended to keep their march peaceful but that it is their constitutional right to employ an armed militia. They formed up and marched in the streets to downtown. In response, a much smaller group of Three Percenters, a far-right militia group, had announced they would have “boots on the ground” in Louisville, saying they wanted to support the police. This white supremacist group had provided security in 2017 for the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where neo-Nazis and other reactionary extremists marched through the streets with swastikas.

    Police were there in riot gear and set up a barricade to keep BLM and NFAC protesters separated from the white supremacist reactionaries, on opposite sides of the street. Five people were arrested.

     


     

    Richmond, Virginia


    Photo: Richmond-VA-@JackPosobiec

    About 300 people gathered downtown in support of the protests in Portland. In front of City Hall there was a standoff between cops and protesters who chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.”

     


     

    Aurora, Colorado


    Photo: Aurora-CO-@Bignutliv

    About 1,000 people marched in support of Portland and also to protest the murder of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died last summer after cops put him in a chokehold. McClain was an amateur violinist, and to remember and honor him, there have been violin vigils around the country. A car plowed into the protesters when they had gone onto Interstate 225, injuring several people. Some people dispersed after this but others, even angrier, kept protesting, including at the police headquarters. The cops did not arrest the driver who drove into the protest, even though they had identified him.

    Chicago

    Several protests and rallies took place on Saturday, including a protest by Refuse Fascism in which people gathered at Federal Plaza and marched to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office. People also gathered for a Black Lives Matter protest at Buckingham Fountain and then marched throughout the downtown Loop area.

     


     

    Los Angeles

    About 300 people gathered downtown in support of the protests in Portland. People rallied around different causes, including a protest focusing on justice for Vanessa Guillén (the army soldier who was apparently the victim of a femicidal murder by another soldier); anarchists and other youth intent on going toe-to-toe with the police; and people who came mostly in solidarity with Portland. As protesters marched, intersected and gathered for combined rallies, most everyone was challenged to get with Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club.

    In front of City Hall there was a standoff between cops and protesters who chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” People marched to the LAPD headquarters and then to the Metropolitan Detention Center. At one point the march also walked onto the 101 Freeway, blocking traffic for a while. Four people were arrested, three for battery on a police officer. Anti-fascist and anti-police graffiti appeared on the walls of some buildings. One news article reported: “Los Angeles was under a citywide tactical alert on Saturday night, as police responded to a ‘Refuse Fascism’ rally organized in support of demonstrations in Portland and Seattle.” Declaring a tactical alert allows the pigs to bring in more pigs and more resources (of repression). And dozens of pigs were dispatched in riot gear and armed with so-called “less than lethal” munitions – which they unleashed on the crowd.

     


     

    Austin, Texas

    Protests have continued since the killing of George Floyd. On Saturday night, Garrett Foster was one of those taking to the streets once again. He was pushing his fiancée's wheelchair. Suddenly, a car that had turned onto the street where protesters were marching accelerated as it approached them. When demonstrators went up to the car, someone inside opened fire. Foster was hit and later died at the hospital. Sheila Foster, who appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, said her son and his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, who is African American, had been out protesting for weeks. She said, ““He was doing it because he felt really strongly about justice and he was very heavily against police brutality, and he wanted to support his fiancée.”

     


     

    Omaha, Nebraska


    Photo: Omaha-NE-@coldbrewedtool

    Protesters marched down a major street, obstructing traffic. Cops declared the assembly unlawful, threatening people with arrest. Cops then arrested about 75-80 people. A group called proBLAC called for the protest, and the Facebook post for the event stated that the purpose of the protest was to shine a light on the "horrific slaying of our brother James Scurlock" and to "stand in solidarity with Portland" and other cities. In May, during a protest, 22-year-old Scurlock was killed by a white bar owner.

     


     

    Oakland, California

    As many as 700 people marched through the streets of downtown Saturday night in support of continuing protests in Portland and against Trump sending in the feds. Organizers reported that participants included the Wall of Moms Bay Area, Refuse Fascism Bay Area and Vigil for Democracy. The Wall of Moms group encouraged participants to wear yellow and bring sunflowers and posted on their Facebook page: “Reject secret federal police in our cities, and celebrate our right to gather peacefully and protest.”

     

    Follow: @TheRevcoms
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    Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
    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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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/july-25-no-terrorizing-black-communities-no-fascist-police-state-en.html

    July 25, Refuse Fascism Demands

    No Terrorizing Black Communities
    No Fascist Police State
    TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    | revcom.us

     


    July 25, NYC: Outside Trump Tower, Refuse Fascism, the Revolution Club and others including Black Lives Matter protesters pledge to stay in the streets until Trump and Pence are OUT

     

    On July 25, Refuse Fascism initiated and joined actions around the country demanding, and struggling for people to take up the demands No Terrorizing Black Communities, No Fascist Police State, TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    In New York City hundreds rallied and marched with Refuse Fascism. Their action merged at Union Square with thousands of protesters who shut down the Brooklyn Bridge marching for Black Lives Matter and in solidarity with Portland, chanting “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” Dozens took up the invitation from Refuse Fascism to join in marching to Trump Tower and pledged to stay in the streets until Trump/Pence are OUT.

     


     

    In Chicago, Rev. Joseph Pughsley with Freedom First International rocked the protest with an “Out Now!” adaptation of Hell You Talmbout backed by drummers, then marchers took the noise to the streets with the message “Humanity first, not America first.”

    In Los Angeles, Refuse Fascism activists were in the mix of a swirl of protests in solidarity with Portland, against police brutality, and demanding justice for Vanessa Guillén (the army soldier who was apparently the victim of a femicidal murder by another soldier). They challenged people to confront why mass, nonviolent struggle to drive out the Trump/Pence regime is needed to stop the consolidation of a fascist regime that would render any and all struggles for justice far, far more difficult with disastrous consequences for humanity. The Revolution Club called on people to refuse to allow Trump to send federal forces into Chicago. Hundreds joined in the Refuse Fascism pledge: in the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America.... Trump/Pence OUT NOW!


    Seattle

    In Seattle, Refuse Fascism led a protest through the streets of some 200 people behind banners “Get Secret Police Out” and “Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!” People chanted “November is too late, Trump/Pence Out Now!” and “No fascist police state, Trump/Pence Out Now!” Speakers included a Chilean immigrant who brought to light the horrors of living under murderous fascism in that country in the 1970s and ’80s, and sharply challenged people to confront that this is happening here, now.

    In other cities across the country including Philadelphia, Cleveland, Honolulu (where fascist Trumpites rallied across the street and harassed them), Boston, and Atlanta, people joined with Refuse Fascism in the streets, pledging to continue until the regime is gone. They came with different insights and perspectives. A Chilean immigrant testified to the terror, torture and death of a fascist regime in her homeland.

    Youth from the Black community in Cleveland represented:

    Photo: Davidione Pearl


    San Francisco.

    The march in San Francisco was preceded by a press conference that included Alex U. Inn, LGBT Activist, the Revolution Club, Refuses Fascism, and Quanah Parker Brightman of United Native Americans who said, "As Indigenous People we're sick and tired of seeing the army and fascist gestapo coming in." This dictator the White House needs to go NOW!

    As many voices in society, from different viewpoints are asking if, or concluding that this IS fascism the marches challenged people to act commensurate with that reality. Mainstream media coverage included local TV news in Chicago, the New York Times; NBC news online; the LA Times and Univision acknowledged the role of Refuse Fascism in actions on the 25th.

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/trumps-plan-for-chicago-is-not-just-more-of-the-same-en.html

    Letter from a reader in Chicago:

    Trump’s Plan for Chicago Is Not Just “More of the Same”—Along with Portland, It Is a Major Move Toward All-Out Fascism

    | revcom.us

     

     

    I agree strongly with the article posted on Friday at revcom.us about Trump’s clampdown in Chicago. I want to add a few points and catch people up on developments, as I see them.

    I would say that there is increasingly a sense that things like the Gestapo in Portland is fascism but much less clarity that what is happening in Chicago in all its dimensions is just as much a hallmark of fascism. “Law and order” is not just a campaign device or a slogan. It is a program—and it is rapidly becoming a reality—in the face of the beautiful uprising. The regime aims to demonize the Black masses as the real cause of their own suffering; to celebrate and unleash the pigs; and prepare the way for possible massive imprisonment. All through waving the banner of gangs, drugs and guns—problems that the system itself is responsible for.

    As Bob Avakian put it in his piece "Anything But The Truth":

    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.

    The federal forces coming in will unleash and give federal backing to the pigs. (There is some important exposure of this going on in Portland too.) It also removes the prosecution from District Attorney Kimberly Foxx, a self-styled reformer. The assertion of federal authority over the cities, with troops at Trump’s disposal, is very strategic.

    Note as well that the June 26 Executive Order issued by Trump on “protecting American monuments” specifically empowers these forces to investigate political forces opposed to the regime.

    Mayor Lightfoot Does the Back-off Boogie

    After some initial posturing, the liberal Democrats, the mayor and the governor have increasingly welcomed the federal surge while expressing some wariness that Trump might not stick to his word and could use them against protestors ala Portland.

    Originally Lightfoot’s stand was, “Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.”

    Then it was, “We welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship... We do not welcome authoritarianism, and we do not welcome the unconstitutional arrests and detainments of our residents, and that is something I will not tolerate.”

    Then it was, “Mayor Lightfoot maintains that all [federal] resources will be investigatory in nature and be coordinated through the U.S. Attorney’s office.” This was in the wake of Trump’s press conference, after which he called Lightfoot according to the Chicago Sun Times (7/22).

    Lightfoot has been telling the press that she was reassured by the fact that the federal prosecutor based in Chicago, Lausch,1 will be in charge of Operation Legend.

    This is at best dangerous wishful thinking but much more likely conscious deception AND unity with elements of the Trump program.

    Note well that Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor. She also had a long history protecting pigs when she headed the Police Board under the previous mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

    On July 24, hundreds of people took to the streets near Mayor Lightfoot’s residence. Protesters were outraged over 1) her backing for the CPD attacks on protestors as they sought to have the Columbus statue taken down a few days earlier, and 2) her collaboration—agreeing to let federal forces come into Chicago. Defiantly, they danced and sang Nipsey Hussle’s song “FDT” (Fuck Donald Trump) and turned YMCA into “Fuck CPD.” More of this is needed!

    Operation Legend Gets Under Way

    Another part of the picture is the three arrests so far that are being touted in the media as the first ones under Operation Legend. (For more on Operation Legend, see the revcom.us article “Federal Pigs Deployed Against Protesters and Black Communities Across U.S., TWO ‘OPERATIONS’—ONE FASCIST OFFENSIVE.”) This relates to what are some of the implications of this among the basic masses. The first media accounts made these sound like random stop-and-frisks that resulted in gun charges.

    But one outlet actually went to the federal record and gave a more accurate account. All three are facing federal charges and being held in federal detention. Two were clearly targeted for arrest–warrants to search their premises were granted and then supposedly a gun or in one case just ammo were found. But because they were felons, supposedly possessing a weapon or ammo was the basis for the charges. This is the type of pretext that could be used to round up many, many people in this city, especially given the widespread prison records that dog whole swaths of people, the felt need for self-protection, as well as planting weapons by police, etc.

    These early Operation Legend arrests seemed aimed at conveying that this is just getting the “bad guys” off the streets. Right. Just like Trump was going after MS-13 when he attacked every undocumented immigrant, tore families apart, and threw small children and infants into concentration camps separated from their parents. People need to wake up here.

    Sleepwalking Through the Gates of the Concentration Camps

    Lightfoot’s stand has been supported by Clarence Page, the Black liberal columnist at the Chicago Tribune. While exposing Portland and going into how “law and order” has been used since Nixon to get elected, Page still concludes, “In the meantime, I still hope the president can do something that really does help those of us who live in Chicago and other cities fight surges in violence, if we can hold his attention long enough.” (Chicago Tribune, 7/24)

    Say whaatt??? Just substitute “Der Fuehrer” for “the president” to see how truly dangerous this sentiment is. And I am quite serious about that, including the implications. Trump, remember, instituted draconian concentration camps at the border three years ago and now, after some initial outrage, this has become totally normalized.

    There have also been at least two press conference/protests (not widely covered) where “community” people including some religious forces have expressed support for working with law enforcement to put an end to the violence. These were not people who are well-known figures. Again, the analogy that fits here is wannabe Judenrat—referring to those Jewish community leaders in the lead-up to the Holocaust who helped the Nazis round up “criminal elements” in the ghettoes of Eastern Europe.

    The presence of the feds and the demand for more policing is widely rejected. The demand for defunding the police and putting resources into the community is the main form this takes. One of the spokespeople for Black Lives Matter Chicago has been on national TV saying police don’t solve anything—they had police posted near a recent funeral, and it still got shot up, with 15 injured. The big protest near Lightfoot’s residence raised “Fuck Trump and you too if you collaborate.”

    But this is not only more police repression, though it is that; it is, for all the reasons analyzed in “Trump Deploys More Pigs to Chicago—This Will Only Make Things Worse” and elsewhere on the site, a key part of a major counter­-offensive and move toward fascism. More serious struggle and debate needs to be done to bring home the significance of the threat posed by the sending of the feds in relation to the attempt to consolidate fascist rule. The struggle against fascism—and raising and rallying people behind the demand to drive out this fascist regime NOW—is not somehow in opposition to the beautiful uprising; and in fact, if this regime IS able to consolidate, this will make any struggle for change far far more difficult.

     


    1. In an interview by Chicago Sun Times, (July 22) Lausch said the more than 200 extra agents “will be folded into the current FBI, ATF, DEA and (Department of) Homeland Security teams that are already working in Chicago with the Chicago Police Department and the other local and state law enforcement.” According to the Sun Times, “Lausch was explicit in stating that the beefed-up agent presence in Chicago would not resemble Portland, where camouflaged federal agents are patrolling streets and making arrests as part of their ‘mission’ to protect federal buildings. ’This is not patrol. This is not against civil unrest,’ he said.” [back]

     

    Chicago. Protesters gathered near Mayor Lightfoot's home demanding Christopher Columbus statue come down.

     

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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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    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]

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

    Get Into BA »

    See also:

    RACIAL OPPRESSION CAN BE ENDED—BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

    Read more

     

     

    CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

    Click to read and download (PDF)

     

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

     

    Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
    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/658/trump-barr-threaten-black-st-louis-chief-prosecutor-en.html

    Trump, Barr Threaten Black St. Louis Chief Prosecutor—for Charging Couple Who Threatened Protesters

    | revcom.us

     

    Editors’ Note: What is revealed below, in Trump, Attorney General Barr, and others going after the Black St. Louis prosecutor, is part of a larger pattern of the fascist regime and its thugs going after local Democratic authorities who pose an obstacle to them or oppose their fascist moves and aims. This is also reminiscent of how during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, there was a concerted effort to go after Black elected officials by the Klan and defeated Confederacy forces. From all accounts, it seems there are sufficient grounds for the St. Louis prosecutor to charge this couple—and it is outrageous that all this venom and threats to her life, coming from the top levels of the federal government, including making calls to investigate her, have been addressed at the Black prosecutor for doing her job.

    On June 28 in St. Louis, scores of protesters, Black and white, peacefully marched through a wealthy St. Louis neighborhood. They were confronted by a white couple—the McCloskeys—who pointed guns at them and shouted threats. Mark McCloskey had a semi-automatic rifle, Patricia McCloskey a pistol, with her hand on the trigger. Videos of the scene went viral.

    Mark McCloskey loudly and falsely claimed the protesters were a violent mob of “terrorists,” and moaned “I really thought ... we’d be dead and the house would be burned.” This was utter bullshit, as videos of the scene showed—protesters chanting “Respect us” and calling for the mayor to resign, never moved towards the McCloskeys, or even onto their property.

    A few days later, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Black woman, announced that her office would begin an investigation of the McCloskeys’ conduct. (She has since charged them with “unlawful use of a weapon/flourishing.”) Her announcement said she was “alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault [referring to another St. Louis protest that weekend]. We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”

    A Modern-Day Night Ride

    Leading Missouri Republicans, including the governor, state attorney general, and a U.S. senator, immediately attacked Gardner. They asked the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation of Gardner for “an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment.” The governor told reporters that a representative of U.S. Attorney General William Barr informed him that Barr and Trump are “going to take a look” at the case.

    Trump, in an interview with the fascist website Townhall, soon echoed the McCloskeys’ lies that they were the ones who had been threatened. “They were going to be beat up badly, and the house was going to be totally ransacked and probably burned down like they tried to burn down churches. And these people [the McCloskeys] ... were legal, the weapons. And now I understand somebody local, they want to prosecute these people. It’s a disgrace.”

    Gardner said that after she announced her investigation into the McCloskeys, a note reading “I hope you hang from a tree” was put on her car. She has received numerous hateful, racist emails, including one saying “It is YOU who are the racist, unfairly targeting white McCloskeys for exercising their 2nd Amendment rights, while your people stormed their property. U really need to be run out of town you black b——!” As Gardner told the Washington Post, the attacks on her are a “modern-day night ride, and everybody knows it. And for a president to participate in it, in the larger context of racism and cronyism, is scary.”

    Encouraging White Supremacist Violence

    White supremacists, emboldened by the blatant white supremacist Trump/Pence regime, have been assaulting and murdering Black people across this country. A few of the more infamous examples from recent months: Ahmaud Arbery chased and murdered while jogging in Georgia; Vauhxx Rush Booker assaulted, beaten, and dragged through the woods by five men shouting “white power” in rural Indiana, until some people forced them to stop; Crystal Caldwell, a 59-year-old motel worker in Mystic, Connecticut, punched to the ground and kicked by two people who “repeatedly called her a ‘monkey.’”

    The moves by Trump, his Department of InJustice, and the fascist Republican Party he leads against Kim Gardner are meant to embolden and encourage white supremacists everywhere to use violence against Black people and protesters any time they claim they feel “threatened,” and ensure them that they will have the backing of the federal government and its “Department of Justice.”

    They are also part of what Revolution recently described as “... a serious campaign to clamp down on protests against police terror, and attempt to take over the authority for handling—”dominating”—protesters and other matters from Democratic-ruled local, state, and city governments...” They must be condemned and opposed, as people throughout the country continue to forge the powerful and beautiful uprising against police murder and brutality.

    See also:

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

    by Bob Avakian

    Read more


    The Fascists and the Destruction of the "Weimar Republic"... And What Will Replace It

    by Bob Avakian

    Read more

    Watch BA's whole speech:

    Watch clips from speech

     

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

     

    Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
    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/658/a-monstrous-massacre-and-the-reversal-of-reconstruction-en.html

    A "Check It Out" Review Essay on David Zucchino's Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy

    A Monstrous Massacre and the Reversal of Reconstruction, the Violent Reinforcing of White Supremacy

    | revcom.us

     

    Letter from a reader:

    Editors’ Note: In Racial Oppression Can Be Ended, But Not Under This System, Bob Avakian (BA) writes, “...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.”

    This review essay, edited excerpts of a letter from a reader, covers an important aspect of this ugly history: the little-known massacre in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898, part of the violent reaffirming and reinforcing of white supremacy after the gains of the Civil War.

    I have just finished Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino. It tells the story of the armed political coup and massacre of 60 Black people in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898. As with the massacre in Tulsa in 1921, these murders and destruction of Black communities have been hidden and/or lied about, or else recast to blame the Black people who were attacked. What happened in Wilmington during those few days in November 1898 and the lies told for decades to cover it up resonates today when voter suppression is on the rise, armed thugs are threatening Black Lives Matter protesters, and Trump talks of refusing to honor the results of an election if he doesn’t like it.

    As the opening to the revcom.us American Crime series says, quoting BA: “People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this.” This massacre and coup in Wilmington is part of that hidden history which people have to confront.

    Reconstruction and Its Aftermath

    The Civil War ended in 1865—the Southern Confederacy was defeated by the Union army on the battlefield and the formerly enslaved Black people were legally free. For a short period of time called Reconstruction, from 1865 till 1876, federal troops were sent to the South to enforce the three amendments to the U.S. Constitution which said that Black people were full citizens and Black men had the right to vote. During this time, Black men voted and were elected to political offices from local up to federal positions, often in alliance with white Republicans or in multiracial parties. Public schools were built, progressive tax reforms were passed, and some Black people were able to purchase land or enter professions in the South. The social mores of slavery were challenged as Black people stepped up aiming for full social and political equality. It was a time of hope and possibility.

    However, all of this was very much in contention. The openly white supremacist Democrats held political and social power in places, federal troops often stood aside when Black people were beaten and denied the right to vote and even killed, and many of the reforms were fiercely resisted by those who had been slave owners.

    In 1876, federal troops were pulled from the South, and in 1877 a deal was struck in Washington, DC, which marked the end of this period that seemed to hold the possibility of dramatic change, multiracial unity, and full citizenship for Black people. When the federal troops pulled out, the Democratic Party, the openly white supremacist party, regained control of the South, state by state, in the decades that followed. It sought to reestablish the conditions of slavery for Black people without the legal slavery and crush any advances which had been gained during Reconstruction. It used legal means—striking down progressive laws, forcing Black people back into virtual servitude without the name of slavery, and carrying out extra-legal thuggery through the KKK and the Red Shirts—driving Black people off their properties, lynchings, and general terror.

    In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” was the law of the land. This put the official seal of the federal government on legal segregation as “constitutional” and opened the door to the flood of Jim Crow laws which quickly followed across the South.

    Economic Crisis and a Multiracial Populist Alliance

    However in the midst of all of this turmoil in the 1890s, there was a severe economic recession which changed the political and social landscape in unexpected ways in some places in the South. In North Carolina an alliance, uneasy and tentative, was forged between a white farmers’ populist party—the People’s Party—and Black and white Republicans. This alliance was known as the Fusion Party.

    In the 1894 election the Fusionists managed to win control of the North Carolina legislature, and in 1896 the North Carolina governorship. Scores of Black men were appointed to political posts, along with white Republicans, and Black men were elected to the positions they had held previously during Reconstruction. George Henry White was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the only Black man in Congress at that time (and the last from North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives until 1972).

    Wilmington, NC, 1898

    In 1898, Wilmington, NC, was described as a “mixed-race” city. In some ways similar to Greenwood in Tulsa, it had a thriving Black middle class, with Black lawyers, doctors, and successful Black-owned businesses, including a Black-owned newspaper. It was a majority Black city and in 1898 it had a local government of officials from the Fusion party, made up of white Republicans and populists, many of whom were white, and Black city officials and police officers. “Three of the city’s ten aldermen were black, as were ten of the twenty-six city policemen.” (prologue, p. xvii) There were other Black city officials—health inspectors, postmasters and magistrates, country coroner, county jailer, county treasurer.

    This situation was intolerable to the Democrats, at that time the openly white supremacist party. The upcoming November 1898 election was for federal, state, and county seats, not for local Wilmington government, but they seized on the election to “rectify” the situation in Wilmington. “Thus it was tacitly understood among white supremacists ... violence might well be required to overthrow city government...” (p. 99) In preparation for the planned seizure of power, they launched their “White Supremacy Campaign” during the summer of 1898.

    “[I]t was necessary not only to terrify black families but also to convince white men everywhere that merely voting in November was not enough. Whites had to be persuaded that free blacks posed an imminent threat to their privileged way of life.” (p. 75) The Democrats spread false rumors of imminent Black armed uprisings.

    In August, the local Black newspaper ran an editorial rebutting a speech from a prominent white woman calling on white men to lynch Black men to save white women from being raped. Democrats seized on that editorial as an example of Black men menacing white women. They talked of “black mob rule” in Wilmington. Threatening signs appeared anonymously targeting the white Fusionists in office. The Red Shirts, a Klan-type mob, rode at night, whipping Black men who dared to even register to vote. All of this was carefully timed and orchestrated for maximum impact right before the election in November.

    On Election Day, November 8, in Wilmington, ballot boxes for state and county positions were stuffed with more Democratic votes than the total number of registered voters. Red Shirts and more informal groups of armed thugs patrolled the streets, stopping Black people on the street, turning away Black voters from the polls at gunpoint or with the excuse that they weren’t “properly registered.” The Fusion candidates were threatened and intimidated directly, forced to withdraw the Fusion slate from the county elections. The author writes that “the campaign’s contrived message of the black beast rapist and corrupt Negro rule had persuaded thousands of whites to abandon the Republican Party.”

    In light of the combination all of these tactics of lies, intimidation, deadly threats, and voter fraud, the Democrats “won” the state and county election. But the Democrats also had to make sure any resistance or opposition, from Black people or white Fusionists, was completely crushed by decisively regaining control of Wilmington.

    They had to teach a lesson to those who would question their rule, and their right to rule, to not even think about doing anything like this again.

    November 10

    On the morning of November 10, two days after the statewide election that the Democrats had just “won,” over a thousand armed white men gathered on a street corner in downtown Wilmington and marched to the office of The Daily Record, the Black newspaper which published the defiant editorial, and torched it. The growing mob then set out into the Black neighborhoods, firing shots into Black homes and storefronts on the way.

    At several intersections there was gunfire, with attempts by Black men to defend themselves, but “Word spread quickly through Wilmington’s white community that Negroes were shooting at whites. Wilmington’s streets were overrun by white men rushing with their guns to help put down the anticipated black rebellion. The long-planned killing of Wilmington’s black population had begun.” (p. 203) Black men were shot on the street, running for safety, for failing to stop when ordered, on their way home from work, or by white snipers as they emerged from their homes. The murders were done by official troops—Wilmington Light Infantry soldiers and Naval Reserves were called in to assist in “quelling the negro riots” (p. 206) and unofficial troops—Red Shirts, and armed citizens including those who flooded in from the surrounding area.

    A Black minister was stunned that “black appeasement had only stoked a more malevolent strain of white ferocity” (p. 210) and recounted: “The little white boys of the city searched them [blacks] and took from them every means of defence, and if they resisted, they were shot down.... They went from house to house looking for Negroes ... and killed them for the least expression of manhood.... White ministers carried their guns to kill Negro Christians and sinners.” (p. 210) Hundreds of terrified Black families fled the city and went into the nearby swamps and forests for safety from the armed white mobs. At least 60 Black men were murdered at the hands of the white mob in the streets of Wilmington by the time the sun rose the next day.

    Meanwhile the Democrats held an impromptu “election” putting themselves, the leaders of the mob, into the offices of mayor, police chief, and aldermen. They then forced the Fusionists to resign and “approve” their replacements, with the sounds of the white riot ringing from the streets outside. “Wilmington’s whites had mounted a rare armed overthrow of a legally elected government. They had murdered black men with impunity. They had robbed black citizens of their right to vote and hold public office. They had forcibly removed elected officials from office, then banished them forever. They had driven hundreds of black citizens from their jobs and their homes. They had turned a black-majority city into a white citadel.” (p. 329)

    Excuses

    Leading up to election day, as false reports of an imminent Black armed uprising were spread, white people bought weapons by the thousands—shotguns, repeating rifles, and revolvers. Emergency orders were sent to dealers out of state “who loaded guns and bullets onto railroad cars headed south.” (prologue, p. xvi) While the white political leaders brought in rapid-fire guns, gun sellers in the area refused to sell any guns to Black people.

    As noted earlier, another excuse to attack the Black population was an editorial which the local Black newspaper had run in August. Alex Manly, the editor, called out the hypocrisy of the speech given by Rebecca Latimer Felton, the wife of a U.S. congressman from Georgia (if her name sounds familiar, this is the woman and the speech she gave which BA refers to in his 2017 speech, The Problem, the Solution and the Challenges Before Us). She wrote: “The black fiend who lays unholy and lustful hands on a white woman in the state of Georgia shall surely die.” (p. 83) She posed lynching as the solution. “I say lynch; a thousand times a week if necessary.” (p. 84) Even though Manly knew the stakes for him as a Black man to answer this charge, he took this on and ended his editorial with: “You set yourselves down as a lot of carping hypocrites in that you cry aloud for the virtue of your women while you seek to destroy the morality of ours.” (p. 88) He wrote this editorial in August but the leadership of the North Carolina Democratic Party wanted maximum impact so they held off whipping up the white rage at this rebuttal until the days before the November election.

    Aftermath

    After seizing power through armed threats and voter fraud in North Carolina and mass murder and brute force in Wilmington in 1898, the Democrats then went on to cement their rule, enacting Jim Crow laws. They passed literacy tests and the poll tax to prevent Black men from voting and, to make sure it didn’t prevent any white men from voting, they enacted the “grandfather clause” which said no man could vote unless his father or grandfather had voted before 1867. This of course would make it nearly impossible for Black men to vote in North Carolina as the 15th Amendment guaranteeing Black men the right to vote wasn’t ratified until 1870.

    Wilmington’s leading white citizens had pioneered a formula that was soon duplicated across the South: deny black citizens the vote, first through terror and violence and then by legislation.” (p. 329)

    The Democrats who had instigated the bloody coup and killings knew they would not be held accountable. “Murder, fraud, and voter intimidation had been effectively legalized, so long as the targets were black.” (p. 301) The killings were discussed briefly in a Cabinet meeting with President McKinley but nothing happened and McKinley did not respond to further appeals. A federal investigation into the massacre collapsed.

    The Lies

    The lies started on the day of the massacre when the white leadership said the white supremacy campaign was “a legitimate corrective to corrupt black politicians and the ‘black beast rapist’” and the day’s events were a “justified, spontaneous response to a black riot.”

    The Southern press ridiculed the idea that Black people could govern and claimed it was not a white mob, “it was simply the unanimous uprising of the white people against conditions that had become intolerable.” (p. 266) And the Northern press chimed in, most deploring the violence but, “Many Northern editors wrote that they did not consider blacks, in the North or the South, capable of holding public office.” (p. 267)

    And these lies were repeated for decades, in the history books and the public school textbooks. A 1940 textbook credited the Ku Klux Klan, described as a “club,” with “riding to bring order back into the lives of their people...such sights frightened the negroes into living better lives.” (p. 335) Another textbook in 1949 said, “A number of blacks were jailed for ‘starting a riot’ and a new white administration took over Wilmington’s government.” (p. 336)

    This continued into the 1950s, when a report by a Black woman scholar seeking to correct the accepted history of Wilmington, was attacked by one of the white “guardians of history,” who claimed her account was “inflammatory...distorted and sensational.” (p. 336) Recently, while there have been steps to correct the record as the North Carolina legislature created a commission in 2000 to investigate what actually happened in Wilmington—this has been accompanied by repeated and widespread efforts, many of them successful, to disenfranchise Black people (see the two-part American Crime article on this: Part 1; Part 2).

    As Bob Avakian has pointed out, “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.” (Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System)

    How They “Put It Back Together”

    The process of passing the repressive Jim Crow laws and degrading social relations that were increasingly cemented in place throughout the South that the Wilmington massacre was part of, is what BA is referring to in “Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System.” After the 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.”

    As BAsics 1:1 states, “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery.

    The enslavement of Black people still reverberates and flows through American history up till today. It has consequences for the lives of Black people every day, infecting and infesting every sphere of American society. It is part and parcel of the success of the U.S. economy. “When slavery and genocide became tethered to the machinery and fed into the maws, the jaws of capitalist accumulation and exploitation, it became a whole other thing on a whole other horrendous level, involving and killing millions of people and grinding millions more to an early death.” (Bob Avakian, “The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us”)

    White supremacy and capitalism—they have been completely interwoven and tightly “stitched together” through the whole development of this country, down to today; to attempt to really put an end to white supremacy while maintaining the system of capitalism would tear the entire fabric of the country apart. (Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution)

    The coup in Wilmington is one more outrage illustrating the truth of that.


    Wilmington, North Carolina, 1898: A white mob led by a former Confederate officer burned down Black-owned businesses and killed at least 14 people.


    Wilmington, North Carolina: During the 1898 attack on Black people, armed rioters burned down the Daily Record building. (Photo: Wikipedia)

    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

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

    From: Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/everyday-people-stop-a-lynching-en.html

    From a reader:

    Everyday People Acted Heroically to Stop a Lynching in Progress

    | revcom.us

     

    On July 4, a handful of white supremacists—their ugly faces and depraved actions captured clearly on multiple videos online, assaulted and attempted to lynch Vaughxx Booker. These modern-day Klansman, with Confederate flags and chanting “white power,” beat Booker, pinned him to a tree while saying “get a noose.” But they were stopped in their murderous tracks and Booker lived to tell his trauma.

    Booker is a Black member of the Monroe Human Rights Commission in Bloomington, Indiana. No human being should experience the horrible physical and mental injuries he suffered in that attack. On Monday, July 6, a sizeable crowd took to the streets of Bloomington in support of Booker and to demand the lynch mob who assaulted him be arrested and charged, which the pigs at the scene of the crime had refused to do. Two of the protesters were sent to the hospital when a car plowed into the demonstration at high speed.1 On July 17, two of the white men who took part in the attack on Booker were charged with battery and other crimes.

    But a most significant part of this story that must NOT be lost is that the lynching was stopped by another handful of white people who took risks in confronting the pack of racists and rescued Booker. In doing so, they have objectively set an example for all those who hate this shit to follow: Don’t be a passive observer/bystander to racist, misogynist, anti-LGBTQ, or xenophobic attacks that are raging across Amerikkka. The selfless and fearless action of Booker’s rescuers needs to become more of a feature of the political landscape in the midst of the beautiful 2020 uprising.

    Remember that in May 2017, in Portland, Oregon, three men repelled a knife attack on two Black teenage women (one clearly a Muslim) by a white supremacist at the risk of their own safety. In that instance, two of these heroes lost their lives—53-year-old Ricky John Best and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, while Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was severely injured but survived.2

    The above truly heroic resisters should get a heartfelt salute from everyone who wants to see an end to injustices and who cares about a better future of humanity. Their courageous examples should be emulated and followed by many more people from all walks of life, no matter what your specific “race” or gender, old or young. The many white youth pouring into the 2020 Black Lives Matter rebellion is a welcomed part of its beauty. Even as the massive protests continue and escalate in breadth, depth, and determination, more people should stand up to defend not just you and yours, but others who are under verbal or physical assaults as in Bloomington and Portland. As Vaughxx Booker said at the June 6 rally in Bloomington, “We need to stop being bystanders, I’m here today because folks stopped being bystanders.” Along these lines, consider what could have happened if those who were bystanders at George Floyd’s murder intervened and refused to let it go down but acted to stop it, saying “not today.” As someone said after seeing the video of LAPD savagely beating Rodney King, “Next time you see this, put down the camera and help me.” In other words: don’t just document an injustice or atrocity, try to stop it.

     


    1. “Car drives into protesters at rally for the Black victim of an ‘attempted lynching’ in Indiana,” NBC News, July 7, 2020.  [back]

    2. “Erupting from the Fascist Swamp—Murderous Violence on an Oregon Commuter Train,” revcom.us, May 29, 2017.  [back]

    "They're selling postcards of the hanging." – clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003

     

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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 »

     

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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

     

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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/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/651/bob-avakian-radical-change-is-coming-en.html

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

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Because of all this:

    in fundamental terms, this notion of a “return to normalcy” is an illusion that will be exploded by the nature and workings of the system of capitalism-imperialism to which the masses of humanity are subjected.2

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

    The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today.

    And:

    It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.3

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

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

     


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

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

    3. This quote and the one above it are from a statement by Bob Avakian that was first published in 1985 and has been cited in a number of works since then, including Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, Part III: “The New Synthesis and the Woman Question: The Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution—Further Leaps and Radical Ruptures,” which is also available at revcom.us. Emphasis has been added here to the second quote. [back]

    See also:

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

    Read more

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

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/bob-avakian-on-civil-war-and-revolution-en.html

    Bob Avakian on
    CIVIL WAR AND REVOLUTION

    | revcom.us

     

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

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

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

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

    Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.2

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

    attempting to resolve the conflict with what is represented by the Trump/Pence regime and its fascist “base,” with its “8 trillion bullets,” through relying on (or seeking a return to) what have been the “norms” of the bourgeois order in this country (and, on the part of some, this involves a call for “restoring civility”) while the fascists are determined to trample on and tear up these “norms” and are perfectly happy to have those who oppose them adopt the stance of “civility” (accommodation) toward their unrelenting fascist offensive.... And so, while things could be heading toward a civil war, and it could come down to that even in the not-too-distant future, the present lineup is very unfavorable for anybody who represents anything decent in the world.3

    And here is another big part of the picture:

    while a lot of what King describes applies in a certain demented way, particularly to progressive or so-called “woke” middle class people, there is another kind of problem with regard to more basic oppressed people, and in particular the youth—a big problem that their guns are now aimed at each other. And without going more fully into this right now, this is something that needs to be radically transformed in building a movement for an actual revolution.4

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

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

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

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

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

    For, when it comes down to it:

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

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

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

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

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

     


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/645/50-years-since-earth-day-1-en.html

    50 Years Since Earth Day 1: Reflections on the Catastrophe That Is Capitalism-Imperialism

    by Raymond Lotta

    | revcom.us

     

    This article addresses critical aspects of the climate emergency and broader environmental crisis. These are reflections on how the system of capitalism-imperialism is the underlying cause of this crisis—and why this system is the fundamental obstacle to humanity consciously confronting and collectively acting on the environmental emergency, with the urgency and on the scale required.

    I. Indicators of Accelerating Crisis, Devastation, and Great Power Criminality

    *2019 was the second hottest year on record. Since the 1960s, each decade has been warmer than the previous decade, by significant amounts. By 2016, when the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed by more than190 countries pledging to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, the planet had already passed a precipitous threshold of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: 400 parts per million.

    NOTE: Half of all global carbon emissions since the industrial revolution (dating to 1751) were produced between 1988 and 2014—that is, since climate scientist James Hansen presented his seminal findings on global warming, and since the convening of UN summits on climate change. And in the almost four years since the signing of the Paris Agreement, not one major carbon-emitter is close to meeting stated goals. Meanwhile, the country responsible for the greatest amount of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere—the United States—is headed by a fascist regime that denies the reality of global warming altogether, while ramping up fossil-fuel production.

    In the following section, I draw from Bill McKibben’s article “A Very Hot Year”1 and step back to show how the underlying dynamics of capitalism are expressed.

    *McKibben observes that the models used by scientists 20 and 30 years ago to predict warming have proven to be remarkably accurate—some 1 degree Celsius, as averaged across the globe, so far. BUT the impact/effect/severity of global warming was far underestimated. The planet has notably suffered the loss of more than half of sea ice in the Arctic, and the onset of the collapse of coral reefs. McKibben cites a November 2019 European study identifying nine major tipping points focused on Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the boreal forests and permafrost of the north, and Amazon rainforests and corals of the tropical latitudes. The conclusion is that the risk of “abrupt and irreversible changes” was much higher than projected by the earlier research.

    NOTE: No emergency alarm has gone off, no radical rethinking, no bold action at the highest levels of governance.

    *The U.S. is the world’s biggest oil and natural gas producer (for the record, the “climate-conscious” Obama administration presided over the largest increase in oil production in U.S. history and under Obama the U.S. became the largest natural gas producer in the world). The U.S. is also expected to produce 80 percent of the new supply of oil and gas over the next five years.

    NOTE: This projection cited by McKibben predates the COVID-19 pandemic and the sharp contraction of the world economy. But, tellingly, in the early stages of the pandemic, Russia and Saudi Arabia were dueling it out in a price war to secure and expand global oil market shares. How? By pumping more oil, which then threatened the global market position of the U.S. fossil-fuel industry. The Trump/Pence regime moved to bolster U.S. oil prices. But as the pandemic worsened and oil consumption fell sharply, oil prices crashed.

    *To meet the Paris Climate Summit goal of limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world would have to cut emissions by 7.6 percent annually for the next decade. That would require an enormous slashing of fossil-fuel consumption. As McKibben observes, no individual country (and certainly not the global economy as a whole) has reduced carbon emissions at that rate in a single year.

    NOTE: The reality is that an effective and coordinated commitment to sustain such a level of carbon reduction, continuously over an entire decade, collides with the short-term horizons of capital and the profitable fossil-fuel foundations of the world-imperialist economy... and smacks up against the boundaries of private/national-state decision-making in a world of competing capitals and national-imperialist states. Again, think about it: no major signatory to the Paris climate agreement is on track to meeting its goals. We live in a world in which non-renewables, including oil, coal, and natural gas, provide 80 percent of global energy.

    II. A Contradiction Built into the Competitive-Private Relations of Capitalism as It Has Historically Evolved: Reliance on and Expansion of Fossil Fuels...
    The Barriers to and Limitations of Green Technology in the Framework of This System

    In his March 12, 2020 article, McKibben cites Financial Times calculations that in order to meet the 1.5 degree Celsius Paris target, and this is far from what is needed, the fossil-fuel industry would have to leave 84 percent of its reserves in the ground, effectively writing off their value. (Reserves refers to the estimated amount of crude oil controlled by private and state companies that can be brought to the surface under current technical and price conditions.)

    Let’s examine why keeping 84 percent of fossil-fuel reserves in the ground is such an imponderable in the framework of capitalism-imperialism.

    *The oil/natural gas energy companies/investors draw on finance to make huge fixed capital outlays (technical equipment, infrastructure, etc.): in order to explore for and develop their oil reserves... and ultimately to extract oil and natural gas at a profitable margin. There are “sunk investment costs” in these reserves. This refers to the social knowledge (engineering, etc.) that is privately deployed; seismic and oil-field development technology that is applied, transport infrastructure put in place—costs that cannot be recovered if the firm making those investments leaves the industry. At the end of the day, these investments are weapons in the capitalist battle for markets, expansion, and survival.

    *There is this particularity in the oil and natural gas extraction sector: it takes years for individual fossil-fuel projects to become profitable... years for massive capital-intensive investment to be recouped by private owners.

    That can only happen through continuous cycles of production. If those circuits of production-realization-new production do not continue—recoupment plus profit will not materialize. There is compulsion facing these individual units of capital to “make good” on these investments, which means developing and drilling oil from these reserves, producing and producing more—with all the adverse consequences for the well-being of the planet.

    This capitalist calculus of profit-making and return on investment works against, effectively nullifies, a rational recommendation by climate scientists, and a most “sensible” demand by many climate activists: to “keep the oil in the ground.”

    This profit-making calculus, and it flows from the expand-or-die compulsion of capital, is also part of the reason that the idea and prediction bought into by many progressive people—that once the price of clean-renewable technology came down, we’d surely be on a different (a positive) trajectory—has proven to be utterly untrue.

    *A salient observation on green energy by David Wallace-Wells in his 2019 book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (a recommended read):

    “[T]he much-heralded green-energy ‘revolution’ ... has not even bent the curve of carbon emissions downward. We are, in other words, billions of dollars and thousands of dramatic breakthroughs later, precisely where we started when hippies were affixing solar panels to their geodesic domes. That is because the market has not responded to these developments by seamlessly retiring dirty energy sources and replacing them with clean ones. It has responded by simply adding the new capacity to the same system. Over the last 25 years, the cost per unit of renewable energy has fallen so far that you can hardly measure the price today, using the same scales (since just 2009, for instance, solar energy costs have fallen more than 80 percent). Over the same 25 years the proportion of global energy use derived from renewables has not grown an inch. Solar isn’t eating away at fossil-fuel use, in other words, even slowly; it’s just buttressing it. To the market this is growth; to human civilization, it is almost suicide.” (Emphasis added, p. 178)

    *There is what is called “path-dependency”: So much capital is tied up in fossil fuel, as fossil fuels have been cheap and widely available; and as fossil-fuel-based production has been foundational to the profitable functioning of the global capitalist-imperialist system, including its global supply chains with their “dirty” (fossil-fuel-based) infrastructure. Moving outside the energy industry, the auto industry continues to manufacture vehicles with gasoline-fueled, internal combustion engines—with research expenditure and infrastructure established for gasoline-fueled transport and machines. This “path” of fossil-fuel-based production is self-reinforcing, and has been further reinforced with the massive expansion of hydraulic fracking of petroleum and natural gas (and this sector’s huge fixed capital outlays). What is being described is a major barrier to “unlocking” fossil-fuel energy systems.

    *The problem of green energy in the framework of capitalism-imperialism

    Renewable energy, like wind and solar power, has been scaled up commercially. But these renewables answer to the goal of generating profit and are also objects of market share competition. So you have the situation in which both the Obama and Trump administrations imposed tariffs (a tax) on Chinese-manufactured solar panels. And in the current pandemic-slowdown of the world economy, firms in the solar and wind industries are scrambling to survive and competing for bank and government-backed loans.

    Green energy/technology as it has developed is stamped by the structure and workings of the system. The current manufacture of solar panels involves the mining and fusing of quartz and coal, and depends on global supply chains with significant inputs of fossil fuel. The batteries powering GM and Tesla electric vehicles would not function without cobalt that is mined under horrific conditions of super-exploitation, including child labor, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Europe is establishing wind farms in North Africa, in what amounts to a kind of “green-energy colonialism.” Solar panels help power the prison and torture camp at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo in Cuba. All of which is to say that harnessing a less fossil-fuel-based infrastructure to the existing imperialist economy of the U.S., with its unsustainable levels of consumption and its plunder of the planet, is NOT a good thing for humanity and for the earth.

    *A brief aside on innovation and “risk taking.” The ideologues of capitalism hail its “risk-taking” qualities: “savvy entrepreneurs” who take “bold gambles” and “venture capitalists” who go where others dare not go. But the one “risk” that is not taken, that will never be taken... is that which does not follow the logic of profit and empire, the very logic that is destroying the planet.

    *Oil is a strategic commodity. Oil is bigger than ExxonMobil, bigger than the money-slinging, right-wing oil-political donor and operative Charles Koch, and bigger than the major banks that have frenetically financed fossil-fuel’s wave of capital expansion of the past decade. Oil is a strategic commodity. Control over oil supplies and oil markets brings with it leverage over the world economy. Oil is central to the military and war-making capabilities of U.S. imperialism. It is a strategic weapon of rivalry and intimidation. For example, the U.S. imperialists, beginning with the Obama administration, stepped up oil and natural gas production to increase maneuvering room against imperialist Russia, and to intimidate countries like Iran and Venezuela—that depend on oil sales as their economic lifelines—into submission.

    For all of the reasons gone into—the profitability of oil-based production, the fixed capital tied up in it and “path dependency,” the role of oil as a strategic commodity—along with other factors, capitalist markets and the capitalist state have NOT effected a rapid shift to “green technology.”

    BUT ON THE BASIS OF MAKING A REVOLUTION THAT OVERTHROWS THIS SYSTEM... that establishes a new socialist state power and economy no longer based on private ownership and exploitation—and that puts an end to the American empire, with its network of sweatshops and military bases—we will be able to decisively move away from fossil fuels. We can do that as a critical part (emphasizing that this is still only a part) of a radical, all-around reorganization of society and restructuring of the economy toward socialist sustainability.

    A genuine socialist economy would allocate and re-allocate resources on a societal level. It would have the capacity to redirect and subsidize investment and effect dis-investment—and to consciously regulate growth. It can do that because the framework of public-state ownership enables you to socialize and centralize the surplus of society and to consciously steer and coordinate economic development through comprehensive, integrated planning, guided by the three goals/criteria set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by Bob Avakian and the associated Some Key Principles of Socialist Sustainable Development.

    III. “Public Goods” in a Private Capitalist World

    Humanity is part of nature. We evolved with and are dependent on the physical environment and its interaction with other living things. Well-functioning ecosystems provide us with oxygen, food and fuel, materials essential to survival and well-being, protection from storms, disease, and solar radiation, regulation of water and climate. Not to mention aesthetic wonder and inspiration for art.

    *The economic models and pricing system of capitalism cannot capture the true measure of these elements of nature. They systematically “undervalue” nature because, historically, these benefits of ecosystems are provided “free” as “public goods”—and have been systematically overexploited as imperialism relentlessly and massively commodifies more and more of nature. Export-production in poor countries rich with natural resources is based on the exploitation/processing of “public goods,” such as mangrove forests turned into commercial shrimp farms. But export prices do not factor in “environmental costs”: their short- and long-term impacts locally and globally. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that rich countries disproportionately use what are called “environmental sinks”—like the atmosphere and tropical rainforests—to absorb their high levels of carbon emissions.

    In short, profit-maximizing capital has massive negative effects “external” to its private boundaries of ownership, operations, costs, and earnings. These are unpaid environmental externalities.

    IV. The Rich/Poor Country Divide and Climate Change

    *The U.S. and Western Europe have been directly responsible for 52 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution. The U.S. alone has accounted for 25 percent and is, in the words of climate scientist James Hansen, “by far, more responsible than any other nation” for global warming. The poorest half of the world’s population—3.5 billion people—is responsible for just 10 percent of cumulative carbon emissions.2

    *By 2050 global warming might create as many as 1 billion climate refugees, most from the poor nations of the world—according to projections from the UN International Organization for Migration.

    *In the years 1961-2000, countries in the low, middle, and high income groups were responsible for 13%, 45%, and 42% of greenhouse-gas emissions, respectively. The resulting “climate damages” were estimated to be distributed 29%, 45%, and 25%, respectively.3

    *During the past 50 years, some 69 percent of deaths from extreme weather-related events—such as droughts, wildfires, floods, landslides, heat waves, and large storms—have taken place in poorer countries. Since 2000, this death rate in poor countries has been seven times higher than in wealthier countries.4

    *And one little known but significant contributor to this situation is that major U.S. transnational corporations like Walmart, GM, and Apple outsource pollution to China, Bangladesh, countries in Central America, and elsewhere. America’s total carbon emissions worldwide are actually 14 percent higher than the domestic numbers reveal, when you factor in the greenhouse gases emitted by the manufacture of cars, clothing, and other products overseas but that are consumed in the U.S.5

    *A 2019 study by Stanford University scientists estimates that the gap between the economic output of the world’s richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming; and from 1961 to 2010, global warming decreased the wealth per person in the world’s poorest countries by 17-30 percent.6

    *In the world today, nearly 70 million refugees have been forced from their homes: 23 million of them, about a third of the total, and almost all from Third World countries, were displaced by extreme weather events that are becoming more common and destructive because of global warming. The number of Central American migrants forced to flee their countries, due in significant part to climate change, increased five-fold between 2010 and 2015. These were unusually dry years, leaving many without enough food.7

    V. Imperialist Global Trade, Agro-Industry, and the Destruction of Species

    In May 2019, the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued a preliminary report. Its crucial finding was that one million species face extinction in the next few decades unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss. The report identifies five factors driving extinction and biodiversity loss: changes in land and sea use; unsustainable overuse; climate change; pollution; and invasion by non-native species. And what are some of the key drivers of these drivers? This is summarized in the revcom.us article “Capitalism-Imperialism Is Strangling Life on the Planet.”8

    *Global trade. The UN report points out that global trade has increased ten-fold in the last 50 years. This is a product of profit-driven imperialist globalization and the forging of a globally integrated, cheap-labor manufacturing/sweatshop economy and the extraction of raw materials. Goods produced in the oppressed countries of the global south are transported worldwide in huge container ships consuming massive amounts of fuel oil that contributes to pollution and global warming. These supply chain/transport systems require increased infrastructure, such as roads and pipelines, which split up ecosystems (having effects like impeding the ability of animals to travel with changes in seasons). Global trade also increases the spread of invasive species (not native to a region). These invasive species have increased by 70 percent since 1980 alone, disrupting and often causing great damage to ecosystems. One invasive pathogen spread in part by global trade is responsible for the extinction of at least 200 species of frogs around the world.

    *Commercial-driven destruction of wetlands that often support high concentrations of animals. Many such wetlands have been drained to make room for industrial farming that utilizes toxic fertilizers and pesticides that poison land and water. Wetlands have been compromised by reckless residential and urban-industrial development that produces pollution and carbon dioxide accelerating climate change.

    *Fossil-fuel-driven climate change. The report emphasizes that climate change is “increasingly exacerbating the impact of other drivers...that many species are unable to cope locally with the rapid pace of climate change, either through evolutionary or behavioral processes, and that their survival will also depend on the extent to which they are capable of dispersing, of following the appropriate climatic conditions and preserving their capacity for evolution.”

    VI. A planet interconnected and integrated by capitalist-imperialist globalization is a planet of intensifying and accelerating eco-catastrophe... a planet on fire.

    *Why? Because capitalism-imperialism, in its ruthless and anarchic pursuit of profit and competitive advantage, not only has ravaged the environment but is driven to continue to do so, releasing more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the ceaseless drive of competing blocs of capital for profit and more profit. This is a system in which fossil fuels are “cost effective.”

    *And global warming is having cascading feedback effects: climate-driven crop failures and water shortages; diseases and plagues compounded by global warming—mosquitoes that can migrate to expanding tropical regions; mutating viruses; rising sea levels that endanger densely packed swaths of humanity in coastal cities; unbreathable air; acidification and warming of oceans that depletes fisheries and contributes to more frequent and intense weather events and disasters; the potential loss of one million species; climate refugees and resource-scarcity conflicts.

    *Global interconnection without global cooperation. To quote again from The Uninhabitable Earth: “If you had to invent a threat grand enough, and global enough, to plausibly conjure into being a system of true international cooperation, climate change would be it—the threat everywhere, and overwhelming, and total.” (This was before COVID-19, but this is the world we are living in!) And what we see is the utter opposite of “true international cooperation.” This inability to coordinate and cooperate is a function of capitalism-imperialism, of globalized capital anchored to national markets and safeguarded by national-imperialist states, a world system divided into oppressor and oppressed countries, and rent by antagonistic class and social division. A system in which private ownership and appropriation are in conflict with socialized and interconnected global production.

    *It doesn’t have to be this way. Only a revolution to overthrow this system and establish a new socialist state power and economy, to create a socialist society as a transition to global communism—a revolution guided by the new communism developed by Bob Avakian—gives humanity any real chance to save the planet. Only by making this revolution can we fit ourselves to be caretakers of the planet for current and future generations, and create a true world community of humanity.

     


    1. New York Review of Books, March 12, 2020. [back]

    2. James Hansen, Climate Change in a Nutshell: The Gathering Storm, 18 December 2018, p. 15; “World’s richest 10% produce half of carbon emissions while poorest 3.5 billion account for just a tenth,” Oxfam, December 2, 2015. [back]

    3. Data from U.T. Srinivasan, et al., “The debt of nations and the distribution of ecological impacts from human activities,” Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences of the United States, February 5, 2008. [back]

    4. “Time to redress the globally unjust cost of climate change,” International Institute for Environment and Development, September 2019. [back]

    5. Brad Plumer, “You’ve Heard of Outsourced Jobs, but Outsourced Pollution? It’s Real, and Tough to Tally Up,” New York Times, September 4, 2018. [back]

    6. “Global warming has increased global economic inequality,” Noah S. Diffenbaugh and Marshall Burke, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the Unites States, May 14, 2019. [back]

    7. The climate crisis, migration, and refugees, Brookings Institution, July 25, 2019; Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration, World Bank, August 2018; “Central American Farmers Head to the U.S., Fleeing Climate Change,” New York Times, April 13, 2019; “Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns,” New York Times, August 8, 2019. [back]

    8. “Capitalism-imperialism is Strangling Life on the Planet,” revcom.us, May 13, 2019. [back]


    The Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, is burning—causing deadly harm to what is known as the "lungs of the planet." The fires are set deliberately by farmers and agribusiness companies with the backing of the Brazilian government. If this continues, the results would be horrific: extinction of tens of thousands of species and further acceleration of global climate change. Above: Jacundá National Forest, near the city of Porto Velho, August 25, 2019 (Photo: AP)

    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


    Coral reefs have declined 50% in the last 150 years. All but 1 percent may be lost in the next decades if climate change continues. The Northwest Hawaiian Island coral reefs alone support 7,000 species of fishes, invertebrates, plants, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals.

    The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism, by Bob Avakian, an excerpt


    Ice Melting on Denmark Island, Greenland, August 6, 2018. (Photo: Matt Osman/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    How Would the Revolution Deal With the Climate Crisis?
    A Q&A with Raymond Lotta


    The Montiva Refinery, Port Arthur, Texas, largest oil refinery in North America. The Texas Gulf Coast has four of the 10 biggest oil and gas refineries in the United States. (Photo: AP)


    U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons on a patrol mission over Afghanistan, November 29, 2019. (Photo: USAF/SMJenkins)


    Sea otter, among the species endangered due to destruction of habitats and oil spills which contribute to their fur being unable to keep them warm. (Photo: Marshal Hedin, San Diego/Wikimedia Commons)

     

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/646/from-vise-grip-to-death-grip-en.html

    From Vise Grip to Death Grip
    Imperialist Domination, COVID-19, and the Poor of the World Be Damned

    by Raymond Lotta

    | revcom.us

     

    As the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide, the global economy contracted. As suffering and deaths caused by the virus have mounted across the planet, the world imperialist system, U.S. imperialism in particular, has responded as it always has: acting to maintain the profitable functioning and interests of empire... to even more horrific effect, especially in the oppressed countries.

    Four examples from different parts of the “global south” where the great majority of oppressed humanity lives and works:

    Exhibit 1. U.S. ambassador issues ultimatum to Mexican government: factories run by U.S. manufacturing corporations must stay the fuck open or we take our jobs elsewhere.

    Close to the U.S. border in Mexico, U.S.-owned and subcontracted factories employ hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers. They produce computer, airplane, and car parts, televisions, and other electrical appliances—overwhelmingly for the U.S. market. Wages of workers average one-ninth of manufacturing wages in the U.S.; and labor and environmental protections are minimal.

    With outbreaks of the coronavirus erupting in these and other factories, with workers falling ill and dying on the job, and with testing for the virus scarce—the Mexican health ministry ordered plant closings. It was a bare-bones safety measure. But to the U.S. imperialists, this is an intolerable, criminal act. As recounted in the New York Times, it was not because these factories are producing goods or carrying out services essential to the welfare of the Mexican people. Again, most of the output is exported. But that output has been deemed by the U.S. government as “essential” to... the United States! Come again—TVs, Sharpie pens, aircraft engines for a U.S. airline industry that is severely curtailing operations?

    A dirty little secret: the profitability of imperialist supply chains* depends on the continuing humming of global assembly lines... the strategic capacities of the U.S. military/death machine and security apparatus requires an assured inflow of components... and the competitive strength of U.S. capital depends on reliable, low-cost/efficient production—the more so with China’s economy re-starting big time, and giving imperialist China a certain competitive leg up in a clobbered world imperialist economy.

    And so this threat from the U.S. ambassador in response to the Mexican government’s stated concerns about COVID-19 spreading among workers in these plants: “You don’t have ‘workers’ if you close all the companies and they move elsewhere.” In other words, you (Mexico) reopen, or we (the U.S. with its transnational corporations) could just pull up stakes and leave your economy to crater even more. Which, by the way, is part of the operational logic and extortion of imperialist supply chains. The Mexican factories have remained open.

    The New York Times described this ultimatum as an example of America’s “unequal relationship” with Mexico. We can be more precise: brute neocolonialism. And keep this fact in mind: the great majority of the infected in Mexico with COVID-19 are factory workers.1

    Exhibit 2. Fast fashion, sweatshops, and COVID-19 in Bangladesh.

    Some 4.1 million workers, 85 percent of them women, live and labor in the cramped conditions of the garment industry of Bangladesh. They produce T-shirts, dresses, pants for the likes of Walmart, Target, H&M, and other Western retailers. Industrial accidents, fires, building collapses (more than 1,000 people died in one such collapse in 2013), and sexual abuse are commonplace in these cost-minimizing, life-draining factories. It all goes into your seasonal “fast fashion.”2

    Bangladesh’s economy has been twisted and distorted to serve the interests of imperialism: 80 percent of its export earnings derive from the garment industry; it is the driver of economic “growth” in Bangladesh; and the country is highly vulnerable to economic shocks coming from the imperialist countries (like the recession of 2008-09). A sword hangs over the garment industry: if these garment factories do not meet and continue to cheapen prescribed production costs, then Western retailers can subcontract to other suppliers in other poor countries. That’s the pit each-against-each modus operandi of imperialist supply chains. Driving costs down, raising profitability... and it all rests on savage super-exploitation. That’s the norm, before the onset of COVID-19.

    With the pandemic hitting hard and retail stores closing in the U.S., Western companies abruptly canceled billion-dollar orders. Much of the garment industry and other manufacturing shut down in Bangladesh. Millions of workers, mostly women from rural areas, were sent home. Nearly all the big-name retailers refused to contribute to the cost of partial wages for furloughed workers, as mandated by Bangladeshi law. Seventy percent of these workers were sent home without pay.3 Many, without knowing, were carrying the coronavirus to their villages.

    But the shutdowns were temporary. Rival ownership groupings and garment factories in Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam (operations that are also part of Western supply chains) had reopened. And if factories in Bangladesh did not find their own ways to restart, orders might be permanently lost. And so the specter of hundreds of thousands of garment workers shuttling back and forth between Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh where the garment industry is centered) and their rural villages—many traveling by foot. And so the horror, to quote the Economist, of workers “left languishing in slums by the garment factories—now the centers of Bangladesh’s coronavirus outbreak.”

    Did I mention that in one of the poorest districts in Dhaka where garment factories are clustered, 150 out of 160 COVID-19 tests conducted in one day proved positive? Did I mention that Bangladesh has a population of 170 million but only some 1,000 intensive-care beds?4

    Exhibit 3. Shantytowns caused by imperialism... as transmission belts of COVID-19.

    As the curve of new COVID-19 cases begins to flatten in the rich countries, poor nations now represent all of the countries where COVID-19 cases are growing most rapidly.

    One of the major reasons is what Bob Avakian has called the “shantytown-ization of the Third World.” This refers to breakneck urbanization in the oppressed countries: and the explosive growth of densely populated and impoverished cities and slums where disease is easily spread.

    What accounts for this unprecedented growth of cities and “mega”-cities in the Third World? Imperialist agribusiness and raw-materials investments and land-grabbing in rural areas have devastated subsistence peasant agriculture. Imperialist export-processing zones that produce goods for the wealthy countries entice migrants into the cities. Global warming, caused overwhelmingly by the rich countries’ use of fossil fuels, has turned land previously farmed and grazed into desert. These and other factors have driven and drawn tens of millions upon millions out of rural areas to the cities. But the economies of the oppressed countries are so distorted by imperialism... that they cannot absorb people into regular employment.

    As you shelter in place, reflect on this passage from an academic study: “There are 1.2 billion people globally living in informal slums, which by definition are crowded and lack sufficient access to water and sanitation—meaning any force of isolation or quarantine is impossible. In some slums the density is as high as 800,000 people per square mile—for comparison, New York City’s is 27,000.5 The question is posed: How is social distancing practiced under these awful conditions?

    But it’s not only how people are forced to live in the oppressed countries. It’s also how they are compelled to work. The great majority of people in the “global south” work, when they do find work, in what is called the “informal economy.” These are irregular jobs offering little security, payment largely in cash, jobs shielded from workplace regulations, and with no benefits. Most who work in the informal economy have no savings, and need their daily or weekly earnings to feed their families. The question is posed: Do you comply with lockdowns and starve—or defy it to feed your family?

    And the governments of the poorest countries have limited budgets to support populations no longer working or in lockdown. As one journalist observed, “[it’s] the worst of both worlds—mass poverty from shutdowns and mass illness and deaths from the continued spread of the virus.”6 That is the current reality for much of the world’s population.

    Exhibit 4. It gets worse... the imperialist stranglehold on public health in poor countries.

    In 2019, 64 countries, nearly half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, spent more servicing their external debt than on health.7 Debt service is the amount of money—the interest and the principal—spent over a given period to pay down loans from imperialist banks, governments, and other lending institutions like the International Monetary Fund.**

    More going out to repay debt than going into domestic public health is a grisly statistic. It has meant that, because of cuts in the health budgets, training, and research in poor countries over the years (as part of satisfying conditions to obtain more loans from imperialist financial institutions), many doctors trained in Africa emigrate to the West. It means, in this time of pandemic, that financial resources that could be going to alleviate some aspects of this crisis are earmarked to repay loans that reinforce the whole structure of imperialist domination of oppressed countries: export-oriented production, raw materials extraction, and infrastructure development serving the needs of imperialist accumulation of profit and more profit. And with the economies of the poor nations now experiencing steep declines, and when billions of additional dollars are needed to cope with this health crisis, this debt-repayment will become an even greater weight on these countries.

    Consider these facts:

    *Africa has the highest burden of disease in the world, but only three percent of the world’s health workers.8

    *At the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, there was an average of two doctors per 100,000 in Sierra Leone, and 45 per 100,000 in Nigeria (Africa’s most populous country)—compared to some 250 doctors per 100,000 in the U.S. at the time.9

    *In mid-April of this year, Nigeria, with its population of 200 million, had only 100 ventilators!10

    CONCLUSION

    All of what has been described reflects the lopsidedness of the world: the concentration of advanced productive forces and technology in the capitalist-imperialist countries. All the “pre-existing conditions” of imperialist domination in the “global south”—the supply-chain sweatshops, the loans that tighten control over and distort the economies of poor countries, the densely populated shantytowns of poverty and disease—have been an unrelieved horror. All this is built into and basic to the fundamental nature and workings of the capitalist imperialist system. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all the suffering has intensified and will intensify further.

    As Bob Avakian has put it: “...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!

     

    Explanatory notes

    *A supply chain is an integrated network of production units, transport, and distribution forming the process of producing a final commodity, like Nikes, iPhones, or cars. Imperialist capital deploys global supply chains to outsource and subcontract interrelated segments of production (mining of materials, manufacture of parts and components, assembly) to low-wage suppliers in the oppressed nations of the “global south”—and puts continual pressure on these suppliers to cheapen costs, which means more savage exploitation of workers. [back]

    **To repay debt, poor countries must generate earnings/revenues, typically by producing and selling goods on the world market, which provides foreign exchange, like the dollar, that is required for repayment. But often, when debt cannot be repaid because of high interest/short-term loans, poor countries must borrow and borrow anew to repay loans, leading to a situation called a “debt trap.” [back]

     

    1. Natalie Kitroeff, “As Workers Fall Ill, U.S. Presses Mexico to Keep American-Owned Plants Open,” New York Times, April 30, 2020 [back]

    2. See, Dana Thomas, Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes (New York: Penguin, 2019). [back]

    3. Elizabeth Paton, “‘Our Situation is Apocalyptic’: Bangladesh Garment Workers Face Ruin,” New York Times, March 31, 2020. [back]

    4. “Suffering from a stitch—Bangladesh cannot afford to close its garment factories,” The Economist, April 30, 2020. [back]

    5. Asif Saleh and Richard A. Cash, “Masks and Handwashing vs. Physical Distancing: Do We Really Have Evidence-based Answers for Policymakers in Resource-limited Settings?,” Center for Global Development, April 3, 2020. [back]

    6. Kelsey Piper, “The devastating consequences of coronavirus lockdowns in poor countries,” Vox, April 18, 2020. [back]

    7. Jubilee Debt Campaign, “Sixty-four countries spend more on debt payments than health,” April 12, 2020 [back]

    8. Robert Nash, et al., “Reflections on family medicine and primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa,” BMG Global Health, May 12, 2018. [back]

    9. Statista Research Department, “Physician density in West African countries suffering from the 2014 Ebola outbreak,” August 16, 2014. [back]

    10. Max Bearak and Danielle Paquette, “Africa’s most vulnerable countries have few ventilators—or none at all,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020 [back]

    Would Mexico & Central America still be the US' backyard after the revolution?

    From a Q&A following the speech by Bob Avakian:
    Why We Need An Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution
    Watch BA's whole speech
    Watch clips from the speech


    The maquiladora owned by the TECMA group in Ciudad Juarez 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)

    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


    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)


    Piles of garbage in Dharavi, India.

     

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/revolution-tour-revolution-club-july-25-protests-en.html

    Revolution Tour and Revolution Clubs in the Streets Against Fascist Federal Pigs in Portland and Murders by Police

    | revcom.us

     


    Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club NYC at Union Square, July 25, 2020.

    This past weekend, the Get Organized for the ACTUAL Revolution Tour and the Revolution Club were out among the thousands protesting across the country against police murder of Black people and the fascist federal pigs sent by the Trump/Pence regime to Portland and other cities. The revcoms brought alive for people how this system of capitalism-imperialism is at the root of racism, murder by police, and all the other outrages against the people here and around the world, including endangering the planet itself—and how this system cannot be reformed but must by overthrown... We Need Revolution—Nothing Less!


    The Bay Area Revolution Club in Oakland, July 25, 2020


    The Bay Area Revolution Club in Oakland, July 25, 2020


    Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club NYC at Union Square, July 25, 2020.


    The Revolution Club Los Angeles, July 25, 2020


    The Revolution Club Chicago, July 25, 2020


    The Revolution Club Los Angeles, July 25, 2020

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/covids-hidden-toll-threat-to-farmworkers-who-slave-in-the-fields-en.html

    COVID's Hidden Toll

    Check It Out:

    COVID’s Hidden Toll—the threat to the farmworkers who slave in the fields of California

    | revcom.us

     

    COVID’s Hidden Toll is the most recent episode of Frontline, the PBS documentary and investigative series. It reveals in the most gut-wrenching, moving, and powerful way how the lives of workers in the fields and meat processing plants in Monterey County, California—already among the most exploited workers in this country—have been made infinitely worse by this pandemic, and by the way they are being treated by multi-million dollar agricultural and meat-processing businesses. More than one reviewer has compared its impact to the unforgettable 1960 CBS documentary Harvest of Shame by Edward R. Murrow.1

    A great strength of this documentary is that the journalists who did the investigation, Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel, let the workers they interviewed tell their own stories in their own words, letting you see the world of these workers through their own eyes. Combined with an analysis of the overall statistics, COVID’s Hidden Toll reveals how much greater the impact of the coronavirus has been on the immigrant, and largely undocumented, population in the valleys of California.

    There is Sinthia, a broccoli picker, waiting outside in the cold at 4 am for the ride to work—“We are packed [with 14 others] like sardines in that van.” Sinthia has cancer and diabetes, but has no choice but to work—even as the virus is spreading among the crew. She is the sole support of her mother, her children, and two disabled siblings, one of whom is blind and deaf, and another who is quadriplegic. The situation these workers are forced into is unsettling. The company doesn’t even provide masks: “We go out in the field and expose ourselves. We are not robots. Just because we work in the fields, it doesn’t mean we won’t get infected. We will get infected.”

    These workers describe being in constant fear: of catching the coronavirus; of being fired from their jobs for not reporting for work, even if they are sick; and for those whose status is undocumented, it can keep many from even risking getting tested. And the employers know this. When the workers attempt a work stoppage, you get to hear a recording secretly made by one of the workers as a supervisor “explains” the risks—of getting fired, of being unable to find another job, of not being able to feed their family or keep a roof over their head—if they don’t go back to work immediately.

    A worker at a meat packing plant says, “Every day we go to work, we’re thinking about the coronavirus ―if we’re going to catch it again. Who is going to catch it? Is it on the walls? Is it on the product? Is it on the equipment we use? It doesn’t feel like we’re essential workers. It feels like we’re slaves.” He is one of the 200 workers in that plant who have tested positive for the virus.

    Through this investigation we learn that there are no national mandatory COVID protections specifically for agriculture workers—only voluntary guidelines; how companies don’t have to tell employees about outbreaks at their worksites; and what efforts are being made to try to improve the situation in California, where many of America’s fruits and vegetables are grown. There are more than 90,000 farmworkers in Monterey County who plant, harvest, and package the country’s food. According to new research, agricultural workers in Monterey County are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 than workers in other industries. Don’t miss this documentary.


    1. Harvest of Shame, which was broadcast on CBS the day after Thanksgiving 1960, came to be considered one of the best, most powerful documentaries every made in the U.S. Narrated by Edward R. Murrow, it exposed the horrid conditions faced by the migrant workers in this country, of whom Murrow said, “They are the migrants, workers in the sweat shops of the soil—the harvest of shame.” It was the first time millions of Americans saw, close up, what it meant to live in poverty. Living in crowded, run-down housing, paid $1 per day, these Black and white workers migrated from the tomato, bean, and sugarcane fields of Florida north to the apple orchards of New York.

    It was intended to shock the nation to do something about their conditions. Murrow told the audience, “We present this report on Thanksgiving because, were it not for the labor of the people you are going to meet, you might not starve, but your table would not be laden with the luxuries that we have all come to regard as essentials.” [back]

    BA quote

    Monterey farmworkers
    Farmworkers in Monterrey, California. COVID's Hidden Toll reveals how they live in fear: fear of contracting the virus, fear of being fired if they get sick, and fear if they are undocumented. (Photo: AP)

    Pork deboning in plant
    Workers at a pork factory. In the documentary, we hear from one of the 200 meatpacking workers who tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo: USDA)

     

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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:

    • In the late 1990s, 39 of the world's largest drug companies sued the South African government to keep affordable, generic anti-HIV drugs out of the hands of people afflicted with the disease. It took years for the anti-viral HIV treatments to finally reach Africa. That's murder!
    • As late as 2016, 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. Why? Well, as stated baldly in the business pages of the New York Times, “there is no money to be made from a vaccine for poor children who could not possibly pay for inoculation.”*

    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 International Labor Organization (ILO) reported in late June that the decline in economic activity is likely to have resulted in a 14 percent drop in global working hours through April-June of 2020, the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs. In the U.S., employers laid off or fired between 30 and 40 million workers. The hit to the labor market has been especially acute for low-skilled workers who do not have the option of working from home.
    • Of the approximately 2 billion so-called “informally employed” workers—workers mainly in the oppressed countries lacking regular working hours and steady pay, and with few if any safety protections and benefits—some 80 percent (1.6 billion) are suffering massive damage to their ability to earn a living. 
    • This same ILO report highlights the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on women. Globally, 40 percent of all employed women work in the four sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus, compared to 36.6 percent of men. That women are also highly concentrated in domestic work, health, and social care sectors has put them at greater risk of infection and transmission of the virus and losing income. At the same time, the distribution of care work of children has grown more unequal during the pandemic—made worse by the closure of schools and care services.
    • Before the pandemic, 820 million people were already “chronically food insecure.” But now with incomes and the ability to migrate severely impacted, this number will rise enormously. The United Nations has warned that an estimated 265 million people could face acute food insecurity (extreme hunger and starvation) by the end of 2020—up from 135 million before the crisis.

    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/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

     

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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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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/feds-out-of-chicago-and-portland-en.html

    Revolution Club Call for Weekend Protests:

    Feds OUT Of Chicago and Portland!
    No Fascist Police State:
    Trump/Pence Out NOW!

    TO END INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM AND MURDER BY POLICE
    TO END ANY WAY PEOPLE ANYWHERE ARE USED, ABUSED, AND BRUTALIZED
    WE NEED: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

    | revcom.us

     

    Chicago
    March in South Shore
    Meet Outside Revolution Club Organizing Center,
    1857 E 71st St.
    4 pm, Sunday, August 2
    Download Flyer (PDF)

    Los Angeles
    South Central March
    Florence and Broadway
    2pm Saturday August 1st
    Download Flyer (PDF)
    Download poster (PDF)

    We are at a serious crossroads. A fierce struggle for the future is underway. The powerful uprising for Black lives and for an end to police terror has shaken the country, terrifying the powers-that-be. Now, the fascist Trump is threatening to take over cities where Democratic Governors and Mayors are not according to Trump bringing down enough violence on the people to crush this rebellion.

    In Portland,Trump and the DOJ have brought in a federal paramilitary force. These pigs, in unidentified military camo, have targeted protesters dragging them off the streets into unmarked vans. The people of Portland who have been in the streets for over 60 days straight have not backed down and many more people are joining them.

    Now, in Chicago, Trump is cynically using the pretense of violence among the people to send in a “Surge” of 200 feds against the people, putting people on lists to be arrested and violating basic legal rights. In LA there has been an attack from the feds on a hard fought gang truce in South Central. People all over the country have to stand together against this—These moves must be resisted by millions, and this fascist regime driven from power.

    The Revolution Club is fighting for a world without white supremacy, where Black and Brown people can walk down the street without a target on their backs; a world without borders; a world where women and differently gendered people are treated as full human beings. A world community of human beings, where all people come together for the common good of humanity and the planet.

    To bring this radically different world into being: We need an actual revolution—we need to overthrow this oppressive system and bring a radically different and much better system into being—and we are building a movement for this revolution now: working to bring forward and organize thousands of people, now, who are taking up and getting trained in the strategy and theory of the revolution brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA), and are moving together to apply this now to “hasten”—to influence and develop things toward—this revolution, so that we can lead millions to make this revolution at the earliest possible time, as soon as the necessary conditions for that have been brought into being.

    We have the strategy – the leadership and the plan to make this revolution. Join Us.

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/support-members-of-the-national-revolution-tour-in-portland-en.html

    Donate to Support the Members of the National Revolution Tour Now in Portland

    | revcom.us

     

    Editors’ Note: Some members of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour are now in Portland. We received this first report from them—and we call on readers to respond to their call for donations and support.

    We are here because we were inspired by the courageous people who have stood up against the fascist Trump/Pence regime’s deployment of federal pigs into Portland. We share the outrage and horror of the implications of what is promised by Trump—this being just the beginning of a heavier deployment of federal agents suppressing opposition and violating constitutional rights here and around the country. The Trump/Pence regime is attempting to make a disastrous leap forward in the consolidation of fascism, abducting protestors off the street, violently assaulting people with physical force, tear gas and “less than lethal” munitions. They are out to crush all dissent and opposition to the fascist program of white supremacy, male supremacy & Christian fundamentalism embodied in Trump's platform of making Amerikkka great. A serious struggle for the future is underway. The opposition to this fascist clampdown must immediately grow in size and strength, and thousands now must be brought into the ranks of the revolution as a part of this struggle to prepare to put an end to the system that commits atrocities against humanity and that gives rise to fascism through it’s normal working.

    The Tour needs your support to join the struggle against fascism in Portland, Oregon and to organize and actively recruit the forces needed, taking up the revolutionary strategy and theory of the new communism to prepare for and hasten a revolutionary situation, preparing the ground, the people and the vanguard to lead an all-out struggle when those conditions have been brought into being. You can make this possible by donating to support the work of the Tour members here. We need funding for travel, housing, food, organizational material including literature, pamphlets, t-shirts, banners, etc. Donate to support the effort to build and grow this revolution. We need to raise $2,000 to sustain the Tour for one week. This includes the expenses listed above. You can donate on Venmo @RevolutionTour and on Paypal at Revcom.us.

    We got here yesterday and joined the protest in front of the federal building. We, like many others, were inspired by the courageous actions of the protesters in coming back in the face of ugly repression. “We are at a crossroads” is a serious sentiment throughout the resistance of those on the ground in Portland. One woman we spoke with commented, “I feel there is a real need to continue the resistance to these federal agents here. I feel like people are looking to Portland as an example and we can’t let them get away with this.” She was underlining the seriousness of the fascist moves by the Trump/Pence regime. She and many others were sparked to come out in protest after being horrified at the sight of people being kidnapped by men in army fatigues, Trump’s gestapo. Fascism has become more widely recognized and called that by name. People come out in helmets with gas masks, some have body armor-like vests. People were passing out homemade shields, and the press looked fully suited for a war zone. “This is how we dress to protest police brutality, this is what is necessary and it’s sick,” said one protester we spoke with.

    People have stood up time and time again against the crimes of their government only to have their anger & justified outrage funneled back into the very same system that produced it in the first place. To see an end to this system and get beyond the revolting barbarity it produces, we need a revolution—nothing less. As a part of this growing struggle in Portland and nationwide, there is a real urgency to organize thousands of people now, to lead a revolution to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. The system that gave rise to fascism to begin with is the system of capitalism-imperialism that has no future for humanity. We have the tools for such a revolution in the work that Bob Avakian has done, developed in the new communism. People have the hope and fire to struggle for a better world, but not enough people know what it will take to put an end to the unnecessary suffering brought about by this system. Not enough people have the scientific understanding and strategy of the new communism. That has to change. You can be a part of this revolution by supporting the revolutionary work of the Tour members. Donate and share this call widely to grow this much needed revolution.


    On day of arrival to #Portland, The National Revolution Tour makes this statement signed by many people in #LosAngeles. Photo: AP

    Donate now to support the members of the National Revolution Tour in Portland:

    Venmo: @RevolutionTour

    PayPal: CLICK HERE

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/garrett-foster-murdered-during-black-lives-matter-march-austin-texas-en.html

    Garrett Foster: Murdered During Black Lives Matter March in Austin, Texas

    | revcom.us

     

    On the night of Saturday, July 25, 28-year-old Garrett Foster was shot and killed as he marched through downtown Austin in a Black Lives Matter protest. 

    Foster was a well-known participant in Austin’s protests demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Mike Ramos (a man murdered by Austin police in April), and for other social justice causes. Thousands have protested in Austin since George Floyd was murdered in May, and one man told the Austin American-Statesman that Foster had been among them “day in and day out.” Garrett Foster was also an advocate of the right to carry arms, based on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At protests he was often seen pushing the wheelchair that held his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee, and carrying a rifle, which is legal to do in Texas. 

    Police Release the Killer

    Videos taken at the protest show that shortly before 10:00 p.m., a car made a sharp turn onto Congress Avenue, a major street on which people were marching in the direction of the state capitol. The car is seen accelerating into the march, and then abruptly stopping. People ran towards the car. Then five shots rang out in rapid succession. Garrett Foster fell to the ground, bleeding from gunshot wounds to his head. 

    After several seconds, another burst of shots is audible on one video. The driver of the car sped away, and Austin police say that a short time later the driver called 911 to say he or she had been involved in a shooting and that a gun had been pointed at him or her. Someone who police say fired shots at the car with the shooter also turned themselves in to the Austin Police Department (APD).

    Exactly what happened prior to the shots being fired is unclear. But the American-Statesman reported that people they interviewed told them, “Several protesters, including Foster, approached the car (the shooter was in)... and Foster had his weapon pointed down.” And Whitney Mitchell’s mother said to the Dallas Morning News that her daughter told her that Foster was trying to protect her, and that he “... jumped in front of Whitney, and the guy rolled down the window and shot him. They thought the person was aiming at her because she is a sitting duck.”

    As of Tuesday afternoon, APD had released no information about who they detained. But they did say they had released the alleged shooter, without any charges, “pending further investigation.” APD chief Brian Manley told reporters, "During the initial investigation of this incident, it appears that Mr. Foster may have pointed his weapon at the driver of this vehicle prior to being shot." 

    Manley did not back up this allegation with specific evidence. Natasha Harper-Madison, an Austin city council member, said on a local CBS news broadcast that the APD “... took his [the killer’s] word alone and determined that it was appropriate to release a person who had just taken another person's life. There are people who are sitting in jails right now for doing less. How is that fair, or just or appropriate?" 

    Trump Gloats Over Garrett Foster’s Death

    Other pigs in the APD, and racist trolls on social media, have been quick to blame Garrett Foster for his own death. The local CBS station in Austin reported that Ken Casaday, head of the police union there, thinks “...Foster may have been looking for a confrontation by having his rifle with him.” Casaday continued, “But if the story is true about him walking up on the car and he was pointing his rifle on him, I'm sorry, in this state everyone pretty much has a gun, and if you point a gun at someone bad things happen."

    On Sunday morning, fascist pig-in-chief Donald Trump gloated in the shooting murder of Garrett Foster and broadcast that to his hordes of white supremacist followers. He re-tweeted, “Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster, shot at a car five times. He missed. The driver shot back, killing him.” Trump later removed the tweet—after millions of his fascist mobs had seen and re-tweeted it themselves. 

    Trump is not just cheering on violence against Black people and others who stand up against white supremacy. He has directed the federal government to send federal pigs into Portland, Chicago, and other cities—and he has sent signals that fascists who attack protesters will be backed by his “Department of Justice” if they claim they feel “threatened.” Over the past couple of months, there has been a rash of violent assaults on protests by fascists, including people driving into protests. 

    Exactly what happened that ended with Garrett Foster losing his life remains unclear. But it is clear that Foster was a courageous, principled, and inspiring human being who was unjustly and brutally shot to death during a righteous protest. Hundreds of people came to a vigil for Garrett Foster on Sunday night. A banner at the vigil expressed the people’s mood and spirit—“Honor Garrett: Fight for Black Lives, Justice for Garrett.” 

    The hour is late indeed. The fight for Justice for Garrett needs to fuel further struggle across the country that drives the entire fascist Trump/Pence regime from power.


    Garrett Foster with his fiancee, Whitney Mitchell

     

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    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/rnl-show-episode-19-announcement-en.html

    Episode 19 of
    The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

    | revcom.us

     

    Share this widely

    "Trump/Pence Fascism Is Aggressively Advancing in Portland, Chicago & Beyond.
    ARE YOUR EYES WIDE SHUT?"

    Premieres on youtube.com/therevcoms
    Thurs, July 30, 2020
    5pm PDT / 8pm EDT

    The Revolution, Nothing Less Show

    Trump's American fascism is aggressively advancing, unleashing its triad of white supremacy, male supremacy and America-First violence. In this episode, Andy Zee will take a deep look at Trump's two new “operations” that make up one fascist offensive: “Operation Diligent Valor,” which has sent newly formed paramilitary federal forces into Portland to crush protests, and “Operation Legend,” which is sending federal forces into Chicago and elsewhere to intensify state terror against Black and Brown communities.

    Women are NOT bitches, hoes, punching bags, sex objects, or breeders! Women are full human beings! Breaking ALL the chains, including those against the half of humanity that is female and all oppression based on gender and sexual orientation, is a central and driving force of the revolution we are fighting for. As you will hear in a powerful excerpt of a speech from Bob Avakian, waging this fight is a hallmark of Bob Avakian's leadership. Then, join Sunsara Taylor and Luan Xocoyote as they then hit the streets with this message and reflect on it all in the studio.

     

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    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/658/bob-avakian-patriarchy-and-patriotism-the-danger-and-the-immediate-challenge-en.html

    PATRIARCHY AND PATRIOTISM—
    AGGRESSIVE MALE SUPREMACY AND AMERICAN SUPREMACY—
    THE DANGER AND THE IMMEDIATE CHALLENGE

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    As I have emphasized before:

    Where you have religious fundamentalism, you are going to have not only the forceful assertion of patriarchy and misogyny (hatred of women) but also aggressive patriotism—and notice that these two words have the same root, referring to allegiance to (and subordination to the authority of) the father(land). And, as we have seen, you are going to have white supremacy and racism.1

    Let’s look more deeply at this connection between patriarchal male supremacy and patriotism— as well as white supremacy—and in particular how this is expressed in extreme and virulent ways with the Christian fundamentalist fascists in this country.

    Christian Fascist Fanaticism for Trump

    Kristin Kobes Du Mez grew up in a town in Iowa which was filled with religious fundamentalists (which she refers to as “evangelicals,” and more specifically “white evangelicals”) who voted overwhelming for Donald Trump in 2016. In her book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, she makes these important observations:

    evangelical support for Trump was no aberration, nor was it merely a pragmatic choice. It was, rather, the culmination of evangelicals’ embrace of militant masculinity, an ideology that enshrines patriarchal authority and condones the callous display of power, at home and abroad....

    More than any other religious demographic in America, white evangelical Protestants support preemptive war, condone the use of torture, and favor the death penalty.... White evangelicals are significantly more authoritarian than other religious groups...2

    In Du Mez’s analysis, what comes through is not just the link (what I have emphasized is the “direct connection”) between aggressive white supremacy, male supremacy and gender oppression, rabid patriotism, xenophobic hatred of immigrants, and an overall support for violent repression at home as well as aggressive war abroad, but also specifically the role of “muscular” patriarchy—a “militant masculinity”—as the center and “pivot” in all this.

    Du Mez also emphasizes that all this is rooted in beliefs that are not so much theologically but socially and culturally driven: a fundamentalist rendering of the Christian religion which is really based in and serves definite, oppressive and repressive, relations, and the corresponding ideological and political views and aims. I have pointed out before that a defining feature of Christianity itself, as well as the other two main “monotheistic” (one-god) religions, Judaism and Islam, is the fact that they are patriarchal religions and promote patriarchal, male supremacist social relations.3 But the Christian fundamentalists give particular, focused attention to, and insistence upon, the parts of Christian tradition and scripture (in the Old Testament of the Bible especially, but also in the New Testament) that most blatantly and aggressively promote the submission and subordination of wives to their husbands, and in general the domination of women by men. And, again, as expressed in the good old USA in particular, this involves an insistence on the domination of (in Du Mez’s words) militant white masculinity.”

    A Special “Covenant” Relation with God 

    In the book Away With All Gods! I pointed to this important analysis by Kevin Phillips:

    Phillips reviews how, in the aftermath of the Civil War, although the South was defeated and the slave system was abolished, after the reversal of Reconstruction [in the 1870s] the South “rose again” in terms of political power and influence within the country as a whole. In connection with all this, Phillips points out, a religious mythology arose, and took root widely among white people in the South, that the (white) South had a special covenant with God and was the object of a special design by God to restore it to its proper place, righting the terrible wrong that had been done through the Civil War.4

    But, for these “unrepentant” and “unreconstructed” southern white supremacists, and those who adhere to the same poisonous outlook, this notion of a “special covenant with god” is not limited to the South but is applied by them to the U.S. as a whole—and this is seen as both an extension of, and the highest expression of, “the superiority of western civilization” and a special mandate to extend its domination not only over the continent of North America but over the world as a whole and all the peoples of the world, particularly those from what Donald Trump has called “shit-hole” countries, in Africa and other parts of the Third World.

    Listen to the words of Trump (in his speech at Mount Rushmore on July 3) on the superiority of white European “western civilization,” and the role of the American Revolution (“Seventeen seventy-six”) as the extension and highest expression of this:

    Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.

    And in a tweet sent out by the White House on July 7, this message is proclaimed:  

    Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars.

    In order to endorse this racist, European-supremacist version of reality, all that is necessary is to ignore the history of ancient, and more recent, civilizations in (among other places) China, India, the (“pre-Columbus”) Americas, Egypt and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the Islamic empires, and all their great achievements in agriculture, architecture, language and literature, astronomy, mathematics, and many other fields. While in fact benefitting from the historical experience and achievements of people from all parts of the world, over thousands of years, and the vicious exploitation of people in all parts of the world today, this grotesque American (and white-European) supremacy seizes on the top-dog position it has achieved through genocide and slavery, robbery, plunder and war, to proclaim its “superiority,” and its supposedly “god-given” right to rule, over all other peoples, within this country and in every part of the earth.

    Christian Fascism and Rabid Anti-Communism

    As Du Mez explains, confronted with the powerful movements of the 1960s against the Vietnam war and racial, sexual and gender oppression, “evangelicals”—and in particular “white evangelicals”:

    clung fiercely to the belief that America was a Christian nation, that the military was a force for good, and that the strength of the nation depended on a properly ordered, patriarchal home. The evangelical political resurgence of the 1970s coalesced around a potent mix of “family values” politics, but family values were always intertwined with ideas about sex, power, race, and nation. Feminism posed a threat to traditional womanhood, and also to national security by removing from men their duty to provide and protect and opening the door to women in military combat. In similar fashion, Vietnam was not just a national security issue, but also a crisis of masculinity.5

    The fact that, with all its military might and despite the horrendous death and destruction it rained down on Vietnam and its people, the U.S. failed in its attempt to subjugate Vietnam—and was forced to withdraw from Vietnam in defeat—this sent the Christian fundamentalist fascists into a frenzy. And, as the people leading the Vietnamese liberation struggle were identified as communists, this merged with and reinforced the Christian fascists’ fanatical hatred of “godless communism.” Here we see another “toxic combination” of mindless anti-communism and a sense of frustrated “muscular masculine militarism.”

    Of course, the use of religion to promote enforced patriotism has not been limited to right-wing and outright fascist representatives of American capitalist imperialism. It was during the 1950s, under the “mainstream” president (the “moderate” Republican) Eisenhower that the words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance, as a direct part of the crusade against the threat posed by “godless communism” to American domination in the world, with all the horrors that had already been involved in achieving and maintaining that dominance. This included the actual use of two atomic bombs by the U.S. at the end of World War 2—ordered by the Democratic President Truman—which immediately incinerated hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and subjected many more to excruciating suffering), ushering in the “nuclear age” which for generations now has continued as an ever-present existential threat hanging over human beings everywhere.

    But today, the fascists now ruling in the U.S.—with the Christian fascists the driving force in this—are prepared to carry all these horrors to even greater and more monstrous extremes. Listen to Trump’s belligerent, bellicose hymns of praise to America’s power to destroy, in the following words from his statement on July 4th (the day after his celebration, at Mount Rushmore, of American “manifest destiny” and the genocide this has already involved):

    No enemy on Earth stands a chance—$2.5 trillion, we’ve invested—all made in the USA. We’ve never had anything near the power and the equipment that we have right now. We did that over the last three years.... Everywhere these aircraft have flown, they’ve rained down American thunder, delivered American justice, and they have fiercely defended every square inch of American sovereignty.... In their steel frames, broad wings, and roaring engines, we see the story of America’s daring defiance, its soaring spirit, and undying resolve.”

    In this, we need to recognize not just the more obvious, and odious, macho posturing of Trump but, on a deeper level, the close link and interconnection between unfettered male domination of the most brutal kind and the urge to war to defend “god’s chosen nation” (which in reality is the empire of U.S. capitalist imperialism). In this connection, the following from the book Jesus and John Wayne is very relevant (keeping in mind again that the author uses the term “evangelicals” or “white evangelicals” to refer to what must be scientifically identified as Christian fundamentalist fascists):

    For evangelicals, domestic and foreign policy are two sides of the same coin. Christian nationalism—the belief that America is God’s chosen nation and must be defended as such—serves as a powerful predictor of intolerance toward immigrants, racial minorities, and non-Christians. It is linked to opposition to gay rights and gun control, to support for harsher punishments for criminals, to justifications for the use of excessive force against black Americans in law enforcement situations, and to traditionalist gender ideology. White evangelicals have pieced together this patchwork of issues, and a nostalgic commitment to rugged, aggressive, militant white masculinity serves as the thread binding them together into a coherent whole. A father’s rule in the home is inextricably linked to heroic leadership on the national stage, and the fate of the nation hinges on both.6

    The fact is that the fate of humanity could very well hinge on a thorough repudiation of and a decisive defeat of this toxic combination of aggressive patriarchy and the patriotism of a white Christian America. This is concentrated in very immediate terms in the need for masses of people to act now on the urgent need to remove the fascist Trump-Pence from power, with the most powerful expression of this a massive, non-violent but sustained mobilization of people in the streets united around the unifying demand that this regime must be OUT NOW! 

    And, in the most fundamental terms, all this ultimately depends on the overthrow and uprooting of the system, of capitalism-imperialism, that is the soil out of which this grotesque fascism has grown.

     


    1. Fascists Today And The Confederacy: A Direct Line, A Direct Connection Between All The Oppression. This article by Bob Avakian is available at revom.us.  [back]

    2. Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, Liveright Publishing. The passages quoted here are from the “Introduction.”  [back]

    3. See Morality Without Religion, Emancipation That Is Real. This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

    4. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, 2008, pp, 141-42. The statements by Kevin Phillips cited here are from Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Viking Press, 2006.

    There is a definite irony in the fact that Phillips was one of the main people responsible for formulating the Republican Party’s “southern strategy,” which was based on the appeal to the racism of white southerners who are characterized by the very kind of views and sentiments that Phillips describes, critically, here. It seems that Phillips later came to regret at least much of where this “southern strategy” has led, and this book of his contains important exposure and analysis of this.  [back]

    5. Jesus and John Wayne, the “Introduction.”  [back]

    6. Jesus and John Wayne, the “Introduction.”  [back]

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

    Get Into BA »

    See:

    PATRIARCHY AND MALE SUPREMACY,
    OR REVOLUTION AND ENDING ALL OPPRESSION?

    by Bob Avakian

    Read more

    See also:

     

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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/658/bob-avakian-patriarchy-and-male-supremacy-or-revolution-and-ending-all-oppression-en.html

    PATRIARCHY AND MALE SUPREMACY,
    OR REVOLUTION AND ENDING ALL OPPRESSION?

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    As I have emphasized (and it is important to keep emphasizing):

    There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today, and a direct connection between their white supremacy, their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw “America First” jingoism and trumpeting of “the superiority of Western civilization” and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.1

    Kristin Kobes Du Mez has extensively studied the phenomenon of Christian fundamentalism, which is the driving force of this fascism. Referring to this as “evangelicalism” (or, more specifically, “white evangelicalism”) she speaks to the same kind of “direct connection” between many of these forms of oppression, and she makes this important point:

    a nostalgic commitment to rugged, aggressive, militant white masculinity serves as the thread binding them together into a coherent whole. A father’s rule in the home is inextricably linked to heroic leadership on the national stage, and the fate of the nation hinges on both.2

    There are some—like Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and others—who insist that they are foremost opponents of white supremacy, while at the same time they have a great deal in common with the Christian fascists, including the promotion of all kinds of ridiculous and outrageous mythology and conspiracy theories, in opposition to science and the scientific method, and the insistence on many of the same oppressive relations that the fascists are determined to enforce.

    To speak to one crucial dimension of this: There is no way to end white supremacy while clinging to, and insisting upon, male supremacy. Seeking to counter “militant white masculinity” with a Black version of the same “militant masculinity”—another variation of patriarchal male supremacy—this cannot lead to ending any form of oppression.

    Just as there is a “direct connection” between all the oppressive and repressive relations and ways of thinking that bind together the program of the Christian fascists, there is no way to break any link in this chain without breaking them all.

    And, going deeper, the whole chain of oppression and monstrous crimes against humanity—white supremacy, male supremacy, discrimination and brutality against LGBT people, American supremacist domination and wars for empire, xenophobic hatred of immigrants, plunder of the environment—all this is fundamentally rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism.

    Seeking to “get in on” (to “get your fair share of”) the spoils that come from American capitalist-imperialist plunder of the earth and exploitation of masses of people on every part of the earth—or seeking some “bargain” with the rulers of this system, in order to set yourself up as new overlords and exploiters of masses of people—this is not a road to emancipation, but something that contributes to perpetuating oppression.

    Only through the revolution aiming to overthrow this system—to defeat and dismantle this system of capitalism-imperialism and all its institutions of oppression and violent repression, replacing them with institutions that can serve the cause of emancipating all of humanity and enabling human beings to become fit caretakers of the earth—only in this way can each and every form of oppression, plunder and exploitation be finally ended.

     


    1. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us.  [back]

    2. Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, Liveright Publishing. This statement is from the “Introduction.” Emphasis has been added here.  [back]

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

    Get Into BA »

    See also:

    PATRIARCHY AND PATRIOTISM—
    AGGRESSIVE MALE SUPREMACY AND AMERICAN SUPREMACY—
    THE DANGER AND THE IMMEDIATE CHALLENGE

    by Bob Avakian

    Read more

     

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

     

    Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all who participated in our successful May Fund Drive for Revcom.us and The RNL Show!
    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.

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us: