revcom.us, January 18, 2021 through January 24, 2021 (#683)

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 Oppressionwhich contains clips from films and selections from the writings of BA on this question. The following are just a few examples of important works and leadership by Bob Avakian, over the past few decades, that speak to this decisive question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

As a revolutionary leader, BA also embodies this rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it broadly accessible.3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer is that the possibility of this is real, but it can happen only on the basis of a scientific approach to changing the world and the scientifically-grounded understanding that this oppression is rooted in and caused by the system of capitalism-imperialism—the same system that is viciously exploiting and murderously oppressing people not just in this country but all over the world and is plundering the natural environmentand that this system must and can be overthrown through an actual revolution and replaced by a radically different and far better system: socialism, whose final goal is a communist world, without any oppression or exploitation of anyone, anywhere.3

****

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump—Genocidal Racist (Parts 1-10) 

Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System

Police And Prisons: Reformist Illusions And The Revolutionary Solution

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

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

Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression

Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James And The Whole Truth

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

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

Trump And Pigs: A Racist Love Affair

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

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

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

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

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

Patriarchy And Male Supremacy, Or Revolution And Ending All Oppression

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

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

Bob Avakian On Ugly Words & Phrases

Bob Avakian On Tulsa Racist Mobs

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

[back]

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Get to know BA

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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/682/revolution-tour-livestream-donor-comments-en.html

Heartfelt comments received from people who donated during the Fundraising Livestream

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

Updated | revcom.us

 

Thank you to all the donors who contributed to the last livestream for the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. Here are some of the moving statements that came in with your contributions...

Please write to us at GetOrganizedForRevolutionTour@gmail.com with your fundraising ideas and questions. The National Revolution Tour is aiming to impact society with the New Years statement by Bob Avakian: “A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.” In addition to this, and the work of The RNL – Revolution Nothing Less – Show, we’ll be organizing “zoom into the revolution” seminars.

Sign up and contribute to make all this possible.

 

** I can contribute $10 to the National Revolution Tour. I understand the importance of the Tour. I’ve got a job and kids and I would join the Tour if I could. The Revolution Tour needs support to keep spreading the message of revolution. Trump is extremely dangerous because his forces are angry and stirred up. Trump is using the common denominator of fear, telling them everybody is against them, Black people, the media, etc. Seventy-four million voted for Trump, that tells us this society has never faced up to systemic racism and the delusional ones are full of force, full of hate and fear – being told there is a “secret plot.” So how do we get by the brainwashing?

Some think “it’s calm now” but I think it’s the “calm before the storm.” I loved Bob Avakian’s piece on radical change is coming, and either it is going to be radical reactionary or radical revolutionary. I see a civil war coming, all hell breaking loose, lunacy coming to a head – a “bad karmic manifestation.” The Tour is in the field telling people what is really going down, delivering the truth. There are tremendous tensions going on after the election, I got family members down south and the racism is intense. On the other side I see the beginning of a global rising. I see a new generation standing up to injustice. People need to join the revolution with us and overcome their fears. I also want to raise money for the Tour from my friends.

 

** From a store clerk in Houston who collected $13 in donations with a coin jar:

The goal is to make this world a better place for all mankind. We need a new system and new leaders. Leaders that really care about our problems.

 

** I am donating my Stimulus check plus some more to come this week “Revolution, Nothing Less,” with BA’s laser-like vision, scientific method and the Party he built and leads, gives us the tools we need to prepare ourselves, the people and the Party for that rare historic moment when a revolutionary situation arises... so that humanity can seize the time and put us in the path to shape a society free of exploitation and oppression, when life and our planet can flourish in common harmony.

 

** People don’t know the best chance we got for the real revolutionary future is with what BA is bringing! And with this Tour. Listen, I’m sick and tired of waking up every day with this oppressive system, these cops killing and destroying the planet... and these FUCKING FASCISTS! I’m donating $40 today to this Tour to bring the leadership we need. I’m donating as much as I can, as often as I can, and if you feel like I’m saying, I’m calling on all you all to do that too!

 

** From West Harlem: I’m donating $50 to help with all the materials you need. All the papers and books that the people need to know about the real change. This will help because I want people to know about the change the revolution will bring. And I hope others will do likewise. And, of course, donate as much as you can!

 

** This $100 donation is in memory of TC who shared two things (at least!) with BA: a passion for tennis and desire for a much better world. He had read BA’s article on revolution and Roger Federer’s tennis (Revolution, Roger Federer’s Tennis: What Do They Have To Do With Each Other? A Lot, Actually.) and was deeply moved by BA’s powerful writing and his appreciation of Federer’s skills and overall orientation to be kind to the “lowly ball boys and ball girls.” TC was not a revolutionary but decided to read BA’s memoir next to learn more about this leader. This donation is to help get BA out into the world, with his largeness of mind and generosity of spirit, for all of humanity.

 

** Four months ago I moved to NYC and started volunteering at one of the most interesting and extremely vital bookstores in the city. With the help of Revolution Books, I was introduced to and challenged by Bob Avakian. In his work I have found answers and found myself asking new questions. Like why the country is the way it is. Or why the ENTIRE WORLD suffers? Having questions isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but JUST learning isn’t enough. With the help of BA and his workings, I can see it isn’t just about me, but all humanity. I encourage anyone who feels like putting a “band-aid” over the issues we are facing, only to have them come back and worse than before, to donate to this mission! I am donating not only because of how tired I am with the system, but for what this means for the world. It’s up to you and me to make change!

 

** The last four years have seen white supremacy dare to raise its ugly head, encouraged by Trump. And we have seen horror after horror, atrocity after atrocity. People are horrified, terrified. They don’t know what to do, other than rely on “politics as usual.” But it’s going to take far more than that. We need a whole new world, one that is truly just, and that unleashes the best of humanity. But first we need to survive the current situation. The Revolution Tour is all about achieving both of these difficult and monumental goals. Think how different the world would be if we stopped the forces of fascism in its tracks. How much closer to that better world we could be? Please join me, donate all you can. If it’s $100, or even more. Or whatever you can. The world needs the Revolution Tour, and the tour needs *us*. WE are the roots of Revolution... and the place where a better world begins.

 

** I am donating $500 to the National Revolution Tour. One of the things that has impressed me about Avakian and the New Communism is the importance of critical thinking and his emphasis of seeking truth through the scientific method.

As a leader and philosopher he has promoted critical thinking among those like myself who have embraced his leadership. Not only that, he has called upon us to reach for the best within ourselves. He has called for us to keep our “moral compass” if you will. Revolution is not about “revenge” but about the “Emancipation of all Humanity” and about being “proper stewards” of our dear Mother Earth.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the RevComs in NYC and D.C. in the last few months. They are both critical thinkers and amazing people. They have the courage of their convictions as well as a deep love and compassion for Humanity.

One of the foulest slanders that is aimed at Avakian and those who embrace his leadership is that they are “cultists.” This is pure bullshit. Anyone who has actually read Avakian’s work or met RevComs has to be struck by the emphasis on critical thinking and the search for the truth by employing the scientific method.

Much love and respect to Avakian and all the RevComs.

 

** I am furloughed and an essential worker yet I can donate to the National Revolution Tour. With regard to Bob Avakian, what is it that he is saying that can address all these different sections of people? The question of “division” is on point. When you look at the gangs, they are one step away from understanding the system, and they have to go up against the Derek Chauvin’s of this world (the cop who murdered George Floyd). When you look at the high school students, how can you convince them? Who is going to have sway over the high school class?...

Those people on the 6th in the Capitol – it’s clear they do not want to share power. The impression I am getting is capitalism and fascism come hand in hand. But what is so subtle is the U.S. went to the other countries and created a wasteland – the refugees come here, and the Democrats subjugate the immigrants into another class of people. KRS-One once had a song out, calling out the “overseers” – his intent was to call into question the role the police play in this society: their adversarial and confrontational role in relation to the African-American community. It’s a challenge to “make the case” that we could all be in alliance against those “overseers” who want to rule over everyone: I understand the work of the National Revolution Tour is vital.

 

** Today I am donating the $600 that fascist Trump gave me (the stimulus Congress voted and Trump signed) to the Revolution Tour. Due to pandemic-caused unemployment many may not be able to do this, but I can. I have been watching the Revolution Tour online, in videos and print, seeing them in the street getting the truth to the people in so many dramatic and inspiring ways. They are my heroes. In this capitalist society money is required for everything from printing flyers to travel, food, housing... If they have enough I want them to buy national TV and radio time! There are so many good causes today but this cause goes at the very root of it all, the horror of worldwide capitalism-imperialism. It is about the future of all humanity and the planet. Bob Avakian’s message, the “what is to be done,” cuts through the fog like a red beacon. P.S. I am already a monthly sustainer and encourage others to do this also, it is a convenient way to feed in large or small amounts, whatever you can.

 

** I’m someone who has been following/supporting revcom.us and The Revolution-Nothing Less Show for some time. Why am I supporting today’s livestream for revcom.us and The Revolution-Nothing Less Show?

The recent fascist coup attempt has forced many people out of their stupor and has shown them the reality of the fascist Trump/Pence regime which recently left power. However, the danger is still not over—there is still a vengeful MAGA fascist base as well as the Republi-fascists who still are in key positions of power who are NOT reconciled to their defeat and still are looking for ways to take revenge upon their opposition in other forms.

The world we live in means that there are tens of millions of people who are refugees from war, climate catastrophe in many different parts of the world. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic which has killed over 2,225,900 people worldwide and over 450,000 people in the U.S., the oppression of women, etc. We do not have to live this way anymore. There is enough wealth and skill to take care of the needs of humanity and the planet, except that this capitalist-imperialist system of private ownership/socialized production prevents humanity from living up to its full potential.

Bob Avakian has brought forth in the New Communism a way to analyze society on a scientific basis and proceeding from what is reality and not how people want to see things. He maintains that this system cannot be reformed and that all-the-way revolution is needed to create a different future.

You do NOT have to agree with everything that Bob Avakian says, but people who agonize over the state of humanity/the planet are invited to find out more what this revolution is about, even if you have questions, doubts or disagreements.

There is the “NEW YEAR’S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN” which is on revcom.us and people can compare/contrast it (and other writings with other programs out there).

This is why I am donating $600 from my stimulus check to the RevComs so as to help to facilitate meeting the $50,000 goal of the livestream. I am challenging people to match this $600 that I am donating.

 

** I'm doing $200 to the National Revolution Tour. When I heard the reflection of Cornel [West] and the others about BA, about BA’s love for the people, the significance of truth and science, this was deeply moving. It takes courage to confront reality, and science to unlock obstacles that seem unsolvable on the surface. We need this science, this method! One of the revcoms mentioned that contributing to the Tour is a way for the revcoms to bring this revolution to all kinds of people. By contributing we can do this. It isn’t just about our personal experience. I like what she said! I am so proud to be contributing to the Tour, to the revcoms and to the future! Looking forward to season 2 of The RNL Show, too!

 

** This $2,000 donation is a challenge to others whose hearts are pounding for the true liberation of all humanity, and its path has been determined by Bob Avakian in New Communism through a real revolution.

 

** I am honored to be able to donate to the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour.

At this late hour, with so much at stake for all humanity, and for the very future of this planet, I am contributing $1,000 along with a $1,000 matching fund (from my veteran’s benefits) toward the courageous and selfless work of the Revolution Tour, to promoting the most important Revolutionary leader in the world today, Bob Avakian!

I want to give people everywhere the chance to hear about, and know Bob Avakian, his life, his leadership and his path-breaking scientific discoveries and moral leadership he has given to all who desire to free humanity from all its chains. I want people to be familiar with his life, how he “gets people,” his courage and also his humor. I want his Memoir to be in the hands of many thousands of youth looking for a life with meaning. I also invite people, especially artists, to read one of my favorite short works by BA, the lofty revolutionary embrace that shines through in “Materialism and Romanticism: Can We Do Without Myth?

I have known BA for a long time. I was a veteran of the US Navy during the Vietnam War. Like millions of others in this country, I was inspired by the heroic victory of the Vietnamese people in defeating the most powerful army in the world. And I learned about (then) socialist China, and its leader Mao Tse-Tung. That led me and millions of others – even in this country – to dream, and fight, for a different, much better world.

But, over the decades, many, who at one time, called themselves revolutionary, or even communists, have fallen along the way. Some by bullets from the enemy, but far more by the sugar-coated bullets of making peace with the world we are given, or by cynicism and pessimism and the me-first ideology of this pariah system.

But NEVER, BA! Bob Avakian is not one who has EVER FAILED to SPEAK TRUTH TO THE POWER OF THE DOMINANT NARRATIVE!

I remember his powerful speech in support of the Black Panther Party on the Steps of the Oakland City Hall, where he said to white people, “The Black Panther Party doesn’t hate you because you’re white, they hate you cuz you ain’t taking care of business!”

I remember a speech he gave to an Iranian student rally as the U.S. was amping up a massive, widespread and vicious reactionary lynch-mob movement against anything Iran or Iranian after the overthrow of the Shah when Iranian students took over the US Embassy. As the “progressive” left remained silent, BA called all to understand why it was correct, and urgently needed, to go out in the streets and fight for the revolutionary internationalist slogan “It’s Not Our Embassy!”

Of major significance, BA firmly upheld the Great Cultural Revolution in China against the howls and derision of bourgeois experts and movement hacks alike. He singularly, and with convictions, called out and exposed the capitalist coup in China upon the death of Mao. Then, BA went much deeper to scientifically analyze Mao’s (as well as other leaders and founders of the Communist movement) historic advances and contributions but also their philosophical and scientific weaknesses and errors. Again, this was done in spite of the vitriol of "marxist" scholars and shrieks of blasphemy from dogmatists, here and internationally. But all of BA’s rigorous study and analysis became part of the scientific foundation of both his “New Communism” and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

BA warned of the rise of a fascist movement decades ago, and struggled for people to understand the danger of the rising of American-style Christian Fascism uniting with nativist white supremacy and misogyny and their plans for a civil war to take America back to its genocidal beginnings. And he calls on us to act, with science and substance.

Heed the call! Get with, support, and spread the work of the Revolution Tour! Help them on the ground and in any way you can in their timely work to spread BA and his extremely urgent leadership to every corner of the world!

 

** It’s my privilege to donate to revolutionaries seriously working on how to bring a whole other world into being.

 

** 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.

Fundraising Livestream for the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour
January 31, 2021
The goal for the livestream of $30,000 was met and exceeded!

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

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

 

 

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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 >>

 

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/522/skybreak-a-party-on-the-basis-of-the-new-synthesis-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

What Does It Mean, What Difference Can It Make, To Have A Party Organized on the Basis of the New Synthesis?

December 18, 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.

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 continues: Once again, think of the real difference it could make if the new synthesis were to spread, were to be broadly engaged with, throughout society, and were taken up by revolutionaries everywhere. Many of the revolutionary communists today are people who came out of the great upsurges of the 1960s, including Bob Avakian himself. This was a very rich period. But there’s a tremendous need now for younger generations to take up this new synthesis, to work with it, to contribute to further advancing it, and to spreading it around the world. Again, I would use the example...besides the U.S. itself, I’ll use the example of the Middle East. What a difference it would make if significant numbers of people, including young people in these Middle Eastern countries that are in such turmoil...if, instead of choosing between either promoting American-style democracy and aspiring to either move to America or to build up a similar system in their own country (with all the horrors that are involved with that), or joining in with these nut-case Islamic fundamentalists and all  their horrible ways of trying to restructure society–if, instead of choosing one or the other of those no-good options, there were some significant blocs of people, including significant numbers of young people, who were delving into the new synthesis of communism, studying it, debating it, really grappling with it and figuring out how to apply it in the context of their own countries–this could provide a real alternative, a genuinely positive alternative. They would, of course, have to figure out what it means concretely to apply the new synthesis to the particular conditions of their particular countries and societies. But the key methods and principles of the new synthesis would apply anywhere. They could take that up, and it would provide a positive alternative to both those bad alternatives. It could become a rallying point in places of the world that are in turmoil, of which there are many.

Q: Continuing with the point you just made about the difference, the tremendous difference, it would make if younger generations took up this new synthesis, I did want to ask specifically what you think  it means that  there’s this vanguard party,  the Revolutionary Communist Party, led by BA, that bases itself on the new synthesis of communism that BA has brought forward, and the need for that party to grow and for people to join that party.

AS: Well, again, I would refer people to the website revcom.us, where there are some articles that get into why a vanguard party is needed. Why you can’t make a revolution without one. I think people would get a lot out of digging into some of that. And your question is a good question, because I think  it’s a question that  people don’t discuss  a lot, or not enough. How are you going to help make an actual revolution without being really disciplined and really organized into a revolutionary organization, in other words, a revolutionary party?  It’s not going to be enough just to function as atomized individuals or even to just get together with handfuls of like-minded individuals in a somewhat disorganized manner.

There’s a statement on the revcom.us website, Get Organized for an Actual Revolution. If you understand what an actual revolution is, what it involves–that it actually does require getting to the point where you can dismantle the existing state apparatus and replace it with a completely different state apparatus, different organs of power, that you have to seize power and organize society on a new basis with new institutions–how are you going to do all that without a very tightly cohered and organized body of people, who are very committed and dedicated to doing that and who are willing to function in a very disciplined and organized way? Many people would probably recognize the need for tight and disciplined organization later on, when things get to the point of military struggle, or things like that–people think about disciplined armies, and so on. But what about for the current phase  of things, where what’s mainly  involved is political  struggle, fighting the power primarily politically for now, working to unite people on that basis, and working to transform the thinking of the people, but doing so in a way that will lay the basis for being able to “go for the whole thing,” for the actual  seizure  of power, when the conditions exist for doing so? Even now, under the conditions of today, you’d better not just function in an individualistic way, or in a scattered way, like a bunch of disorganized individuals who sometimes work together and sometimes don’t, and who are constantly pulling in different directions and end up undermining even their own best efforts. Making revolution is a complex multi-faceted process which needs to pull together many different components of the struggle and keep them all pretty much on track and advancing in a certain direction. So you’d better be as unified as possible, you’d better all be pulling  in the same basic direction, and you’d better be recruiting more people and constantly expanding the ranks of the disciplined, organized body that can provide ideological and political strategic guidance and direction to ever broader people in society.

Q: And what does it mean  to have a party that’s based on the leadership of BA and this framework of the new synthesis?

AS: Well, a party is obviously made up of a lot of individual human beings, and not all of them see eye to eye on everything or understand things the same way or function all at the same level. And, as I said before,  I think  there’s a tremendous “gap” between Bob Avakian and pretty much  everyone  else. He’s like “miles ahead  of even the best of the rest,” as someone once said, in terms of people in the RCP as well as people outside the Party. That’s just objective  fact. But OK, we can work with that–first of all we can learn to more deeply value and appreciate what it is that BA has developed–that he has come to concentrate and that he is constantly modeling for others–which objectively puts him so far ahead of the rest of the pack, so to speak. We can do our best to learn from him, in particular by closely studying his whole method and approach to things. And we can work to at least significantly “narrow”  the gap, in an ongoing  way, including by having a good attitude about being led and learning from advanced leadership, and by actively contributing ourselves to continual grappling with the new synthesis and how to apply its key principles and methods in an ongoing way to further developing and advancing the movement for revolution.

People should understand better both what it means to be willing to lead, and what it means to be willing to be led. It should be a two-way street of mutual and inter-dependent responsibilities and the furthest thing from a passive or one-sided process. Being provided leadership, if it’s good leadership, doesn’t mean  that  you’re just being bossed around or given orders all the time! [laughs] That’s not leadership. Good leadership consists primarily in training people in overall orientation and method and approach, and in this way giving them the tools to contribute as much as possible themselves to the advance of the overall larger process and objectives, and to in turn train others to do the same.

And again, a revolutionary party has to function as a unified  body, which is why there’s a concept, democratic centralism, that people can read about in the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Democratic centralism is not just a question of people following orders or being disciplined, although it is that, too, for instance in relation to things like carrying out assignments and responsibilities. But, democratic centralism involves much more than that. Democratic centralism is, most fundamentally, a scientific concept about epistemological discipline. It doesn’t mean  that  people are slavish. But it means that when analyses and syntheses are developed at leading levels, and strategies and methods for a particular period of work and for prioritizing things are being developed, then the Party as a whole should function as a unified body to take this out to the best of their ability into the world. Like good scientists who are working in a coordinated and disciplined way on a scientific  project. In this case, they’re working  on the project of transforming society, transforming the thinking of blocs of people, of fighting the power around egregious outrages, all in a disciplined and unified way along with the broadest numbers of people that can be united to do so, and doing all this in a coherent way. And then,  if Party members have differences and don’t agree with certain things, they have a responsibility to raise their questions or disagreements, in a systematic way, through the appropriate channels. This, too, is part of the scientific method and process.

You function in a united, unified way, but then internally people discuss and wrangle and debate and raise questions or disagreements and modifications, and so on, so that there is actually  a genuinely collective process. You know, there’s that  formulation of the RCP, that  the Party’s collectivity is its strength. It is of course being given centralized guidance: Guidance is being provided regularly to the Party and to the people around the Party who are interested in learning about this guidance and orientation. So, yes, the Party is being guided, it is being led. It is being guided by BA, including through his works, and it is being guided through the website revcom.us, through Party documents, and so on. So there’s definitely guidance, there’s definitely leadership, being provided. At the same time, people are not–and should not be–passive. People in the Party, at every level, as well as people outside the Party, should definitely be raising their own thinking, their questions, their disagreements, but in a substantial way, and in an appropriate manner. In a manner that will likely contribute in a positive way to the overall process. This doesn’t mean  that  you have to have a whole deep analysis of something before you can raise a question or possible disagreement, but whatever you raise should at least be with the right spirit. What I mean by saying that this should be raised in a substantial way and with the right spirit, is that it should not consist of a bunch of “nyaa-nyaa, crotchety-crotchety, complain-complain, I don’t like this, I don’t like that.”  You know what I mean? That doesn’t get anybody  anywhere. Even if it’s a simple question or a simple disagreement, it should be raised in the spirit that we’re all trying to get to a better world, and that’s what we should all be doing together.

That’s why, once again, I feel that  in the Dialogue,  Bob Avakian and Cornel West set a good example that other people should follow. They have some substantial disagreements, which they made clear. But they also identified substantial points of unity, and manifested a sort of joint moral conscience, in terms of fighting oppression. And so they could find the way to work together while still talking to each other and talking to the general public about what some of their differences are, and challenging people to grapple with that, not being afraid of seeing people grapple with that.

Q: So the Party enables people to collectively, in a unified way, apply the new synthesis of communism to reality, to grapple over that new synthesis and its application, and to further develop it.

AS: Right. Like a good team of scientists, with BA in the position of team leader, overall team leader, and with other people playing their roles to the best of their abilities, in accordance with their experience and understanding, and with the development of their ability to grasp and apply the scientific  method. It’s very much  as if you were trying to solve a huge scientific problem in the natural sciences–for instance, if you were trying to find a vaccine for Ebola, or trying to cure cancer, or trying to figure out how to turn back global warming, or trying to stop the deforestation of rain forests–and, in order to increase your chances of succeeding, you set about organizing and unifying a whole bunch of scientists to work together, at different levels, with different abilities, different levels of experience, but all united in their willingness to: work coherently together, using the best possible scientific methods; study and build off of the accumulated knowledge in their field so far; bring their own creativity and initiative to bear; and follow the lead of a team leader, who is best able to provide overall guidance and direction for the project as a whole, and who has demonstrated, and models for others, an especially advanced and developed level of knowledge, expertise, and methods relevant to the particular field, and to the problem to be solved.

Well, in the “field” of applying scientific  methods to “solving the problem” of emancipating all of humanity from the bone- and soul-crushing system of capitalism-imperialism, the person today who is best imbued with these qualities and most able to assume the responsibilities of team leader  is clearly BA. Again, this isn’t just my personal opinion–I believe this is a clearly demonstrable fact. There’s simply nobody else today working at quite this level. So we should consider ourselves lucky to be able to work with, to take guidance from, the person who happens to currently be “the most advanced expert  in the field,” and we should take full advantage of his overall guidance and leadership if we are serious about making revolution, in the right ways, and with a real chance of succeeding.

But everyone  does need to pitch in. Look, you go out into the world and you’re trying to transform material reality,  you’re trying to transform society, and of course sometimes you’re not sure what you’re doing, or you run into obstacles or you start going off track, or whatever. But you can learn  from all that,  too. Don’t step over it. If you do go off track, or if you run into problems, don’t just try to skirt it, ignore it, finesse it or just move on to the next thing. Instead, leave your ego out of it [laughs] and confront it, face it, figure it out. There are bound to be lots of problems and lots of mistakes made, and the problems you are having are probably shared by quite a few others. So let’s just talk about  it, let’s collectively learn from it, in order to keep getting better at what we need to do.

And if, on the other hand, people are doing things that are making breakthroughs, are making advances, don’t keep this to yourself  either. Don’t just think,  “Oh, how cool!” and then keep it to yourself. Report on what you are encountering, on what you are learning out in society, on what is actually advancing things and connecting with things. Because there will be important insights and new experiences that come from every level, including from people at the base of the Party and from the people outside the Party who work closely with the Party. But knowledge of this needs to be shared. You don’t want to squander any of that.

So, again, there’s the responsibilities of leadership and the responsibilities of the led, at whatever level. The responsibility of leadership at every level is to lead. The responsibility of the led is to take leadership, to follow leadership, with the orientation of not being slavish but of fighting oppression and working towards the emancipation of humanity. And, in the course of taking leadership, learn to be a leader yourself and spread that leadership and that revolutionary consciousness and organization throughout society.

Q: So, with the Party there’s a basis for this new synthesis to become  a material force in the world in a way that  wouldn’t be possible without this Party.

AS: Yeah, without an organized party, without an organized revolutionary movement, it would just end up being small numbers of people talking to each other behind walls.

Q: Returning to the work and the leadership of Bob Avakian, and the role he plays in the world, as you have said, this is very contended. There are some people who really love Bob Avakian and what he’s brought forward and represents and the role he plays in the world, and there  are some people  who really don’t like this. And I wondered if you could get into that further.

AS: I think that’s actually  a very important thing  to dig into more deeply, because there’s a lot you can learn  from digging into the reasons why so many people do love Bob Avakian and his work, and, at the same time, the reasons why so many people hate Bob Avakian and his work–or at least hate Bob Avakian, because, again, many of the “haters”  hate him without really knowing  his work–they typically don’t really study his work, they don’t really get into the specific arguments, they don’t really engage the analyses and the syntheses, they don’t come up with serious, substantial criticisms. What prevails, at least these days, among most of those haters is more in the nature of petty slanders, insults and personal attacks. It’s very low-level, low-minded kinds of attacks, and there’s a real shortage among most of those haters of any kind of substantial analyses of the societal problems that are being tackled and the solutions that are being proposed.

With a few exceptions, you don’t see people writing  papers or giving speeches that are really engaging what Bob Avakian is saying about the strategy for revolution, how to develop a revolutionary movement in the United States, why revolution is necessary and possible, how we could have a realistic chance of winning, what kind of society we could build up, and just how would we go about  it. You know, there’s a whole body of work that Bob Avakian has developed, over decades, with very substantial documents and analyses of these questions, and he’s done a tremendous amount of work to make this readily available. And yet these haters are not so much, in this period at least, characterized by people who really develop counter-arguments and substantial counter-analyses. It really is much more gutter talk and snark. And this has something to do with the prevailing culture. There are many people in the culture generally these days who seem to make it a hobby to tear down other people with petty slanders and insults. It’s all over the internet and stuff. But, with regard to Bob Avakian specifically, this takes the form of a tremendous amount of passionate vitriol against him. And you have to ask yourself: Why would some people so passionately hate someone who has spent his whole life dedicating himself to trying to serve the people, and to the emancipation of humanity? You can agree or disagree with his specific arguments and analyses, you can have substantial differences, and so on, and you can debate these and discuss these in a principled manner. But why on earth would you be trying to personally attack and tear down someone who has not been trying to promote himself or sell you anything or feather his own nest, or anything else of that  nature? Quite the contrary, he’s dedicated his entire life to serving the people and trying to come up with solutions to the horrors of the system and to being able to bring into being a new society that would be better for the vast majority of people in this country and the world. So why would anyone actually have such passionate hatred for someone like this?

And it’s important to make a scientific assessment of those kinds of tendencies, besides just recognizing the prevailing culture of snark, which is a disgusting feature in society more generally these days. Again, I feel you have to further explore why some of these haters, most of whom today don’t even bother to familiarize themselves with BA’s extensive body of work or engage it with any seriousness, are nevertheless so bent on spewing so much hateful vitriol in his direction. Why is that, really? And I think that, to get at what’s really going on with this, you have to ask those people  some pointed questions: What’s YOUR analysis  of the problem? What’s YOUR analysis of the solution? What are YOU putting forward, and arguing for? What kind of resistance are YOU organizing? What are YOUR strategic objectives? What kind of new society are YOU proposing and how are you proposing to get there? If you don’t think  this system  needs  to be overthrown and dismantled through revolution, then what program and solutions are YOU proposing? What is YOUR plan for getting rid of the incessant outrages and abuses generated by this system and built into its foundations, such as the police murders of Black and Brown people and the slow genocide of mass incarceration; the patriarchal culture of rape, degradation and dehumanization of women and denial of the right to abortion; the wars of empire, armies of occupation and crimes against humanity perpetrated on a regular basis by imperialism; the closing and militarization of borders and brutalization and dehumanization of immigrants; the accelerating and multi-faceted degradation of the global environment that is being driven by imperialism towards a literal tipping point of no return. What is YOUR solution to all this? What do YOU propose?

We should be confronting those haters with such questions. We shouldn’t let them  get away with spewing hatred to try to tear down and diminish BA, and by extension everyone working with BA, just because they themselves have nothing much of substance or value to propose. If they don’t like what BA and the RCP are analyzing and proposing, why don’t they just go do their  own work on solving the problems of humanity!

I think some of these people just want to keep one foot in the system, you know? Why are they kicking and screaming at the prospect of going towards a new society that could benefit the vast majority of people? Would they actually prefer to keep things as they are? This is particularly characteristic of some of the petit bourgeois strata, in other words, the people in the middle classes. Not all of them, of course, but some of the people in the middle strata want to keep at least one foot...Look,  by definition, that’s what the petite bourgeoisie is, right?  It’s the class that  sits in between the proletariat and the most oppressed at the bottom of society, on the one hand, and the ruling  bourgeois, the ruling  capitalists, on the other  hand. So they’re kind of in an in-between limbo, and it’s pretty common for many of them  to hedge their bets and try to keep one foot in both worlds–one foot in the current system,  because, if they’re being honest, they still kinda like living under this system, from which they still derive quite a few advantages and privileges; and one foot which, at least in their better moments, might be willing to step into the future, because many of them do recognize that this system is a horror for the people at the bottom especially, and many, again in their better moments, would sincerely like to get to a more just and equitable society. But they are often reluctant to upset the applecart and do what needs to be done to get there. So they remain torn. Some of them end up playing very positive roles and contributing  in various ways to the overall process aimed at emancipating the oppressed, the exploited, and ultimately all of humanity. But some of them get downright nasty and try to hold back, and tear down, those people and forces that are actually going forward and working on getting organized for an actual revolution and a fundamental change in the system running society. So judge for yourself.

And we can talk about  that  some more. But, I guess I’d like to ask people to think  for a minute about respect and about disrespect; about people who prove, over and over again, that they have principle and integrity, and a generous and broad-minded spirit, and who are trying to change the world for the betterment of humanity, versus, on the other hand, people who seem to spend a great deal of their time mainly tearing other people down, and spreading petty, snarky, vindictive slanders and insults and launching personal attacks while themselves having very little to offer people in terms of a viable and realistic way out of the horrors of the system, and very little to offer people in terms of a concrete plan for how to remake an entire society on a basis free of institutionalized exploitation and oppression. So, please, people, think about this contrast. Because it is burdensome and damaging when there are people who are always kind of nipping at your heels, trying to get in the way, and especially trying to get in between Bob Avakian and the people he’s trying to speak to–constantly nipping, nipping, back-biting, trying to tear down. Is this really what should be going on?

Have some principle, have some integrity. If you have disagreements on matters of substance, by all means write them up, make speeches, make analyses, make them known. If you have alternative programs and approaches, by all means bring them forward. But do it in a principled manner, with principle and integrity. Don’t go down in the gutter, nipping at people’s heels and trying to get in the way, trying to prevent them from connecting to the people they are trying to reach.

 

 

 

 


 

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

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/the-more-i-engaged-ba-i-could-not-wait-to-get-out-of-prison-en.html

"The More I Engaged BA, The More I Could Not Wait to Get Out of Prison"

by Joe Veale, revcom, former member of Black Panther Party

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received the following from Joe Veale.

I’ll start like this. I “knew” BA even before I met him. We grew up in the same city, in Berkeley, California. The Black Panther Party had started in Oakland which was right next to Berkeley. I knew a lot of the rank and file Panthers, once they got going. They were telling me what they were doing—they had developed this organization and they were trying to make revolution to overthrow the system and to put an end to the oppression of Black people. They were straight up about the fact that racism went with the capitalist system, working to overthrow the system and not working within the system. And they made it clear to me that they was trying to build the revolution not only among Black people, they was trying to build support for it among whites, you know, support for this among whites as well as other different races and nationalities. And in that context, BA’s name always came up. It was “Bob Avakian.”

I hadn’t met him yet, I wasn’t a Panther yet, but I knew about him. That’s what they were saying—this is the main person who supported them when they first began. Then when I started to go to Panther rallies, that’s what I would see on the stage with these Black revolutionaries, Black militants—BA would be right up there speaking with them about Black liberation and revolution, and supporting the Panthers.

Joining the Panthers

Then when I joined the Panthers—it was in Richmond, California, that’s the branch I went in. BA and the Revolutionary Union, which he led, were also there as well. I didn’t know this at the time, but they were in Richmond doing their political work. They were answering the call from the Panthers and others to take revolutionary politics out to poor whites. He talks about it in his Memoir (excerpts from the Memoir available here).

Richmond was a proletarian city of different races and nationalities. So out in Richmond, I would see him come by the office to talk with the Panther leadership. At times I’d have assignments at the National Office in Berkeley and I’d see him come through there talking to some of the national leaders and everything.

I remember on one occasion it was at this community college, Contra Costa College. BA talks about doing work there and the Panthers did work there also. This is when I first ran into BA face to face. And one of the things that really struck me, because up to this point, I had never met anyone who was white that was so passionate about Free Huey! Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were the two founders of the Black Panther Party. Huey was facing a murder charge for a shootout with Oakland police and they were trying to put him in the gas chamber. BA had Free Huey buttons all over his clothing—it was really striking to me. He also had Mao Tsetung buttons all over him.

You know, the Panthers were into popularizing Mao’s Red Book, but BA was just as passionate, if not more so, about Mao and revolution. I hadn’t met anybody—anybody white, to be frank—who was so passionate about Black liberation and communist revolution.

Then I found out that me and BA, we had some of the same friends. He talks about one of these friends—Billy Carr, who was also a friend of mine. Billy was a very good athlete, and a really nice person—he was a little older than me. Billy ended up being in “the life”—I had gotten into it too and I kinda idolized Billy.

But he was a friend of BA’s that he knew really well. BA was struggling with Billy trying to get him to do something else with his life. He wasn’t blaming Billy for being in the situation that he was in, he was blaming the system and trying to get Billy to see that. He really understood and he had a lot of real affection for people like Billy generally. When I realized that and I learned that BA had genuine friends like that, that they had potential to do something great with their life, this had a big impression on me—I just have to be straight up about it.

Studying Revolution in Prison, Going Up Against Identity Politics

In the early ’70s when I was sent to federal prison, these revolutionary prisoners (seven prisoners known as Leavenworth Brothers) struggled with me to read BA’s writings. Because I was really angry like [another person in this discussion] was talking about. I was cocky and angry, and nobody could tell me shit. I had a certain attitude towards other prisoners: “y’all trying to win a longevity contest but you need to be out here trying to make revolution.” Anyway, some people were struggling with me: “if you’re really serious you got to read BA.” The first thing they had me read was Red Papers issues #5 and #6, both issues were about the Black National Question or Black liberation. I knew BA had wrote these.

I had already read, studied, and listened to Malcolm X, all of his speeches/recordings over and over. I had read Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. I had read all this stuff from the Panthers and the Panthers’ leaders about this contradiction—the oppression of Black people—and what’s the solution to it. But when I read Red Papers 5 and 6, I recognized that I had never seen this kind of approach, this kind of systematic and scientific approach that BA took to understanding and analyzing it: from the time of slavery, to sharecropping and Jim Crow, to moving into the urban cities, into the proletariat still facing discrimination, segregation, and police terror—the implications of all that for revolution. Black people was now potentially in a more powerful position to contribute to communist revolution to emancipate humanity. I had never read anything like that.

But at that time some people were saying (at least some people that I knew—it was one of the things that was in the movement at that time): “don’t read anything from somebody white that’s trying to tell you about the struggle of Black people or any other oppressed people because its social chauvinism.” It means they are trying to take over “your” struggle. They are trying to “own” it. No! If it is true and scientific it is getting to the root of the problem so that this oppression can be uprooted and overthrown.

You hear a lot of this today in identity politics lingo—it’s white privilege, white racism, therefore white people are automatically disqualified and they have no business in here trying to tell you about what is real or not real. That is bullshit! It’s a way of avoiding the central point which is whether what anybody says is true or not, does it correspond to reality or not? You can determine that by taking the evidence-based scientific approach.

It’s bullshit on another level. I knew BA, and I knew where his heart was.

And then when I got to reading his writings—I got to know his method of thinking, his thinking process, how he went about engaging reality. When I received that pamphlet while I was in prison, Revolutionary Work in a Non-Revolutionary Situation, I thought it was a masterful grasp of the dialectical materialist method—understanding how a thing of one quality can be transformed into a whole different kind of quality. How a non-revolutionary situation can be transformed into a revolutionary situation.

I was in prison and we had our Marxist study group. We were comparing all these people that were saying they were communists and communist leaders. You had different ones—October League, League of Revolutionary Struggle, Communist Workers Party, Black Workers Congress—all these different organizations. You had ’em all, they were all around. We were looking at all of them, what they were saying in relationship to what BA and the RU were saying, as well as comparing it to how Mao, Lenin, and Marx took up the scientific method, how they engaged reality, and who here came the closest to that. Even at that time BA stood out.

The method that he was applying, even though he has developed it and made different ruptures since that time—but you could see, if you was looking for it, that there was some real systematic and a scientific way of getting to the roots of things. He did not put forward or say something just ’cause it was something to make people feel good, he just told people the truth whether they liked it or not. It was something I really appreciated. He applied this to everything including the oppression of Black people and how it had changed over the years.

Getting Out of Prison and into the Movement

The more I engaged BA, I could not wait to get out of prison. Before that, I didn’t give a fuck whether I got out or not. Before that I was saying: if I only live five more minutes it’s going to be on my terms, whether I’m in here or whether I’m out there—fuck it! But once I started getting into... I wanted to get out. I wanted to get with the leadership of BA. I wanted to meet him, I wanted to get with the Revolutionary Communist Party because I thought: hey, we have the leader and the leadership to really make revolution that we was trying to do in the ’60s.

When I came out of prison in the late ’70s, what immediately happened was the Bob Avakian and Mao Tsetung Defendants court case. He was part of a demonstration in DC that was viciously attacked for defending Mao and revolution in China and was calling out the capitalist coup after Mao’s death. BA himself was facing hundreds of years in prison. Because I knew that we had something special here in terms of a leader, I volunteered immediately to go to DC to be one of the volunteers. I said: we can’t allow BA to be snatched away from us. I’ll go anywhere, do anything politically, to prevent that from happening. And 200 of us volunteers went to DC. We went there to politically “turn DC upside down”—again, this is in BA’s Memoir. We were passionate about that, even as we were just beginning to grasp what we have in the leadership of BA.

I was brand new. I had just got out of prison, my parole had just ended the day before and the very next day I was on the plane to DC as a volunteer. So, I’m there, and I think it was a speech BA had just given to the volunteers. I’m standing in the back talking to somebody, he comes up to me. He starts talking to me about some of things we were all studying at that time about the Collapse of the Second Communist International. We studied why during Lenin’s time, Lenin was the only one who led the masses to go for revolution. They had other parties that were bigger and had even greater influence but were capitulating and leading the people in different countries to take up guns to defend the fucking imperialist fatherland and shit like that, during World War 1.

BA just walked up to me and started talking to me about that and some of the lessons that we should draw from that. I was just kinda... I have to say I was kinda taken aback because he came up and was talking to me. But BA was so genuine, he had no airs, he was just so genuine. I was just talking to him... even though he’s this really advanced world-class leader, when you’re talking to him it’s like you’re talking to your best friend, it’s like talking to a friend—that’s just how he comes off to me, which again, just really struck me. This always has struck me about him.

Back to what I was saying about his friend Billy, even the thing with the Panthers, when I listen to BA talk about it, he understands it better than I do. I was in the Panthers, I went through it, but he understands it. When I went to prison that’s why I was so angry because of what had happened to the Panthers. But BA had a rational and a scientific understanding about why they split apart, and departed from the road of revolution. Again, not blaming them, appreciating the very brutal and murderous repression they faced—but more so, recognizing how they didn’t make the leap to become scientific about revolution.

Nobody in the ’60s came up with a real strategy that can lead millions and millions to defeat and overthrow this system, what to replace it with, what kind of leadership do we need, what kind of methods and approach does that leadership needs to be based upon.

So it’s the same thing like what I was saying about Billy or with those youth in Chicago when we showed them the video clips of BA Through the Years. BA resonates when people hear him, especially the basic masses, as well as others. When they hear him it resonates so profoundly because he understands their situation, what they are going through, and what is the way out—better than you do.

You may be going through and suffering in this way, but it is like going to a doctor, a good doctor. You’re the one suffering but they understand what the solution is to put an end to that suffering better than you do and better than you can. Because he has done the work. People need to engage this work and become followers of BA.

“There has never been a leader like this”

But these are some of the things that have really always struck me about BA. It always struck me on a real personal level. Anytime I was ever able to talk to him, and then read and study his works, it’s so striking that there has never been a leader like this. I think it’s really rare. Especially when I was in prison, and other times, I would just hope that we could get a leader that could really lead the masses to get out of this shit and really navigate through all the twists and turns. Because in any revolution there are always difficulties, there’s always unanticipated things that pop up, but you got to have a method and approach that allows you to be able to work through that and not be thrown by that. And that’s what I see with BA.

When I was in my prison cell, I used to think that either I was going to do something crazy when I got out or I was just going to go to China and live because Mao was still alive at that time. But I hated this system, I hated what it was doing to the masses, not just here but all around the world. But I didn’t think we could get that leadership on that level of a Mao, a Lenin, or a Marx. Then I started realizing that we had it, we have it. And now, it’s developed more beyond what it ever had been in the history of the communist revolution, because BA has made this science much more thoroughly and consistently scientific, to be in synch with reality and how it is changing, and how it CAN be changed to emancipate humanity.

I would read some of things from the first wave of the world revolution—Marx making the first great breakthrough in our understanding in the struggle for human emancipation—but there were definite limits and weaknesses in the first stage of communism. Sometimes I would read those things and get to a place where I’d say, “oh yeah, now we can relax because there’s a kingdom of peace and forever harmony”—that’s a vision would come to my mind. But I don’t ever get that from BA.

Through this revolution humanity can surpass being divided into antagonistic groups—but there’s always going to be matter in motion, there’s always going to be struggle, even if it’s not always antagonistic, that’s just reality. That’s what’s so fucking refreshing. Because when I was in prison people would talk... some of these people, they was eloquent, they’d been studying Marxism—but it was really dogmatic. And I’d listen to them talk and my jaw would just drop because they’d be talking about how the working out of history is pre-determined, that feudalism would be negated by capitalism, and capitalism is going to be negated by socialism—and it was all a kind of worked out in a one/two-step harmony. Real dogmatic and shit like that. Some of that was in that first phase of communism, and BA has gotten rid of all of that with his new synthesis of communism. You don’t find none of that religiosity, religious mantra and shit like that in it and stuff. To me, that’s why I think we can do this—with him, and with his leadership, because of that.

 

BA Through the Years 1969,1979, 2003

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/680/from-a-prisoner-revolutionary-political-consciousness-en.html

From a prisoner:

"How Revcom.us and Bob Avakian Helped Transform My 'Criminal Consciousness' to a Revolutionary Political Consciousness"

| revcom.us

 

I have been incarcerated for over 18 years. I was given 46 years to life under California’s draconian 3-strike law for a high speed chase which resulted in an injury.

This unjust sentence further fueled my anger, hate, and frustration for a system who has dismissed Black, Brown and even White lives as insignificant. And it further alienated me to a harmful “criminal consciousness.” I use the term “criminal consciousness” because as a “criminal,” I did have a consciousness. It was just misguided. It was based on anger and raw emotion from being followed, profiled, stopped, beaten, and harassed. As a young Black man I was aware and conscious of what this country felt about me. So my consciousness was built and based on abuse and mistreatment, it just had an angry emotion and misguided actions attached to it. But Revcom.us and Bob Avakian helped me turn my “criminal consciousness” to a revolutionary one. Here’s how they did it...

While not in any way condoning my criminal behavior/actions, they understood my energy and frustration. They told me that it could be re-directed in a positive revolutionary way. Initially I thought they were crazy. I felt no one understood. So I challenged them. With history, facts, and explanations that I hadn’t heard before they helped me see that my “criminal consciousness” could be turned around and used. Through hundreds of newsletters covering over a 10-year period, my prior “criminal consciousness” has been transformed to a revolutionary political consciousness. So it can be done. I think part of the way they were able to help transform me and countless others is their approach. They weren’t judgmental. Understanding and reaching people where they are, is I think their secret ingredient.

Another good thing is how they see value in people who society has thrown away. Revcom.us and Bob Avakian show those in prison they have value. And to people who have been told they are nothing, this is a big deal. Also I credit Revcom.us and Bob Avakian for engaging and including people from different walks of life. Respectfully and honestly disagreeing on some points, but agreeing on the goal is something else I think is good. Too many organizations are dismissive of people they don’t agree 100% with. And you lose a lot of people like that.

Another good thing I like is that they often show, print, and publish inmates’ words and writings. This is good because we feel like we are part of something. Many of us led the criminal lives we led because we didn’t feel part of anything. Amerika didn’t want us or accept us or understand us. So we went where we would feel wanted and accepted. And by showing our work, Revcom.us and Bob Avakian is saying “We understand you, we want you and accept you.” And with this kind of genuine relationship, there can be nothing but progress.

Revcom.us and Bob Avakian are providing valuable lessons, if people would pay attention. They are reaching people the WORLD needs, but can’t reach. Those of us in prison can and do have the ability to improve society. Look what George Jackson, Malcolm X and countless others have done and still are doing. Amerika sees a “prison.” Revcom.us and Bob Avakian see a university with many willing but misguided students. Looking at me and viewing me as a student, instead of a criminal, can bring out the best in me. It can further transform and re-shape my negative, destructive, and harmful criminal ways, to positive, productive and meaningful actions.

This is true “rehabilitation.” This system offers no meaningful “rehabilitation.” The public school system failed us and taught us we are nothing. No wonder many drop out. If you’re taught you’re nothing, you often act like you’re nothing. Many of us only acted how we were taught and treated. Public schools confused and angered us. Revcom.us and Bob Avakian woke us up, accepted us, and transformed us.

In closing, Revcom.us and Bob Avakian are saving lives. Because if many of us were left in the state we were in, Amerika would have a worse problem. I would encourage many other organizations to follow in the ways of Revcom.us and Bob Avakian. Because if you can successfully transform a “criminal consciousness” to a political revolutionary one, you have the very allies needed to make meaningful change. And it won’t happen without us. Thank you.

Bob Avakian Straight-Up on the Revolution... and the Gangs

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

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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.

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/importance-of-setting-record-straight-on-revolution-in-china-colombia-letter-en.html

From a reader in Colombia:

The Importance of “Setting the Record Straight” on the Revolution in China

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received this letter from a reader in Colombia, in response to an article by Raymond Lotta at revcom.us, A Vicious, Idiotic, and Irresponsible Attack on Communism: The Atlantic Equates Mao and Trump...Tossing Truth to the Wind. The reader gives further evidence about how inaccurate statements about Mao in scholarly works are then circulated as so-called “evidence” slandering communist revolution. The translation from the original Spanish is by revcom.us.

Colombia, November 30, 2020

Dear Revolution:

From issue #676, posted online today, Raymond Lotta’s article “A Vicious, Idiotic, and Irresponsible Attack on Communism—The Atlantic Equates Mao and Trump... Tossing Truth to the Wind” caught my attention, rightly criticizing a recent article in The Atlantic by political scientist Edward Steinfeld, professor at Brown University (and formerly MIT).

When reading Steinfeld’s article, you notice the deliberate confusing of literature and literality, very common among anti-communist propagandists. For example, he takes at face value Mao’s call, in his first dazibao in 1966, “bombard the headquarters!”1

But in particular Lotta’s end note, where he lists Steinfeld’s unfounded assertions about the work of Roderick MacFarquhar’s and Michael Schoenhals’ Mao’s Last Revolution [MLR] (titled “La revolución cultural china” in its Spanish version), makes the need to question the sloppy and dishonest academic work not only by Steinfeld but by MacFarquhar and Schoenhals and other such people seem more urgent. And it reminded me of the work of a young historian, A. F. García, from the National University of Colombia, who questioned MacFarquhar and Schoenhals about a couple of unsupported claims in MLR. In an email to MacFarquhar… on June 16, 2016, García asked him to specify the sources of a reference to a banner at a Red Guards2 rally and of the claim in MLR that “Mao wanted to unleash a great catalyzing terror that would start up the cultural revolution. He had no qualms about sacrificing human lives in it. In a conversation in later stages of the cultural revolution with some of his acolytes, the chairman went so far as to suggest that what distinguished a true revolutionary was precisely his or her intense desire to kill: ‘That fellow, Hitler, was even fiercer. The fiercer the better, don’t you think? The more people you kill, the more revolutionary you will be.’” (Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, La revolución cultural china [Barcelona: Crítica, 2009], p. 155)

The authors “supported” such a statement in a note that stated: “From a very reliable source seen by one of the authors.” (!) [In his reply to García] MacFarquhar washed his hands of the matter and referred the question to Schoenhals: “Dear Mr. García, Thank you for your interest in our book. In the case of the two footnotes you have cited, Professor Schoenhals would be the one to consult. Best wishes, Roderick MacFarquhar.” (email June 19, 2016)

Schoenhals’s reply was: “Dear Fernando, I am always afraid a conscientious reader like yourself will wonder about this quote… as I have since the publication of Mao’s Last Revolution come to believe that my original translation of Mao’s very ambiguous, subjectless utterance actually is misleading.... In December 2015, I wrote as follows on the H-NET historian’s website, criticizing and self-criticizing the careless scholarship of myself and others: ‘When citing Mao, it is crucially important to check the original Chinese and never ever to simply rely “blindly” on somebody else’s translation! I say this to younger historians in particular, in the hope that you will not, whatever you do, assume it’s safe to trust the elders in your field not to make translation errors that sometimes grossly misrepresent what Mao said. Let me underscore this point with an example: perhaps you would like to believe that the authors of Mao’s Last Revolution… can be trusted when, on p. 102, they have Mao saying “the more people you kill, the more revolutionary you are”? Don’t! I was responsible for that translation of Mao’s abstruse remark… and the translation is wrong.” (email June 20, 2016)

I do not know if Schoenhals’ self-criticism is a sign of intellectual honesty or of cynicism in view of the fact that editions of MLR in different languages continue to be published with the same string of lies, with the ones that García addressed being only one sample. García’s reflections (of which this correspondence with MacFarquhar and Schoenhals is a part) appear in the article “Algunas refutaciones a las tergiversaciones del comunismo” (“Some refutations of the misrepresentations of communism”), published in Ciencia Nueva. Revista de Historia y Política [New Science. Journal of History and Politics] in the January-June issue, 2019, and they were presented in a series of conferences in various cities of Colombia in 2017, one of which I attended. All this only highlights the importance of the “Set the Record Straight”3 project, a valuable initiative that has inspired many people internationally, as expressed by some of the speakers in the aforementioned series of conferences.

With a revolutionary salute,

A reader

 


1. “Dazibao,” or “big character poster,” was a form of political struggle popularized during the Cultural Revolution in China, in which people put up large posters criticizing policies and political lines of those in leadership. As Raymond Lotta notes in his article, the “bombardment” that Mao was talking about was political—he was calling on the masses of people to rise up, challenge, and overthrow the “capitalist roaders,” those in positions of leadership who wanted to bring back capitalism. [back]

2. The Red Guards were groups of revolutionary youth during China’s Cultural Revolution. [back]

3. Go here for the Set the Record Straight project. [back]

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/ocr-amlo-faithful-to-fascist-trump-until-the-end-en.html

Translated from the blog Aurora Roja, of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico:

AMLO—Faithful to Fascist Trump Until the End

| revcom.us

 

A fascist, racist and misogynist mob incited by President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6. It was the continuation of Trump’s attempts for months to deny the results of the election that he lost by seven million votes and to carry out a coup to stay in power and consolidate fascism.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the president of Mexico, refused to comment on this attempted coup, so as to not “intervene” in the internal affairs of the United States. However, he had no qualms about intervening to defend Trump’s supposed “freedom of expression” when Facebook and Twitter blocked the accounts he used to continue whipping up his fascist hordes, proclaiming about them that “they are very special” and “we love them.”

Faced with broad condemnation of his completely reactionary and criminal actions, Trump was forced to pretend to accept a “peaceful transition” of power in a brief, obviously forced and hypocritical speech, while continuing to repeat his outrageous lies of nonexistent “electoral fraud.” AMLO took this opportunity to intervene in the affairs of United States for the second time this week to praise this statement, saying that this guarantees “an orderly, peaceful transition” in the United States. Thus, he objectively spoke out against the voices of many in the U.S. and around the world who insist that Trump must be removed from power immediately, before he commits more crimes. By openly praising Trump’s hypocritical speech, AMLO covers up the sinister campaign of lies, threats and reactionary violence led by Trump and his cohorts to deny the elections and carry out a fascist coup.

Why Is AMLO Only Intervening in the Situation in the United States to Support the Fascist Trump?

This support for Trump is nothing new, but rather the continuation of a shameful history of conciliation and collaboration with U.S. fascism throughout the AMLO administration. When he was campaigning, AMLO correctly compared Trump to Hitler and the Nazis. But when leading the capitalist state in Mexico, he has praised as a “friend” the man who has never stopped calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, among other racist, misogynistic and xenophobic (hatred of foreigners) diatribes. When the U.S. Migra began to rip children from the arms of their migrant parents and lock them in cages (with hundreds still separated from their parents), the Mexican government basically did nothing, in order to maintain “good relations” with the monster in the White House.

When Trump demanded that Mexico hunt down and repress migrants with the same effort as the reactionary Yankee Migra, AMLO obeyed and commanded the Mexican National Guard to do just that. When Trump ordered that applicants for asylum in the U.S. to be thrown out on the Mexican side of the border with the “Stay in Mexico” program, in complete violation of international law, the Morena [AMLO’s political party] government accepted this without flinching. When several dozen Mexican women and other migrants denounced that they were subjected without their consent to unnecessary gynecological procedures that threatened their health and deprived several of the possibility of giving birth, the Mexican government proclaimed that it was going to investigate but ended up minimizing this terrible outrage. As is known, AMLO traveled to the U.S. during the U.S. electoral campaign to join in the Ugly Celebration in which he praised Trump so much that his electoral campaign used him to win, with some success, votes among Mexicans and other Latinos. Trump insisted throughout his campaign that the only outcome he would accept was his own victory. When he lost by seven million votes, he called his defeat “fraudulent,” without any evidence. AMLO lent credibility to Trump’s blatant lies by comparing it to actual electoral fraud in Mexico, and refused to recognize Biden as president-elect for more than a month.

Whatever you think of AMLO and his government, to not call out the attempted fascist coup in the U.S. or to not criticize the collaboration of the Mexican government with the fascist Trump/Pence regime is to conciliate with fascism and is totally reactionary and unacceptable.

It is very important to defend the right to free expression, and social networks should be managed by society in the interests of the people, and not by billionaires like the owners of Facebook and Twitter. But free expression does not and should not include the right to shout “fire!” in a crowded room when there is no fire. Nor does it include the “right” to incite and lead a coup which, had it been successful, would have led to the abolition of all rights for everyone, except the fascist-in-chief and his cohorts. Does anyone really want to argue that it was right to respect Hitler’s “free speech” after his first failed attempt to impose fascism through the infamous Munich “Putsch”?

And where is AMLO’s concern for the right to free expression of peaceful protesters against racist police brutality in the United States who have been repressed with gases, batons and stun grenades, in addition to being picked up and disappeared for hours or days by unidentified state agents in unmarked vehicles at Trump’s orders? Or his concern for the progressive protesters killed by the fascist hordes with the open approval of the shithole resident in the White House? Or for the 16 journalists killed in Mexico during the current government, which led Reporters Without Borders to classify Mexico as the most dangerous country without a war for journalists? Or for the dozens of activists assassinated under the current Mexican government, such as Samir Flores, assassinated with impunity for opposing the murderous thermoelectric plant project in Huexca, Morelos, which as a candidate AMLO promised to stop, but once president of the capitalist state, he is attempting to impose by force?

To the followers of AMLO and others who have argued that for Mexico, Trump would be better than Biden, we only want to say two things. First, even if it were true, putting the supposed interests of the stability of the oppressive social order in Mexico above the interests of humanity is completely reactionary narrow bourgeois nationalism that has something in common with the rabid “United States First” of the fascists in the U.S. Second, although it is true that Biden is a representative of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class in the U.S. and his government is inevitably going to be bad, both for the masses in the U.S. and for people around the world, the consolidation of fascism would be infinitely worse. The post WW2 German governments have been, like the U.S. governments, reactionary, capitalist and imperialist governments. The post WW2 German governments have been, like the U.S. governments, reactionary, capitalist and imperialist governments. But does anyone really want to argue that the fascist regime of Hitler and the Nazis is the same thing, which massacred more than six million Jews, communists, gypsies, gays, and other supposedly “undesirables”? If you think that it is an exaggeration to say that Trump’s and other fascists’ extreme program of white supremacy, male supremacy and pro U.S. supremacy would not lead to such horrors, you haven’t been paying attention.

Finally, the attempts of the Mexican bourgeois right (the political parties PAN, PRI, PRD, etc.) to turn things to their advantage, by condemning the attempted coup in the United States, represent ugly hypocrisy, when they themselves harbor a good number of fascists from El Yunque [a fascist religious organization] and others in their own ranks, and their hands are stained with blood from countless crimes against the people during their governments. But their vile hypocrisy does not justify the silence or complicity of progressive people with respect to fascism.

This first attempted fascist coup in the U.S. failed. However, the threat of fascism is still very present, as an extreme “solution” of the ruling class to the acute crises of their system, in the U.S., in Mexico and in the world in general. It is necessary to overthrow the current capitalist system, responsible for so many crimes and so much unnecessary suffering in the world. The struggle against fascism is an integral part of the revolutionary struggle to end the capitalist system that engenders it.

In the Name of Humanity, No Conciliation or Collaboration with Fascism!

The System Is the Problem, Revolution Is the Solution!

Aurora Roja
Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Organization, Mexico

auroraroja.mx@gmail.com | aurora-roja.blogspot.com


Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the president of Mexico, and Donald Trump

Download in PDF format:

AMLO fiel al fascista.pdf [Spanish version]

See also:

The Defeated Fascist Coup, the Battle Still Raging, and the Way Forward Out of This Madness


MAGA rioters occupy the West Front of the Capitol before storming the building, January 6. Photo: AP

Read more

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/mass-farmers-protests-general-strike-in-india-mobilize-millions-en.html

Mass Farmers Protests and General Strike in India Mobilize Millions

Letter from a Member of the National Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We welcome contributions like this, and are looking forward to more of the same. Given the severity of the crisis in India with the farmers and the agrarian sector, we will be doing further coverage at revcom.us. This is part of much bigger changes around the world, with the workings and imperatives of the global system of capitalism-imperialism, and this beginning coverage/contribution will be followed by more.

In September 2020, three new laws affecting agriculture were pushed through Parliament in India, at the direction of the fascist regime headed by Modi and his Hindu-Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This has set off a huge wave of protests.

Until now, certain government regulations affecting how large numbers of farmers sell their agricultural goods, the prices they get, and how produce is stored provided a section of farmers with a very limited measure of security. But now, in the name of reform, the Modi government is attempting to do away with even these limited protections.

The effect will be to subject farmers in India to an even greater onslaught by and competition from global capitalist agribusiness, with its immense financial resources, control of seeds and fertilizers, and ability to dominate markets. India's struggling farmers will be even more at the mercy of corporations and the anarchy of the global market. Increasing numbers of farmers will lose their land and face more desperate conditions. 

These so-called “reforms” will have especially devastating effects at this time—because many people have fled the cities on account of the COVID pandemic, returning to their traditional rural areas and working the land for survival.

The new laws strengthen the hand of large capitalists and corporations who want to invest and speculate in land. They will now have the ability to buy crops directly from farmers—where before, crops were sold through government-backed marketing agencies. This will put more pressure on farmers to sell at lower prices.

What is happening to agriculture in India is an expression of, and a product of, larger changes and transformations taking place in the world imperialist economy. This is the economy that dominates the lives of the nearly eight billion on the planet. Global imperialist agribusiness utilizes new biotechnologies to develop and patent seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers to increase efficiency and output and to increase monopolistic control over markets for these “inputs.” Farmers worldwide become more dependent. At the same time, capitalist and imperialist agribusiness increasingly dominates global markets with the power of pricing and loans, and establishes networks of contract farmers around the world. Small-scale, peasant-based subsistence agriculture—food produced for local household consumption—is being wiped out. Third World economies are “restructured” and “reformed” to meet the needs of imperialism: producing “nontraditional” fruit and vegetables for export, “luxury” foods for high-income consumption. Large-scale industrialized  farming—from Brazilian beef to Southeast Asian “shrimp farming”—takes hold. And imperialist agribusiness is engaged in vast profit-driven, land-grabbing investments in the oppressed countries. 

These are seismic changes that have contributed to the ruin of small-scale peasant agriculture and to the huge migrations of humanity from the countrysides of the Third World to what have become mega-cities and mega-slums of the Third World. And these forces are at work in influencing the kinds of “reforms” pushed by the Modi regime.

The Struggle of Indian Farmers Becomes a Rallying Cry

The new laws took many by surprise. But they are totally in line with the fascist tactics of rule by diktat: arbitrary and unpopular measures imposed on people without even the facade of legislative discussion and consent.  

Immediately after these bills were passed last year by the BJP regime (with no input or even debate among the farmers and their organizations), protests erupted, first in the state of Punjab. Since September, these protests have continued and grown tremendously in size and impact across various states on India. On November 26, 2020, a general strike was held throughout India—mobilizing some 250 million people around the call for an end to the anti-farmer laws and other anti-labor laws. 

In late November, protesting farmers, largely of Sikh background and from the regions of Punjab and Haryana, marched on New Delhi, the capital of India. There they were met by vicious government repression. The nonviolent marchers were stopped by concrete barricades, tear gas, and water cannons. In response, they blocked almost all major roads leading into the city with their tractors and trucks. Their numbers swelled by some estimates to the hundreds of thousands. Many planned to stay until the Modi government relents, having enough supplies for weeks or even months. Networks of support, including open kitchens, were set up to aid the protesting farmers who were now occupying parts of the city. Support has also been offered by prominent musicians and artists, particularly those from Punjab, demonstrating the ability of the protests to garner support from many sections of the population.

Some 45 percent of India's labor force is employed in agriculture—most working as laborers but there are large numbers of farmers as well. The vast majority of India’s farmers have very small land holdings and are kept in desperately poor conditions. In most cases, they own less than two and a half acres of land (by contrast, the average farmer in the U.S. owns 444 acres!), and must borrow money from parasitic banks and landlords to cover their expenses at rates far above what they are able to realistically pay back. This indebtedness, combined with the toll taken by drought and climate change on the lives and livelihoods of farmers, has led to hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers committing suicide since the 1990s—in many cases by ingesting pesticides. According to one count, more than 10,200 people dependent on farming for their livelihoods, the vast majority who own land themselves, committed suicide in 2019. This is a tremendous human tragedy caused by the profit-based system that rules...and is wholly unnecessary.

The Indian ruling class has no viable, humane response. Its answer—as concentrated in the policies which has spurred this justifiably intense and angry rejection from the masses of people—is to drive those already in poverty into further immiseration and suffering, while the capitalists intensify their exploitation of labor and the earth.

The basis exists, with a different mode of production, one based in collective ownership and cooperative methods, to resolve these crises in the interests of the broad masses of people. The masses of people in India, and all over the world, need revolution—nothing less. A revolution to sweep away the system that has brought them to this point of mass suffering and suicide, and bring into being a new society and government actually acting in the interests of the people. This would open up the possibility for an economic system not based on anarchic competition, but on meeting human need. 

Under this kind of system, a socialist system aiming for communism, advances in technology and increased efficiency resulting from this as well as the common ownership of land and other means of production, would be marshalled for the common good of society as a whole. Instead of a desperate drive to sell at a profit, under the threat of debt and misery, agricultural workers would be able (as would other sections of society) to work together with a collective ethos and inspiration to fulfill the great needs of the masses. And if and when such productive work cannot be found, a socialist state, no longer chained to the profit motive, can shift and create new jobs and opportunities in accordance with where the greatest need exists.

A genuine revolution would make food security and meeting the nutritional needs of the population a fundamental priority of society. It would develop systems of agricultural and food production that are environmentally sustainable. 

Absent all this—the revolutionary transformation of society—nothing fundamental will change, in this sphere or any other, in a positive direction.


Immediately after bills were passed, protests erupted, and were met by vicious government repression. (Photo: AP)

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Protesting farmers blocked almost all major roads leading into the city with their tractors and trucks in late November. (Photo: AP)


January 13: Farmers in New Delhi burned copies of Modi's disastrous farm laws, and Modi effigies. Photo: @Dipankar via Twitter

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/check-it-out-how-can-i-tell-you-en.html

Check It Out: “How Can I Tell You?” by Angélique Kidjo

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received the following from people supporting the protests against the suppression of political prisoners in Iran.

The influential cultural magazine Variety recently reported that Grammy Awards winner Angélique Kidjo has released her video of her song “How Can I Tell You?” and entered it into the Oscars song race. Kidjo was the Grammy winner for the Best World Music Album in 2020. “How Can I Tell You?” is from the documentary Nasrin by filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross about the life and activism of well-known Iranian political prisoner, the civil and women’s rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. (Sotoudeh is among many political prisoners now under the reactionary fundamentalist regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. See “Free All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW.”)

Kidjo said “I am so glad to be part of this beautiful project. I want Nasrin to be free because if she’s not free, none of us are free. She’s fighting for human rights, the right to decide what we want to do with our lives, the right to choose our own future. I think each one of us around the world—it doesn’t matter where you live—you should be sensitive to the fight of Nasrin. We all have to come together and continue putting pressure on the Iranian government to free her. She needs us now to rally around her, to carry the message of freedom of speech, freedom for all, to be at the center of our concerns day in and day out. That’s why I am standing side by side with Nasrin.”

The original song was written by the Tony-award winning, and Academy-Award nominated, team of Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music). They expressed their reason for joining the film project: “We saw an early rough cut of the film and read some of Nasrin’s letters, written from prison to her children. We were deeply moved by Nasrin’s courageous life story and her love for her family. This immediately inspired our song, ‘How Can I Tell You?’ As sung by four-time Grammy winner and activist Angélique Kidjo, the song takes on the power of women around the world who witness and experience injustice and demand to be heard.”

The video of Kidjo’s performance ends with a challenging message from Nasrin to people everywhere who witness and experience injustice: “Our Children Must Not Inherit Silence”. Go here for Kidjo’s incredible performance of “How Can I Tell You.”

 

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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

Updated | 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, 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 have NO right to speak when it comes to the suffering of the Iranian people. There have been many recent U.S. aggressions such as the new Biden administration refusing to lift sanctions; the U.S. (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

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

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

"It's Not Our Embassy!"

| revcom.us

 

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

EXCERPTS FROM PAGES 396-400 FOLLOW:

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

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

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

“It’s Not Our Embassy!”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 


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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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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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/481/american-crime-case-66-the-war-on-drugs-en.html

American Crime

Case #66: The "War on Drugs," 1970 to Today

March 6, 2017 | 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.

 

 

THE CRIME: The “War on Drugs” was first called for in 1971 by then President Nixon, launched in earnest by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, and stepped up or continued by every U.S. president since. This “war” has been justified in the name of combating “rising crime,” protecting people from “drug lords” and “drug gangs,” and/or ending the “scourge” of drugs and drug addiction.

In 1982, Reagan officially launched this “war,” and made it a central focus of his administration (1981-89). Police, DEA, and other law enforcement budgets soared. Between 1981-91, for example, the DEA budget soared from $86 million to $1,026 million, while the FBI’s rose from $38 million to $181 million. Meanwhile, budgets for drug treatment, education and prevention were drastically reduced.

Washington DC raid, 1989
During the 1980s and 1990s, the “War on Drugs” was one justification for the tremendous expansion of military tactical units (SWAT) and the militarization of local police forces. Police frequently terrorized whole neighborhoods, kicking down doors and aiming assault rifles and other artillery at residents in mostly Black and poor neighborhoods. Above, Washington DC raid by U.S. Marshals, 1989. (AP photo)

The media whipped up hysteria over the spread of a new drug, crack cocaine, and targeted Black communities where the drug was being used for vilification and attack. Racist code words and derogatory stereotypes like “crack whores,” “welfare cheats,” and “gangbangers” began to populate the mainstream media landscape.

In 1986, Congress passed the draconian Anti-Drug Abuse Act, changing the penal system’s focus from rehabilitation to punishment. Under the bill, penalties for the cheaper crack cocaine were 100 times harsher than for powdered cocaine, ensuring people of color and the poor were locked up much more frequently and for much longer than white people.

This war was not about bringing down crime; it was about ramping up social control.

During the 1990s, the Bill Clinton administration, with the active support of Hillary Clinton, escalated the system’s overall war against the oppressed with the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and other measures. They continued and stepped up the “War on Drugs”, including by “dismantling welfare as we know it.” This forced millions, especially Black people and Latinos, into desperate poverty, and youth in particular were effectively driven into the drug trade as their only means of survival. Then the system targeted these youth for incarceration, branding them “super predators.”

The “War on Drugs” continued with no substantial changes under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

This so-called “War on Drugs,” (together with other racist and draconian measures) has exacted a horrific toll on the masses of people, devastating the lives of millions, especially Black and Latino people.

The "war on drugs" has been a major driver in the more than quadrupling of incarceration -- from 474,000 in 1980 to 2.3 million today. While the majority of inmates in Federal and State prisons at any given time in recent decades are not incarcerated for drug offenses, drug offenses (mostly petty, nonviolent drug possession) have accounted for almost a third of total admissions each year. Black people have been the main victims of this "war," and the effects have been "devastating." According to The Brookings Institute, "[B]lacks are 3 to 4 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, even though they are no more likely than whites to use or sell drugs. Worse still, blacks are roughly nine times more likely to be admitted into state prison for a drug offense." (See sources at end.) Today over 745,000 Black men are imprisoned, and the U.S. has the highest overall incarceration rate in the world.

By the 1990s, marijuana possession accounted for close to 80% of drug related arrests. Study after study shows the rate of drug use among white and Black people are almost identical (both less than 7.5%), yet in 2013 an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report showed that Black people were almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person.

Today one in every 100 Black women is in prison. Black people comprise some 13 percent of the U.S. population, yet Black youth make up 26 percent of juvenile arrests, 44 percent of youth detained, 46 percent of youth sent to criminal court, and 58 percent of youth admitted to state prisons. Today more Black men are under the control and supervision of the criminal justice system (either locked up, on parole or under some form of post-incarceration control) than were enslaved in 1850.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the “War on Drugs” was one justification for the tremendous expansion of military tactical units (SWAT) and the militarization of local police forces. Police frequently terrorized whole neighborhoods, kicking down doors and aiming assault rifles and other artillery at residents in mostly Black and poor neighborhoods. In April 1987, the LAPD carried out “Operation Hammer,” with 1,000 cops invading South Central Los Angeles and arresting over 1,450 people in one weekend.

Millions have been stripped of their basic legal rights, including due to the “War on Drugs.” Author Michelle Alexander sums up:

Full-blown trials of guilt or innocence rarely occur; many people never even meet with an attorney; witnesses are routinely paid and coerced by the government; police regularly stop and search people for no reason whatsoever; penalties for many crimes are so severe that innocent people plead guilty, accepting plea bargains to avoid harsh mandatory sentences; and children, even as young as fourteen, are sent to adult prisons. Rules of law and procedure, such as “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” or “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion,” can easily be found in court cases and law-school textbooks but are much harder to find in real life.  (“The New Jim Crow,” Chapter 2).

       

As factories have left the ghettos and barrios, this system hasn’t responded by providing better education and new opportunities for these youth. Instead, drugs have been allowed to flood the inner city, including with the active involvement of the CIA during the 1980s. Many inner-city youth have been funneled into the drug trade—making them more vulnerable to constant harassment, arrest, imprisonment and social isolation. Imprisonment rates have exploded to the point that shuttling between the hard hustle of the streets and the harder times in prison has become a dominant mode of life in many oppressed inner-city communities—a lifetime of lockdowns.

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Because of all this, the “code of the streets” became more deeply rooted: rules of survival borne of the shark-like competition in the illegal economy. This mentality sets terms for inner-city youth more broadly, with the resulting horrific “Black-on-Black” violence and violence between Black and Latino youth. Politicians and mainstream media talking heads deplore this carnage, but then usually use it as an opening for further demonization of Black youth in particular—right down to inventing a category of “feral super-predators”—and a justification for further police terror and repression (covering up the system’s responsibility for this nightmare).

All this had led to the situation where today Black people are facing a slow genocide. The so-called “War on Drugs” has played a central role in this monstrous and historic crime.

THE CRIMINALS

President Richard Nixon: First officially called for a “War on Drugs” in 1971 as part of trying to suppress the massive social and political upheaval at that time. He explained his thinking to his top aide H.R. Haldeman: “... you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the Blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

President Ronald Reagan: He and his wife Nancy Reagan led the first huge surge in this, and pioneered the widespread use of racist code words like “welfare queen” and “predators” to fan resentment and anger towards poor Black people. Nancy Reagan launched her “just say NO” campaign as part of this war, including her 1989 made-for-TV photo-op with an LAPD-SWAT team battering down a door in South Central LA in a raid that arrested 14 people but netted one gram of crack.

President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton: Greatly stepped up the overall war on the masses of which the “War on Drugs” was one part, escalating police brutality, murder, and mass incarceration—nearly doubling the prison population. This included the 1994 Crime Bill signed by Clinton. It expanded the death penalty, encouraged states to lengthen prison sentences, including with lifetime mandatory sentences (three strike laws), eliminated federal funding for inmate education, and allocated $9.7 billion for building more prisons. They championed the “one-strike-you’re-out” policy that evicted public housing tenants if they or even their guests were accused of any drug-related offense or other criminal activity on or off the premises. The huge growth of homelessness today, where areas like Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles remind one of shantytowns in South Africa, can be directly traced to these Clinton-era policies.

The CIA: played an active role in the “crack epidemic” during the 1980s in particular, helping flood inner cities with cocaine. The CIA’s actions were linked to Reagan’s wars in Central America, which also destroyed millions of lives there, and whose impacts continue to be felt today. This murderous connection was documented by the late journalist Gary Webb in his book The Dark Alliance.

The U.S. Supreme Court: Over these decades, the Supreme Court upheld many laws that propelled forward this war against the people, such as mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and laws that were formally “color-blind,” but were actually aimed at Black and other people of color. Cruel mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders were consistently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, in 1982, they upheld 40 years of imprisonment for someone convicted of possession and attempt to sell 9 ounces of marijuana.

The Department of Justice, the FBI, police and sheriffs departments across the country (the entire system of law enforcement); and the political establishment (the Congress, the Democrats and  Republicans, etc.) all supported and were complicit in this “War on Drugs.” 

THE ALIBIS:  Richard Nixon first called drug abuse “a serious national threat,” and later “public enemy No. 1.”  The “War on Drugs” has been justified by the need to remove drug dealers and kingpins in order to bring down rising drug use and violent crime, especially in the Black and Latino neighborhoods. In particular it was claimed that it was needed to stop the crack epidemic that was ravaging these communities. 

THE REAL MOTIVE:  Starting with Nixon, this “War on Drugs” marked one key front in a strategic decision by the ruling class to wage a counter-insurgency campaign against the masses of Black people, particularly inner-city youth, and later Latinos.

Nixon secretly spelled this out to his top aides. One, John Ehrlichman, said in a 1994 interview: “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.... We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

So from the start, the “War on Drugs” and other racist, repressive measures, have been aimed at preventing the kind of mass upheaval and rebellion that erupted so powerfully during the 1960s. As conditions have gotten even more desperate for the masses of Black and Brown people in the decades since due to the workings of global capitalism imperialism, the rulers of this system—both Democrats and Republicans—have continued and intensified Nixon’s basic approach, sharing his fear of the latent revolutionary potential in those this system has cast off, and for which it has no future. 

Sources:

Top Government Official Admitted: The ‘War on Drugs’ IS a War on the People,”  Revolution, April 11, 2016

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, The New Press, 2010

The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System, and the Revolution We Need,” Revolution, October 5, 2008

Antonio Moore, “The Black Male Incarceration Problem Is Real and It’s Catastrophic,” The Huffington Post, April 9, 2015

War on Drugs,” Wikipedia

The Exponential Growth Of American Incarceration, In Three Graphs,” ThinkProgress, May 29, 2014

Jonathan Rothwell, “Drug offenders in American prisons: The critical distinction between stock and flow," Brookings, November 25, 2015

How the CIA Created the Crack Epidemic,” Revolutionary Worker, September 15, 1996

The CIA’s Role in the Crack Epidemic,” Revolutionary Worker, December 15, 1996

The CIA/Crack Connection: Interview with Gary Webb,” Revolutionary Worker, October 27, 2014

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/667/donald-trump-genocidal-racist-by-bob-avakian-en.html

10 Part Series:

Donald Trump — GENOCIDAL RACIST

| revcom.us

 

Part 1:

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

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

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

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

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

Think about that.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

See each part for a downloadable poster

Download pamphlet of complete series (PDF printer spread)

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/592/american-crime-case-22-barbaric-suppression-1811-louisiana-slave-uprising-en.html

American Crime

Case #22: The Barbaric Suppression of the 1811 Louisiana Slave Uprising

| 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

They moved downriver, nearly 25 strong, the heavy night rain silencing their approach. Forty miles from New Orleans, they break into the mansion, run to the second floor where they find and wound with an axe the slave owner Manuel Andry and kill his son. They then break into the mansion’s basement, collect muskets and ammunition, take several horses, and continue to march downriver.

So began, on January 8, 1811, the largest slave revolt in U.S. history, an armed revolt against the slavery system’s barbaric, intolerable conditions. And a revolt the slave owners and U.S. authorities violently suppressed using the most savage means imaginable. The rebels’ political goal was to establish an independent Black republic on the shores of the Mississippi, with a captured New Orleans as its capital.

Manuel Andry was among the French planters who established highly profitable sugarcane plantations in the rich agricultural region known as the Mississippi River’s German Coast. Many of these planters had been forced to flee to the Orleans territory from the Caribbean French colony of Saint-Domingue, where the slaves had risen up, arms in hand, and defeated the planters and armies of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The victorious rebels renamed Saint-Domingue the free republic of Haiti, abolished slavery, declared racism illegal, and permanently banned the French from the island.

The French planters able to escape and settle in the Orleans territory brought with them many of their slaves. Intent on creating a new Saint-Domingue by maximizing the quantity and quality of sugarcane output, they achieved greater profits than slaveholders elsewhere, their wealth concentrated in huge landholdings, grandiose mansions, and a lavish lifestyle. But to achieve this wealth, they resorted to the same vicious practices they used in Saint-Domingue, turning their slaves into sugar-producing machines on plantations resembling death camps.

At harvest time, the slaves worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, cutting down the eight-foot-high sugarcane. Laboring in the swamps’ summer heat, they were attacked by mosquito swarms, with many developing malaria and other tropical diseases. If slaves failed to meet their daily quota, or rebelled against their wretched conditions, punishment awaited. For minor insubordination, chained imprisonment for a period of time was likely. For greater disobedience, there was the whip—three stakes driven into the ground in triangular fashion, six feet apart; each hand of the slave tied to a stake, feet tied to the third; then came the lashing with a rawhide whip, creating with each stroke deep cuts seven or eight inches long.

For worse offenders, for those who attempted to escape, for example, there were torture devices they were forced to wear, such as a neck collar with inward-pointing spikes that made it impossible for the slave to lie down and rest his or her head. Finally, beyond the whip or spiked collar was the ultimate form of punishment: death by hanging or other means.

These were the intolerable conditions that led to the uprising of 1811. After having seized guns, ammo, and horses at the Andry plantation, the slaves continued to march downriver, chanting “Freedom or Death!” and “On to New Orleans!” At the plantation of Jacques and Georges Deslondes, the home plantation of Haitian-born Charles Deslondes, an overseer-turned-revolutionary and the insurrection’s major leader, eight slaves joined the revolt.

Small groups of slaves joined from every plantation the rebels passed. Two key organizers of the revolt, African-born Kook and Quamana, led more than half the slaves at their plantation to join, bringing the total number to well over 100. Most estimates are that 200 to 300 slaves joined, although some eyewitnesses and others have said it was as many as 500.

As the march grew in size and strength, terrified plantation owners and their families fled, some hiding in nearby swamps, others seeking refuge in New Orleans. There, on January 9, Governor William Claiborne and U.S. military commanders mustered two companies of volunteer militia, 30 regular troops, and 40 seamen to attack the rebels. At the same time, the wounded Manuel Andry, who had managed to reach New Orleans, worked with other planters who had fled there to form a militia led by mounted cavalry.

By early morning on January 10, these forces had reached a plantation where they thought the rebels had encamped overnight. But the rebels had already started back upriver, nearing another plantation. There, planter Charles Perret had assembled a well-armed militia of about 80 men, who he ordered to attack the insurgents. Despite their greater numbers and some guns, the slaves were not as well armed as their attackers. Only about half had bullets for their muskets, and others carried only sabers, axes, and cane knives. Within 30 minutes, 40 to 45 slaves had been killed, many others had been wounded, another 50 had been captured, and others escaped into the swamp. The militiamen then barbarically chopped off the heads of those they had killed and began pursuit of the others, led by a pack of bloodhounds. They soon found Charles Deslondes, the dogs getting to him first. The militiamen, intent on making a public display of Deslondes, dragged him back to the cane fields where they chopped off his hands, broke his thighs, shot him, then put him on a bundle of straw and roasted him to death.

Kook and Quamana were among those captured and taken to a plantation to be tried. There were three “legal” trials in all, kangaroo courts in reality, quickly ending in executions of most of those captured either by hanging or firing squad, including Kook and Quamana. But whether it was those killed in the initial battle, by subsequent capture and summary executions, as befell Charles Deslondes, or by executions after the trials, the planters and the New Orleans authorities performed the same savage ritual of chopping off the heads of the corpses and putting them on pikes, their mutilated bodies also publicly displayed. By the end of January, nearly 100 heads on pikes were displayed in central New Orleans and for 40 miles along the River Road, into the heart of the plantation district. Wrote one exultant planter, “They were brung here for the sake of their Heads, which decorate our Levee all the way up the coast. They look like crows sitting on long poles.”

THE CRIMINALS

The sugarcane plantation owners: Known to be among the cruelest, most brutal slaveholders anywhere in the South. When slaves farther north spoke fearfully of being “sold down the river,” they were referring mainly to the sugarcane plantations around New Orleans, where they worked longer hours, endured the harshest punishments, and lived shorter lives than most slaves elsewhere in the South. Manuel Andry and Charles Perret stand out for the role they played in brutally suppressing the rebellion.

William C.C. Claiborne: Appointed governor of the Orleans territory by President Thomas Jefferson, and with the population of New Orleans consisting mainly of urban slaves and free Black people, Claiborne feared the opening of a second front, which he believed would doom the city’s white population. He put New Orleans on lockdown and ordered that no Black person was allowed to be in the streets after 6 pm. Claiborne then spearheaded the creation of the voluntary militia and federal government armed force, led by General Wade Hampton and Commodore John Shaw, that hunted down and eventually suppressed, through the bloodiest possible means, the rebel insurrection.

President Thomas Jefferson had appointed Claiborne governor of the territory shortly after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, when the U.S. bought from Napoleon Bonaparte, for the bargain price of $15 million, what now equals nearly a quarter of today’s United States. The purchase was made by Jefferson primarily in the interests of the slave owners, with the aim of spreading their murderous slave system into new areas of North America.

The legislature of the Orleans territory, which, following the revolt’s suppression, approved “compensation” of $300 to planters for each slave initially killed or ultimately executed.

THE ALIBI

Claiborne and others worked to publicly characterize the revolt as nothing more than the actions of “brigands”—criminals, a band of thieves and marauders. The purpose of the trials themselves was to treat the rebellion as a simple legal matter dealing with a criminal act. This reduction of the rebellion to criminality resonated in the halls of D.C., where no concern was expressed for the real crimes: the slave system itself and the revolt’s brutal suppression.

THE ACTUAL MOTIVE

While the planters and federal authorities worked to reduce the slave rebels in the public eye to nothing more than savage criminals bent on creating mindless havoc, they were fully aware that the revolt was politically motivated, carefully planned, and represented a serious challenge to the system of plantation slavery and its westward expansion. In fact, seeds of the rebellion had been planted long before its outbreak. Kook and Quamana, for example, began planning a rebellion not long after they were brought to New Orleans. They carefully identified like-minded slaves, including during market trips to New Orleans. Similarly, as a trusted overseer, Charles Deslondes traveled openly to plantations, where he cultivated small insurrectionary cells. These cells took as their inspiration the victorious Haitian revolution, were driven by powerful revolutionary ideas, and were prepared to attack in organized fashion and under solemn oath of “freedom or death!” when their leaders gave them the word.

It is precisely because of the highly developed nature of the revolt and its political aim of establishing an independent Black republic that the slave owners and U.S. authorities set out to mercilessly crush the rebellion, to savagely place on pikes the heads of 100 rebels and display their mutilated bodies—providing a glimpse, just a brief but crystal clear glimpse, into the utter barbarity of the slave system.

Sources

Rasmussen, Daniel, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt, Harper Collins Publishers, 2011

Marissa Fessenden, “How a Nearly Successful Slave Revolt Was Intentionally Lost to History,” Smithstonian.com, January 8, 2016

‘America Rising’: When Slaves Attacked New Orleans,” All Things Considered, NPR, January 16, 2011

Leon A. Waters, “Jan. 8, 1811: Louisiana’s Heroic Slave Revolt,” Zinn Education Project

Wendell Hassan Marsh, “The Untold Story of One of America’s Largest Slave Revolts,” The Root, February 25, 2011


Deslonde Revolt, 1811. Artist unknown


New Orleans authorities responded to the 1811 slave uprising by performing the savage ritual of chopping heads off corpses and putting them on pikes. Nearly 100 heads on pikes were displayed in central New Orleans and for 40 miles along the River Road. The Whitney Museum commissioned Woodrow Nash to create 63 ceramic heads (three shown here) depicting the revolutionaries. They are on stakes beside a pond. (Photo: John McCuster)


If slaves were out of line punishment awaited. Whippings took place: three stakes driven into the ground in triangular fashion, six feet apart; each hand of the slave tied to a stake, feet tied to the third; then came the lashing with a rawhide whip, creating with each stroke deep cuts seven or eight inches long.


From: ON "PRINCIPLED COMPROMISES," AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

* Writing in the New York Times “Book Review” section (Sunday, October 25, 2015), speaking about the convention in 1787 that “led to the creation of the United States Constitution,” Robert E. Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, actually says the following:

“Disagreements about the extent of federal power and the design of our democratic institutions were resolved through long arguments and, ultimately, principled compromises.” (Emphasis added)

Principled compromises?! The founding of this country on the basis of institutionalizing slaveryofficially establishing the “right” to own slaves, and the status of slaves as less than human, in its founding Constitution—that is a “principled compromise” in the eyes of a present-day representative and functionary of the ruling class of this country. And the fact is that no major politician and no other significant representative of this ruling class will, or can, denounce this country, since its very founding, and denounce its “founders,” in the terms in which they deserve to be denounced: monstrously criminal. If founding a country on the basis of institutionalizing slavery is not a monstrous crime, what is? The fact that no significant representative and functionary of this system, in this country, can recognize and acknowledge this as a monstrous crime—and instead they all uphold as “great men” those, like Thomas Jefferson, who founded a country on the basis of this monstrous crime, and who perpetuated this crime for generations—that gets to the very core of what this system is all about and why there is a great need to put an end to this system at the earliest possible time, and replace it with a system that has no need, no place, and no apology for slavery in any form.

—Bob Avakian

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/662/fascism-open-bloody-dictatorship-without-pretending-people-have-rights-en.html

Fascism Is Open Bloody Dictatorship, Without Even Pretending That People Have Rights*

| revcom.us

 

It is true that, in the “Ferguson uprising,” and today in the beautiful rising against white supremacy, police brutality and murder, there has been vicious repression carried out by police (and National Guard troops), ordered by Democratic Party politicians. That is a reflection of the fact that we live under a dictatorship all the time—the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (capitalist class). But, before the Trump/Pence regime, this has been a dictatorship that has been exercised in the form of bourgeois democracy (democracy that is based in, conforms to and remains within the confines of the capitalist system and rule by the capitalist class over the masses of people). That contradiction—between the outer democratic appearance and the inner essence of dictatorship—has real meaning. It means that, so long as the form of bourgeois dictatorship is “democratic,” in order to maintain that democratic shell, the political and legal representatives of the ruling class have to allow certain “civil rights and liberties” to be exercised, up to a point, and at least make a pretense of respecting a “rule of law” that is not simply and nakedly the exercise of brute force over society as a whole, and against any attempt to oppose what the government is doing.

The reason that some people think that any kind of severe repression equals fascism is basically because they are fooled by the outer appearance of democracy—and in their minds “democracy” means that there is not supposed to be any repression, or at least not any severe repression—so when there is such repression, even in “normal times,” they believe that this is something other than democracy, when in fact the exercise of bourgeois dictatorship includes plenty of brutal repression when that dictatorship is exercised in the “democratic” formBut that is still qualitatively different than an actual fascist bourgeois dictatorship, which essentially drops all pretense of “democracy” and rules openly through violence and terror.

At times, times like now, the contradiction between the appearance of democracy and the essence of dictatorship can become very acute for the bourgeois ruling class. The fascists—the actual fascists concentrated in the Trump/Pence regime who are now in power—have been acting with a vengeance, and in an accelerating way, to resolve this contradiction by moving towards undisguised dictatorship, relying openly on terror and violence against those who oppose this regime and everyone this regime regards as a threat, without the pretense of allowing dissent and protest.

To act as if it makes no difference to the masses of people—and to any movement against oppression and injustice, let alone any movement for an actual revolution—whether these very real fascists succeed in fully consolidating their fascist rule, is not simply to be out of touch with reality. It is to be out of touch with—and acting against—vital, indeed life-and-death, interests of the masses of people, not just in this country but throughout the world.

 


* This is an excerpt from the article “On the Need for the Science of the New Communism, Not Dogmatic Narrow Nationalist Posing,” which is available at revcom.us.  [back

 

See also:

 

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-dictatorship-and-communism-en.html

DICTATORSHIP AND COMMUNISM—
FACTS AND FOOLISHNESS

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

“Communism is a dictatorship, and I don’t want to live in a dictatorship.”

First of all, people who say this don’t really know anything about communism. To really know about anything of importance, you have to at least do a little work—and for something as important as communism, this is all the more true. The fact is that communism is not enslaving but emancipating—and, through the work I have done over decades to further develop communism into a new communism, it is all the more emancipating and uplifting.

Second, you are living under a dictatorship right now—capitalist dictatorship.This is a system, a dictatorship, founded in the first place on slavery and genocide. It has built up its wealth and power, and its ability to enforce its dictatorship over people, by brutalizing and murdering, using and abusing, masses of people here and literally billions around the world. At the same time, it is plundering the environment and threatening the very existence of humanity in this way, and with its arsenals of nuclear destruction. If you don’t know this is true, you should find out! You can learn about it through the “American Crime” series and other facts and analysis on the website revcom.us.

Third, not all dictatorships are bad. Dictatorship means the institutionalized power to make things happen and to overcome resistance to making them happen. As long as people are divided into different classes with interests that are fundamentally opposed, there will be a dictatorship. Whether it is a good dictatorship or a bad dictatorship depends on: Who is doing the dictating, and for what, toward what end, and with what methods? Is it a bunch of bloodsuckers brutally exercising power over masses of people and stealing away their lives, slowly or quickly, in order to get rich and stay in power? Or is it a dictatorship exercised by the masses of people, with a government and leaders that really represent their fundamental interests in moving beyond all this? A government and leaders that enable them to gain and apply a scientific understanding of what the conditions and relations are that cause people to be exploited and oppressed, and to transform those conditions and relations in bringing a radically new society and world into being, defeating attempts to bring back the old, oppressive system and carrying forward the struggle to put an end to all exploitation and oppression, to get to the point where humanity is no longer divided into masters and slaves, where finally there is no need and no basis for dictatorship—no one with the interests and power to dictate to others, and no one in a position to be dictated over—which is precisely the point and the goal of communism.

You need to know these things—they have everything to do with what kind of future there is going to be, or whether there is going to be a future at all, not just for you but for all of humanity. You can learn about this by going to revcom.us and checking out my writings and talks, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North Americaa sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different, emancipating society and world—and other important knowledge you will find there. In the meantime, for those who ignorantly bad-mouth communism: Stop talking foolishness about something as important as this, when you don’t know a damn thing about it, except what those who are now exercising dictatorship over you, the capitalists, and their intellectual hit-men and mouthpieces, have told you to think.

 

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/261/avakian-democracy-concentrating-some-essential-understanding-en.html

An Excerpt from

Democracy—Concentrating Some Essential Understanding

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

  

The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.

BAsics 1:3

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

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

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

  

In a world marked by profound class divisions and social inequality, to talk about “democracy”—without talking about the class nature of that democracy and which class it serves—is meaningless, and worse. So long as society is divided into classes, there can be no “democracy for all”: one class or another will rule, and it will uphold and promote that kind of democracy which serves its interests and goals. The question is: which class will rule and whether its rule, and its system of democracy, will serve the continuation, or the eventual abolition, of class divisions and the corresponding relations of exploitation, oppression and inequality.

BAsics 1:22

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

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

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

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

To further illustrate the essential points here, I wanted to bring in another great shopkeeper quote from Marx (and in this case, Engels as well). As you know, Marx made a very profound observation about the relation between the democratic intellectuals and the shopkeepers—how, even though in their everyday approach to life, they may be as far apart as heaven and earth, they share an essential unity in that, in their thinking the democratic intellectuals do not get further than the shopkeepers get in their practical dealings; that the one, in the realm of theory, as much as the other in the exchange of commodities, does not get beyond what Marx termed "the narrow horizon of bourgeois right."1 The other quote I am referring to here is from The German Ideology:

"Every shopkeeper is very well able to distinguish what somebody professes to be, and what he really is, [but] our historians have not yet won even this trivial insight. They take every epoch at its word and believe that everything it imagines about itself is true."2

This really captures something very profound. How many people do you know who take every epoch, and in particular this epoch, at its word, and believe that everything it imagines about itself is actually true? How many people do we encounter in the course of our work who, as I put it in the polemic against K. Venu,3 take bourgeois democracy more seriously than the bourgeoisie does—and keep trying various ways in their minds and in their practice to try to perfect this bourgeois democracy into something other than what it is and what it is capable of being?

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

 

FOOTNOTES

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

What Is Capitalism, Part Two

Dictatorship and Democracy, Part One

Democracy — Concentrating Some Essential Understanding

An excerpt from Bringing Forward Another Way by Bob Avakian

Read more

Read the entire work:

From the Preamble to the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (emphasis added):

In contrast to the way in which the capitalist-imperialist state serves and enforces the interests of a small ruling group of exploiters, the New Socialist Republic in North America, with the continuing leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, bases itself on, and proceeds from, the fundamental interests of those most bitterly exploited and oppressed under the old system, and the masses of people broadly, and provides the means for them to play an increasingly widening role in the exercise of political power and the functioning of society in accordance with those interests—in order to carry forward the struggle to transform society, with the goal of uprooting and finally eliminating all oppressive and exploitative relations among human beings and the destructive antagonistic conflicts to which these relations give rise....

Read the whole Preamble, including the first paragraph which sets the context, here.

Break ALL The Chains, Unleash the Fury of Women As A Mighty Force for Revolution!

"The Subjugation of Women and the Division of Society Into Masters and Slaves, Exploiters and Exploited" A clip from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women

Excerpt from the The New Communism, by Bob Avakian

Read more

Special issue of Revolution

Read more


 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

RACIAL OPPRESSION
CAN BE ENDED—
BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

The Fundamental Causes of This Oppression

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Toxic Combination” of Capitalism and Racism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

THE NEW COMMUNISM

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

Download PDF of book here

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/cold-blooded-police-murder-of-patrick-warren-sr-en.html

The Cold-Blooded Police Murder of Patrick Warren Sr.

"A mental health call should not be a death sentence"

| revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received the following from a reader.

On Sunday evening, January 10, police shot and killed Patrick Warren Sr., a 52-year-old unarmed Black man, on the front lawn of his home in Killeen in central Texas.

Earlier that afternoon, Warren’s family had placed a 911 “psychiatric call,” seeking help to deal with a beloved family member in crisis. Patrick Warren Sr., who his family said was their sole provider, had recently lost his job because of a pandemic-caused layoff. His life insurance policy had expired. Trouble weighed on him. His neighbors told a local TV station that despite all this, he remained a “nice guy.”

But instead of sending someone qualified to interact with and help a fellow human wracked by emotional and psychiatric distress, Killeen authorities sent a cop. Instead of sending health professionals trained and prepared to defuse volatile situations and soothe troubled individuals humanely, they sent one of their armed enforcers, trained to brutalize and kill.

An apparently edited video from the scene shows this pig, Reynaldo Contreras, being allowed to enter the Warrens’ home. Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the Warren family, said Contreras “escalated [the situation] almost the entire time, from the moment he entered the house until the moment of the fatal shooting.” Contreras walked out of the house, followed by Patrick Warren, who is seen waving his arms. A statement from the Killeen Police Department claims that when the two got outside, Contreras fired his Taser at Patrick Warren, but it was supposedly “ineffective.” Then Contreras unloaded three shots at point blank range into Warren, who had no weapon on him. The shots are heard, but not seen, on the available video. Patrick Warren fell, bleeding to death in front of his horrified family, as his son screamed over and over at Contreras, “I told you don’t use a gun!”

Merritt said to reporters, “A mental health call should not be a death sentence.” But in this country, all too often it is an indication to a pig that he can gun down someone with impunity, especially if the person is Black or Brown. According to the Washington Post, almost a quarter of people killed by police in 2020 (as of November) were in a mental health crisis. And a disproportionate number of those people were Black.

As of this writing, no charges have been filed against the murdering cop who gunned down Patrick Warren Sr. He is yet another Black man murdered in the unbearable toll, going back centuries, of Black people killed by this system and its enforcers.

An epidemic of police murdering Black, Latinx, and Native American people continues across this white supremacist country.

How many more will die? How much longer will this go on?

  

Sources:

Killeen Police and Texas Rangers are Investigating an Officer Involved ShootingKilleen PD News, January 13, 2021

‘I told you, don’t use a gun:’ Video shows moments leading up to and following deadly local police shooting, KWTX, January 13, 2021

Family Mourns Man With Mental Illness Killed by Police and Calls for Change, KHN.org

Fatal Force: 989 People Have Been Killed by Police in the Past Year, Washington Post, January 14, 2021

Man shot, killed by Killeen police ‘needed help,’ says lawyer, Killeen Daily Herald, January 13, 2021

"Why is Police Terror Necessary For This System?" by Bob Avakian

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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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

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Immediate Dangers, the Fundamental Problem and the Revolutionary Solution

Several years ago, I pointed out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As “Notes” further states:

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

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

See also:

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

by Dr. Hubert Locke

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

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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

(Short Version—The Simple and Basic Truth)

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION.  [back]

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

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

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

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

(Longer Version—The Truth Elaborated)

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

2. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

3. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

4. SCIENCE AND REVOLUTION  [back]

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

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

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

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

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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

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

June 18, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECOGNIZE, DEMAND AND FIGHT FOR SCIENTIFIC TRUTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Order from Insight Press

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

The Science of Evolution
and the Myth of Creationism

Knowing What's Real and Why It Matters

by Ardea Skybreak

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

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

The Science...Actual Revolution title image

Download PDF of entire work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

27. BAsics 5:11

“There is a place where epistemology and morality meet. There is a place where you have to stand and say: It is not acceptable to refuse to look at something—or to refuse to believe something—because it makes you uncomfortable. And: It is not acceptable to believe something just because it makes you feel comfortable.”

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


 

 

 

Contents

Publisher's Note

Introduction and Orientation

Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit

Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science

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

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

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

Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution

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

Part IV. The Leadership We Need

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

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

Appendix 2:
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion

Notes

Selected List of Works Cited

About the Author

 

 


 

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

THIS REPUBLIC—RIDICULOUS, OUTMODED, CRIMINAL

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outmoded—and Criminal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

Additional comments by the author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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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/683/strategic-commanders-of-the-revolution-en.html

STRATEGIC COMMANDERS OF THE REVOLUTION

by Ardea Skybreak

| revcom.us

 

What distinguishes the strategic commanders and what they have in common with each other, despite different particularities, is the ability (and the inclination!) to wrangle with the biggest questions of the revolution (before and after the seizure of power), to understand what it means to apply evidence-based scientific methods to assess and evaluate ever changing reality, to be increasingly able to sort out a complex of contradictions and rank and prioritize them correctly, to consistently proceed from the loftiest strategic objectives and work back from that to figure out what needs to be done at any given time to move the process forward. In short, well-rounded, all-sided revolutionaries, rooted in and proceeding from the New Communism—the most advanced iteration to date of what is needed in the world and how to get there—and with a willingness to go out and FIGHT with masses to get with all this if they ever want to get free.

Properly understood, an illiterate peasant in a 3rd world country or an unschooled basic person from the inner cities can be trained to be a strategic commander of the revolution (not just a tactical commander, and certainly not a “movement activist”!). You don’t have to have been formally trained as an intellectual to be bright, engaged, curious about all sorts of things, able to think on lots of different levels, and to play with lots of different elements. And you don’t have to be a highly trained intellectual to learn the basics about what is wrong with the world, what needs to (and can) be done about it, what it is going to take, what it is that BA and the New Communism are about, and why you, and many, many others, need to become followers of this person and this scientific approach to emancipating humanity. You can learn to understand better why it is that so few people are currently with this, what obstacles you are going to encounter, why the key right now is to go wage ferocious struggle with and among the people to get on board, but all the while modeling and demonstrating the right methods.

So... not a movement activist. Also not an armchair “marxist.” But definitely steeped in the core methods, approach and objectives of the New Communism and eager to go fight for this out in society, with the requisite passion, substance, determination and conviction.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ardea Skybreak is a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism—also known as the New Communism—brought forward by Bob Avakian.  Important works by Skybreak include The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters; 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; and an interview with Skybreak, 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.

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/statement-on-the-inauguration-of-joe-biden-en.html

Statement on the Inauguration of Joe Biden

| revcom.us

 

Today Joe Biden was inaugurated as president of the United States, and Kamala Harris became vice president. This followed months of lies by Donald Trump claiming that he, Trump, had won. And it followed an armed fascist coup—an attempt by forces called forth and led by Trump to overturn the result at its scheduled final certification of the vote on January 6 in the Congress. Biden now has the reins of office. Trump can no longer wield state power to consolidate fascism.

Had Trump succeeded in this, the consequences could have been incalculable horror—including the elimination of democratic and civil rights.

The fact that people decisively voted Trump out and that Trump could not overturn the vote is important, and very good. The fact that fascism no longer has in its claws the executive branch of the most powerful country in the world is very good. It is a good day for humanity, and it is good day for any struggle for progressive change.

At the same time, 75 million people voted for the fascist, Trump. The fascists continue to dominate other critical branches of the government, federal and state, and continue to infest law enforcement and the military. The Christian fascist network of schools, churches, media and political action funds, as well as the fascist media more generally, remain intact. This is real.

Biden’s inauguration posed a stark contrast to the past four years of Trump and many people felt that. Yet Biden’s calls for unity and his claims that America is essentially “good” cannot cover over the real crimes of this country, under Democrat and Republican alike, nor can those claims overcome the profound divisions that exist in this country... divisions that are inextricably woven into the real historical fabric and actual everyday functioning of this society. They cannot put the forces back in the bottle that have both driven forward and been called forth by this fascism—economic, social and political forces.

Further: Biden’s talk of “systemic racism” cannot forever hide the name of the system that birthed, fed and requires this racism—capitalism-imperialism. His talk of “restoring American leadership” in the world cannot change the bloody, plundering record of the “leadership” of that same imperialist system for centuries.

There is much more to say on the horrors of the normal functioning of this system and the fascism it gave rise to, and especially on what is the solution to all this—an actual revolution on the basis of the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian.

As we said earlier this week, Bob Avakian has

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 this crucial time, it will matter to read the accompanying piece, “What Gave Rise to the Fascism of Trump... And Why This Will NOT Go Away,” and dig into and reflect on the work by Bob Avakian it points to. We will be saying more soon. Come to revcom.us on Monday morning.

Then, next Thursday, January 28, @ 5 PM, we will be presenting a special YouTube program on the current situation and what is to be done.

On Sunday, January 31, tune into a special Livestream to raise funds for the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour at 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST.

Thursday, February 4, the “Second Season” of The RNLREVOLUTION NOTHING LESSSHOW premieres. Catch up now on last year’s shows.

What Gave Rise to the Fascism of Trump... and Why This Will NOT Go Away

What gave rise to the fascism that brought Trump forward? How do we understand the last election and its aftermath, which climaxed in the fascist, Trump-inspired violent storming of the Capitol and the attempted coup, which was defeated? And what will happen now?

It is imperative that everyone who has agonized over the course of these past four years, horrified at each new outrage, 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.)

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!

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/rnl-show-new-dispatch-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Watch for the New Dispatch from The RNL Show

Thursday, January 21
5 pm PT/8 pm ET
youtube.com/therevcoms

This short Dispatch addresses the inauguration of President Joe Biden two weeks after the attempted fascist coup led by Trump and after months of Trump falsely claiming an electoral victory. It will make clear that this is a positive development even as the fight for a better future for humanity and an end to the system that birthed a fascist and white supremacist leader such as Trump is far from over.

The Dispatch will feature an important and relevant clip from Bob Avakian's 2012 speech, BA Speaks: Revolution--Nothing Less!

There will be announcements and a schedule for events coming up on our YouTube Channel such as:

*A Fundraising Livestream for The National Revolution Tour

*A special program on the current situation and what is to be done

*And more!

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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