revcom.us, December 7, 2020 through December 13, 2020 (#677)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Please note: this page is intended for quick printing of one week's articles. Some of the links may not work when clicked, and some images may be missing. Please go to the article's permalink if you require working links and images.

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/676/andy-zee-opening-remarks-en.html

November 24, 2020
Andy Zee Opening Remarks
Forum: What Just Happened? Trump, America, and the Danger of Fascism

| revcom.us

 

Editors' note: These comments have been slightly edited for publication.

If you’ve had a recurring nightmare repeatedly jolt you awake, it can be a problem, indeed dangerous, to not find out where that’s coming from, and work your way through it... For the sources of that terror lie deep and can reassert themselves.

Four years ago, Refuse Fascism said This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. How prescient that was, how critical the understanding, the analysis, and the still urgent stand of what begins the Pledge we watched earlier from Refuse Fascism which is: “In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.”

In the name of humanity concentrates the grave danger that a fascist regime in the most powerful imperialist superpower in history posed not just to people here, but to the people of the world, and to the very Earth we live on. The Trump/Pence fascist regime came to power through the “normal” political processes of this system and the regime represented, it pulled together, it cohered, a whole section of the ruling class of this system who regarded and still do—this American fascism as one possible resolution to the problems that this system faces in the world today.

The Trump/Pence regime did not create the deep divisions in America, nor did it create climate change, nor nuclear weapons, let alone the triad of its fascist program that Coco referred to: white supremacy, patriarchy, and xenophobia, anymore than it created the COVID virus. What the Trump/Pence regime did do, is amplify and put on steroids all of these pre-existing conditions, and to do so, it concentrated and fought for a different form of rule of this same system—it tore through what had been the political and civic norms—to rule

through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.”

All of this to implement their program of America First—an America of genocidal racism, the most toxic male supremacy, and the outright demonization and terrorizing of immigrants in concentration camps, with the children of refugees separated and put in cages as their families fled countries that the U.S. and the capitalist-imperialist system has devastated.

Isn’t this what they have done? And, since they are not out of power yet; and 73 million people voted for them with over 40 percent of all those who voted in the election fervently convinced that Trump won and Biden stole the election and thus is illegitimate—along with their believing even worse lunatic conspiracy theories; we must remain vigilant, now and going forward.

This Is Not Going Away. There will be no return to normal ... no return to normal ... and any objective view of what this country does to millions of people within its borders, to the people of the world and to the planet, should lead to no one wanting to return to “normal” for all the horrors that brings.

Why? Because fascism is one response to the contradictions of this system on the part of a section of those who rule this system.

Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader, has said the normal workings of this system will:

continue to wreak havoc in the world and on the masses of people in the world, through destruction of the environment, wars, massive displacement and desperate migration of people, on top of the ongoing savage inequalities, crushing exploitation and murderous oppression “written into the DNA” of this system and carried out by its brutal enforcers.

This is from an article whose title poses a key takeaway from what I am bringing to our conversation: Radical Change Is Coming: Will It Be Emancipating, or Enslaving—Revolutionary or Reactionary? I cite Bob Avakian repeatedly, and I follow his lead, because he has developed the science to more deeply explain where the problems of today’s world 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.

The roots of fascism in America are deep. At the organized mass core of this fascist movement is a Christian fascist movement—a form of political Christian fundamentalism—that has been organizing for decades.

One can draw a direct line from the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime with this Christian fundamentalist base, to the Confederacy. A religious fervor of a return to the “lost cause” of a noble way of life—of unfettered brutal white supremacy and patriarchy—each taking on genocidal proportions while wrapped in MAGA/America First package—an aggressive approach to the world—threatening nuclear annihilation that mirrors the aggressive individualism of their movement: my freedom means you might die—fully aware that with COVID that disproportionately means Black and Latino lives.

I want to bring this to a conclusion with Four Points.

[1] There can be NO RECONCILIATION WITH FASCISM. Trump did not divide us and Biden cannot unite us. Bob Avakian has pointed out that the minds of these fascists in power and in the streets will not be changed by “being nice” to them:

There can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!

NO reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists... If you compromise, conciliate, collaborate, with fascism, which is what the Democrats have done and will do, because they fundamentally represent the same system that has white supremacy, patriarchy, and domination of the people of the world woven into its very functioning. It is the fuel of the engine of capitalism-imperialism. So this is my second point. To underscore it:

[2] Biden and the Democratic Party, as representatives of the same system, cannot solve the underlying problems of this system which cause so much unnecessary suffering to people here and around the world—a world of tens and hundreds of millions of refugees, of 150 million children locked in virtual slave labor, of half of humanity confined and thwarted by a vicious patriarchy, of wars, climate devastation, of racial and national oppression, and the crushing of spirits and the squandering of human potential to the dictates of a system whose lifeblood is the exploitation of billions of people enforced through brute power and reinforced through tradition’s chains.

[3] Point three. The contention at the top of society around the fascist Republican Party, deep in the institutions of this country, in control of the Supreme Court and after four years having forged a cohered and hardened fascist base is not going away, but will continue to metastasize and contend for power.

The struggle for any fundamental change and the ground for revolution will be fought on this ground. It is a conflict that is likely to intensify. And, it will be, as BA has written, “a significant factor in the context of an all-out struggle between revolution and counter-revolution.”

[4] There is a way to understand the nightmare of fascism and the workings of the system that gave rise to it. And there is a way for humanity to move beyond a system that perpetuates such unnecessary suffering. To get there requires the scientific method and approach of the new communism developed by Bob Avakian—which stands in opposition to religious obscurantism, conspiracy lunacy, as well as the relativism of the progressive community that there are just individual truths but no objective knowable reality... There is a road—a hard road through an actual revolution to a radically new society on the road to real emancipation that is outlined in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA.

This is an invitation to take up the scientific approach of the new communism. Have the integrity and courage of thinking critically, to not be bound by the conventions of today, but aspire to what really could be—a radically different and far better world for all humanity.

The fight against fascism is not over. It enters a new phase. But, let’s undertake this fight. Let’s continue to fight together against fascism and indeed against all the injustices that this system continually brings down on the people. Let’s do so while digging into, discussing, and debating the way out of the outmoded madness that haunts the world today.

The Refuse Fascism Pledge to the People of the World: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America must continue to resonate far and wide and become not only a needed political and moral compass, but the organized expression of a network ready to act with nonviolent determination to not allow fascism to grow and dominate and terrorize humanity. The next 50 plus days until Trump and Pence are gone from power present real and present danger. We remain vigilant.

To all who have taken up the call from Refuse Fascism, to my fellow panelists who have exposed the dangers of what we face until they’re gone, we should continue to, as the Pledge concludes, “We pledge our determination to prevail over a regime that imperils the people of the world and the earth itself.”

WHAT JUST HAPPENED: TRUMP, AMERICA & THE DANGER OF FASCISM

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

 

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/673/three-questions-en.html

Three Questions

| revcom.us

 

Why did 70+ million people vote for this genocidal racist, male supremacist, "America First" fascist, Trump? “Is there hope for white people?”

Where did the American fascist movement behind
Trump and Pence come from?

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

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

What do people who yearn for a better world
need to do in the current situation?

VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH — WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS, AND STAY IN THE STREETS
DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

by Bob Avakian

Part 3:

TRUMP’S FASCISM — MORE BLATANT AND DANGEROUS EVERY DAY:
HOW A DETERMINED FIGHT AND MASSIVE MOBILIZATION COULD DEFEAT THIS

Part 2:

TRUMP IS ALREADY STEALING THE ELECTION AND THREATENING EVEN MORE VIOLENCE TO STAY IN POWER

Part 1:

THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T FIGHT TRUMP
THE WAY HE NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT

A talk by Bob Avakian

The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us

An important talk given by Bob Avakian in the summer of 2017.

Read talk      |        Listen

 

 

 

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/665/bob-avakian-for-the-liberation-of-black-people-en.html

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

| revcom.us

 

One of the things that comes through most powerfully in Bob Avakian’s memoir1 is that a profound hatred for the oppression of Black people has been a defining part of Bob Avakian’s life from the time, as a teenager, he learned about the lives of the Black people with whom he developed deep ties of friendship. Never feeling that, because he is white, “it is not his place” to be involved in the struggle against this oppression—but, on the contrary, determined to contribute whatever he could to this struggle—Bob Avakian (BA), from the time he worked closely with the Black Panther Party in its revolutionary days in the 1960s, has made the liberation of Black people a defining part of his life’s commitment and work. As he developed as a revolutionary communist, and emerged as the foremost revolutionary leader and thinker in the world, this commitment has become even deeper and has been strongly interwoven with a dedication to the emancipation of all humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation.

As BA has written about his life’s work:

Why was I doing the work I was doing? Once again, we’re back to for whom and for what. I wasn’t doing this work for myself. When I was young, in middle school and then even more so in high school, my life got changed in a very major way by coming into contact with people that I hadn’t really known that much before, in particular Black people. I started learning about their situation and how that relates to what goes on in this society as a whole. I was drawn to the culture—not just the music and the art overall, but the whole way of going through the world—of the Black people who became my friends, and the world they introduced me to. And I came to the point of recognizing: these are my people. Now, I knew they had a different life experience than I did. But these are my people—I don’t see a separation—it’s not like there are some other people “over there” who are going through all this and somehow that’s removed from me. These are my people. And then I began to recognize more deeply what people were being put through, the oppression they were constantly subjected to, the horrors of daily life as well as the bigger ways in which the system came down on them. And as I went further through life and began to approach the question of what needs to be done about this, and was introduced to taking up a scientific approach to this, I realized that my people were more than this. I realized that my people were Chicanos and other Latinos and other oppressed people in the U.S.; they were people in Vietnam and China; they were women...they were the oppressed and exploited of the world...and through some struggle, and having to cast off some wrong thinking, I have learned that they are LGBT people as well.

These are my people, the oppressed and exploited people of the world. They are suffering terribly, and something has to be done about this. So it is necessary to dig in and systematically take up the science that can show the way to put an end to all this, and bring something much better into being. You have to persevere and keep struggling to go forward in this way. And when you run into new problems or setbacks, you have to go more deeply into this, rather than putting it aside and giving up.

So this is why I’ve been doing the work that I’ve been doing.2

Bob Avakian grew up in Berkeley, California. Unable, because of a life-threatening illness, to be directly involved in struggles taking place against racial oppression for several years after graduating from high school in 1961, BA nevertheless closely followed and strongly supported the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, and at the same time was influenced by and supportive of the militant stand and role of Malcolm X. This was reflected in an article that BA wrote at the age of 19 in 1962 supporting the struggle of Black people. (This article was submitted to the liberal magazine Saturday Review. Although the article was not published, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Norman Cousins, personally replied—indicating that, although the magazine had chosen not to publish this article, he recognized that the article spoke, in a strikingly compelling way, to very important questions.)

Having recovered from his illness, in 1964, BA became actively involved in the Free Speech Movement at the University of California in Berkeley, where he was a student. The central issue of this movement was the right of students to carry out activity on the campus in support of the civil rights movement. BA was among the 800 who were arrested during the occupation of the university administration building, which was the high point of the movement and led to winning its demands.

As the civil rights movement increasingly gave way to a more militant Black liberation movement in the second half of the 1960s, BA was strongly influenced by this. He left the university and dedicated his life to working for radical change. As a result of direct contact and discussions with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the founders of the Black Panther Party, and getting to know Eldridge Cleaver (who also became a leader of the BPP), BA worked closely with the Black Panther Party from its earliest days and at the height of its revolutionary role and influence.

In 1967, BA attended rallies, and spoke at one of the rallies, held by the BPP in North Richmond to protest the killing there of Denzil Dowell, part of the long and continuing chain of murders of Black people by police.

In 1968, when Huey Newton was facing murder charges as a result of a shoot-out with Oakland cops, BA spoke—along with a number of key figures in the Black liberation movement, including Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, James Forman, and leaders of the Black Panther Party— at a Free Huey rally held in the Oakland auditorium on the occasion of Huey Newton’s birthday.

BA worked tirelessly to build support, including among white people, for the demand to “Free Huey!” At a “Free Huey” rally at the courthouse in Oakland where Huey Newton’s trial was being held, BA was arrested for “desecrating” (burning) the American flag.

During this time, at the invitation of BPP leaders, BA wrote a number of articles for the Black Panther newspaper.

At a rally of thousands, led by the Black Panther Party, on May First, 1969, BA spoke of the need for revolution and called on white people in particular to more actively take part in movements for revolutionary change in the U.S., and to support such movements throughout the world.

By the beginning of the 1970s, millions of people in this country were in favor of some kind of revolutionary change, but they faced profound challenges. How could this revolution be made—or was it even possible to make a revolution here, up against such powerful forces of oppression and repression? Which were the key forces that had to be mobilized to have a real chance to carry out such a revolution? What kind of leadership was needed, and what methods and approaches should that leadership be based on? The difficulties in confronting and seeking the answers to these hard questions, combined with brutal and often murderous repression by the powers-that-be, led many revolutionary organizations, including the Black Panther Party, to split and end up departing from the road that could lead to real revolution.

By this time, partly because of the influence of the Black Panther Party, which had popularized the “Red Book” of quotations from the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, BA had become convinced not only that revolution was necessary, and was possible, but that it had to be led by a vanguard force that based itself on the scientific method and approach of communism, as it had been developed initially by Karl Marx, then further developed by V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution in the early part of the 20th century, and then in turn further developed by Mao, who led the Chinese revolution and the new, socialist society in China, until his death in 1976. BA led in the formation of the Revolutionary Union at the end of the 1960s, with the aim of working toward the establishment of the vanguard party of revolution, based on the science of communism. During the first part of the 1970s, BA was both the practical leader and the leading theoretician of the Revolutionary Union, writing much of the essays and polemics for its theoretical journal Red Papers. This included major articles, particularly in Red Papers 5 and 6, that involved groundbreaking scientific materialist analysis of the situation of Black people, historically and down to the present—how and why their particular conditions of oppression had changed, from the time of slavery to the present era, and how this objectively put Black people in a potentially powerful position to be a driving force not only for their own liberation but for the communist revolution whose fundamental aim is the abolition of all oppression and exploitation. These articles included powerful polemics, arguing against positions and programs that would not lead to, but would actually work against, this liberation and the revolutionary transformation of the world as a whole.

In 1975, with BA’s leadership, the Revolutionary Communist Party was founded, with the aim of being the vanguard force for the revolution that was, and continues to be, profoundly necessary. Over the decades since then, BA has fought to keep that Party on the revolutionary road and to bring forward new revolutionary forces to revitalize and strengthen the vanguard forces for the revolution that is now, all the more urgently, required. While continuing to provide practical guidance to the revolutionary forces, BA, through summing up the experience (positive and negative) of the communist movement, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, has brought forward a new synthesis of communism (also referred to as the new communism) which, most decisively, has established communism on an even more consistently scientific basis. As BA’s Official Biography explains, the new communism “is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed. It provides the basis—the science, the strategy, and the leadership—for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.”3

A defining part of this new communism is the emphasis it gives to the struggle for the liberation of Black people, and the relation of this to the ending of all oppression. And this has continued to stand out in BA’s leadership role and work over the decades, up to the present.  At revcom.us there is a special section, Bob Avakian on The Oppression of Black People & the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppressionwhich contains clips from films and selections from the writings of BA on this question. The following are just a few examples of important works and leadership by Bob Avakian, over the past few decades, that speak to this decisive question.

The book Reflections, Sketches & Provocations, written by Bob Avakian during the 1980s, contains a number of commentaries, speaking in a number of dimensions to the oppression of Black people and the struggle against this oppression, including support for rebellions following the murder of Black people by police. This book begins with the essay “Hill Street Bullshit, Richard Pryor Routines, and the Real Deal,” which powerfully exposes how terror against Black people, and other oppressed people, is “part of the job” of the police—and is “a reward” for carrying out the role of maintaining the “law and order” that keeps the oppressed in their desperate and miserable conditions. Going deeper, it speaks to how this is rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism, which has had this oppression built into it from the very beginning.

In the 1990s, BA raised the idea that there should be a day, every year, when people mobilized to protest police brutality, mass incarceration and repression by the government. This proposal was taken up and a broad coalition, including family members of people killed by police, was formed to initiate, in 1996, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. At its height, over the next decade, this National Day of Protest, held every October 22nd, rallied thousands of people in dozens of cities across the country. And activities by people who have been part of this coalition have continued since then.

During the past two decades, BA has given a number of filmed speeches, and written articles, essays and books, in which the liberation of Black people and its crucial relation to the communist revolution, aiming for the emancipation of all humanity, has been a major question.

BA’s 2003 speech Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, begins with a searing exposure and condemnation of lynching, and speaks to the horrific reality of slavery and the oppression of Black people down to today, including the continual murder of Black people by police.3

In 2006, BA gave a series of 7 Talks, in which once again the oppression of Black people, and the struggle for their liberation, is a major theme. One of these 7 Talks, Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, begins by speaking to the experience of Black people in this country; and the question of slavery and the overall oppression of Black people is, of course, a major part of this talk. It is in Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy that the following is clearly stated:

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

(This is also the very first statement in BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution.)3

At the beginning of BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!, in 2012, this point is stated emphatically:

Let’s start with just one great crime of this system: police murder—after murder—after murder—of Black people and Latinos, especially youth.3

This is part of the powerful exposure in this speech of the role that continuing murders by police play in enforcing this monstrous system of exploitation and oppression, the system of capitalism-imperialism.

At the beginning of his October 2017 speech The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible,  BA speaks powerfully to the horrors of slavery in this country—including the rape by slavemasters of huge numbers of enslaved women. This speech shows how the murderous oppression of Black people, continuing down to today, is one of the main roots of the fascism that has come to power in this country with the Trump/Pence regime; and, in this speech, BA repeatedly returns to the critical importance of the fight against this oppression.3

BA’s 2018 speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution begins this way:

In 2012 in Revolution—Nothing Less! I talked about the outrageous murder of Ramarley Graham earlier that same year—shot down in his own house in the Bronx by the New York City police. He was only 18 years old. Do I have to tell you what “race” he was?! His mother kept saying: “This has to STOP!” And his father repeated over and over: "WHY did they kill my son?! WHY did they kill my son?!" New York cops then loudly rallied around their fellow pig who murdered Ramarley in cold blood, viciously taunting Ramarley's family and loved ones, demonstrating yet one more time the ugly truth that, in the way this country has been built, and for the powers-that-be in this country, the humanity of Black people has never counted for anything—they have never been valued as human beings, but only as things to be exploited, oppressed, and repressed. Six years later, and with cold-blooded murders by police continuing in an unbroken chain, I will say again what I said then: How many more times does this have to happen? How many more times do the tears and the cries of anguish and anger have to pour forth from the wounded hearts of people?! How many more times, when another of these outrageous murders is perpetrated by the police, do we have to hear those words that pour gasoline on the already burning wounds: “justifiable homicide, justified use of force” by police?! How many more?!3

In that 2018 speech, BA not only powerfully exposes once again the horrific oppression that this system of capitalism-imperialism inflicts on Black people, and on other oppressed people in this country and throughout the world, and the grave danger this system poses to the very future of humanity; he also lays out in this speech (and in a more recent article A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution3) the strategic approach that could make it possible for this system to be finally overthrown through a revolution in which millions and millions of people are led to fight to put an end to this system and bring a radically different and much better system into being.

In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by BA, a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for that radically different and much better system is set forth. And the principles and means for finally putting an end, at long last, to the oppression of Black people is a major part of that Constitution.3

This year (2020), BA has written as many as 30 articles in which this decisive question—the oppression, and the struggle for the liberation, of Black people—is a recurring subject.3

In the speeches and writings of BA overall, there is not only powerful, penetrating exposure and uncompromising condemnation of brutal and murderous oppression but, even more importantly, there is scientific analysis of how all this is rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism and of the need, the possibility, and the means for making revolution to overthrow this system and finally put an end to all the outrageous and unnecessary suffering that the masses of humanity are continually subjected to under this system.

***

It is a very precious thing for the oppressed of the earth when they have a leader whose life is dedicated to their emancipation, and who has the determination, and the scientific method, developed over decades, to point the way, and continue to carve out the path, to achieving that emancipation. BA is such a leader. As emphasized in the article Bob Avakian: A Radically Different Leader—A Whole New Framework For Human Emancipation:

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.3

One of the things that most distinguishes BA’s role as a revolutionary leader is his willingness—indeed, his insistence—on telling people the truth, even when they may not want to hear it. This comes through in the way BA exposes and refutes unscientific ways of thinking—all kinds of “conspiracy” theories and superstitious ideas—that lead people, including the most bitterly oppressed people, away from understanding the world as it actually is, and keep them from seeing not just the need, but the possibility, of radically changing the world, in a way that will lead to ending oppression. A big problem that BA has taken on, straight-up, is the role of religion as a mental chain on the masses of Black people, and other oppressed people, and the need to break this chain in order to most powerfully wage the struggle to finally be free of all oppression. BA has repeatedly emphasized that, in order to end oppression, “you have to want revolution badly enough to be scientific about it.”

Science means judging whether something is true, or not, by whether there is evidence that it actually corresponds to reality—and not believing something because it makes you feel good to believe it, or not refusing to believe something because it makes you uncomfortable. In the article Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach To Changing The World, BA has spoken directly to this problem:

many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”3

In the 2014 Dialogue with Cornel West (REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion), which took place during the upsurge of protest and rebellion in response to the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, while speaking to the importance of uniting people broadly in the struggle against oppression, including people who hold religious views, BA also emphasized that the revolution that is needed to finally put an end to oppression must be led with a scientific, not a religious, outlook and method.3

From the start of the article Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression, written this year (2020), BA does not hold back in speaking to these critical questions:

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?!....

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.3

****

From his early years, forging close personal ties with Black people and increasingly learning about their lived experience, to his development as this rare leader who has brought forth the most advanced scientific revolutionary theory with the new communism—a defining part of the life and work of Bob Avakian has been the liberation of Black people from centuries of oppression, and the understanding of how this relates to, and is a crucial driving force in, the communist revolution to finally abolish every form of oppression and exploitation, everywhere.

BA himself has expressed this in the following poetically powerful statement:

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.

 


1. From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary CommunistA Memoir by Bob AvakianInsight Press, 2005. [back]

2. 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, first printing, 2016, pp. 321-22. In addition to THE NEW COMMUNISM, in other recent works by BA—in particular Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summaryand Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism—the oppression and the struggle for the liberation of Black people, and its relation to the emancipation of humanity as a whole, is a prominent subject. These works are available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. All of these works are available at revcom.us. (Information about how to acquire the print and e-book editions of BAsics can be found at revcom.us. Audio of the 7 Talks is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us; and Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy has been published in a print edition, the text of which can also be found in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.)

The film of the Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, is also available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.

The article Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach To Changing The World (longer and shorter versions) is available at revcom.us as well.

The importance of Bob Avakian as a revolutionary leader, who has further developed communism as a consistently scientific method and approach, is a central theme in 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. Ardea Skybreak is a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, who is also the author of the important book THE SCIENCE OF EVOLUTION AND THE MYTH OF CREATIONISM, Knowing What’s Real And Why It Matters. Each of these books by Ardea Skybreak is published by Insight Press, and the Interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is also available at revcom.us

The following articles, written by Bob Avakian this year (2020), which speak to the oppression of Black people and the struggle to end this oppression, are available as well at revcom.us:

Donald Trump—Genocidal Racist (Parts 1-10) 

Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System

Police And Prisons: Reformist Illusions And The Revolutionary Solution

Anything But The Truth—Bob Avakian Exposes Lies, Distortions, Distractions and Evasions About the Murderous Oppression of Black People

Lynching, Murder By Police—Damn This Whole System! We Don’t Have To Live This Way!

Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression

Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James And The Whole Truth

Donald Trump Isn’t “Tough,” He’s A Bloated Bag Of Fascist Feces

Bloated Bag Of Fascist Feces Trump Isn’t “Tough”—Part 2: Who Really Has Heart?

Trump And Pigs: A Racist Love Affair

Fucker Carlson, Fascist “Fox News” And The Broadcast Of White Supremacy

Bob Avakian on Black Trump Supporters: What If Jews Had Supported Hitler?!

Bob Avakian On: A Beautiful Uprising: Right And Wrong, Methods And Principles

On Statues, Monuments, And Celebrating—Or Ending—Oppression

Fascists Today And The Confederacy: A Direct Line, A Direct Connection Between All The Oppression

Patriarchy And Male Supremacy, Or Revolution And Ending All Oppression

Sounding Like Southern Segregationists: It’s Not Just Trump—It’s Democrats Too

Bob Avakian Brings Out the Truth: Barack Obama Says Police Murdering Black People Should Not Be Normal—Unless He’s President

Bob Avakian On Ugly Words & Phrases

Bob Avakian On Tulsa Racist Mobs

A Real Revolution--A Real Chance To Win: Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution

[back]

Now available as a PDF pamphlet:
Booklet    |    8.5x11 sheets

Coming soon —

A broadsheet version of the article "BOB AVAKIAN FOR THE LIBERATION OF BLACK PEOPLE AND THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY"

Make plans now to get these materials out very broadly into the world, and raise funds for their publication.

Get to know BA

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.

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/482/skybreak-a-communist-statesman-modeling-communist-leadership-en.html

Excerpt from SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak

A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership

March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

In the early part of 2015, over a number of days, Revolution conducted a wide-ranging interview with Ardea Skybreak. A scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, Skybreak is the author of, among other works, The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, and Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women's Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation. This interview was first published online at www.revcom.us.

This excerpt from the interview, “A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership,” is a ‘must-read-and-review’ for all those concerned with making revolution and bringing into being a radically different and far better world.

Q: I think that that’s a really important point, and it relates to something you said a minute ago, that you felt BA really came across as a statesman in this Dialogue1. And maybe you could explain that a little bit more, because I think that’s a really important point and I know you were saying earlier that you felt like you really got a sense being at this Dialogue, experiencing it, that this is the leader of the revolution, this is somebody who could lead the future society. So I don’t know if you wanted to speak a little more to that.

Ardea Skybreak Science and Revolution excerpts A New Theoretical Framework for a New Stage of Communist Revolution What Is New in the New Synthesis? The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic--A Visionary and Concrete Application of the New Synthesis Serious Engagement with the New Synthesis--The Difference It Could Make An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA Some Thank Yous That Need To Be Said Aloud Order the book here Download the full interview in PDF format here

AS: Yes, the reason I felt the statesman aspect, too, is that I think we live in a complicated period, that there are a lot of challenges in this period to actually advance the revolutionary struggle, to deal with the actual fight–the “fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution” aspect of things is going on right now in a way it hasn’t for some time, in particular around the police murders. And, look, BA leads the work of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and there’s not a single initiative, I’m sure, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, that doesn’t have the stamp of leadership of BA and of the top leadership of the Party on it, in terms of how it’s unfolded. As you can see from the diversity of things that are taken up by this Party, and as reflected in the website revcom.us, there are a lot of very challenging contradictions to deal with. And that gives only a hint of what this leadership involves.

I don’t think most people have any idea what revolutionary leadership is about. A lot of people think that a leader of revolution is kind of like an “activist” leader, sort of like a leader of a demonstration, what I think of as tactical leadership. But overall revolutionary leadership is not just tactical. Of course there does need to be tactical leadership in various dimensions, and I’m not trying to devalue that. There is very much a need for the kind of person who might be agitating in a demonstration, for instance, helping to put forward a better understanding of what people are fighting about, and leading people, even tactically, in the streets, for instance in a demonstration. But there’s an important point to be made about how the leader of a revolution and the leader of a new society has to be an all-round statesman and has to be more like a strategic commander of the revolution as a whole. And there’s a formulation that’s been put forward recently that a communist leader–and not just the top leadership, but every single revolutionary communist–has to think of themselves and strive to be a strategic leader of the revolution, “a strategic commander of the revolution, not just a tactical leader, and not just a strategic philosopher.” This is very important. In other words, if you’re going to lead a revolution, lead the seizure of state power and become a leader of a new society–and that’s what I mean by statesman–you have to fully recognize and grapple with the complexity of what you’re doing and the many different levels and layers of it, and the many different contradictions among the people. You have to deal with the fact that you don’t have absolute freedom at any given time, and yet you’re trying to move things in a certain direction. You’re trying to be true to your principles, and you’re promoting that openly, but at the same time you’re dealing with the people you’re leading, who often don’t understand, at least not with any depth, what you’re putting forward in leading them, or who tend to distort what you’re putting forward, because they don’t understand things well enough or because they’re being shaped and influenced by other programs, other outlooks and methods.

So strategic leadership is a very, very complex task, and that’s also involved in why, as I mentioned earlier, so many natural scientists are at a complete loss when they try to address social transformations and they suddenly seem to forget everything they ever knew about basic scientific methods! Part of that is also because so many people have a completely wrong view of what actually constitutes overall leadership in the social arena, especially as pertains to revolutionary change. Much of the time they seem to think a political leader is just somebody with a bullhorn in a demonstration. But that’s tactical leadership, that’s not the overall strategic commander type of leadership that can guide an actual overall radical transformation of a whole society through revolution and the building of a whole new kind of society on a fundamentally different economic basis, with everything that flows from that. That kind of multi-faceted leadership is a much more complex task, and most people today frankly have little or no conception of all that it involves.

And there’s the question of dealing with the audiences–if you wanna put it that way, there are many different audiences. You’re not trying to be all things to all people. You are actually trying to meet the objective interests of the international proletariat, by which I mean–it’s not any individual proletarian that’s the question–there’s an international, world-wide class of people who don’t own the means of production, who have no ability to run society under this system, who can really only sell themselves basically, under this capitalist-imperialist system. They have the greatest interest–whether they know it or not as individual proletarians–as a class, they have the greatest interest of any class in actually going in the direction of communism and getting beyond all these class divisions and relations of exploitation and oppression. But is that the only class that’s going to be part of the process? No. The capitalist-imperialist ruling class is a very small segment of world society, or of any given society, but you do have all these other forces that kind of have one foot in one system, while one foot may be aspiring to something better. And those more “intermediate” strata, they tend to not be very constant, they tend to flip from one side to the other on any given day! Add to that the fact that hardly anybody has been given any scientific training, so hardly anybody tries to approach problems with any kind of consistently systematic and rigorous method. So you’ve got people going all over the place, you know, both in their thinking and in their actions. Bob Avakian’s talked about the challenge of “going to the brink of being drawn and quartered,” both in terms of getting to the revolutionary seizure of state power, and in terms of building a new society–that there are so many different kinds of people pulling in different directions, with different and opposing ideas, and so on.

And here’s another reason you need science. How can you know what’s best for society? How can you know what’s best for the majority of humanity? The capitalist-imperialists, they are proceeding on the basis of what’s best for their system. It’s not just a question of corporate greed, it’s not just that. It’s much more than that. They have a system that they need to maintain, a system that is based on profit, and we can talk about the fundamental contradiction of capitalism-imperialism, it might be worth touching on that a little bit. But the point is that they’re trying to keep their system going, but they don’t understand–even the people running this society often don’t even understand the deeper laws of their own system. But if you’re trying to bring into being a whole new kind of society, one that actually more fully meets the objective interests and needs of the vast majority of humanity, you’ve gotta do a lot of work, and you’ve gotta go up against a lot of misconceptions and prejudice and anti-scientific views. You have to deal with that diversity of views and opinions and with people pulling in all sorts of different directions, while at the same time not losing the reins of the process itself. That’s where the strategic commander role comes in. If you are confident in your scientific approach, then you can say with a quite a bit of certitude that you think it is possible to determine what is in fact in the objective interests of the majority of humanity, and what it would take to move in that direction. It’s like if you’re riding a horse. You’ve got your hands on the reins, so you’re not just going to let the horse run to any old place–the horse here being the process, not the people, but the process, right, the revolutionary process. But if you ride a horse and you pull the reins in too tightly, and you pull the horse’s head too hard, and the bit cuts into the horse’s mouth, and you’re not allowing it any kind of free rein, then that horse is going to stop dead in its tracks, or it’s going to buck, and in any case it’s not going to be able to be part of freely moving forward and advancing the process.

So there’s always a tension–the reason there’s a need, as BA has stressed, for “lots of elasticity, on the basis of the solid core” is not, as some people have incorrectly argued, just because the middle strata of people are going to “buck” and cause problems for you, are going be resentful, and so you’ll have to give ’em a bone here or there, to keep ’em from fighting you, or something. No! That would be disgusting. The real reason that you need to build in and allow for some genuine elasticity, on the basis of the solid core, is because society needs it, the process needs it. The revolutionary process itself needs to breathe, the revolutionary society needs to breathe, or it won’t be any good. Both the process of getting to the revolutionary seizure of power, and then the process of building the new society needs to breathe. And if you try to control it all too tightly and too rigidly–even if you happen to be right in what you’re doing at any given time, if you’re too tight and controlling, it’s just going to be discouraging and demoralizing to people, and people are not going to be given the scientific tools to figure it out enough themselves, and you’re going to end up with a repressive society, a rigid society and a rigid process.

And Bob Avakian really understands that, because he’s a good enough scientist to understand the material tension that exists, objectively, between what’s called the solid core, the certitude, the elements that you can actually be confident of, in terms of what’s wrong with the current society and what’s needed in a future society to benefit humanity, while at the same time understanding the need to sort of shepherd the process in such a way that it can encompass and incorporate the widest possible diversity of views and approaches from among the different strata of the masses in society.

I don’t know if I’m expressing this well enough, but he has certainly expressed this very well in many of his writings and talks, and I would encourage people to dig into this whole aspect of solid core with lots of elasticity on the basis of the solid core. And that last part–on the basis of the solid core–is very important to understand. You couldn’t have the right kind of elasticity without the solid core. You don’t wanna end up like you’re trying to herd cats, with everything and everybody going all over the place. There does need to be a solid core. In fact, the more you’ve got a firm handle, a rigorous scientific handle, on that solid core, on that core scientific theory, on that core accumulated knowledge and experience and on that core certitude, the more it should actually be possible to unleash and encourage broad elasticity and initiative among the people, both in the current revolutionary process as well as in the future socialist society, including in relation to the kind of dissent and broad societal ferment which can actively contribute to further advancing society in a good direction.

Q: As you were talking, one thing that is posed is that there is a unity, there is a connection between what you’re saying about the approach of solid core with a lot of elasticity, both in the process of making revolution to get to a future society on the road to communism, and then in that future society itself–there’s a connection between that approach all the way through the process of making revolution and getting to communism and your point about how you could really get a sense in this Dialogue of BA as the leader of that future society. And then there’s the point that you were making earlier, about why would BA do this Dialogue with Cornel West, if he weren’t actually applying and modeling that approach of solid core with a lot of elasticity? And so something I wanted to probe a little further is this point about how BA, in this Dialogue and in his whole body of work, he’s very much pulling no punches, he’s very much putting forward his understanding of the science of communism and of reality, and he’s not trying to finesse or smooth over differences, including with Cornel West, while at the same time he’s also very much recognizing the unity that they have, and the unity that needs to be forged broadly. And he’s taking the approach that there’s a lot that somebody like Cornel West–he has a lot of insights, there’s a lot that he can contribute to this whole revolutionary process, even while they’re very much getting into their differences. So, is there more you wanted to say about the application of solid core with a lot of elasticity even in terms of how BA was relating to Cornel West in this Dialogue?

AS: Well, I think you can see the application and modeling of “solid core with lots of elasticity on the basis of the solid core” in what BA does, both in relation to Cornel West on the one hand, and also what I was trying to say before in relation to the audience–or audiences, plural, because there are many different strata and different viewpoints represented in the audience–and what you see is, you see the certitude based on experience and knowledge. Look, think about in the natural sciences: If somebody happens to emerge who is the most advanced in their field of science, or in a particular development of the natural sciences, at a given time–somebody who is really advanced and really visionary and really is playing a leading role that way–it would be ridiculous for them to come out and just kind of act as if they don’t know what they know, or not struggle with people and not provide the evidence that they’ve accumulated and analyzed over, literally in this case, decades. Right? So even as he’s working with Cornel, he’s also not pulling any punches because, first of all, he respects people enough not to pander or condescend or pretend he doesn’t know what he actually knows. The only people he doesn’t respect are the exploiters and oppressors at the top of society. But he has enough respect for people, even people who might disagree with him in some important ways, to be honest and to explore differences with principle and integrity instead of condescending or pandering to people or pretending to have more agreement than he does.

He’s gonna call it like it is. He’s gonna tell people, including the audience...he knows this audience is holding on to a lot of different views and misconceptions that he thinks are very harmful. Like a lot of these religious views that are holding people back from understanding reality the way it actually is, and from seeing how it could be changed. His position is definitely not neutral–with religion, he’s not just saying look, that’s not where I’m at, but it’s all good, go ahead and believe whatever you’re gonna believe. He’s definitely not saying that. Instead, he’s really struggling with the audience, right down on the ground–he’s saying, you gotta give up some of this religion stuff, because it is actually harmful; it is clouding your understanding of the way reality really is; and, because it’s doing that, it’s actually making it harder for you to see the way forward, and to see how to transform society in a good direction. So you gotta get off this stuff! And he’s saying that to an audience of people, most of whom are religious, especially among the most oppressed–the very people who are most important for, and who most need to step forward to take up, the revolutionary process. He’s got enough respect, enough strategic confidence in people, to tell it like it is.

Now, in the situation where he’s working with Cornel, he’s working with a developed intellectual who’s also got a lot of experience in life, and who has studied many different things himself and analyzed many different philosophies. And BA’s got respect for that process, too. But he’s still going to call it like it is, and he’s going to bring out the evidence. What does it actually say in the Bible? What is the role of religion? Let’s get into it!

Some people might say, Well, I don’t need to hear all this, because I already don’t believe in God. Well, yes, you do need to hear all this, and do you know why? Because billions of people around the planet are deeply influenced by one or another religion, and they approach all of reality through the prism, through the lens, of their particular religion. This is the framework, this is the theoretical framework, if you want to call it that, that most people on this planet apply to try to make sense of the world, and of what’s wrong with it, and what could or couldn’t be done about it. Religion is a very major question, in the United States and all over the world. So Bob Avakian, on the one hand, in the Dialogue, you see him struggling with Cornel, but with a good method, a good warm method, because these are two people who do respect each other and who do like each other but who are just going to honestly tell each other and the audiences where they have some significant differences. And because they have principle and integrity, they’re able to put forward and clarify those important differences, so that the audiences will be better able to grapple with these questions themselves, when they go home and in an ongoing way.

At the same time, what I think Bob Avakian is modeling, with the elasticity part, is: Listen, this revolutionary process, it’s a very rich and complex and diverse process, which does have to involve a wide variety of people. In fact one of the points Bob Avakian has made repeatedly is that, at the time of the revolution and the actual seizure of state power, most of the people involved in the revolution are still going to be religious! In a country like the U.S., there’s no question that this is true. Most people won’t have given up their religion–even if they’ve decided to join in to be part of fighting for revolution and for socialism in different ways, most still won’t have completely broken with all that. And that’s just one example of having a materialist scientific understanding of reality, understanding just how complex it is, how complex the process is. But you’re not going to try to trick people who disagree with you into walking alongside you in the revolutionary process by concealing your views. No, that’s not what you should do. Instead, as a revolutionary communist, you’re going to be honest about those differences. But, if you’re serious about wanting to transform society in the interest of humanity, you’re also going to recognize that the process that you are arguing for, and that you are helping to give strategic leadership to, has to be able to encompass quite a diversity of people, who are not all going to see eye-to-eye with you on a number of different and important questions. And that this will be the case all along the way, even as people increasingly unite together to fight the common enemy, to seize power, and to build the new institutions and organs of a new society.

It’s because he really understands all this that Bob Avakian can, at one and the same time, genuinely and sincerely embrace and feel very warm towards someone like Cornel West (and I believe those feelings are very much reciprocated), and at the same time remain very clear about the importance of speaking to the differences, and speaking to why you need to take up a consistently scientific method and approach if you really want to change society for the better. And so yes, he’ll tell people bluntly why they should give up religion–all religions–because they get in the way of moving forward. It is a fact that all religions all around the world were invented long ago by human beings, to try to explain what they didn’t yet understand and to try to meet needs that can be transcended now. All around the world people invented different sets of supernatural beliefs to try to fill gaps in their understanding of things, in both the natural and social world, and as a mechanism for dealing with such things as death and loss. If you don’t yet have the scientific knowledge to understand how all life evolves, and how there is clear evidence that human beings themselves simply evolved from a long series of pre-existing species, you’re probably going to want to involve some kind of higher supernatural power to explain how we got here! [laughs] Every religion in the world has some of those commonalities. At the same time, they all have their different particular creation myths, and so on. And they have their different holy books, and prophets and stuff like that. And Bob Avakian is saying, Come on now, let’s get serious, let’s actually open up the Bible and see what it says. See, a dogmatic revolutionary might have said, Well, I don’t believe in god, and I think religion’s bad for the people, so I’m not even gonna pay any attention to it. But instead BA’s saying, religion’s a very important problem in the world, it’s a very important question, billions of people believe in some kind of god or some kind of religion, so we have to address this. And he did some homework, too. He did the work. He read the Bible, in its entirety. He knows the Bible. Unlike many people, he can tell you what’s in it. And he can tell you what these religious forces have argued. He can tell you something about the history of how human beings invented a lot of these religions. He can also speak to why people might be motivated to have a moral conscience on the basis of some of the things they learned in church or mosque or temple or whatever. At the same time, he can also show you, scientifically, the harm that it does to cling to this. And that it is not necessary. You can leave that stuff alone. You can just let it go. You can leave those old ways of thinking behind, and you can take up a philosophy and scientific method about transforming the world in the interests of all humanity, which is full of life, full of joy, full of spirit, full of art and culture, and not dead and cold in any way, but that doesn’t have to have these religious and supernatural trappings and all the old stuff that goes along with it.

 


The "Dialogue" referred to here is an event that took place in November 2014 at New York City's historic Riverside Church and was attended by 1900 people: REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion--A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST and BOB AVAKIAN.

 

 


 

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

See more

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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

8.5x11 two-sided leaflet

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

 

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

 

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/676/rnl-show-episode-36-announcement-en.html

Episode 36 of
The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

| revcom.us

 

Share this widely

The Fight Against Fascism and the System That Gave Rise to It
IS NOT OVER!

The Revolution, Nothing Less Show

One month after the election, Andy Zee and Sunsara Taylor discuss the current situation and the challenges ahead.   

In an election where 74 million people voted for a genocidal racist and a Christian fascist theocrat, the question is posed: what just happened? Why do we need the scientific method and approach to society as developed by Bob Avakian?

In this episode, Andy Zee and Sunsara Taylor are in conversation and touch on the deep roots of fascism in America; the reality that there will be no going back to (and you shouldn’t want to go back to) “normal”; how to understand the contention at the top of society with the fascist Republican Party continuing to break all the norms; why Biden and the Democrats are no real answer to all this. 

Featuring:

  • Andy Zee and Sunsara Taylor in conversation
  • Bob Avakian on Science and the Scientific Method. And Excerpt from REVOLUTION & RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion: A Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian.
  • Andy Zee's opening presentation from the Nov. 24 forum: What Just Happened? Trump, America, and the Danger of Fascism.
  • An excerpt from the podcast Emancipate Humanity with Bob Avakian  

 

Subscribe: YouTube.com/therevcoms
Follow: @therevcoms
Become a patron: patreon.com/therevcoms

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

 

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/644/bob-avakian-this-republic-ridiculous-outmoded-criminal-en.html

THIS REPUBLIC—RIDICULOUS, OUTMODED, CRIMINAL

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The story is frequently told, by enthusiasts of “this great American democracy,” that at the time of the founding of the country Benjamin Franklin was asked: “What kind of government do we have?” And he replied: “A Republic—if you can keep it.” And it has been “kept” for more than 200 years since then. But the question is now posed more sharply than ever: Is it worth keeping—should any decent person want to keep it?

In the present day, the ridiculous and outmoded nature of this republic stands out, and this is all the more glaring in the context of the developing coronavirus crisis. As just one dimension of this, there is the fact that this particular American bourgeois (capitalist) republic is divided into 50 states, and there are repeatedly conflicts between the different states and between the states and the federal government in their approaches to this coronavirus crisis, which interfere with and undermine a rational unified approach to dealing with this crisis—and this would be the case even if there were not the irrational, anti-scientific Trump and Pence and their fascist regime presiding over the federal government, although of course this regime has only made things far worse.

The fact that this particular bourgeois republic is ridiculous, and in its present form is outmoded even on its own terms, is also expressed in the way that national elections are held—with the head of state (the president) chosen not through direct popular vote but through an electoral college made up of electors chosen through voting in, once again, 50 separate states. (This set-up is also closely related to the fact that the “United States” at its founding contained a number of southern states which rested on a slave-based economy, and one of the main reasons for having the electoral college was to protect the interests of those states and their slave-owning ruling classes—something which went along with the provision in the Constitution that counted slaves as in effect three-fifths human beings, and most fundamentally as property.)

How ridiculous and outmoded this governmental system is (again, even on its own bourgeois terms) can also be seen in the fact that, as part of this set-up, each state elects two people to the Senate, even while some states have far greater populations than others. (It is the case today that states with 30 percent of the population elect 70 percent of the Senators, while the great majority of the population, the remaining 70 percent, is “represented” by only 30 percent of the Senators.)

Many have argued for various remedies to this situation, including abolishing the electoral college and having the president (and vice president) elected directly by popular vote. But, first of all, those who gain advantage in this situation—those who may lose the popular vote but might still win the electoral college count (and these days, this is likely to be Republicans)—are not going to simply give up their advantage.

And, with regard to the “lopsided” way in which the Senate is constituted, relative to the population in the states (the 30/70 vs.70/30 ratios referred to), there is no easy way to change this—and in fact, if anything it will become even more lopsided—fundamentally because the present “configuration” (or “distribution”) of the population in this country is grounded in major changes that have taken place in the economy over many, many decades: the increasing role of agribusiness and a great decline in the relative role of small farms and the number of people engaged in farming; and overall the heightened parasitism of this country, so that increasingly the actual production of things consumed is carried out through a vast international network of sweatshop super-exploitation, especially in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, while the sectors abbreviated as “FIRE” (finance, insurance, and real estate), as well as high tech, play an increasingly significant role, along with services, in the economic activity carried out within this country itself. So, for those—particularly those concentrated in urban areas—who have a legitimate complaint regarding the disproportion between the population and how the Senators are selected, there is no realistic remedy since, given where the “FIRE” and high tech sectors have, for significant reasons, come to be concentrated, it would not be possible (or practical) to change the way the population is distributed (and concentrated) within this country without doing what is also not possible (and is not desired by people in the urban areas): changing the economy back to how it was constituted and how it functioned many, many generations ago, without the same degree of extreme parasitism there is today that allows for the high standard of living of significant sections of the population, including among the middle class (even as many others in the middle class were insecure and struggling economically even before the coronavirus crisis hit, to say nothing of the tens of millions of people subjected to dire poverty, and brutal oppression, in this country). And, once again, people in the smaller states with a representation in the Senate that is disproportionate to (larger than) the size of their populations are very unlikely to agree to having the Senate be chosen in some way that makes it correspond more to population (for example, having it be more like the House of Representatives, with a Senator representing not a state—with two for every state—but instead representing a population of a certain size), thereby eliminating the advantage the less populated states now have and giving the predominance to the urban areas with the larger populations.

And then, related to all this, there is that fascist Trump/Pence regime and (as I have analyzed in The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward) the many ways in which its outlook and priorities actually sabotage a rational, scientifically based approach to dealing with the coronavirus crisis (and problems in general). And, beyond that: “This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity.”1

Outmoded—and Criminal

It is not just that the particularly American bourgeois republic is outmoded, as well as ridiculous, “on its own terms,” but more fundamentally that the whole capitalist system is outmoded and criminal, and the American variant of this system is particularly criminal—and has been from its very founding. The fact is—a fact which cannot be ignored, evaded, or “explained away” without falling into accommodation and complicity with monstrous crimes—that this is a country founded on the enslavement of millions of African people and genocide against the original inhabitants of North America.

These monstrous crimes of slavery and genocide, and an attempt to rationalize and justify them, were enshrined in the founding documents of this country. As noted, the Constitution institutionalized and codified slavery, and as I have put it:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.2

In the Declaration of Independence, among the things for which the King of England is condemned, is the accusation that he promoted slave rebellions (“excited domestic Insurrections amongst us”) and “endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages.”3

And the monstrous crimes committed by the rulers of this country—and built into the very structures, relations, dynamics, and functioning of this system—have not only continued over the centuries since the country was first founded but have greatly expanded, subjecting literally billions of people, and countries all over the world, to merciless exploitation, murderous oppression, and the massive destruction of war, including the use of nuclear weapons at the end of World War 2. In sum, while many “liberals” join with the likes of Ronald Reagan in declaring this country “a shining city on the hill,” a beacon of liberty for the world, the truth is that:

This is a country founded on slavery and genocide, which has continued to viciously exploit and oppress people—and to carry out murderous invasions and coups, while ravaging the environment—with terrible consequences for the masses of people, in every part of the world.4

Putting an end to this ridiculous, outmoded, and criminal system, through a revolution aiming to bring into being a far better society, and world, is the challenge that must be confronted, and taken up, by all people of conscience who are willing to face—or who have no choice but to face—the reality of what this system is, and what it means to allow this system to continue existing and to dominate the world and determine the condition and the fate of humanity.5

 


1. The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. BAsics 1:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).

Additional comments by the author:

Various apologists of “this great American democracy” point out that, after all, the United States had a Civil War which put an end to slavery—as if this somehow eliminates, or at least “softens” the terrible experience of slavery. (Some have even descended so far into moral degeneracy as to claim that Black people in America should be “grateful” for slavery being ended in this way—after more than two centuries of this slavery!) It is true that the Civil War ended up leading to the emancipation of the slaves. And it is for this reason that I have pointed out that, after this country was founded, and its independence consolidated, the Civil War is the only just war this country has ever fought (on the part of the Union side) while, instead of glorifying this war (as they frequently do with wars they wage) they often bemoan it as a tragedy—“pitting brother against brother.” This ignores the fact that, once they were enabled and allowed to do so, nearly 200,000 Black people fought in the Union Army during the Civil War, dying at a higher rate than their white counterparts—and those Black freedom fighters hardly regarded the whites in the Confederate Army, who were fighting to maintain slavery, as their “brothers”!

It is also another searing indictment of this whole system in this country that, only a decade after the Civil War, with the federal government putting an end to Reconstruction in the South, Black people were once again subjected to the most horrific atrocities, through the system of “Jim Crow” segregation, lynching and overall terror carried out by the Ku Klux Klan, with the backing and often the direct involvement of the authorities and the “legal system” in the South in particular. And, even with some concessions wrenched out of this system through the Civil Rights movement after World War 2, the fact is that Black people in this country have continued to be subjected to systematic oppression and continuing terror, now carried out mainly by the police, in all parts of the country.

The American Crime series at revcom.us chronicles and highlights many—though far from all—of the major and monstrous crimes committed by this system and its ruling class(es), throughout its history and throughout the world.  [back]

3. Bob Avakian has written the following regarding the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson:

It is sometimes claimed that Jefferson was actually opposed to slavery and wanted to see an end to it. And you can find statements by Jefferson where he says that slavery is in fact a blight and that it will have negative consequences for some time to come. There have also been misinterpretations of what Jefferson wrote about slavery. To take one important example, there are passages he wrote in drafts of the Declaration of Independence—some of which did not, but some of which did, make it into the final version of that Declaration—where the King of England and the British government were strongly condemned for supposedly imposing the slave trade on the United States. Now, there were, in fact, ways in which Jefferson and the slaveowning class in Virginia generally were opposed to aspects of the international slave trade, even while they themselves were involved in selling slaves to other states and to slaveowners in other territories. In this, the essential motivation of these Virginia slaveowners was that they didn’t want the price of a slave being driven down, since they themselves had become major sellers of slaves within America itself. This is, fundamentally, the reason that they were opposed to the continuation—once they did oppose it—of the international slave trade. They viewed this above all in terms of property, and supply and demand in relation to selling this particular kind of property—human beings. So, here again, Jefferson acted in the interests of the slave-owning class, and his “agrarian society” turned out to be a slaveowning plantation system—not a society of small independent yeomen.

This is of course related to, and in an overall sense part of, the larger contradiction between Jefferson’s lofty sounding statements in the Declaration of Independence about the equality of all men (note: all men) and their “inalienable rights” and, on the other hand, the glaring fact that Jefferson not only owned slaves himself but consistently acted on behalf of the class of slaveowners and the institution of slavery, even while voicing certain moral qualms about slavery and musings about its long-term consequences for the new American republic. (Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, available in BA’s Collected Works, at revcom.us, emphasis in the original.)  [back]

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

5.  In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian speaks substantially to those questions; and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, provides a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a radically different, socialist society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world, with the abolition of all exploitation and oppression. These works are also available at revcom.us.  [back]


Click to enlarge

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/676/atlantic-equates-mao-and-trump-tossing-truth-to-the-wind-en.html

A Vicious, Idiotic, and Irresponsible Attack on Communism —

The Atlantic Equates Mao and Trump...
Tossing Truth to the Wind

by Raymond Lotta

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian has recently written:

The “liberal” bourgeois attack on communism is, in its own way, as ludicrous and outrageous—crudely in violation of the scientific method and blatantly in opposition to the actual facts—as the fascist mangling of truth which the “liberals” are forever decrying.

A flagrant case in point is the November 22 online issue of the liberal intellectual journal the Atlantic. It features a lie-filled article arguing that the great revolutionary leader Mao Zedong subscribed to the same kind of lunatic, conspiracy-theory view of the world that guides Donald Trump. The article is disgustingly titled “Mao’s Lessons for Trump’s America.” Its author is Edward Steinfeld, an MIT professor who purports to be a “China expert.”

Like other anticommunist academics bestowed platforms in mainstream print and electronic media, Steinfeld turns history and reality on their head. He recycles the bogus and poisonous narrative that the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 was an exercise in mob terror driven by what is alleged to be Mao’s crazed paranoia. Steinfeld asserts that Mao’s followers, with Mao’s urging, had been “circulating outlandish conspiracy theories about counterrevolutionary plotting and anti-Mao cliques in the highest echelons of the Chinese system.”

Steinfeld dismisses out of hand the real danger of counterrevolution in China at the time. He obliterates the real aims and distorts the real practices of the Cultural Revolution. He paints an idiotic portrait of Mao as glutton for violence and “vigilante action.” And he likens Mao to Donald Trump. It all adds up to willful and vicious “mangling of truth” writ large. Let’s set the record straight.

1) The Cultural Revolution that Mao initiated in 1966 was guided not by “outlandish conspiracy theory” but by Mao’s scientific analysis of the complex reality of Chinese society and the concrete dangers facing socialism in China at the time.

Mao launched the Cultural Revolution to deal with a world-historic problem of communist revolution. That problem was how to keep a revolution aimed at putting an end to all exploitation and oppression on the road to achieving that goal. And how to enable the masses in their millions to understand and grapple with this problem, and wage new forms of revolutionary struggle under socialism to prevent the restoration of capitalism—and to further revolutionize the institutions of society... and their own thinking.

You would never know this by reading the Atlantic article. To learn more about the Cultural Revolution in depth, go to You Don’t Know What You Think You “Know” About...The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future. But let’s take in a few essential background facts.

In 1949, the Chinese revolution led by Mao triumphed. This revolution drove out foreign imperialism and shattered the old oppressive economic and social order. As Mao put it, the Chinese people had stood up. The revolution established a new socialist state power and economy to meet the basic needs of the people and set out, under Mao’s leadership, to forge new liberatory social institutions and values.

But by the early 1960s, a new bourgeois-capitalist class that had emerged within the top levels of the Chinese Communist Party and government was maneuvering to gain all-around power.

In the name of achieving more rapid economic growth and higher living standards, they utilized their bases of power to introduce harsh capitalist methods of economic management and discipline... to put education on an elitist and technocratic foundation... to focus resources in the cities at the expense of the countryside where the great majority of the Chinese population lived at the time. They had strength in the military and tremendous influence in key government ministries, like education, culture, and economic planning. These were real and observable phenomena. And by the mid-1960s, these capitalist-roaders, as Mao described them, were moving to seize power.

Oh, but Mao, Steinfeld tells us, was inventing enemies and exaggerating threats. Imagine if a supposed scholar of the U.S. Civil War told you that Lincoln was concocting conspiracies by politicians of the South to justify his own ambition. Well, the evidence speaks otherwise. So too with the Cultural Revolution. Indeed, what more proof of the real danger to the revolution do you need than the fact that these capitalist-roaders did carry out a coup in October 1976 soon after Mao died? And what more evidence do you need that once these capitalist-roaders secured power—led at the time by Deng Xiaoping—they did what Mao said they would?

They systematically restructured China’s socialist economy and turned China into a sweatshop to world capitalism. The profit-based economy they instituted has led to some of the world’s most extreme wealth and income inequalities, including the profusion of billionaires. The rapid and chaotic capitalist development they championed has led to some of the world’s most polluted cities and rivers. The capitalist-roaders in power dismantled the extraordinary social achievements of the Cultural Revolution—including what in the early 1970s was the most universal, egalitarian, needs-based healthcare system in the world.

These are the observable results of the counterrevolution that Mao warned against... but which Steinfeld moronically declares was fabricated by Mao to further his “politics of resentment.”

2) The methods of the Cultural Revolution were liberatory.

Mao called on the masses to rise up, challenge, and overthrow these new capitalist forces. Steinfeld makes much of Mao’s directive-slogan issued in August 1966 to “bombard the headquarters” of the capitalist-roaders. But this “bombardment” was political (see my Note below).

The main forms of struggle of the Cultural Revolution were mass debate (over policy and the direction of society); mass political mobilization—demonstrations, strikes, political uprisings that led to new and more participatory forms of political power; and mass criticism through newspapers, wall-posters, and public gatherings of authorities influenced by and those in power pushing this neo-capitalist program.

These methods of struggle were clearly spelled out in official and widely publicized documents, including the following guidance: “Where there is debate, it should be conducted by reasoning and not by force.”

Now acts of violence and killings did take place during the Cultural Revolution. But here is what the evidence shows.

Steinfeld levels the ludicrous charge that as a result of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese society descended into a brute “state of nature.” Again, the bullshit keeps piling up. In fact, as a result of the struggles and experimentation and transformations of the Cultural Revolution, the state of society changed. New systems of governance brought workers and peasants into political life in new and expanded ways... “serve the people” became a measure and motivation of social life and progress... “open door” research brought scientists to the countryside to conduct experiments alongside peasants and to share in their lives... revolutionary ballets dealt with themes of women’s emancipation. Is this perhaps the “tragedy” that the professor bemoans?

3) The idiocy of equating Mao and Trump... when in fact they are polar opposites.

Steinfeld thinks he’s clever by half in offering “Mao’s Lessons for Trump’s America.” He’s a fool. Mao Zedong stood for the emancipation of world humanity from all oppression and exploitation. Mao advanced the science of communism, particularly with the theory and practice of continuing and deepening the revolution in socialist society. The notion that Donald Trump... home-grown American fascist who denies reality, attacks science, propounds genocidal racism, and spreads male supremacy and anti-immigrant hatred... the notion that Trump has anything in common with the communist revolutionary Mao Zedong would be laughable to any thinking person with a shred of respect for the scientific method and historical truth. But in the impoverished intellectual climate of today (no small service rendered by the hackery of the likes of Edward Steinfeld), this toxic anticommunist nonsense gets over.

Unpacking the spurious and manipulative “method” involved in equating Mao and Trump.

Trump and Mao are worlds apart. Think about this. Several months ago we witnessed, and many of us took part in, a beautiful uprising against white supremacy and racist murder by police. Donald Trump denounced this wave of righteous protest, hailed the police, egged on neo-Nazi assassins, extolled monuments to the Confederacy, and dispatched federal police to quash protest. In April 1968, after Martin Luther King’s assassination, Black people rose in mighty rebellions across the U.S. In revolutionary China at that time, Mao Zedong issued a powerful statement of support, declaring that this righteous rising of Black people was “a clarion call to all the exploited and oppressed people in the United States to fight against the barbarous rule of the monopoly capitalist class” and “a tremendous aid and inspiration to the struggle of the people throughout the world against U.S. imperialism and to the struggle of the Vietnamese people against U.S. imperialism.”

For all his facile, bullshit analogizing of Mao and Trump, it is Professor Steinfeld who works from a playbook of Trumpian-like “alternate reality” and the “big lie.”

***

*NOTE: An example of Steinfeld’s shoddy and dishonest scholarship

To make his case for Mao’s alleged “sanctification of violence,” Steinfeld cites a toast Mao supposedly gave in December 1966: “To the unfolding of nationwide all-round civil war.” (my emphasis) Conveniently, Steinfeld provides no source for this statement. Actually, its origin is Roderick MacFarquhar’s and Michael Schoenhals’ 2006 anticommunist screed, Mao’s Last Revolution (p. 155). But when you go to the back of that book for source documentation, you find fuzzy hearsay and all manner of second and third-hand recollections. The authors do, however, acknowledge that Mao approved an authoritative editorial issued in January 1967 that called for: “a year of nationwide all-round class struggle.” Not violent “civil war” but “all-round class struggle”: to overthrow and defeat the capitalist-roaders through the political methods Mao actually called for (and as I have described).

 

Further Reading

*Bob Avakian, Fascists and Communists: Completely Opposed and Worlds Apart

*You Don’t Know What You Think You “Know” About...The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future

An interview with Bob Avakian:

The Cultural Revolution in China...Art and Culture...Dissent and Ferment...and Carrying Forward the Revolution Toward Communism

Read more

Listen to the audio 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/673/trumps-trying-to-stay-in-power-hell-no-en.html

Trump’s Trying to Stay in Power? Oh HELL NO!

| revcom.us

 

Right now, WE—the 77 million-plus in this country who voted out the Trump/Pence regime and the millions more across the globe who celebrated this—are on the offensive. WE have the momentum. WE have the political initiative. They—the Trump/Pence regime and its supporters—are on the defensive. They have been politically knocked back on their heels. They have been thoroughly defeated and thoroughly repudiated. BUT... WE can’t let up. We have to STAY on the offensive, because they are trying to pull some dangerous BS to stay in power, and in the name of humanity, we cannot let that happen.

Trump refusing to concede an election he lost by more than 5 million votes in the popular vote and a clear and convincing margin in the Electoral College? Oh HELL no! Trump’s smirking Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, saying there will be a “smooth transition” to a “second Trump administration”?! Oh HELL no! The Trump regime whipping up its dangerous supporters and going to court with completely baseless and absurd allegations of supposed “fraud”? Oh HELL no! The Trump regime seeking to actively block a transition to the Biden administration in a deranged effort to remain in power? Oh HELL no! This is completely unacceptable. It cannot stand, and it will not stand.

It’s this simple: If you were in the streets celebrating Trump’s defeat in the election—or if you took heart from these celebrations—then follow your own logic. Think for a second about all of the reasons that you were so overjoyed. If you do that, you will see that you—and we—must STAY in the streets until Trump’s defeat is cemented and his entire regime leaves office. We demand Trump/Pence Out Now! Trump, Pence, Pompeo, William Barr and the rest won’t commit to leaving office in January? Then they can leave NOW. Actually, the Trump/Pence regime should have been out of office a long time ago, and Refuse Fascism has been saying that—and working to organize people on that basis—for years. But if you ever had any doubt about this, you should have none left now. Think about it: Why should this regime be allowed to stay in office one single day longer when they are threatening, refusing to accept and actively attacking the election and its results?  

Bring your energy... your joy... your anger... your determination... your dance moves... your pots and pans... BACK INTO THE STREETS to demand: Trump/Pence and the whole regime, OUT NOW!! 

A Pledge to the People of the World: In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

 

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/675/a-deadly-serious-attack-on-how-people-think-en.html

Trump’s Ridiculous “Victory” Claim Is No Laughing Matter

A Deadly Serious Attack on HOW People Think... with Lasting Harm

| revcom.us

 

Over the past week, there has been a huge debate around truth going on, focused up around the U.S. election results. Well, perhaps the word “debate” dignifies this too much; to put it more accurately, there has been a screaming insistence on an open and easily disprovable LIE by a much-too-large section of the American people, whipped up and led by the fascist Trump.

Overwhelming Evidence vs. the Pronouncements of the Fascist Leader

On one side are those who go by the actual objective count of the real ballots cast in the real world—overseen by both Republicans and Democrats—in which Joe Biden won the election by a decisive margin—at least six million votes in the popular vote count, and with 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.

On the other side are those who follow the lead of Donald Trump, who insists that HE actually won the election and that a massive fraud has been perpetrated on the world. What’s worse, by all accounts this is agreed to by a very large proportion of Republican voters. Not only is Trump insisting on this, he refuses to allow the new Biden administration to begin the transition to governing. This means, to take just one outrageous example, that the Biden administration will not be able to quickly move on the coronavirus crisis, currently taking nearly 2,000 lives a day in the U.S. alone—a fact that surely will cost many more lives than are necessary, as the new people take time to learn the ropes of “how to make things happen.”

Moreover, Trump has rallied the vast majority of Republican elected officials to at least give strong backing to the notion that the vote is somehow “still in doubt” and that there are “serious issues involved that have to be resolved.” This is dangerous bullshit and they know it, but truth is hardly a concern when you have a fascist agenda to carry out.

This claim of Trump’s is at one and the same time ridiculous... and deadly serious. It is ridiculous because the standard of judging any claim about the truth is what the evidence shows and there is absolutely no evidence that even remotely suggests that Trump was defrauded,1 and there is a great deal of evidence that Biden legally and decisively won—including evidence from Republican officeholders in the South who oversaw the balloting and high-level Trump appointees who were fired for actually adhering to and making known this evidence.

Trump and his lawyers have gone to court more than 30 times and had their cases thrown out all but twice; of the other two, both were insignificant and one was reversed by a higher court. While these weasels rant about “fraud” in front of the TV cameras, they carefully avoid using the word in court—where false charges of fraud could bring penalties. One of his lawyers claimed that the election was stolen by an algorithm supposedly originally commissioned by the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has been dead for seven years... but claimed she does not want to reveal her evidence now.

Yet again, at least according to newspaper reports, polls and fervent demonstrations of Trump supporters, at least a sizeable proportion and most likely at least a majority of Republican voters are choosing to deny all the evidence and believe Trump.

A Further Descent into Fascist Degradation

The implications of this are bad. Quite bad. It is not just that these people will be a reliable social base for continued fascist assaults on the rule of law, on nonwhite people, on those who organize and rise up against different forms of oppression—which they will, and very likely with the even deeper fanaticism of those who imagine themselves to be “the injured party.” That would be bad enough.

But it is worse. The fact is that they have gone further in adopting an epistemology—a way of determining what is true—that has nothing to do with evidence and instead believes that whatever the fascist “strongman” says is true, because it corresponds to and “validates” what they would rather believe.

Trump has succeeded in welding these people to the notion that he alone knows the truth; and even any other fascist previously believed to be a “reliable source” who does not for whatever reason go along with this latest leap of faith—for instance, Fox News, which parted ways with Trump on this and has called the election for Biden—is seen as a betrayer and cast from the circle.

This has developed over a period of decades, including through the emergence of Christian fascism. Bob Avakian has called attention and given emphasis to this anti-scientific epistemological dimension as part of a whole analysis of this phenomenon over decades, and in particular called attention to the anti-scientific character of it. This spring, in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, BA talked about how “fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, and firmly convinced of the ‘truth’ of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist ‘values’ and objectives, are eagerly embracing callous philistinism, willfully rejecting critical thinking, smugly ignoring, defying and denigrating science and the scientific method.”

It’s important to remember that, after a brief period of attempting to “lead” the response to COVID-19, Trump went all-in on the stance described by BA, and mixed in his own trademark racist, “we (‘white people’) have the best-genes” to make rejection of all preventive measures a hallmark of his campaign—again going against the scientific consensus, and very possibly costing tens of thousands of lives in the process.

What makes this even more toxic is the mixing together of the Christian fascist rejection of evidence-based science with the belief in the supposed all-knowing wisdom of the fascist strongman, all facts be damned. Katherine Stewart, a scholar of this phenomenon, in the important article published in the New York Times last week, “Christian Nationalism Is Here to Stay,” writes that “Christian nationalism [creates] a uniquely isolated messaging sphere. Many members of the rank and file get their main political information not just from messaging platforms that keep their audiences in a world that is divorced from reality, but also from dedicated religious networks and reactionary faith leaders.” And Stewart earlier in this piece gives several examples of these “faith leaders” insisting on lunacy along the lines that “God appointed Donald J. Trump to run this country” and that “Right now we are at war,” to quote particularly fanatical ones.

On top of that, there’s been a melding of these strains of absolutist anti-scientific thought with all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories—the notion that Democratic politicians drink the blood or adrenaline of small children. These kinds of theories dehumanize the opposition and set them up for slaughter; similar, almost word-for-word, theories were used to this end in Nazi Germany and elsewhere against the Jews during centuries of murderous persecution in Europe.

Again, this was there before—and this epistemological dimension has been given repeated emphasis by BA, as well as a number of other scholars, writers, and others. But this has to a degree metastasized in this past period, including now with the stubborn insistence on something so obviously false—that Trump won the vote.

There is a further negative dimension to this controversy over the vote. Trump actually suffered his worst drop-off in vote totals relative to 2016 in the suburbs surrounding cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia; within the city of Philadelphia, he actually improved his performance, including according to some surveys with Black people. Yet all accusations of fraud have focused on the cities, which are disproportionately made up of Black and Latino people, rather than the suburbs, which are principally white.

Why? Because a core part of Trump’s particular twist on Christian fascism is what BA called a “genocidal racism” against all nonwhite people. Trump is further fortifying the racist orientation of the whole Republican Party and laying the basis for further attacks on the voting rights of nonwhite people, and in particular Black people.

In sum: This campaign by Trump is not just a way to mess with Biden, or a way to “get used to the idea that he lost” (as some have claimed), or even something which will do terrible damage to people here, and around the world, through dereliction and destruction around COVID and the environment, etc.—which it will. It is a further advance in hardening, expanding, and welding together the fascist movement—and that will have consequences for the years before us.

So, celebrate—and defend—the victory in the election. And think real hard about the consequences to come, and how to confront them and move forward through them to the world we need.

Your thoughts on this are welcome.


 

1. The only real instance of fraud that may have been uncovered is the accusation by the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, that Lindsay Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina, suggested to him that he throw out all the mail-in ballots of Floyd County—a majority-Biden county, with a high percentage of Black voters—on the basis that some of them had defects in their ballot markings. Graham denies this, while two others who were on the call back Raffensperger. Note that Graham is not even a resident of Georgia, but of South Carolina.  [back]

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

In light of attempts by Trump and other fascists to suppress votes by trying to undermine the integrity of and discount the elections results particularly in urban areas with large Black populations—in Detroit, Philadelphia, etc.—here is historical record of suppression of the Black vote in the U.S., now being trumped by current fascist attempts:

* The Violent Suppression of Black People’s Right to Vote

* 1965 to Today: Gutting the Voting Rights Act and Disenfranchising Millions of Black People

CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD
by Bob Avakian

 

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/672/appearing-in-the-ny-times-a-pledge-to-the-people-of-the-world-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Appearing in the New York Times on Monday, November 9: A Pledge to the People of the World

| revcom.us

 

On Monday, November 9, “A Pledge to the People of the World: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” appears as a full-page ad in the New York Times. The Times originally tried to censor this, but reversed the decision. The ad has a number of signatories, including Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Lilly Wachowski, Arturo O’Farrill, and Chuck D.

 

Read this pledge, and see the full list of the signers of this pledge, at RefuseFascism.org

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/677/trump-continues-to-reject-reality-of-defeat-en.html

Trump Continues to Reject the Reality of His Defeat;
Attempts to Mobilize Fascists to Reject the Legitimacy of Biden's Victory

From a revcom.us correspondent in the Southwest

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The election is over—and decided! Fascist-in-chief Trump was defeated by seven million votes, and lost the electoral vote decisively. But he continues to deny the reality of the electoral verdict, on social media and at rallies like the one in Georgia on December 5, even while the fascists continue to file frivolous lawsuits challenging the legitimacy and integrity of the elections in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, etc. None of these lawsuits so far have any merit. Any evidence provided has been severely discredited in courts of law, with their standards of evidence and many with Republican judges, including some appointed by Trump himself.

However, Trump and the fascists continue to foment their white supremacist MAGA base, threaten violence against those certifying the integrity of the elections and its results, including Republican officials in states like Georgia and Arizona. 

All of this is extremely dangerous and requires heightened vigilance on the part of the “coalition of the decent” and to mount nonviolent political resistance as needed, including responding to Refuse Fascism’s call for December 12: “Trump: You Lost. Get the Hell Out! Rally and Speak-Out in front of the White House.”

At a rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on December 5, in a speech the Washington Post described as a “firehose of falsehoods,” Trump snarled “We’ve never lost an election. We’re winning this election.” Just before he went to Georgia, Trump assailed Brian Kemp, the state’s governor and Trump supporter, for not convening a special session of the state legislature to overturn the election results there and cast the state’s electoral vote for him. He bellowed to the roaring mob of fascists, “Your governor could stop it (Ed: referring to nonexistent electoral fraud) very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing.”1 The mob chanted “Fight for Trump!” and “Stop the Steal!”2

Trump and the Fascists’ Effort to Overturn the Election

Trump’s lawyers and lawyers for various allies of the regime have filed dozens of lawsuits across the country in their attempt to overturn the vote in several states. 

  • Most of these have been quickly dismissed, including by courts dominated by Republican appointees. On December 4 the Associated Press reported3 that in its “tally of roughly 50 cases by Trump’s campaign and his allies, more than 30 have been rejected or dropped." Five of these cases were lost on Friday alone, in five different states. About a dozen are awaiting action. They keep filing a blizzard of lawsuits; Trump is threatening to take some to a Supreme Court stacked with Christian fascists—including three appointed by Trump; and many of these cases are as yet unresolved in court.
  • Sections of fascists are taking up Trump’s call to disregard the actual vote and force a Trump “victory.” In Pennsylvania, over 60 state representatives4 introduced a resolution that ends by urging “the United States Congress to declare the selection of presidential electors in this Commonwealth (Pennsylvania) to be in dispute.”5
  • Only 27 Republican congresspeople have acknowledged reality and said Biden won. This is ominous, as after the Electoral College tallies the vote on December 14, Congress is set to officially certify the results on January 6. Mo Brooks, a Christian fascist congressman from Alabama, recently announced that he will challenge the result, telling a reporter from USA Today that he intends to “reject the count of particular states ... that had flawed election systems” (like Georgia and Pennsylvania).6 Brooks made the bald-faced lie that “... if only lawful votes cast by American citizens are counted, Donald Trump won the Electoral College”. When he learned of this, Trump tweeted “Thank you to Representative Mo Brooks!” 

    Calls for Violence, Egged on by Trump

    The fascist movement Trump has coalesced is threatening serious violence against anyone in their way. 

  • Last weekend in Michigan, a “Proud Boy” bellowed “We don’t want a civil war, but we’re already in one. And we’re in it to win it.”7 Leaders of a Florida rally said the election’s result was a “war on our homeland.”8 A speaker in Phoenix denounced Nancy Pelosi and Arizona’s governor, called for “rebellion”, and added, “I’d love to see half of these people hung by the neck.”9 The mob roared its approval.
  • Prominent Trump supporters also have called for violence. Radio host Eric Metaxas interviewed Trump and told him “I’d be happy to die in this fight.”10 Trump lawyer Joe diGenova said that Chris Krebs, a Trump appointee who had been the head of cybersecurity for the election and declared the election was free of fraud, should be “taken out at dawn and shot”. This week two Trump lawyers and Michael Flynn—the retired general who Trump pardoned after Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI—endorsed a statement calling for “limited martial law,” and a suspension of the U.S. Constitution. The statement concludes that if a national re-vote doesn’t happen, “We will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands, and defend our rights on our own ...”11 In his tweets and speeches, Trump has repeatedly encouraged such threats of violence. 
  • People must remain vigilant to their maneuvers and attacks, and active in opposing them, in massive, nonviolent protest when necessary. What happens in the next month and a half is critical—everyone needs to be prepared to mobilize quickly in massive numbers against any and all attempts by the fascists to overturn the election. 

    Start by joining with Refuse Fascism’s Rally and Speak-Out in Washington, D.C. on December 12 to demand: 

    In the Name of Humanity,
    We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America
    Trump: You Lost. Get the Hell Out!

     


    1. At Georgia rally, Trump spouts election falsehoods, amplifies old grievances, Washington Post, December 5, 2020.  [back]

    2. At Rally for Georgia Senators, Trump Focuses on His Own Grievances, New York Times, December 5, 2020.  [back]

    3. Trump loves to win but keeps losing election lawsuits, Associated Press, December 4 2020.  [back]

    4. According to a report by the Philadelphia NBC channel news, “... 64 Republicans in Pennsylvania Legislature— fewer than half the total, but including House GOP leaders—signed a statement Friday urging members of Congress to block Pennsylvania's electoral votes from being cast for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. An earlier letter included 75 Republicans—but Republicans blamed a clerical error and removed 11 names.”  [back]

    5.  Pennsylvania House of Representatives, House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda.  [back]

    6. How House Republicans could mount last-ditch effort to contest election results, ABC News. According to this news report (and reported elsewhere), “With the support of a single senator, Brooks could disrupt the certification of the election by forcing both the House and Senate to debate and vote on the challenge—turning the typically ceremonial proceeding on the House floor led by the vice president into another venue for disputing Trump's loss.”  [back]

    7. YouTube video of “Stop the Steal” rally in Lansing, Michigan.  [back]

    8. The GOP Is the Party of Civil War, Slate, December 4, 2020.  [back]

    9. YouTube video of “Stop the Steal” rally, in Phoenix, Arizona.  [back]

    10. Eric Mataxas, Christian radio host, tells Trump “Jesus is with us in this fight,” Religious News Service, November 30, 2020.  [back]

    11. We The People Convention Press Release.  [back]

     


    At a rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on December 5,the crowd chanted, "Fight for Trump" and "Stop the Steal." (Photo: AP)

    Posted on RefuseFascism.org

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

    Trump – You Lost. Get the Hell Out!
    Rally and Speak-Out
    in front of the White House

    Black Lives Matter Plaza
    Saturday, December 12, 12:00 PM

    Read more


    Washington D.C., election night. Photo: SkyNews.com

     

    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/677/trump-heightened-danger-of-war-with-iran-biden-also-represents-predatory-interests-of-imperialism-en.html

    Trump and the Fascists Greatly Heightened the Danger of War with Iran—but Biden and the Democrats Also Represent the Predatory Interests of Imperialism

    | revcom.us

     

    With the defeat of Trump in the election, many progressive-minded people feel relieved that the period of sharp and rising U.S. threats and moves against Iran may be over. Under the Trump/Pence regime, the U.S. had unilaterally pulled out of the international agreement with Iran, negotiated under Obama, under which Iran agreed to limit nuclear development in return for easing of economic sanctions against Iran by the U.S. and other powers. Trump ratcheted up increasing sanctions against Iran, putting an intense squeeze on the Iranian economy, which has had devastating impact on the lives of the Iranian masses, including greatly intensifying the infections and deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic. In what amounted to an act of war, in January 2020 Trump ordered the assassination of one of Iran’s top leaders—when he was in Iraq, another sovereign country. Even after the election loss, Trump and his regime have continued to pile more deadly sanctions on Iran and issue warlike threats.

    Now, Biden says that once he gets into the White House, he will aim to put the U.S. back into the international nuclear agreement, which Iran and European imperialist powers had continued to maintain after Trump pulled the U.S. out. If Biden is able to do that, and this is by no means a sure thing, it will mark a significant change in U.S. policy—but NOT in the fundamental aims and driving forces underlying such a move. Biden and the Democrats, no less than Trump, are driven by the predatory interests of U.S. imperialism.

    For decades, controlling the Middle East has been one of the key factors in U.S. imperialism’s domination of the planet. This region is where much of the world’s oil and natural gas are located. It’s a crossroads linking Africa, Europe, and Asia. Global trade routes run through it. Losing dominant control of the Middle East would be a body blow to the U.S. rulers, with profound repercussions. In recent decades, the U.S. has faced enormous new challenges to its position in this region, concentrated in the rise of virulent strains of reactionary and often anti-U.S. Islamic fundamentalism and sharpening conflicts with global rivals like Russia and China. In many ways these challenges have been concentrated around Iran. It is a powerful regional state with huge petroleum reserves, and a major pole of Islamic fundamentalism with its own agenda and ambitions, which have undercut U.S. control and threatened the interests of key U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Wars and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq starting in the early 2000s have failed and even backfired, not producing the results the U.S. desired. The U.S. has not been able to crush its enemies and establish stable client regimes. Instead, the clash between reactionary, outmoded imperialism and reactionary, outmoded Islamic fundamentalism has greatly escalated in very complex and intense ways, impacting other deep problems and contradictions across this volatile region, even as rival imperialist powers like China and Russia have made gains. This bubbling cauldron of contradictions threatens to tear the region apart—while being a horror show for the masses of people in the region.

    For Obama, the nuclear agreement with Iran was an attempt to defuse the immediate danger of war, constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and even perhaps turn Iran’s theocratic regime from an enemy to a neutral force that could help stabilize the situation, and thus enable the U.S. to keep its grip on the region. This is the approach that Biden and the Democrats hope to return to. But this is denounced by the Republi-fascists, representing powerful sections of the ruling class, who fear that the agreement would make the Iranian regime stronger in the region, undercut key U.S. allies, and end up weakening U.S. regional—and global—dominance. Neither side in this fight represents the actual interests of the people of the world, including the masses of people in Iran and the U.S.

    As for Biden’s specific position on Iran, revcom.us will write more on this as things develop, but it is worth recalling that, earlier this year, when he was responding to questions posed by the New York Times to Democratic presidential candidates, Biden was quite emphatic about not ruling out military intervention in Iran (and other strategic areas)—including pre-emptive attacks—if U.S. interests are threatened. Asked if he would “consider military force to pre-empt an Iranian or North Korean nuclear or missile test,” Biden answered, “Yes. Force must be used judiciously to protect a vital interest of the United States.... The nuclear program of North Korea and the nuclear ambitions of Iran pose such a vital interest.”

    The “vital interests” of the U.S., as the dominant capitalist-imperialist power in the world, have nothing to do with—and are fundamentally opposed to—the interests of humanity.

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

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

    Order the book HERE
    Download the book in ePub format HERE

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

    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/675/trump-pence-regime-threatens-attacks-increases-deadly-sanctions-against-iran-en.html

    Fascist Trump/Pence Regime Threatens Attacks,
    Increases Deadly Sanctions Against Iran
    NO to U.S. War on Iran! NO to Increased Repression
    within Iran!

    | revcom.us

     

    Since his decisive defeat in the elections, Trump and his regime have outrageously stepped up military threats and killer sanctions against Iran. Last week, Trump reportedly was walked back by close advisers from ordering an immediate attack on Iran—but is continuing to look at different options, including cyberattacks in Iran and hitting Iranian allies in the region.1 This came after Trump had fired his secretary of defense Mark Esper and made other changes in top U.S. military command.

    Any U.S. attack on Iran, under any pretext, would be totally illegitimate and extremely dangerous—and could escalate to more devastating wars in the region and beyond.

    Whether or not Trump launches a military attack, the sanctions that his regime has carried out against Iran for the past few years are having horrific consequences for the masses of people in that country. Because of the deadly squeeze on the economy, unemployment and inflation have skyrocketed. Iran has been blocked from importing needed medicines and medical equipment. This made the situation even more devastating when the COVID pandemic hit Iran earlier this year.2

    And now, when Iran—like many countries around the world—is going through a new wave of massive COVID infections and deaths3, Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, declared on November 18, “Throughout the coming weeks and months, we will impose new sanctions on Iran...” As in the U.S., the Trump/Pence regime’s actions are directly causing tens of thousands of needless pandemic deaths in Iran.

    The increasing sanctions began after Trump, in 2018, pulled the U.S. out of an international agreement with Iran that limited Iran’s nuclear development.4 This was a major change in U.S. policy toward Iran from what it was under Obama. Biden says that he intends to get the U.S. back into the agreement.5 While Trump’s moves over the past several years heightened the immediate danger of U.S. war on Iran, the Democrats’ approach has nothing to do with peace or the interests of humanity. Both are based on the predatory interests in the region of the U.S. rulers to dominate a strategically vital part of the world that has key oil and energy resources. The U.S. aims not only to plunder those resources but, even more, to gain leverage over rivals like China and even allies like Japan and Europe (and to contend with local powers like Iran that also seek to project their influence in the region). To do this, the U.S. has directly invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, sponsored wars and coups by puppets and proxies in many more countries, and carried out drone assassinations all over the region. In the past three decades alone, millions of ordinary people have died in that region over these conflicts, with the vast majority of these murders “made in the USA.” 6 These wars and war crimes stem from a system, U.S.-dominated capitalism-imperialism—a system that grinds up the lives of billions of people all over the globe.

    To be clear, there is nothing progressive about the theocratic Islamic regime ruling Iran, which is utterly reactionary and has committed vicious crimes against its people. For more on the nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, see sidebar.

    Along with a whole trail of horrific crimes and repression, this recently includes the shooting down of more than 100 protesters during a people’s upsurge in late 2019,7 and backing of other reactionary forces in the region,8 even while the crimes carried out by the U.S.—in the Middle East and around the world—far outweigh what the Iranian regime has done and is capable of.

    Revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA) makes clear the actual nature of and relationship between these forces:

    What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

    While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists. (BAsics 1:28)

    What Is Needed Now

    People in the U.S. must make clear: Trump, keep your hands off Iran! This needs to be part of being in the streets to demand that the illegitimate fascist regime GET THE HELL OUT!

    People in the U.S. should also stand with the oppressed of Iran in their struggle against the reactionary regime ruling over them, and as they suffer immensely from the effects of U.S. sanctions. An important factor in Iran is that there is an actual revolutionary party—the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist)—that is working to bring forward a movement for a real revolution.9

    As people protest the urgent danger of U.S. war on Iran, there must be a spirit of digging into why this system wages war after war, generation after generation, under both Democrats and Republicans—and how we can get to a radically different, better world. There are answers, at this website and in the works of Bob Avakian. We invite everyone to get into and dig deeply into this.

     


    1. Trump Sought Options for Attacking Iran to Stop Its Growing Nuclear Program, NY Times, 11/16/20; ALERT:Trump Considers Options for Military Attack on Iran. No U.S. War on Iran! Trump/Pence OUT NOW!, revcom.us, November 16, 2020. [back]

    2. Medical Terrorism—American Style: U.S. Sanctions and Military Threats Escalate Iran’s COVID-19 Death Toll and Threaten the World, revcom.us, April 6, 2020. [back]

    3. Iran struggles with Covid-19, U.S. sanctions and collapsing economy, NBC News, October 19, 2020. [back]

    4. U.S. Imposes Crippling Sanctions on Iran: A Major, Dangerous and Utterly Illegitimate Escalation, revcom.us, November 5, 2018. [back]

    5. Biden Wants to Rejoin Iran Nuclear Deal, but It Won’t Be Easy, New York Times, November 17, 2020. [back]

    6. See these articles in the “American Crime” series at revcom.us:

    7. Islamic Republic Shoots Down More Than 100, Injures or Arrests Thousands More, revcom.us, December 2, 2019. [back]

    8. For example, Iran backs Shi’ite militia forces in Iraq and various groups in Lebanon and Syria. [back]

    9. The following are a selection of statements from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist Leninist Maoist) that have been posted at revcom.us in the past couple of years.

    Iran Drug SanctionsThe sanctions that the Trump regime has carried out against Iran for the past few years are having horrific consequences for the masses of people in that country. Sanctions against medicines critical to people caused great suffering. Here pharmacists scan shelves for drugs depleted by sanctions, June 2019. (Photo: AP)

    See also:

    * Massive Protests Rock Iran: Islamic Republic Shoots Down More Than 100, Injures or Arrests Thousands More
    U.S. Sheds Crocodile Tears While Intensifying Collective Suffering, Risking War

    * U.S. Imposes Crippling Sanctions on Iran: A Major, Dangerous and Utterly Illegitimate Escalation

    * Medical Terrorism—American Style: U.S. Sanctions and Military Threats Escalate Iran's COVID-19 Death Toll and Threaten the World

     

    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/676/we-demand-justice-and-freedom-for-all-political-prisoners-in-iran-en.html

    We Demand Justice and Freedom for All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW

    | revcom.us

     

    A call from and to people in the U.S. to join and develop the campaign for political prisoners in Iran right now.

    Since October 2020, a new rash of widespread, illegal and illegitimate crackdowns against political and social activists was carried out in Iran by the brutal regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Among those arrested are supporters of labor movements, teachers, students, and family members of known activists, Baha’i religious forces, longtime and recent liberal, radical and revolutionary dissidents against the reactionary IRI.

    Most of these prisoners are being held without any charges or trial, but at least one (a secretary of the Tehran Teachers Center) is charged with “collusion against the security of the state” and given two years in prison. That is, many are unidentified with no known charges or access to lawyers, which is a violation of the human rights and basic legal rights of the accused.

    Besides imprisonment, they face rape, torture, execution, now torment and death by coronavirus infection. Some of these political prisoners are dehumanized in solitary confinement in Evin prison, a notorious torture and death chamber, including several who have dual citizenships with German (and other) passports that have been confiscated by the IRI without cause.

    These raids coincided closely with the one-year anniversary of the November 2019 uprising that had rocked Iran. The IRI fears the resistance forces inside Iran who were planning to hold commemorations of that rebellion. Set off by massive inflation, high unemployment and a harsh economic slowdown brought on by cruel U.S. sanctions, mass protests engulfed 100-200 large and small cities across Iran in 2019. The Islamic regime responded not only with mass arrests but water cannons, tear gas, live ammunition fired from rooftops, helicopters and police forces on the ground—shooting some protesters at close range or as they were running away. Estimates are of hundreds killed (some were children), thousands wounded and arrested with reports of hospitals overflowing with the wounded. The IRI blacked out the internet to hide the true scale and scope of their murderous rampage on protesters and its aftermath.

    If the modern history of Iran has shown us anything, it is the irrepressible heroic spirit of generations of Iranian people against oppressive regimes. A people who resisted the CIA coup in 1953; who overthrew the U.S. puppet Shah Pahlavi’s blood-soaked rule in the revolution of 1979; who for the past 40+ years, rose up repeatedly against a theocracy that had taken power with the help of the U.S. The resistance continues even as the IRI had massacred tens of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, and as generations of women have been imprisoned and tortured for refusing forced hijab and medieval Sharia law.

    U.S. imperialists such as U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo have NO right to speak when it comes to the suffering they help inflict on people in Iran. Years of vicious U.S. sanctions have served to batter the body and spirit of the 80+ million people in Iran—depriving them of food, medicine, books, fuel and other daily necessities but providing a club to the IRI to beat down any dissent as “support for U.S. imperialism.” Recent threats by the fascist Trump/Pence regime towards Iran, the Trump-ordered murder of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020, and now the suspicious murder of top Iranian nuclear scientist Moshen Fakhrizadeh are all vile aggressions by the U.S. These acts may also give further impetus for the IRI to crack down under vague “national security” and “foreign meddling” accusations against all forms of opposition to its rule.

    The U.S. and IRI regimes have their interests, but the people of these countries have our interests. It is in the interest of the people all over the world to unite and defend the political prisoners of Iran whose lives and dignity are in mortal and imminent danger. People in the U.S. have a special responsibility and opportunity to unite across all social and political movements or divides against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that will bring even more horrific suffering to the people of Iran. We support all political protesters against the IRI and the U.S. inside and outside Iran. We join the urgent cries for justice and freedom by each new wave of Iranian political prisoners. We are taking up the fight now to free them ahead of fresh atrocities and deaths. Free all political prisoners in Iran until every cage is empty.

    ***

    This statement was initiated by Carol Downer and Dolly Veale (November 2020).

    To sign this solidarity statement, to join this effort or for more information, please email FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNOW@gmail.com.

    Suggested solidarity actions:

    See also:

    Let Us Unite and Fight Together Against Waves of Suppression in Iran.

    Read more

    Check It Out:

    Nasrin, Film About Courageous Iranian Political Prisoner.

    Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh with a poster of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, in a scene from the Nasrin documentary. (Photo: Floating World Pictures)

    From a reader:

    Nasrin is a powerful movie by filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross, narrated by Academy Award winner Olivia Colman. It includes an original song performed by internationally known artist Angélique Kidjo. The film traces the defiant and courageous journey of Nasrin Sotoudeh—Iranian lawyer, political prisoner, human rights and women’s rights activist and exceptional human being. It was filmed inside Iran by people risking arrests and imprisonment to bring this inspiring “candle in the dark” to the bright screen.

    As the film’s website describes, Nasrin

    was arrested in June 2018 for representing women who were protesting Iran’s mandatory hijab law, and she was sentenced to 38 years in prison, plus 148 lashes. Even from prison, she has continued to challenge the authorities. An Amnesty International petition calling for her release received over a million signatures from 200 countries.

    “Challenging the authorities” included, among her many acts of bravery and self-sacrifice, launching a hunger strike inside Iran’s medieval Evin prison, where she had already been held for over two years, to demand the release of ALL political prisoners. She did this at a time when Iran has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. She launched her strike on August 11 but was hospitalized for Covid-19 on September 19 herself. Due to the international outcry, she won temporary release on November 7 after suffering lung and heart damage. The film shows that what has threatened the oppressive regime in Iran is her fearlessness infecting many others.

    You can find the film’s online screening schedule in England, France, and the U.S. by visiting the screenings page at the film’s webpage.

    Sign this statement at Change.org

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/677/fight-for-justice-and-freedom-for-all-political-prisoners-in-iran-en.html

    The fight for justice and freedom for ALL political prisoners in Iran has intensified and must go deeper and broader in the coming weeks.

    | revcom.us

     


    Activists held a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, on the occasion of the International Day of Fighting Violence Against Women.... Here a woman from "Burn the Cage, Free the Birds" holds a poster of women political prisoners in Iran. (Instagram.com/Burn_the_cage Screengrab)

    It was reported on the @burn_the_cage Instagram that “On November 25, 2020 a group of Latin American Finnish women artists and activists held a ceremony in Helsinki, Finland, on the occasion of the International Day of Fighting Violence Against Women.... A number of supporters of the campaign ‘Burn the cage, free the birds’ participated in the ceremony with posters of women political prisoners in Iran. The host of the program, commemorating the Iranian women’s struggle against the Islamic Republic system, spoke about the need for women’s solidarity around the world and fighting for the release of all political prisoners in Iran.”

    On December 3, people demonstrated in Frankfurt, Germany, in front of the Iranian consulate with photos of several of the prisoners arrested and being held by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). These prisoners include some of the dual citizens from Germany whose passports were seized by the IRI. The daughter of one of the political prisoners told her relatives that after 50 days, her mother, Nahid Taghavi, was still in solitary confinement in Iran’s infamous Evin prison. According to the International Human Rights Law on Solitary Confinement website (2015), it was found that more than 15 days of solitary constitutes torture and “must be absolutely banned.”

    The IRI’s practice of seizing people with dual citizenship is extremely dangerous as it means no Iranians abroad with this status can travel there unthreatened. There were demonstrations planned in Frankfurt at the Iranian consulate on December 10, which is International Human Rights Day, to highlight the struggle to free Iran’s political prisoners. Demonstrations called for several other cities in a number of countries on December 10 had to be postponed due to new coronavirus pandemic lockdown restrictions.

    On December 2, human rights and women’s rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was imprisoned AGAIN after less than a month of being on temporary release. Her release was won by an international outcry after she was infected with COVID and hospitalized while on a hunger strike to demand the release of all political prisoners. There is a new campaign for her release, available here.

    We urge people to sign and take out broadly "We Demand Justice and Freedom for All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW," a call from people in the U.S. to join and develop the campaign for political prisoners in Iran.


    The human rights activist Nahid Taghavi is being held since October 16, 2020, under the pretext of "threat to security" in Evin prison in Tehran. The 66-year-old is in solitary confinement. Here her friends, her daughter Mariam Claren, and human rights activists demonstrate in Cologne, Germany for her release.


    Tortured Iranian political prisoner


    Photos of political prisoners from @burn_the_cage Instagram

     

    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/676/unite-and-fight-against-waves-of-suppression-in-iran-en.html

    Let Us Unite and Fight Together Against Waves of Suppression in Iran

    | revcom.us

     

    Issued by friends and supporters of resisters inside Iran, and re-posted from social media.

    Pages upon pages of the life history of the Islamic Republic of Iran are marked by repeated waves of persecution, terror, imprisonment, torture, execution; by firing squads, gallows, and arrows... This history has another side as well: repeated waves of resistance, struggle after struggle: Our struggles.

    “Our” struggles have stacked up against “their” repression. They want to crush us. But we must send a clear and resolute message: we will not swallow your crimes in silence and on our knees. To be sure, the ranks of this regime are riddled with conflict. But they are united like a fist against us when they want to crush us. We undoubtedly have differences amongst us in various ways. But it is necessary to strive to unite in the face of their repression.

    Recently in a span of mere weeks they have aggressively attacked and arrested many people, imprisoning unknown numbers of social and political activists. Just to name a few: Shabnam Ashouri, Elvar Qolivand, Mehran Raouf, Nahid Taghavi, Khosrow Sadeghi Boroujeni, Loghman Pirkhezrayian, Neda Pirkhezrayian, Arash Johari, Bahareh Soleimani, Andisheh Sadri and Somayeh Kargar, Mohammad Khani and Hanif Shadloo, who were arrested in the span of a mere two weeks in October 2020. Moreover, a large number of anonymous citizens have been arrested and detained and are being tortured on a daily basis.

    Let us emphasize again that we fight because we have to fight. It would be an illusion to think that a temporary retreat from struggle would make the situation “more favorable” for us. When their repression is constant, our struggle cannot be a once-in-a-while affair. One step backwards on our part will mean two steps forward by them.

    We may have differences over various issues. We may have contradictions over how we think and approach events and affairs. But nothing is more clear than the obvious truth that we must all defend every and all resistance against repression. Any kind of standing aloof in this resistance is not justified and is cowardly and will have terrible consequences for everybody and for all just struggles. We have to fight against any form of oppression and unite to support all resisters and activists in struggle.

    We know the names of some of these activists and resisters and don’t know the names of many others. We have spoken with some of these fighters, and have walked the walk with them and not with many others. We have shared thoughts with some of them and together with them have become outraged and passionate, have chanted, smiled and cried, together have rejoiced and sung songs, while many other ones we don’t know personally. During some of the darkest and longest nights with some have mocked wickedness, while not knowing many others. We knew some of them closely, and not many others. In fact, we may not have known any of them closely at all, we may not have even seen them once. But they are all our people.

    Our unity in the urgent fight against any form of torture, arrest, or repression of activists and fighters in Iran is necessary and is enforcement for all of our just struggles.

    Burn the Cage Free the Birds! @burn_the_cage instagram

    Free Political Prisoners in Iran!

    See also:

    We Demand Justice and Freedom for All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW

    Read more

    Check It Out:

    Nasrin, Film About Courageous Iranian Political Prisoner.

    Read more

    Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh with a poster of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, in a scene from the Nasrin documentary. (Photo: Floating World Pictures)

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/anotherway/index.htm

    BRINGING FORWARD ANOTHER WAY  by Bob Avakian

    Bringing Forward Another Way is a talk given by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, to a group of Party supporters in 2006 and published in early 2007. This groundbreaking analysis, made during the George W. Bush years, continues to be very relevant, especially in the context of sharpening contradictions centered in the Middle East and aggressive U.S.-led moves against Iran. This work is an illustration of applying the scientific method to approaching international conflicts and understanding social and political contradictions—and identifying where the fundamental interests of humanity lie, providing concrete leadership and guidance for the strategic repolarization for revolution and a thoroughly internationalist orientation. Given the current situation in the world, we urge our readers to restudy this important work or to get into it for the first time.

     

    Editors' Note: The following is an edited version of a talk by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, to a group of Party supporters, in the fall of last year (2006).

    By Way of Introduction

    In relation to what I am going to get into here, the 7 Talks I gave recently (plus the Q&A and the Concluding Remarks accompanying those Talks),1 in addition to Views On and Basis, Goals and Methods,2 serve as background. Obviously, I'm not going to try to repeat much that was said in those talks, but they should remain a point of reference for much of what I am going to say here and provide a foundation for it.

    What Is Driving the Wars Being Waged, and Wars Being Threatened, by "Our Government"?

    I want to begin by looking at not just the freedom and the ambitions of the imperial rulers of the U.S., and in particular the core of that ruling class now, grouped in and around the Bush regime, but also their necessity and how they perceive that necessity. We have talked a lot about the ways in which they have seized on a certain freedom, for them, as a result of the demise of the Soviet Union in particular, and their ambitions of making U.S. imperialism an unchallenged and unchallengeable power in the world. But it's also important for us to understand, and to enable others to understand, how they are seeing their necessity—particularly how this is seen by that core of the ruling class which has been driving things for the last number of years. Our responsibility lies in, first of all ourselves understanding, but second of all giving people as broadly as possible, at any given time, a full, scientifically based picture of what is going on in the world, where the dynamics are driving things—and why—and what are the means for acting to radically transform all this, with the objective of getting rid of all these horrors and bringing a new world into being—a transformation, in other words, that would be in the interests of the great majority of oppressed people, indeed the great majority of people throughout the world and ultimately humanity as a whole.

    At any given time, many people will be out moving in relation to, and in opposition to, the crimes of this system—and we obviously need a lot more of that. Those who are part of this broad movement will have various levels of understanding and different views about what this is all part of, what it stems from, what to do about it, and so on. It is our responsibility at any given time not just to unite with whatever motion there is and to work to develop this into a much broader and more powerful political resistance, but also to be continually digging down more deeply, to understand more fully what's driving things and therefore how to move in relation to it, and through uniting and struggling with a broad diversity of people and forces, to enable people to move in greater numbers, and to greater effect, in the direction in which things need to go in order to actually deal with the root cause of all this.

    Recently I read the book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas Ricks, who is a military correspondent for the mainstream, bourgeois media, the Washington Post in particular. This is very interesting—this is not simply Thomas Ricks, the military observer, writing—this book represents and incorporates a section of the U.S. military opening up its deep concern, anger, and, in a sense, protest about how the Bush regime has conducted the war in Iraq, with many of them coming to the conclusion that it should never have been launched in the first place—or, if it were going to be launched, then there needed to be a whole plan for what they were going to do after they toppled the Hussein regime, a plan which, in any real sense, they did not have. There is a lot of speaking bitterness from these military people that comes out in this book. In a real sense, besides Ricks' own analysis, this book acts as a conduit and a vehicle for what a lot of these military officials are saying, on the level of colonels and even up to generals, some still active-duty, some of them retired.

    At the beginning of the book one of the things Ricks does, which is important, is that he discusses the role and motivations of people like Paul Wolfowitz (former assistant secretary of defense, and now head of the World Bank) and others of these "neo-cons" who were driving forces in insisting on overthrowing the Hussein regime—they were insisting on this even before Bush came into office. Ricks discusses how Wolfowitz and the neo-cons generally were viewing the situation, not only in Iraq but in the Middle East overall, and why they were so determined to invade Iraq and overthrow Hussein. As I was reading this, I thought of a metaphor which then later was explicitly used by Ricks: Among other things, these neo-cons in particular saw the Middle East as a swamp breeding all kinds of terrorist mosquitoes; and their calculation was that, even though Saddam Hussein as such was no threat to the U.S. (or even to his "neighbors" in the region), still if they left the Middle East the way it was, it would just keep on generating these poisonous creatures and this would get in the way of all their fundamental objectives in terms of U.S. imperial domination in that region, and in the world as a whole—objectives which are not those of the neo-cons alone but were, and are, shared by the ruling class as a whole, even with some significant differences among them over how to go about achieving those objectives. So this metaphor of drying up the swamp, which was explicitly invoked by Ricks in this book (Fiasco) clearly does capture the thinking, or an important part of the thinking, of people like Wolfowitz and these other neo-cons, who have been very influential in the Bush regime.

    Another way to say this is that Iraq was not just seen as a "target of opportunity," to use their terminology, but invading Iraq was something they needed to do in order to begin installing in that part of the world regimes that would actually more fully serve U.S. imperial interests and would be "enablers" of their agenda in that part of the world (and their agenda overall). And if they didn't do this, if they left Iraq as it was under Hussein, then the whole "mix" in the Middle East—with Iran, on the one hand, and Saddam Hussein on the other, and Saudi Arabia and all the rest in the region—would just keep producing these intolerable conditions from their point of view. So they were looking at this in this way: If we don't get to this and do this pretty soon, this is going to be all out of control.

    Yes, they saw real opportunity and some freedom they could seize on, in moving against Saddam Hussein, and this was part of their wild ambitions for further remaking the world under even more firm U.S. imperial domination; but they also were acting out of a sense of real necessity—perhaps more so than I, at least, had recognized previously. As they see things, a policy of maintaining the (relative) stability in the Middle East, as that has existed, has led to a very bad situation, breeding terrorism and getting in the way of everything they need to do, and reacting back against it. This not only comes through in how Ricks speaks to things in the book Fiasco, it was also explicitly stated by Bush in a recent speech, or in a series of recent speeches by Bush and others in the Bush regime.

    How the Bush Regime Views "Stability" and "Peace" in the Middle East

    For example, in September (2006) Bush and Rumsfeld gave extremely important speeches where they were talking somewhat honestly from their own point of view. [laughs] Now, it is important to recognize and keep in mind that their point of view doesn't accurately reflect reality, and it involves a distorted understanding, even on their own part, of what they themselves are doing—of what their objectives really are, as well as what their actions in pursuit of their objectives will actually lead to "in the real world," as the saying goes. But, nonetheless, these speeches by Bush and Rumsfeld were not simply deliberate distortions and demagoguery—they were a combination of demagoguery and actual articulation, by Bush and Rumsfeld, of their views and objectives. So for example, in a speech in Washington D.C., September 5 of this year (2006), on the "global war on terror," Bush said:

    "The only way to secure our nation is to change the course of the Middle East."

    And then again on September 11 (2006), speaking about the Middle East, Bush said explicitly:

    "Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither."

    The "War on Terror": What Is Really Going On—and Why

    By taking these comments by Bush—and subjecting them to critical and scientific analysis, to get to the essence of what these comments are actually speaking to—we can begin to see more fully the real motives and motive forces involved in the Bush regime's approach to not only Iraq but to the Middle East as a whole, as a region of great strategic importance. We can see even more clearly how the Iraq war is not a "distraction" or a "diversion" from "the war on terror" but is, in fact, a central part of what this "war on terror" (or, as we have also identified it, the "juggernaut" of the Bush regime) really is all about. In its essence, this is a war for empire.

    As our Party pointed out from the beginning of the juggernaut by the Bush regime—in other words, from shortly after September 11, 2001 and with the U.S. war against Afghanistan following shortly after that—oil, in the more limited sense, has never been the essence of what this juggernaut has been all about.3 Yes, for the U.S. imperialists as a whole (and not just the Bush regime) controlling the oil, in the Middle East in particular, has been very important in terms of a whole ensemble of strategic relations in the world, including with regard to maintaining a superior position vis-à-vis other imperialists (in Europe, Japan, etc.); but all this has never been just about grabbing Iraq's oil, for example. That is involved, but what is more fundamental and essential are strategic calculations—the perceived freedom and perceived necessity on the part of this core of the ruling class, grouped in and around the Bush regime, now, and the ways in which this relates to the strategic interests of the U.S. empire and its ruling class as a whole.

    As I'll talk about further as we go along, this relates to the fact that the "war on terror" is, on the one hand, a misnomer—it is not an accurate characterization of what is really going on, in fundamental terms, and this catchphrase "war on terror" involves a whole bunch of demagoguery, and a whole lot of deliberate deception—but at the same time there is also some truth to what's being described with the term "war on terror." Once again, this is the complexity of the reality that we have to understand, more and more deeply, in order to act to change it in accordance with the fundamental interests of the great majority of people, not just in the U.S. but throughout the world.

    There is both demagoguery and instrumentalism on the part of Bush & Co. (by "instrumentalism" here I mean torturing reality in the attempt to make a distorted version of reality an instrument of certain aims), but there is also some truth with regard to the so-called "war on terror." That is, from the point of view of these imperialists, looking at a whole strategic arc from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan all the way over to places like Indonesia (a country with a large population where Islam is the dominant religion and Islamic fundamentalism is also on the rise), if things were allowed to continue as they have been for a number of years, this would rebound against the interests of U.S. imperialism in very serious ways. Forces of militant, even fanatical, Islamic fundamentalism do not pose a positive alternative for the masses of people—including those currently drawn to or swept up in this fundamentalism—but to a significant degree and in significant ways they do pose a real obstacle to the aims and designs of the U.S. imperialists in particular at this point. These Islamic fundamentalist forces are what the Bush regime (and the U.S. ruling class as a whole) are largely referring to, at this point at least, when they talk about "terrorism"; and these Islamic fundamentalist forces do use methods and tactics that to a large degree can legitimately be described as "terrorism," including deliberate attacks on civilians.

    At the same time, it is very important to keep in mind two things in this regard: First, it is the imperialists, and the U.S. above all, who, going back over many generations, have, by far, directly carried out (or in some instances have backed and been ultimately responsible for) the most monstrous acts of death and destruction, including the slaughter of millions and millions of civilians, in all parts of the globe, from the Philippines to Vietnam to Chile, the Congo, Iran, Indonesia, Iraq, and Afghanistan… and on and on… not to mention the actual use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.—the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities at the end of World War 2, with all the horrors that involved.

    And, second, the way in which these imperialists use the term "terrorism" is deliberately calculated to be so broad and vague that it can be turned against any force, of whatever kind, that poses an obstacle to these imperialists—including revolutionary movements and revolutionary wars which do not involve, on the part of the revolutionary forces, deliberate attacks on civilians or the destruction of civilian infrastructure and which have the participation and support of masses of people. Even where all that is true, the U.S. imperialists will not hesitate to label these revolutionary forces "terrorists" if what they are doing runs counter to the interests of U.S. imperialism.

    So, once again, there is a great deal of hypocrisy and deception in the use of this term "war on terror"; and at the same time it is also the case that this refers to a war that the Bush regime—and, in fundamental terms, the imperialist ruling class as a whole—feels compelled to wage in order to deal with obstacles to its interests, objectives, and grand designs of unchallenged world domination.

    This Is Not Our War—and This Is Not Our "Quagmire"

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

    It is very interesting to read some of these imperialist analysts. For example, Michael Scheuer (a long-time CIA operative), who was the actual author of the book Imperial Hubris (although he wrote it under the name "Anonymous"), made some observations a couple of years ago that were pretty prescient. And you have to give people credit when they have real insight and foresight. [laughs] In that book, he said two things (or two things I want to focus on here). One, he said the Iraq War is for Osama bin Laden the Christmas present he never thought he'd get. (Of course, that statement is somewhat ironic, since bin Laden is obviously a Muslim and not a Christian, but still the basic point is valid and important.) And two, Scheuer said: you watch and see, things in Afghanistan are gonna start going very badly for the U.S. pretty soon—that initial victory there is not going to look so good in a couple of years either. Well, he's been proven right on both counts, you have to say. I mean, he's not the only one who saw that, but if you read that book he made these statements rather emphatically and without qualification, and they're proving to be true.

    This ties up with the bind these imperialists are in: In a very real sense, there was an accurate perception on the part of the neo-cons and the Bush regime that, from the point of view of the interests they represent, they did have to do something to change the equation in that whole part of the world ("to change the course of the Middle East," to invoke once again Bush's phrase); and, on the other hand, look at the difficulties they've gotten themselves into as a result of their invasion and occupation of Iraq in particular.

    Whenever I get a chance I like to check out what these right-wing demagogues are saying—the way in which they are (to use that phrase) "spinning" the propaganda of the Bush regime and its program. These days many of them are putting out a very different line than the one they used to justify and drum up support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003—all the talk about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and so on. At the start, they had one set of rationalizations for the Iraq war, but now they've got another set of rationalizations, which more correspond to the situation they face now and how they are seeking to deal with that. Now you hear these people—these apologists for the Bush regime—saying that the Iraq War was really about… Iran! Why? Well, to paraphrase the propaganda:

    "Look what's happening now in Iraq. Look at all the gains that Iran is making in Iraq. They've got all these Shias and Shia militias, all these forces there, that the Iranians are basically controlling. So now we gotta take it to Iran."

    Of course, these difficulties the U.S. has encountered in Iraq are not the real—or not the most fundamental—reason that they are setting their sights on Iran. I will get into this further a little later in this talk, but the fact is that Bush & Co. had identified the regime in Iran as one it wanted to go after even before they invaded Iraq (remember how, early on after September 11th, they included Iran in the "axis of evil"?). But the fact is that, if they hadn't invaded Iraq and overthrown Saddam Hussein, they wouldn't be having the trouble they are having with these Shia forces in Iraq, and they wouldn't have this whole mess. So Bush and the U.S. ruling class certainly don't have "all freedom" in this situation, and they didn't have "all freedom" all along.

    If they had let things go along the way they were, in the Middle East in particular, this would have meant perpetuating conditions that do give impetus to Islamic fundamentalism of the kind that causes real trouble for the U.S. empire. There is, as you know, tremendous suffering on the part of the masses of people throughout that region. There is the corruption of the regimes there, and the repressive nature of those regimes. There is the worsening of the material conditions of the masses of people and, along with that, the tremendous upheaval and dislocation of millions and millions of people in those societies, with the "traditional way of life" significantly uprooted but with no real positive radical alternative possible within the dominant social and international relations—none that would really meet the needs and serve the interests of the masses of people. Is it really surprising that this situation and its driving dynamics would lead people to gravitate to extremes? And there is a force of "Islamic extremism" which has been and is moving to organize people in relation to this—organize them around precisely an extreme version of traditional relations and traditional values and culture, which seem to be, and in a real sense are, under attack from many sides, especially as the effects of globalization, and the imperialist system as a whole, increasingly penetrate into and make themselves felt within these societies.

    So, it was the reckoning of those in and around the Bush regime—and, from the standpoint of their system and its interests, there was a logic to this—that they couldn't just leave things to develop as they were—they had to make some dramatic moves to "change the course of the Middle East."

    Invasions… and Occupations… Upheaval and Chaos

    But their problem is, as we are seeing, that whether it's Afghanistan or Iraq, these imperialists are good at invading countries and knocking over regimes, but then when they find themselves in the position of occupying the country and they have a population that gets aroused against them, it becomes a different dynamic, and it is not so easy for them. It is not so easy for them to maintain "order" and to impose the changes they want to impose in accordance with their interests. It is not so easy to impose this "from the top down"—which is the only way imperialist occupiers can impose changes.

    In this connection—and referring back to the observations and predictions by Michael Scheuer about the difficulties the U.S. would have in occupying Afghanistan—I have to say that I cannot help noticing the great irony when I hear about these bourgeois feminists and others who got sucked into supporting the war in Afghanistan (or who rationalized their support for this war) on the basis that the U.S. invasion and occupation was supposedly going to bring reforms beneficial to women. Well, if you look at the situation now, the U.S. doesn't control much more in Afghanistan (if any more) than the Soviets did when they were occupying that country in the 1980s. And, if you are going to be honest and scientific, you have to recognize that the reforms that the Soviets brought in, during their occupation of Afghanistan, were a lot more thorough, particularly with regard to women. That's one of the things that provoked the ire of a lot of the Islamic fundamentalists.

    Now, the Soviets did this from the top down; they imposed it by invasion and occupation and coups, and so on. Then, when they couldn't get very far with these reforms in this way, and they had trouble achieving a stabilized rule and order under their occupation, they backed off and conciliated with the forces of Islamic fundamentalism. After all, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan wasn't like the revolution in China, which came "from the bottom"—and which won the masses politically and mobilized and relied on them to carry out radical changes, not only in economic relations but also in the social relations and the customs and culture, and so on.

    In contrast to this, the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, as well as the Soviet occupation before it, has represented and embodied an attempt to impose some changes from the top; but if you're going to talk about what was actually done, the Soviet reforms went further, particularly with regard to the status of women. Yet, in the end, the Soviet occupation could not succeed either.

    And to get back to the main point here, the same thing has been shown in Iraq: It's one thing to go in and knock over a regime, especially one you've weakened by a previous war and ten years of sanctions, and so on; but it's another thing to maintain an occupation and to force things on the population you are now directly ruling over. At this point, many political strategists of the U.S. empire, and even many in their military leadership, are admitting this—many of the military people that are quoted in this Ricks book (Fiasco) are acknowledging, in effect: "Iraq was a pushover, their army was chump change, anybody with a formidable army could have gone in and knocked them over." Of course, they don't quite say that, because they want to talk about how great they are, what a great military power they are, but nonetheless they're pretty much acknowledging that, by the time of the 2003 invasion, the Iraqi military was a very weakened force, even compared to the first Gulf War in the early 1990s. Of course, if you go back and look at what many, if not most, of these "experts" were saying—and if you look at the propaganda of the Bush regime in particular—at the start of the present war, and in the lead-up to this war, there was an incessant chorus issuing dire warnings about how dangerous Saddam Hussein and his regime was: It was portrayed as one of the most dangerous and powerful enemies the U.S. faced in the world; it was ready to unleash a mushroom cloud over the U.S. itself as well as constituting a great danger to all of its neighbors.

    Then they invade—and it doesn't go so well after Bush declares "Mission Accomplished" in 2003. And it's kept getting worse for them—and now they're really stuck. From the point of view of the imperialists—but we should also understand that this does involve fundamental questions that affect broad sections of the people in society, including many people with progressive sentiments and views in general—there is no easy way to deal with this. There's no easy way out for the U.S. imperialists—and admitting defeat is not an option they want to consider. As I emphasized at the beginning, our responsibility is to be thoroughly scientific. Our responsibility is not to just automatically dismiss whatever the imperialists say—"That's just a bunch of imperialist propaganda—next point, move on." While firmly maintaining our basic stand, in accordance with the fundamental interests of the masses of people, throughout the world, in opposition to the imperialists and their system of exploitation, domination, and oppression, we cannot be simple-minded. We have to be scientific and analyze reality in all its complexity.

    It is a fact that it would cause a lot of upheaval and chaos in the Middle East if they just were to pull out of Iraq. It would encourage Islamic fundamentalists to step up their attacks against U.S. forces elsewhere; and given the worldview and the whole approach of those fundamentalists—which, as you know, is fundamentally different from ours and is not good—they would quite likely carry out further attacks against American civilians, to the degree they were able to do so. But it is also very important to keep in mind that in the world today—and in the situation and lives of the majority of people throughout the world—there is already a great deal of upheaval and chaos. And the dynamics that are now, to a large degree, driving things—the dynamics that have led to the current situation in Iraq and more generally in the Middle East, with ramifications and implications in every part of the world—this will, in any case bring a great deal more upheaval and chaos, affecting people everywhere, until there is a resolution of this of one kind or another.

    Besides the moral bankruptcy of seeking to avoid chaos for yourself and the things that more immediately affect you, while many, many others are caught up in this and are suffering horribly—besides that whole moral dimension, which I will return to later, because it is in fact something that needs to be emphasized and joined with people—there is the reality that, even those now occupying more privileged enclaves in the imperialist countries and in other parts of the world will not be able to avoid being affected by great upheaval and chaos in the period ahead. The essential question is not whether there will be chaos or no chaos, or whether it will end up affecting people everywhere, in one way or another. The question is: What will this all lead to, what will come out of it, what kind of world will emerge out of all this?

    Osama bin Laden and others like him are reactionary but they're not fools. Their program and the tactics which flow from that program—and from their basic worldview and values—are extremely reactionary and harmful to masses of people, even those they mobilize. But they are not without a sense of tactics, and even of nuance. Look at what bin Laden said in the context of the 2004 election in the U.S. In effect, he took the bourgeois democratic views and illusions that so many people in this society, including many progressive people, are mesmerized by and caught up in, and he threw it back in their faces. He said: "You have the right to vote your government in or out. You have the right to change the policies of your government through voting, so if these policies continue you are at fault." And more recently on CNN, I heard some Islamic fundamentalists in Britain saying the same thing about the British government and the British people.

    If you think about it, this involves a kind of profound irony: people like bin Laden are taking these bourgeois democratic prejudices and illusions and using them for their own ends. Primarily, of course, statements like this from bin Laden and similar types are, from their point of view, aimed at justifying to their social base what they are doing—that it's justified to attack the civilians of countries like the U.S. and Britain. And there are a lot of people "in the Islamic world," including people drawn to the Islamic fundamentalist banner, who are very uncomfortable about these attacks on civilians. So statements like bin Laden's—about the right to vote out the government in the U.S. or Britain—are not primarily aimed at the people in those countries, but are aimed at the social base of the Islamic fundamentalists themselves. Now, from our radically different perspective and with our radically different objectives, we of course understand that such attacks on civilians are completely unjustified. But, at the same time, we must never lose sight of—nor fail to vigorously bring to light—that what has been done by the bin Ladens of the world pales in comparison to the truly monstrous and massive crimes that have been, and every day are being, carried out by imperialism, and in particular U.S. imperialism.

    But the essential point I want to emphasize here is that, in a real sense, the situation that has been created through the U.S. "war on terror" so far, with its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as its military actions in other parts of the world) is indeed a mess, and we shouldn't have any simplistic notions of what's involved in all this and what's going to come out of it. There is not going to be any kind of smooth way out of this. And, I'm sorry, as much as I respect John Lennon, "just give peace a chance" is not going to deal with the heightening complexity, and intensity, of the situation. Now let me emphasize here again that we can, and must, unite with lots of people for whom sentiments like that—the desire for peace and the belief that peace can prevail if in fact it is just "given a chance"—are their defining and driving sentiments, but we also have to be struggling with people about what's really going on here—what is the root cause, what are the actual dynamics, and what is the real and fundamental solution.

    There is not an easy way out. And many people sense this. I have heard and read about discussions with progressive people who say things like: "Well, it was terrible that the U.S. went into Iraq, but we can't just precipitously pull out now." Again, I am not talking about reactionaries here. People can sense that one result from a U.S. pull-out from Iraq could be the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalist forces, and that these forces do not actually draw any distinction between the U.S. government and the people of the country. Now, let me be very clear once again: What I am saying here should in no way be understood to deny, or to lessen the importance of, the point that I have repeatedly stressed—that the interests of the masses of people in the U.S., as well as those of the great majority of humanity, are fundamentally different from, and opposed to, those of the imperialists; and the difficulties in which the imperialists find themselves as a result of their invasions and occupations must be seen, and responded to, from the point of view not of the imperialists and their interests but in accordance with the interests of the great majority of humanity, and ultimately humanity as a whole. My point here is that the situation is very complex and that bringing forward and rallying people to their own fundamental interests, on the massive scale that is required, cannot and will not be done with any naive and simplistic approach but only by coming to terms with what is really going on in the world, in all its complexity, and the challenges this poses—and struggling to win people to the correct understanding of this, and to acting on that understanding, in the context of and on the basis of grasping the actual situation and its dynamics.

    Those who have been around since the 1960s will remember this, and those who weren't around then might find it interesting, and perhaps amusing: During the time of the Vietnam War, one of the justifications for the U.S. aggression against Vietnam was what was called "the domino theory"—if Vietnam falls, then that will set off a chain of falling dominos, not only in parts of Asia but with implications for the world as a whole. This was often expressed in terms such as: "If we don't stop them in Vietnam, pretty soon they'll be at our doorstep." Of course, underlying this was not only crude anti-communism (crude distortions of what communism is and what communists stand for and fight for) but, along with that, the basic assumption that people and countries all over the world constitute essentially nothing more than objects to be controlled, and exploited, by American (imperialist) interests and that it must not be tolerated for the U.S. to "lose" these countries to their own people. This came to be widely rejected, especially by the late 1960s, and one of the ways the "domino theory" in particular was ridiculed was by saying: "What are the Vietnamese going to do—take their boats (sampans, they were called) and sail over to California and attack us?"

    Well, that kind of joke doesn't really go right now. Today, these Islamic fundamentalists are, first of all, coming from a whole different place than the Vietnamese liberation forces, which were genuinely revolutionary (even if their leadership was never thoroughly communist). Despite their shortcomings, the Vietnamese revolutionaries had a theory and strategy of people's war which was aimed against the imperialists and their armed forces but was not aimed against the people of the U.S. In fact, the Vietnamese put a lot of emphasis on drawing the distinction between the government and the people of the U.S., and on winning political support among the people in the U.S.—they did a lot of work which was aimed at gaining that support, or at least developing opposition to the war among broad sections of U.S. society. But things are different now, in some significant ways. It is definitely true that the Bush regime in particular seeks to manipulate things so as to continually manufacture fear among the people in the U.S. and the sense that they are constantly in need of repressive government actions "to prevent further terrorist attacks on America and the American people." But that is only one aspect of things. It is a definite orientation and aim, among at least some of the Islamic fundamentalist forces, to strike not just at the U.S. armed forces but also the people in the U.S. This is a very different situation than what obtained during the period of the Vietnam war, and if we are going to really move people in the way that people need to be moved, in order to really act in their own interests in fundamental terms, we're going to have to take account of all this—of the situation in all its complexity. While many others may provide valuable insights into all this, and while it is definitely necessary and vitally important to unite as broadly as possible with others in opposing what the Bush regime (and the imperialist ruling class as a whole) is doing in the world, there is no substitute for our Party speaking to all this in a thoroughly scientific way, with our communist outlook and methodology.

    More on the Aims of the Bush Regime—and on the Consequences

    Returning to the objectives of the Bush regime, and to the actions they have undertaken in pursuit of those objectives (objectives which, once again, are shared by the ruling class as a whole, in fundamental terms), the fact is that, through their invasions of first Afghanistan and then Iraq, they have heightened the mess that they perceived in the first place. As they saw it, they were going to go in with military force, they were going to set up a regime on the basis of their military victory, and they were going to call it democracy—and their plans and objectives did envision combining certain outward forms of bourgeois democracy with a "free market economy." And then they were going to basically "run the table" with that—move on from Iraq to other parts of the Middle East, to impose the same "model" of society. Well, it hasn't turned out that way, and now they are confronting the ramifications and implications of that reality.

    During the course of the Iraq war, and increasingly as the U.S. has run into trouble and become "stuck" there, the example, or analogy, of Vietnam has been invoked. So let's look at a crucial aspect of how the U.S. eventually got out of Vietnam. To be honest and blunt, they got out of it partly by arrangements they made with China, after Nixon began moving to "normalize relations" with China. And Nixon got some heat for that, too, within U.S. ruling class circles, because a lot of them didn't understand what he was doing. But what Nixon did was basically to enter into a different set of relationships with China than what had existed previously. Not different in the most fundamental sense, because China and the U.S. at that time still represented two fundamentally different and ultimately antagonistic social systems, one socialist and one imperialist; but each government, proceeding from its sense of how to further the interests it represented, moved to conclude certain agreements involving areas of mutual interest, particularly with regard to the Soviet Union, which had itself become capitalist-imperialist (although then in a state-capitalist form and with the continuing camouflage of "socialism") and was, at one and the same time, the most militarily powerful imperialist rival to the U.S. and the main danger to China, threatening it with military attack, possibly even with nuclear weapons.

    As part of this agreement with China, Nixon was able to, metaphorically speaking, "stanch some of the geostrategic bleeding" that U.S. imperialism suffered as a result of having to admit defeat and pull out of Vietnam. And, as I have referred to, the Chinese had their own objectives, which had to do especially with working to stave off an attack by the Soviet Union. Again, the threat of such an attack was a very real thing. The Soviet Union, a nuclear superpower, had troops massed on the Chinese border and, it seems, was seriously considering an attack on China, including possibly with nuclear weapons. Now, from the standpoint of our Party, and our communist outlook and objectives, even understanding the very great necessity, the very real threat, the Chinese faced, we can still criticize and must criticize how they dealt with all that, in particular the way in which they allied with and covered up the reactionary and bloodthirsty nature of a number of regimes that were installed and/or kept in power by the U.S., and were key cogs in the imperialist alliance headed by the U.S.—regimes headed by such brutal tyrants as the Shah of Iran and Marcos in the Philippines.

    But, once more, in scientifically analyzing, and yes criticizing, these moves by the Chinese government at that time, we cannot do what so many are inclined to do so frequently—to ignore the necessity that different forces have and act like they can do whatever they want. We can't do that. And we should struggle with everybody else that they shouldn't approach things that way either. We should struggle with other people about how to understand the world, but first of all we have to understand it correctly ourselves.

    Israel and Its "Special Role" in Relation to U.S. Imperialism

    I have heard that some people don't like my statement: "After the Holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel." But this does capture something very important, and there is something very important to understand about the "special role" of Israel—not only in relation to U.S. imperialism in general, but also particularly in relation to the neo-con/Bush regime strategy.

    Why is this Bush regime the most unrelenting and unqualified in its backing of Israel? Now, a lot of people—even some well-intentioned but confused people, as well as some people whose intentions and objectives are not good—argue that the reason the U.S. government is generally so one-sided, and the Bush regime in particular is so absolutist, in its support of Israel, is because of the Israeli lobby, or because of Zionist influence, in the U.S. Now there might, superficially, seem to be some support for that theory by looking at the neo-cons. It is true that in a significant sense this is a phenomenon of Jewish intellectuals who were once sort of Cold War liberals and have become hard-core right-wing ideologues. That, however, is not the essence of the matter. I do not know how different individuals among the neo-cons actually view the interests of Israel vis-à-vis the larger interests of U.S. imperialism. Whatever the case is with individuals in that regard, the fact is that, as a general phenomenon, these neo-cons are ardent advocates of both Israel and of the particular strategy for U.S. imperial domination in the Middle East (and on a world scale) with which the neo-cons are identified. And more fundamentally, this position, which the neo-cons urge, of unqualified hard-core support for Israel fits into and serves the larger imperialist strategy for the Middle East and ultimately for the world—and that is why this neo-con position has such influence. If their position did not serve the larger interests of U.S. imperialism, or if it ran counter to how those now at the core of the ruling class perceive those interests, then whatever the motivations and inclinations of particular individual neo-cons, they wouldn't have the influence they do.

    To put it in basic terms, Israel is a colonial-settler state which was imposed on the region of the Middle East, at the cost of great suffering for the Palestinian people (and the people of the region more broadly). Israel could not have come into being without the backing of imperialism, and it acts not only in its own interests but as an armed garrison and instrument of enforcement for U.S. imperialism, which supplies the Israeli state with aid, and in particular military aid, to the tune of billions of dollars every year. But, along with this general nature and role of Israel and its relation to U.S. imperialism, if we take into account the strategic orientation that has guided the Bush regime—based on an assessment that for U.S. imperialism there is now not only a certain freedom but very urgent necessity to recast the whole nature of the regimes and of the societies across a wide arc centered in the Middle East—then you can see even more clearly how absolute support for Israel is crucial in all this. There can't be any wavering or even the appearance, or suggestion, of more "even-handedness" in dealing with Israel, on the one hand, and the Palestinians (and others in the region) on the other hand. You have to have your ducks in a row. You have to have your priorities very clear. You have to have a regime there, at the center of your policy for that region, which is completely reliable for U.S. imperialism.

    If you look at any other regimes in the region, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are big allies of the U.S. But in Saudi Arabia and in Egypt, the situation is very unstable and potentially very volatile: there are serious tremors beneath the throne, so to speak—there is the growing danger of "social earthquakes" that could threaten to topple, or actually topple, those regimes. You don't have that in Israel. Hopefully, as things develop overall, there will not be just a "loyal opposition peace movement" among Israelis but the development of a much more powerful progressive movement with a much more radical view in Israel—and this is something that progressive people in Israel, or with ties to people in Israel, should work to foster and develop. But right now a positive and truly radical movement of that kind does not exist in Israel, and the dynamics with regard to Israel are not now such that the more that the regime in Israel is hard-core, the more it is going to run into antagonism with the bulk of its population. In the short term, the dynamic is essentially the opposite, unfortunately.

    You can look at the recent Lebanon war—and in particular the massive Israeli assault on Lebanon—as an illustration of what the dynamic actually is now: the more massive and murderous the Israeli attacks were on Lebanon, the more that the people of Israel, in their great majority, rallied to the government of Israel. In part this was influenced by the fact that Hezbollah was launching missile attacks which caused some destruction and death in parts of Israel; but this was really on a very minor scale relative to the widespread death and devastation that Israel, with its arsenal of powerful and precision weapons, very deliberately and as a matter of policy, brought down on the civilian population of Lebanon, devastating whole sections of the country, killing many, many times the number who died in Israel, and forcing huge parts of the Lebanese population to flee out of the country. Where was any real outpouring of opposition to this among the Israeli population?

    The Danger of War Against Iran

    And, on a larger scale, as Seymour Hersh has pointed out, this Israeli assault on Lebanon was viewed by at least some powerful people in the core of the U.S. ruling class, including Dick Cheney, as a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran. It didn't go as well as they wanted, but that won't stop them from attacking Iran. They'll just try to sum up the lessons and—from their murderous point of view—aim to "do better."

    Once again, in all this, the regime in power now in the U.S. is acting not only out of perceived freedom, but also out of real and perceived necessity. And the more their actions, proceeding on this basis, have failed to achieve their objectives, the greater the necessity has become—for themselves as well as for others: different strata and sections of society all over the world have now had this necessity imposed on them and find it impinging on them. And where is it all heading?

    To return again to the situation in Iraq and the implications of this, whatever the U.S. does in regard to Iraq—whether, to use that now diminished phrase, it "stays the course" or tries to find some way out of the current occupation and tries to pursue its objectives in somewhat altered form—there is no easy way out of this for them. All this has already intensified the contradictions in the whole region—intensified them greatly in the whole region and even beyond that. And this will continue to be true and to assert itself and to further intensify, even though it won't necessarily, or likely, be a linear development, increasing in a straight upward line, but will more likely go through twists and turns and a kind of wave-like motion (with relative peaks and troughs), even as it continues to intensify overall.

    And what is the response of significant sections of the ruling class, including some prominent leaders of the Democratic Party as well as a number of neo-cons, grouped mainly in the Republican Party—what is their response to this situation, to this mess that's been created in Iraq for them and for others? Well, as many of them see it, all this is further evidence of the need not only to persevere in this course but to spread the whole approach, and to go after Iran in particular. That's why you see people like this right-wing talk show guy Glenn Beck doing what he's doing—saying that the whole thing in the Middle East, including the Iraq War, is really about Iran, that war with Iran can't and shouldn't be avoided, and on and on. The ground is being prepared for war with Iran. Public opinion is being created. And so now we have the reinterpretation of things. Now, the whole problem is Iran.

    Now, there is a section of the ruling class saying, no we've got to negotiate with Iran. They are arguing, in essence, that with regard to Iraq and the Middle East overall, it is necessary to do with Iran and Syria and others in that region what Nixon did with China in regard to Vietnam: find a way out of a war that has become a "quagmire" by negotiating with other forces in the region to bring about some kind of settlement that won't be a complete debacle and disaster, from the point of view of the imperialists. They're not posing it exactly that way, but that is, in effect, what one section of the ruling class is arguing for. But that's not going to be very easy to do, because there are a lot of other "wild cards" in the mix—including that there are other Islamic fundamentalists, Sunni fundamentalists, and so on, who are not beholden to Iran by any means and who in fact have acute contradictions with what's represented by Iran.

    At the same time, there's a whole push now, from other sections of the ruling class, and in particular many of the neo-cons—people like right-wing commentator and strategist William Kristol—who are basically calling "W" a wimp. "W" now stands for wimp, because he hasn't taken things to Iran already—what's he waiting for? And, along with people like Kristol, there are other neo-cons who have insisted: "Look, the problem here is that we don't play well on the defense—we're good at the offense. We can't fight this battle in the Middle East by keeping it limited to Iraq, because that pushes us on the defense. We have to go on the offense and take it to Iran and other places."

    And then there are Democratic Party politicians, like Barack Obama, who are joining in the chorus insisting that Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons and, as bad as war with Iran might be, it would be worse to let Iran develop nuclear weapons. This, among other things, is why we have started calling him "Barack Obamination" or "Barack Go-Bomb-a-Nation." And then there's Hillary Clinton, who is also insisting that "we cannot allow Iran to have nuclear weapons." And there was recently a cover story in the New York Times Sunday Magazine4 which purported to discuss the question of Islamic views on violence but, after it wound around through all sorts of seeming theoretical expositions on this question—seeming theological discourse on Islamic views of justified and unjustified violence—ended by expressing the conclusion that one could guess was coming all along: "we" cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon—this must be prevented, whether that can be done through negotiations or whether it will take war.

    Now, this is not to say that war with Iran is, at this point, inevitable. We should avoid tendencies to be simplistic in our understanding of all this—we should not repeat the erroneous tendencies that have existed in the communist movement, including in our Party at times, to fall into mechanistic and determinist thinking, as if the fact that there are dynamics and tendencies in a certain direction and toward certain developments means that those developments are bound to take place. We have made mistakes of that kind before, and it is very important not to repeat them.5 There are a lot of contradictions at play, and nothing is set in stone. But there is a certain logic and a certain driving dynamic that is pushing things toward this position of spreading the war and going after Iran.

    Now, once again we can't be simplistic in our own understanding and we shouldn't oversimplify things for people. There is a difference between boiling things down to their essence and oversimplifying them. It would cause problems for the U.S. imperialists if Iran were to get one or two nuclear weapons. It would not be the case that Iran would thereby be able to somehow bomb New York City or Chicago or whatever. But it would change some of the equation in the Middle East—or it could—in a way that would work against the interests of U.S. imperialism. As one key aspect of this, even though Israel itself has hundreds of nuclear weapons, if Iran produced just a couple of nuclear weapons itself, even though Iran would still be far from on a par with Israel in this regard, Iran might then be able to offset some of the ways in which Israel threatens the other states and peoples in the region, and this itself could mean a significant change in the "power equation" in the region, in a way that would be unacceptable not only to Israel but also to the imperialist power behind Israel, the U.S. Again, it is not that, with one or a few nuclear weapons, Iran would pose a threat to Israel (or the U.S.) which the latter could not counter—the balance of power, and the "balance of annihilation threat," so to speak, would still be greatly in favor of Israel (and the U.S.)—but this might give Iran more "leverage" and perhaps enable it to be more of a force in that crucial region. And that is unacceptable not only to Israel but, more decisively, to the U.S. imperialist ruling class as a whole.6

    This is another illustration of the reality that, from the point of view of these imperialists, there is real necessity impinging on them; and we should not present to people, or think in our own minds, that all this has some sort of easy resolution. Again, we should learn from our former methodological errors and not fall into simplistic and linear analyses; but we can say that all this is not going to get resolved in some kind of simple and easy way.

    More on the "Two Historically Outmodeds"

    This leads me to the question of World War 3. A number of pundits and "analysts"—including once again right-wing squawking heads like Glenn Beck—have continued to insist: "This is World War 3, we are already in World War 3." This specter of World War 3 involves, in a real sense, both considerable distortion of reality and actual reality. And this does get to the "two historically outmodeds" and how in fact they do reinforce each other even while opposing each other. As I have formulated this:

    "What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these 'outmodeds,' you end up strengthening both."

    While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these "historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the "historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system," and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

    Now, it's not that these other forces—the "historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity," and more specifically the Jihadist forces of Islamic fundamentalism—it is not as if they don't pose threats to the ordinary people in many countries, and it's not as if they don't do real harm to the interests of the masses of people throughout the world. Even such things as that New York Times Sunday Magazine article I referred to, and more generally the arguments of these ruling class representatives about Iran and nuclear weapons—it's not as if there is no aspect of reality that they are speaking to, even while they are grossly distorting much of reality. It is a fact that at least many of these Islamic fundamentalists have hit upon a certain strategy which is really reactionary and extremely wrong, and does involve completely unjustified actions against civilians—this is their answer to what are greatly unequal (or, as the imperialist say, "asymmetrical") power relations, particularly as this is concentrated in the military sphere: the overwhelming superiority of the imperialists, in conventional military terms, in relation to the nations and people they dominate, oppress, and exploit. And the idea that Iran or even North Korea could get a nuclear weapon and slip it to some other people—and that it wouldn't be traceable to the state that produced the weapon—this is not simply and entirely imperialist propaganda. It's not completely far-fetched.

    Recently Ted Koppel wrote a whole article about this, explicitly invoking the "Godfather"—the movie Godfather I. You see, some of these artistic works have a certain universality, although different classes view them differently. And, speaking from the standpoint of the U.S. imperialist ruling class, Koppel invoked the scene in Godfather I after Mafia Godfather Don Vito Corleone's oldest son, Sonny, has been killed, in the context of war between different Mafia families. Finally, after this has gone on for awhile, these Mafia families have a "sit-down," to try to negotiate an end to this warfare. And Don Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando) has real largeness of mind, in terms of the relations and interests among these Mafia families. He says:

    "For the sake of our larger interests and peace among us, I will forgive the death of my older son. But what I will not forgive is if anything happens to my son Michael. If a car accident should happen to him… "—he goes on to list a bunch of different things that are apparent accidents, and he says: "If any of those things happen to my son Michael, I'm going to blame some people in this room, and that I will not forgive."

    Invoking this scene, Ted Koppel says we should learn from this and apply it in our dealings with Iran—we should say to Iran:

    "Okay, go ahead and have your bomb, but if any such bomb ever goes off anywhere around our interests, you're on the hit list right away. We won't even argue about it, we won't even investigate, we won't even think about who did it—we'll just blame you and act accordingly. Now, if you want to get a bomb, go ahead."

    Koppel's argument here is not just large-scale gangster logic on behalf of U.S. imperialism—it is that, but it is not just that. It is not just a matter of imperialist manipulation and demagoguery. There is a reality that Koppel is speaking to—from the point of view of U.S. imperialism. We should understand the complexities in all this. I have pointed out before that, sooner or later if things keep going the way they are—and in particular if these "two historically outmodeds" continue to drive much of the dynamics of things and reinforce each other even while opposing each other—then things could get to the point where some of these Islamic fundamentalist forces will get some real weapons of mass destruction, maybe even nuclear ones, and then the shit's going to really fly on a whole other level. And, to refer back to the point I made earlier in discussing Vietnam and the "domino theory," these Islamic fundamentalists are not guided by the same kind of thinking and approach that the Vietnamese were, even with their shortcomings from a communist standpoint. These Islamic fundamentalists are not communists! They are not revolutionary or progressive forces. They do not look at the world the same way. They are reactionary, they are historically outmoded. They look at the world from that standpoint—from the standpoint of their reactionary philosophical, or theological, worldview—and what they do flows from this.

    In this, they are not unique. This is, in an essential sense, common to all religious fundamentalists, including those who have positions of significant power and influence within the ruling class of the U.S. at this time (and this is why I have referred to Jihad on the one hand and "McWorld/McCrusade" on the other hand). This same basic worldview can be seen in the comments of one of these colonels or generals in the U.S. military about Pat Tillman's family.7 This U.S. officer said: The reason the Tillman family is making such a big fuss about how Pat Tillman got killed is that they're atheists and they think he's just going to become worm food. He was saying that if the family were Christians and believed that Pat Tillman were going to "a better place," they wouldn't be so upset. Well, that's the mentality of religious fundamentalists.

    And that is the mentality, in the general ideological sense, that characterizes Islamic fundamentalists too. They look at the world very differently than people who approach it in a rational and scientific way. They "live in a different world"—a different world than the real one—in terms of how they perceive reality and the driving and defining forces of reality. All this is part of the complexity of things, and we are not going to get anywhere if we don't engage and grapple with this complexity in a very deep and all-sided way, utilizing the best of our materialism and dialectics, and keep on working at it.

    Now, having said that, it is important to return to the question of which of these "two historically outmodeds" has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity. Some people, including some who claim not only to be anti-imperialist but even to be "Marxist," have criticized or denounced this "two historically outmodeds" formulation as being pro-imperialist because, they claim, this statement fails to distinguish between imperialism and the countries and peoples oppressed by imperialism. Well, if you are supposedly a "Marxist," you might be able to look at the wording of this formulation and notice that it says: "historically outmoded strata among oppressed and colonized humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system." If you were even close to being a Marxist in reality, you would know that some distinction was in fact being made there, an important distinction, even while what is said about their both being historically outmoded and how they reinforce each other, even while opposing each other, is also real, and "operative." But it is important to be clear about which has done and continues to do the greater damage, which has posed and does pose the greater threat to humanity. Clearly, and by far, it is the "ruling strata of the imperialist system."

    It is interesting, I recently heard about a comment that someone made relating to this, which I do think is correct and getting at something important. In relation to these "two historically outmodeds," they made the point: "You could say that the Islamic fundamentalist forces in the world would be largely dormant if it weren't for what the U.S. and its allies have done and are doing in the world—but you cannot say the opposite." There is profound truth captured in that statement.

    As a matter of general principle, and specifically sitting in this imperialist country, we have a particular responsibility to oppose U.S. imperialism, our "own" ruling class, and what it is doing in the world. But, at the same time, that doesn't make these Islamic fundamentalist forces not historically outmoded and not reactionary. It doesn't change the character of their opposition to imperialism and what it leads to and the dynamic that it's part of—the fact that these two "historically outmodeds" do reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. And it is very important to understand, and to struggle for others to understand, that if you end up supporting either one of these two "historically outmodeds," you contribute to strengthening both. It is crucial to break out of that dynamic—to bring forward another way.

    Rejecting—and Breaking Out of—the Framework of the "War on Terror"

    For people living in the U.S., there is a particularity that needs to be continually gone back to, in relation to the "war on terror." I have made the point that this is not entirely fabrication on the part of the Bush regime (and the imperialist ruling class generally). There are real aspects to this—or, better said, there is a reality to which these imperialists are speaking, even while they fundamentally distort reality. But, in essential terms, this "war on terror" is an imperialist program which, among other things, is aimed at blotting out and turning the attention of people, even people who should know better, away from reckoning with the profound inequalities and oppressive relations that exist within different societies but especially on a world scale, under the domination of the imperialist system and in particular U.S. imperialism, which boasts of being "the world's only superpower" and is determined to maintain all this. If you accept the terms of "war on terror"—and especially if, as part of this, you do not look more deeply at the more fundamental relations in the world, the effects and consequences of that and the ways in which it is at the root of developments in the world now—you will get increasingly caught within the logic that what is most important is that "we" (meaning the people in the U.S.—and "I" above all!) "have to be protected." You get caught up thinking and arguing about what should be "the real war on terror." This has happened even to a lot of progressive people—including those who frame their opposition to the Iraq war in terms of considering it a "diversion from the war on terror"—they become trapped within the wrong logic. If you are carried along by this logic, you can end up in a very bad place.

    You cannot get to a correct understanding of things, and you cannot move toward the only possible resolution of all this that is in the interests of humanity, by proceeding from within the terms of the "war on terror." Even while "the war on terror" is not entirely a fabrication, even while there are important aspects of reality that it is reflecting—from the point of view of the imperialists—it is a fabrication in the form in which it is presented to people. That contradiction is important to understand: There are important aspects of reality that this formulation of "war on terror" (or "war against terrorism") is reflecting; but, as it is presented, it is a fabrication. Its essence is not "a war on terror." It is essentially a war for empire. And the confrontation with Islamic fundamentalist, and other, forces (even those which actually do employ tactics and methods which can legitimately be called "terrorist") takes place within, and is essentially framed by, that context and that content of war for empire.

    "Living in the House of Tony Soprano"

    Here I want to bring up a formulation that I love, because it captures so much that is essential. Soon after September 11 someone said, or wrote somewhere, that living in the U.S. is a little bit like living in the house of Tony Soprano. You know, or you have a sense, that all the goodies that you've gotten have something to do with what the master of the house is doing out there in the world. Yet you don't want to look too deeply or too far at what that might be, because it might upset everything—not only what you have, all your possessions, but all the assumptions on which you base your life.

    This is really capturing something very powerful, not only in a general sense but also more specifically in terms of what is pulling on a lot of people who should be in motion very vigorously and with real determination against the outrages that are being perpetrated in their name and by their government—by this ruling class, and by the core that's at the center of power now in the U.S.

    When this analogy, or metaphor, of "living in the house of Tony Soprano" was first brought forward (or when I first heard of it, at least), in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, it was very timely and relevant. But September 11th was a rude announcement that there's a price to be paid for living in Tony Soprano's house, for continuing to go along with these profoundly unequal relations in the world and the way that your government, and this system fundamentally, bludgeons people in the world into conditions of almost unspeakable suffering in order to keep this whole thing going and in order, yes, for some "goodies" to be handed out to sections of the population in the "house"—not only "goodies" in an economic sense but also in the form of a certain amount of stability, and a certain functioning of democracy (bourgeois democracy) within the U.S. itself. All that is being shaken up now. Now, you don't just get the goodies for "living in Tony Soprano's house"—you get the "strangers" out in the backyard at night. "They're out there somewhere." It's a different world. It isn't the same equation as it was, even a decade or so ago—it's not the same now "living in Tony Soprano's house."

    It is not that everything was all smooth and nice for everybody in this house—for many people in the U.S. that has been far from the case—and it is not that nobody was aware of things going on in the world, of what "Tony Soprano" was doing to people out there all over the world. In fact, one of the ironies is  that a lot of people have been somewhat aware of this, but when the terms get sharpened up, some people want to pull back from what they themselves know. And so we have to get into real and sometimes sharp struggle with people.

    This is a point I believe I made in one of those recent 7 Talks—and, in any case, it is a very important point to emphasize: There is a place where epistemology and morality meet.

    There is a place where you have to stand and say: It is not acceptable to refuse to look at something—or to refuse to believe something—because it makes you uncomfortable.

    And: It is not acceptable to believe something just because it makes you feel comfortable.

    Ultimately, especially in today's world, to do that is a form of complicity, and we should struggle with people about that.

    And it also won't work to apply that kind of approach. You'll just end up in a very bad place, reinforcing both of the "historically outmodeds" and being on the wrong side of what needs to happen in the world, if you follow that approach out to its logical conclusion.

    We need a different world than one where there are a few houses of Tony Soprano, surrounded by a seemingly endless sea of suffering and oppressed humanity, living in terrible squalor and under undisguised tyranny; where the power, wealth and privilege of the relative few depends on, and is grounded in, the exploitation and misery of the many (and where, even within "Tony Soprano's house" itself, there are many who are treated as little better than second-class members of the family, or as despised servants). This is a world that cannot, and should not, go on as it is.

    Even before people are won to the communist standpoint and program, to fully deal with this, there is a struggle to be waged and they can be won to the broad position that we need a different world. We can struggle about what that world should be, and how it should be brought into being; but this dynamic we're on is going to lead to a disaster for humanity, including all of those who are trying to hide from it, in one form or another, or are thinking that if they remain passive, somehow it will pass them by.

    An Unequaled Barbarity

    In a speech on September 11 this year (2006), the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush said—now listen to this: "Five years ago, 19 men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history." Think about that statement for a second and what they're trying to put over on people with that.

    Really, "a barbarity unequaled in our history"? How about little things like slavery? How about little things like genocide of the Native Americans? How about lynching? How about wars like the war against the Philippines at the end of the 19th century, and all the atrocities committed by U.S. forces against the people of the Philippines? Or Vietnam? Or Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    Note that Bush didn't say "on our territory." He said "unequaled in our history." That is not only a profound lie but a profound exposure of the monstrosity of the mentality of someone who could say something like that.

    Recently in our newspaper, Revolution, we had pictures and headlines from the time of the dropping of the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War 2. There's all this talk these days about how "we" can't let others have nuclear weapons. And you have to keep reminding people in this country—or informing people, probably the majority in this country, who don't know it—about which country is the only one that has ever actually used nuclear weapons. I hate to say it—I don't want to be Jay Leno on the Tonight show, out on the street with his microphone, asking people basic questions about things and getting wrong answers, showing how all the "rubes" are really as stupid as you might think they are. But the fact is that this is a systematically uneducated and mis-educated population. Something a professor at one university said to us is actually very important. He said about the youth that he teaches now: "You should understand that they don't know anywhere near what you think they know."

    The widespread ignorance that does exist, even among the relatively educated population in the U.S., is generally accompanied by an attitude that we're the "good guys" in the world, so what we do that brings suffering to other people doesn't count in the same way as if the same thing were done by others. Partly out of an attitude like that, and partly out of just plain ignorance, it is very likely that a majority of people in the U.S. do not know—or have been unable, or unwilling, to "process the information"—that the U.S. has actually used nuclear weapons, that it has dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations. Or somehow it's like the Bob Dylan lines I referred to in the Memoir (From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a Memoir by Bob Avakian): When the character in a Dylan song tries to get into a fallout shelter, he is refused and threatened by the owner of this bomb shelter, and then there is the following exchange between the two of them: "I said, 'You know, they refused Jesus too'; he said, 'you're not him.'" This is the same kind of logic that many people in this country use—and a logic that is systematically used by the rulers and apologists of this system—when just some of the "unequaled barbarity" they have committed comes to light: "That's us—that doesn't count… you're not us."

    In one of the recent 7 Talks (if I recall correctly, it was the one on religion8) I got into the question of logical syllogisms, and I want to return to this here.

    This is related to the question of "common sense." A lot of people talk about "common sense," and this is something that is frequently invoked by right-wing politicos, talk-show hosts, etc., especially when they want to appeal to a certain philistinism in the service of their reactionary objectives. They will often say, "let's just talk common sense here." Well, it is very important, in terms of epistemology—in terms of struggling with people over how to really understand what is going on in the world, and why—it is very important to grasp the fact that "common sense" means one (or both) of two things: It means either elementary logic and/or thinking proceeding from assumptions that are so deeply embedded in the prevailing culture that people don't question them, or even are unaware of them.

    You see this all the time. People proceed from certain assumptions, like "we're the good guys in the world." They don't even necessarily say "we're the good guys" every time; they just proceed from that assumption and then make arguments about what "the bad guys" (the ones who are opposed to "us" or who are "getting in our way") are doing in the world.

    Well, as I have pointed out, with any of these syllogisms, or any kind of logical reasoning, there is the question of whether you are in fact reasoning logically—which is a problem for a lot of these hard-core defenders of the system and apologists for its crimes, especially the religious fundamentalist ones—they do not proceed logically much of the time. But even if you are proceeding logically, there is the question of whether your assumptions are valid to begin with, whether they actually are true. And, in addition to critically examining the logic (or lack of it) that characterizes people's thinking, there is a real importance to bringing to light the unstated, unchallenged—and often even unrealized—assumptions that go into a lot of what many people say, and think.

    If you think back to the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, whenever anybody would bring up anything about what was wrong with invading Iraq, those who supported the invasion—and who, at the same time, were unwilling, or unable, to think at all critically about all this—came back with a constant refrain: "But we were attacked." This has the virtue of highlighting both bad logic and faulty assumptions. Bad logic: "We" (the U.S. and its citizens) were not attacked by Iraq, so how does the argument that "we were attacked" justify an invasion of Iraq? And faulty assumptions, which do not conform to reality: the assumptions that "we" have been completely innocent, doing no harm in the world, and then "we" were suddenly attacked out of nowhere, with no relation to anything "we" were doing in the world. Well, in reality, who are "we," what have "we" actually been doing in the world, and where did this attack come from—and why?  What set of social relations are "we" out in the world enforcing? What is our Tony Soprano doing out there?

    So there are epistemological points that have to be gone into as part of this—most fundamentally in terms of how we understand reality, but also how we struggle with people about all this. I mean, imagine making the statement Bush did: "Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history."

    And, in speaking to the American Legion on August 29 of this year (2006), referring to the U.S. airplane, the Enola Gay, that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and feeling the need to combat what he and others like him labeled the "blame America first" position, Donald Rumsfeld said:

    "Not so long ago, an exhibit, Enola Gay, at the Smithsonian Museum in the 1990s seemed to try to rewrite the history of World War 2 by portraying the United States as somewhat of an aggressor. Fortunately, [Rumsfeld continued] the American Legion was there to lead the effort to set the record straight." 

    What is Rumsfeld doing here but, once again, justifying the unleashing of atomic bombs on Japanese cities, killing and horribly maiming hundreds of thousands of civilians? As pointed out in our newspaper, there has never yet been a prominent spokesman of U.S. imperialism who has said it was wrong to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Think about that: 60 years later, not a one. And you won't find any among the politicians who are now running, or considering running, for prominent office. You won't find any prominent representative of the government who will say this was wrong. They may not jump up and down and celebrate this nuclear slaughter the way they did at the time—and yes they did. But unleashing these atomic bombs on innocent civilians was well worth it, they continue to insist—it saved lives.

    Here is another example of faulty, and often unstated, assumption, combined with bad logic. First of all, "saving lives" was not the essential reason these atomic bombs were used to devastate two Japanese cities. This was done to make a statement on the world stage, particularly to the Soviet Union, to the Chinese revolutionaries and to others, about who is the big dog running the world now—"it's us, the U.S. imperialists"—and what price will have to be paid for going up against that. But even if those bombs had been used "to save lives," the question is: whose lives? There's a big assumption "smuggled in" there. It's American lives that are being talked about. Sometimes they do try to make convoluted arguments about how they actually saved Japanese lives by using these atomic bombs. But this is like the argument of an American military officer, commenting on a Vietnamese village that was leveled by U.S. bombing—"we saved the village by destroying it." This is what was done, on a much more massive and horrific level, with the use of atomic bombs on Japanese cities. But mainly, let's face it, it's American lives these people are talking about.

    They will say: "Our soldiers would have had to invade Japan otherwise, it would have been a massive invasion, the Japanese would have resisted, we might have lost a million soldiers." These are distorted and exaggerated claims to begin with. But something essential is smuggled into this. Often they don't spell this all out, they don't state explicitly the basic "equation"—which is: "American lives are more important than other people's lives; it would have saved American lives; therefore it is justified." Whether or not this is spelled out, that is the reasoning. That's the "common sense" reasoning going on with this kind of syllogism. We have to "pull out" the often unstated assumptions in all this, and make people confront what's actually being said.

    American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives

    One of the positive things on the political terrain these days—and we have to struggle for this to be brought forward a lot more fully—is a fairly widespread sentiment and consciousness, within the U.S. itself, that American lives are not worth more than other people's lives. This view is even more widespread than during the Vietnam War, I believe, although it did find expression then as a pretty mass phenomenon. Those who haven't been around as long perhaps aren't fully aware of this, but it's a relatively new thing for there to be a mass phenomenon where people in the U.S. itself are arguing that American lives are not worth more than other people's lives. This is a very important and relatively new positive thing on the political terrain. In the history of this country, there has always been the assumption—this has been promoted by the ruling class, but it's held much broader sway—that American lives are, of course, more important and worth more than other people's lives. The difference is that now there is actually a significant section of society who, when it's presented that way, will vehemently disagree. That's an important thing. And we have to win many more people to this viewpoint that American lives are not more important.

    All this—and the whole experience that is captured with the metaphor of living in the house of Tony Soprano—does come back around to the question of complicity. Now, in this connection I want to say a few things about the mobilization on October 5 (2006) that was called by World Can't Wait, and the fact that, frankly, in terms of numbers and accordingly in terms of impact, this fell far short of what was needed. Now, as Maoists, we're not supposed to blame the masses when things don't go well. But goddamnit—I want to blame the masses a little bit! Not strategically. Ultimately it is our responsibility—it is the responsibility of those who do understand the urgent need for massive opposition and political resistance to this whole course that the Bush regime is driving things on. But in line with, and as a part of, that responsibility, terms have to be presented sharply to people.

    Someone made the point that we should say to those people who knew about October 5, and who said they agreed with its basic stance and aims but did not come out that day: "Shame on you if you sat on your ass on October 5! If you knew about it or had a basis to know about it and you did not make use of this vehicle and help make this vehicle as powerful as possible—shame on you!" Now, if that's all we say, it won’t get very far—and it wouldn't be fundamentally correct. But there is an element where this has to be joined with people. It is a truth, which people do have to be confronted with, that if in the name of avoiding upheaval and chaos, and in the name of trying to stay safe—even in the sense of staying within a political process and political confines that you are more familiar and comfortable with, yet this process leads to terrible things, one after another—if on that basis you don't join in the kind of massive outpouring of resistance that is called for, and if you don't contribute to that—then yes, you are complicit. The ad that World Can't Wait put in the New York Times on October 4 was very right in its basic stance, as expressed in the headline of that ad: "Silence + Torture = Complicity." People have to be confronted with this.

    Epistemology and Morality… Crimes and Complicity

    This has to do with the point about "where epistemology meets morality." I thought the quote from Josh Wolf that was in an article in our paper recently was very much to the point. He is a video journalist who wouldn't turn over to the police and a grand jury his videotapes of an anti-globalization demonstration in the Bay Area. And they are going after him because he won't be complicit with them in this way. He said, very strongly: "People out there, quit hitting the snooze button. Wake up and hope it's not too late." And then he said very explicitly: "Quit saying you can't make a difference. That's just another form of cowardice." It is definitely another form of complicity. And as part of wrangling with people and doing what needs to be done to bring forward meaningful political action on a mass scale, this issue of complicity has to be joined with people.

    It does seem that one of the big problems with World Can't Wait, and specifically in terms of its October 5th mobilization, is that far too many people still didn't know about it. But then there are others who could have helped more people know about it, and more than a few of them didn't do what they should have and could have done. Now, we shouldn't shriek at people, we shouldn't actually get strident and shrill, but we also shouldn't be liberal and avoid struggle with people, even sharp struggle where necessary, so long as it is on a lofty and principled basis. We and others who are involved in World Can't Wait are not doing this because this is "our thing." We are doing this because of what's going on in the world and the stakes that are intensifying all the time.

    Of course, there have been important positive things brought forward by World Can't Wait and in connection with its efforts—and it is important to build on the positive things. But there needs to be a challenge carried out, and we shouldn't shy away from it or shrink from it. We should join this struggle—in a good way. If you just go out and try to jack people up with no substance, that's no good.  But we have to get into the substance of this with people. These two "historically outmodeds" are reinforcing each other; this dynamic is very bad and will lead to far worse disaster—if we don't lead people to break out of this. World Can't Wait was, and is, a vehicle for people to do that. What mainly needs to be done, on a whole larger scale still, is to show people, in a living way, why what is represented, and called for, by World Can't Wait is necessary, and how it can make a crucial difference. But we also have to join the issue of complicity with them. There was that slogan back in the '60s, which was not fully scientific, but it was more good than bad and more correct than incorrect: "You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem." That kind of orientation was not wrong. If you drew the lines irrevocably and you didn't try to win people over when they were on the wrong side (or were trying to sit on the sidelines), well then, yes, that would be wrong. And if you didn't make any kind of materialist analysis of what are the actual driving forces underlying things, and what are actually the ruling and decision-making forces in society—then, yes, that would be wrong. But it is not wrong, and in fact it is very necessary, to pose the challenge to people: Look, there's a great earthquake here, and neither side of the way the earth is separating is going to lead to anything but disaster; we've got to forge another way, you've got to be part of that—and you've got to get out of your "comfort zone" to do it.

    Current Conflicts and Analogies to World War 2

    To step back a bit, what is going on in the world as a whole is more complex than Jihad vs. McWorld/McCrusade. There is China, there is India—there is a whole large area of Asia, and other parts of the world, which don't figure neatly into this. And we shouldn't go around trying to cram reality into neat little boxes. It's more complex than that. The world and what is driving things in the world cannot be fully described by this contradiction of Jihad vs. McWorld/McCrusade. But this is a big part of the dynamics driving things right now, even if not the only factor. And we can certainly say that there is no part of the world that is, or will be, unaffected by this conflict–-and most fundamentally and essentially by the actual dynamics and motive forces underlying this conflict and in particular the actual aims, necessities, and actions of the U.S. imperialists. This conflict, understood in this way, will increasingly exert a major influence on events in the world, even while they will not all be reducible to it and we should not try to reduce them all to it.

    With this in mind, I want to talk about the analogies to World War 2, and the whole frame of reference of that war, which is frequently invoked in support of the "war on terror" today. Again there are both things that are real and things that are instrumentalist, and outright deceitful, in this analogy to World War 2 and that frame of reference. If you look at recent speeches by representatives of the Bush regime, for example (some of which I've cited earlier in this talk), or if you read the book Fiasco, you will see that for people like Wolfowitz and many others, even though they were very young at the time of World War 2, this is an operative frame of reference for them. Of course, this is seen through a certain lens and through the prism of the interests of U.S. imperialism in the current world situation. And it is both demagoguery and their actual way of thinking when they continually cite these analogies to World War 2, to Hitler, to appeasement of Hitler, and so on and so forth. People like Wolfowitz and others actually do see much of reality through this prism. But, at the same time, they fundamentally distort this reality: They have a fundamentally distorted view of, and perpetuate and propagate a distorted view of, the nature and course of World War 2 itself and of things bound up with it.

    The Real Nature of World War 2—and the Role of Different Forces in that War

    If you go back and read Revolution magazine9 from the late '70s and early '80s, you'll see that our Party went through a process of reexamining our understanding of World War 2 and forging a more correct understanding of the character and course of that war. At the time of the founding of the Party in 1975 (and in the Revolutionary Union, which was the forerunner of the RCP), we had basically gone along with the "received wisdom" of the international communist movement, which said that, particularly after the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany in 1941 and entered the war, World War 2 was a different kind of war, and different in particular from the previous world war. Even though we always recognized that a lot of the things that U.S. imperialism was doing in World War 2 were in pursuit of its imperialist interests, we accepted the "received wisdom" which treated that war as principally an "anti-fascist war" with the Soviet Union aligned with other governments that were opposed to the axis of Germany and Japan (and, for a while, Italy). But then, at the end of the 1970s and into the early '80s, we carried out a lot of study and a lot of struggle which led us to a different, more correct analysis of this. We came to the understanding that this war was, from the beginning and in its main and essential aspect, a war fought among imperialists for imperialist aims, even while, much more so than during World War 1, there were just and revolutionary aspects to World War 2, including the Chinese people's war against Japanese occupation and the wars of liberation waged by other peoples in Southeast Asia against Japan, for example. And the role of the Soviet Union, which was then a socialist country, was different than the role of the imperialist states and bourgeois forces with which the Soviet Union was aligned (including the U.S. as well as Britain), even though it was not nearly as different as it should have been. That's a whole discussion I don't want to back into here. The decisive point here is that World War 2 was essentially not a "great anti-fascist war," even though a lot of people in the world were motivated by opposition to fascism and the ravages carried out by the "fascist Axis," and even though there were liberatory aspects of great significance in that war. So it was a more complex war than World War 1, which was basically and almost entirely inter-imperialist. But World War 2 was also, essentially and in its main and defining aspect, a war among imperialists to determine which would be the dominant power(s) controlling the largest part of the world, including in the vast areas of (what is now generally referred to as) the Third World.

    It remains very important to have a correct understanding of this war, because it still casts its shadow in significant ways, both materially and ideologically—both the outcome of that war and also the way in which a certain interpretation of that war is used to shape the thinking of people, including the way in which many people are still influenced by this more or less unconsciously. Even people who were not around at the time, and people who know little if anything about the actual causes and the actual course of World War 2, are still influenced by the "long shadow" cast by that war—by the outcome of the war, what it gave rise to, and what has gone on as a result of that, over the whole period up to the present (though this has been a complex and contradictory process, and has not developed in some linear, uniform, and straight-line way). So it was very important for us to come to the understanding that World War 2 was principally a war fought among imperialists for redivision of the world, as World War 1 had been in a much fuller way, even while in World War 2, on the part of the Soviet Union, on the part of the Chinese war of resistance and other wars of resistance and liberation against occupation by Japan and other "fascist axis" countries, there was definitely a positive and progressive aspect, a liberatory aspect, that should have been supported.

    Once you understand the actual nature of that war, then you understand more about the actual history of U.S. imperialism. If you go back and read America in Decline,10 some of the history recounted and analyzed there, including with regard to World War 2, is very important and highly relevant today. And you see that what the U.S. was fighting for—what the ruling class in the U.S. was quite consciously fighting for—was pursuit of its own imperialist interests. That is why they dropped the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities at the end of that war, but it's also why they fought the war as a whole the way they did—and didn't fight it the way they didn't—that is, why, for several years, they largely held back from getting involved in the major theaters of the war in Europe in particular, and let the Soviet Union do the bulk of the fighting on that front and take the overwhelming brunt of the destruction and casualties.

    Stalin, Hitler, and Churchill—Communism, Fascism and Imperialism—and World War 2

    And that gets to another very important point: the character of how World War 2 is presented to people in the "West," in the so-called "Free World," is just a fundamental and grotesque distortion. For example, there is this movie out now, Flag of Our Fathers, about Iwo Jima. Now, in that movie, you can see how a lot of people got chewed up in that one battle (for the island of Iwo Jima). A lot more American lives were lost in World War 2 than in wars since then. But that was in the hundreds of thousands. In the Soviet Union, 20 million people's lives were lost in the course of that war—20 million. And that is a reflection of something very basic. Never mind about Iwo Jima, or Operation Overlord and the Normandy Landing, and all that stuff—that is not what defeated the Nazis, that is not what broke the back of the German army. It was the Soviet Union and the tremendous sacrifice of its people that was the main factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany. But I would like to have an essay contest to see how many college graduates in the U.S. would get this history right—a very small percentage, I would bet.

    Even if you take someone like Keith Olbermann, who is coming forward on MSNBC as a sort of liberal opponent of what Bush is doing, his frame of reference is seriously flawed. For example, he attacked this speech by Rumsfeld where Rumsfeld basically said that people who were opposing the Iraq War were appeasers—that's just one small step short of calling them traitors (and they do have the shrieking voices out there, explicitly talking treason, calling people traitors—check out Ann Coulter and David Horowitz, for example). But it was very interesting that in Olbermann's response to this, a lot of it was in the terms of who is the real Winston Churchill here—who is the real statesman that we should all respect? Well, what about Winston Churchill—what did he actually represent, what was he really all about? If, for example, you read the book All the Shah's Men,11 about the U.S.-led coup in Iran in 1953, you can see what Churchill was saying and doing in regard to that part of the world, coming out of World War 2—how he was defending and championing, in blunt and grotesque terms, the interests of British imperialism. Or go back and study the actual history of Churchill even before that: He was never anything but a crude grasping imperialist who is responsible for great crimes against people colonized and oppressed by British imperialism. But he is a hero, an icon, "in the West," in the "Free World," not only because of his role in leading Britain in World War 2; and not only because of his general stand as a champion and leader of imperialism; but also, more particularly, because of his hatred for revolutions against imperialism, and especially his hatred for communism, and the way he "stood up to Stalin," denouncing the "Iron Curtain" after World War 2, and so on.

    Now I don't have time here to offer any kind of overall and all-sided analysis and evaluation of Stalin and his role in different periods. But I do want to point out that almost universally those who denounce Stalin and dismiss him as a terrible tyrant—who make him the very representation of tyrannical, totalitarian rule—know very little about Stalin and have done very little study of what Stalin actually thought and said, what he actually did and why, and in particular what necessity Stalin was responding to in various circumstances. For these people—from outright reactionaries to many self-described "progressive" people—Stalin has essentially been reduced to a swear word. As far as I know, there are 13 published volumes of Stalin's works. I don't know how many of these people who are always denouncing Stalin have read any of this. At one point, I read all 13 of these volumes, and I have a lot of criticisms of Stalin, including some very serious criticisms, based on seriously studying not only what Stalin himself said and wrote but also many different analyses of "the Stalin period." I'm not saying you have to read all this—or anything like all of it—before you could have any opinions or any right to speak about Stalin; but Stalin is a major historical figure, the period of Stalin's leadership in the Soviet Union (and in the international communist movement) involves major historical events and turning points, and you should at least make a serious attempt to be informed, in a basic way, about something like that before you become part of the chorus denouncing (or praising) it. The reality is, however, that overwhelmingly and with few exceptions, the people who denounce Stalin, often and generally in visceral terms, really know very little, if anything, about Stalin, what he was actually dealing with, and what he did, and why, in those circumstances.

    This brings me back to the question of World War 2 and the role that was actually played by different forces in World War 2, including the Soviet Union under Stalin's leadership. Now, it is a fact that, during that war, Churchill even acknowledged that, after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, roughly three-quarters of the German army was occupied fighting the Soviets, fighting on the Eastern Front. And it is a fact that it was the Battle of Stalingrad that broke the back of the German war machine and turned around the whole course of the war, as Mao pointed out at the time. But you can't find—I don't know what this figure would be, maybe something like one in 10,000 Americans, who even knows that (whatever the figure is, it's astronomical).

    So the whole character of World War 2 is distorted even from that standpoint. What was represented by and what was the role played by different forces, and who actually did what—even on the basic level of who actually did what in fighting the war—all this is grossly distorted. You would never know from this litany you always get, lumping Stalin with Hitler—"Hitler and Stalin… Hitler and Stalin… Hitler and Stalin" (and often Mao gets thrown in these days, and sometimes Lenin too)—you would never know that Hitler and Stalin, and the countries they headed, were on opposite sides of this gigantic cataclysmic encounter called World War 2.

    I remember a comrade telling me a number of years ago that she had an argument with one of her reactionary relatives during the Vietnam War—almost everybody who was around during the Vietnam War had those arguments with some of their relatives—and her relative, who was actually from "the World War 2 generation," was insisting: "We've got to fight the communists—we had to fight them in World War 2, and we have to fight them now." And the comrade answered: "No, no—we were on the same side as the Soviet Union in World War 2!" But her relative insisted again: "No, we weren't!" This is the kind of thinking, and the rewriting of history, that goes on, that is widely fostered and promoted.

    And this makes it easier to bring in these grotesquely erroneous theories of people like Hannah Arendt about totalitarianism. As a matter of fact, Arendt's theory of "totalitarianism" never measured up to the real world—it was not an accurate and scientific analysis even as applied to the Nazis and other fascists—it was not an accurate description of what the actual dynamics and what the actual forces at play were. And this is all the more true when it comes to the communists. It is striking in reading Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism (which I did in connection with writing the book Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?12) that with Arendt there is a lack of any real understanding—and in fact there is a gross distortion—of basic questions, including why it was that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany ended up on opposite sides in World War 2 and engaged in a several year, all-out confrontation in which the fate of millions of lives and the continued existence, or extinction, of the respective governments was determined. Did all this come about and unfold simply as a result of a fit of "pique" on the part of Stalin or something—or some personality conflicts, or "the clash of totalitarian urges and wills"?

    Arendt's analysis is just totally non-materialist and completely off the mark in terms of the real nature and real causes of things, including momentous events in human history. But people are broadly influenced by these ill-founded and erroneous analyses like Arendt's. The fact that Nazism and fascism, on the one hand, and communism on the other hand, are radically and fundamentally different; and the fact that in World War 2 communists and fascists were on opposite sides, bitterly fighting against each other—all this is nowhere in the "popular consciousness." And if you asked people to summarize what are the aims and objectives and outlooks of the fascists, on the one hand, and the communists, on the other, overwhelmingly they couldn't do it. Very, very few people could do it with any accuracy.

    And when we hear these analogies invoked about "appeasement" (referring to British policy toward Hitler before the outbreak of World War 2 and comparing it to events today), one of the main things that is generally left out is that the whole point—or certainly one of the main points—of this "appeasement" was to push Hitler and Nazi Germany to the East, to attack the Soviet Union. It wasn't like: "Oh, Hitler's a good guy and we can get him to act reasonably and cease being a threat to us." Glenn Beck is always fond of referring to a senator (from Idaho I believe) who at the time of World War 2 was probably one of those pro-Nazi American politicians. This senator supposedly said something like: "If I could just talk to Hitler, I know we could somehow work this all out." In his role of utilizing right-wing comic book terms and scenarios to whip up support not only for the war in Iraq but the extension of war to Iran, Beck likes to use statements like this to ridicule the idea that "we" can deal reasonably with what he presents as the modern-day equivalents of Hitler—meaning anyone now getting in the way of U.S. objectives of unchallenged domination not just in the Middle East but throughout the world. But, once again, the real deal is that this "appeasement" before World War 2 was largely aimed at pushing Germany to the East.

    In his book Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, Arno Mayer makes an analysis, in a serious and basically materialist way, of the real difference between how Hitler viewed and acted toward the East—and in particular the Soviet Union—as opposed to how Hitler dealt with the West. This book by Mayer also sheds important light on the overall actions and motivations of the Nazis in particular, including the mass genocide of Jewish people and how that fit into the larger context of Hitler's views, aims, and objectives. It is for very good reasons that we are constantly bringing forward these days the statement by Pastor Martin Niemöller about his experiences in failing to join with others in resisting the Nazis in Germany—until it became too late to effectively resist. How many people, even among those who are aware of this statement by Niemöller, are familiar with, and understand the meaning of, the first sentence in that statement?  Put this on a test: fill in the blank—Pastor Niemöller said, "First they came for the____." How many people could fill it in correctly? How many people would know that it says: "First they came for the communists"? How many people know that Hitler and the Nazis had to break the back of the very large and influential Communist Party of Germany at that time in order to implement the Nazi program? (It is true that the German Communist Party was riddled with many erroneous tendencies—tendencies which ultimately and objectively amounted to a reformist, rather than a revolutionary, stance and program—but that does not change the basic fact that crushing the German Communist Party was essential for Hitler and the Nazis in order to carry out their objectives, in Germany itself as well as on an international scale.) How many people know that? I'm not talking about people who have been prevented from knowing much about the world at all—I'm talking about people who are literate, educated, and think they know a lot about the world, but have been systematically miseducated and misled, and to some degree have fallen into believing these things because, once again, it is (or it seems to be) comfortable to believe them—it conforms to certain prejudices, predilections and predetermined ideas that have to do with the way people's lives are organized under this system, especially living in the "number one imperialist power in the world" ("the world's only superpower").

    To the Bourgeoisie, Fascism—and Slavery—Are "A Matter of Taste"

    How often do you hear it discussed that, for several years in the mid-1930s, the Soviet Union was attempting to build united fronts with Britain and France around things like what Germany was doing in Czechoslovakia, and that the Soviets were repeatedly rebuffed, essentially (even while there were some half-assed agreements to oppose Nazi aggression, they were basically not acted on by the imperialists who entered into these agreements)? Now, from our standpoint, and with our historical analysis of World War 2, and what led up to it, we have some serious criticisms of the policy of the Soviet Union in seeking these alliances with imperialist states. But the important point here—in analyzing questions like what "appeasement" was really all about, and what necessity the Soviet Union was facing in the build-up to World War 2—is that, in their attempts to build a united front against Nazi Germany and its initial military moves, the Soviets were essentially, and repeatedly, rebuffed by the imperialists. And it was in response to that, that the Soviets then turned around and signed an agreement with Nazi Germany (the "Hitler-Stalin Pact"), in order to gain some time, and yes some territory, to prepare for the very real possibility—which became a reality within two years—of a massive attack by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union.

    To go just a little bit afield here (I believe I have recounted this story before but it bears repeating here), Molotov, who was one of the top officials in the Soviet party and government at the time, was actually the one who signed the agreement with Nazi Germany in 1939—with Ribbentrop signing for Germany, if I remember correctly. When Molotov was asked at the time, "How can you sign an agreement with Nazi Germany?" Molotov replied, somewhat flippantly: "Well, we have agreements with all kinds of bourgeois states." And this brought the reply: "Yes, but these are fascists." To which Molotov is reported to have answered: "To the bourgeoisie, fascism is a matter of taste."

    Now, again, that was too flippant and facile an answer, but I do have to say that there is some essential truth to this. When you look at the history of the U.S. bourgeoisie, for example, things like slavery are "a matter of taste." It was nearly a hundred years after the War of Independence from England before slavery was ended. During that whole period, slavery was an integral part of the U.S. economy and social system, and slave owners were an integral and powerful part of the governing system in the country as a whole. Slave owners, and defenders and champions of the interests of slave owners, such as Thomas Jefferson, are still upheld and celebrated as founders of the country and architects of liberty, serving as models for all mankind. So it reflects an important aspect of reality to say that slavery, like fascism, is—for the bourgeoisie—a "matter of taste."

    To return to the dynamics at the time of World War 2 (and in the period immediately preceding and leading into that war), this was a situation where the Soviet Union was faced with the growing danger of attack by Nazi Germany and was repeatedly rebuffed in its efforts to build meaningful and effective united fronts to put a stop to what Germany was doing in that period. Again, we can have and do have substantive and important criticisms of all that. But first of all, it is necessary to assess this, and to make criticism that should be made, on the basis of understanding the actual dynamics and the actual necessity faced by the Soviet Union and its leadership. And, second of all, the criticism that we do need to make should be done from the point of view of trying to determine what should have been done in the face of those dynamics and that necessity. As communists, we have to evaluate all this, and sum up what was done, and what should have been done, from the point of view of how to advance through all the difficulty and complexity that will have to be confronted in moving to abolish and surpass the era of the bourgeoisie and imperialism and advance to the radically new era of communism. But all this talk about "appeasement," as it is commonly put forward, is just more distortion and "mis-direction"—just as the imperialists, and their media and mouthpieces, cover up which country it was that actually did the main fighting against Nazi Germany in World War 2, while the U.S. basically sat back for several years—yes, they sent some "lend-lease" equipment to the Soviet Union, but essentially they sat back and let the Soviet Union and its people do the bulk of the fighting and dying, even as the Soviet Union kept saying to them: "Open a second front in Europe, will you please!" But the U.S. imperialists' response was, in essence: "Nope, not in our interests. Keep it up boys! You're doing a good job fighting and dying there."

    This history is hidden from people, so when World War 2 analogies are invoked and in particular when "appeasement" is invoked, it's all through a distorted prism and with a tremendous amount of misinformation, and dis-information, being deliberately purveyed, on top of the widespread state of ignorance that is fostered in the U.S., particularly about world affairs and world history. This relates to Lenin's statement that it takes ten pages of truth to answer one sentence of opportunism.

    Now, there are real problems with post-modernism and deconstructionism, and related philosophical relativism, as we know—very serious problems. But you do have to, in a sense, deconstruct some of this stuff, this distortion of history, and we have to do this in a systematically and consistently scientific way, from the standpoint and with the method of dialectical materialism, in order to get the underlying assumptions that are built into and largely hidden in this. I know this has been the experience with the Setting the Record Straight project13 (and other efforts of ours): Every time you venture out in the world to talk and struggle with people about the way the world is, why and how it got to be that way, and, by contrast, the way it could be and the way it needs to be—you run into a whole set of assumptions, spoken or unspoken, conscious or unconscious, that you have to get to before you can enable people to begin seeing the world the way it actually is, and could be.

    So, in order to speak to people about all this, in a way that leads to a real understanding of things, and is convincing and compelling, we have to get into some of the underlying assumptions and sort out what is true from what is not true, in regard to major historical events as well as present-day reality. Not that every time we sit down for a cup of coffee with someone, we have to get into the whole history of World War 2. [laughs] But in the course of the work we do, we have to struggle with people over an understanding of important parts of reality and history that are still casting long shadows and are still being invoked in a distorted way (even while it's true that the imperialists, and those who follow in their wake and adopt their outlook, actually do, to a significant degree, perceive reality the way they're portraying it, at the same time as they employ a lot of instrumentalism and demagoguery in their distortion of reality).

    "Spreading Democracy" and the "War on Terror"—Distortions of History, Distortions of Reality

    All this distortion serves the purpose now of putting the current "war on terror" in the context of—or portraying it as a part of—a continuum of "the great battles of the 20th century against totalitarianism." It is very important to the U.S. imperialists to do this, as part of continuing to propagate their cardboard and comic book version of history where "We've always been the good guys fighting the great battle for democracy—we've had to take on various totalitarianisms, and now we have a new one to deal with." Now, the rather obvious instrumentalism and demagoguery comes in, for example, when they portrayed someone like Saddam Hussein as a Hitler: "Okay, Saddam Hussein doesn't really fit neatly into this framework—but never mind, he can be Hitler for a day. And then we can go on to something and someone else." So, now it's the turn of Islamic fundamentalist Jihadists to be the equivalent of Hitler—to be labeled "Islamic extremists" or "Islamo-fascists." Once again, we see that there is both hypocrisy and self-deception. It's both reality and instrumentalism. It's both somewhat what they believe and in any case what they want other people to believe.

    This also applies to the whole thing of "spreading democracy": There is both reality and instrumentalism, there is both hypocrisy and self-deception. And it is important to understand what they mean when they talk about democracy and "spreading democracy." Again, one of my main themes here is that we have to really be thoroughly scientific and actually enable people to understand the world in its essence. And here the point I have made before about simplicity and complexity—about how there is both the basic essence of things and the complexity bound up with them—has important application. We have to enable people to get the basic, and in a sense simple, terms of something—the essence of it, in other words—but also to increasingly grapple with and grasp the complexity.  And this applies to the talk, by Bush and his regime, about democracy and "spreading democracy." One of the main reasons I am emphasizing the need to not only get to the basic essence but also to really go into the complexity of things, is that it won't do to repeat mantras, like: "You have to understand—democracy is nothing but bourgeois democracy, which means it's actually a bourgeois dictatorship carried out over the masses of people by a handful of ruling class exploiters and oppressors."  All true, but not very compelling to those who are not already convinced of it. We have to be able to actually make this come alive and be compelling for people. But there is not only that general truth, there are also particularities of how this is being shaped and thrust out into the world today.

    Bourgeois Democracy… and Fascism

    It is often the case that other people, who are coming from other points of view, can have insights that we should learn from and recast with a dialectical materialist, a thoroughly scientific understanding. For example, I was reading some observations by one of our comrades, drawing from some insights in statements by Arundhati Roy. What I want to focus on here is the observation: "There's a crisis of democracy—it looks like Iraq, and in the 'democratic countries' it's being '1984-ed.' " There is something important there which captures important aspects of what is going on with the Bush regime's crusade to "spread democracy," while at the same time they are moving to change U.S. society in a fascist direction and for generations to come (to borrow from the Call of World Can't Wait).

    What does this "spreading of democracy" mean? What are they actually doing? When Bush and others say things like "People in Iraq (or Afghanistan) came out and voted and there were elections, this is a great step forward"—is this all just tricks and lies? No, these are trappings of bourgeois democracy that they are talking about, but this is part of the kind of society they want to construct in Iraq, and in that region more generally.

    Now, what's the other part? Well, let's go back to "Elementary Logic 101": If you have an election under the military occupation of a foreign power it is not a free election, okay? Whatever that term "free election" means, whatever meaning there is to that, that's not it.

    But this occupation is also part of the democracy they mean to impose. It comes with, and through, bludgeoning—things will be hammered into place according to certain definite aims and interests of U.S. imperialism. And things will be structured and ordered in that way.  And then, according to their vision and plans, you will have the development of "free markets," the growth of a middle class, more stability, a Western-oriented society—like Lebanon.

    Recently, Israel—and the U.S. through the vehicle of Israel—went and did what they did in Lebanon, massively pounding and devastating the country and its people; but Lebanon has been a model of what they are trying to do in the region. I remember seeing Anderson Cooper on CNN, when things were going on in Lebanon, with the Israeli assault and the massive outrage among the people in Lebanon over this—with many, even secular forces, rallying around Hezbollah—and there was Anderson Cooper pulling out his hair: "What happened?! We were doing so well in Lebanon, you know? Jesus Christ, what's going wrong here? We got everybody mad at the Syrians and everybody loved us and everything was going so well—and now what's happening?!"

    Well, some of the underlying and driving dynamics of imperialism are what's happening there, buddy. And this is all the more upsetting for them, because Lebanon was basically a model of how they want to remake the region—how they want to bludgeon the Middle East into being. And, once again, on their part there is both reality and instrumentalism in all this. The "democracy" they are "spreading" does look like Iraq: What they are aiming for in Iraq does include some of the forms and trappings of bourgeois democracy, and they actually do want to develop more of a "Westernized middle class" there—although it is a great irony that there was, to a significant degree and in significant ways, such a middle class under Saddam Hussein, and as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation and all the devastation and madness that has been part of that, and has been unleashed by it, much of that middle class has moved to get out of Iraq. But the U.S. imperialists, and strategists in the Bush regime in particular, actually have theories about this, they actually believe that their "free market" stuff will—someday—benefit everybody. Maybe not in your lifetime or mine, or for several generations, but someday it will benefit everybody. That's how they see it. And in the meantime, they believe, it will create enough of a middle class and other strata that will be inclined toward the U.S. and not want to have upheaval—and that's good enough for now. That, again, is how they see it—even as reality is working out in a very different way.

    So, if you understand that, you can understand how this involves the appearance, and in some ways the reality, of a very acute contradiction: On the one hand, they have this crusade to "spread democracy," and there is an aspect of reality as well as of instrumentalism and demagoguery to it, at the same time as it can legitimately be said—and needs to be said—that they are moving to change U.S. society in a fascist way and for generations to come. It is not necessarily the case that the trappings of democracy will be eliminated as they move to change U.S. society in a fascist way and for generations to come—nor will they necessarily or likely give up the banner of democracy while doing this. The meaning of the words can change. Remember that recent exchange between a right-wing radio guy and Dick Cheney: "Don't you think, Mr. Vice President, that dunking somebody in the water, if it would save some lives, is a no-brainer?" "It's a no-brainer for me," replied Cheney. But then, in the same breath, they insist: "We don't torture!" Now, how can you put those two things together? This has to do with their insistence that, because they have tremendous power, they can define reality any way they want. Or, as a Bush administration official was quoted in that Ron Suskind article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine: We create our reality on the ground, and while you're studying that oh so judiciously, we will go on and create further reality.14 If we say water-boarding is not torture, then it's not torture (and, oh yes, as Cheney "clarified," he wasn't talking about water-boarding but just a little dunking in the water to make somebody talk!). Water-boarding is not torture, because we do not torture—here is another of their self-serving tautologies (similar to: we're the "good guys" in the world, so whatever we do is… good).

    They Lied to Us… and Deceived Themselves

    One thing we should really understand—-and I believe this is a slogan, or formulation, that could and should be popularized: If you look at what they did in Iraq, the way they justified it and what's happened there, you can capture a lot of this in the formulation They lied to us and deceived themselves. This is a big part of what happened. They actually believed their own propaganda. The way they were seeing the world—they really thought that's the way the world is. They really thought they could do what that Bush administration functionary said to Ron Suskind—that they could just continue to create their own reality on the ground, as if no other factors, and no other people, have anything to do with what reality is and how it develops.

    As I was listening to one of these imperialist spokespeople on the media recently, I couldn't help blurting out: "They don't understand how their own system works." This is important to grasp. They don't understand what the actual nature of U.S. society is and what it rests on fundamentally. They actually believe all this stuff about "free markets." Or, to a large degree, they believe this, because once again there is also a lot instrumentalism. But they do believe a lot of it, and they don't understand what their system and its operation around the world actually leads to and what it actually calls forth. They understand some of it—it would be wrong and way oversimplified to say that they don't understand any of it—but, in essential and fundamental terms, they don't understand how it actually functions, what the underlying dynamics are, and what it calls forth in different ways. So they believe they can go in and do this kind of thing in Iraq, and everybody's going to welcome it—you know, the flowers and all that kind of stuff. They believed that to a significant degree. And then sometimes they don't know what they believe and what they want you to believe. The two get very closely bound together and even become identical in their thinking. But, to a significant degree, they do believe their own propaganda: they actually deceive themselves, and they don't understand how their own system works.

    They don't understand the lopsidedness in the world—the great disparity and acute polarization in the world, where tremendous wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a small number of people, and in a handful of countries, while in most parts of the world, and in the world as a whole, the great majority struggle, often unsuccessfully, even to secure the basic necessities of life while being subjected to life-stealing exploitation and murderous oppression. Yes, the imperialists know this lopsidedness is there, and they make calculations based on it, yet they lack the intention, and the ability, to put an end to this lopsidedness. Along with that, they don't really understand what it flows from, what are the foundations of that lopsidedness, and why it is continually recreated, often in even more extreme terms.

    Democracy—Concentrating Some Essential Understanding

    Here I want to return to two brief statements regarding democracy that are run regularly in Revolution newspaper. These statements—one of two sentences, and one of three sentences—are an attempt on my part to capture some essential aspects of reality, and to concentrate much of the complexity bound up with this reality in a scientific way. Especially in light of what is going on in the world today, and the rationalizations that are being propagated to justify what the Bush regime (and U.S. imperialism in general) is doing in the world today, it is worthwhile digging further into these statements.

    To take "the two sentences" first, this begins (the first part of the first sentence is): "The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism… " Now, you could get into a whole bunch of arguments about that statement if you didn't correctly understand it, and particularly if you approached it in a dogmatic way. [In a sarcastic voice:] "Well, I thought you said that democracy in the U.S. does exist but it's bourgeois democracy." Yes, but note that what's being said here refers to the essence of what exists. It is emphasizing that, if you want to understand the essential and driving forces in society, don't look to the superstructure of politics and ideology, and don't look to superficialities—look to the economic base first of all.

    This is what is brought out in the first of these sentences, taken as a whole: "The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism." Those political structures could be democratic (that is, bourgeois-democratic) or they could be fascistic (or they could be one in the name of the other). But what is their essence? And what is fundamental?

    And then this statement goes on (the second sentence is): "What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism." This, again, is the essence of what they spread around the world. The structures to enforce that imperialism may be the Saudi Arabian royalty—or it may be sweeping aside the Saudi Arabian royalty and instituting a more bourgeois-democratic form of government there. But what's the essence? What are the driving forces? It is imperialism—the capitalist system in the stage of imperialism—a worldwide system of exploitation under the overall rule of capital and driven by the laws of capitalist accumulation, as conditioned by the dominance of monopolies, international investment/export of capital, the division of the world among the imperialists as well as the great division between a few imperialist countries and a vast number of colonized and oppressed nations.

    In the three-sentence statement on democracy, essential points are emphasized which closely interconnect with the two sentences I have just discussed. Now, I have said a number of times that if I were teaching a course on this subject (on the nature of democracy and its relation to the fundamental character of society, rooted in its economic system), I would read these three sentences, and the rest of the semester would consist of: explain. Because there is a tremendous amount concentrated in these sentences that is very important to understand—and is very widely misunderstood. How many people actually have engaged the substance of this? And how many people need to? So let's look at these three sentences.

    The first is: "In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about 'democracy'—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse." How much further ahead would we be if there were a large section of people who understood the essence of that! I've often joked that, with the success of the socialist revolution, one of the first acts of the new revolutionary state—the dictatorship of the proletariat—should be to ban the word "democracy" for ten years, because it has been the source of so much misunderstanding and confusion. But that is, after all, a joke—we can't actually do that, and shouldn't try to do that, for a lot of reasons—just to be clear. But there is a tremendous amount of misunderstanding and confusion about this question of democracy, and people just keep falling, over and over again, into the same kinds of illusions about this. If there were a leap to where a significant section of people understood just this one sentence, think how much further ahead we'd be.

    And then this statement goes on (the second and third sentences are): "So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no 'democracy for all': one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality." 

    Once more, if we could actually get people to begin grappling with and understanding this, we would be so much further ahead. This is not just important as theoretical abstraction—which it is. It is theoretical abstraction, and it is extremely important as theoretical abstraction for people to be wrangling with. But it also has everything to do with what's going on in the world and major struggles that have to be waged in the world today. Whether you understand this—whether you grasp the essence of what is being captured and concentrated here—or whether you are full of the illusions that are promoted in opposition to that, is of tremendous importance and moment, literally in terms of what direction the world will be heading in. Because the fact is that not only do the imperialists not understand their own system. But, without negating positive things they do and contributions they make, the fact is that neither is all this understood by the many reformers, populists, and democrats on the political terrain.

    To further illustrate the essential points here, I wanted to bring in another great shopkeeper quote from Marx (and in this case, Engels as well). As you know, Marx made a very profound observation about the relation between the democratic intellectuals and the shopkeepers—how, even though in their everyday approach to life, they may be as far apart as heaven and earth, they share an essential unity in that, in their thinking the democratic intellectuals do not get further than the shopkeepers get in their practical dealings; that the one, in the realm of theory, as much as the other in the exchange of commodities, does not get beyond what Marx termed "the narrow horizon of bourgeois right."15 The other quote I am referring to here is from The German Ideology:

    "Every shopkeeper is very well able to distinguish what somebody professes to be, and what he really is, [but] our historians have not yet won even this trivial insight. They take every epoch at its word and believe that everything it imagines about itself is true."16

    This really captures something very profound. How many people do you know who take every epoch, and in particular this epoch, at its word, and believe that everything it imagines about itself is actually true? How many people do we encounter in the course of our work who, as I put it in the polemic against K. Venu,17 take bourgeois democracy more seriously than the bourgeoisie does—and keep trying various ways in their minds and in their practice to try to perfect this bourgeois democracy into something other than what it is and what it is capable of being?

    This goes back to the two sentences and the three sentences I spoke to above. There are so many people who take this epoch in particular, the bourgeois epoch, at its word, and who don't go beyond the appearance of things to get to the essence—to the underlying relations and dynamics that are driving things and that establish the foundation for, and ultimately determine the nature of, the political system and institutions, as well as the dominant culture and ideology, in any society, in any epoch. How many people ignore, or are simply ignorant of, the fundamental reality that, in any society in any epoch, political structures, institutions, and processes must be understood precisely in relation to the underlying economic base and to dynamics that are rooted in that economic base—in the relations and driving contradictions that characterize that economic base? How many people still need to be won to approach the world in that way?

    Understanding the World In Order to Change It

    All this stresses the profound importance of communism as a scientific worldview and approach to reality, of materialism and dialectics. It stresses the importance of theory and methodology. We're not going to get where we need to go—and certainly the complexity of what we're up against now should drive this lesson home to us—if we don't grapple in the realm of theory and methodology and then apply that to changing the world. Marx was right, profoundly so, when he said in the "Theses on Feuerbach" that the philosophers have only tried to understand the world, the point however is to change it. But we should not and must not do a "two into one" on that—wrongly combining, conflating, and "mashing together" theory and practice. That, frankly, is what has characterized a lot of movements, including revolutionary and communist movements. There has been a lot of positivism. A lot of thinking that theory comes immediately out of (or is essentially reducible to) immediate practical experience. This goes along with the tendency to negate the need for a leap from practice to a higher, more abstract, conceptual level of knowledge, and with the notion that theory is related one to one with a particular kind of practice and that theory can only advance in more or less direct relation to such practice, negating the fact that, while in the final analysis all theory has its origin and point of verification in practical experience, this must be seen in broad and not narrow terms and theory can, in important aspects, run ahead of and anticipate practice.

    Theory and (political and ideological) line are abstractions from reality which, the more correct they are, the more they can guide us in changing the world in accordance with its actual nature and its actual motion. If you are going to wield theory and line as an instrument to change the world, you have to take it up and wrangle with it in its own right—abstracted from the reality out of which it comes, of which it is a concentration—and to which, yes, as Marx emphasized and we must emphasize, it must be returned in order to change the world. But if you leave out the step of grappling, on the level of abstraction, with theory, you are bound to go astray and land in a pit.

    And everybody can deal in abstractions, by the way. It's not only a handful of people who can do this. Revolutionary theory, communist theory, has to be made accessible to masses of people, but they actually engage in abstraction all the time, with different world outlooks. I've never met any basic person, or any person from any stratum, who doesn't have all kinds of theories about all kinds of all things—most of them drawn from the bourgeoisie and ultimately reflecting its outlook—although some of them do this only indirectly and appear to be, and to some degree are, ideas and theories that people have "cooked up" on their own, more or less unconsciously reflecting the dominant bourgeois outlook in society. Of course, to make theoretical abstractions that most correctly, deeply and fully reflect reality, in its motion and development, requires taking up the communist world outlook and methodology and increasingly learning to apply this consistently and systematically. And, as Lenin emphasized (in What Is To Be Done? and elsewhere), this communist outlook and methodology will not just "come to" the masses of people on their own and spontaneously, but must be brought to them from outside the realm of their direct and immediate experience. But the fact remains that everyone engages in theoretical abstraction of one kind or another—everybody is capable of this—and, fundamentally, it is a question of how are you doing this, with what world outlook and methodology?

    This is an analogy that I have found helpful: Reality is like a fire, like a burning object, and if you want to pick up that burning object and move it, you have to have an instrument with which to do it. If you try to do it bare-handed, the result is not going to be good. That's another way of getting at the role of theory in relation to the larger world that needs to be transformed, in relation to practice, and in particular revolutionary practice, to change the world.

    The point is not to remain at the level of abstraction. There are two leaps that must be made. One is to the level of abstraction. The other is back to practice to change the world—in a broad sense, and not a narrow, positivist, pragmatist way, which can only serve reformism and perhaps "revengism" but not radical and revolutionary objectives, not the transformation of the world to bring about the emancipation of all humanity.

    This is why I have stressed the point that theory is the dynamic factor in terms of ideology—it's a dynamic factor in changing people's world outlook. It is not that we don't need to struggle with people over things like morality and people's moral responsibilities. In this talk, and in general in my talks and writings, I have emphasized the need to do precisely that because, in fact, this is extremely important. But people's morality, their sense of right and wrong, flows from their understanding of the world. How do you know what is "right" and "wrong"? That flows from a certain understanding of the world—one way or another.

    So we need both those leaps. We need to engage on the level of abstraction from reality, concentration of reality, which is what theory and line are. We need to wrangle over things continuously on that level—we need to repeatedly wrangle with what is actually a correct understanding of reality, because reality is not only complex in a general sense but it is constantly moving and changing, and we are always racing to catch up with it. Even though at times you are able to anticipate things—and in that sense be, in your conception of things, "ahead of" the development of reality—most of the time, or in an overall sense, you are racing to catch up with reality. And that's the way it's going to be. If we don't engage in the realm of abstraction, of theory, we're dead. Simple as that. But if we leave it there, and don't return it back to practice, to change reality—not just in a narrow sense but in the broadest, world-historical sense—then what is the point?  In either sense—if we fail to make either leap (from reality to theoretical abstraction and conception, and from that back to practice, to change reality)—then what are we doing?

    The Necessity That Is Being Confronted

    Now, having spoken to some questions of basic analysis and of outlook and methodology, and with that as a foundation, I want to return again to the situation, to the necessity, that has to be confronted now. From what has been discussed so far, it is possible to see that the necessity facing the U.S. imperialists and in particular the core at the center of power now in the U.S.—and what they have done and are doing in the world in responding to that necessity, as well as how they are moving in relation to the freedom they have perceived that they have in the current situation, particularly since the "end of the Cold War" and the demise of the Soviet Union and its bloc—all this is in turn imposing necessity on all different strata and groups throughout the world, including within the U.S. itself.

    Again, to just touch on these points quickly—but as bases and focuses for further reflection and wrangling—for the class of U.S. imperialists themselves, this situation is now impinging on them, and this necessity is making itself felt, in increasingly acute ways. They can't roll back the clock and go back to the situation before they invaded Iraq this time (in 2003) and ousted Saddam Hussein. Some of them might actually wish now that they could do that—but they can't. Some of these right-wing commentators were, for awhile, making joking remarks like: "Here's what we should do. We should get Saddam Hussein out of jail, apologize to him, put him back in power, tell him to whip this shit in shape while we ignore what he has to do to get this done." Now, clearly they can't do that. But these jokes themselves are a reflection of "the fine mess they have gotten themselves into," and the fact that, as a result, the necessity that is confronting them is greatly heightened.

    And one of the ways this finds expression—and in fact this is another manifestation of, or dimension to, the point about "the pyramid of power"18 in the U.S. now—is this: Especially in these acute circumstances, as well as in an all-around and basic sense, to really take on and answer the right-wing section of the ruling class and its program and where it is driving things, it would be necessary to get down to, and to hit strongly at, the underlying assumptions and foundations upon which this rests. And that the other representatives of the ruling class—including as this is embodied in the Democratic Party leadership—can never do—and do not want to do.

    If, for example, you are going to really challenge the thrust of the Iraq War, and the "let's go after Iran" logic, and so on, you have to call into question the whole assumptions of the "war on terror" and you have to bring forth what all that is really all about and is based on.  Or, if you are going to take on something like the attacks on affirmative action, you have to talk about the actual history of this country—and all the atrocities, including genocide, slavery, and other horrendous forms of oppression, down to today—that this has involved. And that you cannot do from a ruling class perspective. Or to defend the right to abortion in a truly powerful way, which can answer the many-sided attacks on this—practical, political, and ideological—you have to get into the role of women in this society and the whole historical oppression of women—how that is bound up with other fundamental social and class relations. That, again, is something you cannot do while remaining within the dominant and "acceptable" framework of bourgeois politics and ideology.

    This is especially acutely posed in today's circumstances. Bourgeois politicians can't even do what the Church Senate Committee (named after Senator Frank Church) did back 30 years ago. Then, as a result of a whole mass upheaval and growing mass consciousness about the real nature of what the U.S. does around the world, this Senate Committee came out and exposed some of the things the U.S. had done, like in Chile and other countries where the U.S. pulled off coups and committed other crimes. Today, if you want to represent the ruling class, you cannot do even what the Church Committee did. It's nowhere on the agenda to talk about that stuff. The current situation—and not just the freedom but the necessity of the ruling class—doesn't allow for that kind of discourse, even in watered-down terms.

    I was watching this guy Jeff Cohen on Amy Goodman. He was the founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). He's got this book out: Adventures in Cable News Media.19 It's an interesting book. It provides exposure of how the mainstream media operate. This is coming from a certain standpoint, different from our own, but it's not without its insights.

    Cohen makes an observation that objectively has to do with the "pyramid point." He recalled how, during a break when he was on one of these CNN Crossfire shows, he turned to the right-winger, Robert Novak, and said, "Do you really think Pat Buchanan is a liberal?" And, Cohen recounts, Novak went into a whole tirade about how Buchanan is an economic "New Dealer" and a populist and all that. And then Novak said: I was an Eisenhower Republican in the '50s, and everyday since then I've gone further to the right. In commenting on this, Cohen makes the very true and very telling point that you could not get somebody on TV, as a regular and mainstream commentator, who said: "I was a Kennedy Democrat in the '60s, and every day since then I've gone further to the left." No way such a person could ever have any place in the mainstream media—except as some sort of object of ridicule. I mean, Noam Chomsky has been declared to be "from the planet Saturn"—he's way beyond the pale of respectable and acceptable discourse in the mainstream media.

    Cohen, who was a producer for the Phil Donahue show before it got kicked off of MSNBC, talks about how, if they wanted to have even a relatively mild left-winger on that show, they were told they had to have at least two or three right-wingers to "balance" that left-winger. And the Donahue show was supposed to be the liberal answer to the right-wing talk shows. But when it got to the question of someone like Chomsky, the "joke"—or, really, more-than-half-serious point—was that if they were going to have Chomsky on, they'd have to have 38 right-wingers for "balance." [laughs]

    Again, this is not just owing to the organized strength of right-wingers, nor is it merely a matter of corporate dominance in the mainstream media. More essentially, it is a reflection of the necessity that the U.S. ruling class faces–-not just the freedom they are seeking to seize on, but also the necessity and the way in which how they have responded to that necessity has created further necessity impinging, yes, even on them.

    But this is also impinging on and confronting all different strata throughout the world—other imperialists in other countries, other ruling classes, for example, like in China and India, or Pakistan. Remember, there was that whole thing about Richard Armitage, the friend of Colin Powell and assistant secretary of state in the first Bush administration—how, right after September 11th, Armitage went to the head of state of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, and basically gave him the "offer he couldn't refuse" routine—insisting that he allow Pakistan to be used as a base for the attack on Afghanistan, and for the "war on terror" more generally. Recently, when Armitage was asked about this, he said—continuing the Godfather routine, or at least his role as the henchman of the big Don—"I never make a threat I'm not in a position to carry out, and I couldn't personally carry that out."  Well, that was never the point. [laughs] The threat was coming from U.S. imperialism—you were just the one delivering the threat.

    But, beyond the particularities (and peculiarities) of that, in one way or another what the U.S. is doing impinges on all kinds of ruling elites, and other forces—and not just through direct Mafia-type threats. Every ruling class--in India, China, Russia, France, Germany, and so on—and even lesser ruling classes in various parts of the world, which are fundamentally dependent on and beholden to imperialism—all of them are forced to respond to this. They are all being confronted with this necessity.

    And so are all the "popular strata" throughout the world. All the non-ruling class strata, all the different groupings among the people in the U.S. and in countries all over the world, are being confronted with necessity which is stemming mainly at this point from what the U.S. ruling class, and its core at the center of power now, is doing. On a deeper, more fundamental level, all this is stemming from the underlying dynamics of the imperialist system, but in more immediate and proximate terms—in terms of what's directly affecting people right now—it is proceeding to a significant degree out of how the core at the center of power of U.S. imperialism now is perceiving things, including its necessity as well as its freedom, and how it is acting in relation to that. But, again, it is very important to stress that this is not a matter of "all freedom" for them—as powerful as they are, it is far from the case that they can just "do whatever they want." And what they are doing not only involves necessity as well as freedom for them; it presents necessity but also—at least potential—freedom for those forces, of various kinds, who are opposed to them. Here, once again, I am using "freedom" not in a more "conventional" sense, but in the sense of confronting and transforming necessity—material reality—in ways that are favorable, are in line with one's objectives.

    So there is not a single group in society—and, for that matter, ultimately not a single individual, but in any case not a single stratum or group in society anywhere in the world, from ruling classes down to the most basic masses—which is not being impinged upon and being confronted by these dynamics. Of course, most people are unaware of this, or only vaguely conscious of it—or, even if aware of it in varying degrees, they do not yet have a scientific understanding of it and therefore are not able yet to consciously act to change all this in their own interests, and most fundamentally in the interests of humanity. So the challenge this poses for us, as communists—as those who have the responsibility of acting as the vanguard of the proletarian revolution and moving humanity to a whole new stage and a whole new world—this challenge once again revolves around Mao's "amendment" to Engels: that freedom does not lie just in the recognition of necessity, but in the transformation of necessity, through struggle. And, especially in these acute circumstances, the orientation, the perspective, and the approach has to be one of wrenching freedom out of all this.

    This is being more and more acutely posed. It is true, as I pointed out not long ago: If there are a few more major changes in the world—particularly in this dynamic where Jihad and McWorld/McCrusade mutually reinforce each other while opposing each other—it is going to be qualitatively harder to break out of this dynamic. And this is one of the things we have to join more fully, and struggle over more deeply, with people. You know, sitting on top of a rumbling volcano might somehow seem more comfortable than trying to move, but it's actually not a very good position to be in. [laughs] This is what we have to get people to understand.

    Attacks on Foundational Things in the History of the U.S.

    Along with the whole international dimension of what these imperialists, headed now by the Bush regime, are doing, there is an attack on foundational things in the history of the U.S., with regard to the rule of law and the secular nature of law and government. And it is important to note that the attacks on, and undermining of, these foundational things is causing restlessness and, yes, some movement among people, but this is in contradictory directions. Here we see once again the profound truth of that statement—one of the most important points in the Call of World Can't Wait: "That which you do not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn—or be forced—to accept."

    Mao observed that where there is oppression there will be resistance; but this should not be understood in some sort of linear sense. People can capitulate. People can learn or be forced to accept that which they do not resist and mobilize to stop. And you already see this happening. A number of people have commented along these lines:

    "I thought that when they showed the pictures of torture at Abu Ghraib, that would be enough—that there would be a mass outpouring of outrage. I thought that when they had the exposure about Fallujah and how the U.S. military basically destroyed that city; I thought when, even after Abu Ghraib, they started openly talking about torture again and legitimizing it; I thought when they began openly talking not only about outlawing abortion, but birth control as well—I thought there would be a mass outpouring."

    Well, it isn't going to happen spontaneously. There will be spontaneous outpourings, but the level and the character of massive outpouring of political resistance that is needed—here I'm talking about something short of revolution—this is not going to happen spontaneously. Because that dynamic is at play, where far too many people are learning to accept all this. And an important dimension of this—an important aspect of the problem—is that, when foundational things are brought under attack, this cuts the ground out from under people in terms of resisting. These foundational elements, even as illusory as they are—even with all the illusory elements that they involve—these are the things, or important parts of the things, that people have felt they could stand on, as solid ground from which to engage the world politically, so to speak. And when the ground moves underneath you like that, it's very hard if you're not moving with it—or you're not moving to counter it—it's very hard to find firm ground to stand on. What you could stand on yesterday, you can no longer stand on tomorrow.

    As I touched on a minute ago, there are two foundational things about the history of the U.S., and the exercise of bourgeois rule in the form of bourgeois democracy in this country, which are being brought under frontal attack increasingly. One is the undermining of the rule of law. We see this in a very sharp and concentrated way with the torture law, the so-called "Military Commissions Act," not only in its codification of torture, but also in its gutting of habeas corpus and in the powers that it grants to the executive. This is an attack on the historical basis of the bourgeois Constitution and the rule of law in U.S. society. We've gone into this elsewhere and we should continue to go into it more deeply. Here I'm just going to call attention to it.20

    This goes along with and interpenetrates, in a very negative "synergy," with the whole Christian fascist attack on the secular foundations of the Constitution and government of the U.S.

    Someone said—I think it might have been in the movie Jesus Camp—I haven't seen that movie yet, but I believe someone who has seen it recounted this, where one of these fundamentalist preachers said: India is the most religious country in the world, and Sweden is the most secular country; and we're a nation of Indians being ruled by Swedes.  Now, as a matter of fact, one of the things about India is that it probably also has the most Maoists in the world, by the way. [laughs] It is definitely true that there's too much religiosity there, but describing India as the most "religious" country in the world is not really an accurate and hardly an all-sided characterization.  But this statement (about India and Sweden) gets at something nonetheless. And, of course, the significance of this is that these right-wing religious fundamentalists—these Christian fascists, as we very accurately refer to them—want to change the situation so that there is in fact religious rule: law and government based on a literalist reading of the Bible, as interpreted and enforced by religious authorities.

    An important thing to keep in mind in regard to this is that, while the U.S. is a very religious country, in the sense that the great majority of people profess some religion, it is not true that this is a religious country in the sense these fundamentalist Christian fascists mean it. They mean, and they insist, that not just the people, in their large majority, are religious but that, from its founding, the government and the laws were based on religion, and in particular on Biblical principles (and, of course, their literalist interpretation of those principles). This is not true. It is—yet another—falsification of history. The United States, in its Constitution, and in the basis for its laws, was and has been all along explicitly secular. That is, the notion of basing the Constitution and laws on religious, and specifically Christian, precepts was expressly and explicitly rejected in the founding of the country. So, again, what is involved here is an attack on another foundational thing about bourgeois society and bourgeois constitutional government in the U.S.—an attack which is being openly and aggressively carried out by the fundamentalist Christian fascist movement. And it is important to keep in mind that this is not just a grouping of isolated fanatics but a powerful force which has connections and influence at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

    And then there is the whole way in which the fundamentalist Christian fascist outlook and program interconnects with and serves the grand scale imperial designs of the Bush regime and provides a certain additional element of rationalization for it. I spoke to this in the recent 7 Talks, including "Why We're in the Situation We're in Today… and What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution" as well as the talk on religion itself ("Communism and Religion: Getting Up and Getting Free—Making Revolution to Change the Real World, Not Relying on 'Things Unseen'"). I am not going to get into this point further here, but I did want to mention a couple of relatively new books that are interesting in this regard: One is The Theocons—Secular America Under Siege by Damon Linker, who used to be involved with the Catholic Christian fascists whom he calls theocons. The other one, interestingly enough—I finally broke down and got this book—is Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg. (Yes, that Michelle Goldberg—the one who attacked us in such an unprincipled way in connection with the original "Not In Our Name" statement21 and the development of a movement of opposition to the juggernaut of the Bush regime in the aftermath of September 11—but there are some insights in this book and it is worth reading.)

    These frontal attacks on foundational things about constitutional bourgeois democracy in the U.S., interconnecting with the whole international drive to which I've spoken throughout this talk, are raising a lot of profound questions and unsettling people in a lot of ways. But, again, the effect of this is very contradictory—acutely so. This underscores once more the need to break out of linear thinking—the notion that the more that things people really cherish are brought under attack, the more they will resist. No—it's much more contradictory than that. There is an aspect of truth to that, and that is an aspect of the situation, but there are things pushing in the other direction, which I was speaking to earlier in terms of ground to stand on, and that ground being cut away. And the synthesis people need is not going to come from inside the logic with which they've been proceeding with their beliefs and illusions about these foundational things.

    This relates to an important point in the Democracy book (Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That?), where it speaks to the contradiction between the profession of the imperialists about democracy, on the one hand, and what this amounts to in reality, and how—this is very, very important—at one and the same time this is a continual source of exposure of the system and a constant source of regenerating illusions about the "perfectibility" of this democracy and this system which goes by the name of democracy. So we're going to have to learn even better how to handle correctly that contradiction in a way that moves things and moves people in a positive direction off of that contradiction—in a fundamental sense towards revolution but also, in more immediate terms, towards the kind of massive outpouring of resistance that is urgently needed, involving large and growing numbers of people with a diversity of political and ideological views.

    Now, clearly, these attacks on foundational things, which I've been pointing to, are not attacks on the dictatorship of the proletariat—since, unfortunately, that does not exist, anywhere in the world, at this time. No, they are attacks on the form in which historically the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie has been exercised in the U.S., in the form of bourgeois democracy. And if we can't correctly understand and handle the contradictions involved in all this, then we're not going to get where we need to go. And it's going to require a lot of work and a lot of struggle, including some acute struggle with people, in order to, at one and the same time, enable increasing numbers of people to shed their illusions while, at any given time, we will be—and will need to be—uniting with large numbers of people who are acting out of motivations that to a significant degree stem from their illusions. This is a contradiction that it is extremely important to handle well.

    What was said on the website of World Can't Wait, right after its October 5th (2006) mobilization, is quite correct and has application in terms of the objectives of that organization as well as in an overall sense: There is still time, but there's not a lot of time. There is still time, but not a lot of time, to race to catch up to where we need to be before the dynamic is one that's very hard to reverse, or to transform into something more favorable. Speaking for our Party (and I am sure that, coming from their own perspective, this is also the stand of many other people, including in World Can't Wait), we are never going to quit, we're never going to give up, as long as we're able to do anything. But the question of where are we going to be fighting from—from what position, with what political and social forces, with what popular consciousness gaining initiative, and so on—that's very acutely posed now. All this will have ramifications and implications in terms of everything, down to the most fundamental things concerning the direction of society and the world; the impact is going to be felt for decades—what's going on right now, and what the outcome of this is.

    There are all kinds of things—including the prospect of legitimacy crisis and, yes, even the possibility of revolutionary crisis—that could possibly emerge out of all this, without putting a specific time frame or attempting to identify particular dynamics that could lead to this. And, in sort of a back-handed way, you can actually see the question of legitimacy crisis looming in more profound terms than just talk about elections being rigged and stolen, and so on. From what I have heard, there is actually some talk going on in liberal and progressive circles about how maybe a military coup wouldn't be so bad after all! You know, look to the Wesley Clarks, even the Colin Powells—somebody up there who's got some power, within the power structure itself. Partly, this is because some people are becoming convinced—somewhat through work we, and others, have done but more fundamentally reality is working to convince some people—that these Democrats aren't going to do anything, nothing essential to change the whole direction of things. But if you're still stuck within—if your thinking is still confined within and you haven't yet broken out of—the established and dominant political framework, where do you go next? Revolution? No. At least not immediately. Some of these people think, “Well, then, how about a military coup?!”

    Particularly in the middle strata, but not only there, people are looking for some resolution of all this that's going to restore their illusions—and restore what their illusions are based on—without everything getting completely out of hand. And a lot of people in the middle strata—look, let's be honest and confront reality as it is—they fear the Bush regime, they fear upheaval, and they fear the basic masses. Okay, we're being scientists, not emotional people or people who are out for revenge. We have to work our way through those contradictions.

    This is the whole point about emancipators of humanity—bringing forward a section of the proletariat, and others taking up the proletarian standpoint, who are not coming at it from a petty standpoint. Yes, it's insulting and maddening, what goes on all the time—including the outlook of a lot of people in the middle strata and what is often their attitude toward the basic masses—but, in a fundamental sense, this is the workings of the system. All this stuff is the workings of this system, and that's what we have to enable people to understand. For that matter, the things the masses are pushed into doing, in which they fuck each other up; the way in which these middle strata look at that, the way they look at the basic masses in general—all that is fundamentally the workings of the system. And we have to get to where we're bringing forward a section of people which is aiming to get totally through and beyond this whole stage of history, to bring about the revolutionary overthrow of capitalist-imperialist rule, by millions and millions of the masses, leading broader sections of the people, to actually sweep this system aside and bring something better into being in a profound sense.

    But to really work toward and contribute to that, we have to understand the terrain, the political terrain. We have to understand—this is Lenin’s point in What Is To Be Done?—we have to understand the characteristics of different classes and strata while not looking at this in static, undialectical, linear terms but grasping the contradictory ways in which they respond to things. Without being vulgar materialists, determinists, and pragmatists, and while recognizing that this is not some kind of uniform phenomenon, we can say that the proletarians and other basic masses respond to major social and world events in ways that are significantly different from how, in general, people within the middle strata respond to such events. And, of course, within the middle strata, broadly speaking, there are different kinds of responses. The intellectuals and educated strata generally do tend to react to events differently than the shopkeepers, for example, even though Marx is right about the fundamental unity between them, when he speaks about how the democratic intellectuals do not get further in their thinking than the shopkeepers get in their everyday practical dealings—both remain within what Marx called "the narrow horizon of bourgeois right."

    We have to understand all this complexity, if we're going to lead this all where it needs to go. And big things are "up." When you hear about people buzzing, or whispering, about military coups, this is a reflection of the fact that questions of legitimacy crisis are "brewing." Once again, all this will not develop in, and must not be approached in, a linear way. It's going to be much more complex and contradictory, and we have to work and struggle our way through this, dealing with all these different contradictions, and all the different levels of expression of these contradictions, while keeping it all going toward where it needs to go.

    This is once again an expression of the "drawn and quartered" point.22 If you think you're just going to go out here and raise a banner and march forward and overcome one obstacle after another with more and more and more people, well then you're going to be in for a big demoralization and disorientation—if you haven't already encountered that many times over. So, to repeat a metaphor I have used before, you have to have a lofty and sweeping vision and big arms to encompass all this—and, through all the acutely contradictory back and forth, twists and turns, and ebbs and flows of it, keep going where it needs to go, and get to where there is ultimately a revolutionary situation, at whatever point that comes. This whole process will perhaps involve situations where legitimacy crises arise that don't develop all the way to a revolutionary situation but get resolved short of that, in one way or another, and then you have to struggle for the best resolution of that in line with your fundamental, overall, and ultimate revolutionary objectives.

    These are basic points of methodology, and they are extremely important in terms of everything we engage and everything we wrangle with.

    The "Two Maximizings" in the Development of the Revolutionary Movement—Among the Basic Masses, Among the Middle Strata

    Moving ahead then from that foundation, I want to talk a little bit about the "two maximizings" and the decisive role overall of the first. To very quickly paraphrase here, this ("two maximizings") refers to developing a politicized atmosphere and a revolutionary current—and in particular a growing pole of people partisan to communism and to the Party—among the proletariat and basic masses; and developing essentially the same thing among the middle strata. And then there is the need to develop the "positive synergy" between these "two maximizings"; or, to put it another way (in more "classical communist terms"), the dialectical relation—the mutual interaction and reinforcement—between the two, in a positive way.

    You are not going to bring forward a revolutionary force and a communist movement among the basic masses, on anything like the scale that is necessary, and potentially realizable, without there being the development of political ferment and political resistance broadly—and, yes, the development of a revolutionary and communist current—among the middle strata. In the absence of that, the basic masses are going to say to you—and they're going to have a point—that "we'll never get anywhere, we're going to be surrounded, everybody's going to oppose us, and we're just going to be viciously crushed once again." On the other hand, you can't hinge the development of a revolutionary force and a communist movement among the basic masses, and in society in general, on developments among even the progressive section of the middle strata or among the middle strata more broadly. That's not mainly where it's going to come out of. So we have to get the dialectics of this correctly.

    We saw some of the positive development (and "synergy") that I'm talking about in the 1960s, for example. Why did the '60s become "the '60s"? It's because, in addition to all the ferment that was largely centered among the middle strata—the youth counter-culture and the anti-Vietnam War movement, and so on—there were masses of people, Black people and others, at the base of society who were expressing in very powerful ways: we refuse to live this way anymore. And, largely as a result of this powerful impulse, things developed beyond the confines in which various reformists and bourgeois forces were trying to contain them; things quite broadly found a revolutionary expression, in a general sense. And this, overall and in a political and ideological sense, lit a fire under all the other different strata in society. In terms of what was going on in U.S. society itself—and in the context of the whole world situation, including the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people to U.S. aggression as well as the Cultural Revolution in China—it was that upsurge "from the base," more than any other factor in American society, which gave the defining character to what "the '60s" became in the U.S. Not the distorted character that is attributed to it now, especially by the ruling class and mainstream media, etc., but its actual, extremely positive, radical, and revolutionary character.

    I remember seeing a Peter Sellers movie in the early '70s, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (if I remember correctly, Alice B. Toklas was credited with coming up with a recipe for "grass" brownies). The movie was about this character, played by Peter Sellers, who was a typical middle class guy, a lawyer who kept getting to the altar to get married and then running away and dropping out. He had a younger brother who was a hippie who had already dropped out, and (to make a long story short) at one point this younger brother takes the Peter Sellers character to a "head shop"—they're looking around, and the hippie younger brother finds a copy of Mao's Little Red Book and says: "Oh, you've gotta have one of these. Everybody's gotta have one of these." That scene did actually characterize the times. It was not the way they portray it now. After a certain point—this was very positive, and we must not allow it to be summed up as negative—the revolutionary forces and, in a general sense, a revolutionary culture, had the initiative among very broad sections of society. And there are important lessons in that, in terms of developing the "two maximizings," and their "positive synergy" today.

    Emancipators of Humanity

    Essential in this—the principal aspect of this, in an overall sense—is bringing forward increasing numbers of the proletariat and basic masses, bringing forward growing waves of people from among the proletariat and basic masses as emancipators of humanity who are viewing things from that perspective. Revolutionary masses who are taking up the communist outlook and method and are learning to view the reactions and responses and the characteristics of different classes and strata from the point of view of "how do we get to a whole different world?"—and not from the point of view of "how does that affect me, or how does that make me feel?" That's what it means to rise to the level of being emancipators of humanity. It means you see beyond the shortcomings and limitations of these different strata—speaking of the middle strata in particular—and you see the necessity and the challenge of winning them, through a whole complex process, to be on the side of, or at least to a stance of friendly neutrality toward, revolution, preparing the ground politically for, and helping to hasten the time when a revolutionary situation comes into being.

    If we don't bring forward a section of the proletariat and basic masses—or growing sections, wave after wave of people-–who are consciously motivated as emancipators of humanity, we have no chance for anything good to come out of all this. This definitely does not mean that it's unimportant to work among the middle strata, even with all their limitations. Believe me, the proletariat and basic masses have all kinds of problems and limitations too. The point is that they occupy a different position in society and are propelled toward different things. But here, again, there is the essential question of where they are going to be led, what they are going to be led to do—because, on their own and even with a certain gravitation toward radical solutions, this will not take the fully positive expression it needs, it will not go where it needs to go, without leadership—communist leadership.

    And this responsibility falls to us—to those of us, drawn from many different strata in society, who at any given time have taken up the standpoint that corresponds to the fundamental interests of the proletariat, as a class—the outlook and method, and the cause and program, of revolutionary communism. It falls to us to in fact be the vanguard of the proletariat in that sense. If we don't do that, if we shirk or shrink from the responsibility to do that, how are the masses going to understand their own role as the emancipators of humanity? How are they going to be able to see beyond all the difficulties and the tremendous weight on them and the ways in which they're pulled down and pulled toward other things, which do not correspond to their own fundamental interests and the larger interests of humanity? How are they going to be able to realize their potential as the emancipators of humanity if we aren't very clear and firm about this (while also, on the basis of firmness, having flexibility, on the basis of solid core having elasticity)?

    The Only Hope the Masses Have—and the Responsibility We Have

    This is the only chance the masses have. They don't have any other chance. Mobile Shaw23 was right: we are collectively the only hope the masses of people have. Of course, there are other communists throughout the world. But collectively we are the only hope the masses of people have and the only hope the world has—hope that all this craziness and destruction and sacrifice that's coming anyway is going to turn toward something much better. We must not shrink from that role. And we must never forget that this is our role, through everything we're doing. Even when we're sitting down and having a cup of coffee with people—and overall in working our way through a lot of things that are short of revolution—we can't ever forget that this is what it's all got to be aimed for. We've got to have those broad arms and that sweeping vision; and, as I've said before, we've got to go be willing to go right to the brink of being "drawn and quartered," without allowing that to actually happen, in order to move all this forward.

    This is our responsibility. If there's going to be a united front from a strategic standpoint—and if it's going to be a united front under the leadership of the proletariat—in both aspects, and in the essence of this, it requires our leadership. It requires lots of people, from many different strata, taking a lot of initiative and doing a lot of creative things and being unleashed in ways that are unexpected and surprising to us—positively, not only negatively!—but it requires our leadership in overall and fundamental terms.

    As I've spoken to a number of times, there are plenty of contradictions, including acute ones, within the proletariat itself, broadly speaking. To point to a very glaring and acutely posed one now, take the contradictions between Black masses, on the one hand, and Latino masses and immigrants, on the other hand. I was talking about this with some comrades not long ago and we were observing (with perhaps slight but unfortunately not great exaggeration) that 90% of the Black masses have a bad line on the immigrants and 90% of the immigrants have a bad line on the Black masses! That's the reality we're dealing with. And how is that going to change? Where are the understanding and the programmatic policies going to come from to lead and mobilize people in a radically different direction and to achieve a synthesis that unites them on the basis of their fundamental interests? Nowhere else than from the standpoint of communism and through our playing our role as a communist vanguard. These are the realities. I don't believe that statement is hyperbole. And if these realities don't show you the need for a communist vanguard, then I don't know what will.

    We've got to work and struggle our way through this—through all these contradictions, including those that are fostered between different sections of the basic masses. Where do the fundamental interests of the masses—all these masses—lie? And even the white proletarians—who are not just a few, around and about, but who number in the millions and millions—what are their fundamental interests? And how do those interests get expressed? Or the middle strata in society, including the huge numbers who are straining against the hold of their prejudices and illusions—how are they going to get moved in a way that's going to lead toward a positive resolution out of all the turmoil and upheaval that has been and will increasingly be unleashed in the world—a resolution in the interests of humanity?

    We have two things going for us, against all the very big things that we have to confront, the gigantic and momentous things we have to go up against, the very daunting things. One is our dialectical materialist outlook and method, our scientific approach to reality. And the other is reality itself and its motion and development, which that outlook and methodology reflect and encompass. Are the fundamental and essential interests of the masses of people going to be served by Black masses lining up with reactionaries against the immigrants, while the immigrants are mobilized around a line that all Black people are lazy and don't want to work? We know the answer to that—and we should never forget the answer to that. And we should go deeply into this with the masses of people, both in the ideological dimension and practically in terms of what we mobilize them to do and how we mobilize them to take the political stage.

    So we have to be, at one and the same time, working among the middle strata and building a metaphorical—or political and ideological—fire under the middle strata, in a good way, by bringing forward increasing numbers of people, particularly from among the basic masses, as revolutionaries, as communists, as emancipators of humanity. And we have to recognize the need to not just engage with, but to struggle—yes, sometimes sharply, but in any case consistently, and at the same time in a principled way and from a lofty plane—to wage struggle with people while having an orientation of striving to win people over and of uniting the greatest number possible at any time, in order for people of all strata to be moved in the way they need to be moved. But we do need to light this political and ideological fire, and we really need to be taking the whole thing, this whole communist thing, very boldly out in every corner of society, particularly among the basic masses, but among every strata. If we don't do that, then the attempts, as important as they are, to work among various strata—and to build united fronts involving people of many different ideological and political viewpoints and perspectives, including major united front efforts like World Can't Wait—will not succeed, will not break through on the level and scale they need to.

    Never Underestimate the Great Importance of Ideology

    In the context of what I have been discussing here, and as a point of basic and overarching importance, I want to emphasize something we could capture with the phrase: "Never underestimate the great importance of ideology."

    We have a very negative example of this with the Islamic fundamentalists. The way in which they are proceeding to do what they're doing has a very powerful ideological component to it.

    How do people respond to the conditions that they find themselves in? What course or road do they take, and what do they respond to, in the face of those conditions? This is not predetermined. There is not just one way that people respond, automatically and regardless of influences on them. And even the level on which people sacrifice depends on their ideological orientation to a very significant degree.

    Lenin pointed out, for example, in What Is To Be Done?, that, in the course of the Russian revolutionary movement, Iskra, the newspaper of the Bolsheviks, trained a whole generation in how to live and how to die. And that's what these Islamic fundamentalists are doing, from a very different and fundamentally reactionary standpoint. We can see the very negative effects of this. And, yes, in the short run they have certain things going for them because they can promote metaphysics and idealism, with the notion of another world and how you'll get your reward there. And, of course, it's too late, once you're dead, to find out there's nothing there—including you! But are there things worth living and dying for? This is a profound ideological question. Besides things like these Islamic fundamentalist movements, look at what many people are living and dying for these days, especially the youth, being drawn to crime and gangs, and so on. Where is that going to lead? And what is that going to contribute to and reinforce? But, with all this, it would be a very serious error to underestimate the great importance of ideology, of one kind or another, and how it leads people to act, and be willing to sacrifice—how it trains them, in short, to know how to live and how to die.

    And from another angle—talking about the other "historically outmoded"—we shouldn't underestimate the degree to which Bush and company are also attaching great importance to ideology. Bush, in his recent speeches, and others, like Rumsfeld, have continually emphasized that the battle against what they call "Islamic extremist totalitarianism" is not only a major military battle but also the great ideological battle of our time. This is how they're presenting it. And, yes, we can make our jokes about "W," who doesn't know how to pronounce "nuke-u-lar," and so on and so forth, but there are people surrounding him and there is a core there that thinks, that is very deeply ideologically committed and understands the importance of the battle in the ideological realm. That's why they're bringing forward all these World War 2 analogies and all their talk about totalitarianism and extremism, and so on. In other words, they are bringing forward their solid core—with very little elasticity and a lot of absolutism, these days especially. And what can stand up to and really oppose that? In the final analysis, and in fundamental terms, only our solid core—with a lot of elasticity, on the correct basis of the necessary solid core.

    The relativism and ideological flabbiness so common among the liberals—both those within the ruling class, but also more broadly in society, including the liberals and progressives among the middle strata—this is not capable of and is not going to stand up to the reactionary solid core in the ruling class—nor, for that matter, to the reactionary solid core of the Islamic fundamentalist phenomenon.

    And here I want to return to Michelle Goldberg. Despite, or in some ways actually because of, her own worldview, including the influence of Hannah Arendt's notions of totalitarianism, the following from "our old friend" Michelle Goldberg provides a valuable window into the thinking of many liberals and progressives these days. She says: "Ideologies that answer deep existential needs are hugely powerful." That's a profoundly important point.24 Then, after making this very crucial basic point—"Ideologies that answer deep existential needs are hugely powerful"—Goldberg goes on:

    "The Christian nationalists [or what we would call Christian fascists—BA] have one. And their opponents largely do not. Today's liberalism has many ideas and policy prescriptions, but given the carnage born of utopian dreams in the 20th century, it is understandably distrustful of radical, all-encompassing political theories. It is cautious and skeptical. Liberals don't want to remake the world; they just want to make it a little better." (Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming, pp. 191-92)

    Well, there's a lot packed into that statement. This is why it's worth reading people like this, even after they've slandered us (which Goldberg did a few years ago, in connection with the original "Not In Our Name" statement and the political movement which that statement helped to inspire). Here is a classic example of someone who is highly disturbed by developments in U.S. society, in particular the growing influence of Christian fascism. From reading this book it is clear that she would like to keep things, including opposition to this fascist trend, within certain bounds, but she has a sense that this may not be possible. This is very profound in its implications, in a number of ways. So, in a certain sense, "there you have it" in those few sentences—a lot is actually captured there—including a window into the highly distorted way that people like Goldberg are viewing the experience of communist-led revolution and socialist society in the 20th century (a major part, if not the heart, of what she is referring to with the phrase: "the carnage born of utopian dreams in the 20th century"). And this is why, in a general and overall sense, it is worth it and necessary to investigate what people from all different strata are thinking, both when they systematize it like this and through broader investigation to find out about, and make a synthesis from, more scattered and unsystematic ideas and sentiments among people in different parts of society.

    But, with all this, it is extremely important to keep in mind a profound point from Marx. To paraphrase (and somewhat expand upon) what he says: what matters fundamentally is not what anyone or any group of people might want subjectively, or might be thinking at any given point, but what the underlying and driving contradictions and dynamics will confront people with. Among other things, this underscores the great importance of our solid core, ideologically as well as politically—a solid core which is dialectically related to, and in an essential way encompasses, elasticity and which can lead the way to in fact radically remaking the world to bring into being something far better.

    "Maintaining Our Strategic Nerve"

    In the context of everything going on today, everything that has to be confronted and cries out to be radically transformed in a much better direction, I want to emphasize this basic point of orientation: In the face of the difficulties, in the face of even defeats along the way, in the face of falling on our face at times, it is very important, especially at crucial junctures, that—to use a certain phrase—we not lose our strategic nerve. It's very easy in the face of tremendous necessity and great difficulties, in the face of certain setbacks and of people flying in all directions, to lose your strategic nerve—to lose your grip on what actually is underlying and driving things and to be swept away in one form or another—either carried away with positive things or quite often carried away with disappointments—and to just openly go in the direction of throwing up your hands and capitulating, or to go off into an infantile direction, which is in fact the "mirror image" of capitulation and leads to the same ultimate result.

    Now I want to say, just for the record, that at times I myself have been acutely disappointed by—and, yes, have cursed in graphic terms—the people in this society who are sitting by and doing nothing in the face of atrocities and horrors committed by their government and in their name—I would bet that I have done this at least as much as anyone else who has set out to mobilize people to do what needs to be done to change the present disastrous course of things and to radically transform society in a positive way. But what do we do then?

    There is a tremendous gap between what is going on—and the rapid pace at which more and greater outrages and atrocities are being committed and being prepared by those in power in the U.S.—and, on the other hand, what people are doing, or not doing, in terms of political resistance to oppose this, in the massive and determined way that is required. This is a very acute contradiction. But what do we do in the face of that—what do we do, in order to transform that in a positive direction? Do we keep our fundamental and strategic orientation, and work and struggle through the contradictions—do we persevere, but with the necessary sense of urgency that the situation demands? Or are we going to search for gimmicks, or throw up our hands and give up? Are we going to, in one way or another, lose our strategic nerve? In speaking of "strategic nerve," I mean this in the sense of our basic and strategic orientation, not in some sense of "personal courage," in the absence of and divorced from that orientation. Another way to say this, another crucial expression of this, is that we can't lose our materialism and our dialectics.

    The clock is ticking down. We are not operating in a vacuum here. U.S. society is in fact being remade in a fascist direction, with implications for decades to come; the world is increasingly being subjected to the attempts of those in power in the U.S. to further bludgeon things into correspondence with their needs, aims and objectives; and there are the very real, negative effects of the continuing dynamic where McWorld/McCrusade and Jihad mutually reinforce each other even while opposing each other—with already terrible and potentially far more disastrous consequences. But, at the same time and largely as a result of all this, a lot of people are running up against what someone has described as sort of a "cusp" or "trough." They're running up against the fact that the ways they thought they could affect the political direction of U.S. society, and the role of the U.S. in the world—those ways don't work. Those doors are being increasingly slammed in their faces. But they haven't yet made the determination—haven't yet been won—to the fact that they have to make some radical ruptures in terms of their political views and actions, even short of the full rupture of going for revolution. And if we were to lose our strategic nerve—in other words, our strategic orientation and methodology and approach—that would be especially criminal in this context.

    Instead, we have to be combining, in the correct way, perseverance and urgency—persevering, but not in an aimless, timeless way, persevering with the appropriate and necessary sense of urgency—learning, as we struggle, to break through on these contradictions and carrying forward that dialectical process of unity-struggle-unity with a broad and diverse range of people and political forces, not only in such major efforts as World Can't Wait but in other key arenas, too, and in an overall way. At the same time, we have to be much more vigorously and boldly taking our full revolutionary, communist line in a truly big way out to the masses—to basic masses, but to other strata as well. And, in line with the very great and urgent needs, as well as in terms of our fundamental orientation and objectives, we must make further, and increasingly greater, advances in building the Party as the revolutionary, communist vanguard the masses need—building and strengthening the Party both quantitatively and qualitatively—continually increasing its numerical strength and not only its organizational but, even more essentially and fundamentally, its ideological and political solid core, and the corresponding elasticity, initiative, and creativity grounded in and flowing from that solid core.

    Strategic Repolarization—for Revolution

    Now, having stressed the tremendous importance of ideology, I also want to emphasize the need to grasp the importance of political line and policy and of providing practical means for masses of people to mobilize to change the world. There's a need to apply the two "mouthful formulations." The first one, from "Strategic Questions,"25 has to do with how, in the development of political movements and the political struggle overall, to continuously forge (and reforge under new conditions) unity as broadly as possible so that it is objectively in line with and furthering the aims of the proletarian revolution and so that, at any given time in that process, as many people as possible are being won and influenced in their subjective consciousness toward the communist position, without however overstepping and undermining the correct unity for the given circumstances, which will be on a level different from, and short of, support for the communist position and proletarian revolution. And the second "mouthful formulation," which has been drawn from GO&GS (Great Objectives and Grand Strategy), 26 has to do with identifying and moving around—bringing forward political resistance and mobilization on a mass scale in relation to—concentrations of major contradictions in society and the world, and how that in turn contributes to moving everything toward revolution.

    The overall work of our Party is, in significant measure, an application of these "two mouthfuls." This is an application of the united front under the leadership of the proletariat, in terms of policy and program. And it is very important to see every aspect of our Party's work not as a thing unto itself but as part of an overall strategic approach. An overall strategic approach and a means for what? For revolution—for repolarizing in a way more favorable for revolution and to prepare the ground, politically, for the emergence of a revolutionary situation and, relatedly, the emergence of a revolutionary people in the millions and millions.

    And, if we look at things in terms of repolarization for revolution, the following formulation is very relevant and important—not speaking to any particular immediate situation so much as with strategic and overall considerations in mind:

    What's being argued for is, if we do work correctly, we can take advantage of the paralysis of significant sections of the bourgeois; isolate to the maximum degree possible this really hard-core section of the bourgeoisie; and, with the necessary qualitative change in the objective situation, go after the overthrow of the bourgeoisie as a whole.

    Confronting Daunting Problems 

    Now, in moving closer to a conclusion (see, I'm dangling that prospect out there!), I want to speak to something I have formulated previously (I believe it was the "Reaching/Flying"27 series that ran in our newspaper a few ago), where I spoke about "two things we don't know how to do"—namely, meeting repression and actually winning when the time comes. Now the point of saying these are two things we don't know how to do is not to project some phony posture of humility: "We're very modest—there are some things we know how to do, in fact there are really important things we don't know how to do. Isn't that great?" No, it's very bad, it's a very real problem, that we don't know how to do these things. The point is to call attention to the fact that we'd better work on these things—in the appropriate way and not in inappropriate ways.

    Dealing with Heightening Repression

    So, let's talk briefly about this. Resisting the heightening repression—this is a gigantic challenge. I mean, let's do keep in mind that bourgeois democracy is after all bourgeois dictatorship where democracy is ultimately and fundamentally only for the ruling class and those who serve its interests and dictatorship is exercised over the rest; but it's not good what's happening right now, the way they're moving with that bourgeois dictatorship, the way they are markedly and openly stepping up the repression and undercutting the ground from which to oppose and resist it. It's not good for the people of the world. It's not good for the people in this country, and it's not good for the organized forces of political resistance, and not good for us as the vanguard of the necessary revolutionary movement. It's very bad. The fact that, on the orders of the President and his functionaries, anybody can be yanked out and put in a deep freeze, locked up with no rights, subjected to torture and perhaps never heard from again—that is not a good thing in any sense! This is posing itself very acutely and urgently now, and again you find the problem that foundational things are being undermined so that people are losing their sense of even what to stand on to fight some of these things—which is a significant part of the purpose of undermining these foundational things.

    And then there is the dynamic of "that which" (as the Call of World Can't Wait emphasizes: "That which you do not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn—or be forced—to accept"). If you don't fight something, you don't forge the means for fighting it—for resisting it and building massive political opposition—and you are much further behind in being able to fight not only that outrage but the ones which are coming behind it and for which it is preparing the ground. And a major part of the dynamic these days is this: What was yesterday's outrage becomes today's institutionalized and codified reality. This dynamic is very, very bad and poses very serious problems on many different levels—on the level of the mass movement and mass resistance, and on the level of organized political forces, and yes, definitely, on the level of vanguard leadership. For anybody with progressive sentiments, and certainly anybody with a revolutionary orientation, if this is not giving you nightmares, there is something very wrong.

    So we (and by "we" I mean not just our Party but the broader movement and broader forces of opposition) have to come from way behind on this, and very urgently—in a very telescoped way and on different levels and in different dimensions at one and the same time: We have to develop resistance to the repression while learning how to not just survive the repression that will come anyway (and, in some aspects, may even be heightened in response to resistance) but also to forge the means for advancing politically and in an overall sense in the face of this heightening repression and in the face of the shifting ground.

    In terms of our Party and in the most fundamental terms, it is going to take the highest level of application of our scientific world outlook and methodology to be able to rise to this challenge. We are way behind on this, and there are no easy answers to it. And the dialectical relations are very difficult to handle correctly, particularly the dialectical relation between taking risks politically and practically in order to get into a position to better deal with the repression, vs. what you lose, or might lose, by taking such risks. This is an extremely intense contradiction—a very acute and very, very daunting challenge. And this has to be fought through on the level of forging policies and approaches for the mass movement and for the vanguard in different dimensions.

    When they are gutting habeas corpus and codifying torture, when they actually now have brought legal charges of treason against someone—I am referring to someone who is an Islamic fundamentalist nutcase, but they're charging him with treason for making videotapes in support of Jihad against America—think of the implications of that. And they always do things like this, to the degree they can, with people they think will be—and in some cases may actually be—the least defensible, in order to scare everybody away and to turn everybody off from rising to oppose this. I hope everybody is taking note not just of the ongoing rantings of Ann Coulter and David Horowitz and that ilk about treason, but also of the comment by Gary Bauer who, after seeing the October 4th World Can't Wait ad in the New York Times, said: If that's not treason, I don't know what is.28 Well, if an ad like that, opposing torture and other crimes against humanity of the Bush regime—if that is denounced as treason, think about the implications of that. And Gary Bauer is not a minor figure. He might not be right in the inner core of the ruling class, at this time, but if so he's at most only a couple of rungs away.

    We have to take all this very seriously. If we don't yet know how to deal with all this, we'd better make leap after leap in developing the ability to do so, with the necessary sense of urgency and through the dialectical back and forth between practice and theory in this regard. We must not allow a situation to unfold that will just foster further demoralization among the masses, especially basic masses, who are already inclined, in large numbers, to say: "I told you, you can't do anything. Anytime you try to do anything, they'll just come and wipe out the organizations and the leaders." I don't want to see that again. And I don't want to see people have to conclude that you can't build mass resistance, let alone a revolutionary movement, because they'll just come and devastate this with repression. This is not just some subjective thing—"I don't want to see this"—this has to do with what we are all about, with the fundamental needs and highest interests of the masses of people and ultimately of humanity—as communists we cannot allow this to happen. And, to invoke again and give particular emphasis to that Dylan line: "Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

    As has been seen in the history of the communist movement on an international level, in the experience of socialist states in relation to the overall worldwide revolutionary struggle, and in the experience in particular countries: repeatedly there have been situations where heightened possibilities and potential openings for advance, perhaps for great qualitative advance, often, or even generally, go hand in hand with greatly heightened dangers and the prospect of profound losses and setbacks. This is what the Soviet Union faced in the context of World War 2 and in relation to the question of advancing, or not, the international communist movement and the international revolutionary struggle. It's what China faced at the juncture where, in the late 1960s and early '70s, the Soviet Union was seriously threatening China with attack, perhaps even with nuclear weapons.

    What can get posed at such critical junctures is not just greatly heightened dangers in some abstract or general sense, but the risk of losing everything, at least for a certain period of time. Being able to—or developing in the midst of intensifying contradictions the ability to—forge, and to continue forging in new circumstances, the means to handle these contradictions correctly, and well, is of decisive, strategic, and at times even world-historic importance. And, without overstating things, this is one of those times.

    Approaching Revolution, and Winning, in a Serious Way

    The other thing that I have said we don't know how to do is, when the time comes, be able to win. We don't know how to get over the first hump of seizing power through a mass revolutionary upsurge. To put it bluntly and somewhat crudely, to emphasize the reality people face: Those who rule the U.S.—and much of the world—are some powerful nasty motherfuckers who have an ideological solid core that doesn't give a fuck about killing millions of people, is firmly convinced that it represents everything good in the world and that any opposition to it, especially of any essential or fundamental nature, represents a concentration of evil in the world and needs to be stamped out. We should reflect on that very seriously.

    Recently, Rumsfeld and others in and around the Bush regime have been making an analogy which, in immediate terms, they are applying to Islamic fundamentalists. They speak of how, a century ago, at the beginning of the 20th century, this guy Lenin wrote this pamphlet What Is To Be Done?; and, they say, "If we had known everything this would lead to, through the course of that century, wouldn't we have moved to stamp that out right then and there?" Well, on the surface—and in the main aspect now—they are making an analogy to Islamic fundamentalists today (bin Laden and others), but they are also making a general point. And if we don't listen and take heed of the broader point they are making, well… Bush couldn't get that saying right, but we can render it a little differently: If they tell you once, and if you don't listen, shame on you. And if they tell you a bunch of times and you still don't listen, then you have no right to be calling yourself a vanguard or anything like that. You have no right to step out before people and say, follow us.

    We have to take up the question and approach the question of winning in a very serious and not in an infantile way, and not in a way which makes it even easier for this kind of concentrated power of reaction to crush any attempt to bring a new world into being. Not long ago a very important statement was published in Revolution newspaper, "Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation—in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution." This was both a matter of necessity—it was necessary to clear up some confusion that had been created—and a matter of seizing freedom out of this necessity to put forward before people a serious and scientific presentation of what this revolution is about and how in fundamental terms it has to be gone about.

    This statement is worth reading here, in its entirety.

    "Revolution is a very serious matter and must be approached in a serious and scientific way, and not through subjective and individualistic expressions of frustration, posturing and acts which run counter to the development of a mass revolutionary movement which is aimed at—and which must be characterized by means that are fundamentally consistent with and serve to bring into being—a radically different and far better world. Revolution, and in particular communist revolution, is and can only be the act of masses of people, organized and led to carry out increasingly conscious struggle to abolish, and advance humanity beyond, all systems and relations of exploitation and oppression.

    "A bedrock, scientific understanding which must underlie the development of such a revolutionary movement is that [and here this statement quotes from the first of the Three Main Points that are run regularly in Revolution]:

    "The whole system we now live under is based on exploitation—here and all over the world. It is completely worthless and no basic change for the better can come about until this system is overthrown.

    "And that:

    "In a country like the U.S., the revolutionary overthrow of this system can only be achieved once there is a major, qualitative change in the nature of the objective situation, such that society as a whole is in the grip of a profound crisis, owing fundamentally to the nature and workings of the system itself, and along with that there is the emergence of a revolutionary people, numbering in the millions and millions, conscious of the need for revolutionary change and determined to fight for it. In this struggle for revolutionary change, the revolutionary people and those who lead them will be confronted by the violent repressive force of the machinery of the state which embodies and enforces the existing system of exploitation and oppression; and in order for the revolutionary struggle to succeed, it will need to meet and defeat that violent repressive force of the old, exploitative and oppressive order."

    I am going to continue reading this statement, but people could very well benefit from studying this over many times to see how things are said and how they are not said, and the ways in which attention is paid to how fundamental principles are put forth while at the same time infantile posturing is avoided—and not only infantile posturing, but other ways in which the enemy can actually be aided, by stating things in a way that does not conform to what is actually intended and what will actually advance the struggle.

    This statement goes on:

    "Before the development of a revolutionary situation—and as the key to working toward the development of a revolutionary people, in a country like the U.S.—those who see the need for and wish to contribute to a revolution must focus their efforts on raising the political and ideological consciousness of masses of people and building massive political resistance to the main ways in which, at any given time, the exploitative and oppressive nature of this system is concentrated in the policies and actions of the ruling class and its institutions and agencies—striving through all this to enable growing numbers of people to grasp both the need and the possibility for revolution when the necessary conditions have been brought into being, as a result of the unfolding of the contradictions of the system itself as well as the political, and ideological, work of revolutionaries.

    "In the absence of a revolutionary situation—and in opposition to the revolutionary orientation and revolutionary political and ideological work that is actually needed—the initiation of, or the advocacy of, isolated acts of violence, by individuals or small groups, divorced from masses of people and attempting to substitute for a revolutionary movement of masses of people, is very wrong and extremely harmful. Even—or especially—if this is done in the name of 'revolution,' it will work against, and in fact do serious damage to, the development of an actual revolutionary movement of masses of people, as well as to the building of political resistance against the outrages and injustices of this system even before there is a revolutionary situation. It will aid the extremely repressive forces of the existing system in their moves to isolate, attack and crush those, both revolutionary forces and broader forces of political opposition, who are working to build mass political resistance and to achieve significant, and even profound, social change through the politically-conscious activity and initiative of masses of people."

    Again, I would seriously recommend that people study this over and over again to see how the contradictions were handled on all different kinds of levels. 

    Now, in previous talks I've spoken about two tracks in relation to winning, in relation to the seizure of power when there is the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people of millions.  In light of what I've just read (which was the whole of "Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation—in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution"), and with that as a template, if you will, or a foundation—and from a strategic, not immediate, standpoint—we should understand the role and the dialectical relation of these two tracks. These are separate tracks, and only with a qualitative change in the situation (as spoken to in what I just read from "Some Crucial Points") can there be a merging of the two tracks. Until that point, they can only correctly be developed, and have to be developed, separately.

    The first track, which is the main focus and content of things now, is political, ideological, and organizational work, guided by the strategic orientation of united front under the leadership of the proletariat, having in view and politically preparing for the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people on a mass scale. This is what it means to "hasten while awaiting" the development of a revolutionary situation.

    The second track refers to and is in essence developing the theory and strategic orientation to be able to deal with the situation and be able to win when the two tracks can and should be merged—with a qualitative change in the objective political terrain, with the emergence of a revolutionary situation and a revolutionary people (as I have spoken to that here and as is set forth in a concentrated way in "Some Crucial Points"). What is appropriate now in this regard is attention to the realm of theory and strategic thinking and understanding, learning in a deep and all-sided way from experience of different kinds. There is a need to study all these different kinds of experience and for it to be synthesized from a correct strategic perspective—all in order to accumulate knowledge to deepen theoretical understanding and strategic conception.

    If either one of these tracks is ignored or not correctly dealt with, then the possibility for revolution will be thrown away even if the objective conditions for revolution should come into being. And it will not just be "oops, the chance was missed." It will be a terrible debacle and disaster for not just the organized forces of revolution but for millions of people and a betrayal of what communists are supposed to be about and work toward and contribute to, in terms of the transformation of the whole world.

    Nobody can guarantee anybody the emergence of a revolutionary situation, correctly understood, at any given time. We're not fortune tellers, and we're not sellers of some sort of bromide that cures all diseases—we're not religious hucksters, charlatans, and opportunists. And no one can guarantee that, even if you get the most favorable situation possible under a given set of circumstances, you are going to win. But if all this is not approached with all the seriousness that has been emphasized, if it is taken up irresponsibly and without a clear sense of what should and should not be done, and what is correct and appropriate and what is highly incorrect and inappropriate, then the name of communists is not deserved, the name of vanguard is a bitter irony at best.

    * * * * *

    Conclusion

    The essential challenge that we face, not just in a general and historical sense, but very urgently—the question that is posed, not only in an overall strategic sense but also immediately and acutely—is one of being the vanguard of the future, or at best the residue of the past. And the dimensions and the stakes of this are constantly increasing.

    This applies to our Party. It involves the question of being, in a sense, real, concentrated expressions of the emancipators of humanity and leaders of the emancipators of humanity. And the same challenge applies on the international level to the communist movement and in terms of the internationalist responsibilities of communists.

    Are we going to go down as a residue of the past and another disappointment and in fact another arrow in the back of the masses of people? Or, without any guarantees of victory in any particular set of circumstances but with strategic objectives and a sweeping view in mind, are we going to rise to the challenge of being, together with our comrades throughout the world, the vanguard of the future?

    Footnotes

    1. The audio files of the 7 Talks, along with the Q&A and Concluding Remarks for those talks, are available for listening and downloading at bobavakian.net and revcom.us/avakian. [back]

    2. Views on Socialism and Communism: A Radically New Kind of State, A Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom and The Basis, the Goals, and the Methods of the Communist Revolution are drawn from a talk given by Chairman Bob Avakian to a group of Party members and supporters in 2005. Both works are available online at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html. [back]

    3. See, for example, "The New Situation and the Great Challenges," a talk given by Bob Avakian in the latter part of 2001. The text of the talk, first published in Revolutionary Worker [now Revolution] #1143, March 17, 2002, is available online at revcom.us/a/036/avakian-new-situation-great-challenges.htm [back]

    4. "Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age" by Noah Feldman, in the Oct. 29, 2006 issue of the New York Times Magazine. [back]

    5. Here, along with—and as an illustration of—the basic methodological point he is emphasizing, Bob Avakian is referring to the analysis put forward by the RCP during the 1980s, and particularly in the early part of that decade, that the intensifying contradictions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union would erupt into all-out warfare between them (and their respective blocs and allies) unless this war were prevented by revolution in large and/or strategic enough parts of the world. For a discussion of this by the RCP, including a criticism of the methodological errors involved, see Notes on Political Economy (Chicago: RCP Publications, 2000), available online at revcom.us/a/special_postings/poleco_e.htm. [back]

    6. For further discussion of these questions—Iran, Israel, and the U.S. and the role of nuclear weapons—see recent articles in Revolution newspaper (revcom.us). For example, "Bald-Faced Lies and Bogus Pretexts: Bush Threatens War Against Iran" in issue #79; "Hidden U.S. Plans for War on Iran: Imminent Danger… And Strategic Stakes," #59; "Bush Regime in the Middle East: Global Ambitions, Murderous Logic & the Danger of Regional War," #56. [back]

    7. Pat Tillman was a professional football player who, after September 11, left the Arizona Cardinals to join the U.S. military. His brother was also in the U.S. military. Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan—by "friendly fire" from U.S. forces, as it turned out—yet U.S. military and government officials kept trying to cover this up and deceive people, including Tillman's family, about what actually happened. Tillman was played up as a big national war hero, but as his family continued to dig for the real story of what happened to him, they became more and more alienated and angry because of the lies and deception they kept running into. And they have become increasingly critical not only of how the military dealt with Pat Tillman and his death but of the military and the government more generally, and of the Iraq war specifically. [back]

    8. The title of this talk is "Communism and Religion: Getting Up and Getting Free—Making Revolution to Change the Real World, Not Relying on 'Things Unseen'"; this talk and others of the 7 Talks are available online at bobavakian.net and revcom.us/avakian. [back]

    9. For example, the articles "Outline of Views on the Historical Experience of the International Communist Movement and the Lessons for Today" and "Some Notes on the Military and Diplomatic History of WW2" in Revolution Issue 49, June 1981 (out of print). [back]

    10. Raymond Lotta with Frank Shannon, America in Decline (Chicago: Banner Press, 1984). [back]

    11. Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003). [back]

    12. Bob Avakian, Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (Chicago: Banner Press, 1986) [back]

    13. The Set the Record Straight project is aimed at combating the widespread lies and slanders about the experience of socialism in the Soviet Union and China and at critically examining that experience from a scientific standpoint—to help draw important lessons from both the mainly positive aspect of that experience but also the very real shortcomings and errors, and to popularize this among as broad an audience as possible, including through forums and debates with people putting forward different and opposing viewpoints. An important speech by Raymond Lotta—"Socialism Is Much Better Than Capitalism, and Communism Will Be a Far Better World"—and other material from the Set the Record Straight project are available at the project's website, thisiscommunism.org. The project can be contacted at SettheRecordStraight@hotmail.com. [back]

    14. The article by Ron Suskind, titled "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," appeared in the Oct. 17, 2004 issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Suskind quotes a senior Bush aide who tells him, ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'' [back]

    15. The point from Marx, summarized here, about shopkeepers and democratic intellectuals is found in Marx's essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. The fuller statement by Marx is:

    “… one must not form the narrow-minded notion that the petite bourgeoisie, on principle, wishes to enforce an egoistic class interest. Rather, it believes that the special conditions of its emancipation are the general conditions within the frame of which alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle avoided. Just as little must one imagine that the democratic representatives are indeed all shopkeepers or enthusiastic champions of shopkeepers. According to their education and their individual position they may be as far apart as heaven from earth. What makes them representatives of the petite bourgeoisie is the fact that in their minds they do not get beyond the limits which the latter do not get beyond in life, that they are consequently driven, theoretically, to the same problems and solutions to which material interest and social position drive the latter practically. This is, in general, the relationship between the political and literary representatives of a class and the class they represent… ." (Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Moscow: Progress Publishers, pp. 40-41, emphasis in original) [back]

    16. This passage from The German Ideology was cited in the article "On Empire—Revolutionary Communism or 'Communism' Without Revolution?" in A World to Win magazine, issue #32, 2006. This article provides important analysis of and polemics against the basic worldview and political positions found in the books Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2000) and Multitude (New York: Penguin Press, 2004) by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. [back]

    17. K. Venu was an erstwhile "Maoist" in India who, at a certain point, with changes in the Soviet Union beginning with Gorbachev and with the Tiananmen Square events in China in the late 1980s, began to view as essentially negative the historical experience of socialism in the 20th century, not only in the Soviet Union but in China as well. Venu retreated into a position which, in the final analysis, amounted to upholding bourgeois democracy as the highest objective to be striven for—obscuring the fact that this bourgeois democracy is in fact a form of bourgeois dictatorship and that the socialist state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, makes possible not only a much broader and deeper democracy for the masses of people, but even more fundamentally that this state is essential for, and provides the vehicles for, the advance of communism, worldwide, with the abolition of the division of society into classes, and thereby the elimination of the need for a state of any kind.

    The polemic against K. Venu, titled "Democracy: More Than Ever We Can and Must Do Better Than That," is included in Bob Avakian's book Phony Communism Is Dead… Long Live Real Communism! (Chicago: RCP Publications, 2004) and originally appeared in A World to Win magazine #17, 1992. The polemic is available online at revcom.us/bob_avakian/democracy/. [back]

    18. In a number of talks and writings, Bob Avakian analyzes the relations at the top of U.S. society—as well as the relations between various contending forces "at the top" and social bases at various levels of society—in terms of a "pyramid." This analysis can be found, for example, in the DVD of the talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About (available at revolutiontalk.net/2003-home). See also the articles "The Pyramid of Power and the Struggle to Turn This Whole Thing Upside Down" and "The Center—Can It Hold? The Pyramid as Two Ladders," available online at revcom.us. [back]

    19. Jeff Cohen, Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media (Sausalito, CA: PoliPoint Press, 2006) [back]

    20. See Revolution articles on the Military Commissions Act, online at revcom.us: "The Torture Bill: Compromising Your Way to Fascism" (issue #63); "Facts About the Military Commissions Act (Torture Law)" (#64); "Interview with Bill Goodman, Center for Constitutional Rights—The New Military Commissions Act: "It is a dangerous moment for all of us" (#65). [back]

    21. The "Not In Our Name" Statement of Conscience, signed by a large number of prominent people in various fields, as well as thousands of others, was originally published as a paid ad in the New York Times on September 19, 2002. This statement, and the new Statement of Conscience opposing the Bush government's domestic and international agenda, is available online at nion.us. [back]

    22. In a number of works, including the book Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy (Insight Press, 2005), Bob Avakian speaks to this concept of being--or going to the brink of being--"drawn and quartered," in developing and leading a revolutionary movement and the new socialist society that will be brought into being through revolution. This is linked to the concept of "solid core, with a lot of elasticity," which Bob Avakian puts forward as a basic guiding principle for the revolutionary struggle and for socialist society, and for those who lead in this process. See, for example, in the Observations book, "Bob Avakian in a Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology: On Knowing and Changing the World," pp. 43-64, especially p. 64; and "Intoxicated with the Truth," pp. 68-73, including footnote 2 on p. 68. [back]

    23. Willie “Mobile” Shaw was a member of the RCP. He grew up in and lived his whole life in the Nickerson Gardens Housing Projects in Watts, Los Angeles; after working with the revolutionaries there for a period of time, he joined the Party. The hardship of his life conditions led to his having a serious illness, and he died on November 24, 2005, due to complications following surgery. See the pamphlet Statement by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, on the Occasion of the Death of Willie “Mobile” Shaw, available online at revcom.us. [back]

    24. [FOOTNOTE BY THE AUTHOR] In the context of this statement by Goldberg, as well as for more general and fundamental reasons, it is important to keep in mind that, contrary to the way in which it is often, even generally, presented in this society, ideology does not necessarily mean an instrumentalist approach to "organizing reality" in pursuit of desired ends, which bears little or no relation to how reality actually is. Communist ideology is definitely a worldview and set of principles to live by, on the one hand; and at the same time it is, in fundamental terms, in accordance with reality and its motion and development, and is a means for scientifically engaging reality. This is why we say that communist ideology is both partisan—it stands with and for a definite side among the contending social forces in the world, the side of proletarian revolution and the advance to communism—and it is objective: it seeks an objective, scientific understanding of reality, in order to transform it in accordance with the advance to communism, and since that advance is objectively possible and its possibility is expressed in the way the fundamental contradictions in human society are tending, on a world scale, there is no need for communists to distort reality, or contort it, to make it fit their aims and objectives—and, on the contrary, any such distortion and contortion will actually work against the advance to communism. Of course, it has not always been the case that communists have acted in accordance with this fundamental truth—there have been marked tendencies in the history of the communist movement to fall into adopting various forms of "political truths"—in other words, stating as truths things which are in reality not true but which seem convenient at the time (an approach Lenin identified philosophically and criticized as "Truth as an organizing principle" or "organizing experience"). But the fact remains that, as a matter of basic principle, communism as a worldview and method rejects such instrumentalist approaches and recognizes the fundamental epistemological principle that, as I have put it in another discussion: "Everything that is actually true is good for the proletariat, all truths can help us get to communism." (See "Bob Avakian in a Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology: On Knowing and Changing the World," in Bob Avakian, Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy, Insight Press, 2005.) [back]

    25. Strategic Questions was a talk by Bob Avakian in the mid-1990s, and selections from it were published in the Revolutionary Worker (now Revolution) in issues 881 and 884-893 (November 1996 through February 1997) and in issues 1176-1178 (November 24 through December 8, 2002). These selections can also be found online at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html. [back]

    26. Great Objectives and Grand Strategy is a talk given by Bob Avakian at the end of the 1990s. [back]

    27. Reaching for the Heights and Flying Without a Safety Net is a talk given by Bob Avakian in 2002. Excerpts from the talk appeared in Revolutionary Worker #1195-1210 (April 20-August 17, 2003) and are available online at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html. [back]

    28. For more on the treason indictment and Bauer's remark, see "The Federal Treason Indictment: Threatening Extreme Punishment for Public Speeches," Revolution #66 (Oct. 22, 2006), online at revcom.us. [back]

     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/640/bob-avakian-the-deadly-illusion-of-normalcy-en.html

    THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF "NORMALCY" AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    Even before the coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic, a New York Times columnist wrote about the lure of boredom—arguing that, after the years of Trump madness, having a sleep-inducing president (like Joe Biden) might be just what is needed. The impact of the coronavirus has reinforced and strengthened this tendency toward a “yearning for normalcy,” especially on the part of the section of the ruling class represented by the NYT and that section of society, particularly among the more formally educated middle strata, that for some time has, to a significant degree, identified with what is represented by the NYT.

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

    In the context of this current crisis, the exploitative and oppressive relations built into this system are asserting themselves in a pronounced way, within this country and internationally, just as they have in previous crises. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit, in New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, even as broad sections of people suffered, it was poor Black people who were hit in the most devastating ways, because of the oppression and savage inequalities to which they were already subjected and because of the not-so-benign neglect and often malign actions of those in power. The same has been true with regard to AIDS—it is those who have been discriminated against and denigrated who have suffered the most—and the lop-sided burden of suffering has been especially pronounced on an international scale, with people in sub-Saharan Africa in particular enduring tremendous devastation.

    Even as broad swaths of the population will be hit by the coronavirus, this inequality will once again have its effect in this country in relation to the current crisis—as immigrants, prisoners, the homeless, people in poor communities, particularly among the oppressed nationalities, and others who are subordinated, degraded and despised by the “normal workings” of this system and the powers that be, will be subjected to disproportionate suffering.1

    And internationally the same dynamics apply in an even greater way. As I have pointed to previously:

    we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming.2

    It is those, worldwide, who are maintained in these conditions who will be hit hardest in this crisis, as they have been in the past.

    All this, combined with the continuing and rapidly deepening climate crisis, rooted in the dynamics of this system and increasingly posing an existential threat to all of humanity, will drive masses, millions and ultimately billions, of people to even further desperation, and no one on the planet will be able to avoid the repercussions and effects of all this.

    The Immediate Dangers, the Fundamental Problem and the Revolutionary Solution

    Several years ago, I pointed out:

    Today, while the U.S. is, and loudly proclaims itself to be, the world’s number one superpower, it is riddled with sharpening contradictions, and facing growing challenges, within the country and internationally, and this has brought forth a fascist regime that now holds the reins of power, with the finger of a demented bully on the nuclear button—a regime that, without exaggeration, threatens not just greatly heightened suffering for the masses of humanity but the very existence of humanity itself.3

    And, in a number of other countries, fascism has continued to gain strength, as a response—a fanatical, lunatic, and violent reaction—to changes being driven fundamentally by the necessities and dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system and the fact that this system does not have, and cannot have, any positive resolution to all this. Despite what many (especially many “liberals”) would like to believe, the notion that especially in times of crisis like this “we are all in this together” is in conflict with and is refuted by reality and specifically is not adhered to by the fascist forces. For example, gun sales in this country have skyrocketed even higher amidst this crisis, as “Second Amendment types” stock up even further on lethal weapons to “protect themselves” from “criminals” (and, on the part of many, to prepare themselves for the “civil war” they see coming). To refer again to the insights of African-American theologian Hubert Locke, what is involved with the fascist movement in this country is not just some abstract battle for the “hearts and minds” of people but a deadly serious struggle for power, with the aim—on the part particularly of the Christian fundamentalist driving force of this fascism—of “seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.”4

    This is why the commonly propagated notion that what has given rise to the sharp polarization in this country, and the madness associated with Trump, is a “departure from civility,” or more specifically that it flows from a failure on the part of educated middle class “liberals” to communicate with and try to understand the views of people in the “heartland”—all this is not only completely erroneous but actually a dangerous delusion. Writing a little more than 20 years ago, in her book Mobilizing Resentment, based on her extensive investigation into the right-wing movement in this country, Jean Hardisty recounts how, even where her efforts to engage in civil and friendly conversation with people of this kind would initially be returned with a certain superficial kindliness, as the conversation progressed she would repeatedly be subjected to the “brutal intolerance” that would come to the fore on the part of these right-wingers. As she graphically puts it: “when I give rightists the benefit of the doubt, out of respect for their right to their own worldview, they reward me every time with a kick in the teeth.” She sums up that what we are dealing with is

    a well-financed, well-coordinated, savvy movement that has developed brilliant techniques of manipulation and has captured and molded a hospitable moment in history. The right’s quest for political power has become a frightening reality.5

    And things have only gotten worse, and the danger this poses even greater, in the 20 or so years since Hardisty wrote this.

    In very immediate terms, the outlook and methods as well as the priorities of the fascists, as concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime—with the appointment of the anti-scientific Pence to head government efforts around COVID-19; Trump’s initial denial of the scope and danger posed by this virus and his continuing lies about this; his gross American chauvinism, pitting this country against the rest of the world; his repeated tendency to recklessly deny medical science and ignore the recommendations of medical experts where it runs counter to his own narrowly conceived and dangerously shortsighted interests and objectives; and more—all this amplifies and fortifies the barriers that the “normal functioning” of the capitalist-imperialist system places in the way of a systematic and coordinated approach to combating the coronavirus. At the same time, there is the question of whether Trump will actually recognize the results of the election in November if (even in the electoral college count, as well as in the popular vote) he is not the winner—or whether there will even be an election, since it is not unthinkable that Trump would “delay” (or even outright cancel) the election, declaring that in the context of the coronavirus crisis it is too dangerous to have an election!

    All this must be resisted and overcome to the greatest extent possible, while at the same time recognizing that it will require a radical transformation of society, and ultimately the world as a whole, to remove the powerful restraints that this system places on human beings and their ability to act in common to confront and transform the necessity they face, in an ongoing way and acutely so in times of crisis.

    Whatever happens in regard to the elections that are scheduled to be held this November, and however the coronavirus crisis is resolved—or if it is not really resolved but becomes part of “cascading crises,” with one crisis leading to another... and another—there will be no returning to some idealized notion of “normalcy.” And, while there is certainly a legitimate and positive desire on the part of people everywhere to get beyond the scourge of this virus, taking into account what is the actual situation for the masses of humanity under the “normal” domination of this system, no one should desire a return to the “normalcy” dictated by the capitalist-imperialist system.

    Underlying the immediate crisis, and the danger posed by the Trump/Pence regime and its fanatical fascist “base,” there is the more fundamental reality of the capitalist-imperialist system and the consequences of allowing this system to continue to dominate the world and determine the conditions of the masses of humanity and indeed the very fate of humanity itself. This crisis with the coronavirus has brought into sharp relief the reality that the capitalist system is not simply out of step with but is in fundamental conflict with, and a direct obstacle to, meeting the needs of the masses of humanity. Even as the capitalists and governments representing their interests have been forced to take certain emergency steps that in some ways run counter to the inherent dynamics of their system (such as massive intervention by the government in the functioning of the economy), the ways in which this system constitutes an obstacle to dealing with this crisis continue to assert themselves—including not only such perverse actions as the hoarding by some of vital medical and other supplies, in order to drive up the price, but also the fact that the creation of wealth under this system proceeds on the basis of ruthless exploitation and the impoverishment of masses of people throughout the world, while even in the “wealthier” countries there is significant poverty and large parts of the population live paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one serious crisis away from disaster; the ongoing rivalry between different capitalists (or associations of capital), with their private ownership of the means of production (land, raw materials, technology, factories and other structures) and private, competitive accumulation of wealth acts as a hindrance to necessary cooperation and the production of things that may be urgently needed but are not productive of private profit—and the whole ideology of advancing one’s interests at the expense of others, the individualism that is fostered by this system and is promoted to an extreme currently in this country, runs counter to and undermines inclinations toward cooperation and, yes, sacrifice for the greater good. Despite the dedicated efforts of many well-meaning people, even if the immediate crisis with the coronavirus is resolved, this will be done on the basis of intensifying the contradictions built into this system and the suffering of the masses of humanity who are already exploited and oppressed under this system.

    All of this stands in sharp contrast with what is needed to deal in a truly meaningful way with crises like that occasioned by the coronavirus, and to meet the fundamental needs of humanity on an ongoing basis. It stands in sharp contrast to the socialist system envisioned in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, where there is social, not private, ownership of the means of production, social wealth is produced through cooperation not exploitation and is increasingly distributed in accordance with the needs of the people, not those of competing capitalists, and there is a government that represents and is geared to meeting the fundamental interests of humanity, and promotes that outlook among the people and involves them in the process of governance toward that end—not a government that is an extension of and can only represent the demands and dynamics of capital, with all the anarchy and ruthless exploitation that involves, within particular countries and on an international scale.6

    Beyond the borders of any particular country, there is the great importance and potentially very positive role and impact of internationalism, which can only be really and fully realized with the overcoming of the barriers erected to international unity and cooperation by the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system—which is international in its scope of operations (that is, its exploitation) but consists of competing capitalists and rival capitalist states.7

    Overcoming all this can be—and can only be—accomplished through the communist revolution and the increasing establishment of socialist countries in the world, proceeding on an internationalist basis and carrying out the economic, social and political transformations, as well as transformations in the ways of thinking and culture of the people, that will enable humanity to leap beyond the constraints and the terrible consequences which are imposed by the “normal” functioning of the capitalist-imperialist system and are greatly intensified in situations of crisis. This unprecedented revolution will make it possible for people to engage reality, and to confront crises, in a truly cooperative way as members of a world community of freely associating human beings, not separated and pitted against each other by divisions of country, class, nationality (or “race”), gender and other oppressive relations.

     


    1. Materials posted at revcom.us, including communiqués from the revolutionary communists (revcoms) and the interview with Lenny Wolff on the Michael Slate radio show, speak to how this dynamic is already being expressed in this current crisis.  [back]

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

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

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

    5. Jean Hardisty, Mobilizing Resentment, Conservative Resurgence From The John Birch Society To The Promise Keepers, Beacon Press Books, 1999, pp. 5, 6, 8.  [back]

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

    7. In the section “Globalization, the Nationality of Capital, and the Imperialist Nation‑State,” in Notes on Political Economy: Our Analysis of the 1980s, Issues of Methodology, and The Current World Situationpublished by the Revolutionary Communist Party (available online at revcom.us), there is an analysis of this major contradiction in the world today:

    In the imperialist era, the circuits of capital become internationalized—and accumulation grows ever more global in reach and process. But imperialist capital remains anchored to national markets and national state formations....

    In short, the anarchy bound up with global processes of capitalist development creates new problems of "control." The contradiction between internationalized accumulation and the national character of capital, far from being transcended, is intensified.

    As “Notes” further states:

    At the same time, capital requires an apparatus (the imperialist state) and the military wherewithal (which means a military industry) to secure the international environment within which it can globally thrive.  [back]

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

    See also:

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

    by Dr. Hubert Locke

    Reposted October 7, 2019. Originally posted January 29, 2006

    Read more

    Watch BA's whole speech:

    Watch clips from speech

     

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/641/bob-avakian-conspiracy-theories-or-a-scientific-approach-short-version-en.html

    CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
    A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

    (Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth)

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    The coronavirus crisis has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think). While many “liberals” and “progressives” have, for far too long, allowed themselves to become paralyzed by ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, are firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives.

    Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

    Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

    The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while). The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

    Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality. (On some levels, the truth of things is obvious—for example, the truth that if it is raining hard and you are exposed to the rain for any length of time, you will get wet. But there are deeper levels to things, and the truth about them is more complex and requires more developed knowledge—for example, what causes rain, why it is raining where you are and not somewhere else, and so on. But in all cases, on all levels, the fact remains: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.) To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

    Ardea Skybreak, a professionally trained scientist and an advocate of the new communism as a further advance in the science of revolution, has made the point that science is not just somebody’s opinion but involves and requires investigating reality and systematizing what is learned through this process. She emphasizes that “Science is an evidence-based process” and

    Science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence.1

    If you don’t judge things by whether there is compelling evidence for them—and if you don’t evaluate what people claim by weighing it against what the evidence shows about the actual reality—you can end up believing almost anything! Or, as Skybreak puts it:

    Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.2

    Skybreak emphasizes the point that science is not mysterious, but is something that anyone can learn and apply. She also speaks to the fact that there has been bad science (including bad science used for racist purposes) but that you can and should use good science—the actual methods of science—to understand reality and expose and refute bad science. As she puts it, in simple and basic terms: “Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.”3

    Opposing the scientific method and approach—and denying the possibility of arriving at important truths by applying this method and approach—can only lead to bad, sometimes extremely bad, results, leaving people weighed down by all kinds of ignorance and prejudice, depriving people of the ability to understand and change the world in a fundamentally positive direction. When, for example, Jonas Salk announced that he had finally developed a vaccine to deal with the terrible disease polio, should the response actually have been to be suspicious of this claim and reject it without even looking into it? Should people actually respond in that way if, or when, a vaccine is developed for COVID-19?! Examples of this kind could be cited almost endlessly.

    It is worth repeating the very important point emphasized by Ardea Skybreak:

    Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.

    And specifically in terms of making a better society—in opposing the fascism of the Trump-Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this system of capitalism-imperialism (which has given rise to this fascism) and bringing into being a far better world—you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

     


    1. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak, emphasis in the original. Ardea Skybreak is a professionally trained scientist in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology and an advocate of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. Skybreak is also the author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006. The entire interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is available at revcom.us.

    In this interview Skybreak goes in some depth into how Bob Avakian, in summing up the historical experience of the communist movement and drawing from a broad range of human experience, has brought forward a new communism that embodies a further leap in the application of a scientific method and approach to the question of how a better society and world, free of exploitation and oppression, can actually be brought into being. This new communism is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.

    In a number of works, and in particular the book THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, and Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to what is new in the new communism and its relation to previous communist theory.  [back]

    2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

    3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

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

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

    Read more

    Watch BA's whole speech:

    Watch clips from speech

     

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/641/bob-avakian-conspiracy-theories-or-a-scientific-approach-long-version-en.html

    CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FASCIST "CERTITUDE," LIBERAL PARALYSIS, OR
    A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO CHANGING THE WORLD

    (Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    The coronavirus crisis has brought home very sharply the importance of science—the scientific method and approach to understanding and changing the world. But there is a big problem in how people have been trained and conditioned to think (or not think). Even as people in the medical field are proceeding on the basis of a scientific approach and, in the context of this coronavirus crisis, “liberals” are insisting that it is vitally important now to “listen to the scientists,” for far too long many “liberals” and “progressives” have allowed themselves to become paralyzed by relativist agnosticism, lacking—and often even rejecting the very idea of—certitude (with ridiculous notions like “How can you know what is really true, no one can say that their truth is greater than someone else’s truth,” and so on). Meanwhile, fascist forces, marked by a truly dark ages mentality, and firmly convinced of the “truth” of all manner of lunatic conspiracy theories promoting fascist “values” and objectives, are eagerly embracing callous philistinism, willfully rejecting critical thinking, smugly ignoring, defying and denigrating science and the scientific method.

    Put another way, in terms of major trends in society as a whole: Those who have the most certitude are those most out of touch with reality.

    Further complicating the situation and an additional dimension to this problem is the fact that, although they do not share but strongly oppose the “values” and objectives of the fascists, many of the basic masses, who are bitterly oppressed under this system, also are suspicious of and even are inclined to reject science and scientifically-grounded analysis. But this also leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of unfounded “conspiracy theories” and other wrong and harmful ideas, including the notion that nothing people do will make a difference because “it’s all in god’s hands.”

    The answer to all this is not giving up on understanding reality, or simply believing what sounds like it makes sense, or what is said by someone you know, or what gives you comfort (at least for a while). The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.” Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

    Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality. (On some levels, the truth of things is obvious—for example, the truth that if it is raining hard and you are exposed to the rain for any length of time, you will get wet. But there are deeper levels to things, and the truth about them is more complex and requires more developed knowledge—for example, what causes rain, why it is raining where you are and not somewhere else, and so on. But in all cases, on all levels, the fact remains: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.) To sort out what is false from what is true and to stand on solid ground in terms of understanding things, you need the scientific method and approach to reality—and, yes, scientifically-grounded certitude, where such certitude can and must be established.

    Science is not another “dogma”—another untested and unproved “set of beliefs”—it is the opposite of that. Conclusions based on the application of the scientific method are obviously important, but science is not just some “collection of conclusions,” and still less is it a set of “precepts” which are not drawn from reality and are out of keeping with reality, or which once reflected reality but have become frozen and “ossified” and no longer correspond to a changing reality. Science is above all and most essentially a method. In this regard the following, from an interview with Ardea Skybreak, a professionally trained scientist and an advocate of the new communism as a further advance in the science of revolution, is very relevant:

    So I think it might be worth starting a little bit by talking about what is science, to demystify it a little bit. I mean, science deals with material reality, and you could say that all of nature and all of human society is the province of science, science can deal with all that. It’s a tool—science—a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is. In that sense, science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence. It is an evidence‑based process. That’s very important. Science is an evidence‑based process.1

    If you don’t judge things by whether there is compelling evidence for them—and if you don’t evaluate what people claim by weighing it against what the evidence shows about the actual reality—you can end up believing almost anything! Or, as Skybreak puts it:

    Without science you are at the mercy of being manipulated, of having your thinking manipulated and not being able to tell what’s right from what’s wrong, what’s true from what’s false.2

    And:

    Whether you’re talking about the material reality of a disease, of a natural ecosystem, or of a social system that human beings live under, science allows you to analyze its components, its history, how it came to be the way it is, what it’s made of, what are its defining characteristics and underlying contradictoriness (and we’ll come back to that) and therefore also what is the basis for it to change, or to be changed, if your intent is to change it. Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.3

    Skybreak emphasizes the point that science is not mysterious, but is something that anyone can learn and apply. She also speaks to the contradiction that sometimes people are turned off to science, partly because they have been given the wrong sense of what science is, and

    Another reason people are sometimes turned off by science is because there has been bad science....sometimes in the course of history science has been used to promote the idea that some races are inferior to other races....Well, that’s junk science. In fact you can use rigorous scientific methods to prove that that was all bad science. It’s not just “morally” bad—it is that, but it’s also scientifically bad—it’s completely false and you can use good science to prove that.4

    As I have put it, in line with the essential point made by Skybreak:

    It is the “good science”—the scientific method and approach of proceeding from the evidence about reality to understand how reality actually is, why it is the way it is, and how it is changing and could be changed further—that we need to consistently apply if we want to transform the world to uproot oppression and exploitation.5

    Consistently Applying a Scientific Method, Following the Truth Wherever It Leads

    Far too often, and with no small amount of irony, educated middle class “liberals,” “progressives” and the “woke” act as if they are asserting some profound truth when they reject the very notion of “truth” and decry and denounce as dogmatic (or even tyrannical) those who say that they have arrived at certain definite truths. But, once again, opposing the scientific method and approach—and denying the possibility of arriving at important truths by applying this method and approach—can only lead to bad, sometimes extremely bad, results, leaving people weighed down by all kinds of ignorance and prejudice, depriving people of the ability to understand and change the world in a fundamentally positive direction. And is this approach—of denying the possibility or desirability of knowing the truth and denouncing those who say they have brought forward definite important truths—is this really valid and viable, something people can or should stick with? When, for example, Jonas Salk announced that he had finally developed a vaccine to deal with the terrible disease polio, should the response actually have been to be suspicious of this claim and reject it without even looking into it, and to criticize (or even ostracize) Salk for having the nerve to claim that he arrived at an important truth (an understanding of the disease polio and how to combat it)? Should people actually respond in that way if, or when, a vaccine is developed for COVID-19?! Examples of this kind could be cited almost endlessly.

    As I have emphasized, speaking to what is a fundamental epistemological principle of the new communism:

    The truth is an actual correct reflection of reality, including in its motion and development. And, of course, it is true that nobody can ever have all of the truth. That’s part of understanding reality correctly, part of the scientific method. But...it is true that you can come to definite and definitive determinations about the reality of many particular things, even while you always have to be open to learning more, and to the possibility that some of what you thought to be true may not turn out to be true, or new developments occur which mean that the world has changed in such a way that your understanding has to be modified. That’s all part of the scientific method as well. When we talk about the truth, we’re not talking about THE TRUTH as an absolute and final truth, but we are also not talking about a narrative. We’re talking about a scientific approach to understanding reality and then, on that basis, transforming it. And the scientific approach to that process of analyzing and synthesizing reality can come to important definitive conclusions, even as this is an ongoing process which is never complete because you can never grasp all of reality—including because it’s constantly changing and because there will always be aspects of reality that human beings will not even have penetrated at any given time, let alone come to understand.6

    There is a definite connection between the relativism and agnosticism of far too many educated middle class “liberals” and their reluctance, if not stubborn refusal, to recognize the fascist danger posed by the Trump-Pence regime for what it is and what is required in the face of this—which is a determined struggle against this fascism, a struggle that does not rely or depend upon the “mainstream” section of the ruling class (as represented by institutions like the Democratic Party) and the system they serve, which has given rise to this fascism (out of whose basic contradictions this fascism has arisen as an attempt at a resolution of these contradictions within the confines of this system and in the most extreme terms).

    Even more fundamentally, there is a definite connection between the relativism and agnosticism of such “liberals” and their resistance or stubborn refusal to apply a consistently scientific evidence-based approach, and on this basis to follow the truth wherever it leads, particularly when it comes to historical, social and political questions—because where it leads is to demolishing cherished illusions and prejudices of “liberals” regarding the actual role of this “great American democracy,” throughout its history and throughout the world; the actual nature of the system we live under, capitalism-imperialism; and the actual experience of revolutionary struggle against this system, and more particularly the experience of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being.

    It is in deeply engaging these questions, and drawing from many different dimensions of human experience, that I have brought forward a new communism, which is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.

    In regard to all this, it is worth repeating the very important point emphasized by Ardea Skybreak:

    Whether you want to cure a disease or make a better society, you need that scientific evidence‑based process.

    And specifically in terms of making a better society—in opposing the fascism of the Trump-Pence regime, and even more fundamentally in making a radical leap beyond this capitalist-imperialist system (which has given rise to this fascism) and bringing into being a far better world—you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

     


    1. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, An Interview with Ardea Skybreak, emphasis in the original. Ardea Skybreak is a professionally trained scientist in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology and an advocate of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian. Skybreak is also the author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006. The entire interview with Ardea Skybreak (SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION) is available at revcom.us.

    In this interview Skybreak goes in some depth into how, in summing up the historical experience of the communist movement and drawing from a broad range of human experience, Bob Avakian has brought forward a new communism that embodies a further leap in the application of a scientific method and approach to the question of how a better society and world, free of exploitation and oppression, can actually be brought into being. As this article points out, the new communism “is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed and which has put communism on an even more consistently scientific basis, providing the strategy and leadership for an actual revolution and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation.”

    In a number of works, and in particular the book THE NEW COMMUNISM, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation (Insight Press, 2016) and Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (which is available at revcom.us) Bob Avakian speaks to what is new in the new communism and its relation to previous communist theory.  [back]

    2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

    3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

    4. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

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

    6. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summaryavailable at revcom.us.  [back]

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

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

    Read more

    Watch BA's whole speech:

    Watch clips from speech

     

     

    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/667/donald-trump-genocidal-racist-by-bob-avakian-en.html

    10 Part Series:

    Donald Trump — GENOCIDAL RACIST

    | revcom.us

     

    Part 1:

    Genocide means killing off a whole people, or a large part of that people. Genocide is what the Europeans did to the native peoples in America, while stealing their land. Genocide is Hitler and the NAZIs murdering six million Jews.  Donald Trump is a genocidal racist.

    Donald Trump hates Black people and everybody who is not a “white, English-speaking, Christian American.” If he could, he would kill off a whole lot of them, and put many of the rest in jail for life, or drive them out of the country.

    Trump has spouted and shouted vicious racism for years, and decades.

    Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who knows him well, said this about him:

    “I can only imagine the envy with which Donald watched” the cop killing George Floyd. “I can only imagine that Donald wishes it had been his knee on Floyd’s neck.” (emphasis added)

    Think about that.  

    What do you think Trump will do if he can get his “knee” even more firmly on the necks of Black, Brown, and Native peoples?

    Yes, even after slavery was ended, Black people have been continually subjected to horrific oppression and terror, right down to today—but the fully unleashed rule of genocidal racism, which is what Trump is aiming for, would be a horror on a whole other level. The slow genocide of Black people which has already been going on—through things like mass incarceration and continuing murder by police—can quickly become a much faster and more complete genocide if Trump and his regime succeed in remaining in power and carry forward more fully their fascist program.

    And, as I have said in my August 1 Statement,* the hour is getting late, but it is not yet too late, to defeat the fascism concentrated in the fascist regime of Trump (and Pence) and to wrench something positive out of this increasingly terrible situation. But that requires fully facing up to what this regime of genocidal racist fascism represents and what it is aiming to do, and using all appropriate means to remove this regime from power—above all the mobilization of masses of people, to get in the streets, starting now, in the thousands, and stay in the streets, becoming millions, powerfully putting forward the unifying demand that this fascist regime must be OUT NOW!

    And, as I emphasized in that August 1 Statement, in the most fundamental terms, it requires working to create more favorable conditions for, and to build up the organized forces for, the revolution that is needed to finally put an end to this system, which has from the beginning rested on genocidal racism and other horrific forms of oppression—and which now, with this fascist regime, is moving to take this to even more monstrous levels, posing a very real and grave threat to the very existence not only of Black people but the masses of oppressed humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole.  

    This is not hype or exaggeration in any way—it is the cold hard fact we are faced with—and it demands that, in the name of and for the future of humanity, we act on the basis of fully confronting this reality and moving, in our millions and millions, to change this reality, before it really is too late.

    (If you think this is an exaggeration, and the danger is not as great as what is said here, then you don’t know who Donald Trump really is. In part 2 and the rest of this series of articles, further evidence will be brought out to show that Donald Trump is indeed a genocidal racist whose fascist regime is a threat to the very existence not only of Black people, but to the masses of oppressed humanity, and to humanity itself—and, once again, what we are urgently called on to do in the face of this.)

     


    *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.  [back]

    See each part for a downloadable poster

    Download pamphlet of complete series (PDF printer spread)

     

    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/665/posters-pamphlet-donald-trump-genocidal-racist-en.html

    Spread them Everywhere

    Pamphlet and Posters of
    “Donald Trump—GENOCIDAL RACIST”

    | revcom.us

     

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/666/bob-avakian-voting-will-not-be-enough-pt3-long-en.html

     

    TRUMP’S FASCISM—
    MORE BLATANT AND DANGEROUS EVERY DAY:
    HOW A DETERMINED FIGHT AND MASSIVE MOBILIZATION
    COULD DEFEAT THIS

    PART 3 of

    VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
    WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS,
    AND STAY IN THE STREETS
    DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    (Long Version—The Larger Canvas and Fuller Picture)

    (See also "Short Version—The Basic Picture and Essential Vision")

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    In the 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, I spoke to this important point:

    At 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.

    At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that

    Simply 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.

    But, if that is true, then how could this regime be removed from power—and, specifically, how could a mass mobilization actually lead to this regime being forced to go? 

    Imagine this. 

    Among the thousands who have already been reached, and moved, by the work of RefuseFascism.org, raising the demand that this fascist regime must be OUT NOW!, growing numbers become grass roots organizers, reaching out to their families, friends and communities, and involving all kinds of people and groups—through direct contact, social media, and in other ways—drawing into this growing, and increasingly diverse, mass movement thousands more who share their hatred for everything this regime stands for and is moving mercilessly to hammer into place. Many more, in turn, also become organizers. 

    Imagine that, as has happened with the mass protests against racist oppression and police terror, people mobilize in the streets, day after day, beginning on October 3rd, responding to the call from Refuse Fascism for sustained non-violent but determined demonstrations around the unifying demand that this regime must go, now. These mobilizations grow, expanding and multiplying—joined by increasing numbers of people outraged by continuing police brutality and murder; by the ravaging of the environment; children in cages and tens of thousands of immigrants in concentration camps on the border; Trump’s heartless and reckless neglect and lying about the COVID pandemic, causing tens of thousands of needless deaths, disproportionately among Black and Brown and Native people; the regime’s relentless move to further consolidate a Supreme Court that is another instrument of fascist bigotry and repression—masses of people, from all parts of society, who are sickened by all this, and are coming to see even more clearly that all this is bound up with and driven by this fascist regime, joining with the ongoing daily mobilizations, linking their outrage and resistance with the unifying demand: OUT NOW! 

    Imagine: Students, teachers, scientists, medical professionals, lawyers, clergy and their congregations, unions, civil rights and justice organizations, artists, athletes and others in the cultural arena—all these, and others, take up the call and mobilize to strengthen the movement. Celebrities, and prominent people in many fields, utilize their platforms to magnify the message and help to mobilize still greater numbers. 

    As the crimes of this regime escalate day after day—spewing white supremacy, male supremacy, and other bigotry; moving to suppress votes and steal the election; threatening and unleashing violence to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election; increasingly turning the “Justice Department” into a naked instrument of lawless repression, robbing people of basic rights, while moving to hammer into place a Supreme Court that will declare all this “Constitutional” and “legal”—as all this, and more, becomes increasingly blatant, and accelerates at a dizzying pace with the approach of the scheduled election, growing sectors of society come to the realization that they cannot simply look to the election to deal with this. Casting aside passive reliance on the “normal political process,” and overcoming fear in the face of threats and assaults by fascist thugs, all over the country masses of ordinary people, in growing waves, take to the streets, join the ongoing OUT NOW! mobilizations, or themselves initiate such mobilizations where they are not yet happening. This becomes a massive groundswell, engulfing the country as a whole, dramatically changing the terms of political engagement, forcing every political contender and all the dominant institutions in society to respond to this rising wave of determined mass resistance. This growing mobilization moves from the margins to the center of media attention and coverage, in this country and internationally. People around the world take notice, are inspired and organize demonstrations in solidarity and support. 

    Imagine that, all of a sudden, Democratic Party politicians and operatives are forced to realize that they cannot simply funnel all the outrage and discontent into an election that is being daily stolen and violently corrupted by the fascist regime. These politicians now declare that they identify with the sentiments of the masses of demonstrators demanding OUT NOW!—and they seek to have speakers at rallies and work to control and direct the mobilizations into “acceptable channels” that will not lead to further “disorder.” But, given the growing understanding and determination of the demonstrators, these politicians’ efforts only draw even more attention, and still greater numbers, to these mobilizations—and, even in the face of growing threats and acts of repression and violence by the regime and its fascist supporters, in and out of uniform, these mobilizations continue to grow and even more powerfully thunder the demand: OUT NOW! 

    Faced with this intensifying situation, the leaders of the Democratic Party calculate that the only way they can hope to gain control over the situation and re-establish some semblance of “orderly process” is to themselves take up the demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go—now—even before a scheduled election that this regime has thoroughly perverted and prevented from proceeding as a “free and fair” process. This move by the Democrats is joined (or supported, behind the scenes) by others in powerful positions in the government, including even some Republican politicians who have finally decided that their political goals and personal ambitions are better served by breaking with this regime and regrouping around other “leaders.” Trump (and Pence) are presented with the ultimatum from these ruling class forces that either they resign or they will be impeached—and, this time, convicted—and those making this demand also make clear that they have the institutional power behind them to enforce this, if Trump (and Pence) refuse to leave. 

    Imagine! 

    Of course, it is impossible to say exactly where things will end up, and there is no “guarantee” of success. But it is possible. And two things should be emphasized in relation to this. 

    First, if masses of people do not take to the streets, now, around the demand that this regime must go; if this regime is allowed to suppress votes and use the threat and force of violence to remain in power; if it is able to further consolidate its fascist rule and to be further unleashed to bludgeon into place its fascist program and aims—then the consequences will truly be catastrophic. 

    Second, we—all of us, from many different walks of life and many different political perspectives, who can recognize this fascist regime for what it is and refuse to live in a fascist America—we, by acting together, in the thousands and millions, can give expression to the strongly held sentiments of tens and tens of millions, who righteously hate everything this regime represents and aspire to a much better world than this. We can give life to massive, non-violent but sustained, and rapidly growing, mass mobilizations demanding that this regime must go—now—with the possibility that this can become a reality. We can powerfully give expression to the crucial understanding that—because of its very fascist nature, and with its escalating attempts to corrupt an election and remain in power regardless of the actual outcome of that election—this regime is illegitimate and must be removed. And if, even with this mass mobilization, this regime is still in power on November 3rd, the fact that we have carried out this mass mobilization and powerfully raised this OUT NOW! demand, will mean that there will be much more favorable conditions for continuing, and further amplifying and strengthening, this mass mobilization if Trump and his regime attempt to stay in power, regardless of the actual outcome of the election. 

    Whether there will be a real possibility of a society, a world and a future for humanity—one worth living in—will depend, to no small degree, on what we who aspire to such a world decide to do, and strive with the determination necessary to make this a reality.  

    ********* 

    With this basic outline in mind of what is necessary, and what is possible—the determined fight and massive mobilization that could actually defeat the moves of the Trump/Pence regime to further hammer into place its fascist rule, with the truly catastrophic consequences that would lead to—let’s look at this further, and more fully, in the context of the larger situation and crucial recent developments. 

    The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Fanatical Woman-Hating Fascists 

    The announcement of the death of longtime liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been the occasion for Trump and his fellow fascists, not to pause to honor Ginsburg, but to immediately declare their intention to ram through the appointment of yet another extreme right-wing judge onto the court—to give further “legal backing,” by “the highest court in the land,” to the fanatically oppressive and repressive agenda and aims of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, which include: using “executive power” to trample on the rule of law and turn the “law” into merely an instrument of the fascist regime; giving the police even more unlimited powers to brutalize and murder in the name of “law and order”; ruthlessly persecuting immigrants, LGBT people, Muslims and other “undesirables”; further removing restrictions on the plundering of the environment; forcing patriotism and religious fundamentalism (that is, Christian fascism) down the throats of everyone in society—and, not least, outlawing abortion and in general slamming women more forcefully into a subordinate position in relation to men and in society overall. 

    In The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!, I examined the “unholy alliance” between Trump and the Christian fundamentalists, who are the hard core and driving force of this fascism.1 

    Speaking to the same phenomenon (and referring to the Christian fundamentalists as “evangelicals,” and having in mind particularly white evangelicals), Kristin Kobes Du Mez has made clear:

    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.2

    The Christian fascist zealotry in opposition to abortion is not really about the fraudulent notion that abortion amounts to “killing babies”—something which is demonstrated by (among other things) the fact that these opponents of the right to abortion also strongly oppose birth control which prevents pregnancy in the first place. The truth is this:

    What is really involved is that abortion, and birth control, help to provide women with a certain independence, a freedom to decide whether and when to have children—and, yes, a certain freedom to engage in sexual relations of their own choosing, on the basis of their own desire and volition, without having to be worried about whether they are going to become pregnant when they have neither wanted nor decided to do so. It is this relative independence and freedom that causes a frenzy among Christian fascists, because it runs counter to reducing the role of women to “helpmates” to husbands and breeders of children for those husbands in patriarchal, male-dominated families, and to the subordinate and oppressed position of women in society as a whole.3

    In previous writings and speeches—including the previous article (Part 2) in this series—I emphasized that there is a direct connection and powerful link between the patriarchal misogyny (hatred and degradation of women) of this fascism and its aggressive white supremacy, and that:

    there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacymale supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!4

    It is urgently necessary for everyone who refuses to accept (to be “reconciled” with) all this, to understand what the terrible consequences will be if the Trump/Pence regime is able to make a further leap in consolidating its fascist rule and implementing its fascist program. This fascism “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.”5

    The African-American theologian, Hubert Locke—whom I quoted in the previous article (Part 1) in this series—underlines this crucial point:

    Were all this only a battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, we could wade into the conflict with a great deal less concern, confident that good sense and human decency would ultimately triumph over ignorance and bigotry. But this is a battle for power—it’s about seizing the reins of government, manipulating the courts and judicial decisions, controlling the media, and making incursions into every possible corner of our private lives and relationships, so that what the religious right perceives as the will of God will reign in America.6

    A Rallying Cry and a Call to Action 

    All those who can recognize that this nightmare is rapidly becoming a brute reality—who refuse to live in a fascist America where every aspiration for a just world is viciously slandered and mercilessly deprived of air to breathe—we, in our millions and tens of millions, must act together to create a situation where there can be, and there will be, no “normal,” no grinding along of the machinery that is leading to disaster, so long as this fascist regime is in power

    We need to fight with the full recognition of the profound stakes that are involved and the ultimate threat to humanity itself that is posed by this regime. What is called for now is struggle that is non-violent, but is daring and bold, fired with the determination not to back down, until this regime has been removed. We must, in a very urgent way, bring into being a situation in which every force—among all the different sectors of the ruling powers and institutions, and in the society at large—has to respond to and weigh heavily the political situation that we are creating through increasingly massive and powerful mobilizations, insisting that this regime must go, now!  

    Anything less will mean tying ourselves to forces and procedures, and passively awaiting an outcome, that will very likely lead to capitulating to this fascism, with what will be (without the slightest exaggeration) truly catastrophic consequences. 

    As my August 1 Statement emphasizes: “At this critical hour, every appropriate means of non-violent action must be utilized to remove this regime from power.”7 And, if it comes to it, that means voting for Biden in order to effectively vote against Trump

    I have also pointed to this important reality:

    It is true that, at this point, the vote in a few states essentially determines the outcome of presidential elections—so that, as was the case with Trump in the previous presidential election, someone can lose the popular vote and still become president. But, even given this reality, an electoral strategy that could work much better for the Democrats would be to take on Trump’s whole racist approach, directly and forcefully, and appeal to Black people and other people of color, and the large number of white people (especially, though not only, younger generations) who have shown that they are motivated by a definite desire for an end to social injustice, blatant inequality, and rampant police violence. That is a great “reservoir” that, theoretically, the Democrats could focus on appealing to.8

    It is also true that “the Democrats themselves will not—cannot—really do this.”8 But, creating the kind of political situation where Biden and the Democrats are forced to recognize, and reckon with, the powerfully expressed determination of massive numbers demanding an end to the Trump/Pence regime and the fascism it embodies—that could exert a compulsion on the Democrats to voice opposition to Trump on a basis that at least comes close to the heart of the essential fascist nature and program of the Trump/Pence regime...Which, in turn, could impel more people to take to the streets demanding this...Which, in turn, could create still more favorable circumstances and conditions for waging the fight to remove this regime. 

    Think about what has happened as a result of the beautiful rising that has taken place against institutional racism and police terror. In very significant ways, “the conversation about race” has been dramatically changed. All of a sudden, the Democrats, and other “mainstream” institutions, feel compelled to talk not only about the need for “police reform,” but about “systemic racism”—and there is widespread discussion and debate about the whole history of this country, with its roots in slavery, and genocide against the indigenous peoples! There is no way that all this would have taken place—and the political landscape would have been so dramatically changed, in such a short period of time—in the absence of this beautiful mass rising! And the same can happen, in the same immediate (“telescoped”) way, if there is not only a continuation of the righteous outpouring against racist oppression and police terror, and other outrageous injustice, but if all this is linked together with, and given powerful expression as, masses of people, in continually growing numbers, in the streets powerfully demanding that the fascist Trump/Pence regime must go! 

    If this fascist regime is still in power when it is time for voting—then that will require not just people carrying out the single act of voting themselves, but working to mobilize people in massive numbers to deliver a decisive electoral defeat to this fascist regime. But, at the same time, as I have emphasized repeatedly—and this cannot be emphasized too many times—for all the reasons discussed here (as well as elsewhere in this series and in my August 1 Statement) relying on voting, without the mass mobilization demanding the removal of this regime, is likely to lead to disaster

    Masses of people must act, now, to create the most favorable conditions for forcing the removal of this regime, whose continuation, and further consolidation, in power will, without any exaggeration, have truly monstrous consequences. 

    Rising to the Historic Challenge and Overcoming All Obstacles (Including in Ourselves) 

    As I have also emphasized, it “would be a very grave mistake to fail to take seriously what is being openly proclaimed by Trump and his fascist supporters,” including their threats of even greater violence to ensure that the Trump/Pence regime remains in power. But, an even more important truth is this: “as truly dangerous as these fascist threats and acts of violence, and preparations to carry out even more violence, are—being cowed by and capitulating to this would lead to a far greater horror.”9 In confronting this, every decent person can take inspiration and find courage in the actions of the masses of people who have defiantly braved repeated attacks, by police and government storm troopers under the command of the Trump/Pence regime, as well as assaults by armed pro-Trump fascist thugs, and have poured into the streets, to express their outrage over racist brutality and murder and their determination that this must end

    But it is not just fear, however well-founded, that must be overcome. It is also the individualism that has become so widespread, and often expressed in such extreme terms, in this society, especially in recent times. In the situation today, faced with the escalating and accelerating fascist juggernaut, this individualism is often expressed in these terms now: “While I hate everything Trump is about and everything he is doing, I have to look out for myself and those who are close to me; and putting myself on the line to step out and actively oppose this by getting into the streets and demonstrating around the demand that this regime must be removed now—when there are not that many people already doing this—well, that is a risk I am not willing to take, especially when there is an election coming up and there is a chance that this might deal with the problem.” 

    Here—along with calling attention once again to the ways in which Trump is already perverting and stealing the election, and is using violence and threatening even more violence to remain in power, regardless of what actually happens with this election—it needs to be pointed out strongly: If everyone who has expressed (or felt) these sentiments were actually to take to the streets, there would be a force of literally millions, and even tens of millions, powerfully demonstrating their insistence that the Trump/Pence regime must be OUT NOW!—as is being called for, and organized by, RefuseFascism.org. 

    It also needs to be bluntly said: This rampant individualism—everyone just thinking about themselves and failing or refusing to act on the larger interests of humanity—this is a big part of why we are faced with the terrible situation we are faced with now. And continuing in this way will only contribute to things becoming far, far worse, with truly catastrophic consequences for all of humanity—which few, if any, will ultimately be able to escape. (Besides the ever-present danger of nuclear annihilation, especially with the demented bully Trump having his finger on the nuclear button, think about the environmental crisis and the intensified and accelerated damage the Trump/Pence regime has already done to the environment—and will do on a far more terrible scale, if it remains in power.)

    It may not be “easy,” but it is in the fundamental interests of everyone (everyone who cares at all about social injustice and inequality, and having an environment, both natural and social, in which human beings can breathe and hope to flourish) that we all be willing to be “among the first” to boldly step forward and become part of a truly massive mobilization demanding that this regime must be removed, now—and, in doing so, discovering that we are not after all “alone” or “only a few brave souls,” but are together, not just in sentiment but as an active force, with thousands and ultimately millions. 

    Yes, it is true that there is no “guarantee” that even such a massive mobilization will succeed in forcing the removal of this regime—and this regime, along with the crazed fascist fanatics who make up its “base,” will rabidly resist this—but it can be guaranteed that, if this regime succeeds in remaining in power, by corrupting and stealing the election and then refusing to leave, once more the consequences will truly be catastrophic. 

    And, while there is no “guarantee,” there is a definite possibility of a positive outcome. Once again, think of the tremendous impact that the beautiful rising against racist oppression and police terror has had, almost literally “overnight.” 

    At the same time, it is important to understand that, even if and as a mass mobilization demanding the removal of this regime could have a powerful impact on the political terrain, and on all the institutions of power and sectors of society, things would not likely go forward as a simple direct line extension of this mass mobilization. Rather, it would more likely take place as the interplay between that mass mobilization and the contradictions and conflicts among the powers-that-be, which will be heightened by this mass mobilization—possibly leading to a political crisis of such powerful dimensions and depth that forces who normally strongly resist doing things outside of the “traditional institutional means and procedures” of this system, ruling class powers who do not normally involve themselves directly in the politics of the system, and even some of those who have up to now stubbornly stuck with this fascist regime, will conclude that it is necessary to remove the regime—to at least force Trump (and Pence) to resign—in order to avoid an even more profound crisis for their whole system

    Again, no one can say, with absolute certainty, what the outcome of all this will be. But a truly massive popular upsurge, aimed at driving out the Trump/Pence regime, even ahead of the election, could play a very powerful role in creating favorable conditions for dealing with the demented determination of this regime to remain in power and wreak even further havoc and horror. 

    It is crucial to recognize that

    The mass mobilization that is needed cannot be built “overnight,” in the aftermath of the election—and it cannot be built by confining things within the framework and limits insisted upon by the Democrats.10

    And, through the work of Refuse Fascism, and some others joining this effort, this mass mobilization has already begun. 

    It is a fact that, since the early days of the Trump/Pence regime, Refuse Fascism has been calling for mass mobilization around the demand that this regime must go; and, while it has rallied thousands so far to take to the streets to voice this demand, as yet this mobilization has not resulted in the exponential (by leaps and bounds) growth that it needs to, now very quickly, achieve. But, because those thousands really do give expression to strongly held sentiments of tens of millions, they actually represent a potentially powerful force, and it is crucial to build on every advance that is made in reaching and mobilizing people, including by enabling those who have stepped forward to themselves become organizers of many more...to, in turn, become the organizers of still greater numbers. Further, it is very important to recognize, and act on the understanding, that the times, right now, are very different than they have been over the past few years, even with all the outrages that this regime has committed over those years. 

    Things now are much more intense, and are developing in a much more accelerating pace, particularly as Trump is ramping up his fascist offensive, with the approach of the scheduled election. This is having contradictory effects. On the one hand, the violent repression and attacks on people protesting injustice—and the threats of even much worse repression and violence—on the part of this regime, and its fascist supporters, together with the fact that the scheduled election is rapidly approaching: this has led more than a few, among those who hate this regime, to fall into a passive position of just waiting for the election and hoping that it will somehow resolve the crisis that is intensifying now on mainly very bad terms. But, the other side of the story is that the relentless drive by this regime and its supporters, even as the election approaches, to go full steam ahead with their fascist juggernaut, to corrupt and steal the election, to refuse to accept a defeat in the election, and to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election—this is forcing, more and more to the forefront, the reality of what is represented by this regime, the great objective danger of simply waiting for the election, and the great need to take to the streets, now, to demand that this regime must be removed.

    This speaks, once again, to the importance of the mobilization that is already taking place around the demand Trump/Pence OUT NOW! And it speaks to the great importance of this mobilization, with whatever numbers it organizes at any given time, becoming sustained, taking place day after day, and to build on every significant advance it does achieve. As this is done in ways, both determined and creative, that “capture the imagination” of people—together with the continuing intensification of the crisis that is largely being driven, now, by Trump’s fascist actions and declarations—“things can come together,” and “the dam can break,” with growing numbers of people pouring into the streets, raising ever more loudly the demand that this regime must go, now, and calling forth still greater numbers to join in this courageous and urgently needed mobilization. 

    In conclusion:

    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.11

    ***

    The crazed fanaticism of the fascists insisting that Trump must remain in power, no matter what, must be met, and overwhelmed, by the conscious passionate intensity of masses of people who hate everything that this fascist regime represents, who recognize the very real existential threat that this regime represents for humanity and are fired with righteous determination that this regime must go!12

     


    1. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS PossibleVideo of this speech 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 part quoted here is from the “Introduction.”  [back]

    3. Fascists Today And The Confederacy: A Direct Line, A Direct Connection Between All The OppressionThis article of mine is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

    4. Trump Is Already Stealing The Election And Threatening Even More Violence To Stay in Power, Part 2 of Voting Will Not Be Enough—We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now! This article is available at revcom.us.  [back]

    5. 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 (also available at revcom.us).  [back]

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

    7. 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.  [back]

    8. The Democrats Can’t Fight Trump The Way He Needs To Be Fought, Part 1 of Voting Will Not Be Enough—We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now!  [back]

    9. Trump Is Already Stealing The Election And Threatening Even More Violence To Stay in Power, emphasis in the original.  [back]

    10. The Democrats Can’t Fight Trump The Way He Needs To Be Fought.  [back]

    11. 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 (also available at revcom.us), emphasis in the original.  [back]

    12. Trump Is Already Stealing The Election And Threatening Even More Violence To Stay In Power, emphasis in the original.  [back]

    Read the 10-part series 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/666/bob-avakian-voting-will-not-be-enough-pt3-short-en.html

     

    TRUMP’S FASCISM—
    MORE BLATANT AND DANGEROUS EVERY DAY:
    HOW A DETERMINED FIGHT AND MASSIVE MOBILIZATION
    COULD DEFEAT THIS

    PART 3 of

    VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
    WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS,
    AND STAY IN THE STREETS
    DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    (Short Version—The Basic Picture and Essential Vision)

    (See also "Long Version—The Larger Canvas and Fuller Picture")

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    In the 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, I spoke to this important point:

    At 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.

    At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that

    Simply 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.

    But, if that is true, then how could this regime be removed from power—and, specifically, how could a mass mobilization actually lead to this regime being forced to go?

    Imagine this.

    Among the thousands who have already been reached, and moved, by the work of RefuseFascism.org, raising the demand that this fascist regime must be OUT NOW!, growing numbers become grass roots organizers, reaching out to their families, friends and communities, and involving all kinds of people and groups—through direct contact, social media, and in other ways—drawing into this growing, and increasingly diverse, mass movement thousands more who share their hatred for everything this regime stands for and is moving mercilessly to hammer into place. Many more, in turn, also become organizers.

    Imagine that, as has happened with the mass protests against racist oppression and police terror, people mobilize in the streets, day after day, beginning on October 3rd, responding to the call from Refuse Fascism for sustained non-violent but determined demonstrations around the unifying demand that this regime must go, now. These mobilizations grow, expanding and multiplying—joined by increasing numbers of people outraged by continuing police brutality and murder; by the ravaging of the environment; children in cages and tens of thousands of immigrants in concentration camps on the border; Trump’s heartless and reckless neglect and lying about the COVID pandemic, causing tens of thousands of needless deaths, disproportionately among Black and Brown and Native people; the regime’s relentless move to further consolidate a Supreme Court that is another instrument of fascist bigotry and repression—masses of people, from all parts of society, who are sickened by all this, and are coming to see even more clearly that all this is bound up with and driven by this fascist regime, joining with the ongoing daily mobilizations, linking their outrage and resistance with the unifying demand: OUT NOW!

    Imagine: Students, teachers, scientists, medical professionals, lawyers, clergy and their congregations, unions, civil rights and justice organizations, artists, athletes and others in the cultural arena—all these, and others, take up the call and mobilize to strengthen the movement. Celebrities, and prominent people in many fields, utilize their platforms to magnify the message and help to mobilize still greater numbers.

    As the crimes of this regime escalate day after day—spewing white supremacy, male supremacy, and other bigotry; moving to suppress votes and steal the election; threatening and unleashing violence to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election; increasingly turning the “Justice Department” into a naked instrument of lawless repression, robbing people of basic rights, while moving to hammer into place a Supreme Court that will declare all this “Constitutional” and “legal”—as all this, and more, becomes increasingly blatant, and accelerates at a dizzying pace with the approach of the scheduled election, growing sectors of society come to the realization that they cannot simply look to the election to deal with this. Casting aside passive reliance on the “normal political process,” and overcoming fear in the face of threats and assaults by fascist thugs, all over the country masses of ordinary people, in growing waves, take to the streets, join the ongoing OUT NOW! mobilizations, or themselves initiate such mobilizations where they are not yet happening. This becomes a massive groundswell, engulfing the country as a whole, dramatically changing the terms of political engagement, forcing every political contender and all the dominant institutions in society to respond to this rising wave of determined mass resistance. This growing mobilization moves from the margins to the center of media attention and coverage, in this country and internationally. People around the world take notice, are inspired and organize demonstrations in solidarity and support.

    Imagine that, all of a sudden, Democratic Party politicians and operatives are forced to realize that they cannot simply funnel all the outrage and discontent into an election that is being daily stolen and violently corrupted by the fascist regime. These politicians now declare that they identify with the sentiments of the masses of demonstrators demanding OUT NOW!—and they seek to have speakers at rallies and work to control and direct the mobilizations into “acceptable channels” that will not lead to further “disorder.” But, given the growing understanding and determination of the demonstrators, these politicians’ efforts only draw even more attention, and still greater numbers, to these mobilizations—and, even in the face of growing threats and acts of repression and violence by the regime and its fascist supporters, in and out of uniform, these mobilizations continue to grow and even more powerfully thunder the demand: OUT NOW!

    Faced with this intensifying situation, the leaders of the Democratic Party calculate that the only way they can hope to gain control over the situation and re-establish some semblance of “orderly process” is to themselves take up the demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go—now—even before a scheduled election that this regime has thoroughly perverted and prevented from proceeding as a “free and fair” process. This move by the Democrats is joined (or supported, behind the scenes) by others in powerful positions in the government, including even some Republican politicians who have finally decided that their political goals and personal ambitions are better served by breaking with this regime and regrouping around other “leaders.” Trump (and Pence) are presented with the ultimatum from these ruling class forces that either they resign or they will be impeached—and, this time, convicted—and those making this demand also make clear that they have the institutional power behind them to enforce this, if Trump (and Pence) refuse to leave.

    Imagine!

    Of course, it is impossible to say exactly where things will end up, and there is no “guarantee” of success. But it is possible. And two things should be emphasized in relation to this.

    First, if masses of people do not take to the streets, now, around the demand that this regime must go; if this regime is allowed to suppress votes and use the threat and force of violence to remain in power; if it is able to further consolidate its fascist rule and to be further unleashed to bludgeon into place its fascist program and aims—then the consequences will truly be catastrophic.

    Second, we—all of us, from many different walks of life and many different political perspectives, who can recognize this fascist regime for what it is and refuse to live in a fascist America—we, by acting together, in the thousands and millions, can give expression to the strongly held sentiments of tens and tens of millions, who righteously hate everything this regime represents and aspire to a much better world than this. We can give life to massive, non-violent but sustained, and rapidly growing, mass mobilizations demanding that this regime must go—now—with the possibility that this can become a reality. We can powerfully give expression to the crucial understanding that—because of its very fascist nature, and with its escalating attempts to corrupt an election and remain in power regardless of the actual outcome of that election—this regime is illegitimate and must be removed. And if, even with this mass mobilization, this regime is still in power on November 3rd, the fact that we have carried out this mass mobilization and powerfully raised this OUT NOW! demand, will mean that there will be much more favorable conditions for continuing, and further amplifying and strengthening, this mass mobilization if Trump and his regime attempt to stay in power, regardless of the actual outcome of the election.

    Whether there will be a real possibility of a society, a world and a future for humanity—one worth living in—will depend, to no small degree, on what we who aspire to such a world decide to do, and strive with the determination necessary to make this a reality.

     

    Read the 10-part series 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/665/bob-avakian-voting-will-not-be-enough-pt2-en.html

     

    TRUMP IS ALREADY STEALING THE ELECTION 
    AND THREATENING EVEN MORE VIOLENCE
    TO STAY IN POWER

    PART 2 of

    VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
    WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS,
    AND STAY IN THE STREETS
    DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    In the 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, I spoke to this important point:

    At 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.

    At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that

    Simply 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.

    The Trump/Pence Regime Is Already Moving to Suppress Votes

    The fact that Trump, and his supporters, continue to commit outrage after outrage, on a regular basis, can cause people—even those who hate everything Trump represents—to forget about outrages that were committed even just a little while ago. But, it is crucially important not to forget that Trump has already “floated” the idea of “delaying” the election on the basis of his completely false claims that things like mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud and that it could take weeks, months, or even years to know the actual result of the election (note: weeks, months, or even years—during which time Trump would insist on staying in power!). 

    Trump and his supporters are making moves to suppress the votes of many Black people, and others, who are likely to vote heavily against Trump. Here is one glaring example: In the state of Florida (which Trump desperately needs to win), the Republican-controlled government is working to undermine changes in the Florida Constitution that have restored the right of convicted felons to vote. This could take away the right to vote from nearly 800,000 people, many of whom are Black and Latino.1 

    Trump’s operatives are already in the process of organizing fascist thugs to go to polling places, especially in key “battleground” states, to “watch out for fraud.” In fascist Trumpworld, lying is a way of life and the standard operating procedure. When they say “law and order,” they mean police killing Black and Brown people. To them, the truth is “fake news,” and they claim “science doesn’t know” things that only Trump knows. So, when they talk about “election fraud,” what they mean is people voting against Trump. And what these fascist goons being organized by the Trump camp intend to do is precisely to prevent people from voting against Trump—with the threat, and the use, of force and violence.

    Michael Cohen—who, for more than 10 years, was Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer”—has sounded the alarm, more than once, that Trump will do anything to stay in powereven start a war to create a national emergency.2 Trump, who is both a pathological liar and a liar with a purpose, has deliberately and repeatedly downplayed the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic, even while knowing what a serious danger it actually poses. He has already forced government bodies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to bend its findings and recommendations about the COVID-19 pandemic to serve Trump’s political ambitions and goals. And it seems increasingly likely that, shortly before the election, in the attempt to offset the exposure of his terrible recklessness with regard to COVD-19, and to perversely declare himself the “savior” of the people from this pandemic, Trump will use his presidential power to pressure approval for the use of a vaccine, even before it has really been scientifically determined whether such a vaccine is not only effective but safe

    Trump Has Violently Suppressed Opposition, and Has Threatened Even Greater Violence 

    Another thing that must not be forgotten is that Trump has not only justified and supported but openly encouraged violence by armed white supremacist storm troopers (what he calls “Second Amendment people”). He has supported police violently attacking protesters and utilized armed forces of the government to attack and suppress protests, in Washington, D.C., in Portland and other cities. There is already plenty of evidence—and more evidence comes out all the time—that (assuming the election is actually held) regardless of the actual outcome of the election, Trump will declare himself the winner and use whatever means he can, including violence, to stay in power. As pointed out in a recent article posted on revcom.us:

    On September 10, Trump was asked by Jeanine Pirro of fascist Fox “News” what his response would be on election night if he won and those against him “threaten riots.” Trump’s response: “We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that.... We have the right to do that, we have the power to do that if we want. Look, it’s called insurrection.”3

    Here, it is necessary to “translate” what is being said in this episode of the ongoing fascist lie-athon of Trump and his media accomplices (such as Fox “news”). Trump “winning” the election means Trump declaring himself the winner. (Remember that Trump has already strongly implied that he will not accept the results of the election if Biden wins; and Trump has insisted that the only way he could lose the election is if it is “rigged.”) “Riots,” in fascist-speak, means protests against police brutality and other injustices, even when (as has been the case) these protests are overwhelmingly peaceful; and “insurrection” here means mobilization against the Trump/Pence regime, even if that mobilization is non-violent. 

    The same revcom.us article calls attention to this:

    Another glimpse at what the fascists may be thinking of and even planning for came from the mouth of longtime Republican operative and Trump stooge, Roger Stone. (In July, Trump commuted the 40-month prison sentence of Stone, who had been convicted of lying to Congress.) In a call with Alex Jones—pro-Trump conspiracy theorist—on his online Infowars show, Stone said Trump should consider declaring “martial law” or invoke the Insurrection Act if he should lose the November election.3

    And Stone called on “Attorney General” William Barr (head of Trump’s Injustice Department, chief enforcer of unlawful repression, and a “commander” of the regime’s storm troopers) to prepare now a force ready to act on this “martial law” declaration if Trump loses. 

    Note that Stone openly calls for Trump to use violence to remain in office if Trump loses the election. 

    And other fanatical backers of this regime, in and out of government, have called on its supporters to arm themselves in preparation for the election. 

    It would be a very grave mistake to fail to take seriously what is being openly proclaimed by Trump and his fascist supporters.

    But as truly dangerous as these fascist threats and acts of violence, and preparations to carry out even more violence, are—being cowed by and capitulating to this would lead to a far greater horror

    The Trumpite attempts to suppress votes must be actively, vigorously opposed; and people must mobilize, now and in an ongoing way, demanding that the whole Trump/Pence regime must go. 

    We Can’t Rely on the Democrats, We Can’t Wait Until November

    In Part 1 in this series, I examined the reasons why the Democrats will not call out the Trump/Pence regime, and its supporters, for what they are: fascist. I pointed out:

    Time and again, the Democrats have sought to deal with this by trying to utilize the very “norms” and institutions that this fascist regime is defying and tearing up, or bending to its fascist aims—the courts, congressional hearings and proceedings, and so on. Time and again, the Democrats have failed. Yet they stubbornly refuse to seek any means of opposing this regime other than by resorting to these “norms” and procedures. This is what they are doing, and will be strongly inclined to continue doing, even in the face of Trump’s increasing and intensifying moves to suppress votes in the upcoming election and his clearly indicated determination to have himself declared the winner in the election, or to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election.4

    Biden and the Democrats act as if—and repeatedly insist that—the reason there is so much bitter conflict, violence, and “chaos” in society is because “Trump is dividing us, not uniting us.” But the truth is that, while Trump has become a “rallying point” and “spearpoint” of the fascist forces in this country, within the structures of power and more broadly among sectors of the population, there are deep-seated reasons and causes for why this fascism has become such a powerful force. Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that! 

    As I have also emphasized: “all this points to the very great likelihood that regardless of the actual outcome of this election (assuming it is actually held), if Trump declares himself the ‘winner’and refuses to leave, in the absence of truly massive mobilization demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must be removed, the Democrats will end up capitulating to Trump.4

    This does not mean that voting for Biden would be irrelevant—would make no difference. Many people who hate Trump have at the same time expressed a definite lack of enthusiasm for Biden. But “enthusiasm for Biden”—or the lack of such enthusiasm—is really beside the point, and basing things on something like that involves gross ignorance, or a deliberate ignoring, of the crucial stakes involved. The reason to vote for Biden is to vote against Trump and his whole regime. And that should be reason enough, for any person who actually cares about social justice, who refuses to live in a fascist America and has any sense of the very real catastrophe it would mean, not just for people in this country but for all of humanity, if Trump gets a “re-election mandate.” For these reasons, as I pointed out in my August 1 Statement, if it comes down to it—if the Trump/Pence regime is still in power when it is time for voting—then voting for Biden, in order to vote against Trump, will be very important and necessary

    As that Statement emphasizes, “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.”This would not “put an end” to the fascism that has arisen out of deep-seated contradictions and has gained strength, over decades. But, as the August 1 Statement further emphasizes: delivering a decisive defeat to this regime “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.” 

    At the same time, for all the reasons spoken to in that Statement, and highlighted here—the moves by Trump that are already far along to steal the election, and his determination to use whatever means he can to remain in power, regardless of the actual outcome of that election, and at the same time the likelihood that the Democrats, left to their own devices, will end up capitulating to Trump—waiting for November and relying on voting will very likely lead to disaster.

    People need to really and fully awaken to the reality of what is at stake, before it is too late. More than a few people have observed, sometimes with sad resignation, that the continuing avalanche of lies and truly monstrous criminal acts by Trump and his regime have worn them down, to the point where they are no longer shocked or feel compelled to act. But losing one’s ability to be outraged, and to act on that outrage, means losing one’s humanity—and, given the situation we are facing, it amounts to collaborating with the fascism of this regime and the catastrophe toward which it is relentlessly propelling humanity.

    The crazed fanaticism of the fascists insisting that Trump must remain in power, no matter what, must be met, and overwhelmed, by the conscious passionate intensity of masses of people who hate everything that this fascist regime represents, who recognize the very real existential threat that this regime represents for humanity and are fired with righteous determination that this regime must go! 

    And, to make this a reality, this righteous determination cannot just be channeled into voting against Trump. What is urgently required now is “stepping outside of the ‘norms’ of this system and mobilizing masses of people in determined, non-violent but sustained struggle in the streets to demand the ouster of this regime, as is being called for by RefuseFascism.org.”4 And:

    The mass mobilization that is needed cannot be built “overnight,” in the aftermath of the election—and it cannot be built by confining things within the framework and limits insisted upon by the Democrats....

    We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets, Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now!4

    (The next, concluding article in this series will speak to the big question: How the nonviolent but sustained, and continually growing, mass mobilization, demanding Trump/Pence OUT NOW! that has been called for, and is being organized by, RefuseFascism.org, could lead to, or contribute in a major way to, a situation in which the Trump/Pence regime would be removed from power.) 

     


    1. See the article “Florida Moves to Deny Voting Rights to Hundreds of Thousands of People Convicted of Felonies,” at revcom.us.  [back]

    2. In his testimony before a congressional committee in 2019, Michael Cohen spoke to the danger that Trump would refuse to recognize the results of the election scheduled for November 2020, if Trump did not win this election. And, in his recently-published book Disloyal, The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, Cohen once again sounds the alarm, even more urgently, with the warning that Trump will do anything, including starting a war, to stay in power. Cohen has acknowledged that, prior to this 2019 appearance before Congress, he had lied to Congress—something he sought to set right by giving truthful testimony in that 2019 hearing. Trump’s fascist falsehood machine has tried to seize on the fact that Cohen is an admitted liar, who has been convicted of the crime of lying to Congress, in the attempt to draw attention away from what Cohen has revealed about Trump and the great dangers he poses. The problem, for the Trumpites, is that the lies they are referring to, and other despicable acts Cohen carried out—this was done precisely on the instruction and for the benefit of the Liar-in-Chief, Trump himself

    Cohen, who worked very closely with (or for) Trump, for more than ten years, including the first years of Trump’s presidency, and probably knows Trump as well as anyone can, confirms what is said by Trump’s niece, Mary Trump: Racism, misogyny (hatred and degradation of women), and all-around bigotry are at the very core of Trump’s being.  [back]

    3. “Trump on Election Night Protests: ‘We’ll put them down very quickly.’” This is part of the continuing series The Fascist Assault on revcom.us.  [back]

    4. The quotes and references here are from Voting Will Not Be Enough—We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now, Part 1, “The Democrats Can’t Fight Trump The Way He Needs To Be Fought.” This article of mine is available at revcom.us.  [back]

    VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
    WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS,
    AND STAY IN THE STREETS
    DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    by Bob Avakian

    Part 1:
    THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T FIGHT TRUMP
    THE WAY HE NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT

    Part 2:
    TRUMP IS ALREADY STEALING THE ELECTION  AND THREATENING EVEN MORE VIOLENCE TO STAY IN POWER

    Part 3:
    TRUMP’S FASCISM—MORE BLATANT AND DANGEROUS EVERY DAY: HOW A DETERMINED FIGHT AND MASSIVE MOBILIZATION COULD DEFEAT THIS

    (Long Version—The Larger Canvas and Fuller Picture)

    (Short Version—The Basic Picture and Essential Vision)

     

    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/664/bob-avakian-voting-will-not-be-enough-pt1-en.html

    VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
    WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS,
    AND STAY IN THE STREETS
    DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    Part 1

    THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T FIGHT TRUMP
    THE WAY HE NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT

     

    In the 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, I spoke to this important point:

    At 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.

    At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that:

    Simply 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.

    Trump’s Blatant Racism and Support for White Supremacist Violence

    It has become increasingly clear that a pivotal part of Trump’s strategy, in relation to the election scheduled for November, and his overall approach to holding power, is to make more and more blatant appeals to racism by trumpeting a call for “law and order.” Trump portrays the ongoing protests against white supremacy and police terror as violent—and, as is typical with him, he flagrantly and grossly lies about the extent and causes of this violence. He paints a crude horror scene of you-know-who coming to pillage and rape—to violate the homes and the people, especially the women—in the suburbs, which in Trump’s vision are all white. This is a direct “echo” of the vile tactics used by white supremacists organizing mobs to lynch Black people during Jim Crow segregation, and of how Hitler stirred up hatred of and violence against Jews in NAZI Germany. Here again, facts do not matter to Trump and his fascist regime and its supporters—or, rather, facts are to be deliberately distorted, defied, and perverted in pursuit of literally murderous aims.

    It has been shown (for example, in a study by Princeton University) that, overwhelmingly (more than 90 percent of the time), these protests against white supremacy and police terror have not been violent; and violence that has been committed by the protesters themselves has been relatively minor (some fires, looting, and trashing of a few buildings, in small, confined areas, often at or near police stations—nothing like the picture Trump paints of whole cities being burned down and destroyed). But, beyond that, most of the violence in connection with these protests has been perpetrated by Trump supporters—by police, who have repeatedly attacked the protests, and by armed fascist thugs (those Trump calls “Second Amendment people”). At least 20 protesters have been killed in this way. And Trump and his supporters have justified—and even glorified—this violence by white supremacists.

    The Democrats, and the “mainstream media” generally in the same camp (CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and so on), have largely tried to shift the focus away from the protests and onto questions where they feel Trump is more vulnerable—in particular Trump’s truly reckless handling of the COVID pandemic, and things such as statements by Trump (or attributed to him) insulting U.S. soldiers. But Trump will continue his racist attacks on the protests against white supremacy and police violence, and his attempts to paint the Democrats as backers of violence and “carnage” by Black “thugs,” anarchists” and other “far leftists”; and this will have the effect of forcing the Democrats to devote significant attention to responding to this. And what has been the response of the Democrats? They have made the point that most of the protests have been peaceful, and they even say that Trump wants violence; yet, at the same time, the Democrats accept, to a large extent, the terms (and the trap) Trump has set. They have put a great deal of emphasis on denouncing violence by protesters, without giving the same emphasis to pointing out who is responsible for most of the violence connected to the protests—once again, overwhelmingly Trump supporters. The Democrats do not highlight the bitter irony that here are people protesting violence by the police and, even when (overwhelmingly) their protests are peaceful, they are subjected to yet more violence by the policeThe Democrats don’t emphasize yet another glaring irony: Here are Trump and his supporters denouncing and attacking people overwhelmingly carrying out peaceful protests against racist violence, while Trump defends monuments to “heroes” of the Confederacy, who waged a war, in which they killed hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers, in the attempt to preserve and extend slavery.

    Strategies by Democrats That Flow From and Reinforce the Problem Itself

    There are two basic causes for how the Democrats and their allies do—and do not—respond to what Trump is doing with his attacks on the protests and his contrived racist horror story of mobs of “those people” bent on violently attacking innocent (white) people and their property. First, the Democrats’ electoral strategy is focused on winning a relatively small number of “swing voters,” largely white people in the suburbs, in a small number of “swing states.” Flowing from this, and once again largely accepting the terms Trump has set, the Democrats see it as very important to reassure these voters that the Democrats, too, denounce—and, by implication, will use the power of the government to suppress—violence that supposedly is carried out by protesters and supposedly threatens these (white suburban) “swing voters.” Here it has to be said that, even on its own—very wrong and perverted—terms, this is likely a losing strategy. Not only is it the case that, by far, most of the violence connected with the protests has been carried out by Trump supporters (including the police), while overwhelmingly the protests themselves have been peaceful; but, even if the intent of everyone protesting were to remain completely peaceful, including when provoked and attacked by the police and armed “civilian” racists, there will still be violence—exactly because Trump and his supporters will continue to carry out, and to escalate, the violence, no matter what the protesters do.

    It is true that, at this point, the vote in a few states essentially determines the outcome of presidential elections—so that, as was the case with Trump in the previous presidential election, someone can lose the popular vote and still become president. But, even given this reality, an electoral strategy that could work much better for the Democrats would be to take on Trump’s whole racist approach, directly and forcefully, and appeal to Black people and other people of color, and the large number of white people (especially, though not only, younger generations) who have shown that they are motivated by a definite desire for an end to social injustice, blatant inequality, and rampant police violence. That is a great “reservoir” that, theoretically, the Democrats could focus on appealing to.

    But the Democrats themselves will not—cannot—really do this. And this gets to the deeper reasons why the Democrats approach things in the way they do. Although, in the present situation, where there has been a massive outpouring against police terror, the Democrats have felt the need to talk in general terms about “police reform,” as representatives of this system of capitalism-imperialism the Democrats are very firm about the fundamental need for the police to enforce the oppressive “law and order” of this system, with the racist violence that involves. So, the Democrats cannot carry out a campaign that actually unites with the strongly and widely held sentiment that this police violence must end. At the same time, as representatives of this system, and as upholders of its traditional institutions and “stability,” they do not want to win an election and head the government on the basis of appealing to and further arousing a force of tens of millions filled with passionate intensity to end police terror and white supremacy, which in fact are built into and required by this system. Better, from the Democrats’ point of view, to appeal to longings for “a return to calm and normalcy”—which are likely to resonate with many middle class suburbanites—even though there will not be any “calm and normalcy,” in large part because the fascist forces will not allow it.

    Appealing to the “Grievances” of the Fascists Will Only Strengthen Fascism

    Once again now, as was the case during and in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, there are “mainstream” voices (such as CNN’s Chris Cuomo, brother of the Democratic Governor of New York state, and Thomas Friedman, a prominent proponent of the “great benefits” of highly globalized capitalism) who argue that, in order to win this time, Biden and the Democrats should appeal to Trump’s “base” by recognizing their “grievances,” rather than humiliating them. But there are deep-seated bases for this fascism, and the minds of these fascists will not be changed by “being nice” to them or acting as if their “grievances” are “legitimate. As I (and others who have seriously studied this fascist phenomenon) have pointed out, the reality is that these “grievances” flow from resentment against any changes that even slightly undermine white supremacymale supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment. And, even though, in the most fundamental terms, the Democrats represent this system of capitalism-imperialism, which embodies and enforces all of this, the Republican party, as it has become more and more blatantly fascist, has cultivated and organized its “base” through aggressively promoting, in extreme terms, this inequality, oppression, and plunder of the earth, along with a rejection of, and passionate “resentment” against, the scientific method and rational thinking. For example, there is this important analysis, by African-American theologian Hubert Locke, speaking particularly to the Christian fundamentalists that are the driving force of this fascism:

    It is not happenstance that it is a movement that draws its strength and finds its support principally in the so-called heartland of the nation and especially in its southern precincts. This is the portion of the United States that has never been comfortable with post-WWII America. The brief period of normalcy after the war was followed within a decade by a pent-up and long overdue racial revolution that overturned centuries of culture and tradition, especially in the South. The disillusionment, two decades later, with an unpopular war in southeast Asia shook the foundations of traditional/conventional patriotism in American life; it was followed in the next decade by a sexual revolution that upset deeply entrenched views among this portion of the American populace about the subordinate place of women in society and the non-place of gay and lesbian persons in American life. These political and social and cultural defeats have now erupted into a pitched battle to turn back the clock on the last half-century and return America to its pre-war purity. It is not without significance that teaching creationism in the schools, for example, is such a prominent part of the religious right agenda. That was a battle the right lost in the mid-1920s but it is not one that the right ever acknowledged losing‑‑just as some die-hards have never acknowledged losing the Civil War. Consequently, the restoration the religious right seeks is one that would recapture a way of life that disappeared in this nation a half-century ago.1

    This is what “Make America Great Again” actually means. The Democrats could not “compete” with this, without abandoning their own “identity” as the party that supposedly cares about social justice and addressing the environmental crisis.

    All this, in turn, is tied in with the fundamental reasons why the Democrats will not call out the Trump/Pence regime for what it actually is—fascist—which, as I have emphasized, “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.”2 First of all, if you acknowledge that this regime is in fact fascist, then that raises very big questions about the whole system, and how it is that such a fascist regime could come to power—not through something like a military coup, but through the “normal channels” and institutional procedures of this system. And, along with that, if you recognize that this regime is fascist, then that has very big implications in terms of what must be done to deal with the dangers posed by this fascism—which, in reality, requires stepping outside of the “norms” of this system and mobilizing masses of people in determined, non-violent but sustained struggle in the streets to demand the ouster of this regime, as is being called for by RefuseFascism.org.

    The Immediate Urgent Need for Mass Mobilization Against This Fascism

    In sum, the Democrats, being who and what they are, will not and cannot deal with all this—neither the election, nor the larger situation in which this election is taking place and the profound stakes that are actually involved—in any way other than on the terms, and within the limits, established by this system, which has produced this fascism, and to a large degree on the terms set by the fascists themselves.

    This can be seen in what the Democrats have done in their attempts to deal with the way in which the Trump/Pence fascist regime has—repeatedly, and in an escalating way—trampled on the “norms” of this system. Time and again, the Democrats have sought to deal with this by trying to utilize the very “norms” and institutions that this fascist regime is defying and tearing up, or bending to its fascist aims—the courts, congressional hearings and proceedings, and so on.Time and again, the Democrats have failed. Yet they stubbornly refuse to seek any means of opposing this regime other than by resorting to these “norms” and procedures. This is what they are doing, and will be strongly inclined to continue doing, even in the face of Trump’s increasing and intensifying moves to suppress votes in the upcoming election and his clearly indicated determination to have himself declared the winner in the election, or to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election.

    All this is why—even though, if it comes down to it, voting against Trump by voting for Biden will be necessary and important—it will very likely lead to disaster to rely on voting and just hope that the election will solve the problem.

    And all this points to the very great likelihood that regardless of the actual outcome of this election (assuming it is actually held), if Trump declares himself the “winner” and refuses to leave, in the absence of truly massive mobilization demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must be removed, the Democrats will end up capitulating to Trump. The mass mobilization that is needed cannot be built “overnight,” in the aftermath of the election—and it cannot be built by confining things within the framework and limits insisted upon by the Democrats.

    The truth—the truth about this country, and the truth about what is represented and is being implemented and enforced by the Trump/Pence regime—must be brought alive as a crucial, and immediately urgent, focus of the fight against injustice and oppression and against the fascism of this regime. This must be done without waiting for the election, but by taking action right now, and in an ongoing way, with masses of people—first in the thousands, growing into millions—in sustained mobilization around the unifying demand that this regime must go.

    Waiting for November, and Relying on the Election, Will Likely Lead to Disaster:

    We Need to Take to the Streets, and Stay in the Streets, Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now!

     


    1. Reflections on Pacific School of Religion's Response to the Religious Right, by Dr. Hubert Locke. This is available at revcom.us.

    In addition to my own writings and speeches on this question of fascism, which are available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us,* there have been a number of important studies of particularly the Christian fascist phenomenon—including in recent books by Katherine Stewart* and Kristin Kobes Du Mez*—which make clear that these fascists are firmly committed to their extremely oppressive, reactionary, and literally lunatic views and aims, and they will not be moved by attempts to appeal to their supposed “legitimate grievances.”

    * For example, my recent article Patriarchy and Patriotism—Aggressive Male Supremacy and American Supremacy—The Danger and the Immediate Challenge draws from important insights in Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation; and my 2017 speech The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible cites important analysis in Katherine Stewart’s book The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children.  [back]

    2. From 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.  [back]

    VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
    WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS,
    AND STAY IN THE STREETS
    DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

    by Bob Avakian

    Part 1:
    THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T FIGHT TRUMP
    THE WAY HE NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT

    Part 2:
    TRUMP IS ALREADY STEALING THE ELECTION  AND THREATENING EVEN MORE VIOLENCE TO STAY IN POWER

    Part 3:
    TRUMP’S FASCISM—MORE BLATANT AND DANGEROUS EVERY DAY: HOW A DETERMINED FIGHT AND MASSIVE MOBILIZATION COULD DEFEAT THIS

    (Long Version—The Larger Canvas and Fuller Picture)

    (Short Version—The Basic Picture and Essential Vision)

     

     

     

     

    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/670/bob-avakian-kanye-west-ice-cube-en.html

    KANYE WEST, ICE CUBE—FOOLS,
    AND WORSE THAN FOOLS

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

    Apparently Kanye West is mentally ill—and, if so, somebody should get him some help—but there is a “method” (or at least an effect) to his “madness” politically. Only a fool would be fooled by what he is doing. All his talk about being done with Trump is bullshit, or beside the point—what he is doing by “running for president” is helping Trump! If he were to take just enough votes away from the Democratic Party candidate, Biden, particularly in key “battleground” states, that could help Trump win those states and maybe win the Electoral College vote again.

    A vote for Kanye West is not a vote for Kanye West. A vote for Kanye West is a vote for the racist-in-chief Donald Trump. Anyone who falls for this is being played for a chump!

    Now comes Ice Cube, who is dealing with Trump because Trump has made promises about working with Ice Cube’s so-called “Contract With Black America.” Never mind that Trump is a blatant white supremacist—he is apparently alright with the hustler bourgeois Ice Cube, who rose to fame as part of NWA, with its powerful and wildly popular anthem “Fuck Tha Police,” and now turns around and tries to “make a deal” with the pig-loving Trump, who says police should be even more brutal. Ice Cube tries to give himself “cover” by talking about how all the politicians, both Democrat and Republican, have been bad for Black people—so, according to Ice Cube, it’s fine to work with the genocidal racist Trump, who openly promotes white supremacy and brays about “law and order,” fully backing the police in their murderous terror against Black people.1

    And, besides Black people, what about all the other people, in this country and in the world as a whole, whose suffering is being made far worse, and whose future is being rapidly destroyed, by what Trump and his fascist regime are doing? Ice Cube doesn’t care about that either.

    Nothing good, and only something terrible—for Black people, for all oppressed people everywhere, and for humanity as a whole—will ever come from working with and helping Trump.

    As I have said before: Only someone worse than a fool would want that racist Confederacy-loving white supremacist, pussy-grabbing misogynistic male supremacist, LGBT-bashing, rights-trampling, science-denying, environment-destroying, war-mongering, xenophobic “America first” bloodsucking fascist motherfucker Trump to get re-elected.

     


    1. Donald Trump—GENOCIDAL RACIST, by Bob Avakian, is available—as a series of articles, and to download as a pamphlet—at revcom.us.  [back]

    Read all the articles in Bob Avakian’s new series


    Read the ten-part series

     

    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/657/bob-avakian-capitalism-imperialism-the-suffocation-of-seven-billion-en.html

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

    by Bob Avakian

    | revcom.us

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming.3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And all this is completely unnecessary.

    Revolution, the New Communism and the Unleashing of Human Potential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Get Into BA »

    See also:

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

    by Raymond Lotta

    Read more

    The New Communism

    Click to read and download (PDF)

    CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

    Click to read and download (PDF)

     

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

     

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

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

    The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/646/bob-avakian-on-emancipation-from-mental-slavery-all-oppression-en.html

    Bob Avakian On
    EMANCIPATION
    FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION

    | revcom.us

     

    In 1863, mid-way in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation and, as a result of the Civil War, Black people were formally freed from literal, physical slavery. But today the question is: When, and how, will Black people finally be free from all forms of slavery and oppression? And this poses straight-up this big question:

    When will Black people finally emancipate themselves from the mental slavery of religion?!

    We have seen the possibility of a world without oppression powerfully expressed in the not-too-distant past, during the radical upsurge that took place within this country and throughout the world during the 1960s and early 1970s.1 Within this country, the struggle of Black people was at the forefront of all this, and as that struggle became more radical in opposition to the system itself, and groups like the Black Panther Party, driven by the impatience and daring of Black youth, grew and gained influence, the advanced role of the struggle for Black liberation exerted an even more powerful positive role. And, as a very significant part of the widely and strongly held conviction that it was not only necessary but possible to put an end to the nightmare that had been endured for so long:

    among Black people—who we’re always told are just sort of inherently religious—there was a massive turning away from religion, especially among the youth. Why? Because people were filled with hope, they didn’t believe that there was no hope for a better world. They were full of hope for a better world right in this world. And so, among Black people, there was, on the part of the youth in particular, a major turning away from religion and from all the old conventions that went along with religion that were conservatizing influences holding down the people.2

    Hard Truths, Emancipating Truths

    But the great promise of the 1960s radical upsurge, and the hopes that it raised, were not realized—fundamentally because things did not go all the way to an actual revolution. And, over the decades since then, through conscious policy by the ruling powers to foster the growth of more bourgeois and petit bourgeois strata among Black people, while at the same time maintaining and containing the masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, oppression and vicious repression, this bitter reality has resulted:

    Among the basic masses of people, including Black people (not the more middle class strata being developed through conscious ruling class policy, but the masses of oppressed people), there was a tremendous amount of demoralization and sense of defeat, and the introduction (including through deliberate ruling class policy and action) of massive amounts of drugs further intensified the desperate conditions of the basic masses and further reinforced the sense of demoralization. A lot of people were dying or being reduced to broken wretches on the basis of turning to drugs out of despair—the lack of hope, or the death, in immediate terms, of the hope that inspired so many people, on a real basis, through the course of the 1960s upsurge, which had now ebbed and been transformed. And this situation was made even more desperate and demoralizing with the growth of gangs in the ghettos and barrios of this country (as well as internationally), with youth drawn to the gangs in conditions of increasing deprivation and desperation and what was for most the illusion of getting rich, with the orientation of “get rich or die trying,” fueled by the growth of the drug trade and the influence of the putrid culture promoted throughout society that fostered and extolled the exploitation and degradation of others as the means for making it big, whether on Wall Street and on the world stage, or on the streets in the neighborhoods of the inner city.3

    In the face of all this, amidst a feeling of fatalistic hopelessness, there has been, on the part of large numbers of Black people, a retreat into religion. It is often claimed that religion is what has allowed Black people to endure and persevere through all the trials and tribulations—the very real horrors—they have been subjected to throughout their experience in America, and that this remains the case now. But this is a logic of defeat—it rests on the underlying assumption (spoken or unspoken) that the system will basically remain as it has been, and that Black people will continue to be despised and discriminated against, persecuted, brutalized and terrorized, and the best they can hope for is to somehow survive, and strive to thrive, through all this—or, if you suffer in this life but you “get right with the Lord,” or submit to Allah, you will be rewarded in some “next life.”

    Once more, the question is sharply posed: How can Black people be finally and fully emancipated from centuries of oppression, and how does this relate to ending all oppression, of all people, everywhere?

    The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.

    As I have put it, expressing a simple and basic truth: “in fundamental terms, we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—ormake revolution!”4

    And, in relation to this, I have also spoken to this profound truth:

    There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.5

    But here is another way that, in fundamental terms, there are two choices: either cling to the mental slavery of religion and remain oppressed, or cast off the mental chains of religion while rising up to fight with a real chance to get finally and fully free, in putting an end to all oppression and exploitation.

    Religion may seem to give people comfort in the face of the oppression and anguish they are forced to endure, or to make people feel that with religion they can keep from “doing wrong”—or, even though they may “do wrong,” they still have some worth. And it is true that, for some people, their religious views are a motivation to fight against various forms of oppression, and many people who approach things from a religious standpoint have insights and knowledge that it is important to know about and learn from. But it is also true that, as a way of thinking and a guide to acting, religion relies on the invention of supernatural beings that do not exist but which are said to ultimately shape and control reality, including the fate of human beings. Religion calls on people to submit to those imaginary supernatural beings (or, to very human authorities speaking in the name of those imaginary supernatural beings) and to follow scriptures that in reality do not lead to ending oppression but actually promote and reinforce all kinds of degradation and horror. (This is something I have illustrated very concretely in the book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, particularly with regard to the three main monotheistic [one-god] religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.6) In this way religion stands in direct opposition to taking up a consistently scientific approach to understanding reality and waging a scientifically-grounded fight to end all oppression.

    This is why the powers-that-be, whose very existence, wealth and power rest on oppression and exploitation, continually promote religion. It is why the very same slavemasters who prohibited Black people from learning to read (and severely punished those who did) actively encouraged their slaves to take up religion and get down on their knees in prayer. And it is why today, the ruling powers in this country are only too willing to provide a platform for, and parade around, any Black people who are inclined to engage in passionate “god-talk.” This may be painful to hear, but the question is: is it true, or not? Think about it.

    It is neither possible nor principled—and no one should ever try—to force people to give up beliefs they hold at any given time. In the most fundamental terms, emancipation—from every form of slavery and oppression—must be the voluntary and conscious act of people. But there is a great need and importance to waging ideological struggle, in a principled way but as sharply as necessary, to win people to take up a scientific approach to understanding, and changing, the world and break with ways of thinking that actually contribute to keeping them, and others, oppressed.

    Again, it is true that many religious people take part now in important struggles against oppression; and it is also true that many religious people will be among the millions taking part in the revolution to do away with this whole oppressive system. But this revolution, and the continuing struggle to end all oppression and bring about real and complete emancipation, must be led by those, among the most oppressed, and others as well, who have taken up a scientific approach to changing the world and have cast off the mental slavery of religion, along with every other way of thinking that promotes, or at least rationalizes and objectively justifies, oppression.

    A bitter truth is this:

    Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.7

    But, an even greater, emancipating truth is this:

    The notion of a god, or gods, was created by humanity, in its infancy, out of ignorance. This has been perpetuated by ruling classes, for thousands of years since then, to serve their interests in exploiting and dominating the majority of people and keeping them enslaved to ignorance and irrationality.

    Bringing about a new, and far better, world and future for humanity means overthrowing such exploiting classes and breaking free of and leaving behind forever such enslaving ignorance and irrationality.8

     


    1. In HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASISBreaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism (available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to this major change taking place during the 1960s:

    In the 1960s, masses of people all over the world, including in this country, were filled with hope and determination about the prospect of bringing into being a radically different and better world. Throughout the Third World, there were liberation struggles aimed at throwing off the yoke of colonial oppression that had been imposed on them for decades, generations and even centuries. And in the imperialist countries themselves—including, in particular, the U.S.—the generation that came of age in the 1960s had both the understanding of the need and a real belief in the possibility of bringing a radically different and better world into being, and was not interested in hearing all the arguments about why things had to be the way they are.  [back]

    2. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.

    In Bob Avakian Responds to Mark Rudd on the Lessons of the 1960s and the Need for an Actual Revolution (available at revcom.us), this point is emphasized:

    in moving from the limitations of the civil rights movement to the more advanced position of demanding Black liberation and linking this with liberation struggles in the Third World, those Black revolutionaries exerted a powerful positive force in influencing the movements of those times, including among educated youth, toward a more revolutionary orientation, even as that orientation was (in the parlance of those times) a “mixed bag,” involving a complex of conflicting tendencies, including the revolutionary communism that was coming from China as well as various revolutionary nationalist and other contradictory trends.  [back]

    3. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.  [back]

    4. In the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, from which this quote is drawn, Bob Avakian speaks to those crucial questions. The text and video of this speech are available at revcom.us. And in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, (available at revcom.us) there is a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a socialist society aiming for the final goal of communism throughout the world.  [back]

    5. This statement, along with other works by Bob Avakian speaking to the oppression of Black people and the road to their full emancipation, is available at revcom.us.  [back]

    6. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, 2008.  [back]

    7. BAsics 4:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).  [back]

    8. BAsics 4:17, emphasis added.  [back]

    Download leaflet (PDF)

     

     

     

    Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/674/standing-up-to-the-fascist-mob-in-dc-en.html

    Standing Up to the Fascist Mob in DC

    | revcom.us

     

    On November 14, thousands of supporters of Donald Trump, spearheaded by a number of openly fascist forces and greeted by Trump himself, took over the streets in Washington, DC, demanding that the election be overturned.

    In reporting on that march, the Washington Post wrote that these marchers were met with a group of counter-protestors from Refuse Fascism. Here’s what the Post described:

    Then the appearance of counterprotesters sparked bursts of conflict, though they could have become far more violent had police not worked to keep the feuding sides separate. When a small group holding bright orange “Refuse Fascism” posters arrived at the edge of Freedom Plaza, they were almost immediately surrounded by Trump fans shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” into their faces....

    The women leading the tiny march fought their way up 14th Street, repeatedly breaking out of the crowd, only to be engulfed again.

    “Trump, pack your s[hit]! You’re illegitimate!” they yelled into their megaphone.

    One pro-Trump man attempted to gouge the opposition with a flag bearing the president’s name. Another grabbed a woman’s neon orange poster and hit her with it.

    Sunsara Taylor, a member of Refuse Fascism’s editorial board and a writer for this website, was on the scene. Yesterday Lucha Bright, who was also there, interviewed Sunsara for a firsthand account.

    LB: Hi, I’m Lucha Bright with the Revolution Club and I’m here with Sunsara Taylor, who’s on the national editorial board of RefuseFascism.org and she’s a co-host for the Revolution Nothing Less Show on YouTube. Hi Sunsara!

    ST: Hey Lucha, great to be here. Hello everybody.

    LB: So, Sunsara and I have been running together in the streets of DC and this past Saturday, yesterday. RefuseFascism.org nationally called for protests across the country and here in DC going right up against the Million MAGA March. Do you want to tell us a little bit about why Refuse Fascism called for these protests?

    ST: So first of all, Donald Trump lost the election. I know we all know that, but he’s refusing to admit that, he’s lying about it and he’s working to overturn that and actually we were just in very close quarters with thousands of MAGA assholes who either refuse to admit or are so deluded by conspiracy and lie-mongering that they actually believe Trump won. So, Trump lost, which was a great victory for the people, and people overcame a lot of obstacles to deliver that electoral defeat. People, especially Black people, overcame misleading robocalls, voter intimidation, long-ass lines in the South—some of them waited 10, 12 hours to vote due to racist voter suppression. There was a lot people had to go up against and did go up against, including in a pandemic, to deliver an electoral defeat to Donald Trump, which was a great victory, and for good reason people poured into the streets and danced in the streets and celebrated about that and felt that a weight was lifted from them.

    Yet here we are a week later and Trump is still lying about this. He’s actively obstructing the transition, which is costing lives right now, in COVID deaths and in other ways, and he is riling up a base to actually try to overturn this election. So for all those reasons, we felt it very important that we bring our side into the public square to stand on this victory to say: The election is over. Trump lost. Biden won. Trump’s gotta go. But let’s keep in the public square until that victory is cemented, until he’s actually out of the White House.

    Frankly, all his attempts to undermine the election are themselves grounds for removal. Those are fascist moves. And we shouldn’t be normalized just because it’s Trump and we’ve lived through it for four years. Here is a sitting president who is refusing to concede when he lost and is doing great damage and now whips up thousands or tens of thousands of his most violent white supremacist, thuggish supporters to maraud in the nation’s seat of power and to work to overturn that election. That has to be answered. So we felt it was very important that we go and we counter-protest and stand up against that and rally our side to see this defeat of this fascist regime all the way through until they’re removed from power.

    LB: Can you just describe what the scene was like here in DC? Who were the fascists that were out? And what did Refuse Fascism do?

    ST: The streets of DC were filled with every variety of white supremacist, militia-type, conspiracy-minded, QAnon, deranged Christian fascist; I mean we saw hatred organized writ large against Black people, against immigrants, against women.

    It was an attempt, and I think they gained ground in this, by these fascist forces who actually were put on the defensive, who did suffer a bit of a defeat, they did have the puff taken off their chest when Trump lost that election and when they saw people pour into the streets with all the exuberance and all that joy and all that weight was lifted. This took the puff out of their chest, and they were trying to come back together and reassert their dominance in the public square. And I think they actually made ground in that, including that Trump came through and gave it his backing. So we went in the middle of this. And just so people know, some of these people were chanting “Break out Kyle” talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who murdered two protesters for Black Lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who shot them dead in the street. This is the hero of these people. There were Christian fanatic fascists walking thru with signs saying “Women belong in the kitchen.” Just straight up enslavement.

    There are people that you would say, “What about the children in cages?” and they’d be like, “They belong there. Their parents did something illegal.” I mean these people are... they have no [touches heart]... they’ve got nothing inside of them for humanity. But they were out there and they were filled with a lust for revenge. And so we went right in the middle of the Freedom Plaza area where they were first amassing, and we went early in the day. And we raised the banner Trump/Pence Out Now. We raised signs that said the same. It was a small group of us. We never got our whole group in one place cuz it actually was, it was very... because Trump gave his backing, this mushroomed in size on the side of the fascists so we didn’t all meet up till later.

    And from the second we did this we were set upon. I mean, these people were incensed. They first started verbally harassing us, and then they were, kind of forcefully, purposefully bumping into us and then within a couple minutes there were hundreds of them surrounding us, grabbing at us, at times you’d have five different big, meathead men with their hands on you, pulling you in different directions, grabbing your sign, hitting you; they ripped up our sound system, they were a mob and they were very threatening. One of the people with us, was a Black woman who, by the time we got through this... and I will say for our crew, our crew was so beautiful, they had such heart. I think the Washington Post described it, at different points the women who led the march would break out of the mob and start chanting, “Trump pack your shit! You’re illegitimate.” Or, “Trump/Pence Out Now.” Then we’d be swallowed again, and then we’d break out again and chant again. But the whole time we kept regrouping and keeping our message together and keeping our people together and our spirit intact.

    This lasted for two blocks... we were dogged like this, assaulted like this as we marched along, and when we finally got clear and ended up on the other side of a police line through some struggle we had with the police as well, for them to do the semblance of their job and stop a mob assault or at least let us get out of reach of it. When we got through this, this one Black woman who was with us, she was just sobbing, she was inconsolable, she kept saying, “I’m wrong for being Black. I’m wrong for being a woman. My life is in danger every single day. And there was so much hate, that was so much hate they threw at us.” And her eyes were just pouring.

    Bob Avakian has said there is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today. They really are the inheritors of the Confederacy. People who have never reconciled themselves to the end of the Civil War. These are the people who would have gathered with their children to watch Black people be lynched and then fought each other to get a souvenir, a piece of the mutilated body or a postcard of that experience. These are people filled with bloodlust and out for revenge and you saw it all day long. At the end of the night, they were marauding. They came thru BLM Plaza, tore up the murals. Tore up the pictures. And like maniacs, lunatic, animal-like shouting and assaulting pieces of wood that say Black Lives Matter on them, wishing they could be doing it to people. So, it was a very heavy experience, to go right up against this like that. But it mattered because this has to be opposed. They can’t be allowed to dominate the public square and the public discourse.

    And it is shameful that there weren’t more people out there. Everybody who was out celebrating, rightfully so, a week before when Trump lost should’ve been out there standing up there against this. It would have been a world of difference. That amount of hatred needs to stay on the defensive.

    After we protested in the middle of the mob and then made it in the morning, we went to BLM Plaza near the White House and one of the people we ran into said that when they got off the train at Union Station—they are young and gay and visibly you might guess that—and they were set upon by five of these MAGA fascists with flak vests on surrounded this person, jeering, “Oh you’re gay? You’re a faggot!” They were hurling all these slurs at them and physically domineering and intimidating them. They said, “I just thought to myself, ‘I got to get down to the White House, maybe if I get there I’ll find my people.’ And, yeah, I found my people here.” And the Black woman who was with us, and the others who were with us who were really shook coming through the mob of fascists, when we got down to BLM Plaza and rallied and came back together, people saw it all the way through. They took all that emotion that they felt about what was hurled at them and what the history of that and the threat of that writ large for the future, and they poured it out in their chants and their dance and their song and their sense of standing together. And it actually felt really good to stand up.

    You know, the idea that you hide from this shit, and you go in your home and you avoid the confrontation. That is a morally compromised place to be and it does damage and because of that, it doesn’t feel nearly as good as standing and being in the face of this and coming through that. And I was so proud of the people who stood up and I know we gave voice to what millions and millions feel, but those millions have to join this because there is actually a fight for the future that is still ongoing. And Trump is still in power and these MAGA fascists are marauding and they must not be allowed to dominate the public space and the public discourse.

    LB: I was going to ask you what you would say to those who told everybody going into this, there was a whole outcry going into this of, “Don’t go into the streets.” It was all over the internet. “Stay home, you’re gonna provoke these people, you’re gonna provoke Trump.” I think you’ve spoken to that some already, but if there is more you want to say about that.

    ST: Look, the fascist Trump/Pence regime, a genocidal, racist regime, is still in power. They are unleashing their mobs in the streets. Hiding from that will not make them go away, it will make them stronger. And I’m sorry, if you want to spend more energy—which way too many “woke” people and “progressive” people did—condemning those who stand up against fascists and white supremacists than you want to put into actually standing up against those fascists and white supremacists, you are no different than the people who told the Freedom Riders, “Don’t go to the South. Don’t provoke them.” Who, when they were set upon by mobs said, “Why did you rile them up?” You’re no different than the people who told Frederick Douglass, “Don’t publish your memoir and don’t go on your speaking tour because you might push things too far... we’re getting towards abolition, we just want to go a little slower.” Larry Kramer, everybody loves Larry Kramer today, there’s movies made about him for good reason, he led ACT UP, who led a lot of struggle to wake people up to the AIDS epidemic and get help for people who were dying, gay men especially in massive numbers. But at the time, Larry Kramer was very unpopular and I’m sorry, the verdict is in history and it applies today.

    There’s always those who say, “Oh, you’re protesting in the wrong way. Oh, you’re protesting at the wrong time.” I actually had someone tell me today that they could come up with 100 examples of how “poorly planned protests” led to less freedom. No, oppression leads to less freedom. Standing up against it leads to more freedom. That’s the way the fucking world works. And even protests that are maybe, poorly planned or not the most strategically thought through, you still put your arms around people who are on the right side. One side is right and one side is wrong. And those who stand up, even when they do it sometimes without the fullest strategic sense, they’re not the cause of oppression! And all the people who blame the victims and blame those who stand up, I’m sorry you are on the wrong fucking side of history on this. And you gotta get over to the right side, cuz a lot of those people, I think they actually do... they are of two minds. They do actually want to see the Trump horrors ended. But for a long time they have been very resistant to doing the hard work and the struggle that is actually required to stop this. And you see that playing out now, too, where they say now we’ve got a victory, let’s lay low. And you know what? With fascists, you don’t lay low. When you get a victory, you take that and you run the table with it. Let’s stay in the public square. Let’s stay on the offensive. Let’s stay saying Black lives matter. Let’s stay saying women are full human beings. Let’s stay saying get the children out of the cages cuz they’re still in fucking cages. Why would you lay low when all that is still going on and they are threatening to overturn your victory? You stand on that victory and you keep going forward and you give space and oxygen to those who have been suffering under it to come join you and stand up and actually fight for and win a different future.

    That’s what we were fighting for yesterday. That’s what I think people should take from it who were part of it. It was very heroic. It was very important. And that’s what other people need to join with. We need to see it all the way through, get Trump and Pence all the way out of office and then we can have... and many of us will continue to fight for going deeper and getting to the roots of this fascism and all the oppression and injustice that is rooted in this system and the need for a whole revolution and other people will split off and go different ways and we’ll have the freedom and space to have that debate and wage that struggle.

    LB: OK, well thank you so much, this is a really important discussion and I am so glad we were able to have it.

    ST: Me too. Thanks, Lucha.

     

    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/675/refuse-fascism-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-the-nazi-problem-en.html" >Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

     


     

    Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/676/what-kind-of-democracy-is-this-en.html

    “What kind of Democracy is this... Is this Republic worth keeping?”

    Reflections from a Member of the National Revolution Tour

    | revcom.us

     

    This article—“FASCISTS TODAY AND THE CONFEDERACY: A DIRECT LINE, A DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL THE OPPRESSION” by Bob Avakian—provoked my writing.

    In the article, Avakian writes,

    It is a good thing that Jerry Falwell Jr.’s exhibition of his racism has been met with outrage and protest, even from among the students and alumni of Liberty University (as well as others). But if this outrage is confined and misdirected into a misguided and fundamentally erroneous notion that this racism is somehow out of keeping with the supposedly positive—but in reality extremely negative—“values” of Liberty University (and the Christian fundamentalism on which it is based), this will result not only in “de-fanging” this outrage but in reinforcing the “package” of reactionary, yes, fascistic, outlook and aims that are represented not simply by Falwell but by the Trump/Pence regime to which he is closely tied and for which he is a relentless advocate and apologist.

    Democracy works. We voted. The people have spoken, now allow the system to do its course.” These are common views in society of many after the election. People may now go back in their cupboards convincing themselves the worse is now past, now let’s rejoice at the beautiful American democracy we all have learned to enjoy and what the world aspires to replicate. People going back to their cupboards where their worn-out blinders lived for four years: “Great, here they are. Thank you democracy! We can now get back to normalcy!”

    Yes, Biden won. Trump lost. But how about the 73 million people who voted for Trump who are OK with children separated from their parents and locked in cages? What about the Christian fascists in the Supreme Court who want to overturn Roe v. Wade and want the bible as the schools’ textbook? What about the white supremacist thugs who have been hardened by this regime, especially post-election as they maraud claiming election fraud? Will there be a section of fascists who will continue to get organized claiming Biden to be illegitimate? And if so, what do we do about them? Will Trump or Trump Jr. or someone like Trump have an opportunity to run for presidency again?

    I think a question that needs to be asked by millions, especially the millions who voted out Trump, what kind of democracy is this... is this republic worth keeping?

    To come back to the quote above, and its spirit: It is good Trump was defeated! But if this defeat only plays with your outlook that “democracy works” and the last four years was just a hiccup, a bump on the road, you’d be playing in the hands of the very system that gave rise to a fascist. A country founded on the slavery, kidnapping of Africans considered subhuman, the lynching and terror of Jim Crow, genocide on Natives and wars for empire to today. Do you really think Trump and company are just a fluke of this system?

    It is really important you recognize that it is the very nature of this system that gave rise to a fascist and has the potential to do it again and seek to understand the problem and solution, otherwise you’d ultimately be part of reinforcing that system with all the horrors it perpetuates. And if they succeed to hold power again, the nightmare of the last four years will be seen as a walk on the beach on a sunny, warm day with your loved one and children playing in the sand. This is no joke. It is no exaggeration!

    Deep inside, you have questioned the past four years. You’ve sought out your blinders from your cupboard but you were surrounded, suffocated by the reality of the regime’s fascist program. Even as you accommodated by ignoring it, you didn’t like it.

    You have questioned how and why a Donald Trump was elected president. Now you are questioning why over 73 million voted for Trump. What will happen with the Nazi armed thugs foaming at the mouth to make America white again? Will they just go away? These are crucial questions that affect the future of humanity and the planet. The worst thing to do now is push the snooze button on those questions. There are answers to these questions, in the work of Bob Avakian, on revcom.us, but they are not easy answers. They may well shake your core beliefs and make you uncomfortable and skeptical. But what is the alternative?

     

    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/651/it-takes-science-and-leadership-to-truly-get-free-en.html

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

    | revcom.us

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more         

    Watch BA's whole speech:

    Watch clips from speech

     

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

     

    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/677/us-ratchets-up-war-moves-against-iran-en.html

    As the U.S. Ratchets Up War Moves Against Iran ...
    and as Iran Steps Up Its Repression Against Its People ...
    What Are the Stakes for Humanity?

    | revcom.us

     

    Introduction: A People in the Crosshairs, a World at the Brink

    In the past few weeks the U.S., in league with its ally and henchman Israel, has been threatening and attacking Iran. Most recently, one of Iran’s top nuclear technology scientists was assassinated. Iran accused Israel, and Israel has not denied this. Earlier, U.S. media reported that Trump had asked his military commanders and strategic policy makers for a plan to bomb Iranian nuclear technology labs. The advisers reportedly persuaded him not to. Trump did not deny asking for such plans, and there is still talk that he may launch some sort of attack.

    The U.S. and Israel say they must prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. Yet the U.S. itself has thousands of nuclear weapons capable of hitting “targets” in large parts of the world, and Israel reportedly has close to 100, some that are no doubt aimed at Iran. Any war between Iran and either the U.S. or Israel could easily get “out of hand,” and the imperialists could end up deciding to use one of its nuclear bombs to pulverize Iran—with genocidal consequences for the