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Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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/678/fascist-overturn-campaign-what-will-decent-people-do-en.html

The Fascist "#OVERTURN" Campaign And The Fight To Establish New Fascist Norms

What Will The "Decent People" Do?

Updated | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Since this editorial was originally posted early last week, the electoral victory of Joe Biden was further cemented through the official certification of each state’s electors on December 14 and Biden’s victory was acknowledged for the first time by significant Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and others. However, this has not led to Trump and large sections of his fanatical supporters conceding that he has lost, or even backing off their campaign to #Overturn the election. Rather, Trump has stepped up his overt backing of the fascist mobs that have violently rampaged behind the claim that the election was stolen; signaled his public warmth to Michael Flynn, who has been advocating that the election be done over under conditions of martial law; and overall underscored his command to “fight for Trump.” At this point, two outright lunatic fascist congresspeople have even promised to challenge the formal acceptance of the election results by Congress on January 6. As such, the dynamics—and dangers—described in this piece have not only continued, but in some ways have intensified and grown more acute, as has the necessity of good people to shake out of their stupor and respond.

The last several weeks have witnessed an unprecedented campaign against the truth that Joe Biden won the election... and the truth overall.

So let’s start out with the truth. Which is that Biden won, by over 7 million votes of the people and by 74 votes (306 against 232) in the Electoral College. According to Chris Krebs, who had been head of cybersecurity in Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, this election was the “most secure in American history”—a statement, backed by facts, for which he was promptly fired and threatened. According to dozens of court decisions throwing out Republican objections to the voting—including by many Republican judges and even Trump-appointed judges—there was no significant fraud or even honest mistakes in the counting. According to some high-ranking state Republican office-holders in disputed states—secretaries of state in charge of counting the votes, and two governors—Biden won their states.

Biden’s clear-cut victory is one hugely significant truth. To get a sense of just how significant, look around you at what the Trump/Pence regime has been leading for the past several weeks in what Trump himself calls his “overturn” campaign—and what many other people have correctly called out, based on the evidence, as an ongoing attempted coup.

Last week, Trump “consecrated” the array of violent threats, bogus lawsuits, outrageous demagogy, and utter lies that he is deploying to illegally stay in power as the “#OVERTURN” campaign. This campaign signals that there will be no going back to normal—and the “new normal” is not anything that decent people can accept.

The Normalization of Mob Rule

Officials who have stated the simple factual truth that Biden won—from ordinary people who volunteer to count votes to prominent Republican office-holders—have been menaced, fired, threatened with firing, subjected to death threats, had their houses surrounded in the middle of the night by gun-toting chanting mobs, and publicly threatened with death. One Republican office-holder pleaded with Trump to stop stirring up people around the blatant lie that the election was stolen, saying that people are going to get killed; Trump ignored the plea and continued to whip up his mobs.

Think about what it means that today, as we go to press, Electoral College electors in at least one state—Michigan—must enter and exit the meeting under heavy armed security, due to fascist threatsThe fascists are fighting to establish a new normal of mob rule and intimidation of all who oppose them.

And the decent people have done nothing.

The Normalization of Anti-Constitutional Mass Disenfranchisement

126 Republican members of the House of Representatives—60% of their total membership—signed on to a bogus suit filed in the Supreme Court to throw out the results of the elections, including minority leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as 18 Republican state attorneys general (who are the highest law enforcement officials in their states).The lawsuit, filed by the fascist-dominated government of the state of Texas, objected to some of the legally established voting rules in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Michigan, claiming that these rules had somehow violated the rights of Texas. This is so groundless that the Supreme Court, now honeycombed with fascists, refused to even hear it.

Think about what it means that these many prominent Republicans are demanding that what are indisputably lawful results of an election be overturned on baseless grounds. The fascists are fighting to establish a new normal of massive disenfranchisement in which the winner is NOT determined by the votes cast, but by what the hard-core fascist bloc of states, acting at the direction of leading fascists, state is in their interests.

And the decent people are doing nothing.

The Further–and Violent—Normalization of Blatant White Supremacy

The Trump overturn campaign has been saturated with the most blatant white supremacy in generations, in the halls of power and in the streets, and this has reached new depths in the past weeks. Their core argument has been that the votes of Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Atlanta—all cities in which there is a very large Black vote—should not be counted. Again, this is not on the basis of any proven fraud whatsoever but rather of the mere suspicion of the possibility of such fraud, which is what the actual case filed by Texas in the Supreme Court argued.

To put it very plainly, the unstated foundation and obvious implication of the argument of these fascists is that “Black votes are not only inherently suspicious but illegitimate and in any close race should be disallowed.” Justice Jill Karofsky on the Wisconsin Supreme Court wrote in a decision around one such Trump effort that “This lawsuit... smacks of racism."

After the pro-Trump rally in Washington, DC, on December 12, 700 Proud Boys rampaged through the streets, terrorizing people; they violently attacked and vandalized Black churches, destroying Black Lives Matter banners in front of the churches, in acts which the minister of one of the churches compared to the cross-burnings of the Ku Klux Klan. And when the Texas lawsuit was turned down, the head of the Texas Republi-fascist party threatened to secede—which evoked the language and ideology of the slave holding side of the U.S. Civil War.

Think about what it means that the police allowed the Proud Boys to rampage, and that no leading Republican—who endlessly and demagogically carry on and wildly exaggerate about vandalism against stores and the removal of reactionary statues—said anything about this. The fascists are fighting to establish a new normal in which openly white-supremacist ideology and actions which prevent, invalidate and throw out Black votes and which attack Black people, political activists, and Black churches are not only okay, but set the terms for all of society.

And the good people are doing nothing.

The Normalization of Conspiracy Theory and Lunatic Epistemology

According to numerous polls, the majority of Republican voters refuse to let go of their belief, in the face of all evidence, that Trump won. Literally insane conspiracy theories—the kind that used to be made fun of as “tin-hat” thinking and that in other countries, when taken seriously, have justified the deaths of millions of people—are believed and spouted by tens of millions of people.

What does it mean when this lunacy gets led and continually reinforced by the White House, Fox News, Republican legislators, the talk radio demagogues, and other fascist power centers, and some of these liars and lunatics are given guest shots on “the regular” media? The fascists are fighting to establish as a new normal epistemology in which “narratives”—in this case the fascist narrative—can “trump” the objective evidence, and grease the way for the worst crimes against humanity.

And the good people are doing nothing.

What Will You Do Now?

Again—it is important that Biden won. As we said in the beginning, look at what these enraged fascists are doing now and think what they might now be doing if Trump had actually won. And if you are taking comfort in the fact that thus far the courts have ruled against the fascists, and thus far the fascist movement headed by Trump has not succeeded in this, think what might have happened had the Biden victory been closer. Think... and then, wake the hell up.

It matters that people voted Trump out—it matters greatly. But the fascists have shown you that they are not going away. They are doubling down and going on the attack for years to come, whether they succeed in their current coup attempt or not (and by the way, the threat is still real). And the Democrats, by their overwhelming silence and by the pitiful peeps of protest that they do make, have shown you that they do not intend to fight them.

Indeed, it is even worse. Biden, along with the New York Times editorial board, are making proposals for bipartisan cooperation. The main problem is not that these proposals have no chance of coming into being—which they almost certainly don’t—and not only that they are promoting deadly illusions about the intent of these fascists—which they are—but that they are promoting the ethos of conciliation with the fascists. In the words of Bob Avakian:

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! 

 This new normal—of decent people conciliating with fascists—must also be opposed... thoroughly, uncompromisingly and unceasingly.

The wish to “go back to normal”—a “normal” which at its “best” is a horror for billions of people around the world and tens of millions within the U.S.—is not only indefensible but impossible.

There is no going back.

The simple fact is that if the “decent people” continue to essentially do nothing in the face of this other than get behind Joe Biden’s disastrous plans—if the streets and public square are ceded to the fascists, if all political initiative stays in their hands—then not only won't Biden be able to “bring people together,” not only will his administration be treated as illegitimate by tens of millions, but all of this along with the workings of the capitalist imperialist system itself will strengthen the fascist movement causing great harm—including potentially fueling a return to power.

Which leads to another simple fact: if the decent people do not rouse themselves from their political opium-dream and really ask themselves WHY this fascism has taken such root, WHAT within the structures and dynamics of this society gave rise to it, and HOW can we act to root out this threat... again, this victory will have been squandered. There are answers to this—most importantly in the work of Bob Avakian who has studied this question for decades and given leadership to the movement against it for over 20 years.

The future remains unwritten—and right now, it is acutely in the balance. In the words of the revolutionary rock band The Clash,

“What are we gonna do NOW?”

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

MAGA Fascists Threaten to Kill, Burn, Rape Officials Who Resist the "Overturn" Campaign

A key part of the gathering fascist momentum has been threats of violence—sometimes anonymous, sometimes “delivered” by armed mobs—against election officials and others, of either party, who reject Trump’s drive to overturn the election. Below is just a sampling of those threats that have been reported in the news media.

Read more


Proud Boys burn banner torn from Asbury United Methodist Church, December 13, 2020, Washington, D.C. Credit: @KristenClarkeJD

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

Get Into BA »

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/maga-fascists-threaten-officials-who-resist-overturn-campaign-en.html

MAGA Fascists Threaten to Kill, Burn, Rape Officials Who Resist the "Overturn" Campaign

| revcom.us

 

A key part of the gathering fascist momentum has been threats of violence—sometimes anonymous, sometimes “delivered” by armed mobs—against election officials and others, of either party, who reject Trump’s drive to overturn the election. Below is just a sampling of those threats that have been reported in the news media.

Michigan, November 11: A Wayne County Board of Canvassers Zoom meeting is interrupted by a self-proclaimed Trump supporter who threatens to rape the mothers of the county’s four canvassers.

Georgia, November 16: The top election official, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in the midst of a hand recount of votes that Trump insisted on, reports that he and his wife have been receiving death threats, including text messages like this: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.”

Arizona, November 18: Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs reports that she has been receiving “ongoing and escalating” threats of violence, such as this message posted on the fascist social media site Parler: “Let’s burn her house down and kill her family and teach these fraudsters a lesson.” Also posted on Parler were her home address and her son’s cellphone number. A MAGA mob showed up at her home chanting, “We are watching you.”

NewsMax TV, November 30: Trump attorney Joe DiGenova says that Chris Krebs—the official who Trump had put in charge of election security, but then fired when he publicly stated that the election had been free of fraud—”should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” DiGenova made the comment on a right-wing radio talk show that is simulcast on NewsMax.

Georgia, December 1: Republican election official Gabriel Sterling calls out GOP for failing to condemn the mounting threats against even low-level employees, citing one young technician who had received an animated image of a noose.

Internet, Early December: An “enemies” list of government officials who contradict Trump’s election conspiracy theories emerged on the internet, with home addresses listed and red targets over their photos. The list media included the hashtags “#remembertheirfaces” and “#NoQuarterForTraitors.” Georgia’s deputy secretary of state pointed out that after the list surfaced “Trump and U.S. senators have refused to condemn these death threats.”

Nevada, December 2: Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office reports receiving “threatening communications,” including a voicemail message: “You guys are fucking dead.”

December 3, Nationwide: The New York Times reports on a wide variety of threats received by officials and private citizens, many of whom are afraid to even say what state they are in for fear of drawing more attacks. The head of a nonprofit that promotes mail-in voting said she received a tweet with a noose pictured and the message “You’re a traitor to the American people.” The “chief election official of one Western state, who refuses to be named for fear of drawing even more threats” said he had received at least 10 such messages, including some depicting actual lynchings, and messages like “we’re going to come for you.”

Michigan, December 5: Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was about to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas with her four-year-old son when her home was surrounded by a MAGA mob, some of them armed, chanting “Stop the Steal” and shouting obscenities.

Michigan, December 6: Black Democratic State Representative Cynthia Johnson received voice mails threatening her with lynching, after she raised critical questions at hearings in which Republicans falsely alleged widespread voter fraud. One message said: “Your time is coming ...from the (expletive) gallows you’ll be hanging.”

Twitter, December 13: Trump tweets that any official who certifies the votes in any of the states Trump is contesting is “committing a severely punishable crime.”

Michigan, Arizona, December 14: As electors in Michigan met to cast their votes for Biden and Harris, the State Capitol was closed to all other business due to “recommendations from law enforcement” and “credible threats of violence.” In Arizona, the electors met at an undisclosed location because of, according to the secretary of state, “accusations of misconduct and fraud for which no proof has been provided and which court after court has dismissed as unfounded.”

See also:

The Fascist "#OVERTURN" Campaign And The Fight To Establish New Fascist Norms

What Will The "Decent People" Do?

Read more

 

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Read: www.revcom.us
Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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FASCISTS TODAY AND THE CONFEDERACY:
A DIRECT LINE,
A DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL THE OPPRESSION
by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Recently there has been an uproar at Liberty University, in Lynchburg (!) Virginia, over the fact that its president, Jerry Falwell Jr., who (like many other Christian fundamentalists) had been refusing to wear a mask, then posted a picture of himself wearing a mask with a “blackface” image. This was actually a photo of Ralph Northam (Democratic governor of Virginia) in “blackface” during his college days, and Falwell’s apparent purpose was to use this to ridicule Northam (and, by extension, Democrats, “liberals,” and other enemies of Christian fascists like Falwell). Falwell was apparently “tone deaf” (as the saying goes) to the fact that this “blackface” image would be highly offensive to Black people (and others opposed to racism), and he at first tried to “stonewall” the criticism that arose (and “stonewall” is a very appropriate word here, as it is associated with the Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson). Even when Falwell finally seemed to backtrack and issue an “apology,” it was at least as much a continuation of his attack on Northam as it was any self-criticism. All this has led to an outcry, and some resignations, even from the highly “conservative” students and alumni of this Christian fundamentalist university, which has become a major institution, with tens of thousands of students.

In reading about this, I was reminded of the following from The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!:

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

The Direct Line to the Confederacy

Here it is worth repeating these insightful observations from African-American theologian Hubert Locke:

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.2

There is a lot “packed into” that statement, so let’s dig into it. Locke begins by making the point that it is not accidental (not “happenstance”) that Christian fascism in this country is based most strongly in the South (although it also finds significant support in rural areas, and even among sections of people in the suburban areas, in other parts of the country). Why is it the case that its strongest base is among white people in the South?

