revcom.us, January 11, 2021 through January 17, 2021 (#682)

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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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 Oppression, which 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

Get to know BA

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

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Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/index.html

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/681/on-the-unprecedented-events-in-washington-dc-january-6-en.html

What Happened, Why...and What Must Be Done

ON THE UNPRECEDENTED EVENTS IN WASHINGTON, DC ON JANUARY 6

Updated | revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note and Update, January 11

The following article covers the attempted coup on January 6, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed and occupied Congress for several hours, forcing the senators and representatives to flee for safety and temporarily stopping the congressional certification of Biden’s clear victory in the election.

In response, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has called on Mike Pence to oust Trump from power through using the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which allows the cabinet to remove a president for being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”) and has said that if they do not, she will move to impeach him. Articles of impeachment have been drafted by House Democrats, focused on Trump’s “incitement of insurrection” and responsibility for fueling the fascist mob violence in the Capitol on January 6, aiming to disrupt and prevent what should have been a routine certification of Biden’s electoral victory.

This is unprecedented, as are the events of the last week, which continue to cascade in their effects with at least five deaths now attributed to the mob-occupation of the Capitol. Because of this, many mainstream Republicans are expressing openness to these moves as well, including Senators like Romney, Toomey, Murkowski, Sasse, and others.

It has also become clearer and clearer that Trump remains extremely dangerous.

He must be prevented from launching a war, possibly even a nuclear war—as any last ditch, desperate effort to retain power in an “emergency” situation, or as a product of being “unhinged.” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went public with her fear by letting everyone know that she had spoken with Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley about “‘available precautions’ to prevent Trump from initiating military action abroad or using his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons.” (New York Times, January 9)

The grave danger also remains of Trump mobilizing for and giving leadership to more mayhem and possibly yet another coup attempt, one more serious and dangerous than January 6, especially with a fascist, thuggish base dangerously revved up with the complete and TOTAL lie that Trump won the election and that the stakes are too high for Biden to assume power.

The bottom-line is this: Trump must be removed from office at the soonest possible time and the whole Trump/Pence regime needs to be gone January 20! This is critical from the standpoint of the interests of humanity, heightened by the existential dangers represented by Trump and his regime. Constitutional means like the 25th Amendment, and/or impeachment and a speedy trial, could be key instrumentalities to make this happen. The fact that these are seriously on the table is positive. The question is whether a force from the tens of millions who hate everything Trump stands for and voted against him, and all who were sickened to their soul by the ugly spectacle last Wednesday, will make the demand of OUT NOW with enough moral force and power so that this urgent need will be met.

Two huge things happened on January 6.

First, Donald Trump fomented a coup attempt. He summoned a mob to come to DC to protest on the day that Biden was officially to be certified by Congress as the next president. He stirred up that mob for over an hour, telling them to march to the Capitol to “show strength.” Then he sent the mob to Congress, and refused to even make a show of calling them off for hours. Waving their Confederate, American and Trump flags like battle-axes, some of them armed, they scaled the walls and broke the windows and rampaged almost untouched through the halls, terrorizing legislators and vandalizing offices. Their sole demand: that Donald Trump, who lost the election by a decisive margin, must nevertheless be illegally put into power for four more years.

Second, this coup attempt was beaten back. Senators and Congresspeople from both parties managed to come together to do what they were legally required to do—which was to approve the returns reported by all the states—returns which had already been certified and verified, recounted and litigated—and to take the second-to-the-last step in making Biden officially the president, with the inauguration on January 20 completing the process of the peaceful transfer of power.1

We should pause and ask ourselves what the scenes of broken windows and overturned furniture, howling mobs and cowering legislators and laissez-faire police, tell us about the extremity of the situation. Mainstream commentators are absolutely correct to say that this is unprecedented in modern times, and to reach back to the U.S. Civil War for anything to compare it to. But they do not in any way sufficiently talk about the depth of the conflicts that have given rise to such extreme expressions.

The Threat Is Not Over: Part I

Despite the defeat on Wednesday, this threat has not passed. First, Donald Trump is still in office. According to press reports, his own people in the White House say they are “fearful that Trump could take actions resulting in further violence and death if he remains in office even for a few days”; they talk of a “bunker mentality” and say that he continues to justify the actions of his followers on Wednesday. His mobs are still in the streets of DC—relatively few were arrested by the Capitol Police.2 Other Trumpian mobs took to the streets in other cities.

But it’s much more than the mob. Nearly 150 Republican congresspeople, including the two leaders of the Republican delegation, along with seven Republican senators, STILL voted to illegally deprive Biden of office even after the mob had dispersed. An overnight poll cited in the Washington Post claimed that Republican voters surveyed favored the reactionary rampage by a 45% to 43% margin.

Both for these reasons—and for the more fundamental reason that to allow such a brazen attempt at a fascist coup to go unpunished lest it set a precedent—Trump must be removed from office as soon as possible.

The Threat Is Not Over: Part 2

What happened on January 6 did not begin when Trump called for people to come to DC. It did not begin when Trump became president. It is bigger than Trump. It is deeper than Trump. It is more dangerous than Trump per se—even while Trump has played a critical role in exploiting these divides, and cohering and marshaling somewhat diverse fascist forces.

Why this happened and how this happened are gone into deeply in the work of Bob Avakian (BA), going as far back to the mid-1990s right down to today, analyzing the dynamics of the Trump regime and giving critical direction on how to fight it. If you want to seriously understand what we face—and what went down on Wednesday makes clear the life-and-death nature of such an understanding—you must engage this work.

In short, however, a fascist movement has been built up for over 40 years—one in which a whole section of the population almost literally lives in a different world where their understanding of reality is determined by the reactionary fantasies of Christian schools and fanatical churches, Fox News/talk-radio lunacy and conspiracy websites, etc. These people have been reinforced in their beliefs that the rights fought for and won by Black people and other oppressed nationalities pose a threat to them, or diminish their standing. They are conditioned to perceive the challenges of women to the ways in which they are subordinated, or the recognition of the humanity of LGBTQ people, as something to be squashed. They have been taught to be xenophobic—to hate, or at least look with contempt on, people from other countries. They have been taught to worship the repressive arms of the state—the police and the army—and indeed many of these people are studded throughout those institutions. BA has pointed to the insight of Ron Reagan (the progressive son of the former [fascist] president Ronald Reagan), who remarked that why these people so closely identify with Trump is that he hates the same people they do.

What are some of the key underlying drivers of this overall, decades-long move toward fascism? The U.S. confronts unprecedented challenges around the world—the rise of China as an imperialist rival, the economic and social dislocations of the frenzied globalization of capitalist production, the growth of a vicious Islamic fundamentalism cohering opposition to imperialist domination but on a reactionary basis. In the face of that, driven by a different worldview and changes in U.S. society (including the changing ethnic composition), sections of the U.S. ruling class are—and have been—fighting for a more openly white supremacist and Christian-fascist reordering of U.S. society, as a cohering norm and to contend in a changing world situation.

In short, and as part of this, these fascists are fighting for a different form of rule, an openly dictatorial form in which those who have won some semblance of rights and dignity through bitter struggle under this form of capitalist rule are cast back into even more suffocating subordination, and those who resist, or who want to fight for a better, more just world, receive no rights but the prison cell, or worse.

Many commentators point to many elements on Wednesday—the racism, Trump’s megalomania (lunatic desire for power), the corruption and self-dealing, the terrorizing of opponents—and all these were clearly in play and on display. But at the heart of it—and what has yet to be fully confronted—is the fascism.

What Must Be Done

There is a real need to closely follow and answer the calls of Refuse Fascism in this period as they continue to lead struggle in different forms. This is critical and will be critical, not only until this immediate battle is fully resolved but to continue the struggle against fascism through the Biden administration. In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

At the same time, to reiterate what is said above, getting into BA—really digging into a scientific analysis of where this fascism came from, the threat it poses, and most of all, the way to get beyond a cycle of bouncing between one or another form of an imperialist rule that crushes, suffocates and murders people all over the world (even while fascism is more monstrous and grotesque, posing existential threats to humanity)—this right now is decisive to not just defeating fascism, but the urgently necessary work of actually emancipating humanity and averting ecological catastrophe—now, and in the days and years to come.

 


1. Through key points, a grouping of those who have previously cooperated, even slavishly cooperated, with Trump (people like Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell) came down decisively against this move. To these forces, what Trump had been demanding—the overturning of the election results—would create and heighten conflicts within the U.S. and would overall “present a picture” that would be way too damaging to U.S. “standing” around the world in their deadly economic, political and military competition with other imperialist powers. These people are fascists—but they were not ready to stake the whole future of their project on the immediate fate of Donald Trump.  [back]

2. Adding to the outrage, some of those pigs took selfies with members of the mob, along with other forms of approval and even cooperation—a stark comparison to the brutality visited upon demonstrators against racism and police brutality just a few months ago.  [back]


Waving their Confederate, American and Trump flags like battle-axes, some of them armed. MAGA forces scaled walls, broke windows and rampaged almost untouched through the halls, terrorizing legislators and vandalizing offices. (Photo: AP)

Bob Avakian on:
The Need to Drive Out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime and the Fundamental Need for Revolution

Videos and articles

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

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

Now is the Time to Act
No to a Fascist Coup!
TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

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

MASS DEMONSTRATIONS THIS SATURDAY – JANUARY 9!

 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/fundraising-livestream-the-get-organized-for-an-actual-revolution-tour-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Announcing a Fundraising Livestream for the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour –
SUNDAY, JANUARY 10

3 pm PST / 6 pm EST
facebook.com/therevcoms
youtube.com/therevcoms

 

To supporters, friends, and comrades of the Revolution Tour... and to ALL those who want to see a new, different and better world,

Welcome to 2021! 

The Revolution Tour is carrying forward into the New Year its mission to put revolution on the map, and to bring forward the new communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian so that it becomes a real and growing force. 

In the course of this tumultuous and challenging year, major strides have been taken. And we on the Tour intend to impact the political terrain in a major way in 2021. 

2020 saw a capitalist-imperialist system up against its limits, with answers neither to the long-range crises it has created that have put the lives of billions and possibly the future of humanity at risk, nor to the immediate horrors of the COVID pandemic and the rise of fascism in the U.S. and other parts of the world. 

The Revolution Tour fought to bring forward a whole different and much better future in the face of that:

Your support was crucial in all of this; and your continued—or first-time—support is needed now to carry this forward even as the Tour is taking time to dig deeply into that experience and analyze its most important lessons in order to prepare to go out more boldly and with more impact in the new year 2021.

To do that, we need your support. We are transforming the world and doing new things, struggling to break through—and most of all, we are learning as we go. 

Go now to revcom.us for a page of sights and sounds from the Tour. And tune in on Sunday, January 10, for a fundraising webinar reviewing the year past and looking toward the future.

Find out more about The Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour >>

How to Donate to the National Revolution Tour

  • Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • CashApp: $revtour
  • Send a check or money order,
    payable to RCP Publications,
    memo line: National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/681/donate-to-the-national-revolution-tour-en.html

Donate to the National Revolution Tour...

| revcom.us

 

Here are the ways:

  • Venmo: @RevolutionTour
  • CashApp: $revtour
  • Write in to getorganizedforrevolutiontour (at) gmail.com, let us know if you are taking up collections, or to send statements
  • Or call (323) 671-9839
  • Send a check or money order,
    payable to RCP Publications and earmark it for National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486
  • PayPal or credit card:

 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/681/sample-fundraiser-to-prospective-donors-supporters-of-national-revolution-tour-en.html

New fundraising letter

Donate to bring a whole new world into being

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received this from volunteers for the National Revolution Tour.

Dear friends,

As 2021 begins, donate to something that can make all the difference for positive change: the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. Donate HERE and tune in Sunday, January 31 to a fundraising livestream, 3 pm PST / 6 pm EST at youtube.com/therevcoms.

Only one month into this year, and already the whole world has witnessed an unprecedented fascist coup attempt on January 6, with thousands of MAGA mobs incited by Trump himself, violently storming the capital, waving confederate flags and hanging nooses.  In the face of this, we are being told (by people in the Democratic Party), “don’t worry, soon things will all go back to normal...” A “normal” rooted in a system that exploits literally billions of people all around the world, a “normal” leading to the devastation of our planet... a “normal” that gave rise to this fascism.

But these are NOT our only choices. The real question, posed by Bob Avakian (BA), the revolutionary leader who has developed a new communism, is “RADICAL CHANGE IS COMING: WILL IT BE EMANCIPATING OR ENSLAVING—REVOLUTIONARY, OR REACTIONARY?”

That is up to us—and up to you!

The National Revolution Tour is fighting for hope on a scientific foundation, spreading BA’s leadership and works everywhere and getting organized for an actual revolution. This is not about tinkering on the margins of this system, but of overthrowing this system for something radically different, as represented by the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by BA.

As one recent donor put it, “Now is not just a matter of supporting people who can physically go to protests when you can’t, it is a matter of supporting people who can project revolutionary ideology to people whom you will never see. People not just in this country, but around the world...” 

That’s what this National Revolution Tour and the volunteers on it are all about: the emancipation of all humanity... bringing to life the interests of those that people in this country too often ignore.  But the fact is those are our people too, and we have a responsibility to them... a responsibility to bring into being a world where no child anywhere is suffocated by this system or afraid of the brutal enforcers of this system... all brought upon them by the unnecessary conditions of this system.  A system that can't be reformed, but must be overthrown.  

Volunteers on the Tour have gathered from all over the country, uprooting their lives to be part of something greater than themselves, struggling to break people out of “me first” individualism. They are digging deeply into BA’s work, learning how to become revolutionary leaders. They need your support for food, housing, PPE, materials, video equipment... for this to reach all of society.  We are aiming to raise $50,000 by February 15... tune in to the livestream to hear big plans for 2021!

As another donor, a recent college graduate, put it, “Not only do we have to fight for revolution, we have to FUND the Revolution.” 

So donate and be a part of raising funds for the National Revolution Tour fighting to bring a whole better world into being!

Volunteers from the National Revolution Tour

Download Word version of this letter

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/revolution-tour-sights-n-sounds-2020-en.html

Sights and Sounds of The National Revolution Tour 2020

| revcom.us

 

The COVID Pandemic

The Beautiful Rising

Minneapolis


The Revcoms in Minneapolis

Los Angeles

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

From Bob Avakian


The Revolution Club, Chicago taking BA and the revolution to the masses on the South Shore.


(Read the 10-part series)

The 2020 Elections

August 1, 2020 —
STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN
ON THE IMMEDIATE CRITICAL SITUATION,
THE URGENT NEED TO DRIVE OUT
THE FASCIST TRUMP/PENCE REGIME,
VOTING IN THIS ELECTION, AND
THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR REVOLUTION

Read more


The Refuse Fascism Handmaids brigade at the Supreme Court, part of a series of creative and bold nonviolent actions in DC and across the country that reached millions with a challenge to confront the reality that Trump is already stealing the election.

Find out more about The Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour >>

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/tour-member-en.html

Why I Got into BA—and Why You Should Too

"There was a certain point when I started asking questions..."

| revcom.us

 

The following is an edited excerpt from a taped discussion with members of the Tour on the importance of really getting Bob Avakian (BA) and his leadership out to millions.

In answer to the question of why people should get into BA, and why we revcoms need to be fighting for this, the short answer is because the world could be so radically different! It doesn’t have to be this way! If you look at those 5 Stops—these things are real. There’s the planet, the environment could actually be destroyed where people can’t actually survive anymore. We’ve seen this fascist motherfucker put children in cages. We’ve seen so much of these things that are part of this system get escalated. The people who rule this society have a hold on people’s way of thinking, you know, where they’re seeing what could be done totally within the confines of their system that actually causes all this shit, that can’t actually do without shooting Black people, locking them up—it’s like a slow genocide that could actually turn into a fast one. These are real things, you know. The world is a horror, there’s so much horror in people’s actual lives and it doesn’t have to be this way! We could get beyond all of that.

I get why people don’t have any hope. I get why they don’t have it—I’ve been there, we’ve all been there. Joe was saying how he got into BA. I was in the same place and... I’m trying to think like, “Why are these things this way?” and I’m so full of anger, so full of frustration. I don’t want to sound like that now, but I’m talking about like back then when I first encountered BA.

Starting to Ask Questions

I was in prison. There was a certain point where I started asking questions... starting to see that people could actually change things. I read a little bit of history, most people like me are locked out of reading, you know. I didn’t read for shit my whole young life. I didn’t pick up a book—it was just out of the question. That’s not something I did—maybe other people who went to school or whatever, but me? I was what you call a thug. I was out in the streets. I was doing shit that people on the bottom do when they have no hope and they see no purpose other than to get over on other people. That was who I was. And then I went into prison and just read out of sheer boredom. Or else I wouldn’t have picked up a book and kind of found out that people actually change history, people have actually changed things.

And I was like: How do they do that? What is it? And learning about different figures. And then thinking: “Okay, it seems like there’s something to this communism stuff” even though people were very anti-communist who I looked up to, that were writing a lot of these books. But I was like: “Okay, they [the communists] are the only ones that actually ever made a revolution, have actually overthrown capitalism”—because I was seeing capitalism as a problem.

It’s not like I didn’t read anything else. I was trying to search... there’s people that I respect. There was a... I seen this book on the table and I just remember, somebody brought it to me, they saw it on the table, and they were like: “Hey, you’ll probably like this book.” And it said something about: Talking About a Revolution. It was a collection of interviews with all these different authors, and people are talking—like Noam Chomsky, I used to read his books. Howard Zinn. Good people, you know, but they weren’t talking about revolution, they weren’t talking about a way out. They had a lot of insights but they weren’t talking about a way out.

A Way OUT of the Madness

So, when I encountered BA, he was talking about a way out. One of the first things I read from BA was the Memoir. It was him, you know... you see who he was... he talks about his life growing up and then coming to change and encountering different people, like Black people and then seeing the way they were treated. And he wasn’t coming at it like: “Well, how does this relate to me?” or whatever. He was like: this is really fucked up and that has to stop. He’s confronted by the civil rights movement and all this stuff that’s going on and people struggling against that.

And it was something that I had never encountered as far as the morality and the willingness to pursue, just pursue the question: Like, why is this the way it is? How could it actually be different? Or do we just have to consign ourselves to things as they are? Do we have to give up? Is there really nothing we could do? If there is something we can do, how do we do it? And just being very rigorous in pursuing the truth, you know. So, when I read that Memoir, I was like: this dude is for real. He was like... I’ve known people growing up who were like: Okay, I look out for my homies and I’ll make any kind of sacrifice for them and for my family, or like nowadays you look out for “your community”. People who have, like, generally good hearts—but this was on a whole ’nother level.

He’s talking about a world of oppression. He’s coming to confront that and how do you get rid of all of that. And he went deep to understand the why; and who he is as a person is very connected to his willingness to wanting to stop that shit. He’s developed a whole scientific method and approach, like really summed up the past and why we [those who led previous revolutions] made the mistakes that we made. What were people confronting at that actual time and how did they go at it? What was it in their thinking that led to these errors that they did make, and without saying that it was all bad actually recognizing the tremendous achievements, but like: What was it? And then summed up a lot of stuff. That’s how we got this new communism that people have to take up.

A Scientific Approach

You see all these things get in the way of people’s thinking and understanding, not actually having a scientific approach—which just means let’s go for reality and let’s look for evidence. Like, why are Black people being shot down by police? Why do they get away with it over and over again? Why is it that you go from... people being persecuted, treated as less than human, being forced to hide because they’re going to get picked up by fucking ICE or whatever and get deported, get picked up as if they’re trash, “you don’t belong here,” all this racist shit. Why do people have to go through that? And we go from that to where fascists in the ruling class say, “Okay, we’re going to fucking start, we’re going to take this to another level, and we’re going to start terrorizing people and snatching their kids away and putting them in cages.” Rather than: “Let’s fix this!” This is where they go, where their system goes. And you could lose your mind seeing that.

But BA, he actually went to: Why? Why is that happening? Because you can’t come to a solution without understanding why it is. And he really went deep. We’ve been talking some about how is it that this system is at the root of all this. What are the changes that it is actually causing? I’m going to just go on for a little bit.

Because, I was mentioning that I started reading because I’m looking for answers and I’m seeing Marx, you know. So Marx is understanding something here about the way this system works. And also reading Lenin and Engels because this is what people who call themselves revolutionaries were talking about. This is what you gotta get into. So I’m searching, I’m searching for all these people who call themselves Marxists because communists were the only ones that actually overthrew this system. And I’m looking at all these people and organizations who call themselves communists, and I’m trying to figure out which one is actually trying to make a revolution. Because even though I didn’t have much of an education, I understood one thing: this system gets enforced with brutal violence. And there’s no way you’re going to actually change that without an actual revolution that actually deals with that. So, the more I looked, the more I started to lose hope because people aren’t actually dealing with that question.

Following BA, Taking Up the Scientific Method Yourself

So, this stood out a lot to me about BA—it was like what I was saying about who he is as a person, what initially came through, him being very real and having a lot of heart for people and pursuing the truth. But then also he came up, he developed a scientifically grounded strategy. He summed up a lot of past experience about socialist society so far and summed up how we could actually do better. And how do you go up against this system? He’s developed the strategy for that. It’s not like all the answers are there, but it’s like what Michelle [another participant in the discussion] had said about what you find in BA is not just answers, there’s an approach, you will find answers but there are also tools—an approach for people to actually take up. And not just like: you wish it could be and you have a whole lot of stand, but actually let’s examine it for real because we’re talking about real things and it’s very serious.

What are some of the things that revolutionary forces would have to confront? First of all, what is the kind of situation that you need to actually be able to make a revolution? And let’s look at that for real and is that possible to get there? And then once that’s there, how do you actually wage a revolutionary struggle? And if you win, it better be something that’s worth winning. And he’s went at all these questions in a way that nobody else has.

That’s why I’m following BA because nobody else has went at these questions without even the slightest bit of seriousness that he has. You run into a lot of people out here in the streets who are like... you know they have a lot of shit-talking they like to do but they haven’t done any kind of work that in any way approaches what BA has done as far as what’s it actually going to take to putting an end to all forms of oppression. A lot of people are out here trying to fight to lead a damn march and they don’t want answers coming in there because they’re not trying to find an answer. They’re not trying to find solutions, they just want to resist. Some people do, they may want to fix some things, but it’s totally within, and it’s totally not dealing with the actual nature of the system—like “defund the police,” or “abolish the police, abolish the prisons,” without abolishing the system that requires all of that.

I think that the more that people actually get to know who BA is, who he actually is, and the work that he’s actually done, the more they’ll see the need for them to follow and to get other people to follow BA also. And to speak to that, I was saying that taking up the leadership of BA means taking up the method and approach because he’s not about just giving people orders. He’s actually done a lot of analysis and it’s not just like: Okay, I have some answers now, go take them out—or whatever. But underneath all of that he’s emphasized over and over that we need people taking up this approach, it’s about pursuing the truth wherever it leads. And proceeding from reality, not what we’d like it to be, not what’s more convenient but what actually is—and how do you go to work to transform that in a way that’s actually realistic. And the irony is that what’s realistic is so far beyond people’s imagination that they think it’s unrealistic. But it’s actually in line with reality, if you take up a consistently scientific method and approach you’ll find that this is scientifically based and grounded.

 

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         

Get to know BA

Listen
to Bob Avakian
read the first six chapters from his memoir

Read
excerpts from
the memoir

Order
the book
from
Insight-Press.com

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

WATCHING FRUITVALE STATION WITH BOB AVAKIAN

This article was originally published in 2014. We believe that it is particularly timely now to either return to this or, for those who have not read it before, to read it for the first time.

Read here | Download printable PDF

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

Get Into BA »

THE PRISONERS REVOLUTIONARY LITERATURE FUND

Graphic imagePRLF is an educational literature fund that sends Revolution newspaper (www.revcom.us), works from Bob Avakian, and other revolutionary and scientific literature to hundreds of prisoners across the U.S.

To donate to the work of the PRLF, go HERE.

 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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Heartfelt comments received from people who donated during the Fundraising Livestream

"The 5, 20, 50, 100 dollars you donate makes all the difference"

| revcom.us

 

Thank you to everyone who tuned in and contributed generously to the January 10 fundraising livestream for the The National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. We exceeded our goal of $10,000 and raised $10,586.

Our next livestream will be on Sunday, January 24, 2021, 6 pm EST/3 pm PST. Stay tuned for more announcements and materials to spread the word!

We appreciate all the diverse and heartfelt comments we received about why people gave:

 

** Why I'm Donating to the Revcom.us Tour:

I'm donating to the Revcom.us tour because I'm impressed with the fact that the structure of Avakian's new communism is based on science, humanism, and ethics. Democracy is built on slavery, imperialism, and capitalism—three ideologies that exploit other humans and the environment. These elements have poisoned our country and government and given rise to the corrupt leadership of Donald Trump and the fascist Republican party. Knowledge of Avakian's new communism should be spread as widely as possible.

 

** From a high school student who gave $50 and is reaching some of his friends to give:

Right now is a time of existential dangers and profound possibilities. We need to seize the momentum and make huge breakthroughs before the fascists come back stronger and harder. No one is going to make revolution for us. I am donating as much as I can, and contributing in other ways, because there is no more noble a cause than the movement for revolution.

 

** From a recently graduated college student and member of the Revolution Club: 

The urgency is real. The attack on Capitol Hill by fascists is not the worst of what could happen in the U.S. And we have seen the escalation from months, to years ago. The forces that are necessary to counteract this act of domestic terrorism require mass mobilization from the people and leadership. We have one. We have the leadership from the RevComs that have continuously warned us about the dangers of this fascist regime. They have called for mass mobilization. Today is an event to fundraise for this revolution and we need your support. Everything that it requires, materials, pamphlets, banners, books, shirts, every single piece of material that we get out to the people is crucial and it requires funds. People from all different backgrounds have donated, and their contribution is important. We have seen the Revolution Tour expand to different states, we have seen the growth of people mobilizing into the streets, but the fight is not over. The 5, 20, 50, 100 dollars you donate makes all the difference. People are very willing to donate to causes that once it is out of their face, it is forgotten, but not this. You are now part of the revolutionary forces working towards mass mobilization. The donation is from the people, contributing directly to the emancipation of humanity. Although many of us are in need at this moment, the need for revolution, the need to counteract this fascist agenda, is an urgent matter. Not only must we fight for the revolution, we must also fund the revolution.

 

** From a donor who gave $3,000

Dear comrades,

I am happy to donate to the Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour.

We live in a time of danger and immense challenges. The events of the past week should make this starkly apparent to everyone, even to those who, up to now, have willfully attempted to close their eyes to this obvious truth.

Yet within this situation there is also opportunity, the chance to wrest a new future. To do this there is an urgent need for the new communism, for the leadership and scientific method of Bob Avakian to become a growing, contending force in the world.

I am excited by the important steps the National Revolution Tour has taken to do this, putting revolution—a real revolution, that will completely overturn the brutal, outmoded system of capitalism-imperialism and begin building a new society free from all oppression and exploitation—on the map. 

At this crucial time nothing is more important, and I am glad for the opportunity to contribute to this effort as we enter a new year. I urge everyone who reads this to join in supporting this vital effort in whatever ways you can.

 

** From a Vietnam War veteran who donated $100:

I am a Vietnam veteran. I was involved in the active duty GI movement against the War after I found out what the war was really about.

I have some photos from the war on my home wall and in my phone.

One is a 10-year-old girl running from a napalm attack with horrific burns all over her body. Napalm was introduced to the war by the U.S. military. Other photos show villages being burned all over Vietnam by U.S. troops (from the book Kill Everything That Moves by Nick Turse). By the war's end 3 million Vietnamese had been murdered by U.S. forces.

U.S. chauvinism was a major factor in U.S. troops regarding the Vietnamese as subhuman. Troops called massacres "just gook business" of no consequence.

The American Crime series initiated by Bob Avakian on the revcom.us website brings out the "actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today and the terrible consequences of this."

I am a disabled veteran but I've decided to give $100 out of my stimulus check to the revolution tour because the tour is boldly going out among people spreading the leadership of Bob Avakian everywhere. And. they are organizing ppl into the revolution. They are the hope for a future with no more of these murderous, horrific wars. And no more oppression and exploitation anywhere in the world. This revolution tour is not half-stepping.

 

** From a psychologist

Yes, I would like to contribute to the National Revolution Tour. I have been thinking, you were right! The RCP and Refuse Fascism were right. I knew how many right-wing forces there were, but I have been shocked. I am all for the National Revolution Tour, because this opposition needs to be public. I appreciate Bob Avakian, for how to create an egalitarian and democratic society. I agree with Bob Avakian’s indictment of capitalism. Avakian is a vector of humane and progressive politics I am for. But so many are conditioned to believe that anything done for the common good, by a government, is socialism and that’s looked at as horrible among a large section of people in the U.S. People have been the victims of a propaganda campaign since 1917—the Russian Revolution. But I have been motivated to learn the truth. It’s very positive to have the National Revolution Tour. Think of the ’60s, with gay people coming out of the closet, Civil Rights and MLK and the Black Panther Party, think about the anti-Vietnam War movement. People told the truth then and now the Revolution Tour is a first rate educational opportunity. I think we are going into heavy duty chaos with COVID, fascism, the economic situation. Every group doing something positive, like the National Revolution Tour, should be supported because it adds to the momentum of progressive change.

 

** From a part-time immigration attorney:

I will donate because I know enough about Bob Avakian to agree with the diagnoses, but at this point I don’t know all about his critical thinking as to what to supplant this system with. I want to give because I want to raise consciousness, and I don’t want people to lose hope. I want people to know the world doesn’t have to be this way, that there is a better way that they are not consigned to this system of capitalism. It’s hard to get conscripts, not enough are coming on board. Even after the George Floyd protests around the country, I don’t enough see people mulling over this revolution because I know there are obstacles thrown in the way of the people: ideas of reform, narrow and parochial, or just the difficulty of surviving from day-to-day. It’s hard for people to find the emotional space to look at science. Even if the people realize the system shackles them there is still an aesthetic intimacy to moving to take on this system - maybe it will take a revolutionary event for the masses to jettison those things. But I am not one to say “I don’t believe in orthodoxy so I won’t give.” I am not one of those people who pre-judge Bob Avakian and revolution. I am not one of those people and that is to my credit. The National Revolution Tour is laudable, helping people transcend the everyday shit.

 

** From a supporter of Tour who donated $250:

I am encouraging everyone to support revcom.us which is based upon knowing/changing reality, science and the truth. I am challenging everyone to match and challenge this amount I'm donating.

 

** From a group of friends in Chicago:

A group of 5 supporters of the Tour in Chicago have issued a match challenge for at least 5 people to make up $1,000 in monthly sustainer donations over the next six months. This group of 5 includes 2 people who are giving $5/month, one person is giving $10 for the next 6 months, and one more person committed but is still pondering and checking their finances to see what they can afford. The initiator is donating $200 /month = a total of $1,320+ for six months. All of these people are writing statements about why they joined this effort to support the Tour and are reaching out to other supporters. Here are four of our statements. So we are asking – can you match this?

 

** From a high school teacher: 

I would like to make it clear that I want to contribute regularly! Why? These fascists are not going away. History tells us you can’t “wait around until it all works out.” And not all of us can be on front line like the National Revolution Tour. We have to support those on the front lines AND those with the analysis, the context, and a way out and this is what the National Revolution Tour is doing. Remember that revcom.us front cover with Hitler Trump on the cover? Even I wasn’t quite sure. Even I had questions and concerns. But it turned out to be correct… the analysis is right on point. The National Revolution Tour offers another option, because what is being framed is either fascism or ‘reaching across the aisle.’ This revolutionary analysis has legs under it and people have to do the reading and study. Revolution. Sound far-fetched? Engage it. In fact it is irresponsible to not be engaging revolution – we are on the brink of whether we will survive as a species and genocidal racists in the most powerful country in the world have us teetering on full-out fascism. Fascism is the function of capitalism, a natural function, we would be remiss to not look at revolution and communism and support those who are taking it to the people.

 

** From two activists from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, New York:

We have raging genocidal viruses in this country!

The COVID-19 virus has been killing now as many people who died on 9/11 every day affecting disproportionately people of color. The COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly in prisons and jails across the country due to extreme congregate settings, poor health care, and grossly inadequate PPE.

Incarcerated people are infected by the coronavirus at a rate of more than five times higher than the nation’s overall rate. And yet there have not been anywhere near the numbers of early release especially amongst the aging and at-risk prisoners. This is genocide under a White Supremacist system.

The virus of systemic racism and genocide has been raging for centuries in this country since its beginning. Even in the light of the powerful, righteous uprisings for Black Lives Matter that took place over the past months, there has not even been an ounce of justice for the victims of State-Sponsored Violence!

The U.S. justice department just announced that after over five years of “investigating,” they will not bring any criminal charges in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 22, 2014. Tamir was murdered while playing with a toy gun in less than a minute by police. 

Once again, it was recently announced that in Kenosha, WI, the prosecutors will not file criminal charges against the police officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back in front of his three little children who were seated in his car on August 23, 2020. Jacob Blake is paralyzed for life.

And again, no charges have been filed in the killing of Breonna Taylor, an EMT worker who was shot in her bed by police in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13, 2020. Millions of people shouted her name in protests around the country for justice, to no avail.

We could go on and on with the thousands of names who have been killed by law enforcement with impunity. Mass incarceration infused with COVID-19, the relentless murder of Black, Brown, and Native peoples by law enforcement, are all part of the escalating genocide waged by this White Supremacist system.

This White Supremacist system is not “broken.” It is doing what it was designed to do. It is guilty of crimes against humanity and needs to be abolished! That is why, we from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, are supporting the National Revolution Tour and are calling on you to do the same and to donate generously. We need to support the Revolution Tour to fight for a better world where black and brown people no longer have a target on their back and white supremacists are no longer given a ‘get out of jail’ free card.

We urge you to join us and make a contribution to support the work of the National Revolution Tour!

 

** From an immigrant woman (in Spanish and English):
Apoyemos la gira por la revolución ahora más que nunca necesitamos seguir levantando la voz que Trump debe salir de la presidencia ya, debido a que el sistema se apoya en el pensamiento supremacista blanco es un riesgo, vemos cómo agencias del gobierno protegen y alientan estos movimientos de odio, y que quieren sentar las bases para un país, misógino, con opresión a las comunidades que se ven diferentes o piensan diferente a ellos. Por eso seguir luchando por un mundo mejor es importante y podemos hacerlo posible, apoyando con una donación a los compañeres en la Gira por la Revolución Nada Menos.

Let us support the tour for the revolution now more than ever we need to continue to raise the voice that Trump must leave the presidency now, because the system relies on white supremacist thinking is a risk, we see how government agencies protect and encourage these movements of hatred, and who want to lay the foundations for a country, misogynist, with oppression of communities that look different or think differently from them. That is why continuing to fight for a better world is important and we can make it possible by supporting our comrades in the Revolution Nothing Less Tour with a donation.

 

** From a donor in Southern California:

I donated to the revcoms because they truly understand and are well-versed in the fallacies of capitalism - they do important work, from the articles they publish to the peaceful protests that they organize with others, we all must strive to be as passionate and motivated as this organization is and we must support the Revolutionary Communists in whatever ways we can afford to.

 

** From a donor in California:

This week's siege on the Capitol showed to people across the country that the fight to quell authoritarianism in the United States is far, far from over. Many said that once the Democrats gained control of all branches of government, Donald Trump and his allies would accept defeat and move on. They were wrong. It's time to start calling these people what they are: Fascists who are committed to keep power at all costs. The people in power who have supported this attempt to overthrow the democratic process should be held accountable for their actions, but if history tells us anything, that is unlikely. The people being arrested and detained are simply middlemen who are being punished to appease the status quo, while those with political power in the country get off scot free, to possibly attempt more insurrections at a later date. The only way to fight Fascism in the 21st century is the same way it has been done in the past: through people power. The people rising up and saying no more to the racist and authoritarian mob is the only way to combat this rising threat. Not appeasement and twitter bans. Even if Donald Trump's administration ends on the 20th of January, Fascism is still here and more mainstream than it's ever been in close to 100 years. It's time to stop ignoring that fact and start fighting.

 

** From someone who has been sustaining the Tour and donated $600 today:

I am donating the full amount of my stimulus check. There is nothing that needs stimulating more than the latent revolutionary energy of millions fighting for a beautiful world worth living in. I have had the privilege of meeting numbers of members from the Revolution Club. They are some of the most inspiring and wonderful people I have ever met, both for their tireless efforts fighting for a bright future and in the way they as individuals represent that future in how they carry themselves and relate to others. There is no better cause anyone can donate their money to.

 

** From a member of the Revolution Club:

The role the Revcoms have played in leading society in these intense and unprecedented times is invaluable – but it does require funds to continue and grow. Donate what you can today!

 

** From someone making a $25 donation:

A small donation, but I encourage others to give what they can manage to fighting fascism and creating a better world.

Watch video of fundraising livestream (aired Sunday, January 10):

How to Donate to the National Revolution Tour

  • Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • CashApp: $revtour
  • Send a check or money order,
    payable to RCP Publications,
    memo line: National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/482/skybreak-a-communist-statesman-modeling-communist-leadership-en.html

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

A Communist Statesman, Modeling Communist Leadership

March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/681/statement-of-the-refusefascism-editorial-board-en.html

STATEMENT of the Refuse Fascism Editorial Board JANUARY 9, 2021
Read at rallies in cities across the country on 01/09/21

Trump Must Go Now! Out with the Whole Fascist Cabal!

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

| revcom.us

 

It matters that we are out here today – each of you and all of us together.

Last Wednesday, the world witnessed with shock: MAGA mobs storming the U.S. Capitol, climbing the walls, smashing windows, rampaging through the halls and looting Congressional offices—called forth and unleashed by Donald Trump, who could be called the wannabe second president of the Confederacy. Even AFTER this violent siege, 8 GOP senators and 139 representatives (that’s 2/3 of the Republifascists in the House of Representatives) still voted to overturn the election. A new poll yesterday showed that 77% of Republicans still support Trump.

This was an attempted fascist coup and it was years in the making.

That is the word: Fascism. What is that? It’s vigilantes shooting Black Lives Matter protesters. It’s open white supremacy. It’s refugees in concentration camps. It’s paramilitary forces using violence to suppress dissent. It is lie upon lie such that the very concept of what is real and what is true is destroyed. It is outright theocrats dominating the courts. It is the brazen open attempt to overturn of the election of Biden – it is shredding even the pretense of democracy.

Now, Trump MUST GO! The fascists are still rampaging at Statehouses around the country. They are bragging about their accomplishments, threatening further mayhem, and are already making their assault on January 6 a rallying cry to come back. Trump, for his part, is upholding his “stormtroopers” and is reportedly even more bellicose and unhinged. Every day Trump remains in power he poses a catastrophic danger to humanity.

What is more, he must be decisively repudiated – impeached and convicted – which would mean he could never come back to elected office. Even more important, this would be a real setback to the fascist movement he still leads.

This movement is not going away even with Trump removed. There are tens of millions of people, who have been led, organized and shaped in a fascist direction, with their own media and schools and institutions, for over 40 years, to view themselves as the “real America.” There are elected officials at all levels of government who view and will act as if the Biden administration is illegitimate and they now have an armed street-fighting force “on call” filled with revenge. Inside and outside the halls of power they will continue to fight for their white supremacist, xenophobic, and patriarchal program.

And, they will continue to undermine the very concept of truth – leaving tens of millions to be susceptible to the calls of demagogues and the vilest conspiracy theories. IF THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO DESIRE A JUST WORLD, WHO CARE ABOUT HUMANITY, FAIL TO ACT, IT WILL NOT APPEASE THESE FASCISTS; IT WILL LEAVE THEM A CLEAR FIELD TO ADVANCE. WE SAW ON WEDNESDAY WHERE THIS LEADS.

NOW is the moment – as calls ricochet through Congress to impeach Trump – for us to put our bodies in the streets, nonviolent but determined, to demand Trump's immediate removal. Now.

Already there is talk, including by some Democrats, that impeachment would only further divide the country, that it is time to move forward and get to the work of “healing” the country and governing. 

But the road to Wednesday’s fascist coup attempt was paved by this very refusal to hold Trump and his fascists accountable... again and again over four years. Not after Charlottesville. Not after children locked in cages. Not after Trump’s acquittal in a weakly pursued impeachment on very narrow grounds which only cemented Trump’s belief that he was above the law.

This passivity and accommodation must end now. To wait longer, to hold back, amounts to capitulation.

Now must be the time for the decent people to stand up—nonviolently in massive numbers, from many different backgrounds and political perspectives but united in our determination to act.

We demand Trump’s immediate removal to stop the tremendous harm he can do in the next 11 days. We demand this now as part of building the strength of our side for the fight to decisively defeat this fascism that has been allowed to fester and spew forth. Note well: A failed coup can lead to a successful coup or a “legitimate” return to power fueled by the same fascist program but with a vengeance.

The struggle for the future is far from over. Humanity needs us, needs you, to be in the streets, using safe disease prevention protocol but most of all demonstrating our values of respect for diversity and hunger for justice – in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of a vicious American fascism. We must continue to speak and act and call forth others. Our just and necessary demand that Trump be removed from power now must be met, not just for ourselves, but for humanity.

Trump Out Now!

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

REFUSE FASCISM organized protests Saturday, January 9

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

 

 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/sights-and-sounds-from-january-9-protests-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS from January 9 Protests:
TRUMP OUT NOW! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America

| revcom.us

 



WASHINGTON, DC

NBC4 Washington

"Activists Call for President Trump to Be Removed from Offices"
(click image to watch video)

Press Conference to Demand Trump's Immediate Removal Black Lives Matter Plaza

Carl Dix, co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org and revolutionary communist
Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in DC which was vandalized by MAGA Proud Boys

From the Press Conference

Full Statement by Carl Dix

Full Statement by the Rev. Lamar


New York City

Times Square Press Conference / Rally (Live Stream)

SPEAKERS:
Travis Morales, Refuse Fascism, NYC
Sabel, Refuse Fascism, NYC
Jim Fouratt, long-time activist against the Vietnam War and in ACT-UP
Tootsie Warhol, Former Lawyer-Turned-Trump Impersonator
Emma, Revolution Club
Chivona Newsome and Hawk Newsome, Black Lives Matter NYC


Los Angeles


Chicago


San Francisco

NBC News San Francisco (click image to watch coverage)


Philadelphia


Honolulu


Houston


Boston


Looked through social media, found the protest,made a sign and joined. Boston Common, January 9.


Madison, Wisconsin

"An Anti-Fascist Responds To Yesterday's Riot At The U.S. Capitol"

WORT 89.9FM Madison · An Anti-Fascist Responds to Yesterday's Riot at the U.S. Capitol

An interview with Sunsara Taylor on WORT 89.9 FM Community Radio


INTERNATIONAL PRESS COVERAGE: German TV


 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/681/remarks-from-the-january-7-refuse-fascism-press-conference-en.html

Remarks from the January 7 Refuse Fascism Press Conference

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following are short excerpts from rush transcripts of remarks by some of the participants at the January 7 press conference by Refuse Fascism. The press conference announced plans for protests on Saturday, January 9, demanding: Now is the Time to Act. TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW! In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America.

The complete press conference.

Hear from: Coco Das, writer, Refuse Fascism Editorial Board; Andy Zee, co‑initiator of RefuseFascism.org and host of The RNL – Revolution Nothing Less – ShowLilly Wachowski, filmmaker; Rosanna Arquette, actress and activist; Cornel West, author, activist, scholar; Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC; Arturo O’Farrill, musician; Ruchira Gupta, Indian journalist and activist; Steve Hofstetter, stand-up comedian; Jodie Sweetin, actress and activist.


Andy Zee, co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org and host of The RNL – Revolution Nothing Less – Show

This press conference today is for Refuse Fascism to really bring out what we have to do and what has just happened. Look, we've just gone through a milestone in U.S. history—an attempted self-coup organized by the president. And that is unprecedented. For now, and overwhelmingly likely, this coup has been defeated. But the fascist movement that we have been enduring for four years, at the highest levels of power in the U.S. and thus a world power, will likely be set back for a while, but that may only be a matter of time. We face real danger in the next 13 days and a very stark reality for the whole next period. So the message of today's press conference is that decent people—all those who are opposed to injustice, who care about and who want to work for the future of humanity that is in real existential peril, and is in even greater peril under the rule of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, and whatever formation this fascism might take in the future—now at last, people do need to stand up again in appropriate ways in the public square.

(Rosanna Arquette, actress and activist, reads a statement issued by some signatories of the Refuse Fascism Pledge to the People of the World.)


Lilly Wachowski, filmmaker

Here we are at this moment in time where the threshold has been crossed. And what that allows is for a critical eye to be cast on what this movement is, what this fascist movement is, where it’s origins have come from. And that is the Confederacy. This is a white supremacist movement and it has direct ties to the Confederacy... It’s about all of us participating and standing up in this moment. And hopefully we will all have the backbone to do this.


Cornel West, author, activist, scholar

This is a moment in which we have to exercise our own personal integrity in a collective way, grounded in a solidarity with the least of these, those Franz Fanon called the wretched of the earth, because fascism is about the rule of big money and big military, that convince everyday people to scapegoat the most vulnerable rather than confront the most powerful, to downplay the predatory capitalist core of it, to downplay the white supremacist public face, and the other vicious forms of xenophobia. It is anti-Jewish, it is anti-Muslim, it is anti-Arab, it is anti-Palestinian, it is anti-trans, it is anti-gay, it is anti-lesbian, it is anti-all those cast as the degraded “other.” And because the milquetoast, centrist neo-liberals in the establishment of the Democratic Party have not been able to deliver the basic goods of food and shelter and education and Medicare, you end up with these fascist and neo-fascist fellow citizens, many of them catching hell, but directing their rage against the vulnerable rather than being part of a multi-racial struggle trying to overcome the predatory capitalism with its imperial tentacles.


Rev. William H. Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC

You saw all of the symbolism yesterday, Confederate flags, Trump flags, all of the other symbolism, they raised a cross, and they also put up a noose. And let me be very clear that they were deploying symbols; they were dispatching symbols to communicate that these were the theological and the philosophical, the impetus behind what it is that they were doing... it is very clear that this movement is not so much about liberty, not so much about freedom, not so much about God, as it is about fascist leadership and purging undesirables. The American thirst and hunger to what I call “niggerization,” creating undesirables, dehumanizing Black, Brown, Native, LGBTQIA. We have to be clear that that is underneath what is happening... Our work is to continue to imagine the new world, to disrupt the present order by mobilizing and by turning out human beings willing to risk, willing to put their lives on the line. And finally we must construct together the new world. It is not enough to imagine, not enough to disrupt. But we must build together what is possible and our gathering today of atheist, of Christians, of people of all faith, shows that that is possible regardless of what we see.


Arturo O'Farrill, musician

We’ve got what, 13 days of this mad man—he needs to go. Pence needs to go. The whole thing needs to be thrown out. Every single one of those representatives that contested the election needs to go. And the idea that Black Lives Matter protesters would be met with military style policing, while these protesters were allowed to calmly walk into the Capitol, is just beyond belief. It is complicit, don’t fool yourself. This is complicit violence by the people that are in charge of our lives, and it’s based on racism and on a socio-economic terrorism. And so I urge everyone here to do all that they can, to go out and peacefully march, with masks, but be present, be present in every way that you can. Speak, speak loud, speak often and let people know that this is a fascist regime and it must to go.


Ruchira Gupta, Indian journalist and activist

I'm a journalist. I was born in India, lived in India, and saw the rise of fascism in India... The one thing that I have learned from my experiences, and which is what I want to share with all Americans who are listening in to today's press conference, is that if those who have come out so openly today to attack Capitol Hill are not taken seriously, are not held accountable, then you will fight for every inch of democratic space in the years to come. In India, the same thing happened 25 years ago. We did not take it so seriously. We said: Oh, India is too chaotic for fascism. Every Indian is very argumentative, so we will not allow the fascism to happen. Our democracy is too entrenched. One group of people cannot take over... They did. Because we did not hold them accountable. They were never punished for the demolition of the mosque. They were never punished for the race riots or the caste riots, and the religious riots that were unleashed on minorities after that, to the point that the one year that I've just spent in India, I have had to see every journalist friend who speaks up against this regime being interrogated. Some of them are in jail. One journalist friend was shot dead for investigating a story against this regime on the porch of a house while she was turning the key... And so opposition has been decimated as I speak. And this is the fascist label that I see being replicated in the United States....

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/651/bob-avakian-radical-change-is-coming-en.html

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Editors note: This article written by Bob Avakian in June 2020 during the Beautiful Rising is highly relevant right now, especially in the context of recent events, and we highly recommend this to our readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because of all this:

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

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

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

And:

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

See also:

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

Read more

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

 

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Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/fascist-mob-at-the-capitol-en.html

The Fascist Mob at the Capitol ... and the World of Horrors They Are Fighting For

| revcom.us

 

On Wednesday, January 6, Donald Trump fomented a fascist coup attempt. He called on a mob to come to DC to protest on the day that Biden was officially to be certified by Congress as the next president. He stirred up that mob for over an hour, telling them to march to the Capitol where Congress was meeting. Waving their Confederate, American and Trump flags, some of them armed, they climbed over the walls, broke windows, and rampaged almost untouched through the halls, terrorizing legislators and vandalizing offices. Their demand: that Donald Trump, who lost the election by a big margin, must be illegally put into power for four more years. The images on this page give a sense of what this mob and the whole fascist movement, with Trump in the lead, stand for and the ugly world of horrors they want: open white supremacy ... Christian fascism and theocracy (rule by religion) ... total subjugation of women in the name of “traditional morality” ... violent suppression of dissent ... unquestioned “America First” domination over the rest of the world ... reactionary conspiracy theories and total disregard for truth.

A giant noose was set up in front of the Capitol during the assault. This was a reference to an event in the white supremacist novel The Turner Diaries called the “day of the rope,” when the fascists lynch Black people and anyone they see as their “enemy,” including mainstream “politicians.” In other words, this was an open threat of bloodthirsty violence and murder against all those opposing the fascists.

Seen among the fascist mob were Confederate flags--symbols of the South that fought in the Civil War to defend slavery. As revolutionary leader Bob Avakian points out, “There is a direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today...” The fascists want to reverse even the modest reforms toward equality in the last few decades in America and bring back open white supremacy.

Members of the fascist group Proud Boys raise a giant cross during the assault. At the core of the fascist movement in the U.S. is Christian fascism. This is not the kind of Christianity that seeks to reconcile religious beliefs with science and interprets the message of Jesus as one of peace, justice, and standing with the poor and oppressed. It is an extreme, cruel, anti-scientific religious fanaticism that is fully on board with Trump’s crude white supremacy, male supremacy, aggressive American chauvinism, and xenophobia (hatred of immigrants) and aims to impose this, by force if needed, on the whole society.

Photo: Ryan Garza

The mob included many, like this man, spouting QAnon conspiracy theories. QAnon is a shadowy internet super-spreader of fascist lunacy—including that the election was “stolen” from Trump. Such belief in “alternative facts” and complete unhinging from actual reality is a key part of the overall fascist movement.

Photo: AP

Among the mob at the Capitol were members and ex-members of the military and police forces. As Bob Avakian has analyzed, the fascist movement in the U.S. has been growing for decades, and this took a leap with the Trump/Pence regime. This growth of fascism includes sections of the military, and police forces and sheriffs' departments across the country, with a majority of those pigs supporting Trump over the past four years.

Screen grab: Twitter

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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Banana Republics: Made in the USA

| revcom.us

 

On Wednesday, former President George W. Bush condemned the attempt by Trump’s fascist mob to overturn the results of the 2020 election by saying, “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic—not our democratic republic.” This is the same ex-president who, let’s remember, launched a war based on lies against Iraq, shattered its government and the broader society, and left a legacy of death, destruction, and instability in its wake.

Bush was just one of many politicians and pundits to make “banana republic” references. Everyone should condemn Trump’s attempted coup. But the use of the term “banana republic” in this way expresses disgusting imperialist arrogance and hypocrisy.

What does “banana republic” mean?

Banana republic is a term of insult and contempt, mainly used to describe poor oppressed countries that are wracked by political instability, where elections (if any) are often accompanied by widespread violence and whose governments often fall in coups before their legal term is up. As used by people like Bush, “banana republic” implies that “those people” are too primitive to run their own countries, unlike “civilized” people of the U.S. and Europe that conduct their affairs in an orderly way.

What causes a country to be a “banana republic”?

This term was first used in 1904 by the U.S. writer O. Henry to describe Honduras and neighboring Central American countries dominated by the United States. U.S. rule was enforced by coups and invasions that installed regimes that served U.S. interests. And the U.S.’s “interest” was in turning these countries, where people’s lives were based largely on agriculture, into giant plantations producing one or a few crops for export like coffee or bananas for corporations like United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands.) To do this, small-scale peasants—the majority of the population—were driven off their land and forced to work on these plantations for pennies a day. This resulted in enormous profits that were funneled into the coffers of these corporations and into the U.S. economy as a whole. The term for that is “superprofits”—rates of profit far beyond what could be squeezed out of working people in the “home” country.

U.S.-installed regimes in these countries enforced this plunder with cruel repression and terror. And in return, the U.S. protected these regimes, as long as they did the bidding of the American overlords, and enabled them to accumulate great wealth as well.

Not surprisingly, political rule under these conditions—countries run by a tiny sliver of gangsters whose “loyalty” is to foreign oppressors, while the great mass of people are repressed, terrorized, and desperately poor—are not “stable.” There is usually a lot of infighting among these rulers, often fueled by competing world powers trying to get or increase their “share” of the plunder. And there is powerful resistance and rebellion by the oppressed, which is often drowned in blood by the regime. But in the event that some leader or group with a program at odds with U.S. interests does come to power, then the U.S. “handles” it—with more coups or invasions.

U.S. troops invaded Honduras seven times between 1903 and 1925, a period known as “the banana wars.” In the 1980s, the U.S. trained, backed and financed a death squad that killed hundreds of labor leaders, students, religious activists, and others. In 2009, the Obama administration backed a military coup against the liberal-leaning populist president of Honduras.

Honduras’ neighbor, Guatemala, has suffered the same way. In 1952, the reformist Árbenz government instituted land reform and other policies that threatened the interests of United Fruit Company and that the U.S. thought smacked of “communism.” President Truman authorized a coup attempt in 1952 that failed. In 1954, his successor, President Eisenhower, authorized another coup, backed by the threat of U.S. invasion, that succeeded in installing a brutal regime that reversed the land reform. In the next few decades, hundreds of thousands of peasants were murdered by repressive Guatemalan regimes. In 1963 scheduled elections were canceled due to a military coup backed by the Kennedy administration.

A global chain of exploitation, oppression and domination—and what is to be done

The U.S. sits atop a parasitic food chain, the system of capitalism-imperialism, and there is tremendous wealth continuously extracted from oppressed countries around the world that the U.S. then mocks as “banana republics,” and along with the economic domination, there is continuing political domination. For more on this, go here and here. This chaining of billions of people to lives of endless toil, hunger, and fear is a crucial part of the economic basis for the “prosperity” of the U.S.: far from the horrific hunger or illness that characterizes most Third World countries. And this has also contributed to the foundation for the (limited) democratic rights and political stability, the peaceful transfer of power, and so on. Conversely, it is also the case that the political instability in these so-called “banana republics” is directly related to imperialist domination, to the desperately poor conditions of a vast section of its population.

This plunder is the source of the tremendous parasitism of U.S. society.1 The U.S. economy has for many decades been moving increasingly away from actually producing things and is now centered on the extraction, control, organization, circulation, sale, and consumption of things that are produced by “invisible” people in un-thought-about places. So if some countries are “banana republics,” then the U.S. is truly the “banana empire.”

And people who care about justice and the interests of humanity should think beyond a struggle to “keep the U.S. from becoming a banana republic” and instead imagine—and fight for—a world without “banana republics”... or banana empires either!

 


1. As Bob Avakian notes in a passage from Breakthroughs—The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary which is quoted in Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism (see in particular the section “Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism”), the parasitism of American society refers to the fact that an increasingly globalized capitalism:

relies to a very great degree for production and for maintaining the rate of profit on a vast network of sweatshops, particularly in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while capitalist activity in the capitalist-imperialist “home countries” is increasingly in the realm of finance and financial speculation, and the “high end” of (not the production of the basic physical materials for) high tech, as well as the service sector and the commercial sphere (including the growing role of online marketing). As Lenin phrased it, this puts “the seal of parasitism” on the whole of societies such as the U.S. [back]

 

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/654/bob-avakian_fascists-today-and-the-confederacy-a-direct-line-a-direct-connection-between-all-the-oppression-en.html

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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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/467/american-crime-case-71-the-colfax-massacre-of-1873-en.html

American Crime

Case #71: The Colfax Massacre of 1873... and the Supreme Court Stamp of Approval for Racist Terror

November 28, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

 

A magazine cover reports on the 1873 attack on Black people demanding their right to vote in Colfax County, Louisiana, by armed white supremacist mobs.
In 1873, Black people demanding their right to vote in Colfax County, Louisiana were attacked by armed white supremacist mobs. There was a courageous attempt by Blacks to defend themselves but they were massacred. Above, a magazine in New York reported on the crime.

Three Strikes...

On April 13, 1873, Easter Sunday, a mass slaughter of Black people occurred in Colfax, Louisiana. Over 300 heavily armed white men, most of them former officers and soldiers in the Confederate Army, shot, stabbed, burned, and maimed Black people seeking shelter in a courthouse. Many were killed as they tried to surrender. Historian Eric Foner described the Colfax massacre as the “bloodiest single instance of racial carnage in the Reconstruction era.”

Reconstruction was a brief, more or less 12-year period after the end of the U.S. Civil War. As Bob Avakian wrote:

[D]uring the brief period of Reconstruction, while the full promise of these rights was never realized, there were significant changes and improvements in the lives of Black people in the South. The right to vote and to hold office, and some of the other Constitutional rights that are supposed to apply to the citizens of the U.S., were partly, if not fully, realized by former slaves during Reconstruction. And in fact some Black people were elected to high office, though never the highest office of governor, in a number of southern states.

This was very sharply contradictory. The armed force of the state, as embodied in the federal army, was never consistently applied to guarantee these rights, and in fact it was often used to suppress popular struggles aimed at realizing these rights. But there was a kind of a bourgeois-democratic upsurge in the South during this period, and it not only involved the masses of Black people but also many poor white people and even some middle class white people in the South. During these ten years of Reconstruction, with all the sharp contradictions involved, there was a real upsurge and sort of flowering of bourgeois-democratic reforms. This was not the proletarian revolution, but at that time it was very significant. (From “How This System Has Betrayed Black People: Crucial Turning Points,” on revcom.us as part of a series of excerpts from Bob Avakian’s writings on the Black national question.)

THE CRIME: From the beginning, these developments were assailed with convulsions of mass terror and violence across the entire area of the former Confederacy. White supremacists were determined to reinstitute a system in which gains Black people had made were violently snatched away, and Black people were ruthlessly repressed. Schools were burned, entire communities destroyed. The Ku Klux Klan was founded and grew dramatically in these years, carrying out lynchings, night raids, and terroristic assaults upon newly freed Black people across the South.

This violence permeated every aspect of society and was intended to enforce a culture of white supremacy. Historian Eric Foner wrote, “...(V)iolence was directed at... ‘impudent negroes’—those who no longer adhered to patterns of behavior demanded under slavery. A North Carolina freedman related how, after he was whipped, his Klan assailants ‘told me the law. That whenever I met a white person, no matter who he was, whether he was poor or rich, I was to take off my hat.’” Robert Smalls, a former slave who became a U.S. Congressman from South Carolina until 1887, said when he left office that “fifty-three thousand African Americans had been murdered, mostly in the South, in the years since emancipation,” according to historian Douglas R. Egerton.

Louisiana was a particularly violent inferno of racist mob violence against newly enfranchised Black people. In September 1868 over 200 people were murdered in three days in St. Landry Parish. Later that month, hundreds of whites unleashed a bloodbath in Bossier Parish, and by October, 168 Black people there were dead.

In Colfax, federal investigators arrived two days after the massacre. They found too many mutilated corpses on the courthouse grounds for them to count. Most had been horribly tortured and shot in the back of the head at close range. Historian Charles Lane described some of what the investigators literally stumbled over: “One lay dead with his throat slashed. Another, stripped to the waist, had been so badly beaten that no facial features were recognizable; next to him lay the broken stock of a double-barreled shotgun. All that remained of the courthouse were its singed brick walls, reeking of smoke. In the ruins, the officials found a human skeleton.” The number of dead is unknown; most estimates say at least 150 people were murdered that day.

No state charges were brought against any of the murderers. Federal charges were brought against dozens of members of the white-supremacist mob. They were not charged with murder, only with violating federal laws against interfering with people’s “right and privilege peaceably to assemble together.” In federal trials, only three men were convicted of any crime at all. The convictions were appealed, and set aside in federal district court. Federal prosecutors appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case U.S. v. Cruikshank (William J. Cruikshank was one of the three men convicted of violating Federal civil rights law).

A drawing from Harpers Weekly depicting Black people collecting the bodies of the murdered after the massacre.
A drawing from Harper's Weekly depicting Black people collecting the bodies of the murdered after the massacre.

The Supreme Court heard the case in 1875. By that time, federal troops to enforce Reconstruction remained in only three Southern states—Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. The other states had been, in the language of white supremacy, “redeemed”: white supremacy had begun to be restored in all the laws and institutions, and the odious system of Jim Crow was becoming entrenched.

The Court overturned the guilty verdicts on the three racist killers. The essence of the ruling was that federal law cannot protect Black people from violations of their civil rights (or from mass murder!) committed by mobs, only violations of those rights by government agencies.

The legacy of Colfax and the Cruikshank ruling stood for over a century. Only in 2005—yes, 2005did the U.S. government in any way acknowledge its endorsement of the murder and terror against Black people, when the Senate passed a resolution expressing its “remorse” for never having passed an anti-lynching bill.

       

In 1877 the U.S. withdrew the remaining federal troops from Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. This withdrawal, and the Supreme Court decisions, put an end to Reconstruction.

As Bob Avakian wrote:

[H]ere was a situation involving a major turning point in U.S. history where the question was posed very decisively: Can Black people and will Black people actually be “absorbed,” or integrated, or assimilated into this society on a basis of equality? Will not only slavery, but the after-effects of slavery, be systematically addressed, attacked and uprooted...or not? And the answer came thunderously through—NO!—this will not be done. And there was a material reason for that: it could not be done by the bourgeoisie without tearing to shreds their whole system.

Instead they re-chained Black people—not in literal chains, but in economic chains of debt and other forms of economic exploitation and chains of both legal and extra-legal oppression and terror. So this was one major turning point where the system fundamentally failed and betrayed Black people.

The Criminals

* The entire racist mob of unrepentant Confederate soldiers who committed the mass murder.

* The organizers and leaders of the lynch mob, Alphonse Cazabat and Christopher Columbus Nash, former Confederate officers who claimed to be the elected judge and sheriff of Grant Parish, where Colfax was located. William Cruikshank, a wealthy former slave plantation owner who participated in and helped organize the lynch mob.

* The U.S. Supreme Court. The Cruikshank ruling was a stamp of approval for the KKK and racist mobs to carry out terror and lynching. And the Supreme Court made the point again a few years later, invoking the Cruikshank ruling in another case concerning a lynch mob in Tennessee. The Court ruled that “Lynching was found not to be a federal matter, because the mob consisted only of private individuals.”

These rulings gave a green light to 100 years of lynch mob terror in the South. In the words of W.E.B. DuBois, “The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.”

Criminal Past

Many of the participants in the mass murder had owned other human beings of African descent. They had participated in driving them brutally on highly profitable slave plantations, whipping them, hunting them down. Some of them made fortunes buying, selling, and exploiting enslaved Black people. Most of them fought in a war to preserve the slave system. After they lost that war, all of them fought for years to restore and entrench white supremacy.

The Alibi

The white mob claimed they attacked Black people who were seeking shelter in the Grant Parish courthouse because they were about to kill and rape white people. They also claimed Black people were “stealing” an election so they could carry out further murder and rape. One participant in the lynch mob said, “the Negroes at Colfax shouted daily... that they intended killing every white man and boy, keeping only the young women to raise from them a new breed. On their part, if successful, you may safely expect that neither age, nor sex, nor helpless infancy will be spared.”

The Actual Motive

The small army that assaulted the Colfax courthouse had the explicit aim of restoring unquestioned white supremacy.

The motive behind their acquittal, and the Supreme Court decision in Cruikshank, represented the interests of even more powerful forces. As summed up in a special issue of Revolution, “The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need”:

[T]he true interests of the northern capitalists [in the Civil War] came out with their betrayal of Reconstruction. During this all too brief period of Reconstruction, in the 10 years or so after the end of the Civil War, the U.S. government had kept some of its promises and stationed troops in the South. These troops were there to prevent wholesale slaughters of Black people, and poor whites, who were striving to gain land and exercise political rights promised to them. But the capitalist class which now dominated the national government did this in large part in order to fully subordinate the former plantation owners; and when the ex-slaves and their allies fought “too hard” for their rights these same troops would be used against them.

Above all the northern capitalists wanted order and stability to carry out the further consolidation of their rule, as well as further expansion on the North American continent and internationally. The ferment and upheaval that would have gone along with everything that would have been involved in the former slaves playing a significant role in the political process or even exercising basic rights might have “sent the wrong message” to other oppressed people within the U.S.; and in fact, when in 1877 the U.S. troops were pulled out of the South, signaling the end of Reconstruction, they were immediately sent west—to fully crush the resistance of the Indians—and into the cities of the North—to violently suppress revolts of immigrant workers. Further, real freedom for the former slaves would have enabled them to resist the severe exploitation that was visited upon them, and thus would have made the re-integration of the southern economy into the larger society much less profitable for the ruling capitalists. So the Ku Klux Klan was unleashed in full force and played a brutal role in defeating and subjugating the freed slaves and progressive whites, often in bloody battles.

Ongoing Crimes

Louisiana converted its largest slave plantation, not far from the site of the Colfax massacre, into the notorious Angola prison camp. Louisiana now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world; its prison population is overwhelmingly Black men.

In 1950, the state of Louisiana put up a highway marker near the site of the Colfax massacre that perpetuated the justification, deceit, and cover-up of the mass slaughter of Black people there. It read, “On this site occurred the Colfax Riot, in which three white men and 150 negroes were slain. This event on April 13, 1873, marked the end of carpetbag [i.e., Northern anti-slavery] misrule in the South.”

Sources

“How This System Has Betrayed Black People: Crucial Turning Points,” on revcom as part of a series of excerpts from Bob Avakian’s writings on the Black national question.

The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need (Special issue of Revolution, October 2008)

LeeAnna Keith, The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Douglas R. Egerton, The Wars of Reconstruction (Bloomsbury Press, 2014)

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 (DIANE Publishing Company, 2008; updated edition, Harper Perennial, 2014)

Peter Irons, A People’s History of the Supreme Court (revised edition, Penguin Random House, 2006)

Charles Lane, The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction (Holt Paperbacks, 2008)

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/582/american-crime-case-26-1946-white-mob-lynching-of-two-black-couples-en.html

American Crime

Case #26: The 1946 White-Mob Lynching of Two Black Couples at Moore’s Ford, Georgia

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

THE CRIME

In the summer of 1946, a white lynch mob near Moore’s Ford Bridge in Monroe, Georgia (a small rural town about 50 miles east of Atlanta), brutally murdered four Black sharecroppers. Despite abundant evidence, eyewitness accounts and two investigations by the FBI (60 years apart), there has never been a single indictment.


Roger and Dorothy Malcom


Mae Murray and George Dorsey

The events that would eventually lead to the lynching began on July 11, 1946, when a fight occurred between a Black sharecropper and a white farmer. The sharecropper, Roger Malcom, believed his wife, Dorothy, was having an affair with a white farmer named Barnette Hester. Dorothy and Roger were yelling at each other outside Hester’s home. When Hester tried to intervene, Roger stabbed him with what may have been an ice pick. Hester was seriously injured, and few thought he would survive, but he did. In fact, local newspapers reported on the morning of the day the lynching took place that Hester, for the first time, sat up in his hospital bed.

Roger Malcom knew stabbing a white man was tantamount to suicide; violence and execution pervaded the lives of Southern Blacks. White lynch mobs regularly killed Blacks for false accusations and often for no reason at all. Malcom hoped that jail might provide him some protection from white vigilantes. Even the sheriff believed a mob would come for Malcom, as they did for most Black men accused of harming a white person.

Dorothy Malcom's mother, Moena Dorsey Williams, begged a white farmer named J. Loy Harrison for help to get Roger out of jail. Roger, along with Dorothy's brother, George Dorsey, worked for Harrison. Harrison was known to be a brutal employer, but Moena was desperate to get her daughter’s husband out of jail. Initially, Harrison refused, referencing the repercussions he would face from local whites. Several days later, Harrison surprised everyone when he offered to post Roger Malcom’s bail in exchange for work on his farm.

On July 25, Harrison arrived at the Dorsey home. He invited Dorothy Malcom and her brother, George Dorsey, along with his wife, Mae Murray Dorsey, to accompany him on the ride to town. They happily took the opportunity to leave the farm and go into town. Once they arrived, Harrison told his passengers to go shopping while he ran errands and arranged for Roger Malcom’s release. They agreed to return to the courthouse at 5:00 pm where they’d meet Roger and return home. Harrison went to talk to the sheriff... alone.

After talking with the sheriff for a few minutes, Harrison paid $600 for Roger Malcolm’s release. Everyone got in the car and Harrison drove the longest route toward home. After a few minutes, they exited the highway and turned onto a winding dirt road. Harrison’s car began to approach Moore’s Ford around 5:30 pm, only an hour after Roger’s release. Several yards from the bridge, Harrison stopped. Two dozen white men blocked the road. They were trapped.

The men peered into the car. Some of them held guns. Harrison later told the police: “A big man who was dressed mighty proud in a double-breasted brown suit was giving the orders. He pointed to Roger Malcom and said, ‘We want that nigger.’ Then he pointed to George Dorsey, my nigger, and said, ‘We want you, too, Charlie.’”

The mob ripped the two men out of the car, roped them together and dragged them toward the undergrowth of the river. One woman in the car started calling out the attackers by name. Without hesitation the mob descended on the two women, ripped them from the back seat and tied them to a tree next to their husbands. Bound and unable to run, their fate was sealed.

The bodies of George, Mae, Roger, and Dorothy were found disfigured beyond recognition. Bullets fired at point-blank range filled the victims’ faces and arms. George Dorsey’s body lay face down on the ground with bullet and shotgun wounds covering his arms, head, and back. The lynch mob singled out Roger Malcom for the worst punishment—a shotgun blast exploded his face and the noose of a 10-foot-long rope encircled his neck. Another rope held his hands tied to George’s. Dorothy Malcom’s disfigured face pointed toward her husband, Roger. Dorothy’s body touched Mae Murray Dorsey’s. Mae was closest to the road—her body was in a crouched position, a large-caliber bullet had pierced the back of her skull.

After hearing about the lynching at Moore’s Ford, hundreds of whites visited the scene looking for souvenirs, taking bullets and bone fragments. They even pulled up the tree that held the victims.

Four months after the murders, a grand jury convened, ostensibly to identify the killers and bring them to justice. There were 21 white and only two Black jurors. Hundreds of witnesses took the stand. J. Loy Harrison was one of the main suspects, but he claimed he was innocent.

Fearing reprisal, Black residents were reluctant to testify before the grand jury, but at least one brave Black man did. Lamar Howard claimed he saw Harrison at the local icehouse where he was working on July 25, an hour before the murder, deep in conversation with James Verner, a violent white supremacist known to fire shots at Black people. (Both Harrison and Verner admitted to prior membership in the Ku Klux Klan.) Howard also testified he saw Harrison dispose of two pistols behind the icehouse, shortly after the murder. Harrison denied this, but later admitted that he was at the icehouse that day. (Two weeks after Howard gave his testimony, James Verner and his brother Tom showed up at the icehouse where they beat Howard with a pistol while demanding to know what he told the grand jury.)

Harrison’s story had other holes in it. Monroe is a small town, yet Harrison claimed he was unable to recognize a single one of the two dozen men who surrounded his car, nor recall the name of the woman, either Dorothy or Mae, who yelled out when identifying the attackers. Despite these facts, glaring contradictions in testimony by the 20-some suspects, and numerous threats against witnesses, after 16 days the grand jury was “unable to establish the identity of any persons guilty of violating the civil rights statute of the United States.” One man was charged with perjury, but the charge was eventually dropped. The records of this grand jury disappeared but were found in 2017 in the National Archives, and researchers, family members, and activists have filed suit to have them released to the public. The Justice Department objected, arguing that the records don’t meet the requirements for disclosure, and the case is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The gruesome murder shocked the conscience of people around the globe. News of the Georgia lynching ran alongside articles about the trials of Nazis for atrocities in Europe during World War 2, with headlines announcing prosecutors’ demand for death sentences for those guilty of “the doctrine of hatred” that permitted murder “conducted like some mass production industry.” Many wondered how the U.S. could denounce the massacres in Europe while ignoring the murder of Blacks domestically.

More than 70 years have passed since the Moore’s Ford lynching and it still resonates today. The community and families of the victims still hope for answers, but with each passing year, their hopes fade. Moore’s Ford, along with thousands of other lynchings in the South, remain unresolved and the killers unaccountable.

THE CRIMINALS

J. Loy Harrison portrayed himself as a helpless victim who, despite his objections, couldn’t stop the mob from murdering the four young Black people in his car. However, the evidence points to Harrison and the sheriff having concocted the lynching plan in the hours before it took place. The sheriff had told Harrison not to bother stopping at the courthouse and to go directly to the jail. Now Roger Malcom could be taken without raising any eyebrows—Walton County never allowed a Black man to be bonded when a white man’s life was in danger without prior approval from “interested people.”

Speaking to investigators, several Black farmhands reported Harrison threatening them and warning them not to speak with agents. One worker reported Harrison warning him and other Black farmhands, “He said if any of us did tell anything, folks would find us scattered about dead.” Harrison also told them he had an informant who would report to him anything they said to agents.

The Police. Local law enforcement conspired with J. Loy Harrison and aided in the murder. Harrison and the sheriff’s deputies coordinated the time Harrison would bail Roger Malcom out of jail, and the route and location of the crime. How were two dozen men able to prepare their weapons and assemble at the bridge in a matter of minutes? Several witnesses said they saw a law enforcement vehicle blocking the road and at least one officer and Harrison taking part in the killing. The sheriff and deputies admitted to cutting segments from the rope tied around Roger Malcom’s neck to keep as souvenirs.

The KKK. In 2008, investigators discovered Ku Klux Klan membership rosters that provided circumstantial evidence of their involvement in the murders. The rosters date back to the 1930s and 1940s and include the names of four men who were suspects in the 1946 investigation. The roster also contained a fifth man listed as an “Exalted Cyclops” of the local Klan chapter in 1939. This Klansman owned the white funeral home that recovered the victims’ bodies before it transferred them to a Black-owned funeral home.

Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge, a Southern Democrat, served several terms as governor before losing the position to a more progressive Democrat. In 1946, Talmadge sought nomination for governor in the Georgia Democratic primary—recently forced by a federal court to allow Black voters. Talmadge centered his entire campaign around white supremacy and maintaining segregation. His campaign ignited white outrage at Blacks who refused to “stay in their place.” In the weeks leading up to the Moore’s Ford lynching, Talmadge led a boisterous crowd in Walton County where he warned Negroes “to stay home and not attempt to vote.” The lynching at Moore’s Ford took place three days before the primary when racial tension was boiling over. Talmadge eventually regained the governorship. White people who sought to maintain Jim Crow segregation celebrated his victory. J. Loy Harrison was a steadfast supporter of Talmadge, even naming one of his sons after him.

The FBI. When the FBI had leads, they failed to pursue them. Even when evidence indicated that the local sheriff had known of the threats against Roger Malcom’s life before the lynching and did nothing to protect him, investigators didn’t even pursue a case.

To make matters worse, whites in Monroe did everything they could to stonewall the investigation; they closed ranks, purposefully misleading investigators, refusing to cooperate and intimidating Black residents who dared speak.

Racial terror and the lynching of Black people were pervasive in the South, but it was rarely investigated. The FBI was far more interested in weakening and suppressing Black people’s growing demand for civil rights than it ever was in prosecuting lynchings. A few years after the Moore’s Ford lynching, when 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally lynched in Mississippi, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover called it an “alleged murder” and spent more energy investigating communists protesting the lynching than the lynching itself.

U.S. Congress. Civil rights organizations like the NAACP spent years fighting for anti-lynching laws. Despite public outrage following the Moore's Ford lynching, Congress did not enact an anti-lynching bill until 2018. Some 200 anti-lynching bills introduced in Congress between 1877 and 1950 were blocked, particularly by the Southern Democrats (Dixiecrats).

THE ALIBI

A white farmer, J. Loy Harrison, reported to a local sheriff that a mob of 24 unknown white men blocked the road just before Moore’s Ford Bridge and forced his car to a stop. The men attacked the four Black passengers riding in his car. The mob viciously beat and then murdered the two Black men and two Black women. Harrison claimed he did not take part in the killing and recognized none of the attackers.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

The heinous lynching at Moore’s Ford provides a glimpse of the barbarity faced by Black people in the South. Even after literal slavery was ended through the Civil War, the horrors of oppression continued for Black people in new forms—including segregation and being chained to the land as sharecroppers—and lynching and its effects were a certain concentration of what the masses of African-Americans faced. For decades under the overt segregation known as Jim Crow in the South, every Black person there faced the threat that at any time they could be brutally murdered for anything they did that might “offend” some white people—or for nothing at all except the color of their skin—and nothing would happen to their killers. This was a key way that the system of white supremacy and the subjugation of Black people were enforced and kept in place.

For Black people, Jim Crow was a looming death sentence. The only evidence white people needed to justify killing a Black person was dark skin and an accusation. Lynching served a reminder to all Black people that they could be next.

A report by the Equal Justice Initiative, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” documents over 4,000 mob killings of Black people between 1877 and 1950 in just 12 Southern states.

Lynchings were often announced days before being carried out. Spectators gathered in a picnic-like atmosphere. White men, women and children cheered as Black bodies dangled from trees, and photographers lined up hoping to get the best photos, which would then be sold as postcards.

After World War 2, major economic transformations were taking place in the South. Many Black people were moving (or being forced) off the land into urban areas, and the political tides were shifting as more and more Black people stood up to injustice. Whites feared the political gains being made by Black people and struggled to repress any move to challenge their dominance. Black veterans like George Dorsey were particularly threatening to Jim Crow and white claims of racial superiority. Thousands of Black veterans were assaulted, threatened, abused and lynched. The number of lynchings rose sharply after the war, with 12 Black people lynched in 1945 alone.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that white primaries were unconstitutional, which allowed some Black people to vote in the Democratic Party primaries. The massacre at Moore’s Ford took place two years later.

Sources

Anthony Pitch, The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town (Skyhorse, 2016).

Answers to last mass lynching in U.S. die when investigators close case after 72 years,” Southern Poverty Law Center, February 7, 2018.

Probes of Moore’s Ford lynching end with no charges, AJC learns,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 28, 2017.

Moore’s Ford lynching: years-long probe yields suspects—but no justice,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 29, 2017.

FBI questions elderly Georgia man in connection with unsolved 1946 lynching at Moore’s Ford Bridge,” New York Daily News, February 17, 2015.

A Last Hope for Truth in a Mass Lynching,” New York Times, October 7, 2018.

Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans,” Equal Justice Initiative

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/648/american-crime-case-11-violent-suppression-of-black-peoples-right-to-vote-en.html

American Crime

Case #11 (Part 1): The Violent Suppression of Black People's Right to Vote

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one of three “Reconstruction Amendments” passed as the Civil War ended, says that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This marked a radical transformation from previous law and entrenched custom in all the U.S. Even in the North on the eve of the Civil War, only five states, all in New England, allowed Black men to vote.

During the short period of Reconstruction, Black people in the South, along with some whites, fought heroically for their constitutional right to vote. About 1,500 Black men were elected to various state and local offices across the country. For the first time, Black people sat in the U.S. Congress.

This was bitterly opposed from the beginning. Vengeful white supremacy was the open ideology of the Democratic Party, which dominated the South. Armed vigilantes, many of them former Confederate soldiers, were coalescing into the KKK, and acted as the armed wing of the Democrats. They carried out murderous terror across the South. (Before and during the Civil War, the Republican Party was the party of those ruling class forces that to one degree or another opposed slavery, and that, for about a decade after the war, supported more rights for Black people. But for over a century since then, the Republicans, like the Democrats, had been a party of white supremacy.)

More recently, relentless efforts to suppress Black people’s votes and to rally whites around white supremacy have been a hallmark of Republican campaigns since Richard Nixon launched his “Southern Strategy” in 1968. Lee Atwater, advisor to presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, described it this way in a 1981 interview: “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say nigger—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like uh, forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff.... Now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites... ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’”1

Today the Trump/Pence fascist regime is continuing this ugly all-American tradition in new ways—openly supporting white supremacists, organizing its fascist foot soldiers to intimidate Black and Latino people at the polls, and launching multipronged efforts costing tens of millions of dollars to keep Black and Latino people from voting at all.

The Crimes

New Orleans, July 1866

In the spring of 1866, the Louisiana State Legislature, entirely composed of white supremacists, passed a set of “Black codes”—laws designed to restrict and deny Black people's freedom. Among other repressive measures, this “code” denied the right to vote to Black men. Black and some white delegates to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention—then meeting in New Orleans to draw up a new charter for the state after the end of slavery—were furious.

As the mostly unarmed delegates marched to Mechanic’s Hall, the site of the convention, they were attacked by a heavily armed mob consisting of ex-Confederate officers and soldiers, white supremacists, and most of the New Orleans police, led by the city’s mayor. The Black and white delegates beat back the mob and drove them out of the hall, where they had taken refuge. But reinforcements with more ammunition arrived for the racists, and they again attacked Mechanic’s Hall, this time successfully. They also rampaged through the streets around the hall, killing people who had nothing to do with the Convention. Estimates of the number of dead range from 150 to 238.2, 3

Eutaw, Alabama, October 1870

Throughout the summer of 1870, as November elections for governor neared, Klan terror ripped through the area around Eutaw in Alabama’s Black Belt. At least five Republicans, four Black and one white, were lynched in July. That same month, Gilford Coleman, a prominent Black Republican, was pulled from his home by Klan night riders and his body mutilated. In October, an unarmed outdoor meeting of about 2,000 Republicans, mainly Black people, was attacked by Klansmen who fired into the crowd, killing at least four and injuring many more. A contingent of federal troops did nothing to intervene. Most Black people in the area stayed away from the polls in November, and the open white supremacist won. Alabama officials took no action against the murderers, and although a federal grand jury returned indictments against 20 people, they were never convicted.4

Colfax, Louisiana, 1873

On April 13, Easter Sunday, over 300 heavily armed white men, mostly former officers and soldiers in the Confederate Army, shot, stabbed, burned, and maimed Black people seeking shelter in a courthouse. At least 150 people were murdered in what historian Eric Foner described as the “bloodiest single instance of racial carnage in the Reconstruction era.”5 The terror came in the midst of a bitterly contested election, and was part of a campaign to prevent Black people from voting, and to institutionalize white supremacy at all levels of state and parish (county) governments.

None of the murderers, who were widely known in the area, were tried in state court. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions of the three murderers who had been tried for violating the civil rights of people they killed on the grounds that federal law cannot protect Black people from violations of their civil rights (or mass murder!) by mobs, only violations of those rights by government agencies. This opened the door to rampant, unpunished lynching that raged across the South for the next 80 years. 132 years later, in 2005, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing its “remorse” for having never acted to outlaw lynching!6, 7

Hamburg and Ellenton, South Carolina, 1876

As another election for governor approached, a group of white farmers went to court to complain that their passage along a road had been blocked by a Black militia. About 100 armed whites came to the court on the appointed hearing date, opened fire, and killed four Black people. During the same period a reign of Klan murder and violence spread across central South Carolina, terrorizing Black people at political gatherings and church meetings. While several white assailants were killed in these raids, estimates of the murdered Black people range from 30 to over 100 or more. They included Simon Coker, a prominent Black state legislator. A leader of the racist attacks in both Hamburg and Ellenton was Ben Tillman, a life-long white supremacist who went on to be a founder of Clemson University, governor of South Carolina, and U.S. senator. While in the Senate, Tillman defended lynching and boasted of his involvement in the murder of Black people and consolidation of white supremacy in South Carolina.8

Wilmington, North Carolina, 1898

Wilmington at this time was the largest city in North Carolina. A majority of its population was Black. Black people were prominent in the political and business leadership of the city, at a time when white supremacist Democrats dominated in the state. The presence of a largely Black leadership of the city was intolerable to these racists, who had proclaimed, “North Carolina is a WHITE MAN’s State and WHITE MEN will rule it...” In early November a “white man’s rally” in Wilmington drew over 1,000 armed people. At around the same time, local businesses refused to sell arms or ammunition to Black people in Wilmington.

On November 10, on the pretext that an editorial in a Black-owned newspaper had insulted white women, a wealthy former Confederate officer led a mob of 400 whites that stormed through downtown Wilmington. They burned down Black-owned businesses, broke out windows, and killed at least 14 people. An estimated 2,000 Black people were forced to flee the city. Black authorities in the local government were replaced by whites, and the leader of the mob became mayor.9, 10

Ocoee, Florida, 1920

Throughout the summer and early fall of 1920, some Black people associated with the Republican Party were part of an effort to register voters for the upcoming presidential election. This was the first U.S. election in which women could vote, and the core of activists made a particular effort to register Black women. They wanted to contribute to breaking the stranglehold that the Klan and the openly white supremacist Democratic Party had on Central Florida.

But they met fierce opposition from the entrenched white power structure. The Florida History Project wrote that the day before the election, “... with robes and crosses, the Klan paraded through the streets of the two Black communities in Ocoee late into the night. With megaphones they warned that ‘not a single Negro will be permitted to vote’ and if any of them dared to do so there would be dire consequences.” Shortly after Moses Norman, a Black man, attempted to vote, hundreds of white WWI veterans from throughout the county swarmed into Ocoee. They eventually burned down almost all the buildings in north Ocoee, where most Black people lived. Many Black residents resisted, but they were outnumbered and outgunned. As many as 60-70 were killed by the racist mob, and hundreds were driven from the town. The mob descended on the home of July Perry, Norman’s friend, because they heard that Norman had fled there. Perry, and possibly other people, defended themselves from inside the house, killing two of the mob and wounding the Ocoee police chief. 

The lynch mob fled, but returned with a caravan of 50 cars filled with Klansmen, who overwhelmed July Perry. They brutalized Perry and brought him to the city jail. Later that night, with the cooperation of the sheriff, the mob pulled him from his cell, chained him to a car, and dragged him through the town before hanging and shooting him. They left his body there, with a sign saying, “This is what we do to niggers who try to vote.”

As late as 1959, a sign reading “Dogs and Negroes Not Welcome” was posted at the city limits of Ocoee.11, 12

The Civil Rights Era

The “Black codes” enacted in the late 1800s and upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court had devastating impact for the next 70 years. For example, in 1958, at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, Gadsden, a majority Black county in Florida’s panhandle, had a population of 12,261 Black people. Seven of them were registered to vote. Similar situations existed across the South. By the early 1960s, youth and others launched courageous struggles to confront and overcome this situation.

McComb, Mississippi, 1961

Activists with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized voter registration in McComb and surrounding areas of southwestern Mississippi. Authorities in Mississippi, like elsewhere in the South, “maintained a savage system of oppression, repression, retaliation and legal restrictions to keep Blacks politically disenfranchised.... Brutal violence, often deadly, and swift economic reprisal were used to deter Black men or women who dared attempt to gain the political franchise.” 

Brenda Travis, a 15-year-old high school student in McComb, canvassed the streets with the SNCC voter-registration workers. She also led a sit-in at a local diner that didn’t serve Black people—she soon was sentenced to a year in the state juvenile prison and expelled from high school. The Klan, the Citizens’ Council, and racist whites in general reacted violently to the Black people trying to register, and “night riders” armed with rifles and shotguns prowled through the Black communities. As tension and violence increased throughout the summer, two SNCC workers were assaulted by a mob in downtown McComb and thrown in jail. In an outlying area, Herbert Lee, a local man working with SNCC, was murdered by a state representative in broad daylight. An all-white jury ruled that his murderer acted in “self-defense.”13, 14

Canton, Mississippi, 1964

Canton’s Freedom House, in northern Mississippi, became a center for students and others organizing to overcome deeply institutionalized Jim Crow. In 1963 and 1964, a group called the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) led a voter registration drive as part of Mississippi Freedom Summer. They faced constant threats, harassment, and dismissal. Over an eight-month period in 1963, when COFO prepared more than 1,000 people to register to vote at the Canton courthouse, only 30 were accepted. The youth were repeatedly assaulted by both Klan and the police, sometimes acting together. Many were arrested and sent to the county jail and to Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm prison. In May 1964, the Klan bombed the Freedom House. In her memoir, Coming of Age in Mississippi, author Ann Moody described how she and others had taken to sleeping in the cornfields behind the house because of constant threats and attacks—fortunately, no one was in the house the night it was bombed.

In 1964, people involved in Freedom Summer and others came together to form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In the face of opposition from the official, segregationist Democrats, and the murderous violence that reached a terrifying pitch in Mississippi that summer, they selected a group of 68 delegates, 64 of them Black, to represent Mississippi at the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. When they got there, the Freedom Party delegates rejected a “compromise” proposed by President Lyndon Johnson that would have allowed two to serve as “at-large delegates.” The openly white supremacist, segregationist delegation represented Mississippi at the convention.15, 16

Neshoba County, Mississippi, 1964

James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were also part of the Freedom Summer voter registration campaign. On June 21, the three traveled from Meridien, Mississippi to the town of Longdale, where the Mt. Zion church had been burned down—by the Klan, as it turned out. The three men had recently spoken at the church and urged parishioners to form a Freedom School at it. They knew they were heading into a perilous situation. Schwerner told people in Meridien, “If we’re not back by 4 p.m., then start trying to locate us.”

They were arrested for an alleged traffic violation in Philadelphia, Mississippi, after they left Mt. Zion. The police held them in jail for several hours, then, at night, followed the three out of town and alerted a lynch mob to join them. The car with Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman was forced to stop just before leaving Neshoba County. The three men were seized by the mob, then shot, beaten, and buried under an earthen dam. That night a Philadelphia cop who organized the lynch mob told them, “Well, boys, you’ve done a good job. You’ve struck a blow for the white man. Mississippi can be proud of you.” 

The murders of the three civil rights workers became news across the country. A massive search was launched, and during it, the bodies of eight other dead Black men, including two students who “disappeared” in May 1964, were found in the swamps and woods of Neshoba County—their deaths, likely by lynching, had never attracted national attention. A search went on for almost two months before their bodies were found.

The state of Mississippi refused to try the lynchers—who included Klansmen, Philadelphia police, and Neshoba County sheriffs—for murder. In an October 1967 federal trial, seven were convicted of violating the civil rights of the three murdered men. None served more than six years in prison.17, 18

Selma, Alabama, 1965

In February, 27-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson participated in a demonstration for voting rights of 500 people in Marion, a town near Selma. Police viciously attacked the march, and when Jackson tried to protect his mother, he was shot in the abdomen. Jimmie Lee Jackson died eight days later in a Selma hospital. The first of the famous Selma-to-Montgomery marches was organized in the wake of Jimmie Jackson’s murder. Hundreds of people marched in protest of his murder, and as part of the Selma voting project. The second march—“Bloody Sunday”—was memorialized in the movie Selma. It was viciously attacked by police and Alabama state troopers as they crossed a bridge over the Alabama River. The cop who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson was not indicted by a local grand jury until 42 years after Jackson’s death.

The Alabama Klan also sent a murderous message to the growing number of white people who had come to Selma to participate in the marches. Viola Liuzzo, 37 years old, traveled from Detroit before the first march, and helped coordinate logistics for people coming into Alabama. She was shot and murdered as she returned to Selma after driving some people to an airport in Montgomery. An FBI agent was in the carload of Klansmen who murdered Viola Liuzzo. 

James Reeb was a 38-year-old Unitarian minister who traveled from Boston. He and two other ministers were savagely beaten by a pack of racists as they left an integrated restaurant in Selma. Reeb suffered severe head injuries. He had to be driven two hours to Birmingham—the hospital in Selma that treated Black people did not have the capacity to treat his level of injury; the white hospital refused him. James Reeb died shortly after arriving at the Birmingham hospital—no one was ever found guilty in his murder.19, 20

The Criminals

The murderous, hate-filled mobs.

The local cops and officials who led these mobs, looked the other way while they lynched, and never charged anyone for killing Black people.

The state officials who devised and enforced bizarre regulations and laws to prevent Black people from voting, and punished and humiliated them if they tried.

The many congressmen and senators who encouraged and egged on the racist violence, and the others who looked away and never lifted a finger to stop it.

The political leadership of both the Democratic and (since the betrayal of Reconstruction in 1876) Republican parties, including each and every president, who never denounced, much less acted to stop, lynching and routine violations of supposedly basic rights.

The courts and judges, up to the U.S. Supreme Court, who upheld the lynch mobs by ruling, essentially, that it wasn’t their problem, and who refused to enforce the plain language of their own Constitution as Black people were systematically, massively, and violently prevented from voting.

An entire system responsible for the oppression, repression, and denial of fundamental rights of Black people.

The Motives: In Their Own Words

The incidents described above—only a small portion of the attacks to suppress voting rights of Black people over the past 150 years—illustrate the relentless, violent white supremacy that is deeply embedded in every dimension of U.S. society. The packs of hooded racists, the local police and political officials, the senators and Supreme Court officials—all serve a system that thrives on and perpetuates white supremacy.

Ben Tillman, founder of Clemson University, governor of South Carolina, and U.S. senator, in a speech to the U.S. Senate in 1900: “We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.”21

Theodore Bilbo, in his successful run for senator from Mississippi in 1946: “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the niggers away from the polls. If you don’t understand what that means you are just plain dumb.”22

Since the 1960s, it has been Republicans working to suppress the votes of Black people—the language they use has been coded (see the words from Republican strategist Lee Atwater at the beginning of this article), but is every bit as vicious and threatening as that of the arch segregationists from America’s earlier times.

Justin Clark, a top official in Trump’s re-election campaign, talking earlier this year about suppressing votes of Black people: “Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are.... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.23 (Emphasis added)

Donald Trump in late March 2020, referring to efforts aimed at removing barriers to voting that disproportionately impact Black and Latino people: “The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”24

Repeat Offenders

As protest and upheaval raged across the U.S. in the mid-1960s, and the gross injustices of the brutal oppression of Black people in “the land of the free” were broadcast around the globe, Congress passed and President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was meant to remove the “Black code” barriers to Black people’s right to vote. Many more Black people did begin to vote, and the number of Black elected officials grew significantly.

See Part 2 of American Crime #11 for assaults on Black people's right to vote since then.

 


1. Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy, Rick Perlstein, The Nation, 11/13/12.  [back]

2. New Orleans Massacre (1866), https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/new-orleans-massacre-1866/  [back]

3. An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866, LSU Press, 2001, by James G. Hollandsworth, Jr.  [back]

4. The Eutaw Riot of 1870, Black Then https://blackthen.com/the-eutaw-riot-of-1870/.  [back]

5. The 1873 Colfax Massacre Crippled the Reconstruction Era, Danny Lewis, Smithsonian Magazine, 4/13/16.  [back]

6. Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, Harper Collins, 2011.  [back]

7. The Colfax Massacre of 1873, revcom.us.  [back]

8. The Zinn Education Project, https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/hamburg-massacre/.  [back]

9. NCpedia, The Wilmington Race Riot.  [back]

10. The Ghosts of 1898: Wilmington's Race Riot and the Rise of White Supremacy, Observer Company, 2005, Timothy Tyson.  [back]

11. Ocoee on Fire, Florida History.  [back]

12. The Ocoee Massacre, The Zinn History Project.  [back]

13. Civil Rights Movement History, 1961.  [back]

14. Mississippi Encyclopedia, McComb.  [back]

15. Canton Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi Encyclopedia.  [back]

16. Coming of Age in Mississippi, Doubleday, 1968; Ann Moody.  [back]

17. We are Not Afraid, Macmillan, 1988; Seth Cagin, Phil Dray.  [back]

18. Lynching of Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman, Mississippi Freedom Summer Notes.  [back]

19. At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-69, Simon & Schuster, 2006, Taylor Branch.  [back]

20. SNCC in Alabama, Encyclopedia of Alabama.  [back]

21. American Passages, A History of the U.S., Volume 2: Since 1865, Wadsworth, 2004, by Edward L. Ayers, Lewis L. Gould, David M. Oshinsky, Jean R. Soderlund.  [back]

22. One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, Bloomsbury, 2018, by Carol Anderson.  [back]

23. Trump Advisor Caught Discussing Aggressive Voter SuppressionRolling Stone.  [back]

24. Trump Says Republican Could Never Be Elected Again if Voting Was EasierThe Guardian.  [back]

The Oppression of Black People and Other People of Color

From the speech by Bob Avakian:
Why We Need An Actual Revolution And
How We Can Really Make Revolution

Watch the complete speech here.


New Orleans, July, 1866: A mostly unarmed group of Black and white delegates to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention who were protesting the passing by the state legislature of white supremacist laws, including denial of the Black vote, were attacked by white racists. The mob not only attacked delegates but others who had nothing to do with the convention, killing 150 to 238 people. Sketch by Theodore R. Davis, Courtesy NY Public Library


Colfax Massacre: 1873: A drawing from Harper's Weekly depicting Black people collecting the bodies of the murdered after the massacre.

 

American Crime

Case #71: The Colfax Massacre of 1873... and the Supreme Court Stamp of Approval for Racist Terror

Read more


Hamburg and Ellenton, South Carolina, 1876: Klan murder and violence spread across central South Carolina, terrorizing Black people at political gatherings and church meetings. (Drawing from Harper's Weekly)


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


Voter intimidation, 1876. (Drawing from Harper's Weekly, October 21, 1876)


Miami, Florida, 1940: Effigy of a black man hanged with a sign reminiscent of the lynching of July Perry in Ocoee, Florida, 1920.


Neshoba County, Mississippi, 1964: FBI poster of three missing civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Henry Schwerner.


Selma, Alabama, March, 7, 1965: A demonstration for voter rights was viciously attacked by cops on what is known as "Bloody Sunday." (Photo: AP)

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/649/american-crime-case-11-part-2-gutting-voting-rights-act-disenfranchising-millions-of-black-people-en.html

American Crime

Case #11 (Part 2): 1965 to Today: Gutting the Voting Rights Act and Disenfranchising Millions of Black People

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

 

The Crime

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was signed into law in 1965, as the civil rights movement crested. It was designed to enforce the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Efforts to undermine the VRA began almost immediately after it was enacted, and accelerated after Barack Obama was elected president. In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the VRA. As Revcom.us wrote, “The heart of the Voting Rights Act—what gave it its enforcement power until this Supreme Court ruling—is Section 5, which requires certain states and other jurisdictions to get pre-clearance from the federal government or court for any changes in laws or procedures relating to voting. This had prevented many schemes to limit the voting of Black and other oppressed people from going into effect up to this point.”1 The Court ruled that the conditions to ensure fair voting the VRA placed on Shelby County, Alabama, a stronghold of institutionalized white supremacy since the days of slavery, were no longer valid, because outright segregation had ended in the state!2

Within hours of the Shelby County decision, Greg Abbott, then the Texas attorney general, announced, “With today’s decision, the State’s voter ID law will take effect immediately. Redistricting maps passed by the Legislature may also take effect without approval from the federal government.” These maps have effectively assured the domination of the white supremacist Texas Republicans in a state where white people are a minority of the population.3 Within two months, North Carolina had “instituted a strict photo ID requirement; curtailed early voting; eliminated same day registration; restricted pre-registration; ended annual voter registration drives; and eliminated the authority of county boards of elections to keep polls open for an additional hour.”4 By 2018 at least 25 states had developed similar measures.

Purging Voter Rolls

Tiny typographical errors have triggered purges of registration rolls in different states.5 In 2017, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, purged almost 600,000 people from the voting rolls. Then in 2018, while Kemp was running as the Republican candidate for governor—and still holding on to the position of secretary of state—he blocked the registration of 53,000 Georgia residents, 70 percent of them Black. Kemp won in a very close election.6

Polling places have been dramatically reduced in areas with large Black populations.7 The population of McClennan County, Texas, grew by more than 15,000 people between 2012 and 2018—more than two-thirds of that growth came from Black and Latino people. In that same period, the county closed 44 percent of its polling places, largely in Black areas. Similar closures took place in Brazoria, Harris, and other Texas counties.8 ,9

The impact of measures like these on the 2016 elections was summed up by Carol Anderson in her book One Person, No Vote: “Minority voters did not just refuse to show up. Republican legislatures and governors systematically blocked African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans from the polls.”10

Disenfranchising Former Prisoners

In addition, the Sentencing Project estimated that as of 2016, 6.1 million people in the U.S. had been stripped of the vote by laws restricting or preventing those convicted of felony-level crimes—over five times the number in 1976. They wrote, “One in 13 African Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate more than four times greater than that of non-African Americans.” In Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia more than one in five African Americans is disenfranchised.11

In 2018 Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment restoring the right to vote to the state’s 1.4 million former felons. Two months after it had taken effect, the Florida legislature passed a measure again imposing restrictions on ex-prisoners’ voting rights. The measure has since been at least temporarily struck down in courts.12

Multi-Million Dollar Campaign to Prevent Black People from Voting

In 2018, a federal court ruled that for the first time in almost four decades the Republican Party could initiate campaigns against alleged “voter fraud” without court approval. Previously, courts had ruled that Republicans repeatedly intimidated or tried to exclude Black and Latino people from voting in the name of “preventing voter fraud.”13

Today Republicans are funneling tens of millions of dollars into escalating what the New York Times called “a focus on limiting who can vote that became a juggernaut after the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act in 2013.” Various fascist organizations are initiating lawsuits, recruiting “poll monitors” to intimidate voters, and launching their own “anti-fraud” campaigns. Spearheading this effort is the well-funded “Honest Elections Project,” formed by a staunch Trump ally. A prominent member of the Conservative Political Action Committee said that as November approaches, “It’s going to be all hands on deck.”14

And now, with the coronavirus pandemic still raging, Republicans from Trump on down are fighting to prevent voting by mail, despite the dangers that waiting in long lines and at crowded polling stations carry. The fascist attorney general of Texas has threatened criminal prosecutions of organizations that encourage voters under 65 years of age without COVID-19 to send in absentee ballots.15 The supreme court of Wisconsin recently ruled against delaying an election there, even as the virus raged in Milwaukee (a city where 4 in 10 residents are Black)—thousands of people wanting to vote were forced to wait crowded in long lines, since only five of the city’s 180 polling places were open.16

The Criminals

The U.S. Supreme Court. The Trump/Pence fascist regime, and the entire Republican Party. Governors and former governors across the country, like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Greg Abbott of Texas. Republican dominated state legislatures across the country who passed vindictive and punitive measures. The “think tanks” and law firms who devise ways to prevent people from exercising what is supposedly a constitutional right. The legions of white supremacist foot soldiers who mobilize to carry out voter suppression of Black people, and right now are preparing to do it on a massive scale in November.

The Alibi

The fascists behind voter suppression efforts claim they are acting to preserve the integrity of the vote. Trump says that “there’s a lot of fraudulent voting going on in this country.”17 In fact, the number of people arrested and convicted for voting fraudulently is almost non-existent. The Brennan Center for Justice summed up its investigation into allegations of voter fraud: “Extensive research reveals that fraud is very rare. Yet repeated, false allegations of fraud can make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to participate in elections.”18

The Actual Motive

Starting in the 1960s the Republican Party, then led by Richard Nixon, began to implement its “Southern strategy”—openly courting the votes of backward whites, while suppressing the votes of Black people. This was articulated by Lee Atwater, advisor to presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush in a 1981 interview: “You start out in 1954 by saying ‘Nigger, nigger’ nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say nigger—that hurts you—backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff.... Now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites ... ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger. ’”19

The ugly white supremacy that is and has always been deeply woven into the fabric of this system is reaching grotesque expressions under the Trump/Pence regime—suppressing and disenfranchising millions of Black people and openly appealing to white supremacism—as it moves to consolidate fascism.


1. Supreme Court Guts Voting Rights Protection for Millions of Black and Latino People, Revolution, July 7, 2013 [back]

2. How Shelby County v. Holder Broke America, Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic, July 10, 2018 [back]

3. The Effects of Shelby County v. Holder, the Brennan Center for Justice, August 6, 2018 [back]

4. Ibid. [back]

5. New Voting Restrictions in America, the Brennan Center for Justice, updated November 19, 2018 [back]

6. America’s Relentless Suppression of Black Voters, The New Republic, October 24, 2018 [back]

7. Southern U.S. states have closed 1,200 polling places in recent years, Reuters, September 10, 2019 [back]

8. Texas closes hundreds of voting sites, making it harder for minorities to vote, Richard Salame, The Guardian, March 2, 2020 [back]

9. Super Tuesday Plagued By Hours Long Wait In Parts Of Harris County, Houston Public Media, March 3, 2020 [back]

10. One Person, No Vote–How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, Carol Anderson, Bloomsbury, 2018 [back]

11. Felony Disenfranchisement, The Sentencing Project [back]

12. Voting Rights Restoration Efforts in Florida, The Brennan Center for Justice, May 31, 2019 [back]

13. Freed by Court Ruling, Republicans Step Up Effort to Patrol Voting, Michael Wines, New York Times, May 18, 2020 [back]

14. Ibid. [back]

15. The fight over letting Texans under 65 vote by mail, explained, Ian Millhiser, Vox, May 22, 2020 [back]

16. What we know about why Milwaukee had only 5 voting sites for Tuesday's election while Madison had 66, Alison Dirr and Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 9, 2020 [back]

17. Trump: ‘There’s a lot of fraudulent voting going on in this country,’ The Hill (YouTube), April 8, 2020 [back]

18. The Myth of Voter Fraud, the Brennan Center for Justice [back]

19. Lee Atwater‘s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy, Rick Perlstein, The Nation, 11/13/12. [back]

states voting restrictions
The Supreme Court‘s ruling in 2013, that a key section of the Voting Registration Act was unconstitutional, accelerated actions in at least 25 states including strict photo ID requirements, early voting cutbacks, and registration restrictions. Map: Brennan Center for Justice

Wisconsin voters
The supreme court of Wisconsin ruled against delaying an election there, even as the virus raged in Milwaukee – thousands of people wanting to vote were forced to wait in long lines, since only five of the city‘s 180 polling places were open. (Photo: AP)

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

Clip: “The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today”

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

 

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/631/american-crime-case-12-the-1921-tulsa-massacre-en.html

American Crime

Case #12: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the Destruction of Black Wall Street

| revcom.us

 

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

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

American Crime

See all the articles in this series.

Oklahoma’s statehood in 1907 coincided with the discovery of oil, and the boom years that followed saw its population grow from 10,000 in 1910 to 100,000 a decade later. This included a significant number of Black people, looking for a better life, and hoping to escape the worst of Jim Crow Mississippi, Georgia, and other states of the Old South. In 1921, Tulsa was strictly segregated; Black people could work in town, but all Black residents were required to live and shop in the Greenwood District of Northern Tulsa. In time, Greenwood’s segregated economy, self-contained and self-sufficient, was so successful that it became known nationally as the “Black Wall Street.” About 11,000 Black residents lived in the Greenwood neighborhood. Black-owned grocery stores, banks, libraries, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and more lined Greenwood Avenue.

THE CRIME

On May 30, 1921, Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old Black shoe shiner working downtown, entered the elevator of the only building with a restroom Blacks could use in the area. Sarah Page, a white 17-year-old, was the elevator operator. When the door closed, Page cried out, and Rowland ran off. The most common explanation is that Rowland just stepped on Page’s foot. But Rowland was alleged—without evidence—to have assaulted Page. He was arrested the next morning and held in a jail cell above City Hall.

That afternoon, the Tulsa Tribune ran the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator,” suggesting that Page had been raped, and editorialized: “To Lynch Negro Tonight.” Within an hour of the paper hitting the streets a lynch mob in the hundreds descended on the courthouse.

Word spread throughout Greenwood that whites were storming the courthouse and Rowland was in danger. After debating how to respond, at 9 pm a group of 25 armed Black men, some veterans of World War 1, drove to the courthouse determined to stop the lynching. They got out with their rifles and shotguns, and offered their support to the local authorities. Their offer was refused, and they left.

But the white mob was incensed, and grew into the thousands in no time as word spread, more and more coming with weapons. At 10 pm a group of 75 Black men returned to the courthouse after new rumors that a lynching was imminent. They marched single file to the courthouse steps. Again, their offer of help to protect Rowland was refused. A white man approached an armed Black army veteran and demanded he turn over his gun. A fight broke out, and a gun went off.

Historian and author Scott Ellsworth wrote: “While the first shot fired at the court house may have been unintentional, those that followed were not. Almost immediately, members of the white mob—and possibly some law enforcement officers—opened fire on the African American men, who returned volleys of their own. The initial gunplay lasted only a few seconds, but when it was over, as many as a dozen men, both black and white, lay dead or wounded. Out numbered more than twenty-to-one, the black men began a retreating fight toward the African American district, with armed whites in close pursuit.”1

“They tried to kill all the black folks they could see,” a survivor, George Monroe, recalled in the 1999 documentary The Night Tulsa Burned.

Shortly after the fighting broke out at the courthouse, a large number of whites—many who’d been part of the lynch mob—gathered outside police headquarters nearby. There, as many as 500 white men and boys were sworn in as “Special Deputies” and told to “Get a gun and get a nigger.” Weapons were passed out by other deputies from a sporting goods store across the street. White rioters began firing on Blacks and setting fire to Black-owned homes and businesses late into the night.

“Tuesday night, May 31, was the riot, and Wednesday morning, by day break, was the invasion.” (Unidentified observer to a reporter)

As dawn approached, thousands of armed whites—some estimated as many as 10,000—gathered in three locations on the edges of Greenwood. A siren sounded at daybreak, and the mobs of white terrorists launched their invasion.

These armed white mobs included over 150 Tulsa police. They set about systematically killing, looting, and burning the entire district of Greenwood, block by block. Armed whites broke into Black homes and businesses and forced the people outside, where they were led away at gunpoint to internment centers set up by the authorities. Anyone who resisted was shot. If guns were found inside, the occupant was shot. The homes and businesses were looted, then set on fire with torches and oil-soaked rags. House by house, block by block, Greenwood was demolished. Airplanes were used to shoot Black people from the air and drop kerosene bombs on buildings, setting them ablaze.

Throughout this assault, Black Tulsans, while tremendously outnumbered, fought back. Riflemen took positions atop the belfry of a newly built church to temporarily halt the advance of the white invasion. But the church was burned to the ground. These attempts at resistance could not be maintained because the deputized police and the National Guard units arrested 6,000 Greenwood residents. Black Tulsans did not go down without a fight, but they were out-gunned and out-numbered. “Survivors recounted black bodies loaded on trains and dumped off bridges into the Arkansas River and, most frequently, tossed into mass graves.”2

By noon on June 1, these white mobs had murdered more than 300 Black Tulsa residents. They had turned 40 square blocks of Greenwood into a scorched wasteland. This included 1,256 homes destroyed, along with virtually every other structure—including churches, schools, businesses, even a hospital and library. “Not one of these criminal acts was then or ever has been prosecuted or punished by government at any level, municipal, county, state, or federal.” (Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921)

After order was restored, the Black people who’d been detained were released, but only if signed for by a white person, who also had to agree to accept responsibility for that detainee’s subsequent behavior. More than 10,000 residents were left homeless. Thousands of Black Tulsans spent the winter living in tents. Many left for good, having had enough of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

THE CRIMINALS

The racist mobs of thousands of white Tulsans were directly responsible for the horror inflicted on the people of Greenwood.

The Tulsa police chief and Tulsa deputies had a direct hand in arming, deputizing, and directing the mobs from the very start of the killing of Black Tulsans.

The Tulsa city officials played a decisive role by refusing to take any action to stop the racial massacre. And shortly afterwards, these same officials passed a zoning ordinance that made it too expensive for the Greenwood residents to rebuild their homes.

The local units of the National Guard, by arresting every Black resident of Tulsa they could find and taking them into “protective custody,” left Greenwood property unprotected and aided the “special deputies” who came to burn it. The after-action reports by the local guardsmen show they saw their job not as protecting the people of Greenwood, but putting down the supposed “Negro uprising.”

The Oklahoma State Troopers did not arrive from Oklahoma City until the annihilation of Greenwood was over; arriving earlier could have prevented some of the worst crimes from taking place.

The governor of Oklahoma, from the very start, treated the events in Tulsa as a Black “insurrection.”

The extent of the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement and possible lead role in this heinous act of terror hasn’t been proved, but “Tulsa’s atmosphere reeked with a Klan-like stench that oozed through the robes of the Hooded Order.” (Tulsa Race Riot report.) At that time many of the city’s most prominent men were Klansmen, including the lawyer assigned to represent Dick Rowland. Photographs of the Tulsa massacre were made into postcards, including a close-up of a charred Black body; and another of the Greenwood District in ruins.

THE ALIBI

The blame for the Tulsa Massacre was, from the very start, fully put on Greenwood’s Black residents—calling it a “Negro Uprising,” or “Insurrection.” A grand jury investigation organized by Oklahoma’s governor in the days after the massacre concluded:

We find that the recent race riot was the direct result of an effort on the part of a certain group of colored men who appeared at the court house on the night of May 31, 1921, for the purpose of protecting one Dick Rowland ...There was no mob spirit among the whites, no talk of lynching and no arms. The assembly was quiet until the arrival of armed Negroes, which precipitated and was the direct cause of the entire affair.

THE REAL MOTIVE

The economic success of the people of Black Tulsa—including home, business, and land ownership—fueled resentment, fear, and jealousy within the white community. Many of Greenwood’s Black residents were living more successful lives than white Tulsans. In a community, and a country, where white supremacy was taken for granted—and counted on—the success of the people of Greenwood was seen as a provocation.

The Tulsa Massacre, and the 1919 “Red Summer” of anti-Black violence that preceded it (see American Crime Case #15), took place at a time when the U.S. rulers needed to maintain the brutal oppression of Black people and white supremacy under changing conditions. The beginning of the Great Migration saw Black people leaving the rural South to find work in the cities of the North. Among them were Black veterans of World War 1, returning with a defiant spirit and less willingness to put up with open Jim Crow degradation and terror. Those in power faced the “need” for Black people to be beaten into submission through terror, their defiant spirit suppressed, and white people (including oppressed white people) enlisted to serve and identify with the exploitative, white supremacist order.

Resources:

 


1. “The Tulsa Race Riot,” by Dr. Scott Ellsworth, an essay in Tulsa Race Riot: A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.  [back]

2. Washington Post, September 18, 2018.  [back]


Systematic killing, looting, and burning of the entire district of Greenwood during Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921.


House by house, block by block, Greenwood, Tulsa was demolished.


A black man being burned on a bed of lumber during the Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. Photo: Unsourced Archive


Mt. Zion Baptist Church burns during Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921. Photo: Historical Society and Museum

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/665/bob-avakian-voting-will-not-be-enough-pt2-en.html

 

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

PART 2 of

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

In the Statement by Bob Avakian, August 1, 2020, On The Immediate Critical Situation, The Urgent Need To Drive Out The Fascist Trump/Pence Regime, Voting In This Election, And The Fundamental Need For Revolution, I spoke to this important point:

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

At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that

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

The Trump/Pence Regime Is Already Moving to Suppress Votes

The fact that Trump, and his supporters, continue to commit outrage after outrage, on a regular basis, can cause people—even those who hate everything Trump represents—to forget about outrages that were committed even just a little while ago. But, it is crucially important not to forget that Trump has already “floated” the idea of “delaying” the election on the basis of his completely false claims that things like mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud and that it could take weeks, months, or even years to know the actual result of the election (note: weeks, months, or even years—during which time Trump would insist on staying in power!). 

Trump and his supporters are making moves to suppress the votes of many Black people, and others, who are likely to vote heavily against Trump. Here is one glaring example: In the state of Florida (which Trump desperately needs to win), the Republican-controlled government is working to undermine changes in the Florida Constitution that have restored the right of convicted felons to vote. This could take away the right to vote from nearly 800,000 people, many of whom are Black and Latino.1 

Trump’s operatives are already in the process of organizing fascist thugs to go to polling places, especially in key “battleground” states, to “watch out for fraud.” In fascist Trumpworld, lying is a way of life and the standard operating procedure. When they say “law and order,” they mean police killing Black and Brown people. To them, the truth is “fake news,” and they claim “science doesn’t know” things that only Trump knows. So, when they talk about “election fraud,” what they mean is people voting against Trump. And what these fascist goons being organized by the Trump camp intend to do is precisely to prevent people from voting against Trump—with the threat, and the use, of force and violence.

Michael Cohen—who, for more than 10 years, was Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer”—has sounded the alarm, more than once, that Trump will do anything to stay in powereven start a war to create a national emergency.2 Trump, who is both a pathological liar and a liar with a purpose, has deliberately and repeatedly downplayed the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic, even while knowing what a serious danger it actually poses. He has already forced government bodies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to bend its findings and recommendations about the COVID-19 pandemic to serve Trump’s political ambitions and goals. And it seems increasingly likely that, shortly before the election, in the attempt to offset the exposure of his terrible recklessness with regard to COVD-19, and to perversely declare himself the “savior” of the people from this pandemic, Trump will use his presidential power to pressure approval for the use of a vaccine, even before it has really been scientifically determined whether such a vaccine is not only effective but safe

Trump Has Violently Suppressed Opposition, and Has Threatened Even Greater Violence 

Another thing that must not be forgotten is that Trump has not only justified and supported but openly encouraged violence by armed white supremacist storm troopers (what he calls “Second Amendment people”). He has supported police violently attacking protesters and utilized armed forces of the government to attack and suppress protests, in Washington, D.C., in Portland and other cities. There is already plenty of evidence—and more evidence comes out all the time—that (assuming the election is actually held) regardless of the actual outcome of the election, Trump will declare himself the winner and use whatever means he can, including violence, to stay in power. As pointed out in a recent article posted on revcom.us:

On September 10, Trump was asked by Jeanine Pirro of fascist Fox “News” what his response would be on election night if he won and those against him “threaten riots.” Trump’s response: “We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that.... We have the right to do that, we have the power to do that if we want. Look, it’s called insurrection.”3

Here, it is necessary to “translate” what is being said in this episode of the ongoing fascist lie-athon of Trump and his media accomplices (such as Fox “news”). Trump “winning” the election means Trump declaring himself the winner. (Remember that Trump has already strongly implied that he will not accept the results of the election if Biden wins; and Trump has insisted that the only way he could lose the election is if it is “rigged.”) “Riots,” in fascist-speak, means protests against police brutality and other injustices, even when (as has been the case) these protests are overwhelmingly peaceful; and “insurrection” here means mobilization against the Trump/Pence regime, even if that mobilization is non-violent. 

The same revcom.us article calls attention to this:

Another glimpse at what the fascists may be thinking of and even planning for came from the mouth of longtime Republican operative and Trump stooge, Roger Stone. (In July, Trump commuted the 40-month prison sentence of Stone, who had been convicted of lying to Congress.) In a call with Alex Jones—pro-Trump conspiracy theorist—on his online Infowars show, Stone said Trump should consider declaring “martial law” or invoke the Insurrection Act if he should lose the November election.3

And Stone called on “Attorney General” William Barr (head of Trump’s Injustice Department, chief enforcer of unlawful repression, and a “commander” of the regime’s storm troopers) to prepare now a force ready to act on this “martial law” declaration if Trump loses. 

Note that Stone openly calls for Trump to use violence to remain in office if Trump loses the election. 

And other fanatical backers of this regime, in and out of government, have called on its supporters to arm themselves in preparation for the election. 

It would be a very grave mistake to fail to take seriously what is being openly proclaimed by Trump and his fascist supporters.

But as truly dangerous as these fascist threats and acts of violence, and preparations to carry out even more violence, are—being cowed by and capitulating to this would lead to a far greater horror

The Trumpite attempts to suppress votes must be actively, vigorously opposed; and people must mobilize, now and in an ongoing way, demanding that the whole Trump/Pence regime must go. 

We Can’t Rely on the Democrats, We Can’t Wait Until November

In Part 1 in this series, I examined the reasons why the Democrats will not call out the Trump/Pence regime, and its supporters, for what they are: fascist. I pointed out:

Time and again, the Democrats have sought to deal with this by trying to utilize the very “norms” and institutions that this fascist regime is defying and tearing up, or bending to its fascist aims—the courts, congressional hearings and proceedings, and so on. Time and again, the Democrats have failed. Yet they stubbornly refuse to seek any means of opposing this regime other than by resorting to these “norms” and procedures. This is what they are doing, and will be strongly inclined to continue doing, even in the face of Trump’s increasing and intensifying moves to suppress votes in the upcoming election and his clearly indicated determination to have himself declared the winner in the election, or to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election.4

Biden and the Democrats act as if—and repeatedly insist that—the reason there is so much bitter conflict, violence, and “chaos” in society is because “Trump is dividing us, not uniting us.” But the truth is that, while Trump has become a “rallying point” and “spearpoint” of the fascist forces in this country, within the structures of power and more broadly among sectors of the population, there are deep-seated reasons and causes for why this fascism has become such a powerful force. Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that! 

As I have also emphasized: “all this points to the very great likelihood that regardless of the actual outcome of this election (assuming it is actually held), if Trump declares himself the ‘winner’and refuses to leave, in the absence of truly massive mobilization demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must be removed, the Democrats will end up capitulating to Trump.4

This does not mean that voting for Biden would be irrelevant—would make no difference. Many people who hate Trump have at the same time expressed a definite lack of enthusiasm for Biden. But “enthusiasm for Biden”—or the lack of such enthusiasm—is really beside the point, and basing things on something like that involves gross ignorance, or a deliberate ignoring, of the crucial stakes involved. The reason to vote for Biden is to vote against Trump and his whole regime. And that should be reason enough, for any person who actually cares about social justice, who refuses to live in a fascist America and has any sense of the very real catastrophe it would mean, not just for people in this country but for all of humanity, if Trump gets a “re-election mandate.” For these reasons, as I pointed out in my August 1 Statement, if it comes down to it—if the Trump/Pence regime is still in power when it is time for voting—then voting for Biden, in order to vote against Trump, will be very important and necessary

As that Statement emphasizes, “there can be one—and only one—‘good’ that can come out of this election: delivering a decisive defeat to Trump and the whole fascist regime.”This would not “put an end” to the fascism that has arisen out of deep-seated contradictions and has gained strength, over decades. But, as the August 1 Statement further emphasizes: delivering a decisive defeat to this regime “would create far better conditions for continuing to wage the struggle against everything represented by the Trump/Pence regime and all the oppression and injustices of this system, and would be a great gift to the people of the world.” 

At the same time, for all the reasons spoken to in that Statement, and highlighted here—the moves by Trump that are already far along to steal the election, and his determination to use whatever means he can to remain in power, regardless of the actual outcome of that election, and at the same time the likelihood that the Democrats, left to their own devices, will end up capitulating to Trump—waiting for November and relying on voting will very likely lead to disaster.

People need to really and fully awaken to the reality of what is at stake, before it is too late. More than a few people have observed, sometimes with sad resignation, that the continuing avalanche of lies and truly monstrous criminal acts by Trump and his regime have worn them down, to the point where they are no longer shocked or feel compelled to act. But losing one’s ability to be outraged, and to act on that outrage, means losing one’s humanity—and, given the situation we are facing, it amounts to collaborating with the fascism of this regime and the catastrophe toward which it is relentlessly propelling humanity.

The crazed fanaticism of the fascists insisting that Trump must remain in power, no matter what, must be met, and overwhelmed, by the conscious passionate intensity of masses of people who hate everything that this fascist regime represents, who recognize the very real existential threat that this regime represents for humanity and are fired with righteous determination that this regime must go! 

And, to make this a reality, this righteous determination cannot just be channeled into voting against Trump. What is urgently required now is “stepping outside of the ‘norms’ of this system and mobilizing masses of people in determined, non-violent but sustained struggle in the streets to demand the ouster of this regime, as is being called for by RefuseFascism.org.”4 And:

The mass mobilization that is needed cannot be built “overnight,” in the aftermath of the election—and it cannot be built by confining things within the framework and limits insisted upon by the Democrats....

We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets, Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now!4

(The next, concluding article in this series will speak to the big question: How the nonviolent but sustained, and continually growing, mass mobilization, demanding Trump/Pence OUT NOW! that has been called for, and is being organized by, RefuseFascism.org, could lead to, or contribute in a major way to, a situation in which the Trump/Pence regime would be removed from power.) 

 


1. See the article “Florida Moves to Deny Voting Rights to Hundreds of Thousands of People Convicted of Felonies,” at revcom.us.  [back]

2. In his testimony before a congressional committee in 2019, Michael Cohen spoke to the danger that Trump would refuse to recognize the results of the election scheduled for November 2020, if Trump did not win this election. And, in his recently-published book Disloyal, The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, Cohen once again sounds the alarm, even more urgently, with the warning that Trump will do anything, including starting a war, to stay in power. Cohen has acknowledged that, prior to this 2019 appearance before Congress, he had lied to Congress—something he sought to set right by giving truthful testimony in that 2019 hearing. Trump’s fascist falsehood machine has tried to seize on the fact that Cohen is an admitted liar, who has been convicted of the crime of lying to Congress, in the attempt to draw attention away from what Cohen has revealed about Trump and the great dangers he poses. The problem, for the Trumpites, is that the lies they are referring to, and other despicable acts Cohen carried out—this was done precisely on the instruction and for the benefit of the Liar-in-Chief, Trump himself

Cohen, who worked very closely with (or for) Trump, for more than ten years, including the first years of Trump’s presidency, and probably knows Trump as well as anyone can, confirms what is said by Trump’s niece, Mary Trump: Racism, misogyny (hatred and degradation of women), and all-around bigotry are at the very core of Trump’s being.  [back]

3. “Trump on Election Night Protests: ‘We’ll put them down very quickly.’” This is part of the continuing series The Fascist Assault on revcom.us.  [back]

4. The quotes and references here are from Voting Will Not Be Enough—We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now, Part 1, “The Democrats Can’t Fight Trump The Way He Needs To Be Fought.” This article of mine is available at revcom.us.  [back]

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

by Bob Avakian

Part 1:
THE DEMOCRATS CAN'T FIGHT TRUMP
THE WAY HE NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT

Part 2:
TRUMP IS ALREADY STEALING THE ELECTION  AND THREATENING EVEN MORE VIOLENCE TO STAY IN POWER

Part 3:
TRUMP’S FASCISM—MORE BLATANT AND DANGEROUS EVERY DAY: HOW A DETERMINED FIGHT AND MASSIVE MOBILIZATION COULD DEFEAT THIS

(Long Version—The Larger Canvas and Fuller Picture)

(Short Version—The Basic Picture and Essential Vision)

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/670/fascists-step-up-efforts-to-steal-the-election-en.html

Fascists Step Up Efforts to Steal the Election, Suppress the Vote

| revcom.us

 

Trump is already stealing the electionThe fascist regime and its fascist enforcers are already suppressing the vote. 

Examples from this past week alone include:

Mobilizing legions of screaming fascists to intimidate people trying to vote, destroying ballots, using the courts to discredit votes—all these and more are part of the Trump/Pence regime’s rolling coup.This is outright Nazi behavior, trying to wrench society back to a time when Black people in the South (and elsewhere) were violently kept from voting1; when people of Mexican descent and other people whose primary language was Spanish were systematically prevented from voting in Texas and other states.  

People fought hard, and many died, to establish the right of people of color to vote. This right needs to be defended now, in massive numbers. People need to vote, and stand up to fascist attempts to intimidate people, especially Black and Latinx people, away from the polls. At the same time, as Revolution has written: “VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—AND SIMPLY RELYING ON VOTING WILL VERY LIKELY LEAD TO DISASTER. WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS NOW, AND STAY IN THE STREETS, DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!”

 

Sources: 

Federal court rules Texas doesn’t have to notify voters whose ballots are tossed, Houston Chronicle, October 19, 2020.

Nevada County officials address voter intimidation concernsKCRA, October 17, 2020.

A Miami cop wore a Trump mask to vote, inflaming Democrats: ‘This is city funded voter intimidation’Washington Post, October 21, 2020. 

Monona County Officials Working To Remove Military-Style Truck With Campaign Flags From Voting SiteIowa Public Radio, October 10, 2020.

California ballot drop box set ablaze in possible arson, damaging up to 100 ballotsUSA Today, October 20, 2020.

Watchdog group cites interference at polls in Latino areasAssociated Press, October 21, 2020.

 


1. See revcom.us series American Crime, Case #11: The Violent Suppression of Black People’s Right to Vote.  [back]


A sizeable force of shouting Trumpites at an early voting location in Fairfax, Virginia, September 21.


Miami cop, in full uniform, showed up at a polling station in Dade County with a face mask that had Trump superimposed on an American Flag.


Camouflaged military-style truck with a huge Trump banner parked outside the county courthouse polling station, Monona County, Iowa.


A ballot box that had been set on fire in Baldwin Park, a largely Latinx suburb of Los Angeles. (Screen grab: RMG News)


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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/658/a-monstrous-massacre-and-the-reversal-of-reconstruction-en.html

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

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

| revcom.us

 

Letter from a reader:

Editors’ Note: In Racial Oppression Can Be Ended, But Not Under This System, Bob Avakian (BA) writes, “...when the Civil War broke out over the question of slavery, and even when slavery was abolished as a result of that Civil War, given that white supremacy had been, and remained, such a crucial part of the ‘glue’ holding the country together, the only way to ‘put it back together,’ on the foundation of the capitalist system, was to once again forcefully assert white supremacy.”

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

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

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

Reconstruction and Its Aftermath

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

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

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

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

Economic Crisis and a Multiracial Populist Alliance

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

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

Wilmington, NC, 1898

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 10

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

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

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

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

Excuses

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

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

Aftermath

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

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

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

The Lies

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

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

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

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

As Bob Avakian has pointed out, “so long as this system remains in power, there will be powerful forces who will move to attack and undermine, and seek to reverse, even these partial gains.” (Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System)

How They “Put It Back Together”

The process of passing the repressive Jim Crow laws and degrading social relations that were increasingly cemented in place throughout the South that the Wilmington massacre was part of, is what BA is referring to in “Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System.” After the Civil War “given that white supremacy had been, and remained, such a crucial part of the ‘glue’ holding the country together, the only way to ‘put it back together,’ on the foundation of the capitalist system, was to once again forcefully assert white supremacy.”

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

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

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

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/free-all-political-prisoners-in-iran-now-en.html

Free All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW

| revcom.us

 

Since October 2020, a new wave of widespread crackdowns against political and social activists has been carried out by the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). The repression has grown broader and more horrific. Among those arrested and jailed are activists in the environmental, women’s, teachers’, students’ and labor movements. They are journalists, artists, lawyers, authors, and poets. They are members of national minorities such as Kurds, Baluchis, and Arabs; and the Baháʼí religious community. They are liberals, radicals, and revolutionaries from different generations of political dissidents against the reactionary rule of the IRI.

Most of these prisoners are being held without any charges or trial. Many have no known charges, no access to lawyers and/or family members, or have not been identified—all these are violations of the basic legal and human rights of the accused. The alarming escalation of executions of political prisoners (e.g. blogger/journalist Rouhollah Zam on December 12) heightens the urgency of our campaign to free them NOW.

Beside long imprisonment, they face torture, sexual violence, flogging, mock and actual executions, and now torment and death by COVID-19 infection. Some of these political prisoners are in prolonged solitary confinement in Evin prison, a notorious torture and death chamber. Several have dual citizenship with Germany, Sweden, Britain, and France.

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

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

U.S. imperialists such as U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo have NO right to speak when it comes to the suffering of the Iranian people. There have been recent U.S. aggressions—including war threats by the fascist Trump/Pence regime toward Iran; the Trump-ordered murder of top IRI henchman General Soleimani in January 2020; and the suspicious murder of the top Iranian nuclear scientist in November 2020. Years of vicious U.S. sanctions battered the body and spirit of the 80+ million people in Iran—depriving them of food, medicine, books, fuel, and other daily necessities, but providing a club to the IRI to beat down any dissent as “support for U.S. imperialism.” These actions by the U.S. may also give more impetus to the IRI to further escalate repression against political prisoners in particular.

The U.S. and IRI regimes have their national interests but we and the people of these countries have OUR shared interests. It is in the interest of the people all over the world to unite and defend the political prisoners of Iran whose lives and dignity are in imminent mortal danger.

People in the U.S. have a special responsibility and opportunity to unite across all social and political movements or divides against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more horrific suffering to the people of Iran.

We support protests in defense of the political prisoners inside and outside Iran, as well as protests against U.S. sanctions and war threats/moves against Iran. We are joining the urgent cries for justice and freedom by Iran’s political prisoners and their colleagues, family members, and supporters. We have begun a united worldwide movement in the fight to free them NOW, in our determination to prevent fresh atrocities and deaths.

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN IRAN!

This statement was initiated by Carol Downer and Dolly Veale (November 2020, updated January 2021)

Sign the Statement / Join the Campaign

Suggested solidarity actions:

 Mehran Raouf
Mehran Raouf, a labour activist, was arrested on October 16, 2020. In a span of weeks the Islamic Republic of Iran aggressively attacked and arrested many people, imprisoning unknown numbers of social and political activists. Moreover, a large number of anonymous citizens have been arrested and detained.

Download a template letter which can be used to accompany this statement, to be sent out broadly to colleagues, contacts, friends...

See also:

Dire Situation for Iran's Political Prisoners and the Urgent Need for Worldwide Protest

Read more

NO to U.S. War on Iran! Free All Political Prisoners In Iran!
A Resource Page

Read more

 

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Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/ellsberg-warns-trump-possibly-starting-war-with-iran-calls-on-whistleblowers-to-step-forward-en.html

Check It Out:

Daniel Ellsberg Warns of Trump Possibly Starting War with Iran—and Calls on Whistleblowers to Step Forward

| revcom.us

 

From a reader:

In an important opinion piece published online on January 8 by the Guardian, two days after Trump’s MAGA thugs ran riot in Washington, DC, Daniel Ellsberg warns: “President Trump’s incitement of criminal mob violence and occupation of the Capitol makes clear there is no limitation whatever on the abuse of power he may commit in the next two weeks he remains in office. Outrageous as his incendiary performance was on Wednesday, I fear he may incite something far more dangerous in the next few days: his long-desired war with Iran.” And Ellsberg urges whistleblowers to step forward and expose any such plans for war that may exist, just as he himself blew the whistle 50 years ago on the U.S.’s criminal war in Vietnam. (“Donald Trump's parting gift to the world? It may be war with Iran”)

In 1971, Ellsberg was an analyst with a think tank closely linked to the U.S. military when he made public secret government documents which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. These documents exposed important truths about the massive horrors committed by the U.S. in the Vietnam War and the lies they told to cover this up. The whistleblowing by Ellsberg played an important part in the movement against the U.S. war in Vietnam. The government’s response was to arrest him and bring serious charges against him under the Espionage Act; operatives of the then-President Nixon’s staff even broke into his psychiatrist’s office in an attempt to steal personal information and discredit him.

Revcom.us has reported on recent ratcheting up of U.S. war moves against Iran. As Ellsberg notes in his Guardian article:

The dispatch this week of B-52’s nonstop round-trip from North Dakota to the Iranian coast – the fourth such flight in seven weeks, one at year’s end – along with his build-up of U.S. forces in the area, is a warning not only to Iran but to us.

In mid-November, as these flights began, the president had to be dissuaded at the highest levels from directing an unprovoked attack on Iran nuclear facilities. But an attack “provoked” by Iran (or by militias in Iraq aligned with Iran) was not ruled out.

Drawing from his own experience around the Vietnam War and exposures about other U.S. wars, Ellsberg points out that the U.S. military and intelligence agencies “have frequently… provided presidents with false information that offered pretexts to attack our perceived adversaries. Or they’ve suggested covert actions that could provoke the adversaries to some response that justifies a U.S. ‘retaliation’.”

Ellsberg gives an example from the Vietnam War:

I was a participant-observer of such planning myself, with respect to Vietnam half a century ago. On 3 September 1964 – just a month after I had become special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, John T McNaughton – a memo came across my desk in the Pentagon written by my boss. He was recommending actions “likely at some point to provoke a military DRV [North Vietnam] response … likely to provide good grounds for us to escalate if we wished”.

Such actions “that would tend deliberately to provoke a DRV reaction” (sic), as spelled out five days later by McNaughton’s counterpart at the state department, the assistant secretary of state William Bundy, might include “running U.S. naval patrols increasingly close to the North Vietnamese coast” – ie running them within the 12-mile coastal waters the North Vietnamese claimed: as close to the beach as necessary, to get a response that might justify what McNaughton called “a full-fledged squeeze on North Vietnam [a progressively all-out bombing campaign]”, which would follow “especially if a U.S. ship were sunk”.

And turning the focus to the situation we face now, Ellsberg writes:

I have little doubt that such contingency planning, directed by the Oval Office, for provoking, if necessary, an excuse for attacking Iran while this administration is still in office exists right now, in safes and computers in the Pentagon, CIA and the White House. That means there are officials in those agencies – perhaps one sitting at my old desk in the Pentagon – who have seen on their secure computer screens highly classified recommendations exactly like the McNaughton and Bundy memos that came across my desk in September 1964.

Ellsberg says he has always regretted that he did not come forward with the Pentagon Papers at that time in 1964, rather than five years later in 1969 when he turned over the documents to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or 1971 when he released them to the press. “A war’s worth of lives might have been saved.”

Ellsberg concludes with the huge stakes involved in the danger of Trump provoking a war on Iran—and the need for people to act—now:

Current documents or digital files that contemplate provoking or “retaliating to” Iranian actions covertly provoked by us should not remain secret another moment from the U.S. Congress and the American public, lest we be presented with a disastrous fait accompli before January 20, instigating a war potentially worse than Vietnam plus all the wars of the Middle East combined. It is neither too late for such plans to be carried out by this deranged president nor for an informed public and Congress to block him from doing so.

I am urging courageous whistleblowing today, this week, not months or years from now, after bombs have begun falling. It could be the most patriotic act of a lifetime.

Read the entire piece by Daniel Ellsberg here.


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

See also:

NO to U.S. War on Iran! Free All Political Prisoners In Iran!
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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

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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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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/652/bob-avakian-racial-oppression-can-be-ended-en.html

RACIAL OPPRESSION
CAN BE ENDED—
BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, we revcoms boldly put forward: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

This is not just a slogan—though it is a very good and very important slogan. It is the concentrated statement of a very profound truth, which is also captured in our slogan: This System Cannot Be Reformed—It Must Be Overthrown!

But what do we mean in saying that this system cannot be reformed, and why is that true? In Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, I speak to the “5 STOPS”—deep and defining contradictions of this system—and all the terrible suffering to which this system of capitalism-imperialism subjects the masses of humanity, and why all this cannot be ended under this system.1 Here I am going to focus on the systematic and murderous oppression of Black people, and racial oppression overall—which has been sharply exposed with the outpouring of outrage sparked by the murder of George Floyd—and discuss the basic reasons why this oppression cannot be eliminated under this system, but can (only) be ended through revolution.

The continuing terror and murder carried out by the police particularly against Black people (as well as Latinos and Native Americans) is not fundamentally because the police are racist—although, speaking of the police overall, that is certainly true. The fact that the police are racist is itself an expression and a function of the fact that terror and murder against Black people (and other people of color) is required by this system—is necessary in order to maintain the “order” of this all-around oppressive system—and this would be much more difficult to carry out if the police were not racist.

The Fundamental Causes of This Oppression

But, going deeper, why is this terror and murder necessary for this system, in order to ensure its “order” and its ongoing functioning? The answer is that, from the beginning of this country, white supremacy has been poured into the foundation and built into the institutions and the ongoing functioning of this system. Specifically with regard to Black people, the centuries of oppression they have suffered—from slavery days to the days of Jim Crow segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, to the present time, with the continuing systematic discrimination against Black people, in every part of society (employment, housing, education, health care, and on and on)—all this has resulted in a situation where masses of Black people today, and in particular youth, have been robbed of a means for a decent life, with many maintained in conditions of desperate poverty and deprivation. This, again, is not simply because those who are in the seats of power and deciding government policy are racist (though that is true of most of them). It is fundamentally because of the nature of the system itself and the historically-evolved requirements and dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

Now, that is a big mouthful (“the nature of the system itself and the historically-evolved requirements and dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism”), so let’s break it down. This country was founded on the enslavement of masses of African people, as well as the genocidal subjugation of Native Americans and theft of their land (and its further development involved the conquest of huge parts of Mexico, reducing people of Mexican origin to second-class status as well). This required the propagation of racism to “justify” all the horrific oppression. Then, when the Civil War broke out over the question of slavery, and even when slavery was abolished as a result of that Civil War, given that white supremacy had been, and remained, such a crucial part of the “glue” holding the country together, the only way to “put it back together,” on the foundation of the capitalist system, was to once again forcefully assert white supremacy. That is why, very soon after the end of the Civil War, Black people were subjected to the system of Jim Crow segregation (backed up by systematic terror, punctuated by repeated lynchings), while the genocidal aggression against and theft of the land of Native Americans was stepped up, and immigrants from Mexico were subjected to ongoing discrimination and violence by the enforcers of this system.

Generations later, during World War 2, because of the needs of the rulers of this country in waging that war, large numbers of Black people were able to migrate to the North and get jobs in industries that served the war effort. And then, largely as a result of the fact that the U.S. was on the winning side of that war—and the fact that the war was not fought on its territory and it experienced no damage to its industrial facilities and infrastructure—there was an expansion of the economy in this country after the war. In this situation, significant numbers of Black people were able to continue getting employment in large numbers, including some better-paying jobs in factories (making steel, cars, and so on).

But, at the same time, because of the white supremacy built into the system over centuries—and the fact that really moving to overcome this would tear apart the fabric of the system and crack its very foundation—Black people continued to be subjected to systematic discrimination, including in employment (with “last hired and first fired” an accurate description of the situation of Black people with regard to employment). To cite another ugly example, government policy with regard to housing involved conscious, deliberate discrimination: after World War 2, loans were given to white people to enable them to buy their own homes, and increasingly move to the suburbs, while this was denied to Black veterans (and others) and instead Black people were piled into segregated housing projects in the inner cities. And this was part of the continuing systematic segregation and discrimination to which Black people were subjected.

As a result of the Civil Rights movement and then the more radical Black liberation movement in the 1960s, some concessions were made, and there has been an increase in the number of “Black faces in high places” and a growth of the Black middle class, although their situation is far more precarious than that of white middle class people (something which was cruelly demonstrated in the 2008 crisis, which resulted in large numbers of Black people losing their homes and much, if not all, of any savings they had). And, in more recent times, huge numbers of factories and other sources of jobs for people in the inner city have closed down, often moving their operations elsewhere—particularly to countries in the Third World (Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia) where the desperate situation of masses of people, including children, has left them vulnerable to being super-exploited, at near-starvation wages.

All this, together with increased automation and “cybernation” of production, when combined with the ongoing segregation and discrimination built into this system, has led to a situation where huge numbers of Black people, and especially youth, have, for generations now, not only been unemployed but are left with no prospect of meaningful employment in the regular (“formal”) economy.

The “Toxic Combination” of Capitalism and Racism

Here we see the “toxic combination” of systematic, historically-evolved segregation and discrimination, enforced with brutal violence by the powers-that-be, together with the basic functioning and requirements of the capitalist economy—which involves the greater and greater concentration not just of wealth, but of the means of production (technology, factories and other physical structures, sources of raw materials, and so on) in the possession and under the control of large-scale capitalist enterprises and financial institutions, which are locked in cut-throat competition with each other, not just within a particular country but increasingly on a global scale, and are therefore driven to ruthlessly exploit people and constantly search for ways to even more viciously super-exploit large numbers of desperate people, including children, in a worldwide network of sweatshops. (For example, cell phones and computers depend on the mineral coltan which is mined under horrific conditions by people, including large numbers of children, in the Congo in Africa; and a large part of the clothes that are bought in the U.S. are produced by huge numbers of women working in horrific conditions in the Asian country of Bangladesh.)

In this situation, and especially with the growth of the international drug trade, and its deep penetration into the U.S., many of those, in particular youth, who found themselves locked out of the “formal economy,” have turned to drug-dealing, as well as other criminal activity—something which has been encouraged by government policy that has actually resulted in the movement of large amounts of drugs into the inner city, even as the authorities seize on this situation to carry out systematic repression against the youth in particular, with such things as “stop and frisk.” The result of all this has been a huge increase in mass incarceration, as well as the continual murder of large numbers of “minority” youth by police.

At the same time, the way that the U.S. has continued to dominate Mexico, as well as other parts of Latin America, and to distort the economies, corrupt the governments and bring ruin to the social relations among the people in those countries—all this has resulted in large numbers of people being forced to flee those countries and migrate to the U.S., where they are vulnerable to being viciously exploited in factories and farmlands, and other parts of the economy of this country. And large numbers of the younger generations of these immigrants have also formed (or joined existing) gangs and become involved in the drug trade and related crime.

More recently, however, in at least many of the inner-city neighborhoods, for a number of reasons—including the fact that the “crack epidemic” had taken a terrible toll on people—there has been a decrease in the trade in cocaine and the high profits this brought for the relatively small number of “higher-ups” in the drug trade hierarchy. For a period, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, given their desolation and desperation, the drug trade was a “major employer” of youth in the inner cities, female as well as male, and a major source of at least a basic income for many (even if the promise of “getting rich” remained an illusion for most). Now, even this source of employment and income—as perverse and harmful as it is—has dried up or greatly diminished for many. This has further added to the miserable situation of massive numbers of inner-city youth in particular who have no future—under this system—no future but prison, an early death or a life of desperate hustling, in one form or another, in the attempt to survive and care for loved ones.

All this cannot be changed—cannot be transformed and overcome—within the confines of this system. Despite what any politician (“liberal” or outright fascist like Trump) may say, there is no way that this system could “reverse itself,” bring large parts of industry back to the inner city and provide meaningful employment, with “a living wage” for all those it is now depriving of this. Even if the government had the “political will” to try to do this, doing so (with the employment of millions of formerly unemployed or “underemployed” people at a “living wage”) would seriously undermine the competitive positions of American capitalists in the global economy. And, if they attempted to do this while at the same time trying to seriously overcome the whole historically-evolved relations of white supremacy, this would completely disrupt the social “cohesion” that “holds this country together,” with white supremacy a crucial part of this.

It is one thing for “good-hearted people”—and in particular many white people—to say (and sincerely mean) that it is wrong for the police to just wantonly, cruelly murder people, and to mobilize in protest against this. But imagine what would happen if, under this system and with the way its economy functions, the government tried to adopt policies that would deal with the long-term unemployment of Black people in the inner cities, who have not only been denied jobs but also the training for the jobs that do exist—imagine what the reaction would be of many white people who would in fact lose their better-off positions as a result of these policies. Imagine what would happen if these kinds of policies were applied not just to employment, but to education, and on down the line. (We have already seen the “backlash” that was fostered in response to even minimal efforts to implement “affirmative action” programs in employment and education.)

Again, this is not simply a matter that “white people are racist.” Many are racist, although many do not want to be. But the deeper problem is that given the basic way the capitalist economy works, and how everyone is encouraged to be “out for yourself”—and, more fundamentally, the fact that people are actually driven and compelled to compete with each other in every significant part of life, including employment and education—it would actually create destructive chaos and conflict among the people, and tear apart the “cohesion” of the society, to try to really and fully undo and overcome the reality and effects of centuries of racist oppression—under this system.

This most definitely and emphatically is NOT an argument for holding back from struggling against every form of discrimination, inequality and oppression in every part of society. Fighting back against oppression, and wrenching concessions from the powers-that-be, is very important—in enabling masses of people to feel their own strength in standing up and standing together in opposing oppression, and drawing people from all parts of society to join in this struggle—rather than feeling isolated, beaten down and hopeless. And it is important in contributing to the ability of masses of people to gain the understanding and build up the organization necessary for the final all-out struggle to bring down the whole oppressive system. But that is just the point—as important as these mass struggles are, if they are not built toward, and do not finally get to the point of, taking on the whole system, with the aim of bringing it down, and bringing something much better into being, then, as I have emphasized before, even where concessions are won, “so long as this system remains in power, there will be powerful forces who will move to attack and undermine, and seek to reverse, even these partial gains,” and people will remain oppressed and once more weighed down with a feeling of demoralization, as they are once again divided and pitted against each other.2

The basic and crucial point is that the fight against racial oppression (and all oppression) must not remain confined within the limits of this system, and instead must be carried out and carried forward as part of the overall struggle toward the goal of abolishing this system. The fact that this oppression cannot be abolished under this system is not a reason for giving up in despair—it is a compelling reason why this system must be and can be abolishedand it is the fundamental basis for why people can be won to wage the revolutionary struggle to finally bring it down!

All this is why there will not be any real and meaningful move by the powers-that-be (and any of its politicians and political parties) to overcome the centuries-long experience and legacy of brutal racist oppression and the situation it has led to today, where millions and millions of Black youth and other youth of color have no prospect of a decent future—under this system.

As I have pointed out before: “So what does this system do with youth that have no future and no prospects? It contains them.... contains them violently.”3

And all this is why there is systemic and systematic police terror directed at Black people and other people of color. It is why this is brought down not only on the youth (and others) in the inner cities, but why it can and does lead to harassment, brutality and murder of any Black person, anywhere, even those with more education and status in society. If the system needs the police to “violently contain” the masses of people in the inner cities—and it does—then this is bound to “spill over” and be applied to Black people, and other people of color, more generally. The police have neither the interests, nor the ability, nor the will to make distinctions between “good” ....... (fill in the blank as to what racist terms they use) and “bad” ones. And, beyond that, the “random” nature of the brutality and murder makes it all the more effective in terrorizing people—making everyone, even the “better off,” feel, correctly, that they could be a target of this.

There IS a Solution: Revolution and a Radically New and Different World

It is for all these reasons that racist oppression will continue so long as people are living under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism. It is not only right but crucially important to rise up and wage a determined fight against this, but it is also crucial to recognize that this racist oppression will never be, can never be, eliminated under this system—and, to finally put an end to it, we need a radically different system.

We need a radically different economic system—a socialist economic system (mode of production) that is geared to and proceeds by developing and utilizing the means of production collectively, to meet the needs of the masses of people, materially (for employment, food, housing, health care, and so on) as well as their needs intellectually and culturally, and to provide them with the means not only to live a life worthy of human beings, but also to scientifically understand the basis and need, and to more and more consciously take part in, carrying forward the transformation of society to finally and completely eliminate all relations of oppression and exploitation, and to support that struggle throughout the world. And, as one of its highest priorities and goals, this will involve the determined struggle to overcome and finally eliminate racial oppression in every aspect of society.

The radically different socialist economy (mode of production) will provide the foundation on which the ongoing process of uprooting racial oppression, and all oppression, can be waged on favorable ground, and can finally succeed in overcoming all this. The following from my work Breakthroughs speaks to this key relation and process:

Ultimately, the mode of production sets the foundation and the limits of change, in terms of how you address any social problem, such as the oppression of women, or the oppression of Black people or Latinos, or the contradiction between mental work and manual work, or the situation with the environment, or the situation of immigrants, and so on. While all those things have reality and dynamics in their own right, and aren’t reducible to the economic system, they all take place within the framework and within the fundamental dynamics of that economic system; and that economic system, that mode of production, sets the foundation and the ultimate limits of change in regard to all those social questions. So, if you want to get rid of all these different forms of oppression, you have to address them in their own right, but you also have to fundamentally change the economic system to give you the ability to be able to carry through those changes in fundamental terms. To put it another way: You have to have an economic system that doesn’t prevent you from making those changes, and instead not only allows but provides a favorable foundation for making those changes.4

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America provides a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for such a radically different economic system, and for government institutions, laws and a legal system, as well as an approach to education, science, art and culture that go along with this mode of production and contribute to its continual development, opening the way to finally eliminating all oppression and exploitation.5 And in Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution (as well as other works of mine) the basic strategy is spelled out for carrying out the revolution that will make it possible to apply this Constitution in working to bring about a world free of all the unnecessary suffering and madness to which the masses of humanity are subjected under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

This is why, and this is how, racial oppression, and all the oppression, which is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, can be ended—but only through a revolution to abolish this system.

This is why we continue to emphasize this basic truth: we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!

This is why we continue to boldly raise the slogan: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

 

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

2. The statement quoted in this part of this article is from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. [back]

3. Bob Avakian On Police Brutality And Murder: Consent Decrees Won’t Stop This—We Need A Revolution! This excerpt from a Question and Answer Session with Bob Avakian, after his presentation in 2018 in Chicago of the speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, is also available at revcom.us. [back]

4. This statement is contained in Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, by Bob Avakian, which is available at revcom.us. It originally appeared in the book by Bob Avakian, The New Communism: The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Insight Press, 2016. Italics in the original. [back]

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

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

THE NEW COMMUNISM

The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, by Bob Avakian

Download PDF of book here

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more         

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

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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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/nba-players-respond-with-outrage-to-fascist-storming-of-capitol-en.html

Observations from a reader:

NBA Players Respond with Outrage to the Fascist Storming of the Capitol

| revcom.us

 

Many NBA (National Basketball Association) players responded forcefully to the storming of the Capitol by a fascist mob on January 6. Many remarks centered on the disparity of how Black and white people are treated in this country.

Players from the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons took a knee during the playing of the national anthem or at the beginning of their game.

The Celtics and Heat players issued a joint statement, referring to the decision by the DA in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to not issue any indictments against the cop who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back this summer:

2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed. We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation’s capitol are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on. The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protesters who acted illegally just shows how much work we have to do.

Several players spoke out at press conferences or on Twitter.

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, who has been in the streets protesting the murder of Black people by the cops, evoked MLK’s “Two Americas” speech. He said, “In one America, you get killed by sleeping in your car, selling cigarettes or playing in your backyard. In another America, you get to storm the Capitol, and no tear gas, no massive arrests, none of that.”

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors called the mob “fucking terrorists” and said, “stop calling those people protestors. They’re terrorists.” In speaking about how the cops treat Black people versus how the fascist mob was treated, Green said, “It’s almost like they (the cops) want to show you they have power and want to show you I can say ‘fuck you and there is nothing you can do about it.’ And so that’s just what this country is and what this country’s been and probably where this country will stay.”

Chicago Bulls’ Garrett Temple tweeted out, “They allocate [policing] and use it to keep black people in line. It works for the people it was built to work for... It wasn’t meant to be used against these [white] people.”

LeBron James released a video that said in part, “We will never shut up and dribble. Because there remains far too much at stake for our people and our future.”

Some NBA coaches also spoke out. One was Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Kerr pointed to the non-indictment of the cop who shot Jacob Blake and went on to say, “Thousands of people can storm the Capitol and not face any sort of obstruction from the police. But heaven forbid, a 12-year-old Black boy carries a toy gun or a 15-year-old Black boy walks home from a store with a bag of Skittles or a young Black male runs through the neighborhood on a jog. Heaven forbid, any of those things happen. But it’s OK for thousands of traitors, basically, storming the Capitol, and we’re not going to put up any resistance? We’re just gonna allow it. A blatant, blatant, display of inequity in our country.”

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies
Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies

Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks

Miami Heat
Miami Heat

All photos: AP

 

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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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

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

by Raymond Lotta

| revcom.us

 

[W]hile there is certainly a legitimate and positive desire on the part of people everywhere to get beyond the scourge of this virus, taking into account what is the actual situation for the masses of humanity under the “normal” domination of this system, no one should desire a return to the “normalcy” dictated by the capitalist-imperialist system

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

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

Part I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Conscious and Comprehensive Economic-Ecological Planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imperialism “Warping” the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Measures of Crisis

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

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

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

Profitability, Stimulus, and Parasitism in the Imperialist Countries

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

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

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

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

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

U.S.-China Rivalry Escalates

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

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


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

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

 

 


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

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)


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


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


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

See also:

The Coronavirus Pandemic —
A Resource Page

Read more


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

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/681/bob-avakian-basics-1-6-en.html

Imperialism means...

Bob Avakian, BAsics, 1:6

revcom.us

 

Imperialism means huge monopolies and financial institutions controlling the economies and the political systems—and the lives of people—not just in one country but all over the world. Imperialism means parasitic exploiters who oppress hundreds of millions of people and condemn them to untold misery; parasitic financiers who can cause millions to starve just by pressing a computer key and thereby shifting vast amounts of wealth from one place to another. Imperialism means war—war to put down the resistance and rebellion of the oppressed, and war between rival imperialist states—it means the leaders of these states can condemn humanity to unbelievable devastation, perhaps even total annihilation, with the push of a button.

Imperialism is capitalism at the stage where its basic contradictions have been raised to tremendously explosive levels. But imperialism also means that there will be revolution—the oppressed rising up to overthrow their exploiters and tormentors—and that this revolution will be a worldwide struggle to sweep away the global monster, imperialism.

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:6

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/understanding-the-world-to-make-revolution-and-emancipate-humanity-en.html

Understanding the world...to make revolution and emancipate humanity

Updated | revcom.us

 

How Do We Know What’s True?

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.

What Is Capitalism, Part One

Everyone's Talkin' About Inequality—Let's Talk About the System Causing It —
Lesson from Bangladesh

Read more


April 30, 2013, Bangladesh: Factory worker being pulled from the rubble where more than 1,100 workers died. Photo: AP

See also:

The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism

An excerpt from The New Communism by Bob Avakian

Read more

“What Is Capitalism? (Part 1)”

See also:    Part 2    |    Part 3

From the 2003 talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About by Bob Avakian

Watch the full talk here.

What Is Capitalism, Part Two


 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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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

 

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

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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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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 is 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.

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The Science of Evolution
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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/657/bob-avakian-capitalism-imperialism-the-suffocation-of-seven-billion-en.html

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And all this is completely unnecessary.

Revolution, the New Communism and the Unleashing of Human Potential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Into BA »

See also:

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

by Raymond Lotta

Read more

The New Communism

Click to read and download (PDF)

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

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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/682/outraged-innocence-and-deadly-illusions-time-to-break-free-en.html

Outraged Innocence and Deadly Illusions: The Time to Break Free

| revcom.us

 

To those who now write, in reference to the fascist mob that stormed the Capitol, that they never expected to see the scenes of violent mayhem and widespread police cooperation on display there ...

You could have read Bob Avakian (BA) over six months ago, when he wrote the following:

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

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

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

To some of the same commentators who “never expected” to see those scenes and who now sternly “demand” that Joe Biden and the Democrats implement this or that program of reform (as if these fascist forces will “just slink off passively” and as if the Democrats will stop being one of the major institutions charged with overseeing and advancing U.S. imperial interests, including exploitation and oppression at home) ... you can still read THIS, from the very same article:

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

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

The very illusions that led to the shock—and the very resistance to actually confronting the reality we face and what is required, as concentrated in the analysis and the way out brought forward by BA—are illusions and resistance that may still cost humanity dearly—for this battle itself is not yet over. And the clinging to those illusions and that resistance will certainly end in disaster, should we manage to get through this juncture.

It is time and past time for anyone serious about actually ending this oppression and finding a road forward for humanity in the most perilous time of our existence to engage this work and this leader.

See:

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

by Bob Avakian

Read more

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

 

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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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/refuse-fascism-out-with-the-whole-fascist-cabal-en.html

Reposted from RefuseFascism.org:

Trump Must Go Now!
Out with the Whole Fascist Cabal!

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

| revcom.us

 

Last Wednesday, the world witnessed with shock: MAGA mobs storming the U.S. Capitol, climbing the walls, smashing windows, rampaging through the halls and looting Congressional offices—called forth and unleashed by Donald Trump, who could be called the wannabe second president of the Confederacy. Even AFTER this violent siege, 8 GOP senators and 139 representatives (that’s 2/3 of the Republifascists in the House of Representatives) still voted to overturn the election. A new poll yesterday showed that 77% of Republicans still support Trump.

This was an attempted fascist coup and it was years in the making.

That is the word: Fascism. What is that? It’s vigilantes shooting Black Lives Matter protesters. It’s open white supremacy. It’s refugees in concentration camps. It’s paramilitary forces using violence to suppress dissent. It is lie upon lie such that the very concept of what is real and what is true is destroyed. It is outright theocrats dominating the courts. It is the brazen open attempt to overturn the election of Biden – it is shredding even the pretense of democracy.

Now, Trump MUST GO! The fascists are still rampaging at Statehouses around the country. They are bragging about their accomplishments, threatening further mayhem, and are already making their assault on January 6 a rallying cry to come back. Trump, for his part, is upholding his “stormtroopers” and is reportedly even more bellicose and unhinged. Every day Trump remains in power he poses a catastrophic danger to humanity.

What is more, he must be decisively repudiated – impeached and convicted – which would mean he could never come back to elected office. Even more important, this would be a real setback to the fascist movement he still leads.

This fascist movement is not going away even with Trump removed. There are tens of millions of people, who have been led, organized and shaped in a fascist direction, with their own media and schools and institutions, for over 40 years, to view themselves as the “real America.” There are elected officials at all levels of government who view and will act as if the Biden administration is illegitimate and they now have an armed street-fighting force “on call” filled with revenge. Inside and outside the halls of power they will continue to fight for their white supremacist, xenophobic, and patriarchal program.

And, they will continue to undermine the very concept of truth – leaving tens of millions to be susceptible to the calls of demagogues and the vilest conspiracy theories. If the millions of people who desire a just world, who care about humanity, fail to organize and pledge to not allow a fascist America, it will not appease these fascists; it will leave them a clear field to advance. We saw on January 6 where this leads.

This is the moment – as calls ricochet through Congress to remove Trump – to find the ways and means to demand the removal from power now of Trump and the whole fascist cabal, from Pence to the Senators and Representatives in Congress, to fascist legislators who called for the coup in the 50 states!

The road to Wednesday’s fascist coup attempt was paved by a refusal to hold Trump and his fascists accountable...again and again over four years. Not after Charlottesville. Not after children locked in cages. Not after Trump’s acquittal in a weakly pursued impeachment on very narrow grounds which only cemented Trump’s belief that he was above the law.

We demand Trump’s immediate removal to stop the tremendous harm he can do between now and January 20th. We demand this now as part of building the strength of our side for the fight to decisively defeat this fascism that has been allowed to fester and spew forth. Note well: A failed coup can lead to a successful coup or a “legitimate” return to power fueled by the same fascist program but with a vengeance.

The struggle for the future is far from over. We must continue to speak and act and call forth others. Our just and necessary demand that Trump be removed from power now must be met, not just for ourselves, but for humanity.

Trump Must Go Now! 

Out with the Whole Fascist Cabal! 

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

From RefuseFascism.org

Trump and the Whole Fascist Cabal Must Go Now!

Roundtable Discussion featuring: Rosie O'Donnell, Jason Stanley, and Andy Zee. Hosted by Sunsara Taylor

Share widely

RefuseFascism.org Press Conference:

Now Is the Time to Act
No to a Fascist Coup!
TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!

Trailer:

Watch the entire Refuse Fascism Press Conference

Hear from: • Coco DasAndy ZeeLilly WachowskiRosanna ArquetteCornel WestRev. William H. Lamar IVArturo O'FarrillRuchira GuptaSteve HofstetterJodie Sweetin

Read some key excerpts...

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

 

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Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/americas-torture-colony-19-years-of-guantanamo-it-must-be-closed-now-en.html

Sunday, January 17, 4 pm EST / 1 pm PST, a Revolution Books on-line event:

Andy Worthington speaking from London on
America's Torture Colony: 19 Years of Guantanamo... It Must Be Closed NOW!

| revcom.us

 

Andy Worthington, the British journalist and co-founder of Close Guantanamo, will be giving a virtual talk from London this coming Sunday on the history and continuing horror of the Guantanamo detention camp.

He will be joined by Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, lawyer for several Guantanamo prisoners and victims of U.S. drone strikes outside of war zones.

In January 2002, President George W. Bush set up the military prison within the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The vast majority of those held there from its beginnings were picked up without any incriminating evidence. Guantanamo prison is a shameful icon of torture, including water boarding, and of indefinite detention without charge or trial. It violates basic human rights—and has been a vital tool of U.S. imperialism’s “wars without end” in the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of Africa. 

Andy sent RB these thoughts: "After four long and horrible years in which Donald Trump essentially sealed Guantanamo shut, the arrival in the White House of Joe Biden offers a glimmer of hope that prisoner releases will resume, and that there will be movement towards the eventual closure of the prison. However, as with Obama, it may well be a struggle to get the administration to prioritize the expenditure of political capital doing what is right and necessary."

Guantanamo has now been open for 19 years! Anyone of conscience must demand it be closed.

- - - - - -

Andy Worthington is a writer and musician who, since 2006, has tirelessly exposed the barbarous conditions of Guantanamo and brought to public attention the stories of those who have been detained there and who died there—and the terrible conditions encountered by those released and scattered to different parts of the world.    

Follow Andy at CloseGuantanamo.org

 

- - - - - -

Read revcom.us AMERICAN CRIME:

The Guantanamo Torture Chamber

Sunday, January 17, 4 pm EST / 1 pm PST, a Revolution Books on-line event

Watch live on YouTube and FaceBook


Andy Worthington

 

 

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Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/trump-impeached-for-second-time-en.html

Trump Impeached for Second Time

| revcom.us

 

In a major move, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in leading last week’s attempted coup to overturn the election.

The vote took place in a building heavily protected by soldiers. Ten Republicans, including the major political figure Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice president under Bush, Dick Cheney, voted for this. Veteran Black Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, warned that Trump could still start a civil war. It is important, from the standpoint of the largest interests of the people, that Trump be legally and politically knocked back and held accountable for his attempted fascist coup last week. In this light, the impeachment is an important positive development and must be fought through to completion.

Check this site daily for ongoing coverage as events develop, and for the deeper background to explain the roots of this upheaval and what we must do about it. We are posting today last night’s roundtable discussion on the situation, between Rosie O’Donnell, Jason Stanley, and Andy Zee, moderated by Sunsara Taylor and sponsored by Refuse Fascism, and will have more as the situation develops. Check RefuseFascism.org for coverage of events and how to act in the immediate situation.

 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/defeated-fascist-coup-the-way-forward-out-of-this-madness-en.html

The Defeated Fascist Coup, the Battle Still Raging, and the Way Forward Out of This Madness

| revcom.us

This article was updated January 16 and continues to be relevant.

On January 6, 2021, a murderous mob—driven by a lie and organized and egged on by the Liar-in-Chief himself, Trump—set off to storm Congress and outrageously, illegally, and murderously overturn the election. They proudly waved the banners of racism, slavery, and genocide. They encountered remarkably little initial resistance from police as they stalked through the halls. They chased, beat, and even murdered those who resisted, while they (unsuccessfully) hunted down their more prominent opponents. Then, when order was restored, both the lie and the liar that animated and led the mob were defended by a majority of the fascist party’s representatives in the House of Representatives. Two-thirds of the Republican representatives in the House voted that very night to support the mob’s demand that Congress NOT carry out its responsibility to certify the results of the presidential election for Biden and Harris.

This was a violent fascist coup attempt—nothing less, nothing else—led by Trump, and supported not just by the rampaging mob but also by his cabal in Congress, the executive branch, the grassroots Republican organizations, sections of the police, etc.

Both the fascist movement and their representatives were defeated that day—which is extremely important. It was and is extremely important that the Democrats immediately pushed forward the demand for impeachment and won the vote on this. And it’s extremely important that Trump has, at least for now, been driven off his social media platforms and prevented—to a degree—from spreading the toxin even further.

But Trump is still in power. The fascist Republican Party and its media mouthpieces, with way too few exceptions, still not only oppose punishing Trump in any way but act as if they (and he!) are the aggrieved party. And the mob they have stoked, shaped, and organized for years is vowing to come back with a vengeance with demonstrations over the next few days. Twenty thousand troops will be deployed to defend the inauguration of Biden and Harris. Threats of reactionary lynch-mob-style violence in all 50 states for this coming weekend echo through the air.

Think about the seriousness of this, the unprecedented character of it.

This must be defeated. The election must be upheld. Biden must be inaugurated. Trump must be impeached, and driven from public life in shame—and to the extent that he has committed crimes against the people, he must be prosecuted. Such a trial, using rules of evidence, must vigorously unearth how such a thing happened and to what extent there was, or was not, collusion between sections of the state (the police, etc.) and the fascist mob.

But even at this early stage of the process, a profound rot and a great danger has been sharply revealed. It is right for millions to feel as if the future is uncertain—at best. It is right for everyone to feel as if profound things about this country have been put into question—and to raise profound questions in response.

The first of those questions must be...

Why Did This Happen?

In brief—and in essence—one of the major parties has for decades now been moving toward a fascist resolution of the deep and intractable problems facing this country economically, socially, politically, and morally. Fascism is not a curse word, any more than a doctor is cursing when she calls the lump you are feeling a cancerous tumor. Fascism,understood scientifically, describes and analyzes one response available to capitalism-imperialism to those problems. This fascist program is rooted in open and vicious racism, misogyny, and extreme national chauvinism. It is a form of rule in which dictatorship is exercised blatantly with no regard at all for democratic rights. It is a moral and epistemological order where Christian fundamentalist ignorance and repression is exalted while the scientific search for knowledge is butchered when it is not outright suppressed.

Fascism is one form of capitalism-imperialism, one option for the rulers who in normal times exercise this rule—this dictatorship—in a more democratic way. But fascism is not same-old, same-old—it is a different form of capitalist rule. And it marks a leap with grave consequences for masses of people, here and around the world. The acutely high-stakes struggle within the ruling class of capitalist-imperialists over whether or not to make that step got concentrated in this past election.

Fascism often comes to power—and generally prefers to come to power—with the trappings of “democratic consent.” Trump and those around him saw this election as crucial to that—and fearing defeat from the beginning, he spread the lie in advance that the Democrats were somehow rigging this... by applying the actual rules of the system to enable people to vote in the midst of a pandemic! Trump said repeatedly, in advance of any votes being cast, that he was going to win and that the only way he could lose was by fraud. Yet despite the efforts to suppress the vote, despite the efforts to illegally use and control government resources to aid Trump’s re-election, Biden won—definitively and, to any person not locked in the insane fascist fever dream propagated by Trump and his allies, undeniably.

A section of the fascist party and fascist apparatus may have thought it wiser to not contest this particular election. This included McConnell and Pence, as well as others. They judged that they could better push forward this nightmare “project” in other ways—building on the control that they have seized of large sections of the courts (including the majority of the Supreme Court), the legislatures, sections of the armed forces, and various other elements of the state (the army, police, bureaucracy, etc.)—and on that basis both cripple Biden and re-seize the executive at a later date, without too greatly disrupting the legitimacy of the system in the eyes of the world and the general public within the U.S. and perhaps incurring massive resistance.

Trump violently disagreed—he insisted on putting forward as true a nonexistent world in which he won and was somehow denied by this or that outlandish imaginary scheme. He ranted that this was going to bring an end to “our country.” When he could not get his way in the courts and the legislatures for such a blatant act of thievery, he moved to marshal a mob on January 6 to do it by force.

Fortunately, he has been—for now—set back in this.

The disagreements now between Trump and other figures in the Republifascist Party are important—in the sense that it makes it more possible to administer a decisive defeat to Trump’s attempted fascist coup. But the roots of this fascism go far deeper than Trump, and those roots will continue to assert themselves whatever happens to Trump as an individual. Dreams that this will somehow, on its own, evaporate as the driving force in U.S. political life are dreams with no basis in reality. As Bob Avakian has written:

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!

Second Question: What Now?

It is imperative that all of you who were shaken, upset, infuriated, anguished, kept awake for hours and even days, or all of the above by the events of January 6 search out WHY these happened, and dig to the roots on the deepest possible level. As you do that, the place to begin is with the synthesized understanding brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA). He has been sounding the alarm and analyzing the underlying causes, driving forces, and key dynamics of fascism in this society and the system underlying it since at least the early 1990s. His analysis has been consistent and at the same time constantly deepened as events have unfolded—and he has led in developing different initiatives, involving a whole range of people, in waging struggle against it... even when that was unpopular, and even when that incurred risk of no small degree. (Go here for this analysis by BA.)

Beyond that, BA has, during this whole period, developed a way out of this madness—a strategy for an actual revolution, and on that basis the vision of a new society, concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which BA authored. It is a fact that, nowhere else, in any actual or proposed founding or guiding document of any government, is there anything like not only the protection but the provision for dissent and intellectual and cultural ferment that is embodied in this Constitution, while this has, as its solid core, a grounding in the socialist transformation of the economy, with the goal of abolishing all exploitation, and the corresponding transformation of the social relations and political institutions, to uproot all oppression, and the promotion, through the educational system and in society as a whole, of an approach that will “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.”

At a time in which the structures and dynamics of this system—of capitalism-imperialism—have shown their utter and dangerous bankruptcy in dealing with the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and fascism, there is an actual alternative founded in a deep understanding of the real-world dynamics of how societies can be fundamentally transformed through revolution, and humanity can emancipate itself. That is a huge source of real hope—on a scientific basis.

It is also imperative for all those shaken, and wakened, by the events of the past months to seek out and join a community of resisters who, from a range of viewpoints, recognize this as a phenomenon that is not going away and that must be defeated, through mass, nonviolent action. That community is Refuse Fascism, which is currently organizing roundtables and other forms that bring together people from different perspectives to dig into the issues this raises. Go here for those roundtables, and here to read and sign the Pledge to the People of the World initiated by Refuse Fascism and find out about different forms of resistance.

* * *

Sleepless nights pose a question: Do you find out why you toss and turn, and set to work on understanding and transforming what keeps you awake, and seek out and engage those who have put forward a path out? Or do you seek a return to numbness and accommodation?

Humanity—and the generations yet to come, if there are to be generations at all—counts on your choice.


MAGA rioters occupy the West Front of the Capitol before storming the building, January 6. Photo: AP

Download flyer (PDF)
and distribute everywhere

Bob Avakian on: The Need to Drive Out the Fascist Trump/Pence Regime and the Fundamental Need for Revolution

— Videos and articles >>

From RefuseFascism.org

Trump and the Whole Fascist Cabal Must Go Now!

Roundtable Discussion featuring: Rosie O'Donnell, Jason Stanley, and Andy Zee. Hosted by Sunsara Taylor

From RefuseFascism.org:

A Pledge to The People of the World: We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America

Go here to sign.

 

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We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/682/tune-in-to-next-fundraising-livestream-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Tune in to the next Fundraising Livestream
for the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour
SUNDAY, JANUARY 31

We are rescheduling our fundraising livestream to Sunday, January 31, 3pm PST/6pm EST to give more time to involve more people in meeting this important goal. Tune in to The RNL Show this Thursday for more on analysis and plans in this important time.

3 pm PST / 6 pm EST
facebook.com/therevcoms
youtube.com/therevcoms

DONATE

 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our last livestream to kick us off toward meeting our $50,000 goal by February 15. Read the moving comments from donors HERE

Your contribution makes a real difference to being able to carry out the mission of the Tour, enabling volunteers to function, to go out in society to fight for revolution and the leadership of Bob Avakian. Your funds make it possible for The RNL – Revolution Nothing Less – Show to operate.  Go HERE to see Sights and Sounds of the National Revolution Tour in 2020.  

We'd like to hear from you: What are your ideas for raising funds? Who can you reach? Do you have questions that we can help answer about reaching out to others to raise funds for the National Revolution Tour? 

We are in a volatile and tumultuous time! People are asking big questions about what’s happening and why. As many of you wrote in your comments about why you gave, now more than ever, people need to know and support a force that’s not just been consistently pointing to the danger of this fascism and acting to stop it, but fighting for a real, revolutionary way out.  

This next livestream is going to announce exciting plans—to contend throughout society with the need for revolution and Bob Avakian's leadership. Join with us in reaching broadly to people who need to know about the National Revolution Tour—to contribute, tune in and share with others. Please write to us at getorganizedforrevolutiontour (at) gmail.com to let us know if you can be part of this, if you have suggestions and ideas.  

Watch video of fundraising livestream (aired Sunday, January 10):

How to Donate to the National Revolution Tour

  • Venmo: “@RevolutionTour”
  • CashApp: $revtour
  • Send a check or money order,
    payable to RCP Publications,
    memo line: National Revolution Tour. Mail to:
    • RCP Publications
      Box 3486, Merchandise Mart
      Chicago, IL 60654-0486

 

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

 

We surpassed $20,000 – on to $40,000 to Transform Revcom.us’ Web Technology and Presence!
Sustain or donate generously NOW!

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.

Revcom.us provides what the world needs most right now: a deeply scientific analysis of the causes of the horrors assaulting humanity and the planet, and a real, emancipating solution and pathway out of the needless suffering and destruction which threatens the very existence of much of our planet’s life.

Revcom.us is a fully bilingual, English-Spanish, website where people from over 167 countries worldwide find and engage the work and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), the most important political thinker and leader in the world today. BA has brought forward a whole new framework for human emancipation—the new communism—which undergirds all our work at Revcom.us, and he speaks to both the biggest questions of the revolution and the most pressing issues of the day.

Revcom.us is transforming the site technology to be able to extend revcom.us’ reach and impact. Moving to new internet technology enables us to work with the tools of the modern web, working with a new hosting company that focuses on this technology, gives us development guidance, and provides  the security needed for a site like ours. Along with this we need to build a new search engine and other elements.

To do all this, we need to raise another $20,000 by the end of February.

Your generous financial contributions are vital. Through giving, you join the movement for revolution in a living way, assisting the concrete needs while learning more about this revolution. And it is a contribution that anyone can make ... from those who can donate a small number of dollars to those who can donate thousands.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us: