revcom.us, August 3, 2020 through August 9, 2020 (#659)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/bob-avakian_statement-on-the-immediate-critical-situation-en.html

STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN
August 1, 2020

ON THE IMMEDIATE CRITICAL SITUATION,
THE URGENT NEED TO DRIVE OUT THE FASCIST TRUMP/PENCE REGIME,
VOTING IN THIS ELECTION,
AND THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

1The situation today holds truly unprecedented and momentous challenges, with profound implications not only for the people in this country but for all of humanity. Three years ago, I spoke to this reality—which has become even more pronounced, and even more dangerous, in the time since then:

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

This is a regime headed by “a demented bully” with his finger on the nuclear button. It is a regime that, without exaggeration, threatens not just greatly heightened suffering for the masses of humanity but the very existence of humanity itself, through its intensified moves to further the plunder of the environment and its boasts of unequaled weapons of mass destruction and its blatant declaration of willingness to use those weapons, including its massive nuclear arsenal.

I have also emphasized that it is this system of capitalism-imperialism which, through its “normal workings,” has brought forth this fascism, and that no fundamental change for the better can be brought about under this system, and instead this system must be overthrown and replaced by a radically different and far better system, in order to abolish and uproot all relations of exploitation and oppression, and the violent conflicts they give rise to—all of which is built into the foundations of this system and its ongoing functioning and requirements.

Right now, for everyone who is concerned with ending injustice and oppression, and with the question of whether humanity will have a future worth living—or will have a future at all—removing the Trump/Pence fascist regime from power is an immediate, urgent question and truly historic imperative.

And, for those who understand the need for revolution, for the overthrow of this system, as the fundamental solution to the continuing horrors this system causes for the masses of humanity (whether this system is ruled through an open fascist dictatorship, or the disguised “democratic” dictatorship, of the ruling capitalist class), the immediate struggle to oust the Trump/Pence regime from power must be approached not as a “diversion” from (or “substitute for”) building the movement for the revolution that is needed, but precisely as part—a crucial part and urgent requirement—of the overall work of building for this revolution.

Our fundamental goal, and guiding star, remains: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! 

In everything we do, including in all the struggles we take part in that are themselves short of revolution, our consistent approach is, and must be, to make all this serve that fundamental goal of revolution and the emancipation of all humanity.

***********

Normally, we revolutionary communists argue that people should not vote in bourgeois elections, which serve to reinforce the existing system of capitalism-imperialism and feed popular illusions that exploitation, oppression and injustices can somehow be “reformed away” short of getting rid of the system that gives rise to these horrors in the first place. But is this the right position to take in relation to this particular election?

To answer this, we need to look at the whole picture.  [Read again]

2Already, in the nearly four years it has been in power, we have been forced to witness and endure the horrors already committed, and the grave danger posed, by the Trump/Pence regime. Trump ran his campaign in 2016 on what amounted to a straight-up fascist program, including blatant white supremacy and male supremacy, and xenophobic racism toward immigrants, particularly those from Mexico and other countries which Trump regards as “shit-holes,” as well as open advocacy of torture and thuggery by police and Trump’s “civilian” supporters. And, once in power, Trump has blasted ahead with the implementation of this program, steamrolling over any “institutional norms” that stood in the way of this, even in the face of impeachment—and with heightened arrogance and momentum once his fellow fascists in the Republican Party voted to acquit him in the Senate.

Essentially, everything that is described about this regime at the beginning of this statement is what Trump and those around him have carried out with a vengeance. This has become all the more flagrant and aggressive with the approach of the election scheduled for this November. And imagine what Trump will do if he is given a second-term “mandate” through re-election this coming November.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response of Trump and Pence to this has also provided another graphic illustration of the anti-scientific nature of this regime and its utter disregard for the suffering of masses of people, especially those most despised by this regime and most vulnerable to and hit hardest by this pandemic.

But, as horrific as all this has been, it is not just a matter of horrific policies but of qualitatively different form of rule, based on brutal repression and violation of what are supposed to be the most basic rights.

Already we have seen Trump, in flagrant violation of Constitutional principles, send occupying storm troopers, from various federal government agencies, to criminalize dissent and suppress people protesting in Portland and other cities, and to add to the reign of terror against masses of people in the inner cities of Chicago and elsewhere.

We have seen Trump’s crude displays of “America First” jingoism, including his repeated calls for severely punishing those who, in his view, have failed to show the appropriate patriotic fervor, or who have dared to raise criticism and protest against some of the more glaring oppression carried out by enforcers of this system, in particular the ongoing brutality and murder of Black, Brown, and Native American people by police. We have witnessed his continual encouragement of white supremacist thuggery, by police and by “Second Amendment people” and other “very fine people.”

All this calls to mind the rise to power and the rule of Hitler and the NAZIs in Germany during the 1930s and early 1940s. As Hitler built his fascist movement, thugs would be mobilized to brutalize and terrorize people who didn’t show support for Hitler and the NAZIs—assaulting them on the street and in other public places. Once the NAZI fascist state had consolidated its power, any opposition was severely punished and crushed. All those who did not openly endorse and proclaim the official NAZI ideology were targeted. Large numbers of people were purged from public institutions—all those, in particular Jews but others as well, who were deemed “alien” to the “pure Germanic race” and an obstacle to the monstrous aims of the NAZIs. Beginning with the communists, but before long encompassing the Jewish population, Roma people, homosexuals, and others, concentration camps were filled with those who were considered a threat to the NAZIs or a “stain” on the German nation. And this led, before long, to the mass genocide of millions of Jews in Germany and countries conquered and occupied by the NAZIs.

All this did not happen all at once—but it took place within a relatively short period of time (a decade or so), and with an increasingly accelerating pace. The rule of law was not openly and formally abandoned altogether, but the “law” and “the rule of law” became the same as what Hitler and the NAZIs said it was. Much of what Hitler and the NAZIs did, during their reign of terror and genocide, was “in accordance with the law”—law that they had reduced to nothing more than their barbaric aims and means, murderously enforced by institutions which had been stripped of any meaning or purpose other than what conformed to and served the NAZI agenda, reduced to nothing more than instruments of NAZI atrocity.

In the whole of what Trump is currently doing—including his open calls to overturn Supreme Court decisions and precedents (for example, to outlaw abortion and punish flag burning), along with his repeated violations of the law and due process of the law and his insistence that he is the law—we can see the looming shadow of even more overt fascist dictatorship. For that is what fascism is: open and aggressive dictatorship, trampling on and perverting the rule of law, relying on violence and terror, on behalf of the predatory capitalist system and as an extreme attempt to deal with profound social division and acute crises (both within the country and in the global arena). And with the moves by Trump’s “Secretary of Education,” Betsy DeVos—who is herself a Christian fascist whose ultimate goal is to replace public, secular education with schools based on Christian fundamentalist indoctrination—we can see the outline of the Trump/Pence regime version of “official (Christian fascist) ideology.” We can recognize the looming shadow of a situation where not just school children, but everyone in society, will be required to pledge allegiance to a white Christian fascist America.

A statement from the organization Refuse Fascism (RefuseFascism.org) argues eloquently and powerfully:

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.

For far too long, those of us, including the diverse voices represented by Refuse Fascism, who have been pointing to the very real immediate danger—and potentially even greater danger—represented by the Trump/Pence regime were far too often met with arrogant dismissal by those who could not, or would not, see the reality and the trajectory of this regime; who dismissed the danger by ignoring or downplaying many of the terrible things this regime had already done; and who then pointed to whatever had not yet been done by this regime as supposed “proof” that it would not do those things. Now, at this late and crucial hour, to treat as “alarmist exaggeration” the fascist nature of this regime and its very real parallels with the horrors perpetrated by previous fascist regimes—this is to ignore not only vital lessons from history, but also the extremely dangerous reality of the current situation, including the significance of the fact that Trump—fulfilling his promise to Christian fascists—has stacked the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, with legions of Christian fascists and other extreme right-wing judges, who will move to “legally legitimize” the whole horrific program of the Trump/Pence fascist regime.

If this regime is able to further consolidate its power and make further leaps in implementing its horrific objectives, this will result in a devastating setback for any attempt to resist injustice and oppression, and will very likely lead to the brutal repression, and even annihilation, of defenders of democratic rights and proponents of any meaningful progressive reforms, as well as any organized forces fighting for fundamental revolutionary change.

In the most essential sense, the urgent need to mobilize masses of people around the demand to force the removal of this fascist regime is not in conflict with the mass outpouring against institutionalized white supremacy and police terror, or other mass movements against the outrages of this system, but is in basic unity with and is crucial for all these struggles, and all this can and must be understood, and built, in a powerful mutually reinforcing way.  [Read again]

3Simply relying on voting to oust this regime will almost certainly lead to very bad, even disastrous results. This is especially true given what this regime is already doing, and what Trump is saying, in relation to the election.

Through completely unfounded attacks on voting by mail, and preparation to intimidate and obstruct Black people and Latinos attempting to exercise their right to vote, moves are already underway by the Trump/Pence regime and its supporters to suppress the votes of those who are likely to vote against Trump. As he did in the 2016 election, Trump has already indicated his likely refusal to accept the result of the election this time if he is not the winner. And now Trump has openly “floated” the idea of “delaying” the election.

Given what Trump has already done, and what he has blatantly declared, as much as it is horrifying it is also very realistic to envision this regime stationing storm troopers, loyal to this regime, in cities all across this country—viciously moving to suppress any expression of resistance or opposition—with the approach of the election, and continuing beyond that.

The ongoing pandemic, or executive orders to quell “civil disorder” (i.e., protests) in many parts of the country, could also serve as pretexts to “postpone” the election, perhaps indefinitely.

And it is certainly not unthinkable that Trump would move to create a “national emergency”—for example, by carrying out acts of war, against Iran or possibly even China—in order to further institute even more extreme repressive conditions, with even greater numbers of para-military storm troopers occupying cities, in order either to cancel (or indefinitely “delay”) the election, or to control the voting and the results of the election if it is held.

It is of critical importance to continue to build resistance, right now and in an increasingly powerful way, against any and all repressive moves by Trump, including by building mass opposition to this regime’s attempts at voter suppression and through mass mobilization in support and defense of those who are targets of such suppression.

With the full awareness of what is represented by this fascist regime, and what it means that Trump is not only seeking to suppress the votes of people who will vote against him but is also preparing to utilize forceful, violent repression to remain in office if he is not declared the winner in the election, it is of critical and urgent importance to build now truly massive and sustained mobilization around the unifying demand that this regime must be OUT NOW!—with an orientation of being prepared to continue this even past the election, if the situation requires it.

From the first days of the Trump/Pence regime, Refuse Fascism has been calling out the fascism of this regime and calling for the mass mobilization to drive out this regime that is now, all the more urgently, required. It would have been very good—it could have made a real difference—if all those who hate this regime but failed, or refused, to recognize its actual fascist nature and the great danger to humanity it poses as such, had much earlier responded to and actively taken up this call by Refuse Fascism. Now, finally, there is a growing recognition, and increasing discussion, about the “authoritarian” nature of this regime, and even the use of the term “fascism” to describe it. (As I have pointed out, on the part of many, this is a case of “Oh, now they’re saying” this is fascism, as if that has just become the case. But, with an understanding of the profound stakes involved, it is important to recognize that now is better than never.) The hour is getting late—but it is still not too late to make this mass mobilization a reality. Relying on, and confining actions within, the “norms” and “regular channels” of this system, including the upcoming election, cannot solve this profound and urgent problem, especially when dealing with a fascist regime and its fanatical followers that are determined to trample on and tear up those “norms.”  [Read again]

4At this critical hour, every appropriate means of non-violent action must be utilized to remove this regime from power. And if, in spite of mass protest demanding the removal of the Trump/Pence regime, this regime remains in power when it is time for voting, then—without placing fundamental reliance on this—using all appropriate means to work for the removal of this regime must include voting against Trump (assuming the election is actually held). To be clear, this means not a “protest vote” for some candidate who has no chance of winning, but actually voting for the Democratic Party candidate, Biden, in order to effectively vote against Trump.

This is not because Biden (and the Democratic Party in general) have suddenly become something other than what they are: representatives and instruments of this exploitative, oppressive, and literally murderous system of capitalism-imperialism. The electoral process continues to be what we revcoms have called it—BEB (Bourgeois Electoral Bullshit). It remains the case that no fundamental change for the better can come about through this electoral process, and that, in general and overall, voting under this system serves to reinforce this system, especially if voting is seen as a way—and more so if it is seen as the (only) way—to bring about meaningful change.

But this election is different.

It is true that, with every election, the Democrats run the same basic con game—blackmailing people who hate injustice and oppression to vote for them as the “lesser evil”— insisting in effect that, “You may not agree with everything we say, you may even have serious differences and criticisms regarding what we’re all about—but do you want them to be in power?!” (the openly white supremacist, male supremacist, climate change-denying plunderers of the environment, and all-around reactionary Republican Party). And the Democratic Party has done this, time after time after time, while itself representing and seeking to preside over this system of capitalism-imperialism which has white supremacy, male supremacy, environmental plunder and wars for empire built into it, at the same time as the Democrats make noises about, and take some steps to implement, minor (and ultimately meaningless) reforms to supposedly address these outrages. All this has actually contributed to the development of things toward the terrible situation we are faced with now. It has politically paralyzed many who seek an end to such outrages, reducing them to passive dependents on the Democratic Party and its role in the electoral process, while adding fuel to the fire of the die-hard fascist sections of society that insist on absolutely no mitigation of these outrages—no concession to the struggle against this—and in fact demand the brutal reinforcement of this oppression and outrage, in extreme terms.

But, again, this election is different—in a crucially important way. The question is not whether Biden and the Democrats represent something “good,” or whether, in fundamental terms, the Democrats are “better” than the Republicans. Both of these parties are ruling class political parties, and none of their candidates represent anything “good” in the most basic and essential sense. Biden is not “better” than Trump, in any meaningful way—except that he is not Trump and is not part of the move to consolidate and enforce fascist rule, with everything that means.

To approach this election from the standpoint of which candidate is “better” means failing to understand the truly profound stakes and potential consequences of what is involved. The fact is that there can be one—and only one—“good” that can come out of this election: delivering a decisive defeat to Trump and the whole fascist regime. Doing this would create far better conditions for continuing to wage the struggle against everything represented by the Trump/Pence regime and all the oppression and injustices of this system, and would be a great gift to the people of the world.

Again, in these very particular, extraordinary circumstances, if the Trump/Pence regime is still in power by the time of the election, in spite of mass mobilizations demanding the ouster of this regime, then the struggle against this fascist regime needs to include voting against Trump by voting for Biden, while continuing to build sustained mass mobilization against this regime and everything it represents and concentrates, and being prepared to carry forward this mass mobilization if Trump loses the election but refuses to leave.  [Read again]

5In recognizing this, however, it is extremely important to stress once again, in the strongest terms, that, for the reasons spoken to here, relying on voting—without this mass mobilizationwill very likely lead to disaster.

There is the possibility that Trump could actually win the election—although whether he wins or loses, this election will involve unprecedented moves to suppress the votes of those opposing him and to use other illegal means to enable him to remain in power. And, even more essentially, with the clear understanding of the fascist nature of this regime, and the full implications of that, this regime is illegitimate, regardless of the means by which it has come to power and moves to retain and further consolidate power. Hitler and the NAZIs came to power in Germany in the 1930s through the “normal channels” of the “democratic system” there—including elections—but there was absolutely nothing “legitimate” about their rule and all the truly unspeakable horrors it led to. And the same basic principle applies to the Trump/Pence regime. By its very nature and content, there is no such thing as “legitimate” fascism.

Whatever happens with the election—and even if Biden wins and succeeds in actually taking office—there will be no “return to normalcy.” First of all, the fascists—those still in powerful positions, and the fascist “base” in the wider society—will not allow it. And, in any case, no one should want it. 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 many-sided struggle to oust the fascist Trump/Pence regime must be taken up not as a substitute for but as a part—a crucial part—of moving to get beyond all that is represented by and embodied in the “normalcy” of this system.  [Read again]

6Finally, regardless of what happens with this election, it remains profoundly true—and it is vitally important to recognize, and to act on the understanding—that no fundamental change for the better can come under this system. Even as sustained mass mobilization urgently needs to be built around the unifying demand of Trump/Pence OUT NOW!, all those who have come to see that institutionalized white supremacy, male supremacy and the many other outrages and crimes against humanity perpetrated under this system are in fact built into this system of capitalism-imperialism must work together, in an ongoing way, to build a continually growing movement and to strengthen the organized forces for an actual revolution to overthrow this system.

In summation: Given the truly monumental stakes involved, not only in terms of any particular issue, no matter how important, and not merely in terms of this country, but for the masses of people throughout the world and the future of humanity, there is a great need to approach things and act with the sophistication necessary to handle the complex and difficult contradictions involved in all this—having a broad vision, rejecting petty sectarianism and brittle dogmatism, and not falling into a paralyzing “either/or”: either we fight against white supremacy and police terror, or we fight to bring about the removal of the Trump/Pence fascist regime; either we vote in this election, or we build mass struggle against outrageous oppression and against this fascist regime; either we oppose this regime, by all appropriate means, or we work for revolution. In this extraordinary and very complex situation—and from the point of view of advancing the struggle toward the goal of finally eliminating all exploitation and oppression, everywhere—there is an urgent need to do all of thatand to do so with an understanding of the correct and necessary relation between the different parts of this overall approach: putting the main emphasis and reliance on mass mobilization, with voting in this extraordinary situation necessary and important but not the main thing to be relied upon; and, in fundamental terms, making all this contribute to creating more favorable conditions for, and building up the organized forces for, not only resisting the crimes of this system but finally carrying out the revolution that is needed in order to put an end to this monstrously criminal system and its domination in the world, in any form.  [Read again]

Promote BA's Statement "On The Immediate Critical Situation..."
With These Graphics

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Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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/650/bob-avakian_nothing-less-en.html

| revcom.us

 

A statement from Bob Avakian

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWW.REVCOM.US          

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-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]

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/portland-and-other-cities-the-beautiful-rising-continues-en.html

In Portland and Other Cities, the Beautiful Rising Continues Across the U.S.

| revcom.us

 


Refuse Fascism marching by Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

As July ended and August began, the beautiful rising of people across the country against the police murder of Black people and other injustices of this system continued last week—in Portland, where the Trump/Pence regime has sent in federal storm troopers against the protests, and in other cities and towns. This is taking place as the Trump/Pence regime is moving rapidly, aggressively, and in multiple ways to push forward fascism, including targeting protests with stepped-up repression

In a number of cities, Refuse Fascism organized actions and united with others on Saturday, August 1, demanding “No Federal Crackdown in Portland: No more police murder of Black people, No fascist police state, No fascist military war on the people, No federal agents sweeping up protestors. TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW! In a new call that came out this weekend, Refuse Fascism called for people to “stay in the streets in August” and to build for a “UNITED NATIONWIDE MASS PROTEST” on Saturday, September 5.

The Revolution Club led marches in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago and in South Central LA against the deploying of armed federal pigs to Portland and other cities, to demand TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!, and bring alive the reality that in order to bring an end to all the crimes and injustices of this system, “WE NEED REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!”

The following are pictures/videos and short accounts of a sampling of the protests this weekend.

*****

 

Portland

City and state officials had announced that they had come to an agreement with the Trump/Pence regime for the withdrawal of the federal pigs that had been deployed to Portland. As of midnight Saturday, the federal agents were still in the federal courthouse—but they did not come out into the streets to wreak violence on the people as they had done over the past couple of weeks. Hundreds of people continued to come out into the streets, at the courthouse and throughout the downtown area. People reclaimed the fence that had been built as a barrier to the courthouse and decorated it with balloons and big Black Lives Matter letters. At a park a couple of miles from the courthouse, a group that called itself Firefighters for Black Lives Matter gathered. Another group, Unemployed Workers for Black Lives, marched towards the federal building. Members of the National Tour to Organize for an ACTUAL Revolution who had arrived in the city earlier in the week were part of protests, including with a banner saying “No Fascist Police State. Revolution—Nothing Less!”

One news report captures the night: “Just after midnight, the crowd had grown to over 1,000 people who remained outside chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and shouting the names of Black people killed by police. Groups were also standing together engaging in conversations about social injustice.” Later in the night, the Portland police declared that people gathered outside a police precinct was an “unlawful assembly.” Videos show police charging at the people multiple times. Two people were arrested.

Austin, Texas

Hundreds marched in protest of police brutality, starting from the University of Texas campus and going to the downtown site of a memorial for Garrett Foster—the Black Lives Matter protester who was shot and killed during a protest on July 25. The Statesman reported, “More than a hundred Austin officers, many mounted on horseback and bicycles, and state troopers in riot gear, arrived to face an angry crowd that spilled onto Congress Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Austin Saturday night.” The police used pepper spray against protesters and arrested several people.

New York City

There were protests through the weekend in different boroughs across the city, including a Saturday rally in Union Square. Spectrum NY 1 quoted Travis Morales of Refuse Fascism saying, “Everybody needs to be out on the streets. If you have an ounce of compassion in your heart, if you can’t stand to see the continuing murder of Black people, you need to be out on the streets. But that’s gotta be part of demanding Trump, Pence out now.”

Albuquerque, New Mexico

700 people marched and took over an intersection. This was organized by the Red Nation, which said the protest was a “rise against fascism.” They denounced Trump’s fascist pigs being sent into cities—in particular, his plans to send 35 federal agents to New Mexico under his Operation LeGend (the same operation that includes deployment of 200 federal pigs to Chicago and other cities to bring down further repression).

Chicago

Hundreds gathered at Millennium Park and marched through the downtown area to demand, among other things, that the city defund the police and stop working with ICE.

Detroit

People marched and rallied against federal pigs coming to the city and for an end to systemic racism and police brutality. An activist with the group Detroit Will Breathe, said, “We need to say in a forceful way, federal agents, out of Detroit now.... What concerns me is how many more black bodies will be shot because federal troops are stomping around in the city, instigating terror.” Congressperson Rashida Tlaib was part of the protest, which also raised other issues like evictions and shutoff of water to poor families. Another activist with Detroit Will Breathe said, “We are not afraid, we are not intimidated, we will not be bullied.... Now is the time to fight.”

Franklin, Tennessee

Four youths, 18 and 19 years old, got together to start a group called Students for Black Empowerment. On Friday, they held a rally and march demanding that a Confederate statue in the middle of Franklin Public Square come down and be moved to a museum. A founder of the group said, “With other protests in the country, it’s kind of laid the groundwork and empowered us as students to stand up for the injustice we see.... We shouldn’t have a monument in the center of town that is honoring ... the issue of slavery."

Greenville, South Carolina


Photo: Josh Morgan/Staff/GreenvilleOnline

Dozens gathered at the Springwood Cemetery to demand that a Confederate war monument come down. They were met with dozens of white supremacist defenders of the monument. The statue was erected in 1891 and stood in the center of the town until it was moved to the cemetery in 1922.

Emmaus, Pennsylvania


Photo: Gabrielle Rhoads, The Morning Call

Two groups confronted each other in the center of the town at high noon on Saturday, about 100 on each side. One was the visibly armed white supremacist, pro-Trump goons who were out there with their “Back the Blue” and pro-gun signs, wearing no masks. The other group was activists with signs that read “No Justice, No Peace,” “Hate has no home here,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Syracuse, New York


Photo: Syracuse-no-police-in-schools

On Saturday, a rally in front of City Hall demanded demilitarizing the police and changing the use of force policy by the cops. People want cops to be removed from the school campuses. One educator at the protest said, “You can’t stop criminalizing Black and brown children if you still have police in the building.”

 

Columbus, Ohio

On Friday, people gathered to protest police brutality at the Fraternal Order of Police headquarters and the Ohio Statehouse. Six people were arrested when the pigs threatened to tow a car and then a group of people reportedly surrounded the car to prevent it from being towed. A video shows the pigs tearing off a woman’s mask and goggles and spraying pepper spray directly into her eyes. More police officers arrived, and later they arrested three more people who they were trying to move onto the sidewalk.

Maggie Valley, North Carolina


Photo: Luke Weir

About 100 protesters marched through the center of this town of 12,000 people, from the Town Hall to the town firehouse and back. Lots of cops were deployed for the march, and there were some counterprotesters with the U.S. flag, the Confederate flag, and the Blue Lives Matter flag. Protesters chanted, “No KKK, no racist USA” “No lives matter until Black Lives Matter,” and “What do we want? Justice!” In previous days, a number of pastors had been walking through the community in pairs and praying for understanding and protection for the protest.

Salt Lake City, Utah

A demonstration held by the Salt Lake County Black Democratic Caucus to honor women of color who have been victims of police brutality was attended by a broad array of people. The crowd heard women from Latinx, trans, indigenous and Black communities.

La Mesa, California

On Saturday, protesters gathered to demand justice for women of color. People demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, who was killed by pigs in March in Louisville, Kentucky, and Vanessa Guillén, a soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, killed in April by another soldier.

Berthoud, Colorado

Saturday, Black Lives Matter protesters were confronted by white supremacist pro-Trump counterprotesters, some of them armed, across the street. News reports said the whole crowd was about 100-200 people, with the counterprotesters in the majority. People chanted “Black Lives Matter” and repeated the names of people who had been killed by police. Many of those on the BLM side of the street were teenagers and young adults. The counterprotesters were mostly older, with a handful of teenagers. Faith Solter, 13 years old, who lives in Berthoud, said she organized the Black Lives Matter protest because “I just really needed to have some sort of outlet for people who wanted to protest.”

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/revclub-revtour-in-streets-say-no-to-federal-pigs-bring-message-revolution-nothing-less-en.html

Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles...

Revolution Club and Revolution Tour in the Streets to Say NO to Federal Pigs and Bring the Message “Revolution—Nothing Less!”

| revcom.us

 

In Portland, members of the National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution have been on the ground, joining in the protests that have rocked that city for weeks. The video below shows Maya from the Tour addressing a large group of protestors, speaking powerfully to how the root of the problems people face is in the system of capitalism-imperialism, and how there is leadership for an actual revolution to overthrow that system and bring about a radically different world in Bob Avakian. Go here to donate to support these revcoms in Portland.

And this past weekend, the Revolution Club called for marches in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago and in South Central LA to demand that federal pigs get out of Portland and Chicago, to call for “Trump/Pence OUT NOW!” and to bring out that in order to end institutionalized racism and murder by police, and all the ways people are used and abused here and around the world, “We Need Revolution—NOTHING LESS!”

On this page are some sights and sounds from the Revolution Club and the Tour for this weekend.

Portland

Hell yeah, Bob Avakian is controversial. Any leader who’s talking about overthrowing the system is gonna offend some people. If it doesn't then you’re not talking about an actual revolution. But look at the substance and think for yourself!

Maya Malika from the National Revolution Tour, keeping it 💯 in Portland Saturday night.

Portland

Los Angeles

Put your fists in the air and say NO MORE! Marching thru South Central LA: We want to invite YOU to step into this revolution

Los Angeles

Chicago

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

Venmo: @RevolutionTour

PayPal: CLICK HERE

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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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

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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 revcom.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]

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

by Bob Avakian

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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.

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See also:

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

by Bob Avakian

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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.

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/amlo-and-trump-in-white-house-ugly-celebration-of-imperialist-domination-en.html

AMLO and Trump in the White House—An Ugly Celebration of the Imperialist Domination of Mexico and the World

| revcom.us

 

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

The words of [Mexican president] López Obrador [AMLO] and [U.S. president] Trump before the media, and the very brief “joint statement” they signed on July 8, highlight the domination of Mexico by U.S. imperialism.

López Obrador praised Trump and his government, a fascist regime based on white supremacy, male supremacy, and American xenophobia that continues to attack Mexicans, immigrants (and Blacks, Latinos, and indigenous people in the U.S.), with these phony words: ... “During my term as President of Mexico, instead of grievances towards me and, what I consider to be most important, towards my country, we have received from you understanding and respect.” He thanked “the people of the United States, your government, and you, President Trump, for being increasingly respectful of our Mexican compatriots.” And he ended his compliments for Trump with this: “But what I appreciate most is that you have never sought to impose on us anything that might infringe or violate our sovereignty... You have not sought to treat us as a colony, but have instead honored our status as an independent nation. That is why I am here, to express to the people of the United States that their President has behaved towards us with kindness and respect, he has treated us for what we are: a dignified, free, democratic, and sovereign country and people.”

AMLO oozed submission, flattering Trump and covering up Trump’s vile attacks on the peoples of Mexico and Central America... Sixteen days before his meeting with López Obrador, Trump “autographed” a piece of his wall in Arizona and proclaimed that if it were not for that wall, the coronavirus would have “flooded” the United States. Two days before the meeting, he again branded migrants in New York and Chicago as criminals. In June 2019, under the threat of crippling tariffs, the Trump government dictated that the Mexican Army and National Guard would hunt down, repress, and deport Central American immigrants, acting as “border patrol” for the United States, crimes that they continue to commit today....

In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, migrants sick from COVID-19 were deported by the U.S. to Mexico and Guatemala. The U.S. demanded that the “supply chains” of the automotive and aerospace industries be resumed, and the Mexican government complied, reclassifying them as “essential,” with the imperialist sweatshops in Mexico forcing people to continue working in these and other branches of industry dominated by firms from the United States, which concentrate the profits from the superexploitation of millions of workers in Mexico (and in many other oppressed countries).1

Why does the President of Mexico silence all this and praise the treatment of the United States and the current fascist regime in relation to Mexico and Mexicans in the United States? Fundamentally because, AMLO, as president of a country so completely dominated by imperialism, depends on the approval of the big capitalists in the United States and its government. As they constantly explain to us, “we [Mexico] need” foreign investments, that is, the investments of the big capitalists from the United States and other imperialist countries. The current capitalist economy does require constant imperialist investments, but we, the people, do not need them....

Those who do need these investments are the big capitalists and their state, as well as the world imperialist capitalist system, in which large monopolies and financial institutions dominate economic activity throughout the world, compete with each other to maximize their profits and to control territories, markets, natural resources, and human lives. Thus, the duty of the head of state of Mexico (and of every oppressed country) is to serve the operation of this system, attract more imperialist investments and keep at bay the majority of the people, who do not possess any capital, and especially the exploited and dispossessed, supplying big capital with the cheap labor it needs to be profitable and competitive....

But months before he was elected president, AMLO ... told the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, that, as president, “his number one priority would be to have a positive relationship with the United States.”2 He has done so, becoming a loyal “junior partner” of the capitalist-imperialist system and a conscious collaborator of the fascist Trump regime....

This meeting between the presidents of the two countries was, in truth, an ugly celebration of the imperialist domination of Mexico and the world.

Read the full text of the article here.


1. See: “Maquilas: tumba de trabajadores, sustento esencial del capitalismo mundial” [Sweatshops: Tombs for the Workers, Essential to Sustain World Capitalism]. [back]

2. Jon Lee Anderson, “Why Andrés Manuel López Obrador Went to Dinner with Donald Trump”, The New Yorker, July 9, 2020. [back]

AMLO and Trump at White House

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."

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/full-article-amlo-and-trump-in-white-house-ugly-celebration-of-imperialist-domination-en.html

AMLO and Trump in the White House—An Ugly Celebration of the Imperialist Domination of Mexico and the World

| revcom.us

 

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

The words of [Mexican president] López Obrador [AMLO] and [U.S. president] Trump before the media, and the very brief “joint statement” they signed on July 8, highlight the domination of Mexico by U.S. imperialism.

López Obrador praised Trump and his government, a fascist regime based on white supremacy, male supremacy, and American xenophobia that continues to attack Mexicans, immigrants (and Blacks, Latinos, and indigenous people in the U.S.), with these phony words: ...“During my term as President of Mexico, instead of grievances towards me and, what I consider to be most important, towards my country, we have received from you understanding and respect.” He thanked “the people of the United States, your government, and you, President Trump, for being increasingly respectful of our Mexican compatriots.” And he ended his compliments for Trump with this: “But what I appreciate most is that you have never sought to impose on us anything that might infringe or violate our sovereignty... You have not sought to treat us as a colony, but have instead honored our status as an independent nation. That is why I am here, to express to the people of the United States that their President has behaved towards us with kindness and respect, he has treated us for what we are: a dignified, free, democratic, and sovereign country and people.”

AMLO oozed submission, flattering Trump and covering up his vile attacks on the peoples of Mexico and Central America. Indeed, the aggressions of Trump’s government against Mexico, its sovereignty, and especially against Mexican and Central American migrants are constant. Sixteen days before his meeting with López Obrador, Trump “autographed” a piece of his wall in Arizona and proclaimed that if it were not for that wall, the coronavirus would have “flooded” the United States. Two days before the meeting, he again branded migrants in New York and Chicago as criminals. In June 2019, under the threat of crippling tariffs, the Trump government dictated that the Mexican Army and National Guard would hunt down, repress, and deport Central American immigrants, acting as “border patrol” for the United States, crimes that they continue to commit today.

In addition, since December 2018, immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. have been thrown on this side of the border to await in Mexico—outdoors and under attack by gangs and criminal police—the hearing that “someday” will deny asylum for the vast majority of them. The Trump government not only “sought” to impose something that “infringes or violates our sovereignty”—it did so blatantly and the López Obrador government accepted it. At the same time, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) keeps hundreds of migrant children, and detained adults who become ill with COVID-19, incarcerated. Young “Dreamers” (mostly Mexicans) continue to be threatened with deportation, and the Trump administration uses the pandemic as pretext for other attacks on immigrants.1 In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, migrants sick from COVID-19 were deported to Mexico and Guatemala. The U.S. demanded that the “supply chains” of the automotive and aerospace industry be resumed, and the Mexican government complied, reclassifying them as “essential,” with the imperialist sweatshops in Mexico forcing people to continue working in these and other branches of industry dominated by firms from the United States, which concentrate the profits from the superexploitation of millions of workers in Mexico (and in many other oppressed countries).2

Why does the President of Mexico silence all this and praise the treatment of the United States and the current fascist regime in relation to Mexico and Mexicans in the United States? Fundamentally because, as president of a country so completely dominated by imperialism, he depends on the approval of the big capitalists in the United States and its government. As they constantly explain to us, “we need” foreign investments, that is, the investments of the big capitalists from the United States and other imperialist countries. The current capitalist economy does require constant imperialist investments, but we, the people, do not need them. Big foreign and Mexican capital is what makes it impossible to put an end to the horrors suffered by the people—and the future socialist society will not have such investments—because those companies only come to superexploit workers and peasants, paying them 8 to 10 times less that in their countries of origin, and to cut other “production costs,” sacrificing the safety and health of workers and destroying the environment, etc.

Those who do need these investments are the big capitalists and their state, as well as the world imperialist capitalist system, in which large monopolies and financial institutions dominate economic activity throughout the world, compete with each other to maximize their profits and to control territories, markets, natural resources, and human lives. Thus, the duty of the head of state of Mexico (and of every oppressed country) is to serve the operation of this system, attract more imperialist investments and keep at bay the majority of the people, who do not possess any capital, and especially the exploited and dispossessed, supplying big capital with the cheap labor it needs to be profitable and competitive. That is why, although the style of each president and the times in which each governs have particularities, every Mexican president from Porfirio Díaz [1876-1880, 1884-1911] until now has had to accommodate himself to imperialist domination, mainly by the United States, to adjust to governing the country as it is within the current system—a subordinate link in the international chain of its empire—and to be coupled with the consequences that this domination implies.

When he was a [presidential] candidate, López Obrador was able to pretend to represent other interests, so he responded to Trump’s xenophobic defamations by saying that “It is despicable that Trump and his advisers spoke of Mexicans like Hitler and the Nazis spoke of the Jews, just before undertaking the infamous persecution and the abominable extermination.” But months before he was elected president, AMLO sent “messages of tranquility” to the fascist; he told the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, that, as president, “his number one priority would be to have a positive relationship with the United States.”3 He has done so, becoming a loyal “junior partner” of the capitalist-imperialist system and a conscious collaborator of the fascist Trump regime.

The TMEC—A Treaty to Support the U.S. Empire Against Its Rivals

The pretext for this meeting was that the TMEC was taking effect: the new “free trade” agreement between Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It is an agreement to accelerate Mexico’s subordinate integration into the U.S. empire, and to strengthen the U.S. against its rivals, especially China. The two leaders boasted that the TMEC will bring employment and “prosperity” to “the three countries and their peoples,” but it will bring the intensification of the horrors brought by the 25 years of NAFTA [North America Free Trade Agreement], as a continuation and sharpening of imperialist domination: Millions of peasants expelled from the countryside; increased dependence on food imported from the U.S.; poverty for half the population; the health crisis (prior to the pandemic); the destruction of forests, land and water by imperialist “death projects”; and the explosion of organized crime, driven by imperialist globalization, the tearing up of old ways of working and living, as well as the extreme precariousness and insecurity that people suffer under the current “imperialist modernization.”

In his speech, AMLO praised this oppressive and unequal integration as follows: “Mexico has something extremely valuable to make effective and to enhance economic and commercial integration in the region. I am referring to its young, creative and responsible workforce.” In other words, Mexico puts up the superexploited workforce to increase the profitability of big capital. He sees no problem with the lopsidedness between Mexico on the one hand, and the United States and Canada on the other—between an oppressed country and the imperialist countries. On the other hand, he is concerned about the trade deficit of the “North American region” and the fall in the percentage of world production that this represents. He backs the TMEC because “It seeks to reverse this imbalance through greater integration of our economies and improvements in the operation of production chains to regain the economic presence that North America has lost in the last five decades.” He makes it very clear that the “4th Transformation” [AMLO’s so-called vision for Mexico] is just another way of trying to uphold the same capitalist system under imperialist domination, which cannot solve any of the horrors suffered by the vast majority of people.

In his statement, Trump blatantly lied, saying, among other things, that the two governments “together” are fighting the coronavirus, “saving countless thousands of lives.” In reality, his regime is responsible for greatly increasing deaths, for its antiscience and criminal response to the pandemic. The U.S. is the country with the most infections and the most deaths—more than 4 million confirmed cases and almost 150,000 deaths.4 While Trump spoke of “mutual respect” with Mexico and its president, he violated the previous agreement to not mention immigration or the wall at this meeting, saying, “We are really having significant results on the southern border. And we’ve been helped greatly by Mexico on creating record numbers, in a positive sense, on our southern border,” referring to the detention of migrants by the Mexican government.5

As the scoundrel he is, Trump continues to attack Mexico: In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, July 19, he said that “Mexico is not helping us.”

This meeting between the presidents of the two countries was, in truth, an ugly celebration of the imperialist domination of Mexico and the world.


1. See: “En plena pandemia, EEUU y México arremeten contra los migrantes: Para este sistema, los inmigrantes son ‘cosas’ para explotar, satanizar y desechar. Para la revolución comunista, son seres humanos valiosos que cambiarán el mundo” [In the Midst of the Pandemic, U.S./Mexico Onslaught Against Migrants: For this system, immigrants are “things” to exploit, demonize and discard. For the communist revolution, they are valuable human beings who will change the world.]. [back]

2. See: “Maquilas: tumba de trabajadores, sustento esencial del capitalismo mundial” [Sweatshops: Tombs for the Workers, Essential to Sustain World Capitalism]. [back]

3. Jon Lee Anderson, “Why Andrés Manuel López Obrador Went to Dinner with Donald Trump”, The New Yorker , July 9, 2020. [back]

4. The two governments are responsible for many unnecessary deaths. López Obrador has also minimized the pandemic, he has declared five times that “the virus is tamed,” he has insisted on the premature reopening that increased the confirmed infected persons to more than 360,000 cases and more than 40,000 deaths, and his government refuses to do mass testing and contact tracing, all which also increase unnecessary deaths. See: “Covid-19: La apuesta a la muerte” [COVID-19: Gambling on Death] and “De 3 a 4 veces más muertes de Covid-19 en CDMX que las cifras oficiales” [Three to Four Times More COVID-19 Deaths on Mexico City Than Official Figures]. [back]

5. The emphasis is ours, because the emphasized sentence does not appear in the official Spanish translation. [back]

AMLO and Trump at White House

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/655/bob-avakian_barack-obama-and-cancel-culture-en.html

BARACK OBAMA & "CANCEL CULTURE"

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

Get Into BA »

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/cancel-culture-is-real-and-it-is-harmful-en.html

On the recent controversy over "cancel" culture:

Cancel culture is real and it is harmful;
It has the wrong criteria and wrong solution

A Letter from a Member of the National Revolution Tour:

| revcom.us

 

On July 7, Harper’s Magazine published A Letter on Justice and Open Debate signed by 153 relatively prominent intellectuals and artists. The signatories included people associated with liberal, left-wing and feminist politics, as well as people with more conservative views. They wrote, in part:

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.

This open letter was immediately and roundly attacked. A counter-letter titled A More Specific Letter on Justice and Open Debate was initiated by a Journalists of Color group and signed by over 150 people. While the Harper’s Letter is coming from a “liberal” framework and has big flaws,1 it does point to a real problem, and has provoked a needed debate about “cancel culture.” The attacks on the Harper’s Letter, on the other hand, have just further revealed how poisonous this culture of “canceling” individuals—instead of working for an actual revolution to get rid of this whole oppressive system—actually is.

The voices of oppressed people have been suppressed for far too long. But “cancel culture”—what the Harper’s Letter calls “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism”—does not rectify this. In fact, it’s extremely harmful not only to the people targeted in this way, but for justice, to artistic and intellectual life, and to society as a whole. It has nothing to do with getting to the truth and getting free.

Here are three points in response to the counter-letter:

1) Cancel culture is real, and it is harmful.

The counter-letter acknowledges that some of the problems the Harper’s Letter raises are “real and concerning,” but insists that they are rare, anomalous, and not really a significant trend among social-justice-minded people.

Well, when Woody Allen, his films,2 and his recent memoir3 got canceled because of an unconfirmed allegation—and now “everyone knows” Woody Allen is a child molester—how many social-justice-minded people spoke up and said this is wrong?

When filmmaker Nate Parker was canceled because of a decades-old rape allegation (of which he was found not guilty in court), and his stirring movie Birth of a Nation about Nat Turner’s slave rebellion was boycotted, how many people called this out?4

What about Dana Schutz, who was canceled for being a white artist doing a painting evoking the lynching of Emmett Till, and where one of the critics said she had no right, and that she perpetuates “the same kind of violence that was enacted” on Emmett Till?5

When the book The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, by a former Border Patrol agenta book critical of the Border Patrol—was attacked for “profiting” off the suffering of others and the author Francisco Cantú was canceled for having made the mistake of joining Border Patrol in the first place, how many social-justice people spoke up?6 How many pointed out the obvious truth that if you’re aiming to end oppression it is very good when agents of oppression turn away from that!

Or American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins, canceled because a non-Mexican person has no right to write about the experience of Mexican migrants. But if people can only write about their own direct experience, most books would have to be canceled, and certainly all the fiction. How many social-justice people sounded the alarm about that? Or did they just join in the pile-on and the cannibalistic competition over who gets the book deals?

Cancel culture is real. And it is harmful. Along with prominent cases, many are intimidated into self-censorship. It chills the atmosphere and misdirects people’s anger away from the institutions and rulers of this oppressive system, and narrows the range of human experience.

“Cancel” literally means that efforts are made to deprive a public figure, an artist or writer of a platform and the person’s work is boycotted and/or rendered irrelevant, often effectively suppressed. Instead of the work being engaged, debated and discussed, on whether it contributes to or negates the truth, or evaluated on artistic criteria, the whole thing is just suppressed. In addition to the injustices done to those “canceled,” society is deprived of their contributions and what people can learn from these works, such as the films and books cited above.

Not only is this kind of thing harmful to people and society, it is useless against the real enemy. Try canceling NYPD, the CIA, or the New York Stock Exchange and see how well it works. Try telling Trump’s federal Gestapo to “check their privilege.”

2) Cancel culture has the wrong criteria, and the wrong solution.

The counter-letter doesn’t start by engaging and refuting the ideas in the Letter. It starts with a dishonest, and frankly ridiculous, attack on the privilege of the signatories:

The signatories, many of them white, wealthy, and endowed with massive platforms, argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs...

First of all, it is disingenuous to accuse the signatories of all being motivated by a personal fear of “cancellation.” The Letter deals with social trends and makes social prescriptions.

The counter-letter repeatedly refers to the identity and privilege of the “cis white intellectuals” and resorts to simplistic “take downs” of some of the signatories. All of this is just a crutch to avoid dealing with the content of what people are saying. It’s a method that relies on intimidation (in the spheres where identity politics is the currency), rather than the truth of what you’re saying. As opposed to judging ideas based who says them, on their identity and relative privilege, we should evaluate ideas based on whether or not they’re true—in other words, whether or not they correspond to objective reality)—and on that basis, how they will impact society and the struggle for a better world.7 

As opposed to canceling people for a single mistake, or on the basis of an accusation, how should people be evaluated?

There is complexity in this, because everything in life is contradictory, including people. In his recent article, “Bob Avakian On: A BEAUTIFUL UPRISING: RIGHT AND WRONG, METHODS AND PRINCIPLES,” Bob Avakian gives you the tools to figure out "what, in any given phenomenon (a system, a movement, a person), is the main thing (the principal aspect), which defines the essence of that phenomenon at any given time, and overall.” In evaluating people, it is the arc of a person’s whole life and what principally defines them overall that we should focus on, not “the simplistic, and often deliberately vicious, 'one strike, ever, and you’re out' mentality and approach," which can lead to terrible conclusions and actions. For example:

...former slave and dedicated abolitionist Frederick Douglass failed (or refused) to support the right of women to vote in the period shortly after the Civil War, insisting instead that the focus should be (only) on getting the right to vote for Black males (and then the right for women to vote should follow some time after). Should Frederick Douglass be “canceled”?!

Or should the Lakota warrior Crazy Horse be “canceled” (should the monument that is being built to him in South Dakota be abandoned or destroyed) because, after fighting heroically for years against the U.S. Army, at the end of his life, when finally defeated and held in captivity, he apparently cooperated and collaborated with that same army in its suppression of other indigenous peoples?!

What is principal (and what is secondary) in the overall life and role of Crazy Horse and Frederick Douglass?

Many other examples could be cited. But what these examples sharply illustrate is once again the crucial importance of applying the scientific dialectical materialist method and approach8 to all phenomena, including the struggle against injustice and oppression, in order to carry that struggle forward, through all the obstacles, of many different kinds, that are thrown in its path, toward the final goal of abolishing and uprooting not just one particular form, but all forms, of oppression and exploitation, everywhere.

3) The fact that this system oppresses whole peoples, discriminates against and excludes them, and suppresses their voices, does not mean anything goes for those who’ve been marginalized. It doesn’t justify taking up the means and methods of this system. We need revolution—and revolutionary transformation—not revenge.

The counter-letter states:

The intellectual freedom of cis white intellectuals has never been under threat en masse, especially when compared to how writers from marginalized groups have been treated for generations. In fact, they have never faced serious consequences—only momentary discomfort.

The take-home message: we’ve been mistreated, so what’s the problem with inflicting discomfort on others? First of all, losing your job and having your reputation smeared for life is more than “momentary discomfort,” and is in fact a serious form of social punishment.

The counter-letter puts it, “In truth, Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ people—particularly Black and trans people—can now critique elites publicly and hold them accountable socially...” But that begs the question: what criteria and standards are being used to hold people to account in these public critiques? And what is the process—and the due process? Are the accused allowed to launch a defense? Or will it be a trial by social media, where an accusation equals guilt; with no statute of limitations; where truth and “right to speak” are determined by identity; and the punishment is to “cancel.”

And what is NOT being held accountable, where is people’s attention NOT being focused, in a culture of tearing down individual wrongdoers in this way?

The actual system—of capitalism-imperialism—and its institutions! This system puts people in horrible conditions, divides them into antagonistic social groups, pits people against each other, forces them to compete against each other, and then trains people in messed up ways of thinking. Is it any wonder that people do messed up things to each other? Yes, people who have done harm should be compelled to reckon with what they’ve done, and struggled with to transform—as part of making revolution, an actual revolution to overthrow this system of capitalism-imperialism.

That is something the Revcoms take very seriously, with our Points of Attention that we uphold, live by, and fight for, as part of building a movement for an actual revolution. Point of Attention #4 says:

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

That is completely different from the outlook that “we’ve been held down and we’ve been harmed, so any retribution we do to the alleged perpetrators, or to people in a more privileged position, is justified.” When people deny that “cancel culture” is any kind of problem, what they are really denying is the possibility and responsibility of people to strive for anything higher than revenge. Does it mean reconciliation with our oppressors? Does it mean we should have polite conversations with genocidal fascists? No. There IS a fight that has to be waged. But how the masses wage that fight makes all the difference in whether they get to a radically different world, or just change a few faces and leave the world as it is.

 


1. The Harper’s Letter puts forward and upholds the “free marketplace of ideas,” stating, “The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion.” While commonly argued, this is flawed, and it is not a matter of “good ideas” and “bad ideas” devoid of underlying power relations, and of “free exchange” and debate for its own sake, but of getting to the truth—a word the Harper’s Letter doesn’t mention. For a fuller discussion about the “free marketplace of ideas” vs. the search for the truth, check out this excerpt from Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian.  [back]

2. “Woody Allen and Amazon Settle Breach of Contract Lawsuit”, New York Times.   [back]

3.  “Woody Allen book pulped after walkout at publisher,” BBC News.  [back

4. “The Birth of a Nation Can Contribute to Liberation—Re-Prosecuting Nate Parker Does Not,” by Sunsara Taylor.  [back]

5. See “On the Controversy Over a Painting of Emmett Till: ‘Open Casket,’ Should Oppression Be Owned, Or Abolished? OR Did a White Person Have the ‘Right’ To Write Strange Fruit?,” revcom.us.  [back]

6.  On the campaign to shut down book events in the Bay Area: “Activists call on Bay Area bookstores to cancel readings by former Border Patrol Agent,” SFGate.com. On book events in the Bay Area that were disrupted and canceled: “Protesters Attempt to Shut Down Author Event at Green Apple,” American Booksellers Association.  [back]

7. The two are intimately interlinked, the search for truth and getting to a world beyond exploitation, oppression and antagonistic social divisions, communism. As Bob Avakian (BA) has said in BAsics:

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

8. In the article Bob Avakian On: A BEAUTIFUL UPRISING: RIGHT AND WRONG, METHODS AND PRINCIPLES, BA describes this as follows: “A fundamental understanding that flows from a scientific materialist (reality- and evidence-based) method and approach is the dialectical recognition that all of reality—everything and every person—is contradictory.”  [back]

BARACK OBAMA & "CANCEL CULTURE"

by Bob Avakian

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”?!

Read more

Bob Avakian on "cancel culture"—from Q&A to the talk WHY WE NEED AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION AND HOW WE CAN REALLY MAKE REVOLUTION

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/georgias-june-election-meltdown-en.html

Georgia's June Election Meltdown, the Battle Over Voter Suppression, and the November Elections

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

Georgia’s June 9 primary elections were, in the words of one poll worker, “a complete meltdown,” particularly in Atlanta, and in a few other voting districts where most of Georgia’s Black and Brown people live.1 Voting machines were either not delivered or broke down and there were no technicians on site to fix them. At one location there were 15 touch screens on which to vote, but only one machine to electronically process them after they were cast. Many people who had applied for mail-in ballots (many more than usual because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic) never received them or they arrived in unusable condition, so people had to go to the polling station anyway. People waited in lines for as much as five hours—in one district until after midnight. Lines snaked around the block in many locations, and some people—facing health, job, or childcare concerns—had to give up and leave.

In Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward—where Martin Luther King grew up—the New York Times reported that a woman showed up at her polling station before its 7 am opening time. “Three hours later, she was still waiting in line, having moved about 60 feet from where she had started.” Another woman there who suffered from bronchitis and asthma “said she had requested an absentee ballot but never received one. ‘I refuse not to be heard and so I am standing in line.’”

Problems continued after the voting was finished—elections experts “expressed concern” that Georgia’s system “failed to count some mail-in ballots marked with check marks or X’s instead of filled-in ovals. Some county officials believe that thousands of votes could remain uncounted.” And the winner of one contest was not announced until late the next night.

A History of Racist Voter Suppression and a Plan for Stealing an Election

These problems did not come out of nowhere—they are the latest episode of the long-running and intentional efforts of the Republican Party (which is today the party of white supremacy and fascism) to suppress the votes of people of color, not just in Georgia but around the U.S. Since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Republican-controlled states like Georgia have been coming up with one scheme after another to stop Black and Brown people from voting.2

For instance, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, between 2012 and 2018, Georgia “shut down 8% of Georgia’s polling places and relocated nearly 40% of the state’s precincts,” leading to longer lines and people being unable to get to the new polling stations. This reduced turnout by as much as 80,000 voters, and “Black voters were 20% more likely [than whites] to miss elections because of long distances.” Georgia also “implemented an ‘exact match’ system that could disqualify voters for minute differences between their registration forms and other government documents,” and this too fell “disproportionately on minority voters.” Then Georgia purged 1.4 million voters from the rolls, often without notifying them. Because of this, many people showed up at the polls on June 9 thinking they were registered, only to find out they’d been struck from the list!

But it’s not just about trying to suppress the vote—this “election meltdown” also fits into the concerted effort by Trump and his allies to delegitimize the upcoming presidential elections. Trump is working to create a situation of confusion and doubt about the outcome that will provide an opening for him to claim that the election was “rigged” if he loses, or to claim that the results cannot be determined, and that therefore he should remain in power. And in doing this, he would very likely call on his “Second Amendment” people (like the militias that stormed statehouses in April) and federal paramilitaries (like those he sent to crush protest in Portland) into the streets to back him up.

What Went Wrong on June 9

To begin with, it’s important to say that holding elections during a pandemic already presents a lot of problems. On the one hand, in order to make voting safe, polling stations, ballot boxes, and voting machines have to be cleaned repeatedly, fewer people can be allowed inside at one time, and people in lines should be safely distanced from each other. And a lot of the people who are experienced at running voting sites are older, and are staying away because of the pandemic. And on the other hand, an unprecedented number of people are voting by mail—again, to avoid infection. While voting by mail is quite common (and secure) in the U.S. already, the process of collecting and counting three or four times the usual number of mail-in ballots requires scaling up those operations in a big way.

So if your objective was to hold a reasonably fair election, then the responsible authorities would have to put a lot of time, thought, energy, and money into making it happen. But what went on in Georgia was just the opposite.

The biggest problem was that Georgia introduced entirely new electronic voting machines across the state for this primary. A non-partisan group that monitors elections, and even a group backed by the conservative billionaire Charles Koch, publicly warned the state that this was asking for trouble and recommended paper ballots as cheaper and more secure. (One expert commented that installing this new system for a major primary “would be like Walmart deciding that they wanted to change out their point-of-sale system on Black Friday.”)

Yet not only did Georgia go forward with the new machines, but the state did minimal training—one participant described the session the day before the election as a one-hour video that “you needed an IT professional to figure it out.” The state assigned only a little more than one technician per county to help with problems with the new system. And there were problems galore, including the machines overloading the electrical systems and blowing fuses at polling stations.

Like Lauryn Hill said (in “Lost Ones”), “Consequence is no coincidence”! This looks an awful lot like a “test run” for how to fuck up an election, minimize the number of Black and Brown voters, and create massive frustration, confusion, and doubt about the results.

Voter suppression and election “delegitimization” are at this time key elements of the fascist drive to consolidate power, and need to be exposed and opposed by all who want to prevent that from happening.

 

1. “[T]hose nine counties that had the biggest issues on Tuesday, they’re not only Democratic areas, but those are the counties that have the largest minority populations in the state.” Astead Herndon, New York Times national political reporter, June 11, 2020. [back]

2. See The New Voter Suppression, Brennan Center for Justice, January16, 2020; American Crime Case #11, Part 2: 1965 to Today: Gutting the Voting Rights Act and Disenfranchising Millions of Black People, May 25, 2020 at revcom.us. [back]

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/this-week-in-fascism-sabotaging-elections-and-more-en.html

This Week in Fascism:

Sabotaging Elections—and Promoting White Supremacy, Storm Troopers, Muslim Haters, Violent Racist Mobs, Superstition, Immigration Restrictions, and Border Walls

| revcom.us

 

The fascist Trump/Pence regime has been moving rapidly, aggressively, and in many dimensions to develop and implement fascism. Below are some of the measures taken this past week alone.


Donald Trump

July 30, Threats to Postpone Elections. The president has no authority to change the legally established date for presidential elections—the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. But Trump has brazenly lied that the upcoming vote is being “rigged” against him. On Thursday, he tweeted the idea of postponing the vote. “With Universal Mail-in Voting (Not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Other leaders of the fascist regime quickly echoed Trump’s call. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked in a Senate hearing if the president could delay the vote, and he responded, “[T]he Department of Justice, and others, will make that legal determination.” The Department of Justice is run by William Barr, a Christian fascist and a ferocious advocate of virtually unlimited executive (presidential) power for Trump.

Top Trump advisor Stephen Miller said on Fox “News” that mail-in ballots during a pandemic would be a “catastrophic problem” and made the completely unsubstantiated claim that millions of non-citizens would vote: “Here is a shocking thing for your audience to consider: nobody who mails in a ballot has their identity confirmed. Nobody checks to see if they’re even a U.S. citizen.” All this is part of what an article at revcom.us described as “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 toward fascist consolidation.”

 


 


People in Georgia wait in line to vote, June 9, 2020. Photo AP

July 30, Sabotaging Election by Mail. Trump doesn’t necessarily need to call off the election completely to suppress, sabotage, and cancel it for real. He has been ranting against the U.S. Postal Service for months. In recent weeks, he escalated this into a steady outpouring of tweets and comments that create what CNN calls “the groundwork for the doubt and suspicion he could cast on election results if counting mail-in ballots ultimately delays the declaration of a winner.” Trump has warned that voting by mail will end in a “CORRUPT ELECTION” that will “LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY” and the “SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES.”

A Trump-appointed Postmaster General has actively undermined the functioning of the Postal Service exactly at a time when tens of millions of people are increasingly dependent on it, because of the spread of the coronavirus. Wendy Fields, the executive director of the Democracy Initiative, said to the New York Times, “We have an underfunded state and local election system and a deliberate slowdown in the Postal Service.... [Trump is] deliberately orchestrating [voter] suppression and using the post office as a tool to do it.”

 


 


With Federal Stormtroopers being pulled back for now, Portland cops resume the assault on protesters, August 1. (Photo: @PDocumentarians)

July 29, Federal Storm Troopers Pull Back in Portland (for now). Under an agreement reached between the Trump/Pence regime and the Democratic leadership of Portland and Oregon, the federal paramilitary force that had rampaged throughout Portland for several days withdrew from central Portland. However, on July 31, Chad Wolf, the acting Homeland Security secretary, told Fox “News” that federal “law enforcement officers that have been there over the past 60 days will remain in Portland until we are assured that the plan that has been put in place by the governor and Oregon State Police will be effective night after night.” He added an additional threat, saying Trump “continued to talk about” the option of sending the National Guard to Portland.

 


 


Federal agents were sent to Portland, Oregon, in July. Photo: Doug Brown, Oregon ACLU

July 29, Expanding “Operation LeGend.” “Operation LeGend” is a federal “anti-crime” initiative to send armed agents into cities with large Black and/or Latinx communities. It involves hundreds of federal pigs 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. Discussing Operation LeGend on July 23, Trump said, “We’ll go into all the cities, any of the cities,” with 50,000 to 75,000 federal agents.On July 29, William Barr announced that more are being deployed to Milwaukee, Detroit, and Cleveland, and a day later Barr announced that 35 federal agents were now deployed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Keeping Trump’s call for 50,000 to 75,000 agents in mind, these deployments are likely just a foot in the door, with more to follow. (See Revolution article and Revolution Club leaflet for more on Operation LeGend.)

 


 


Trump flew to Florida and spoke to scores of assembled pigs at the Tampa airport. Photo: AP

July 31, “Love Affair” with Police. Trump flew to Florida and spoke to scores of assembled pigs at the Tampa airport. He told them, “There’s a big love affair between us and law enforcement, and it’s especially great in Florida.” He said if Joe Biden and other Democratic Party politicians in the scheduled November elections win, “There will be no safety, no security, no peace, no justice, no one to protect you and no one to defend the American way of life.... American families will be at the mercy of the violent left wing mob that you’ve been watching on television”—meaning people in Portland and elsewhere righteously protesting police murder and brutality.

 


 


Projection of George Floyd in front of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, July 28. Photo: AP

July 29, Promoting White Supremacy, 1: Trump Pledges to Protect Robert E. Lee and Other Champions of Slavery. In a partially recorded conversation between Trump and James Inhofe, a leading Republican senator, about the possibility of changing the names of military bases named after Confederates, Trump prodded Inhofe, “We’re going to keep the name Robert E. Lee, right?” Inhofe responded, “Just trust me. I’ll make it happen.” Robert E. Lee was the head of the Confederate slaveowners’ military. A week earlier, Trump had tweeted, “I spoke to highly respected (Chairman) Senator @JimInfhoe, who has informed me that he WILL NOT be changing the names of our great Military Bases and Forts, places from which we won two World Wars (and more!). Like me, Jim is not a believer in ‘Cancel Culture’”

***


This archival photo from the 1950s is what these fascist rulings are leading to, no more low-income housing for people of color.

July 29, Promoting White Supremacy, 2: Trump Ends Fair Housing Provisions. In a series of tweets and a talk in Midland, Texas, Trump boasted that he had ended a fair housing rule from Obama’s presidency that was meant to curtail housing discrimination. He said, “You know the suburbs, people fight all of their lives to get into the suburbs and have a beautiful home. There will be no more low-income housing forced into the suburbs.... It’s been going on for years. I’ve seen conflict for years. It’s been hell for suburbia.” He had tweeted earlier in the day that (white) suburbanites would “no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.” Trump’s appeal to white suburbanites openly echoes a battle cry of white supremacy dating back to the nakedly segregationist George Wallace.

 


 


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

July 31, Deaths from COVID-19 in U.S. Reach 150,000. U.S. coronavirus infections reached an all-time high, with 1.9 million new cases reported in July, more than double the number reported in June. Deaths from COVID across the U.S. in July totaled 25,259, up by 3,700 from June. People of color continue to be impacted disproportionately. The Washington Post reported that “in recent weeks, Hispanics and Native Americans have made up an increasing proportion of covid-19 deaths. The disease now accounts for nearly 20 percent of all deaths among those groups, higher than any other race or ethnicity.” Meanwhile, Trump and his son Donald Jr. promoted anti-science superstition and videos of quack right-wing doctors, and attacked science and those promoting it. Trump and Pence are responsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people from COVID-19.

 


 


Tony Tata on Fox News in 2015.

July 29, Pushing a Muslim Hater for Top Pentagon Position. Trump nominated retired U.S. Army general and Fox “News” commentator Anthony Tata to be the third-highest official in the Pentagon. Tata has repeatedly said and tweeted such statements as “Islam fuels more terror in the modern day than any other religion or ideology,” and “it’s in the Koran, the Islam ‘version of the Bible’. Followers must do as Mohammed preached. It’s that simple. The many jihadists I’ve seen were devout Muslims doing their Islamic duty.” He called Barack Obama a “Muslim” and a “terrorist leader.” The hearing for Tata was postponed by Senate Republicans on July 30, supposedly because time was running out as July ended.

 


 


A small group of people protesting the "unconstitutional occupation of American cities" in Portland and elsewhere were assaulted and beaten by a mob of Trump supporters who waved U.S. and Confederate flags and chanted "Blue Lives Matter." Photo: AP

July 26, MAGA Thugs Assault Demonstrators in Tyler, Texas. A small group of people protesting the "unconstitutional occupation of American cities" in Portland and elsewhere were assaulted and beaten by a mob of Trump supporters who waved U.S. and Confederate flags and chanted "Blue Lives Matter." Many of the assailants were heavily armed. According to a press release by protesters, Ryan Miller, an organizer of the protest and campaign manager of a Democratic congressional candidate opposing the fascist Louie Gohmert, was "attacked by at least four [fascists], some of whom were armed, and sustained blows to the head and other parts of his body, as well as a large gash under his eye. The incident occurred as officers from the Tyler Police Department drove around the square idly, waving at the Blue Lives Matter counter-protesters who had come to support [Gohmert]."

 


 


DACA students protest at ICE headquarters in Arizona after the Supreme Court ruled against Trump's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June in a very limited decision. Photo: AP

July 28, Fascist Regime Announces New Restrictions on DACA, Threatens to End It Altogether. Homeland Security head Chad Wolf issued a memo announcing new restrictions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has enabled about 650,000 undocumented young immigrants, who were brought to the U.S. at an early age, to temporarily live and work in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from now on will “Reject all initial requests for DACA and associated applications for Employment Authorization Documents,” and “Reject new and pending requests for advanced parole absent exceptional circumstances.” Also, in direct violation of a court order, DHS changed the time in which people can renew their “deferred action” of deportation to one year from the current two.

Wolf concluded his memo with a threat of further attacks: “As the Department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter. There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission [cancellation] of the DACA policy.”

 


 


Saguaro Cactus destroyed to allow wall construction to continue. Photo: Los Angeles Times/Brian van der Brug

July 31, Supreme Court Allows Border Wall Construction to Continue. By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court denied a request from the Sierra Club which would have prevented the government from completing several sections of the border wall that is a cornerstone of the Trump/Pence regime’s anti-immigrant program. In doing so, it overcame rulings of lower courts that would have stopped the regime from spending any more money on the wall that was supposedly intended for other purposes. As the Sierra Club said, the Court’s ruling handed Trump “a complete victory despite having lost in every court.”

***

An Impending Disaster and an Urgent Challenge

The above is some of the damage done by the fascist Trump/Pence regime—in one week! The consequences to humanity and the planet if this regime remains in power worsen daily, and will be disastrous if it isn’t stopped.

As we have written, “All this underscores the urgency of confronting the fascist nature, program and danger of the Trump/Pence regime and of building mass political resistance to drive out the Trump/Pence regime from power, #OutNow, as struggles that strengthen and are mutually reinforcing with the Beautiful Rising against police murder and racism.”

***

SOURCES

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/american-crime-10-blood-soaked-statehood-of-florida-expansion-of-slavery-and-genocidal-andrew-jackson-en.html

American Crime

Case #10: The Blood-Soaked Statehood of Florida, the Expansion of Slavery, and Genocidal Andrew Jackson

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

THE CRIME:

Florida became the 27th state in 1845, and in recent years has played a prominent part in U.S. politics. Many school children learn the dates different states entered the union, but have no idea of the history that led up to statehood. In Florida’s case, it involved numerous invasions of Spanish territory, the bloody ending of Florida as a refuge for escaped Black slaves and indigenous people, and the genocidal conquest of the Seminole nation, all serving as a major driver in the expansion of slavery in Florida, and overall. Andrew Jackson, as military general and then U.S. president, played a key role in carrying out all of these crimes.

Spanish Florida, 1693-1821: A Refuge for Native Americans and Runaway Slaves

The territory that would one day become the state of Florida was “discovered” by the Spanish explorer Ponce de León in 1513. Indigenous peoples had already occupied the land for 14,000 years before his arrival, and estimates are that 100,000-350,000 were living there when the Spanish first set foot. But by the start of the 1700s, most of the original inhabitants had been killed in battles with Spanish troops and by diseases brought by European colonizers.

In 1693, Spain abolished slavery in La Florida, and as cotton plantations and slavery in the U.S. expanded into Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, runaway slaves began to escape across the border, where they found safe haven among the Seminole Indians. They were joined by Creek and other Native peoples whose land had been stolen by the settlers, creating settlements of free ex-slaves and Seminole Indians. To the planters in Georgia and the Carolinas, the existence of a haven for free, escaped slaves across the border was a magnet encouraging even more slaves to escape.

In 1815 a fully armed fort in La Florida, abandoned by the British after the War of 1812, was taken over by 300 former slaves and 30 Seminole Indians who had fought on the side of the British in the war. News of “Negro Fort” (as it came to be called) attracted as many as 800 escaped slaves who settled in the surrounding area. The inhabitants of Negro Fort provided protection for the free community that settled around it. According to the Savannah Journal, “fugitives” ran from as far away as Tennessee and the Mississippi Territory to seek refuge at the fort.1 The pro-slavery press in the U.S. expressed outrage at the existence of Negro Fort.

The “Negro Fort” Massacre: the Start of the Seminole Wars and the Takeover of Spanish Florida

In March 1816, under mounting pressure from Georgia slaveholders, General Andrew Jackson ordered a commander of U.S. military forces to attack and destroy the fort and “restore the stolen negros and property to their rightful owners.” Jackson, a slave owner from Tennessee, was already known as a champion of “Indian removal,” after he led U.S. forces to defeat a part of the Creek nation in 1814 at the battle of Horseshoe Bend, taking 22 million acres of their land in southern Georgia and central Alabama and driving tens of thousands of Creek warriors into Spanish Florida.2

On July 27, 1816, U.S. troops blew up Negro Fort and massacred 270 men, women, and children. A U.S. colonel wrote to the Secretary of the Navy praising its destruction:

The force of the negroes was daily increasing; and they felt themselves so strong and secure that they had commenced several plantations on the fertile banks of the Apalachicola [River], which would have yielded them every article of sustenance, and which would, consequently, in a short time have rendered their establishment quite formidable and highly injurious to the neighboring States.3

The battle of Negro Fort was the beginning of Jackson’s conquest of La Florida, and the start of what was later called the First Seminole War. U.S. military forces invaded Spanish Florida, scattered villagers, burned their towns, and drove the Seminoles off their lands and deeper into Florida. Captured slaves were returned to their owners, who carried out horrific punishments such as amputating limbs, whippings, and branding.

In 1817, Jackson led military forces to take control of Pensacola, the center of Spanish rule in Florida, with the backing of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, who defended Jackson’s invasion in the name of “national defense.” After first demanding Jackson be arrested and punished, Spain eventually agreed to cede its territory, and in 1821 the United States took formal possession of the territory of Florida.

Slavery was now legal in Florida, leading some free Blacks and Black Seminoles to flee to Havana, Cuba, to avoid coming under U.S. control. Andrew Jackson became the first military governor of Florida, and the city of Jacksonville was named after him.

From Territory to Statehood: Expansion of Slave Plantations and Ethnic Cleansing of the Seminoles

The central conflict of territorial Florida was now the removal of the Native people. Cotton plantations quickly developed in Florida, and pressure grew on the U.S. government to remove the Seminoles and open up their lands for the expansion of cotton production. This was the case throughout the southern states. The invention of the cotton gin had made the value of cotton as a cash crop skyrocket, and the explosive growth of the cotton industry of the South greatly increased the demand for both land and slave labor.4 By some estimates, the United States was supplying three-quarters of the global demand for cotton by the start of the Civil War.

Millions of acres of land in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee belonged to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations—known as the “Five Civilized Tribes.”5 Andrew Jackson became president in 1828. In his 1829 Message to Congress, Jackson called for “Indian Removal,” and in 1830 he secured passage of the Indian Removal Act. The Act gave the federal government the power to “exchange” Native-held land in the slave states east of the Mississippi for land to the west, the “Indian colonization zone.” At the beginning of the 1830s, nearly 125,000 Native Americans were living on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida—land their ancestors had occupied and cultivated for generations. By the end of the decade, 100,000 had been removed from their homelands, and thousands died while being forced on a deadly journey of nearly a thousand miles, known as the Trail of Tears. (See American Crime, Case #44: The Trail of Tears, 1838-39.)

In Florida, U.S. Indian agents were unable to convince the Seminoles to abandon their land and move west, and in 1835 the Florida Seminoles waged a war of resistance, leading to what’s considered the main Seminole War. The Seminoles withdrew into the Everglades and fought using guerrilla tactics, with runaway slaves fighting beside them. After two years, and only by capturing their chiefs by luring them under a false flag of truce, the fighting died down.

The Seminoles were eventually forced to move to Oklahoma. By the time Florida became a state in 1845, nearly all of the Seminoles were gone, except for a small group living in the Everglades. Almost half the state’s population were enslaved African-Americans working on large cotton and sugar plantations.

THE CRIMINALS:

Andrew Jackson was a champion of the expansion of slavery and the genocidal “removal” of the Native peoples. He played a direct role in the decades-long effort that took La Florida from Spain, opened it up for slave plantations, and saw to it that the Florida Seminoles were ethnically cleansed so their lands could be taken by white settlers. As president, Jackson pushed to make “Indian Removal” the official federal answer to the white southern planters’ craving for the lands of the Native peoples to expand slave production. Jackson didn’t hesitate to violate international law and invade Spanish Florida repeatedly to serve the slave owners. And when, in 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee nation was sovereign, and that Georgia had no rights to enforce state laws in its territory,6 President Jackson reportedly said: “[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it,” and ordered the expulsion of the Cherokee nation from Georgia.

All of the leaders of the U.S. government during this period, including James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Martin Van Buren, in one way or another were committed to and oversaw the “removal” of the Indian nations to clear the land for the expansion of slavery.

THE ALIBI:

The Americans justified their incursions into and occupation of parts of Spanish Florida without consent, and their ultimate takeover, under the banners of “national defense” and the rightful return of plantation property (slaves).

This was the period of the emergence of Manifest Destiny—the idea that the God-given superiority of the white Europeans in America gave them a sacred duty to “redeem” and “remake” the continent and beyond. This white-supremacist outlook, promoted by major political figures, intellectuals, and U.S. media of the day, is what justified the genocidal ethnic cleansing of the millions of Native peoples, and the ever-expanding enslavement and the more brutal exploitation of millions of enslaved Blacks essential to the expansion of the slave mode of production.

In his 1829 Message to Congress, “On Indian Removal,” President Jackson presented the genocidal ethnic cleansing of the five principal sovereign Indian nations in the Southeast as the generous gift from the superior white settlers to a lesser people needing guidance:

The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves.... It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters.... It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.7

THE REAL MOTIVE:

The existence of ex-slaves and their integration with the Seminoles, first in Spanish Florida and continuing after Florida became a U.S. territory, posed a danger to the slavery system not just in Georgia and Florida but overall. This concern became all the more real as word spread of the victory of the slave rebellion in Haiti—the first successful slave revolt in history—leading to independence in 1804.8 This made the massacre of Negro Fort, and the genocidal war against the Seminoles, essential to the continued expansion of cotton production far beyond Florida.

In the early 1800s, with the advent of the cotton gin, U.S. cotton production was dramatically expanding deeper, further, and wider in the southeastern part of the country. The seizure of land to raise cotton and expand slavery was critical for the growth of the economy of the South—and for the rulers of the country as a whole, as the textile mills in the North supplied by southern cotton were expanding production as well. What stood in the way of this expansion were the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations and their native lands.

As far as American slave owners and their political representatives were concerned, the period of negotiating treaties of coexistence between sovereign native peoples and white settlers was over. Native peoples’ land was too valuable as a source of wealth for expanding cotton plantations. The time for “Indian Removal”—ethnic cleansing and genocide—had arrived.


1. Florida’s Negro Fort, Africans in America, PBS.org. [back]

2. The actions of the U.S. soldiers that followed were a monstrous depravity. “After the battle, Jackson’s troops made bridle reins from skin taken from Indian corpses, conducted a body count by cutting off the tips of their noses, and sent their clothing as souvenirs to the ‘ladies of Tennessee.’” (Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror, Little, Brown, 1993, p. 85. [back]

3. Finding African-American History, and Florida’s Angola Community, VisitFlorida.com. [back]

4. The cotton gin, invented in 1793, greatly reduced the time it took to separate cotton fibers from its seeds. [back]

5. The Five Civilized Tribes refers to five Native American nations that adopted some of the attributes of the Europeans, such as Christianity, literacy, centralized governments, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and plantation slavery practices. [back]

6. Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832). [back]

7. Transcript of President Andrew Jackson’s Message to Congress, “On Indian Removal” (1830). [back]

8. “The Haitian Revolution sent shivers through European possessions across the Caribbean and Latin America, and into the newly independent United States. It became a tremendous symbol of hope for slaves throughout these countries, and one of tremulous fear for their masters, particularly those living in the colonies. (“The Threat of a Free Haiti,” by Samuel Farber, Jacobin. [back]

Seminoles attacking fort
U.S. Indian agents were unable to convince the Seminoles to abandon their land and move west, and in 1835 the Florida Seminoles waged a war of resistance, leading to what's considered the main Seminole War. Here Seminoles attack Fort Withlacoochee.

Indian Removal Map
Indian Removal Map

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/response-to-tom-cottons-statement-that-slavery-was-a-necessary-evil-en.html

Response to Tom Cotton's Statement That Slavery Was a "Necessary Evil"

| revcom.us

 

From a member of the National Revolution Tour:

Republican Senator from Arkansas Tom Cotton has been attacking the 1619 project from the New York Times, which unearths and exposes a lot of historical truth about this country and its roots in slavery. And now he’s actually trying to pass a law to prevent this history from being taught in the schools.

As part of this, listen to what Tom Cotton just said in an interview: “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

First of all, slavery was not “on a course to its own extinction.” It was actually expanding, and more profitable than ever in the period leading up to the Civil War. It had to be violently defeated.

And wait a minute, did Tom Cotton really just say that slavery was a NECESSARY EVIL on which the union was built?!

Let’s break this down. Tom Cotton is right that “the union” was built on slavery.

The uniting of the “United States” was accomplished through the “compromise,” written into the founding Constitution, that institutionalized slavery; and for generations slave labor produced a great part of the wealth of this country.

As I said in BAsics 1:1: “There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.” (Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution)

But there was nothing “necessary” about it. Bob Avakian spoke to this in his book Breakthroughs:

It is often argued, by way of rationalizing all this, that if such a compromise had not been made, then it would not have been possible to unite the colonies into a single country with a single government. But here the question arises, the mere posing of which should strongly suggest the answer: Why was it necessary, and in what way is it justified, to found a country on the basis of institutionalizing slavery and the attendant atrocities—why would it not have been far better to refuse to found a country on that basis?1

The fact that there are white supremacist fascists like Tom Cotton in key positions of power now who openly justify slavery in this way, and, as Bob Avakian wrote,

[T]he fact is that no major politician and no other significant representative of this ruling class will, or can, denounce this country, since its very founding, and denounce its “founders,” in the terms in which they deserve to be denounced: monstrously criminal... that gets to the very core of what this system is all about and why there is a great need to put an end to this system at the earliest possible time, and replace it with a system that has no need, no place, and no apology for slavery in any form.2

 

1. Bob Avakian, BREAKTHROUGHS: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism. A Basic Summary [back]

2. Bob Avakian, “On ‘Principled Compromises,’ and Other Crimes Against Humanity” [back]

Response to Tom Cotton's comment that slavery was a "necessary evil"

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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)

 

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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/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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Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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/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.

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/revolution-books-online-author-program-en.html

Revolution Books Online Author Program:

Stuart Schrader, author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing

Interviewed by Carl Dix
Tuesday, August 4, 7 p.m.

| revcom.us

 

Join us for a provocative exchange. This important book could not be more timely... against the backdrop of resistance to Trump's deployment of Gestapo-like federal police forces to Portland to suppress the just uprising against white supremacy. 

Register here for program.

From the Cold War through today, the U.S. has quietly assisted dozens of regimes around the world in suppressing civil unrest and securing the conditions for the smooth operation of capitalism. Casting a new light on American empire, Badges Without Borders shows, for the first time, that the very same people charged with global counterinsurgency also militarized American policing at home.

Watch here Tuesday, Aug 4.
7:00pm EDT (4:00pm PDT).
You don't need a Facebook account to tune in.

"Schrader's superb and finely written book shows beyond any doubt that US law enforcement deliberately policed its own citizens like the military did Cold War 'enemies' elsewhere... Everything from riot control to stop and frisk policing and the use of military-grade weapons in U.S. cities have their roots in national security policy. In this excellent work of history, the archives finally reveal just how right Baldwin was to call Harlem 'occupied territory.'"

Khalil Gibran Muhammad
author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America

 

Stuart Schrader teaches courses in Africana Studies, International Studies, and Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His writing has appeared in American Quarterly, The Baffler, Boston Review, Cities, City, Journal of Urban History, Harvard Design Magazine, Humanity, and The Brooklyn Rail.

Carl Dix is a long-time revolutionary and a follower of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian who has developed the new communism. In 2011, Carl joined with Cornel West to form the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and in 2016, he was a co-initiator of Refuse Fascism.

 

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

 

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Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/refusefascism-as-trump-threatens-the-elections-stay-in-the-streets-in-august-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Everyone, everywhere, all out for:

SEPTEMBER 5, 2020

Protest and Demand

TRUMP PENCE OUT NOW!

On September 5th we must make a LIVING DECLARATION to the world that we are uniting, we are organizing, we are determined, we are preparing to struggle with all we've got, starting now and not stopping until the Trump/Pence regime is driven from power and its fascist program brought to a halt.

 


July 4, 2020, New York City

 

 

Signup to Protest

Why Protest September 5th?
Read the Refuse Fascism Call for Mass Protest

We are speeding toward an election that Trump is already contesting and now threatens to delay.

This election, if there is an election, will be a showdown over the form of rule in this country. Will the Trump/Pence regime hold on to power and be given a “mandate” to violently suppress dissent and criminalize protest? Will a regime that brands as their enemy all those who struggle for a better world – whether for Black lives or the environment or immigrants’ rights – be unleashed to exact revenge aimed at destroying our ability to stand up again?

This and worse is unfolding now, and it has a name: fascism.

Now is the time to marshal the people for a determined struggle to demand the Trump/Pence Regime get OUT NOW. All who have been demonized and criminalized by this regime and the millions who hate Trump and what he stands for must unite with an unwavering resolve to remove this regime from power at the soonest possible time.

A fierce battle for the future is underway.

The energy that millions of people, from many different nationalities, backgrounds, and political beliefs, brought to the streets across this country after the horrific murder of George Floyd, and the determination that thousands brought to the streets of Portland to stand strong against Trump’s stormtroopers, can and must become the force to remove this hateful regime from power.

For more than three years, people have relied on the normal channels to stop this regime, only to watch them turn into dead ends. But the months of Black Lives Matter protests show how dread can be transformed into a force for hope. Our power is sustained, mass, non-violent protest in the streets. Our strength is our diversity. Our demand is for justice. These are the ingredients that have driven out hated regimes and corrupt leaders around the world, from South Korea in 2017 to Armenia in 2018 to Puerto Rico in 2019.

Using voter suppression and gerrymandering, unfounded accusations of voter fraud (mainly by immigrants and Black people), attacks on mail-in ballots, and a plan to recruit ex-military and police as “poll watchers” to “challenge” voters they deem as suspicious, the Trump/Pence regime has shown its determination to maintain a stranglehold on power through legal and extra-legal means. Even talk of canceling or indefinitely “postponing” the elections is not outside the realm of possibility. Relying on the upcoming elections without a mass struggle now to demand the removal of the regime is a mistake with catastrophic consequences for people in this country and around the world.

We cannot wait for the Trump/Pence regime to further delegitimize and degrade the elections. Just as the German people could not have stopped their genocidal fascist program without driving out Hitler and the Nazi regime, we must act with all our resolve to drive this regime – a 21st century fascist regime led by a demented bully with his finger on the nuclear trigger – out of power. Allowing a regime like this to consolidate its rule in the most powerful country in the world is to foreclose on a future for humanity and the planet.

There is no painless resolution to this deepening crisis. In the words of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. ...Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

To stop a vicious American fascism that threatens the very future of humanity, the necessary and unifying demand – for every struggle for justice to advance – is Trump Pence Out Now! The regime has already gone after the most vulnerable while continually expanding the groups of people in its crosshairs. Even if you survive that, what will you be forced to accept in the process? Who will you become as you accept the unacceptable?

We have everything to lose if we wait, but everything to gain if we act now to bring millions into the streets refusing to accept a fascist America.

There are two futures before us. Which one we get is up to us.

Everyone, everywhere, all out for:

SEPTEMBER 5, 2020

Protest and Demand

TRUMP PENCE OUT NOW!

Launch 60 Days of Struggle
Mass Nonviolent Protest Everyday

TELL THE WORLD: we are uniting, we are organizing, we are determined, we are preparing to struggle with all we’ve got, Starting Now and Not Stopping Until the Trump/Pence Regime is Driven from Power and its Fascist Program Brought to a Halt.

The Trump/Pence regime is moving fast to consolidate fascist rule and hammer in a nightmare for humanity.

Police gun down Black and Brown people. The Trump/Pence  regime backs the police; sends paramilitary forces against the people and calls for racist thugs to exact vengeance against the people. Peaceful protesters are run down and shot down.

We were millions demanding justice in June and July. We must rise again. The next 60 Days Must Be Our Time – Not Trump’s, Not His Fascist Goons.

If masses of people are in the streets every day by October, if every attempt by the regime to subvert the election, to repress protest, to implement new fascist measures are met with growing numbers demanding Trump/Pence OUT NOW! in nonviolent protest we could force a different political equation going into November, constraining Trump’s ability to easily postpone or subvert the election and we would already be mobilized and prepared if he did so on election day.

Every movement for justice must act on the understanding that we are at a “Both/And” moment – for every struggle for justice, for people’s lives, AND for demanding Trump/Pence OUT NOW! This is not a time for “Either/Or,” my struggle not yours.

Humanity all over the world and the survival of the planet depends on what we do. Will it be said, when facing an American fascism in the most powerful country in history, that people here could not put aside their differences to stop a great horror? Or will history tell that people rose, as many acting together, and stopped a great horror? 

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

Printable flyer of the call for September 5 

All Protest! times & places

Share this call

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in our recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met. This means working and organizing with all our creativity and determination to bring thousands, eventually millions of people into the streets of cities and towns, to demand:

This Nightmare Must End:
The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

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

Find out more about Refuse Fascism here.

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/659/rnl-show-episode-20-announcement-en.html

Episode 20 of
The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

| revcom.us

 

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Fighting for the Future: Major Statement from Bob Avakian; “Rebelling Against ‘Guy Culture’";
Live from Portland;
Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

The Revolution, Nothing Less Show

As fascism escalates and puts humanity's future at risk, the need for scientific clarity and leadership is greater than ever. In Episode 20, we will highlight an historic new statement from Bob Avakian that is filling this tremendous need. We'll continue to go deep into the liberation of women by sharing a gripping take-down of “Guy Culture” from BA Speaks: Revolution, Nothing Less! We'll bring you an interview with Maya Malika of the Revolution Tour, live from Portland, and share major plans from RefuseFascism.org for nationwide protests on September 5 to demand: Trump/Pence #OUTNOW!

 

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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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