In my book Away With All Gods!, there is a section in Part Three with the heading “The Bible Belt Is the Lynching Belt: Slavery, White Supremacy and Religion in America.” There I refer to (and quote) some important analysis in the book by Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy. The following is particularly relevant and important:

Phillips reviews how, in the aftermath of the Civil War, although the South was defeated and the slave system was abolished, after the reversal of Reconstruction [in the 1870s] the South “rose again” in terms of political power and influence within the country as a whole. In connection with all this, Phillips points out, a religious mythology arose, and took root widely among white people in the South, that the (white) South had a special covenant with God and was the object of a special design by God to restore it to its proper place, righting the terrible wrong that had been done through the Civil War. Phillips makes the very relevant and telling comparison between southern whites in the U.S. and white settlers (Afrikaners) in South Africa, as well as Protestants in Northern Ireland and the Zionists who founded and rule the state of Israel.... Phillips points out that all these groups, including fundamentalist southern whites, see themselves as people being restored to their rightful, and righteous, relation with God—re-establishing a broken covenant and exercising a special, divinely-established destiny.

But all this is accompanied by a constant sense of insecurity and the reversal of perpetrator and victim, so that these oppressors and terrorizers—including the southern-based white supremacists—devoutly carry the artificial cross of being persecuted, regarding even any minor reduction of their favored position as essentially a threat to their very existence, or at least their purpose for being. As Phillips puts it (in another passage cited in Away With All Gods!), this involves biblical attitudes of “religious intensity, insecure history, and willingness to sign up with an Old Testament god of war for protection.”3

And there is the following from Katherine Stewart’s book The Good News Club, summarizing the views of a former Christian fundamentalist, Rich Lang, who broke with that and became a liberal Christian pastor:

Modern fundamentalism, like fascism in earlier times, he says, involves a strong feeling of persecution, typically at the hands of godless liberals or a religious “other”; the belief that one belongs to a pure race or national group that is responsible for past greatness, suffers unjust oppression in the present, and is the rightful ruler of the world; the impulse to submit unquestioningly to absolute authority; and the relentless drive for power and control. It is, he says, a kind of supremacist movement, with religion rather than race at its core.4

As I have pointed out: “that is the insight of someone very familiar with these Christian Fascists. And the fact is that, in this country, with its whole history of genocide, slavery and racism, any form of fascism, including one basing itself on ‘Christian supremacy’—any urge to ‘restore past greatness’—cannot help but be bound together with white supremacy.5

White supremacy, even of the most grotesque kind, has always been part of the “worldview” and actions of right-wing forces in this country. To get a sense of this, let’s look at the racism of two patriarchs of right-wing politics and ideology: Jerry Falwell Sr. (founder of Liberty University and father of its current president) and William Buckley.

Falwell (Sr.), whose Christian fundamentalism was, in his earlier days, intertwined with old-time southern segregationism, viciously opposed the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and early 1960s. Later, when the upheaval of that time had passed, he “apologized” for that opposition. But then, in the 1980s, during the high point of the struggle of Black people in South Africa against the brutal system of apartheid, Falwell once again opposed and denounced that struggle.

Although from a wealthy northern family and having the bearing not of a crude rural southern “rube” but of a highly-educated intellectual sophisticate, William Buckley, founder of the right-wing magazine National Review, was from the beginning an overt racist. He followed a path very similar to that of Falwell (Sr.): Buckley, too, vigorously and viciously opposed the struggle against overt segregation and white supremacy in the South during the high point of the Civil Rights movement (and he too, later “changed his mind”). And with the same overt racism, he supported European colonialism in Africa and apartheid in South Africa. Buckley regarded the African peoples fighting for liberation from their colonial oppressors after World War 2 as sub-human savages. If, in fact, he had been looking for savagery, he didn’t need to look any further than his own country and the horrific oppression he supported and justified within this country. He might have gotten some valuable education from the following words boldly spoken by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass in a July 4th speech in 1852: “For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival”—a statement which, as I have emphasized, “echoes down through time, expressing a profound truth today.”6

What ties together the racism of these two right-wing patriarchs, despite their very different backgrounds and individual personas, is the fact that both were ardent advocates of the brutally oppressive system of capitalism-imperialism—and more specifically of the “peculiar” way in which this system developed in this country, with its foundation in the enslavement of African peoples (and genocide against the first inhabitants of the continent), and the determination that this particular capitalist-imperialist country must remain dominant in the world.

Given the history of this country and the fact that, from its founding, slavery played a crucial part in its development (and that, even after slavery was abolished through the Civil War, white supremacy continued to play a crucial role in perpetuating this system, and maintaining the established “order,” in this country) and given the particular role of the South in all this, it is true both that the South would continue to have a special role in perpetuating white supremacy, and everything bound up with it, and that, in every part of the country, the advocates of this particular American “strain” of capitalism-imperialism would uphold, justify, and in various ways propagate white supremacy.

The “left” (“liberal” or “progressive”) variation of this, among the powers-that-be, speaks in terms of “equality,” “diversity” and “inclusiveness,” while presiding over and perpetuating social relations, built into this system, which actually embody inequality and oppression, and require the repeated use of violent repression to enforce them.

The right-wing version, which has now taken on the full dimensions of outright fascism, more openly and aggressively promotes and insists upon overt white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations, with the insistence that these are the traditional ways that this country has been held together and has been made “great”—and that undermining this, even through limited concessions to the struggle against oppression, will lead to the loss of everything that has enabled this country to become (and, up to now, remain) dominant in the world. This is why, despite their significant differences in backgrounds and individual personas, William Buckley and Jerry Falwell (Sr.) would take the same position in opposition to the Civil Rights movement in this country, and to the struggle in Africa against white colonial rule—they both did this out of a combination of deep-seated racism and the fear that these struggles would undermine the “strength” and “cohesion” of this country and the top-dog position of U.S. capitalism-imperialism in the world. This is why, today especially, with the capitalist-imperialist system wreaking havoc on countries and people all over the world, in multiple ways, including through its plundering of the environment, and with the massive migrations this has caused, immigration—that is, preventing and reversing immigration, especially of people from non-European countries (the kinds of countries that Donald Trump has infamously referred to as “shit-hole countries”)—has become such a major focus and target of virulent, and violent, white supremacist action.

All this is why today the political (and literal) descendants of the Buckleys and Falwells viciously seek to not simply maintain, but to carry to even greater extremes, the “traditional” oppressive relations of all kinds that have characterized this system and this country from the beginning. And the massive outpouring that has been sparked by the police murder of George Floyd—because it has powerfully shaken the oppressive “established order” by erupting beyond the bounds of meaningless “conversation” and polite requests regarding racial equality, and by sharply posing big questions about the nature of this society and the history of this country—has been met with frenzied and brutal opposition from the Trump/Pence regime and its fascist “base,” and has been the occasion for the profound rot of this country to come oozing out, including in the unhinged screams of unloosed racists attacking the protests as well as Black people, and other people of color, that they randomly encounter.

The Direct Connection: White Supremacy, Male Supremacy, American Supremacy

Just as white supremacy has been poured into the foundation and woven throughout the fabric of the system in this country, so too has male supremacy been an essential part of the system of capitalism-imperialism, and all exploitative systems, in every age and every part of the world.7 And, just as overt and aggressive white supremacy has been, and remains, an essential part of the ideology and program of right-wing forces in this country, so too has been the insistence on the subordinate position of women. Along with the many different forms of the oppression of women, in countries like the U.S., as well as in the Third World (of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia), there is the fact that a major source of the wealth and corresponding power of the capitalist-imperialist system in this country (and others) is the super-exploitation of women, especially in the Third World. This super-exploitation would not be possible if these masses of women were not maintained in all-around conditions of oppression, deprivation and desperation, enforced with horrific brutality and abuse of all kinds (and one of the major ways women are abused and degraded, in the Third World and in the countries of the so-called “developed world,” including the U.S., is through exploitation in pornography and sex-trafficking, both of which are multi-billion dollar “businesses”).

All of this requires that the relations of male supremacy that have been developed over centuries and millennia be maintained and enforced, even with different variations in different parts of the world and different particular countries. And, here again, religion—and all the more so in its fundamentalist expressions—plays a crucial part. The fact is that

the scriptures, and the notion of god in the scriptures, in the main “monotheistic” (one-god) religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are patriarchal, male supremacist (with “god” spoken of in male, patriarchal terms—“God, the Father,” and so on). The relations being described and insisted upon are patriarchal, male supremacist relations, with women being kept in an inferior position, often brutally so. These scriptures were written by human beings who lived within patriarchal, male supremacist societies, and the scriptures they wrote reflect this.8

This is why the Christian fundamentalist fascists—for whom the subordination of women (to husbands and to men overall) is an article of faith—are so fanatically opposed to the right to abortion. (The fact that more than a few women are involved in the Christian fascist crusade against abortion, and in support of an overall program that actually involves the systematic suppression and degradation of women—this is not a new phenomenon. Among those who are the targets and victims of oppressive relations, there have always been those who have accommodated themselves to—and even acted as enforcers of—those relations and the “traditions” they embody, because they have not only been cowed and conditioned to accept the inferior position into which these relations cast them, but to actually fear that violating these “traditions” will lead to chaos and ruin.) The Christian fascist zealotry in opposition to abortion is not really about the fraudulent notion that abortion amounts to “killing babies” (the overwhelming majority of abortions are carried out during the early stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is tiny and very undeveloped—and, during the whole period of pregnancy, the fetus is part of, completely integrated with and dependent on the body and bodily functions of the woman: it is not yet an actual independent human being). That this opposition to abortion is not about “killing babies” is demonstrated by (among other things) the fact that these opponents of the right to abortion also oppose, with equal fanaticism, birth control which prevents pregnancy in the first place.

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.

Just as it is the case that although there are parts of the New Testament of the Bible that can be invoked to “justify” white supremacy—passages that uphold slavery, for example—it is especially in the Old Testament that there is the strongest basis for this, this is also the case with regard to the subordination and oppression of women. And this is why, despite all their rapturous invocations of Jesus, it is the Old Testament (and, to use Kevin Phillips’ apt phrase, the Old Testament “god of war”) that most anchors these Christian fascists in their reactionary fanaticism.

In line with this, although what is involved in the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ people is not entirely reducible to the question of overcoming patriarchy, it is definitely the case that the assertion of patriarchy and male supremacy is very much involved in the Christian fascist opposition to these rights: the insistence that there are only two, absolutely different and separate genders, the whole notion of what is the proper, or “god-ordained,” character of a man and a woman, and of sexual relations that must be limited to those between a dominant man and a subordinate woman (as reflected in the Christian fascist mantra: “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”).

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

In the swirling poisonous chaos inside the minds of these Christian fundamentalist zealots (and allied fascists), it is “just one crazy thing after another”: first Black people demanding equality and an end to injustice,...now all people of color complaining about racism...now “illegal aliens” swarming across the border...now women insisting on their right to be independent and equal...now queers, “freaks” and “perverts” wanting to get married, raise children, and use any old bathroom they choose...now they’re tearing down Confederate statues...now they’re going after the National Anthem and burning the American flag...and who knows what’s next?!—“they’re coming for us and everything we hold sacred!”

What ties all this together, in terms of the method of thinking—or non-thinking—of the fascist fanatics is not simply the departure from but the aggressive rejection of the scientific method, and critical rational thinking, and in its place the embrace of all kinds of lunatic conspiracy theories and other demented notions which serve to reinforce their prejudices and paranoia.

In all this we see the “direct connection” between the white supremacy of the Trump/Pence regime and its fascist followers and “their open disgust and hatred for LGBT people as well as women, their willful rejection of science and the scientific method, their raw ‘America First’ jingoism and trumpeting of ‘the superiority of western civilization’ and their bellicose wielding of military power, including their expressed willingness and blatant threats to use nuclear weapons, to destroy countries.”

As Hubert Locke’s statement cited earlier also points out, this is all tied together. And, according to the fascists, in particular the Christian fundamentalist fascists, all the “evil” is concentrated in the fact that “they took God out of the schools” (in the early 1960s, with the Supreme Court decision which, proceeding on the basis of the constitutional separation of church and state, outlawed school-sponsored prayer).

All this is embodied in the program of the Trump/Pence regime, with its declarations about restoring (and keeping) the supposed “greatness” of America. All this is the very real horror they are determined to impose on not just the people in this country but on the world and humanity as a whole.

You Cannot Break the Chains of Oppression by Opposing Only One—You Need to Break All the Chains

Returning to where I began, the fact is that Jerry Falwell (Jr.) and Liberty University stand against liberty and against what a university and education should be all about. The founder of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell (Sr.), was a vehement opponent of the scientific theory of evolution (and the scientific method overall). In opposition to the already well-established truth, and the continually increasing evidence, that all living things on the earth, including human beings, are the result of billions of years of natural evolution, Falwell insisted that everything on the earth is exactly as god created it in the first place. And continuing with this anti-scientific, and dangerous, lunacy, Falwell Jr. is also firmly in the camp of the deniers of climate change and in particular the fact that human activity is playing the decisive role in the accelerating climate crisis. That an institution with someone like the Falwells as its head, and with the kind of anti-scientific indoctrination that flows from their outlook—that this could be accredited as a university is incredible. But, more than that, it is a testament to the bankrupt nature of this whole system in this country, which lends legitimacy to all this and which has spawned a fascist regime not only headed by the narcissistic sociopathic maniac Trump but filled with legions of lunatic Christian fundamentalist fascists, including those holding powerful positions, such as Mike Pence, William Barr, Mike Pompeo, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and many others.

Contrast this anti-scientific lunacy with the orientation and approach to education that is set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and far better society and world:

The educational system in the New Socialist Republic in North America must enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.9

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.

There is, in fact, a direct line from the Confederacy to these fascists of today, and a direct connection between all the various forms of oppression that they seek to fortify and viciously enforce. You cannot finally and completely do away with racism and white supremacy without also doing away with patriarchy and male supremacy, and all the other oppressive relations that are interwoven together with white supremacy. And, fundamentally, you cannot abolish all this without abolishing, through an actual revolution, the system of capitalism-imperialism whose basic relations of oppression, exploitation and plunder, of people and the environment, these fascists are seeking to carry to monstrous extremes.10


1. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. Video of this October 2017 speech by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

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

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

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

4. Katherine Stewart, The Good News Club, The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, PublicAffairs, 2012. [back]

5. THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible. [back]

6. See Revolting Barbarity, Shameless Hypocrisy, For Those Who Cling to the Myth of “This Great American Democracy”: Some Simple Questions. Emphasis has been added here to Douglass’ statement. This article by Bob Avakian is available at revcom.us. [back]

7. In a number of works—and in particular in Break ALL The Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution (which is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us)—Bob Avakian analyzes the historical and material roots of the oppression of women, in societies divided into exploiters and exploited, the road to the emancipation of women from this oppression, and the pivotal relation of this to the communist revolution with its ultimate goal of emancipating all of humanity from relations of exploitation and oppression. [back]

8. This is from the article “Morality Without Religion, Emancipation That Is Real,” by Bob Avakian, which is available at revcom.us. [back]

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

10. In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, Bob Avakian speaks to those crucial questions—analyzing what an actual revolution really involves, the need and the basis for this revolution, how this revolution can be carried out, up against the powerful oppressive and repressive forces of this system of capitalism-imperialism, and what are the goals of this revolution. The text and video of this speech by Bob Avakian are available at revcom.us. [back]

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

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A clip from a talk by Bob Avakian:
The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today

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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 80 million human beings who live in Iran, and potentially catastrophic consequences for the world. In other words, every day, 24-7, the U.S. holds a gun to the heads of humanity and to Iran in particular—and yet they try to act as if they are the victim!

The U.S. says that it must also prevent Iran from gaining strength and influence in the Middle East region (see map). Yet the U.S. itself has dominated the region for years with military aid and use of puppets and proxies, keeping the people murderously suppressed and exploited.1

Sometimes the U.S. even says it cares about the freedom and well-being of the Iranian people. Yet these attacks come on top of years of punishing economic warfare against Iran—economic warfare which has caused tremendous hardship, suffering and death among its people. And, as this article will show, the U.S. has, under Republican and Democrat alike, supported regimes just as repressive as the one currently ruling Iran.

So why is the U.S. doing this? To understand this, we need to step back. We need to look at history, and we need to look at dynamics and forces that almost never get reported on in the media or, when they are, represented correctly.

Two Centuries of Imperialist Domination

Iran traces its culture back to the Persian empire that arose some 2,500 years ago. This was a culture of great achievements—and, like all empires before and since, it rested on the brutal exploitation and horrendous suffering of masses of people, including through savage wars of conquest, generation after generation. As time went on, this empire was defeated and replaced by other empires.

Iran possesses huge reserves of oil. With the rise of capitalism, and then imperialism, oil became immensely important to production—and immensely profitable. Oil is a resource crucially necessary to run a modern economy, within the current setup of things. That means that those countries which control oil—either because they have those resources in their country, or because they dominate other nations that have such resources—have tremendous power. Iran not only possesses such oil itself, it is in the middle of a region in which there are other large reserves of oil. 

Beginning in the 1800s, Britain—then the world’s dominant imperialist power—exerted control and domination of Iran, exploiting its resources and people for their empire. Then after World War II, the U.S. took over. When a nationalist Iranian politician, Mohammad Mossadegh, came to power in a democratic election, he promised to nationalize the oil—that is, to make it the property of the Iranian state—and the CIA engineered a violent military takeover to remove Mossadegh and replace him through a puppet, Reza Pahlavi, who styled himself the Shah, or king, of Iran.

For decades, the U.S. controlled this oil through this puppet Shah that they violently installed. U.S. presidents, Democrat and Republican alike, gave billions to the Shah, building up and training his army and the notorious Iranian spy agency—the SAVAK—in surveillance, infiltration and torture. In 1976, Amnesty International reported that Iran had the “highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran.”2 The U.S. rulers bound the Iranian economy to the U.S. and other imperialist powers in an oppressive relationship. They tore up and reshaped agriculture and industry to serve the needs, and the superprofits, of U.S. capitalism-imperialism—in which the blood of Iranian farmers and workers was sucked dry for the West, in which the potential of an entire people was stifled. 

How was all or any of this—the hunger and degradation; the repression and torture; the denial of national independence, the distortion of the nation’s productive forces, and the mutilation of its culture; the suffocation of tens of millions of human beings, generation after generation—in the interests of humanity? It was not. In fact, all of that is what needs to be swept away, and can be swept away, by revolution—nothing less.

The Iranian Revolution: Heroism, Betrayal, and the Reactionary Counter-Revolutionary Rule of Islamic Fundamentalism

In 1978, the Iranian people rose up and tried to sweep that oppression away. People heroically threw themselves against the U.S.-built and -backed repressive machinery of the Shah. In one particularly bloody day, thousands of people were killed by the Shah’s forces! But the people refused to bow down, and in fact more and more people joined in the uprising.  

Many different trends, representing many different views as to the future of Iran—and ultimately representing different class interests—arose in this upsurge. The U.S. began to worry that as the revolution against the Shah’s regime developed, things could develop in such a way that communists could come to the forefront and directly threaten the rule of imperialism. Also in the mix were movements that were not revolutionary communist but more subject to the influence and control of the main U.S. rival at the time—the Soviet Union, which by then was itself an imperialist power and one that directly bordered Iran. 

One very powerful trend was the Islamic fundamentalist movement headed by Sayyid Ruhollah Khomeini, a major ayatollah in Iran (ayatollahs are prominent religious figures). The clerical-political forces around Khomeini represented a mix of landlords and “traditional” ruling forces in the countryside with a section of merchants in the cities who sought a “better deal” in relation to the U.S.  

At a certain point, the Shah had lost the allegiance of almost any section of Iranian society. So the Shah was forced to go into exile under U.S. protection, including some time within the U.S. itself. At the same time, the U.S. began working to influence what would come next. 

Given the U.S. fears of the situation, they moved to work with and influence the Khomeini forces. In writing of that period, Bob Avakian (BA) has said:

They [the U.S.] moved to cut short a process through which the masses would be able to more fully test out in practice, as well as wrangling on the level of line and theory with, different programs and different forces representing different solutions. Instead, the U.S. imperialists, and elements they could work through, maneuvered things so that the forces grouped around Khomeini would, in fact, get the necessary backing to be able to seize and consolidate power. It was the calculation of the imperialists that they could better deal with that than a continuously developing revolutionary situation—a situation in which the communists, assuming that they had been able to find their bearings and more thoroughly grasp and apply a genuinely communist and revolutionary line, would have been able to win increasing numbers of the masses through that social upheaval, through the masses testing out different programs and seeing which ones really were leading in a direction that was in their fundamental interests, and which were stopping halfway, seeking to hold things back and keep things confined within an oppressive framework.

Once again, this is something that needs to be more fully explored—although in significant measure it has been explored, particularly by our Iranian communist comrades. I'm merely seeking to sketch out a basic picture here, to illustrate this extremely important point about how different class forces enter into the fray and, especially in the context of major social upheavals and more particularly with impending revolutions, seek to seize the reins and impose their solutions—and what the consequences are when different class forces are able to do this.3

The Islamic Fundamentalists Come to Power

These Islamic fundamentalists came to power with U.S. assent and steadily tightened their grip. In 1982 they violently repressed the opposition, including the communists and many others. They instituted an Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). This had as its foundation religious rule by the Shia Islamic religious establishment, enforcing Shariah law (the laws of the Quran) among the people. They aimed to drive out modern secular cultural influence in Iran—which in many people’s minds was associated with the imperialist West—and to maneuver between imperialist powers, playing one against the other. They aspired not to break free of the imperialist system but to build up Iran’s position within it. They fortified and strengthened certain backward and oppressive relations—the oppression of women, the oppression of minority nationalities, the suppression of critical thought and dissent.4

During the 1980s, the regime imprisoned, tortured and executed thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of political activists and revolutionaries. Iran became embroiled in reactionary wars throughout the region. Sometimes these wars were instigated by the U.S. as a way to keep the new regime in check. But in all cases, and increasingly so in recent decades, these have been reactionary wars, aiming to advance the Islamic Republic of Iran’s sway over less powerful countries in the region. Women were forced to wear the hijab and violently policed if they dared go out in public without one. Dissent was severely punished, with political and cultural life tightly controlled by the “Council of Guardians”—a supreme power made up of religious theocrats who made the ultimate decisions.

In the past few years, dissent and rebellion have again risen in Iran. Women have resisted the hijab, strikes and rebellions against hardship and privation have erupted, and people have fought back in other ways. The Islamic fundamentalist regime has struck back hard, killing hundreds and imprisoning—and torturing—thousands

How is this, how is any of this—the terrible repression and thousands of executions, the stifling rule of religious theocrats, and all the rest, now for over four decades—in the interests of humanity? It was not—and those within Iran who bravely stand up against it must be supported, including those who fight to finally and fully break free of the yoke of worldwide imperialism, the revolutionary communists.

Two Outmoded Ruling Classes ... Against the Interests of Humanity

The U.S. tries to claim the mantle of “democracy, human rights, and the individual” as it tortures the Iranian people and threatens a potentially catastrophic war. Iran tries to claim the mantle of “anti-imperialist fighter” as it angles for advantage within the world imperialist system and brutally represses the Iranian people. In fact, both are defending and fighting for outmoded systems—economic and political ways of organizing society that have long since hit their use-by date and need to be replaced by socialist societies on the way to communism. Bob Avakian has put it this way:

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)

The implications of this are clear.

First, people must firmly oppose any and all attacks by the U.S. and its puppets (Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.) against Iran. As BA says, the U.S. “poses the greater threat to humanity.” And those within the U.S. must politically work for the defeat of “their own” rulers in any war they launch in the Middle East.

Second, people all over the world must make common cause with and support those struggling against repression in Iran, and to demand that all political prisoners in Iran be freed. 

Third, this is the only way to stop the reactionary dynamic in which people are driven between these two reactionary poles; as BA says, “If you side with either of these ‘outmodeds,’ you end up strengthening both.”

In short, the people of this planet badly need another wayone that refuses to line up behind one oppressor in the name of combating anotherthe way of genuine revolution, aimed at the emancipation of humanity. 

In this context, it is a great thing there IS a party in Iran—the Communist Party of Iran, (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)—which bases itself on the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian and has a proud history of revolutionary struggle within Iran. For all those struggling for a world beyond all exploitation, all oppressive divisions, all ignorance, degradation and needless suffering, this is a great cause for hope ... and a great responsibility to support.

 


1. For more on some of the U.S. crimes just in the Middle East, see these articles mostly from the revcom.us “American Crime” series:

2. William Blum, Killing Hope, excerpt at http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/Iran_KH.html.  [back]

3. From RUMINATIONS AND WRANGLINGS: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning, by Bob Avakian.  [back

4. See Bob Avakian’s Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, in particular the excerpt, available at revcom.us, Why Is Religious Fundamentalism Growing in Today’s World—And What Is the Real Alternative?  [back]


Map of Middle East


In 1953 the CIA engineered a coup to overthrow the democratically elected government led by nationalist Prime Minister Mossadegh and install the brutal U.S. puppet regime headed by the Shah (king).


When the Islamic fundamentalist came to power after the fall of the Shah, the regime imprisoned, tortured and executed thousands of political activists and revolutionaries. Women were forced to wear the hijab and violently policed if they dared go out in public without one. 100,000 women marched in 1979 against the hijab in Tehran.


U.S. weapons of war – F-35 jets – line up for a launch exercise, January 2020. (Photo: USAF twitter)


People must firmly oppose any and all attacks by the US and its puppets (Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc.) against Iran. (Photo: AP)

See also:

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

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

Read more

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/frankfurt-germany-protest-condemns-repression-by-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-en.html

Frankfurt, Germany, Protest Condemns Repression by the Islamic Republic of Iran

| revcom.us

 

From participants of the Burn the Cage, Release the Birds (burn_the_cage) campaign:

A protest rally was held in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday, December 10, International Human Rights Day. The rally was called for by the “Burn the Cage, Release the Birds” campaign, and was supported by other organizations and some human rights supporters. The purpose of this call was to protest human rights violations in Iran and to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The demonstration started from the city center and went to the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy. The truck was covered with pictures of political prisoners and was accompanied by live music and the voice of the revolutionary artist Shakib Mosadeq. Demonstrators gathered in front of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Images of some Iranian political prisoners were also displayed on large screens. Several people spoke at the rally. Mariam Claren, daughter of Nahid Taghavi, an Iranian-German who is one of the political prisoners in Iran, also spoke. She said: “We are gathered here to raise the voice of political prisoners in Iran to the world and to protest against the recent wave of arrests and repression of the Islamic Republic and call on all people and governments to condemn the Islamic Republic and on the world stage.”

 

See also:

At the December 10 demonstration in Frankfurt, revolutionary artist Shakib Mosadeq leads protesters in song as images of political prisoners in Iran are shown on the screen.

 

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/check-it-out-online-event-about-iranian-political-prisoner-nasrin-sotoudeh-en.html

Check It Out: PEN/Ms. Magazine Online Event About Iranian Political Prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh

| revcom.us

 

International human rights organizations have spoken out about the intensifying repression in Iran. On Monday, December 21, the international writers’ organization PEN and feminist magazine Ms. are hosting a special virtual event about Nasrin Sotoudeh, the imprisoned human rights attorney. The online conversation includes writer Margaret Atwood (author of The Handmaid's Tale), New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, the directors of the documentary film NASRIN, and a message from Nasrin Sotoudeh’s husband.

We urge our readers to register and log in to this event to unite with and learn from this effort and, where appropriate, to enter into the online chat—as part of amplifying the campaign called by burn_the_cage and make it a global struggle as expressed in the statement “We Demand Justice and Freedom for All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW“ that calls on people to stand and act in solidarity. The statement can be signed here.

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)

 

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/bob-avakian-its-not-our-embassy-en.html

Excerpts from From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian

"It's Not Our Embassy!"

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: We are sharing excerpts from Bob Avakian’s (BA) memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, regarding the stand taken in support of the Iranian Revolution while BA and the Mao Defendants were themselves up on serious charges as a result of arrests at a powerful demonstration in January 1979 against Deng Xiaoping, who was being hosted triumphally at the White House by then-President Jimmy Carter.1 Throughout 1978 the Iranian Revolution against the regime of the Shah, which had been backed by U.S. Imperialism for several decades, was gaining ground.  By the fall of 1978 that revolution was causing major problems for the U.S. and its puppet Shah. In 1979, over a hundred volunteers had gathered in Washington D.C. to “Turn D.C. Upside Down” in defense of BA and the Mao Defendants, and a major rally of support was held at the Howard Theater on November 19, which BA spoke at. These excerpts give a sense of how BA gave leadership in this situation to carry out a fully internationalist orientation and position. For more about this whole situation, read fuller discussion in the memoir, and actually read the whole memoir.

EXCERPTS FROM PAGES 396-400 FOLLOW:

... This was the period when the Iranian revolution had reached its high point, and driven the Shah of Iran out of the country. I remember a headline in the Chicago Tribune when the Shah was teetering on his throne, just before he fell. This headline declared: “He May Be a Despot, But He’s Our Despot.” That was basically the stand of the Carter administration and the U.S. ruling class, right until the fall of the Shah. The U.S. had put him in power through a CIA coup in 1953, and they maintained him in power for almost three decades. And they were still doing what they could to protect him at the end. Then, after the Shah could no longer maintain his rule in Iran, they brought him into the U.S., after having tried to get a few other countries to take him.

People in Iran suspected the Shah was being given refuge here to prepare a counter-revolution, and a group of Iranian students and youth then seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran. The Iranians occupying the embassy got hold of the records there and proved that many of the embassy employees were spies and CIA agents who were working to undermine and reverse the course of the Iranian revolution and to bring Iran more fully back under the domination of the U.S.

With these students and others occupying the U.S. embassy, Ted Koppel pronounced “America Held Hostage,” and the occupation of the embassy became a big controversial issue in the U.S. There was a big uproar, and the ruling class in the U.S. worked to whip up all kinds of chauvinism toward the Iranian people, including Iranians living in the U.S., and to inflame reactionary sentiments among the American people about the Iranian revolution. This was happening at the same time as our case was getting ready to go to court and as we were working, through the efforts of the volunteers and in an all-around way, to build support for myself and the other Mao Tsetung Defendants and to promote and project the line and objectives of our Party broadly throughout society....

“It’s Not Our Embassy!”

At the same time, we had to take a stand in support of the Iranian revolution. This was something I felt very strongly about, and I spoke about this to the volunteers in D.C. The leadership of our Party was firmly united that it was very important to work to win people away from the whole chauvinist hysteria and mob mentality that was being whipped up. Iranian students in the U.S. were being attacked. When we would go out to do revolutionary work in general, and particularly to talk with people and do agitation about what was happening in Iran, larger numbers of people would gather. Things would get extremely heated, and sometimes there would be physical attacks on our people. But we were very determined that we had to take this on and turn it around, even as we had this major campaign and battle that we had to wage around the case flowing out of the demonstration against Deng Xiaoping.

One of the things that struck me, in reading a number of reports and talking to comrades who were involved in this work, is that while there was this hysteria, mob mentality and chauvinism whipped up against the Iranian people and the Iranians who lived in the U.S., and it was very widespread — the government and the media had put a lot of effort into this—it was also very superficial. When we talked with people about the history of what the U.S. had done in Iran, the torture and oppression to which it had subjected the Iranian people for decades through putting the Shah of Iran in power and keeping him in power since 1953; when we showed why the Iranian people were so angry at the U.S., and how they were determined to fight against the domination of the U.S. in their country—we could puncture this hysteria and quickly things would begin to change. As is so often the case with people who are whipped up around reactionary shit by the ruling class, there wasn’t any depth to it. People were largely acting out of ignorance and not understanding what was motivating the Iranian people, and what had been going on for decades in Iran — all of which had been hidden from people in the U.S....

We had worked closely with the many radical and revolutionary- minded students from Iran who were living and studying in various parts of the U.S. Ironically, they had been sent to the U.S. by the Shah. The Shah had this program to modernize enclaves of the Iranian economy, while the masses of people would be enmeshed and enslaved in deep poverty and oppression. So his government, working with the U.S. government, had financed a lot of these students to go to the U.S. to get training in things like engineering. But, especially because of the nature of the times, many of them had become radicalized —and by and large this was a secular anti-imperialist radicalism, rather than fundamentalist religious militancy. Many of them had become revolutionaries of one kind or another, and the communist and Maoist trend had a lot of initiative among these thousands of Iranian students. We continued to work closely with them and support them as the Iranian revolution developed, although some of them were beginning to go back to Iran to take part directly in the revolutionary upsurge there.

So when I gave this speech at the Howard Theater I talked about this and why it was important that we take a stand in support of the revolution in Iran and the Iranian students here who were coming under attack— it was, once again, a question of internationalism. It was our responsibility to oppose our own ruling class in trying to reinstitute and fasten down more tightly the domination and oppression of the Iranian people. And, as I put it in that speech: “It’s not our embassy, we don’t have an embassy, this is the embassy of the imperialist ruling class and we stand with the Iranian people.”36

This was controversial even among people close to us and among our broader supporters. Some people felt that by taking this stand, in the midst of this whole attack on us, we would be taking on an even bigger burden and bringing down even further repression on ourselves. We recognized this danger but our position was, as I put it in that speech: “If we don’t stand with the Iranian people, then we’re not worth defending. If we don’t uphold our internationalism and our communist principles, then we’re not worth defending.”

 

36. The RCP came out with a transcript of that part of the speech almost immediately after the rally, entitled “It’s Not Our Embassy.” Party members and supporters took this pamphlet out very broadly, generating controversy and through sharp struggle helping to repolarize the terms of debate in a more favorable way. [back]

 


1. After the death of the revolutionary leader Mao Zedong in 1976, Deng Xiaoping led a coup that overthrew socialism in China and restored capitalism. When Deng was invited to visit the U.S., Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party led a demonstration in Washington, DC, against the visit to expose what had happened in China and what Deng represented. The protest, which became an international incident, was viciously attacked by the police. Scores of protesters were brutally beaten and many were arrested, including BA. BA and about a dozen others, who faced what amounted to over 200 years in jail, were known as the Mao Defendants. For much more on this, see Bob Avakian’s memoir, Chapters 21 (“‘A Fitting Welcome” for Deng Xiaoping”) and Chapter 23 (“Stop the Railroad!”).  [back]

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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.

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/chicago-police-assault-of-anjanette-young-en.html

Chicago Police Assault of Anjanette Young
Fuck the Police No Knock!

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

I watch the video.
Tears of rage
Fill my eyes.
50-year-old Anjanette Young.
Home alone.
Handcuffed.
Naked. 
Men in uniform with guns drawn.
Batter down her door.
Roam her home.
Callous.
Blind to her humanity.

“I could have died that night,” Anjanette Young told a reporter interviewing her about the police raid on her home. She is wearing a shirt with image of Breonna Taylor on it as she explains what happened to her two years earlier when the Chicago police carried out a “no knock" warrant on her home looking for someone who it turns out lived at another address.

She has just gotten home from her job as a hospital social worker and is about to put on her sleepwear. A dozen police batter down her door. Shouting, they enter her home with guns drawn. She is naked. They handcuff her. Leave her standing there naked. She asks in confusion what is going on. Over and over again—more than 40 times—she tells the cops they have the wrong house, but they just ignore her. She is terrified.

For two years, Anjanette Young fought to get the video of this raid released. For two years the CPD covered it up. When Anjanette and her lawyer finally got the video and gave it to the local news this week, the city law department went to court to stop them.

On Wednesday, December 16, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was elected in 2019 after a campaign that centered on “police reform,” held a press conference saying she was outraged and had only just learned about the incident and just seen this video. The next night, Lightfoot held another press conference having to take this back, admitting that she had been informed about the incident last fall but claiming she had not seen the video at that time.

On Thursday, December 17, the local CBS affiliate ran a full hour on the case without commercial interruptions. The first video shows the police body camera video of the raid on Anjanette Young and includes interviews with her and her lawyer.

The second video was a half-hour documentary called [un]warranted they had made a year ago—with stories of children traumatized when police with guns drawn raided their family homes “by mistake.” When one of these children learns that a new law has been passed in his name to train the police to “de-escalate” when they discover children during these raids, the boy looks impressed but then wisely comments, “Just because there is a law it doesn't mean they will follow it.”

The reporters who did these exposures said that it took them two years to get any data on search warrants. Check out this chilling piece of data they uncovered. Between 2016 and 2019, the CPD carried out 4,921 drug-related warrants. In only 221 of these did they confiscate any drugs. So in 4700 of these cases they found nothing. No one—whether they are the actual “suspect” the police are looking for or not—should go through the hell these videos reveal.

One day after these exposures aired, another scandal surfaced. John Catanzara, the president of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police, a virulent racist and rabid Trump supporter, is facing possible firing from the force for inflammatory social media posts. One of his posts said, “WTF its seriously time to kills these (expletives).” Another post disparaging Muslims said, “Savages they all deserve a bullet.”

On Friday night, December 18, a group of Black pastors held a press conference denouncing the raid. Some called for the police who did the raid and city attorneys involved in the cover-up to be fired.

The Chicago police are notorious for brutality, murders and cover-ups. Supposedly under a “consent decree” and “reformed” after the scandal that followed the cover-up of the murder of Laquan McDonald and the imprisonment of the cop who killed him, nothing fundamental has changed.  Nor will it.

As Bob Avakian says:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which this system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness. (BAsics 1:24)


Anjanette Young

CBS 2 Investigation: My Name Is Anjanette Young

[un]warranted, a CBS 2 News Documentary

"No Knock" by Gill Scott-Heron

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/from-a-prisoner-thoughts-about-70-million-people-who-voted-for-trump-en.html

From a prisoner:

Thoughts About 70 million People Who Voted for Trump

| revcom.us

 

Prisoner Revolutionary Literature Fund:

First, let me inform that I have been receiving the Revolution newspaper on a weekly basis. I am grateful for it. Whenever I am done reading I share them with those around me who are interested (and sometimes those who are not interested).

Second, your letter dated November 22, 2020 suggested that I request two books that I’d like to receive. Therefore, I request:

  1. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal); and
  2. The Communist Manifesto, 1848 (Marx & Engels).

Per your 11/22/20 letter I make the following remarks about why 70 million people voted for Donald Trump.

An important figure in the centuries-long struggle to free Africans in America from the brutal clutches of capitalism/imperialism and the people who are the primary beneficiaries of this horrible treatment remarked that “a people without knowledge of its history is like a tree without its roots.” Marcus Garvey understood that history is important if one is to fully understand his/her place in society and the world. Forsaking history will prevent a comprehension of the present.

So, let’s go back in time to a period when America was born and “great.” Supposedly those who first emigrated to America did so, in large part, to escape religious persecution. They wrote flowery documents about the freedoms they wanted for themselves, all the while perfectly willing to hypocritically (and unashamed of it) deny it to their African counterparts. While all kinds of excuses were created to justify the tyranny they did and would inflict on Africans enslaved in America, including but not limited to bogus science and the 3/5 of a human justification, the driving force was capitalism, the unabashed desire and willingness to brutalize Africans (and Africa) for their profit. This is commonly referred to as America’s “Original Sin.” Personally I object to resorting to religion to explain crimes against humanity committed in service to the system of capitalism/imperialism primarily because these same religious systems encourage the ill-treatment of “others” (Christianity’s “slaves obey your masters”; Islam’s “treat your slaves with fairness”; and Judaism’s insistence that genocide is fine if you are stealing land on the orders of your god).

But I digress. A culture was born in America where white people ruled and dominated Africans. Fast forward to the present and we find ourselves faced with the same culture where a significant portion of white America still insists that they are superior purely by virtue of their whiteness. While this belief is proudly and publicly declared by a vociferous bunch (MAGA scum gangs), the others for any host of reasons are more secretive about their allegiance to white supremacy. While they may not be willing to declare themselves openly (perhaps for fear of judgment or ridicule), they are certainly willing, when the ballot counter’s curtain is pulled shut, to vote their white supremacy. In other words, they are reluctant to voice support for white supremacy in public but more than happy to vote their support for white supremacy in private. This is prima facie evidence that the secret white supremacists represent a threat identical to and even greater than the vociferous, unmasked COVID-19 spitting clowns who show up with guns to intimidate their opponents. The fact that 70 million people voted for Trump is a proof that in public people will not espouse views of white supremacy but in the privacy of the voting booth they will show support for it. The 70 million Trump supporters are the descendants of those who committed America’s Original Sin. The system of capitalism/imperialism is undoubtedly the lifeblood of these horrible creatures. In order to get rid of white supremacy the system it relies on for its survival must be systematically and permanently destroyed (a point and reality littered with numerous contradictions). Otherwise new generations of racists will emerge to abuse new generations of people they view as other.

Thank you for considering this letter. I look forward to your thoughts about it (and certainly this includes criticism, encouragement and suggestions).

In the struggle,

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/prisoner-why-cant-racial-oppression-be-ended-under-capitalism-en.html

Prisoner Writes on: “Why can’t racial oppression be ended under this system of capitalism?”

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: We at revcom.us periodically publish letters from prisoners on revolutionary theory and struggle, as well as other aspects of human experience and thought, including conditions and struggle within the prisons themselves. We appreciate and learn from all correspondence from the prisons.

The following from a prisoner in the Southwest is a follow-up to an earlier letter from this prisoner posted at revcom.us: “In ‘Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—but Not Under This System,’ Bob Avakian perfectly presents the case.” The opinions in the letters we publish are those of the writers and not necessarily those of Revcom.us.

Why can’t racial oppression be ended under this system of capitalism?

It all has to do with the fact that, the origins of capitalism are deeply intertwined with the system of racial slavery. The genocide of the American Indigenous people, and the enslavement of the African people, is what generated that primitive wealth that allowed capitalism to emerge. It is what led to the idea of race and racism to be conceived. In order to divide and to justify the oppression, brutal exploitation, slavery and the genocide of a group of human beings at the hands of other groups of humans for the sole selfish purpose of accumulating wealth.

Racism is not something you find in the biology or nature of human beings. It is a historical invention. It is a consequence of slavery, not the other way around. The enslavement of the African people began as an economic tool that was used as a means to appropriate capital wealth. That is what gave rise to ideas of a racial division between white Europeans who were pursuing such wealth, and people of color, who white Europeans saw as a means to appropriate wealth. The differences in how those two civilizations had developed, one being more advanced than the other (which has nothing to do with the people or race, but through other factors such as location, technology such as the invention of tools and the domestication of animals, and plants etc., inconsequential to what group of people did it first and developed from it and the group of people who were in a different position). This led to believing there was some sort of supremacy to the white race. But it all started with pursuit of wealth and the people of color being the means to that wealth. The horrific and brutal means to get this wealth out of the less developed people was then justified by the invention of race, racism, and ideals of white supremacy.

Those brutal means of appropriating such wealth, like the genocide of the indigenous Americans and the enslavement of the African people, is what allowed the system of capitalism to emerge. That means that racism and racial oppression can be counted among the many features and dynamics that make up the capitalist/imperialist system.

That being the case, you can’t end one without ending the other. If one truly desires to see an end to racism and racial oppression, you would have to get rid of the capitalist system. There is no other way around it. Put it like this: racism and racial oppression are among the many cells that make up the whole body organism of capitalism. There’s not just simply eliminating that single cell you want, because its life blood, its essence is being a part of the main organism. It will always regenerate and even mutate in its adaptation, but never disappear, not unless you destroy the main body organism that it is a part of.

The violence and oppression dished out by the state institutions against Black and Brown people is done to keep those submitting themselves to the exploitation in line, and criminalizing, in order to put or do away with those the capitalist system itself forces society to exclude by the very dynamics and nature of capitalism. Since capitalism is set up to polarize the capital wealth of society to one side, the opposite side is thus condemned to poverty, which consequently results in creating the conditions for crime. So if there’s whole sections of people, specifically Black & Brown people, who while at the same time, being the source of society’s wealth through their forced submission to exploitation are also those who, by a capitalist society inherent racism, can so easily exclude people of color, right after it already used and abused them.

Under capitalism, it is impossible to provide a living to those it is forced to exclude. The state is then tasked with, among many things, two things I’ll point out: It is tasked with expanding the capitalist economy by finding new people and resources to exploit. It is also tasked with keeping in “order” or outright doing away with those it already used up. Being that they are now considered a “drain” to society. It does this “cleaning up of society” by criminalizing those it has excluded and forced into crime or other form of informal economy and even a life of vagabonds.

So the “war on crime” “war on drugs” really translates to a war on Black & Brown people as well as poor people in general. Such a profound contradiction you find in this type of society, the act of waging a “war on crime” when you create, through your chosen means of production, the conditions that create and harbor crime. And when you force these conditions on sections of people through government policy and through consequential machinations of the capitalist system, you’re essentially criminalizing whole sections of people, in this case Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.

Blacks & Latinos are criminalized as they are segregated into purposely maintained ghettos and barrios, which lack many opportunities at a decent living. In their desperation, are forced to get into crime, like robbing and selling drugs (drugs that the state has purposely made illegal and which the government has been exposed, time and time again, to have a hand, directly and indirectly in these drugs making it to the streets).

It is this segregation, and the deplorable conditions, along with the nature dictated by capitalism that one must adopt to succeed in such society, that played a major role in certain sections of Black & Brown people to develop into the ruthless, cut-throat, money obsessed individuals you find today. Which gives the repressive forces of the state, that excuse, to unleash all manner of violence and terrorism against the Black & Latino oppressed people.

There can be no ending of racial oppression without ending capitalism, as also, there’s no reforming the police. The police, as they have manifested in a capitalist society, are to protect and serve the interests of the state, which serves the interest of capital and the capitalist class. The police are tasked with enforcing the law, the law under capitalism having mainly to do with keeping in order, keeping in check, the people who either step out or are forced out of the formal way of doing things. They also hide or sweep up, the physically visual contradictions of capitalism. Speaking here of the people that develop from poverty. And this the police do so ruthlessly.

The police’s hyper aggressive approach to Black & Brown people has essentially criminalized them. Yes, through racism, but also through economic policy. The limitations of the capitalist system in America, forces Black, Brown and poor people to be regarded as “loose ends to cut” as they get wrongfully blamed for certain economic calamities in Society. When the blame actually lies in the workings of the capitalist system itself.

But truly, when it comes down to it, the police’s violent ruthless approach to Black and Brown people is about also enforcing and establishing the dominance of white supremacy and the capitalist state. Keeping in check, through violence, terror and manipulating the oppressed people. Who, if they were to ever to gain a scientific political consciousness and were to unite and led under scientific leadership could spell the beginning of the end for the capitalist/imperialist system. Knowing this, it is no wonder that there exists in America, a so-called “War on Crime,” “War on Drugs,” and the new “operation legend” which are terms that mask the genocidal intentions of the state against Black & Brown people. A slow genocide carried out by the police through its unrestrained murder of Black & Brown people and also their mass incarceration, preventing a lot of Black & Brown people from reproducing, which is also a form of genocide.

So how can one expect to reform the police under this system when the police is also a dynamic feature of the capitalistic system as they are among the instruments of its enforcement and defense.

Listen to the podcast:

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Racial Oppression Can Be EndedBut Not Under This System

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/548/science-of-evolution-philosophical-relativism-en.html

“BUT HOW CAN WE EVER BE SURE ANYTHING IS TRUE?”: SUCH PHILOSOPHICAL RELATIVISM OFFERS CREATIONISTS EASY PICKINGS

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Following is an excerpt from The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters by Ardea Skybreak, published in 2006.

It’s important to think about how you can tell whether something is really true or not. What are the methods and approaches which can be used for getting at the truth and distinguishing it from falsehood? Without a basic grasp of these approaches and methods it’s easy to fall into accepting just about any lie or falsehood, especially if it seems to be put forward with conviction by people in positions of power and influence (governments, religious authorities, TV personalities, and so on).

It’s good to have a critical mind and to question everything. But then again it’s also important to recognize when at least the basic truth of something has already been clearly established. If human beings always went around thinking that “nothing is ever sure,” how could we ever survive or get anything done? Should we walk in front of a moving bus because “we can’t ever really know for sure” whether we’ll get run over? Should we not bother setting an alarm clock because we “can’t ever know for sure” that it will ring, or that it even really exists, or that we really exist and have a reason to get up? These examples may seem silly, but they make the point that, even just to function in day-to-day life, we human beings really need to have some way, some approach and method, which can help us to determine when something is actually true (or false).

Of course we’ll never have absolute truth—in the sense that we’ll never know everything there is to know about everything—but we do have some means and methods for getting to the point that we can say, with a high degree of confidence, that something is true—meaning that it actually corresponds to some aspect of material reality as it really is.

Again, the point is that it’s good and important to question everything, but it’s also good and important to recognize that not everything is forever up for grabs—sometimes we can know enough about something to accept it as true, stop agonizing about it, and move on. Such is the case with the basic theory of evolution.

But a lot of people in the United States today still don’t realize that we can be that sure about evolution. Anti-evolution and anti-science Christian fundamentalist Creationists have worked to confuse people’s thinking on this since the late 19th century, typically becoming particularly active and aggressive in times of social turmoil and when the overall direction of society is being broadly questioned and debated. It’s especially at such times that reactionaries resist all forms of social progress and call instead for looking backward and “restoring core values and traditions.” Today is no exception.

The Creationists have waged such determined anti-evolution and anti-science campaigns in recent years that U.S. universities are now reporting that they are getting very worried about growing scientific illiteracy in the country as a whole as they notice that more and more freshmen are arriving on campuses so poorly trained in even basic science that they actually believe “the scientific community is divided on whether evolution happened” and that “evolution is still just an unproven theory.” To state it clearly again: both those notions are completely false. The scientific community (in the U.S. and worldwide and in every field of science) is not “divided” on the basic facts of evolution. The consensus is overwhelming that (a) life has definitely evolved and that (b) the basic mechanisms involved in how life evolved and continues to evolve (such as natural selection) are by now well understood.

The “Theory of Evolution”—What a Scientific Theory Is

As for the question of evolution being “just an unproven theory”: this is also false. As spoken to throughout this book, there is an incredible amount of accumulated and mutually reinforcing evidence for evolution, and the general scientific consensus is that the theory of evolution is among the best-proven and best-documented theories in all of science.

But one of the favorite methods of the Creationists is to play on people’s ignorance and confusion about some basic words: in regular everyday English, the word “theory” often means “a guess” or something that has not been proven to be true. So the Creationists hope that when you hear the words “theory of evolution” you will automatically think it hasn’t yet been proven to be true. But, in scientific circles, the word “theory” has a very different meaning: a “scientific theory” is what scientists call a complex body of thought that ties together a number of different ideas and proposals which successfully explain—from a number of different angles—the basic principles and mechanisms involved in a natural process, such as the origins and later change and development of some part of actual material reality. So, for instance, scientists talk about the “theory of gravitation” or the “Copernican theory” (of the motion of the planets, including the earth, around the sun) but that doesn’t mean they’re “guessing” that objects fall towards the earth because of the pull of gravity or that they’re “guessing” that the earth goes around the sun rather than the other way around. The theory of gravitation and the Copernican theory are by now well documented and supported by the accumulated scientific evidence, and the same can be said of the scientific theory of evolution.

Of course scientific theories are always being further extended and developed as human knowledge expands and comes to understand some things that we didn’t previously understand. And as knowledge develops, it is inevitably the case that some old ideas are discovered to be wrong and therefore need to be discarded. Science actually advances by calling into question and critically reviewing previously established scientific notions. It is true that there is always going to be more to learn and discover about everything. But that doesn’t mean that we can never come down and say that something is true. People who like to say things like “but you can never be sure” fall into the mistaken outlook and approach known as philosophical relativism. (Of course, since human knowledge is never complete and perfect, and is always developing, people who think and act like they have “absolute truth” about everything, or everything important, fall into the erroneous method known as dogmatism, which is the “flip-side” of relativism.) But when we say something is “true” it simply means that there is good, compelling and concrete evidence (preferably from a number of different and mutually reinforcing sources and directions) that our understanding of something actually does closely correspond to how that something really is in objective reality, that is, in the real material world—which includes all that is part of the natural world and which encompasses the features and workings of human social organization as well. (See “Reality and Distortions of Reality—Objective Truth and Subjective Influences” on page 216.)

Scientific theories (whether pertaining to the world of nature or human society) do not get proven to be “true” overnight. Before any great idea or set of ideas can be confidently said to be “true,” it has to get put through the scientific crucible—that means it gets poked at and critiqued and challenged and tested over and over again and from countless different directions. A good scientific theory puts forward some predictions about what we should expect to find in the real world if the theory is true; and it also makes predictions about some of the things we should not be able to find in the world if the theory is true. This is known as the principle of “scientific falsifiability”: a genuine scientific theory, as a matter of principle, has to be capable of being disproved by facts (things which, if discovered, would prove your theory to be wrong). The theory of evolution could be falsified (proven wrong) if, for instance, fossilized dinosaur and human footprints were ever found in the same undisturbed rock layers, because that would mean dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time, and this would completely contradict everything we know about how and when different species evolved. Biologists can give many such examples of the kinds of things that—if they were ever found to exist—would make a complete shambles of evolutionary theory. So, like all good scientific theories, the theory of evolution is falsifiable in principle—but, as a point of fact, science has never found anything (not a single thing) that actually falsifies it. It has, however, found many, many things that support it.

The theory of divine Creation is a religious belief, not a scientific theory. One of the sure signs of that is that the theory of divine Creation is, by its very nature and definition, impossible to falsify. The Creationists refuse to give people any examples of any kind of scientific discoveries that they could accept as proof that their divine Creation theory is wrong after all. They make a principle of this, because for them it is a matter of absolute religious faith. But if you make a principle of saying that there is no possible way that any information could ever come to light that would prove your theory wrong, then you are, by definition, not being scientific, and your theory has nothing to do with science!

Again, the theory of evolution was, from its very beginnings, falsifiable as a matter of principle. But as it turns out, all the actual scientific data that has been collected in the nearly century and a half since Darwin published his major work on evolution has repeatedly supported the theory of biological evolution; and none of it has ever provided evidence to the contrary. This more than anything is why there is such a broad and solid scientific consensus on the matter.

RECOGNIZE, DEMAND AND FIGHT FOR SCIENTIFIC TRUTH

Throughout this book, it has been shown, from many different angles and different sources, that evolution is a well-established scientific truth which is upheld and applied by the vast majority of scientists in the world. But just because something is true doesn’t mean it will prevail at all times, especially when people who hold false views are able to wield or influence the machinery of the state to spread and impose those false views. People don’t always think about this enough. For instance, in the United States today there are some people who understand that evolution is a proven fact but who think that it’s just a waste of time to worry about the crazy Creationists because, after all, they’re not going to be able to change the fact that evolution is true. They seem to think that, at least in countries like the U.S., society “will never go back to a time when most people didn’t know life had evolved through natural processes”—so why waste energy addressing the creationist lunacy? But in my opinion it’s a serious mistake to be complacent about such aspects of the “culture wars” in the United States. I’ve heard the same argument made about the anti-abortion movement. (“Don’t worry, these people are nuts; women in the U.S. will never have to go back to the days when abortion was illegal and women did not have the right to determine whether or when they would bear a child.”) Oh yeah? Well, look around you—one step at a time the fundamentalist religious forces have managed to chip away at women’s fundamental right to control their own reproduction and in some parts of the country (especially rural areas) it has already become a practical impossibility for many women. In regard to evolution, the same types of fundamentalist reactionaries have managed to confuse a lot of people, take over school boards and even get disclaimers inserted into high school science textbooks, telling people that evolution is “controversial” and “an unproven theory” (it is not!). So why is it so hard to imagine that these people could make even further headway, especially when their right-wing political programs are the order of the day in the highest reaches of government?

And it’s not like there isn’t still a strong material basis for lots of people to be ignorant and confused about this. Looking not only at the U.S. but at the world as a whole, it is still the case that tremendous numbers of people have never been taught even the most basic facts of evolution (many have never even heard of it!): most believe instead one or another myth or superstition about how all the plants and animals and people came to be. Furthermore, the aggressively expanding Christian fundamentalist movement is a well-funded and well-organized movement which gets significant financial and ideological backing from conservative and reactionary political organizations. Evangelical and fundamentalist Christian movements in the United States in particular are closely allied with the political Right and growing fascist trends and developments (think back to the Santorum Amendment, for instance). Thanks to this support, Creationists have significant and regular access to mainstream media, where their viewpoints and activities are often reported uncritically and as straight news. They also own or control a lot of media outlets themselves: their radio and TV programs, books, pamphlets, museum exhibits, professional-looking web sites (just do a web search for the word “creationism” or look up the web sites of the ICR [Institute for Creation Research] or the Discovery Institute) now reach (and no doubt confuse) millions of people. They have money and other resources that allow them to regularly send speakers on tour to address school boards and parents’ groups, to speak on college campuses and in courtrooms, and to address Congress and other government officials. And, as pointed out before, they have powerful ties right up to the highest levels of the ruling class in American society.

Can a well-orchestrated and well-funded propaganda blitz in itself “reverse” the truth of evolution? Of course not. But it can do a lot of social damage by training legions of people (including the young and inexperienced) to firmly and zealously believe in completely wrong ideas and to increasingly reject not only evolution but even science more generally, as a method for learning about things and for transforming the world.

Of course the government, military and big corporate sectors themselves have to regularly make use of actual science to carry out their objectives (they need science to help them wage their wars or develop new pharmaceuticals, for instance), so they are not about to throw all science out the window. They will need to allow at least some people to continue to be trained in actual scientific principles and methods and to learn some actual truths about the way things are in reality—otherwise they could not continue to function and to enforce their rule and domination in the world. But that doesn’t mean they have to let everyone in on it!

For one thing, reactionary political forces have always found it useful to try to pass off as genuine “science” all sorts of completely false and non-scientific beliefs when it helps them to justify a reactionary political agenda: it should be enough to think for a minute about all the phony “scientific” theories of supposed racial or gender inferiority (phony “science,” which rested on absolutely no legitimate scientific evidence!) which have been used repeatedly to buttress and justify such things as the horrific enslavement of Africans, the Nazi extermination of Jews, the countless forcible restrictions on and coercion of women, and so on. So just because an idea is not true, and a whole lot of people know it is not true, doesn’t mean it can’t be put in the service of concretely aiding some very bad things!

In short, don’t underestimate the damage that can be done by the unchallenged promotion of wrong ideas, especially when they are being presented as “scientific.” What the Creationists of different stripes are doing by packaging their religious beliefs as “science” is not just trying to make their beliefs more acceptable to a somewhat scientifically oriented public, or trying to get their religious teachings into the public schools even though the Constitution is supposed to guarantee that people in the U.S. are not subjected to the imposition of religious doctrine and the tyranny of religious clerics and diktats. What the creationist program is also doing is working to undermine science itself—the whole method of science and the whole way science trains and encourages people to learn about everything in the world (and also how to change it) through a process of systematic and repeated observations and interactions with the material world as it actually is.

If the creationist frontal attack on science itself were ultimately successful it would set science back literally centuries and limit us to trying to understand and affect the world (or passively accept the way it is) on the basis of superstition and belief in the supernatural.

So what can people, in particular those who are not professional scientists, do to better understand what is wrong and untrue about what the Creationists put forward? The accompanying insert, “Some Things You Can Do to Learn More about Creationist Lies and Distortions” on page 222 offers some suggestions and indicates important sources of information.

Order from Insight Press

The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak

The Science of Evolution
and the Myth of Creationism

Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters

by Ardea Skybreak

"This book will be of tremendous benefit to many..."
– Richard Leakey

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/678/black-churches-vandalized-by-maga-fascists-en.html

"It Was Reminiscent of Cross Burnings"
Black Churches Vandalized by MAGA Fascists in DC

by Sunsara Taylor

Updated | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Sunsara Taylor was on the streets of Washington, DC, on December 12 to counter-protest the MAGA fascist rally together with RefuseFascism.org. Since this was written, Proud Boys and other fascist supporters of Trump's campaign to overturn the election have announced that they will rally in DC again on January 6, the day that Congress meets for yet another formal recognition of Biden's electoral victory over Trump. Donald Trump has signaled his strong support for this rally, calling on people to be there and promising that it will be "wild." Follow revcom.us and RefuseFascism.org for ongoing coverage and to find out about plans as they emerge to counter this fascist escalation.

“We will not become collaborators on a march to a racist genocide.”

From the RefuseFascism.org Pledge to the People of the World

“Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street,” wrote the Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, the senior pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, a historic Black church in Washington, DC, in a statement on December 13. “It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames. For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings.”

That same night, MAGA fascists tore down a Black Lives Matter sign from the historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a place of worship attended by the former slave and renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Cross burnings were a signature of the Ku Klux Klan as they enforced lynch-mob terror against Black people throughout the years of Jim Crow. In a speech in 2003, Bob Avakian spoke to the impact of this: “Listen to the following statement by the author of a book about lynching. He said, ‘It is doubtful that any Black male growing up in the rural South in the period 1900 to 1940 was not traumatized by a fear of being lynched.’ What is he saying with this? Nothing less than this: no Black male growing up in the rural South in that period could be free of that fear. Every Black male was haunted and scarred deeply by that fear. Think about what that means and think about how this touched Black people as a whole.”

And think what it means that there are fascist mobs brazenly reviving this kind of terror today!

Note well: The white supremacist acts of destruction on December 12 were not the acts of vandals skulking in secret. These were organized white supremacist mobs operating in the open. They marched by the hundreds at night. Earlier in the day, they’d been joined by thousands. These were the “Proud Boys” Donald Trump told to “stand by” during the same presidential debate when he refused to condemn white supremacy or agree to a peaceful transfer of power. Now, these Proud Boys are making good on Trump’s request by bringing their fascist street-level terror to the nation’s capital in support of his campaign to overturn the election.

No police intervened to stop these mobs from vandalizing and setting ablaze property of these Black churches. Nor have any arrests in connection to this been announced as we go to press late the following day. Contrast this gentle police treatment of white supremacist mobs to the barrage of rubber bullets, poison-clouds of teargas, police brutality, mass arrests, and deployment of the U.S. military—at Trump’s order—that was rained down on protesters for Black lives earlier this year!

It is very good that people voted in their millions against Trump and defeated him in the election. No doubt, many millions of these voters were motivated by their deep opposition to Trump’s genocidal white supremacy. But, as important as voting against him was, it is far from enough. Even in defeat, these fascists are advancing their fascist terror and white supremacy.

The reason for this is that white supremacy and its violent resurgence is deeply rooted in the history and nature of this country, where the barbaric oppression of Black people and capitalism-imperialism are inextricably woven together and where the workings of this system have fueled the rise of an outright fascist regime. Everyone who truly wants to see this ended needs to dig deeply into the scientific work Bob Avakian has done to lay bare how and why, “Racial Oppression Can Be Ended, But Not Under This System.” And we need to make fighting this terror part of getting ready for the revolution that can end it once and for all.

At the same time, everyone—whether they are convinced of the need for revolution yet, or ever—must come together in the recognition that no one in power is going to stop this rising fascist terror. Stopping it falls to us. RefuseFascism.org is pointing the way to unite millions from diverse political perspectives to stop a fascist America through mass, nonviolent protest as spoken to in the Pledge to the People of the World. Go read it, sign it, and join the network.

Let these harrowing acts of terror spur all decent people to wipe the sleep from their eyes and heed the still wise words of Frederick Douglass: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”


Proud Boys with looted banner from Asbury United Methodist Church, Washington DC. Photo: @FordFischer

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/check-it-out-pastor-william-h-lamar-en.html

Check It Out:

Pastor William H. Lamar: "My church will replace our Black Lives Matter sign. Will America replace its racist myth?"

| revcom.us

 

Do you hear what I hear? I hear the imperial American myth in the throes of its own death rattle.

With these words, the Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Washington, DC, opens his response (in the Washington Post) to the December 12 attack on Metropolitan AME, during which a Black Lives Matter banner was torn down and destroyed. The attack on the Metropolitan AME Church and another Black church, Asbury United Methodist, was part of a rampage by MAGA fascists in DC that day and night.

Rev. Lamar lays out a searing indictment of the truth of America’s centuries-old historical myths, linking them to the intensifying reactionary violence of today:

The United States does not like to call itself an empire. But it is. Through military and economic force, the United States extends its narrative, politics and culture throughout the globe for good and for ill....

The myth of the American imperium is deeply rooted in falsehoods and forgetfulness, in intentional historical amnesia and obfuscation. Liberty was not the founding American impulse; genocide was. The blessing of God did not secure this nation’s prosperity. The forced labor of my ancestors did. The founders were not committed to a republic or a democracy. They were committed to a racialized plutocracy led by propertied White males.

Everyone else was excluded by law, custom and violence.

He goes on:

A sign came down on Saturday.... I am deeply disturbed by this incident (one of several incidents targeting houses of worship), but I am more disturbed by the continued mythology of imperial America. This mythology supports those who commit violence against human beings for political ends, deny citizens their right to vote, denigrate sacred spaces and claim as their own whatever they survey....

That is the history written into this nation, into the bodies of those brutalized by this mythology.

Rev. Lamar decries the fact that “The political imagination of this entire nation is captive to a white-supremacist myth. Only a new narrative can change the way we order this society.” And, “This new narrative must question everything if we are serious about imagining a better world.”

Lamar depicts this contention between opposing futures as:

a showdown between the God of the universe, the God of all people, the God incarnate in Jesus Christ, and the god of white supremacy.

One God is for all. The other god is for some. One God has chosen humanity. The other god has chosen whiteness, imperialism and human subjugation....

The United States of America must abandon this god, this story and the violence that flows from fidelity to the same....

A sign came down on Saturday. Metropolitan will replace the sign.

Will the United States replace the story that makes such acts of desecration inevitable?

We communists are atheists, and we do not think, based on a scientific understanding, that divine intervention of any type shapes humanity’s past, present, or future. And we understand that white supremacy is more than a “narrative”—it is a pillar of the economic, political, and social structure of the U.S. from slavery down to today.

But the clear-eyed political and moral challenge of Rev. Lamar is an insightful contribution to impelling ordinary human beings to acknowledge, confront, and act courageously to transform this world of “whiteness, imperialism and human subjugation.”

So check it out, and share with others.


The Black Lives Matter banner is restored at Asbury United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/678/they-want-what-they-lost-right-to-own-other-humans-en.html

"They Want What They Lost: The Right to Own Other Humans"

A conversation sparked by RefuseFascism.org's forum: "Why Did 74 Million People Vote for Trump?"

by Sunsara Taylor

| revcom.us

 

I want to share an interesting conversation I had with a caller on my radio show. The call followed my broadcast of the presentations from Michael Coard, Chrissy Stroop, and Andy Zee from the RefuseFascism.org forum exploring the question: “Why did 74 million people vote for Trump?* The caller began by saying the speakers were phenomenal. She then explained that she is on the board of a slave museum in the DC area and asked: How do we get this message out to schools—to middle school and high school?—because young people all need to know about this. My sense was that she was referring particularly to the connection between the history of slavery and the Confederacy and Trump and his supporters today, which both Andy Zee and Michael Coard had touched on in different ways. She indicated that we have to invite white people and Black people to learn about this in ways that they don't feel attacked, but they do need to know and deal with it. This was large-minded and generous, but also truthful. I appreciated her question, but posed it back to her, asking if she had many young people at her museum and how she talks with them and what she has learned. She described bringing young people through the museum’s slave cabin and their slave ship that has portions that are life-size so you can experience a sense of how humans were treated as cargo and really think about what that meant. She said they also have a Door of No Return (the doorway that led from the dungeons that held captured Africans to the slave ships which carried them across the ocean into slavery, never to return). But she emphasized that not nearly enough young people come through, and she wants to reach more.

I told her that I appreciated the distinction she was making between people and the system. People are born into the system that they didn’t create, and people can change, so they should be struggled with to change. But then, if they choose to support that system and its barbarity—which is what Trump's supporters have done—then they are part of the problem. She agreed with both parts, in her own way, saying it is the system not people but also that the Trump voters absolutely break her heart because they want to protect the system and want to protect what they lost, which is owning other humans. She emphasized, this (owning other humans) is what they want back, and they know what they are doing. She added that they don’t even get anything from it because Trump doesn’t even really like them, unless they are rich themselves.

At one point she stressed that the history surrounding Black people and white people (she called them European-Americans) is at the core of everything in this country. She gave the example of how even some Native Americans owned slaves. I pointed to the way that, after the Civil War, some Black former Union soldiers became Buffalo Soldiers who helped carry out the extermination of Native peoples. I brought this up to point to the need for everyone to look at the SYSTEM that underlies this, that pits different oppressed people against each other and is against the interests of humanity as a whole. I pointed her and other listeners to revcom.us and the piece by Bob Avakian called, Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System.

She mentioned that in Lynchburg, Virginia, where her parents live, it is getting worse and worse. In the city, it is not as bad, but if you leave the core of the city, it is becoming like Sundown Towns again. She mentioned that Jerry Falwell and his fundamentalist school in the area is part of the problem.

She said she teaches reconciliation, but people have to look at racism. It is like an onion, it has many layers built up over many years, it will be a process to peel it all back.

I thanked her for what she’d shared and said I'd love to come visit her museum some day. In reflecting on this further, I thought it would be worthwhile to write this up and share it both because of the insights she offered and as a prompt to spur others to watch and share the forum from RefuseFascism.org. The caller was right, that forum really was “phenomenal”—and many more people need to learn from it and contribute their understanding to the problem it is leading us to confront and work to transform: a country filled with fascists.

 


* The forum was co-sponsored by RefuseFascism.org and The Revolution, Nothing Less Show. Its full title: “Why did 74 million people vote for Trump? What is the danger, and what to do about it?”  [back]

 

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/science/09ba-science...epistemology-and-morality-en.html

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, The New Communism. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.

This excerpt comes from the section titled "I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science."

Excerpt from the section:
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense

Now, let’s return to the question of epistemology—and more specifically, epistemology and morality. I have made the point—and this is also in BAsics26—that there is a place where epistemology and morality meet.27 What does that mean? It means that, if you come to understand certain things, then the question poses itself: what do you do about what you’ve come to understand? Do you follow it, or do you turn away from it, or adulterate it, water it down and change it into something else? These are the places where epistemology and morality meet. And this doesn’t happen just once, it happens repeatedly in life and in an ongoing way, for everyone. The challenges repeatedly pose themselves. As you’re learning about life and the world, what do you do with what you’re learning?

This brings us back to a scientific approach to the truth, especially as this is posed, once again, against wrong ways of approaching the world—and, in particular, let’s talk some more about relativism. This is out there in a big way, and it’s openly promoted, especially in academia—maybe I’ve got a “jones” about this, but not without good reason—you get this nonsense that, not only is there no objective reality, but that the mere claim that there is objective reality, and that you can come to know it, is a “totalitarian” concept. If you haven’t heard this yet, well, you won’t have to wait very long before you do. This is all over the place, in one form or another, but this is particularly so in academia, especially in this form: “To talk about the truth, that’s a totalizing concept—it’s not leaving room for other people’s ideas, it’s totalitarianism, it’s frightening—that’s what led to all the bad problems of the twentieth century, people talking and acting in that way, as if there’s objective reality and there’s truth that corresponds to objective reality.”

But, to go back to what was said earlier, there is in fact objective reality—and truth is in fact a correct reflection of, or in correspondence with, actual objective reality. That’s what truth is. And, yes, it’s true, nobody can ever know all of the truth about everything, and we should always be open to the idea that what we understand to be true about any particular thing may not be fully correct, or may even turn out to be essentially wrong. But we are not, and we should not be, agnostics: “Oh, who knows what’s true, you can’t really tell anything about the real world.” No. We proceed from the real world, we interact with the real world, we test our ideas against the real world, and we draw scientific conclusions from that, based on evidence and based on synthesizing, drawing the patterns in reality that emerge and can be identified from the accumulation of evidence. This is very important for us to insist upon.

Actually, when you think about it, everybody who’s a relativist is a relativist until it really matters to them. “I don’t believe that anybody can really tell what objective truth is. But, you know, for the last few weeks I haven’t been feeling well, so I went to the doctor. And the doctor tells me, ‘I’m gonna run some tests.’ And then they call me back later and say, ‘We ran some tests and it turns out you’ve got a problem with your kidney.’ Well, who are you to say I’ve got a problem with my kidney?” That’s not the way people, even the most diehard relativists, proceed when it really matters to them. Then they all of a sudden discover that there’s actually a real world and actually people who understand it and have something to say about what you might do to change it.

This relativism is not a correct way to approach reality or to understand reality, and it does great harm when people insist on it. It is not “totalitarian” to say that there is objective reality, that we can engage it and we can transform it. We can learn about it, and, yes, keep on learning, and keep on refining what we’ve learned, and maybe even discard some things. But there is an accumulation of knowledge by proceeding in this kind of way, with this kind of method and approach. And you don’t, and won’t, get anywhere you need to go by denying and opposing this approach to reality and truth.

Here’s another example of how people are relativists until it really matters to them. The most relativist person becomes a parent. They have a little kid. The little kid wants to walk across the street, right in the middle of traffic. “Well, that’s your reality, little Johnny or little Susie: if you don’t think those cars exist, I don’t want to force you to believe that they do.” No! “Stay here on the sidewalk, you can’t walk out in front of those cars, those cars are real. That’s true.” “Mommy/daddy you’re totalitarian.”

We have to understand: this is not a way that people can or should actually go through the real world. And we really have to go after this relativism, because it’s doing a great deal of harm. It’s keeping people from not only engaging and learning about the world, but from acting on all the horrible outrages that are going on. It’s paralyzing them, telling them that they can’t be certain about anything, or it’s not their “place,” because of this relativist identity politics. It’s somebody else’s “place” to do something about that, and how dare you care about and act about something which is “my property,” my oppression that belongs to me. I heard about how somebody went on campus with one of the posters showing all the people who’ve been killed by the police, and someone came up and said, “I don’t like that poster, you’re making me feel unsafe.” Oh, boo-hoo! What about the masses of people in the world, who aren’t safe? What about the women who can’t go through the world and be safe? What about the masses of people in the inner cities being shot down by the police, being tormented and tortured by just the daily workings of this system every day? What about what’s happening with the environment? What about the little children that their parents send from Central America to cross the border by themselves into this country because of the havoc that imperialism is wreaking on their countries, and they find this horrific treatment they get upon coming here? What about all that, while you’re trying to carve out a little safe haven for yourself, a little privileged place where you can be safe? How ‘bout we get into the real world and talk about what’s really going on and what needs to be done? Cut out all this boo-hoo shit, and let’s talk about what really needs to happen to have a kind of world where the masses of people can feel safe and can breathe.


26. Bob Avakian, BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian (RCP Publications, 2011). Available as a free e-book at revcom.us. [back]

27. BAsics 5:11

“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.”

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian [back]


 

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

Materialism vs. Idealism
Dialectical Materialism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights

Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
            A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation

The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Internationalism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
   Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Fundamental Orientation

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
   Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”

Appendix 1:
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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

THIS REPUBLIC—RIDICULOUS, OUTMODED, CRIMINAL

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outmoded—and Criminal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

Additional comments by the author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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.

 

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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.

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

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we live in a world where large parts of humanity live in stark poverty, with 2.3 billion people lacking even rudimentary toilets or latrines and huge numbers suffering from preventable diseases, with millions of children dying every year from these diseases and from starvation, while 150 million children in the world are forced to engage in ruthlessly exploited child labor, and the whole world economy rests on a vast network of sweatshops, employing large numbers of women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and assault, a world where 65 million refugees have been displaced by war, poverty, persecution, and the effects of global warming.3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And all this is completely unnecessary.

Revolution, the New Communism and the Unleashing of Human Potential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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See also:

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

by Raymond Lotta

Read more

The New Communism

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CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/646/bob-avakian-on-emancipation-from-mental-slavery-all-oppression-en.html

Bob Avakian On
EMANCIPATION
FROM MENTAL SLAVERY AND ALL OPPRESSION

| revcom.us

 

In 1863, mid-way in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln finally issued the Emancipation Proclamation and, as a result of the Civil War, Black people were formally freed from literal, physical slavery. But today the question is: When, and how, will Black people finally be free from all forms of slavery and oppression? And this poses straight-up this big question:

When will Black people finally emancipate themselves from the mental slavery of religion?!

We have seen the possibility of a world without oppression powerfully expressed in the not-too-distant past, during the radical upsurge that took place within this country and throughout the world during the 1960s and early 1970s.1 Within this country, the struggle of Black people was at the forefront of all this, and as that struggle became more radical in opposition to the system itself, and groups like the Black Panther Party, driven by the impatience and daring of Black youth, grew and gained influence, the advanced role of the struggle for Black liberation exerted an even more powerful positive role. And, as a very significant part of the widely and strongly held conviction that it was not only necessary but possible to put an end to the nightmare that had been endured for so long:

among Black people—who we’re always told are just sort of inherently religious—there was a massive turning away from religion, especially among the youth. Why? Because people were filled with hope, they didn’t believe that there was no hope for a better world. They were full of hope for a better world right in this world. And so, among Black people, there was, on the part of the youth in particular, a major turning away from religion and from all the old conventions that went along with religion that were conservatizing influences holding down the people.2

Hard Truths, Emancipating Truths

But the great promise of the 1960s radical upsurge, and the hopes that it raised, were not realized—fundamentally because things did not go all the way to an actual revolution. And, over the decades since then, through conscious policy by the ruling powers to foster the growth of more bourgeois and petit bourgeois strata among Black people, while at the same time maintaining and containing the masses of Black people in conditions of deprivation, oppression and vicious repression, this bitter reality has resulted:

Among the basic masses of people, including Black people (not the more middle class strata being developed through conscious ruling class policy, but the masses of oppressed people), there was a tremendous amount of demoralization and sense of defeat, and the introduction (including through deliberate ruling class policy and action) of massive amounts of drugs further intensified the desperate conditions of the basic masses and further reinforced the sense of demoralization. A lot of people were dying or being reduced to broken wretches on the basis of turning to drugs out of despair—the lack of hope, or the death, in immediate terms, of the hope that inspired so many people, on a real basis, through the course of the 1960s upsurge, which had now ebbed and been transformed. And this situation was made even more desperate and demoralizing with the growth of gangs in the ghettos and barrios of this country (as well as internationally), with youth drawn to the gangs in conditions of increasing deprivation and desperation and what was for most the illusion of getting rich, with the orientation of “get rich or die trying,” fueled by the growth of the drug trade and the influence of the putrid culture promoted throughout society that fostered and extolled the exploitation and degradation of others as the means for making it big, whether on Wall Street and on the world stage, or on the streets in the neighborhoods of the inner city.3

In the face of all this, amidst a feeling of fatalistic hopelessness, there has been, on the part of large numbers of Black people, a retreat into religion. It is often claimed that religion is what has allowed Black people to endure and persevere through all the trials and tribulations—the very real horrors—they have been subjected to throughout their experience in America, and that this remains the case now. But this is a logic of defeat—it rests on the underlying assumption (spoken or unspoken) that the system will basically remain as it has been, and that Black people will continue to be despised and discriminated against, persecuted, brutalized and terrorized, and the best they can hope for is to somehow survive, and strive to thrive, through all this—or, if you suffer in this life but you “get right with the Lord,” or submit to Allah, you will be rewarded in some “next life.”

Once more, the question is sharply posed: How can Black people be finally and fully emancipated from centuries of oppression, and how does this relate to ending all oppression, of all people, everywhere?

The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.

As I have put it, expressing a simple and basic truth: “in fundamental terms, we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—ormake revolution!”4

And, in relation to this, I have also spoken to this profound truth:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.5

But here is another way that, in fundamental terms, there are two choices: either cling to the mental slavery of religion and remain oppressed, or cast off the mental chains of religion while rising up to fight with a real chance to get finally and fully free, in putting an end to all oppression and exploitation.

Religion may seem to give people comfort in the face of the oppression and anguish they are forced to endure, or to make people feel that with religion they can keep from “doing wrong”—or, even though they may “do wrong,” they still have some worth. And it is true that, for some people, their religious views are a motivation to fight against various forms of oppression, and many people who approach things from a religious standpoint have insights and knowledge that it is important to know about and learn from. But it is also true that, as a way of thinking and a guide to acting, religion relies on the invention of supernatural beings that do not exist but which are said to ultimately shape and control reality, including the fate of human beings. Religion calls on people to submit to those imaginary supernatural beings (or, to very human authorities speaking in the name of those imaginary supernatural beings) and to follow scriptures that in reality do not lead to ending oppression but actually promote and reinforce all kinds of degradation and horror. (This is something I have illustrated very concretely in the book Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, particularly with regard to the three main monotheistic [one-god] religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.6) In this way religion stands in direct opposition to taking up a consistently scientific approach to understanding reality and waging a scientifically-grounded fight to end all oppression.

This is why the powers-that-be, whose very existence, wealth and power rest on oppression and exploitation, continually promote religion. It is why the very same slavemasters who prohibited Black people from learning to read (and severely punished those who did) actively encouraged their slaves to take up religion and get down on their knees in prayer. And it is why today, the ruling powers in this country are only too willing to provide a platform for, and parade around, any Black people who are inclined to engage in passionate “god-talk.” This may be painful to hear, but the question is: is it true, or not? Think about it.

It is neither possible nor principled—and no one should ever try—to force people to give up beliefs they hold at any given time. In the most fundamental terms, emancipation—from every form of slavery and oppression—must be the voluntary and conscious act of people. But there is a great need and importance to waging ideological struggle, in a principled way but as sharply as necessary, to win people to take up a scientific approach to understanding, and changing, the world and break with ways of thinking that actually contribute to keeping them, and others, oppressed.

Again, it is true that many religious people take part now in important struggles against oppression; and it is also true that many religious people will be among the millions taking part in the revolution to do away with this whole oppressive system. But this revolution, and the continuing struggle to end all oppression and bring about real and complete emancipation, must be led by those, among the most oppressed, and others as well, who have taken up a scientific approach to changing the world and have cast off the mental slavery of religion, along with every other way of thinking that promotes, or at least rationalizes and objectively justifies, oppression.

A bitter truth is this:

Oppressed people who are unable or unwilling to confront reality as it actually is, are condemned to remain enslaved and oppressed.7

But, an even greater, emancipating truth is this:

The notion of a god, or gods, was created by humanity, in its infancy, out of ignorance. This has been perpetuated by ruling classes, for thousands of years since then, to serve their interests in exploiting and dominating the majority of people and keeping them enslaved to ignorance and irrationality.

Bringing about a new, and far better, world and future for humanity means overthrowing such exploiting classes and breaking free of and leaving behind forever such enslaving ignorance and irrationality.8

 


1. In HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASISBreaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism (available at revcom.us), Bob Avakian speaks to this major change taking place during the 1960s:

In the 1960s, masses of people all over the world, including in this country, were filled with hope and determination about the prospect of bringing into being a radically different and better world. Throughout the Third World, there were liberation struggles aimed at throwing off the yoke of colonial oppression that had been imposed on them for decades, generations and even centuries. And in the imperialist countries themselves—including, in particular, the U.S.—the generation that came of age in the 1960s had both the understanding of the need and a real belief in the possibility of bringing a radically different and better world into being, and was not interested in hearing all the arguments about why things had to be the way they are.  [back]

2. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.

In Bob Avakian Responds to Mark Rudd on the Lessons of the 1960s and the Need for an Actual Revolution (available at revcom.us), this point is emphasized:

in moving from the limitations of the civil rights movement to the more advanced position of demanding Black liberation and linking this with liberation struggles in the Third World, those Black revolutionaries exerted a powerful positive force in influencing the movements of those times, including among educated youth, toward a more revolutionary orientation, even as that orientation was (in the parlance of those times) a “mixed bag,” involving a complex of conflicting tendencies, including the revolutionary communism that was coming from China as well as various revolutionary nationalist and other contradictory trends.  [back]

3. HOPE FOR HUMANITY ON A SCIENTIFIC BASIS.  [back]

4. In the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, from which this quote is drawn, Bob Avakian speaks to those crucial questions. The text and video of this speech are available at revcom.us. And in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, (available at revcom.us) there is a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for a socialist society aiming for the final goal of communism throughout the world.  [back]

5. This statement, along with other works by Bob Avakian speaking to the oppression of Black people and the road to their full emancipation, is available at revcom.us.  [back]

6. Bob Avakian, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press, 2008.  [back]

7. BAsics 4:1 (BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian).  [back]

8. BAsics 4:17, emphasis added.  [back]

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/andy-zee-science-epistemology-a-way-to-know-and-radically-change-the-world-en.html

Talk by Andy Zee:

Life and Death Stakes: Science, Epistemology, Conspiracy, Fascism and a Whole Other Way to Know and Radically Change the World

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following is the transcript of the opening presentation by Andy Zee at the December 16 online forum “COVID: A Case Study with Life and Death Stakes: Science, Epistemology, Conspiracy & Fascism,” co-sponsored by RefuseFascism.org and The Revolution Nothing Less Show. The other panelists on the forum were historian Paul Street and emergency physician Phil Rice, and it was moderated by Coco Das of the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board.

My co-panelists have presented compelling evidence of the criminal rejection of and outright opposition to science by the Trump/Pence regime. The regime's electoral defeat has focused up in a profound way how far detached from reality they are. Not only were lawsuits filed by a demented Rudy Giuliani with no evidence—but literally crazy conspiracy QAnon theories were put forward to explain the imagined election theft. QAnon is a shadowy internet super spreader of fascist lunatic theories—such as that the Democratic Party is in reality a child kidnapping operation organized around capturing children to literally suck their blood. After this election we now have QAnon spouters who ran on, won and will represent the Republi-fascist Party of Trump/Pence in Congress. Lunacy like this when laughed at and shrugged off masks the danger to humanity when a huge section of America is completely unhinged from reality and fervently believe their alternate, fact-free, reality as morally superior and existential for their lives. This destruction of truth is a key factor in the forging of a fascist base, a fascist leader, and fascist rule. We have lived it for four years ... and it’s been metastasizing for 40. Trump and Pence will most likely be out soon, even as they are still trying to overturn the election.  Even as they are not yet gone, they can do enormous harm up until when they no longer have their hands on the weapons of state power, but even when they are out of executive power, the fascist danger remains.

Paul Street and Dr. Phil Rice have brought telling evidence that the Trump/Pence fascist regime's refusal to take and foster a scientific approach to the COVID virus has meant that the scientists, medical researchers, frontline health workers as well as the broad masses of people whose role in adopting safe practices to slow the spread of infection was, and still is, decisive until the majority of the people here and around the world are inoculated with a safe and effective vaccine which has led to an appalling criminal number of unnecessary deaths and disease. I want to begin this talk by bringing some additional evidence to the discussion:

[Here, Andy Zee played a minute of video clips: first, the comedian Sarah Cooper doing a bit with Trump's suggesting people take bleach and somehow inject sunlight into their bodies, followed by a 10-second clip of Trump saying that the virus “will just go away”like a miracle.]

We laugh at this, especially at Sarah Cooper's hilarious mouthing of Trump's insanity, but this should be a doorway to a stark confrontation to the horror show that this ignoramus ... this psychopath ... this fascist ... has brought down on humanity. The absurdity of Trump's blathering accomplishes a purpose. A fascist purpose—the effect of which is potentially even deadlier than the cost in death and debilitating illness—because it destroys any sense of what is real and what is not and how to determine what is true—without which people are susceptible to being manipulated including to commit great crimes. Such buffoonery entertains the fascist base who relish the fascist leader's “irreverence” and feel validated in their resentment and desire for revenge against those they have been taught to feel are taking from, and looking down, on them. 

At the same time, the buffoonery captivates while it blinds liberals and progressives to confronting the enormity and the essence of what is going on—the fight at the top of society for a fascist form of rule —the shredding of all pretense of democracy, of a more blatant form of dictatorship of the capitalist system by the leader of the fascist party and the forging of a different cohering set of values of an amalgam of open white supremacy, patriarchy, and xenophobia, cohered with the mythology and program of America First undergirded by a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. 

I said that this has been 4 years and 40 years. Forty years ago, in response to changes in the world and the risings of the 1960s and what were concessions to those struggles resulting in greater recognition of and inclusion of Black people, women, and lesbians and gay people. After President Nixon was forced to resign the presidency, the hard right conservative movement coalesced behind Ronald Reagan. Reagan put forth a messianic mythology of America as a “shining city on a hill” to prepare for actual world war against the then Soviet Union, and at the same time to wage a domestic war on these civil rights gains. A Republican coalition was forged with a strand of biblically literalist Christian evangelical movements to forge a base of what has become a Christian fascist movement which reached power in 2016 through the unholy union of Trump with Mike Pence. This became the core of the organized base of the Trump/Pence regime. These forces have been trained and forged in a belief system that is completely and dangerously disconnected from actual reality. 

This is a movement with a large section who believe in “end times,” in which they believe that they—the faithful—will be raptured, magically transported, up to heaven and thus nothing else matters—to hell with (quite literally) the environment, the danger of nuclear war, and all the people who they regard as other than human, and would just as soon be eliminated. 

This movement has coexisted with a whole culture and fascist media that has been training millions in a mode of thinking of “what benefits us, me, is true, because we/I want it to be so.” With no criteria of actual evidence. This way of thinking—what benefits me, finds expression in their taking the very American concept of the absolute freedom of the individual (which is an undesirable impossibility) as the greatest good. We are living and dying with this in the morally sick and the actual sickening spread of the virus in their refusal to wear masks expressed as “My right to be an asshole, trumps your right to live”—and especially so, if you are Latino, Black or Native American. 

This fascist “belief system” is buttressed by twin pillars of American chauvinism that refuses to look at the history and present-day reality of the U.S., which has put this country in vampire position of sucking the life blood of the rest of the world—children digging in toxic conditions for precious metals for our cell phones in the Congo, or women risking their lives in perilous garment shops of Bangladesh —humanity whose lives and labor are being poured into the wealth of America and its imperialist allies and rivals. Buttressing this is an epistemology in which facts are subordinated to their desire to benefit themselves and take revenge upon those whom they believe stand in the way of their further gorging.

But, wait, we also have to look at the epistemology of the progressive and liberal strata, all those who have been outraged at the Trump/Pence regime, but who over four years overwhelming would not recognize or acknowledge what this regime is—a fascist regime with dire consequences for humanity here and around the world, and who up to this moment have refused not only to recognize fascism, but to act against it in the only way it could really be rocked back on its heels by getting out in the streets in sustained nonviolent protest. While I know that these “decent” people, outraged by the bigotry of the Trumpites, may be made uncomfortable by confronting the reality that their complacency, and putting their faith, in the institutions and normal political processes, particularly the Democratic Party, is also based on the reality of living atop the food chain of capitalism-imperialism. 

Last April, the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA) wrote a piece titled: “Conspiracy Theories, Fascist ‘Certitude,’ Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach to Changing The World.” I am going to read a substantive passage from this because it concentrates a great deal of what has plagued the millions of progressive people from acting in the way they should to drive this regime from power. 

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.”

There is both great danger and no way forward for the interests of humanity in a society and culture of competing “stories,” or narratives—where you have your narrative, and she has hers, and I have mine. We have different experiences and these can contribute to our understanding the world we live in ... but to really understand the world you need a scientific understanding that starts from the fact that there is one reality that has many layers and complexity, but there is one objective world. Science means gathering evidence and seeking the patterns in that evidence to reveal the connections and pathways to identifying and understanding the underlying causes that give rise to that evidence, and then developing the ways to act on that reality. This is true whether you are a scientist trying to discover the antibodies to prevent the spread of COVID, or, studying the ozone layer to save the environment, or you are applying the scientific method to overcome the exploitation and oppression, the wars, and divisions that plague humanity. 

Bob Avakian goes on to say:

...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 untrueAnd 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.... [BA goes on to say:] 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.

For a brief example of how we can apply science to society: how can we say that there is a straight line from the Confederacy to the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime? We can start by tracing its development in the history of the U.S.—beginning with slavery written into the U.S. founding documents; its centrality to the development of wealth in the U.S. from the 17th to the 20th century; the betrayal of Reconstruction that ushered in the era of lynching and Jim Crow; through the current era of the New Jim Crow where the police play the role of the KKK; and the open white supremacy that was evidenced in the attempt of the Trump/Pence regime to discard the millions of urban votes of Black people in cities that voted for Biden. There is more than I can go into here, but the point is—just as in the natural world, you go to the evidence, in this case, the history and the underlying economic and political forces that drive this white supremacy all of which is available in articles and films at revcom.us.

The scientific method is at the heart of the work of Bob Avakian and is a defining character of his leadership. BA has qualitatively developed the science of communism, the science of revolution, to chart the path to the emancipation of all humanity. Think about what it would mean if under a totally different system that didn't set people against each other just to survive as that shapes people's thinking today, but instead there was a shared epistemology of basing our lives and decisions on a collective process of discovering and acting on what was actually true? This, as BA has said, is what is needed to get to a world beyond where might makes right. BA has said there is a place where epistemology and morality meet. This is expressed in Bob Avakian's personal character and is a hallmark of the principles of the new communism which completely repudiate the notion that “the ends justify the means,” and that “truth” is just an “instrument” of desired objectives, rather than what it actually is: a correct reflection of objective reality.  

To all who reject the anti-science of the Trump/Pence fascist regime and the dangerous movement they have forged all the way up into the highest reaches of government including dominating the Supreme Court, this talk is a challenge and invitation to be consistent and principled in your recognition of the importance of science and apply it not just to where you feel comfortable in the prevention and curing of COVID, but as BA concludes the article I am citing:  

...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.

A better world is possible. There is a way that everyone can be a part of knowing and changing the world—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) through making revolution and bringing into being a far better world—for that future you need the scientific method and approach of the new communism.

RefuseFascism.org

The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less—Show

Third in a series of virtual forums by RefuseFascism.org & The RNL Show:

COVID: A Case Study with Life and Death Stakes: Science, Epistemology, Conspiracy & Fascism

Read more

Watch this important panel discussion:

Listen to this piece on the podcast, Emancipate Humanity with Bob Avakian, or read it below —

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

by Bob Avakian

Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth
Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated

Bob Avakian:
Why We Need A Scientific Method and Approach to Life and Our Struggle

This is a film clip from the 2014 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian, “Revolution and Religion,” at Riverside Church in New York City. Watch the entire Dialogue 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/679/watch-the-special-december-24-episode-of-the-rnl-show-stepping-into-the-future-en.html

ANNOUNCING: The RNL Show presents a special holiday screening of the documentary STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE!

| revcom.us

 

Dear friends,

The RNL Show is proud to present a special holiday online premiere of the documentary film:

STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE:
On the Occasion of the Publication of BAsics—
A Celebration of Revolution and the Vision of a New World

December 24, 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET
YouTube.com/TheRevComs

Up against a fascist movement that increasingly grows stronger in the U.S. and worldwide ... up against the monstrous system—capitalism-imperialism—that not only gives rise to fascism but during “normal times” keeps grinding the lives of billions of people into the ground ... up against a putrid culture that justifies all these horrors and encourages so many to want to get in on this degradation ... up against all the horrors of the world of today ... We invite you to STEP INTO THE FUTURE!

On April 11, 2011, Harlem Stage in NYC came alive with music, poetry, dance, visual art, and words of revolution on the occasion of the publication of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian.

STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE is the 2013 documentary film that tells the story of that night, and the reflections of the artists and participants: what inspired them, their hopes and their dreams. 

Come on a journey with us. Imagine a whole different art and culture ... Imagine if this culture, instead of degrading people, lifted us up ... Imagine if it gave us a vision of a whole different world ...

The film features performances and interviews with: 

Matthew Shipp and William Parker / David Murray / reg e gaines / Maluca Mala / Abiodun Oyewole / Outernational / Maggie Brown / Guillermo E. Brown / Moist Paula Henderson / Aladdin and Avirodh Sharma / and others

The film also features interviews, new and archival film with: 

Bob Avakian / Dr. Cornel West / Richard Brown / Annie Day / Carl Dix / Leah Bonvissuto / Sabel / Kyle Goen / Dread Scott / Joe Veale / Alejandro del Fuego

Watch the online premiere of STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE, December 24, Thursday, 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET. YouTube.com/TheRevComs

The handbook for revolution. You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics.

Get the free e-book:

  • Right-click to download the e‑book for the Kindle here.
  • Right-click to download the e‑book for other e-readers here.
  • For instructions on downloading and moving files from your computer to your e‑reader, click here.

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/anjanette-young-reminds-black-women-of-ancestors-on-slave-auction-block-en.html" target="_blank

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/679/prisoner-letter-on-election-the-system-and-covid-en.html

From a Prisoner:

On the Election, Workings of the System, and COVID Pandemic: "Our sanitized torture chambers (cells) have now become death chambers for some"

| revcom.us

 

Dear Comrades & Friends,

I find it necessary to begin this letter with the following quoted passages from two of Bob Avakian’s talks: 

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

And nobody should want a return to the “normalcy” of this system. The “normalcy” of this system has always included the barbaric oppression of Black people and other people of color, with systematic terror, brutality and murder to enforce this oppression. 

—“Radical Change Is Coming: Will It Be Emancipating, or
Enslaving—Revolutionary, or Reactionary?” 

...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.

—“The Deadly Illusion of ‘Normalcy’ and
the Revolutionary Way Forward”

Forgive me if I am unable to share in, or relate to the understandably felt (given the enormous stakes) euphoria and ecstasy of Biden’s win over Trump at the polls. Although, as the days go by, it is becoming clear that Trump’s 21st century Brownshirts (MAGA fascists) will not be voted away.

Since the age of 13 years old, I have spent most of my life buried alive beneath cold steel and concrete. I am now 41 years old. Just another statistic of the mass casualties resulting from the “normal workings” of this system, “normal workings” such as poverty, the “War on Drugs,” the declaring of us to be “super predators” by Hillary Clinton, Biden and Clinton’s “Crime Bill,” mass incarceration, and the spawning of Trump and his base of MAGA fascists ... all of which can be traced back to when the first ships carrying African slaves arrived to the shores of this country—a country that was founded on, and baptized in the blood and bones of genocide and slavery. (See BA’s “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” and “Fascists Today and the Confederacy: A Direct Line, A Direct Connection Between All the Oppression.”) 

On December 3, I tested positive for COVID-19. Last month, before Thanksgiving, there was an outbreak on my unit. As of Nov. 24, 78 officers were “pending test results” and 24 inmates had tested positive. That number has since skyrocketed. Once I reported my symptoms of losing my sense of smell and taste, fatigue and migraines on December 2, I was immediately removed from the unit and placed on an “Isolation” wing that consist of 78 cells per wing—all of which are filled up.

“Medical Isolation” here is being treated more as a punitive measure rather than anything having to do with our health. At first, we were being denied access to our property. We were simply placed in a cell with the clothes we were wearing, given a towel, and bedding, and told we will be given a shower once every 7 days. Once inmates heard about the deplorable conditions of isolation, they stopped reporting their symptoms, which now has led some inmates in being hospitalized. 

Our sanitized torture chambers (cells) have now become death chambers for some. (Go to revcom.us and check out “Covid-19 Catastrophe Inside U.S. Prisons and Jails.”)

As I end this letter, I would like to request the following from the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund:

  1. Any and all info on the symptoms, and possible long-term effects of COVID-19, as well as the efficacy of the various vaccines
  2. Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America
  3. Oil, Power, and Empire
  4. Science and Revolution, by Ardea Skybreak

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

—Bob Avakian

Revolution—Nothing Less!

XXXXXXXXXX

 

See also:

The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today

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: