revcom.us, March 1, 2021 through March 7, 2021 (#689)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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NEW YEAR'S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN

A New Year,
The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—
For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

 

1In my statement of August 1 of last year, I put forward the analysis that, in the particular circumstances of this presidential election and the truly profound stakes it posed, if the Trump/Pence regime remained in power at the time of this election, it would be necessary and important to vote for Biden to deliver a decisive electoral defeat to the fascism represented by this regime. At the same time, I emphasized that simply relying on voting would likely lead to disaster, and that it was vitally important for masses of people to take to the streets, in nonviolent but sustained, and growing, mass mobilization with the demand that this fascist regime must be OUT NOW!, as called for by RefuseFascism.org.

As it turned out, masses of people did vote in large numbers to oust this fascist regime—and, in doing so delivered a decisive enough electoral defeat to the Trump/Pence regime that its increasing, and then massively violent, attempt at a coup has been more difficult to pull off and has finally been defeated, with Trump forced to leave (while still refusing to acknowledge his loss in the election), even as Biden had to be inaugurated in a capital city that was a locked-down armed camp.

In immediate terms, the catastrophe has been narrowly averted that would have occurred if this fascist regime had been re-elected (or in some other way remained in power) and on that basis further consolidated its fascist rule and been more fully emboldened and unleashed to implement its horrific program. The fact that the Trump/Pence regime has had to leave office is of great importance and something in itself worth celebrating! Yet the reality is that, not only in relation to this election but throughout the four years of this regime’s rule and its mounting atrocities, there has not been the massive nonviolent mobilization called for by Refuse Fascism to drive out this regime—and, in the aftermath of the election, the streets were dominated by fascist mobilizations, and not by opposition to fascism. This has resulted in a situation where, despite the Trump/Pence regime’s loss in the election, the forces of fascism are still in many ways being strengthened, and the opposition to this has remained much too passive and reliant on the terms set by the Democratic Party.

The reality has to be confronted that, as expressed through the election, nearly half this country has passionately, aggressively and belligerently embraced what is represented by “Trumpism.” The unavoidable truth is that this country, the much-proclaimed “Shining City on a Hill,” is full of fascists!—in the government at all levels and in large parts of the society as a whole. And a defining characteristic of these fascists is their fanatical allegiance to demented distortions of reality, which is extremely difficult (and in many cases impossible) to penetrate with reason and fact, because these distortions serve to reinforce their sense of threatened entitlement and render long-standing prejudices and hatreds even more virulent. This fascism is deeply rooted, in the underlying dynamics of the capitalist-imperialist system that rules in this country and in the whole history of this country, from its founding in slavery and genocide. Related to this is another critical truth: Biden will fail miserably in his attempt to bring about “healing” and “unite the country.” As I have written previously:

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!

There is no question that many of the policies of the Biden/Harris administration will be different than the blatant atrocities of the Trump/Pence regime, and things will definitely “feel different” with Biden and Harris, but the way they will try to “unite the country”—in line with the interests and requirements of this system of capitalism-imperialism—is something that no decent person should want, or be part of. In seeking to re-establish and reinforce “stability” at home, and to maintain the U.S. as the world’s number one oppressive power, Biden, Harris, and the Democrats (as well as other “mainstream” institutions, such as the New York Times and CNN), will make determined attempts to keep the masses of people who have righteously hated the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime, and who aspire to a more just world, firmly tied to this system—restricting their political vision, and activity, within the confines of this system, preventing them from acting in their own fundamental interests and those of humanity as a whole. And to the degree that things are maintained within the limits of this system, this will actually have the effect of furthering the horrors for humanity that are built into this system, while also reinforcing and giving further impetus to the underlying economic—and the social and political—forces that will strengthen the fascism that has already shown great strength in this country (and a number of others).

2Even as it is critically important that the voting in this election has resulted in a decisive defeat for the Trump/Pence regime and its attempts to more fully consolidate fascist rule, this must not be allowed to obscure this crucial truth: The polarization, between Democrats and Republicans, as expressed through the electoral process in this country, involves contention over how to uphold and pursue the interests of the capitalist-imperialist system and rule by the capitalist class. It does not represent the fundamental divisions in society and the world, nor the fundamental interests of the masses of people, in this country and in the world as a whole. Nor can the profound problems confronting humanity be solved—in fact, they can only get worse—within the confines of this murderously oppressive and exploitative system and the chaos and destruction it will continue to unleash on a massive scale, so long as it continues to dominate the world.

This is fact-based, scientifically-established truth. Ignoring, denying, or trying to pursue individual escape from this reality will only make things worse and hasten disaster.

The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be squandered—mired in oblivious individualism and political paralysis or misspent on misdirected activity that only reinforces this system which perpetuates endless horrors for the masses of humanity and has brought things to the brink of very real catastrophe.

A profoundly different polarization must be brought about, in line with the potential for a radically different and better world, representing the actual interests of the masses of people and ultimately all of humanity. A radically different approach to understanding, and acting on, the relations and problems of society must be taken up—a thoroughly and consistently scientific method and approach.

3Among many who have been outraged by the way Trump has consistently engaged in both pathological and purposeful lying, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the importance of science and truth, on facts and evidence-based reasoning. This has focused to a significant degree on the criminally anti-scientific approach that Trump and Pence have taken to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the encouragement of this anti-scientific madness among the fascist “base” in society at large—all of which has led to at least tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of unnecessary deaths as well as unnecessary hardship and suffering for masses of people. This emphasis on science and the scientific method is vitally important, but it is also necessary to emphasize the real need and great importance of being consistent with this, and following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads, in order to correctly understand reality, in every sphere of life and society.

This means fully breaking with and moving beyond an approach of merely embracing truths—or supposed truths—with which one is comfortable, while rejecting, dismissing, or evading actual truth which may make one uncomfortable. One important dimension of this is rising above and repudiating methodologically the philosophical relativism of “identity politics,” which does a great deal of harm through its own version of reducing “truth” to partial, unsystematized experience and subjective sentiment (“my truth”...“our truth”...) in opposition to real, objective truth, which is correctly, scientifically arrived at through an evidence-based process, to determine whether, or not, something (an idea, theory, assertion, etc.) corresponds to actual material reality. While politically this “identity politics” may be proceeding from a desire to oppose various forms of oppression—even if this is often characterized, and vitiated, by people of different “identities” seeking to claim “ownership” of opposition to oppression—in terms of epistemology (the approach to understanding reality and arriving at the truth of things) “identity politics” has a lot in common with the reliance on “alternative facts” (assertions that are in opposition to actual facts, often wildly so) that is the hallmark of the fascists. Even as it is important to recognize the political distinctions involved, the situation is far too serious, and the stakes far too high, to allow ourselves to fall into, or conciliate with, any form of opposing the scientific method and its pursuit of objective truth about actual reality.

To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by—what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and the actual solution. This means coming to the scientific understanding that we are living under a system, and what that system actually is (the system of capitalism-imperialism); working to grasp the deeper relations and dynamics of this system and how this is setting the framework for how different sections of society spontaneously think and react to events in society and the world, and what is the possible way forward to transforming all of this in the interests of the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole. A crucial part of this is a scientific understanding of major changes, resulting from the very dynamics and functioning of this system, that have led to upheaval in society and have in significant ways fed this fascism: changes in the capitalist-imperialist economy and correspondingly in the social structure and “social composition” within this country, as well as internationally, which have undermined “traditional” forms of oppression without, however, leading to the ending of this oppression but establishing and enforcing it in new forms, while provoking what is truly a deranged, sadistic and often violent reaction on the part of the sectors of society who have identified their interests, and in effect their very being, with the traditional forms of oppression.

As an introduction, and overarching point, in regard to some of these important changes, it is important to emphasize that these changes, and especially those that have occurred in the last few decades, are bound up with the heightened parasitism of capitalism-imperialism in the contemporary world. As I explained in Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, parasitism refers to

the fact that an increasingly globalized capitalism relies to a very great degree for production and for maintaining the rate of profit on a vast network of sweatshops, particularly in the Third World of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while capitalist activity in the capitalist‑imperialist “home countries” is increasingly in the realm of finance and financial speculation, and the “high end” of (not the production of the basic physical materials for) high tech, as well as the service sector and the commercial sphere (including the growing role of online marketing).

Since the end of World War 2 (75 years ago), the situation of Black people has dramatically changed. These changes were initially based in increased mechanization and other transformations in agricultural production, and the economy overall; they were driven by a powerful upsurge of struggle of Black people, wrenching concessions out of the ruling class in this country that was anxious to maintain its image as “the champion of democracy” and “leader of the free world,” especially in its confrontation with the Soviet Union for a number of decades after World War 2. As a result of these and other factors, Black people’s oppression is no longer centered around brutal exploitation in the rural south, in conditions of near slavery (and in some cases actual slavery) backed up by Ku Klux Klan terror, but instead involves a situation where masses of Black people are segregated and concentrated in urban areas throughout the country and subjected to systematic discrimination and continual brutality and murder by the police. Over the past several decades, due to heightened globalization and automation of production, interacting with continuing discrimination, there has been the elimination of a great deal of factory employment which provided Black men (and some women) with better-paying jobs in the urban areas. At the same time, as a result of the civil rights and Black liberation struggles of the 1960s/early ’70s, and other factors, there has been the growth of the Black middle class. But there has also been an increase of the so-called “underclass,” concentrated and contained in urban ghettos and more or less permanently locked out of regular employment in the “formal” economy.

Unable to provide a positive resolution to acute contradictions bound up with these changes—unable to end systemic racism which involves degrading discrimination against even economically better-off sections of Black people—unable to integrate large numbers of Black people into the “formal” economy—the ruling forces in society have responded to this situation with mass incarceration of millions of Black males (and growing numbers of females) with arrests, trials, convictions and sentences embodying yet more discrimination and injustice, and by unleashing and backing systematic police terror, which is especially directed against Black people in the inner cities but can target any Black person, anywhere, at any time. The attempt to brutally enforce “law and order,” given that a more just solution is impossible under this system, heightens the volatility of this whole situation, leading to further upheaval—including completely justified and righteous protest and rebellion—which, in turn, is seized on by fascist forces in promoting their grotesque white supremacist portrayal of the masses of Black people as “criminals” and “uncaged animals.”

The fact that, with all these changes, and regardless of who is occupying the seats of power, systematic discrimination and murderous oppression has persisted, has led some Black people to conclude that the Democratic Party is the problem, since it has consistently sought the support of Black people but has repeatedly acted against their interests. Even as the Republican Party has become the vehicle of overt and aggressive white supremacy, it is true that the Democrats, and not just the Republicans, have presided over the oppression of Black people. But what is the actual reason for that, and what is the real answer to it? The reality is that white supremacy is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and neither of these ruling class parties could put an end to this, even if they wanted to. The answer is not rallying to the fascist Republican Party, or trying to play these bourgeois parties against each other, or embracing “Black capitalism” and begging for a better “seat at the table”—all of which will only reinforce the existing system of oppression and perhaps benefit a few at the expense of the many. The answer is revolution, and establishing a radically different society that has the basis as well as the orientation to uproot and abolish white supremacy, and all oppressive relations.

There have been profound changes in the situation and social position of large numbers of women, both within this country and internationally. To cite one important dimension of this, much of the sweatshop labor in the Third World involves women, forced to work under horrific conditions. In this country, changes in the functioning and structure of the economy (as part of the increasingly globalized world economy) have led to extensive employment, and exploitation, of Black women (and other women of color), in the service and retail sectors in particular. At the same time, not only is there more opportunity for large numbers of women (especially white women, but some women of color as well) to find positions in the professions and in business, but this has also become a necessity in order for their families to maintain a “middle class way of life.” This situation where greater numbers of women are employed outside the home, including a significant increase in the number of women in better-paid middle class positions, has seriously strained and significantly undermined the “traditional” patriarchal (male-dominated) family and patriarchal relations in society overall.

All this has provided more favorable conditions for, and has been significantly influenced by, the struggle against the oppression of women, which was powerfully expressed as part of the overall radical upsurge of the 1960s and has continued in various forms since then. As I spoke to in Away With All Gods!:

Through the upsurge of the ’60s, many things were called into question—not just in the realm of ideas, although that was extremely important, but in practice, in the realm of political struggle—things that are foundational to this society. And many changes were brought about, partly as a result of mass political struggle and partly because of the changing features and needs of the economy. Once again, one of the most important dimensions of this was in relation to the role of women, particularly among professionals and other sections of the middle class, where it became both possible and necessary for women to work full time, in the effort to maintain a middle class standard of living. When you combine that with political and ideological expressions of feminism, and other movements that came forward out of the ’60s, this did pose a very direct challenge to traditionally institutionalized forms of oppression in this society.

Yet the elimination of male supremacy is impossible within the confines of this system. This is true because male supremacy has been deeply woven into the fabric of this society, and because this system is based on capitalist commodity relations and exploitation—things are produced to be exchanged (sold), through a process in which masses of people work, for a wage or salary, to create profit that is accumulated by capitalists who employ them and control their work—a system in which the patriarchal family unit remains an essential economic and social component and requirement, even as it is being put under increasing strains. And the fascist section of the ruling class has, over a number of decades now, waged a relentless attack on Constitutional rights, and mobilized their social base of religious fundamentalist fanatics, to forcefully and often violently assert “traditional” patriarchal oppression—with the assault on the right to abortion, and even birth control, a major focus of this attempt to essentially enslave women. What I wrote, 35 years ago, is today more true than ever:

Over the past several decades in the U.S. there have been profound changes in the situation of women and the relations within the family. In only one of ten families is there the “model” situation where the husband is the “sole breadwinner” and the wife a totally dependent “homemaker.” With these economic changes have come significant changes in attitudes and expectations—and very significant strains not only on the fabric of the family but of social relations more broadly.... 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. 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.

What has gone along with all this has been an increased possibility and “space” for the assertion of gender “identity” and relations that run counter to the traditional oppressive gender relations—and, once again, there has been the often violent attempt to reassert and reinforce the traditional relations and to suppress anything that does not conform to this.

Religion, and especially religious fundamentalism, is a powerful factor promoting and reinforcing the patriarchal subordination of women, as well as other “traditional” forms of oppression. Here is an important insight by Kristin Kobes Du Mez, who grew up in a town in Iowa that was filled with white Christian fundamentalists (which she refers to as “white evangelicals”) who are the backbone of present-day American fascism. In her book Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, she writes:

White evangelicals have pieced together this patchwork of issues, and a nostalgic commitment to rugged, aggressive, militant white masculinity serves as the thread binding them together into a coherent whole. A father’s rule in the home is inextricably linked to heroic leadership on the national stage, and the fate of the nation hinges on both. [emphasis added here]

Given the tight connection between militant patriarchy and fascism, it is not surprising that some (though clearly a minority of) Black and Latino men have been drawn to support for Trump, despite his overt white supremacy. (This includes some who are or have been prominent in rap music. While there have been positive forces and elements in rap and Hip Hop overall, what has been increasingly promoted is a culture that is full of, not to say dominated by, misogynistic degradation of women, as well as admiration for the kind of hustler gangsterism that is one of Trump’s defining “qualities.”) It is also not surprising that even significant numbers of women (mainly white women but also some Latina and other women of color) have been drawn to this fascism, as the phenomenon of the oppressed clinging to “tradition’s chains” that oppress them is unfortunately all too common. (Think of the mothers in the fatherland, written about by Claudia Koonz in her book with that title—women who actively worked for the aggressively male supremacist Hitler and the NAZIs in Germany during the rise of fascism there in the 1930s. Or listen to the words today of Black female fascist Candace Owens, who has praised Hitler for his efforts to “make Germany great”: “There is no society that can survive without strong men.... In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.” Of course, for fascists like Owens “strong” and “manly” men are those who embody and enforce traditional gender relations, exercising domination over women who submit to this domination—and men who do not conform to traditional gender roles and relations, men who support equality between men and women are somehow “weak,” “effeminate,” “emasculated.”) And for white women who are part of this fascist phenomenon, in which virulent male supremacy is a defining and cohering element, there is also the fact that these women can join in with the white supremacy which, particularly in a country like the U.S., is also a defining and decisive element of this fascism and is closely intertwined with the virulent male supremacy—as reflected in Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s formulation: aggressive, militant white masculinity.

As a result of the intensifying climate crisis, war and repression—and, as a driving force in all this, major changes in the capitalist-imperialist dominated world economy, including the further growth and increased impact internationally of corporate agribusiness and labor-displacing technology, increasingly monopolized control of seeds and chemicals, greater monopolization of marketing, and vast land-grabbing investments—there is massive dislocation and upheaval, particularly affecting people in the global South (the countries of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia—the Third World). An important feature of all this is mass urbanization: more than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, with huge shantytown slums, involving more than a billion people, in the urban areas of the Third World, even as tens of millions of people from the Third World have been forced to migrate to the U.S. and countries in Europe. And the situation has developed where, in some of these countries—with the U.S. a prime example—the economy could not function without the exploitation of large numbers of immigrants, while many are subjected to the constant threat of deportation, which also makes them even more vulnerable to extreme exploitation.

The ruin of much of traditional small-scale farming in Third World countries and the dramatic increase of an urban population there (as well as in the U.S. and some other imperialist countries) which in large numbers is unable to find work within the “formal economy”—this has also fostered the growth of an illegal economy and of gangs (and, particularly in Third World countries, cartels) based on this illegal economy, in particular the drug trade, but also the trafficking of human beings, especially women and girls viciously victimized in prostitution, the “sex industry,” and literal sexual slavery.

This dramatically changed and often highly volatile situation has also been a major factor in the rise of religious fundamentalism, in the Third World and notably in the U.S., where Christian fundamentalism is a powerful negative social and political force. Interconnected and interacting with these economic and related social changes in a way that has contributed to the increased influence of religious fundamentalism, particularly in the Third World, has been the defeat, or abandonment, of movements in the Third World led by communists or revolutionary nationalists against old-line colonialists and neo-colonial oppressors, above all the U.S., in the period after World War 2—with the greatest setback being the reversal of socialism and the restoration of capitalism in China in the 1970s, which transformed China from a powerful socialist country and a beacon and bastion of support for revolutionary struggle throughout the world, into a rising imperialist power and itself an exploiter of masses of people in Africa and other parts of the Third World.

The rise of religious fundamentalism has occurred together with, and in opposition to, the increase of secularism (people who are not religious, or at least not part of traditional religions), especially among the more educated urban populations. This secularism is not in itself conceived or intended as an attack on people who continue to hold religious beliefs, but it does objectively undermine religion—and it is taken as an attack “on everything holy” by religious fundamentalists who refuse to even attempt to reconcile religious belief with the results of scientific inquiry, as strongly reflected in their irrational attack on the solidly established scientific fact of evolution.

What is essentially involved in this division is the acceptance, or the denial and rejection, of evidence-based rational thought, including the importance of critical thinking, that has, in a broad sense, been the extension of the Enlightenment, which arose in Europe (in particular France) several centuries ago. In that time, and since, the advance of science and important discoveries this has brought forward have given impetus to the questioning of religion in a way that was not really possible before, since many of these scientific discoveries clearly contradict long-entrenched religious scripture and dogma, and the scientific method rejects the recognition of things as “real” if concrete evidence for their existence cannot be shown, in the real material world. And, as emphasized by Ardea Skybreak, author of the very important book The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, science provides plenty of evidence that human beings have invented every religion that exists anywhere in the world. (In a book consisting of an interview with Skybreak, Science and Revolution, she also emphasizes that, although at times “bad science” has been used for very negative purposes, including to promote racism, the actual scientific method itself provides the means for refuting this: “you can use rigorous scientific methods to prove that was all bad science.”)

It is true that science itself cannot put an end to religious belief, as shown by the fact that there are large numbers of religious people who consider themselves advocates of enlightenment and accept the discoveries and conclusions of science (up to a point at least) but insist that there is a realm of existence—involving a supernatural being, or beings—which is beyond the scope of science. And it is a fact that in general the representatives of the ruling class in this country, whether they are “liberal” or “conservative”—and whether they themselves personally believe in god or not—definitely regard religion as a crucial part of maintaining the “social cohesion” of the country on a capitalist basis, and work to promote religion, in particular Christianity, in one form or another. (They are all essentially practitioners of the statement attributed to Napoleon: society is impossible without inequality; inequality is impossible to maintain without a morality to justify it; and such a morality is impossible without religion.) Nevertheless (to paraphrase an important statement by the physicist Steven Weinberg), although science itself does not eliminate religious belief, it does provide a basis for people not to believe in god and to reject religion. This is in conflict with those who believe religion is necessary for an orderly and “moral” society, and all the more so with those who insist on a religious fundamentalism that is wildly out of keeping with reality and with a rational approach to reality.

Yet, while it is true that, in order to win their full emancipation, the masses of people in the world will ultimately need to cast off religious belief in general, it is important to emphasize that, in the world today, the polarization does not simply come down to those who have rejected religion in the name of enlightenment vs. those who cling to religious belief. An important polarization now is that between what can rightly be called decent people (including large numbers of religious people) who are opposed to injustice, and on the other hand those who are determined to revive and enforce traditional forms of oppression. In regard to all this, one of the important questions is whether people come to embrace, or reject, two distinguishing qualities: largeness of mind and generosity of spirit.

4All this provides an important foundation and “backdrop” for understanding what happened in the recent election, why, and what are the implications of this, now and in terms of the future. The following, from a November 9, 2020 article by Leonard Pitts Jr (“The election of 2020 has ended at last, but the celebration has caveats”) contains some important insights. The result of this election, he writes, “strips bare all the glossy claims about who we are as a country, underscoring the fact that in a meaningful sense, we are not one country at all anymore, but two sharing the same borders.” He continues:

The last time that happened [with the Civil War], it took four years and 750,000 lives to force us back into some semblance of oneness. Even then, the seams of the fracture were always visible.

Unlike that break, this one is not starkly geographic: South versus North. No, this one is city versus country, college educated versus high school educated and, most significantly, future versus past. Meaning that yesterday, this was a nation where white people were the majority, and tomorrow it will be one where they are not.

Although Pitts is correct that the division today is more rural vs. urban than strictly South vs. North, it is the case that the old (and new) Confederacy—and in particular rural white southerners—remain the anchor for an ill-founded and ill-intended attempt to restore the past (in the name of “Making America Great Again”). As I pointed out in the 2017 talk 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.

At the same time, the divide, and the clash, between the past and the future goes deeper than demographic changes and the prospect of a majority non-white U.S. population. The forces fighting for the past are aiming to reverse, with a vengeance, even the modest concessions that have been made to the fight against social injustice and institutionalized inequality and oppression, and to enforce a form of capitalist dictatorship that is overt and unrestrained by the Constitution and the rule of law (or which turns the Constitution and the rule of law into merely instruments of fascist tyranny and atrocity).

As I put it in my August 1 Statement, fascism is “open and aggressive dictatorship, trampling on and perverting the rule of law, relying on violence and terror, on behalf of the predatory capitalist system and as an extreme attempt to deal with profound social division and acute crises (both within the country and in the global arena).” While this might hold things together, in an extremely negative way, for a certain period, in the final analysis this cannot succeed—cannot indefinitely preserve this system of capitalism-imperialism, and cannot lead to any future but one of horrors for humanity, if indeed we have a future at all. And the supposed “alternative,” as represented for example by the Democratic Party in the U.S., involving a “more democratic” means of exercising the rule of this system, will also continue to embody and enforce terrible and completely unnecessary suffering for the masses of humanity and pose an existential threat to humanity as a whole, even if not always through the same brute and unmitigated juggernaut of horrors as the fascist form of capitalist dictatorship.

What was expressed through this recent election—what, in fact, is expressed through all elections under this system—is not “democracy” and “the will of the people” in some abstract sense but specifically a choice that is made between different representatives of this system of capitalism-imperialism, which is the only “realistic” choice that is, or can be, offered under this system. In this particular, extraordinary situation, that choice—between fascist and bourgeois democratic capitalist rule—actually made a real difference, to the point where it was right to support one side, the Democrats, in order to deliver a defeat to the attempt to more fully consolidate fascism. But that does not change the fact that this was a vote on the terms of the very system that has produced this fascism and will continue to provide fertile soil for this fascism at the same time as it continues to generate horror after horror for humanity—horrors that are hidden only from those who do not, or will not, look. The “liberal” (or “mainstream”) version of this system’s rule involves the enforcement of the exploitation and oppression of masses of people in this country and throughout the world (including the more than 150 million children in the Third World who are cruelly super-exploited in sweatshops and mines). Enforcing all this, and defeating attempts by rivals to gain a larger share of this plunder and to replace the USA as the world’s dominant power—that is what “liberal” (and other) representatives of this system mean when they speak of the “national interests” of this country. And this is the foundation for the “progressive” approach of allowing for some more “diversity” and “inclusiveness” for previously excluded sections of this society, and the promotion of certain aspects of science, on the basis of and especially for the purposes of this international plunder, of people as well as the environment.

5To emphasize this crucial point once again: It is necessary to confront the fundamental reality that there is no future worth living for the masses of people and ultimately for humanity as a whole under this system—which has given rise to a powerful fascism; which is the source of horrendous, and unnecessary suffering, not only for masses of people in this country but for billions of people throughout the world; and which poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity, through its massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons as well as its accelerating destruction of the environment. It is true—an important truth—that the Trump/Pence regime (and others like it, for example the rule of Bolsonaro in Brazil) has made the environmental crisis far worse—has, so to speak, accelerated the acceleration of environmental destruction. But the dynamics and requirements of this system are driving the climate crisis toward the point of no return, regardless of which particular person or regime is acting as its dominant political representative. Capitalism is often extolled for being a “dynamic” system, constantly bringing about changes. But this is a “dynamism” based on exploitation for privately-accumulated profit, and driven by anarchy (and anarchic competition between capitalists), and that very anarchy is rapidly propelling things toward an existential threshold—past which humanity could well be irreversibly hurtled—if this system of capitalism, in its imperialist globalized expression, continues to dominate the world.

Given how much the fascist social base in this country has been conditioned to falsely and ridiculously identify the Democrats (even “centrist” Democrats like Biden) as “radical socialists” (or even “communists”) and to viscerally hate them on that basis—largely because of the Democrats’ limited concessions to the struggle against racial and gender oppression, to the need to address the climate crisis, and to a reckoning with the real history of this country—it is highly ironic that it is only a powerful movement aiming for actual socialism, as a radically new and emancipating society and the transition to the fundamental goal of communism on a global scale, that could create the basis for significant numbers of those, and in particular youth, who have been caught up in this fascism to break with that and become part of the struggle aiming for a positive resolution of the contradictions that this system of capitalism-imperialism continually intensifies. (As any rational person can readily determine, the relatively small number of “democratic socialists” who are part of the Democratic Party are in no way “radical socialists”—or really socialists at all—but are social-democrats who are aiming not for the abolition of the capitalist system and its replacement by a socialist system, but for reforms within the capitalist system which would not change, or significantly affect, its basic nature and functioning.)

The fact is that there is no bringing back (or newly bringing into being) an idealized way of life that supposedly existed in the late 19th century and the first part of the 20th century in this country, no return to an imagined idyllic America, characterized by “traditional values” which somehow fairly rewarded “virtues” such as hard work, and where people occupied the place in society they deserved (or were intended by god to occupy)—something which has really existed only in the minds of those who seek an illusory “restoration” of this, and who have been conditioned to irrationally hate everyone and everything that has supposedly destroyed it. And there is no bringing back the situation that existed for several decades after World War 2 where large numbers of people (especially, though not only, white men) without a college education could have jobs in major industries like auto and steel at a wage that made possible a “middle class standard of living.” That there is no basis for this is true not because of conspiracies by “satanic liberals who drink the blood of trafficked children” but, once again, because of the workings of this system of capitalism-imperialism, which have led this world to be shaped as it is, and to be heading for the environmental disaster it is rapidly bringing into being, if it does not first extinguish humanity through nuclear war unleashed by the powerful possessors of massive nuclear arsenals.

And no one should want to go back to the actual past: to a world marked by massive poverty and disease, even beyond the terrible toll this takes today, especially in the Third World; with the horrendous destruction and suffering brought about through two world wars in the 20th century, in which tens of millions of people were slaughtered, and atomic bomb attacks were unleashed by the U.S. on two Japanese cities at the end of the second world war, immediately incinerating hundreds of thousands of Japanese people and ushering in the “nuclear age”; with the USA marked by open, institutionalized segregation, discrimination and “second class” status for people of color and women, and a brutally suppressed existence for LGBT people, and Black people in particular subjected to continual terror, marked by repeated lynchings and other depraved acts accompanying them. The future lies not with the (real or imagined) past but in going forward, to an actual socialist society, and ultimately a communist world, where the fundamental orientation and practical policy are geared to meeting the material, intellectual and cultural needs of the people, while giving increasing scope to individual initiative, on the basis of and within the framework of the collective and cooperative foundation and ethos of society, where age-old economic and social relations of exploitation, inequality and oppression are surpassed, and no longer does the well-being of some rest on the misery of others.

It should be clear that the present polarization and the profound problems that must be faced cannot be solved by trying to “adjust” things within the confines of this system. The example of the “Occupy” movement of the last decade is another illustration of this. This attempt to in effect repolarize the 99 percent against the 1 percent of super-rich failed, in significant part because social relations (such as the oppressive relations between different “races” and genders), and not just economic relations, are powerful material forces, and a good part of that “99 percent” is determined to maintain those unequal and oppressive social relations from which they benefit (or strongly believe they benefit), especially in this capitalist society which sets people against each other in often ruthless competition.

It is only on the foundation of a radically different economic system—a socialist economic system (mode of production), where society’s productive resources are collectivized, marshaled and utilized, in a planned way, to meet the material, intellectual and cultural needs of the people, on a continually expanding basis—that there can be a favorable basis for uprooting and transforming social relations that embody oppression, and the ways of thinking that go along with and reinforce that oppression, moving beyond the situation where (as Lenin so aptly put it) people are not merely encouraged but are compelled to calculate, with the stinginess of a miser, what their position is in relation to others.

6All this strongly points, once again, to the need not simply to “face reality” but to consistently apply the principle that science matters and truth matters, and therefore to seriously engage the scientific analysis (which I have outlined here) of the problem facing humanity, and the solution: where the world is heading now, under the domination of this system, and the radically different direction it needs to, and can, take. It calls for a willingness to apply this same approach—that science and scientifically-determined truth matter—to communism and the historical experience of the communist movement, and in particular to the new communism which has resulted from decades of work I have carried out. 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. Unlike those who slander and condemn, or simply ignore, communism and the historical experience of the communist movement, I myself have done, and have led others in doing, extensive, serious scientific, study—investigation and analysis—of the history of the communist movement and the socialist societies it has brought into being (as well as countries that have called themselves “socialist” but in fact are not, such as Cuba since 1959, Venezuela in recent decades, and the Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe, where capitalism was restored and has reigned for more than 60 years, well before they became openly capitalist countries a few decades ago). This scientific approach has led to the conclusion that with the actual socialist societies that have been brought into being, with the leadership of communists, first in the Soviet Union and then in China (before capitalism was restored in the former in the 1950s and in the latter after the death of Mao in 1976), this experience of socialism has been mainly—and in the case of China overwhelmingly—positive, while secondarily there have also been significant, in some cases serious or even grievous, errors.

Drawing from this historical experience of the communist movement and a broad range of human endeavor, the new communism, as its defining method and approach, emphasizes the critical importance of science and applying the scientific method to everything—to society as well as nature. It firmly rejects any approaches that amount to applying and justifying the bankrupt and extremely harmful notion that “the ends justify the means,” and that “truth” is just an “instrument” of desired objectives, rather than what it actually is: a correct reflection of objective reality.

It is this same method and approach that has been applied to continually deepen the understanding of the nature and functioning of the system of capitalism-imperialism that continues at this point to dominate the world, with terrible consequences and implications for humanity and its future. And this work is continuing as an important part of developing the revolutionary movement that is needed in order to finally abolish this system and bring a radically different and much better world into being. While much remains to be done and many challenges remain to be met, a scientific analysis and synthesis of fundamental questions relating to the situation facing humanity and the possibility of human emancipation can be found—in both more concentrated and popular forms and in works of considerable depth—in talks and writings of mine and other materials that are available at revcom.us. And a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and emancipating society, on the road to the final goal of a communist world, is set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have 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.” All this will unchain and unleash a tremendous productive and social force of human beings enabled and inspired to work and struggle together to meet the fundamental needs of the people—transforming society in a fundamental way and supporting and aiding revolutionary struggle throughout the world—aiming for the final goal of a communist world, free from all exploitation and oppression, while at the same time addressing the truly existential environmental and ecological crisis, in a meaningful and comprehensive way, which is impossible under the system of capitalism-imperialism.

Far too many have rejected this—or, more often, failed or refused to even seriously engage it—because of ignorance and prejudice which have their ultimate source in the distortion relentlessly propagated by guardians of the present order, and which serve to reinforce this highly oppressive order. Here, it has to be said (and can be readily demonstrated) that the “liberal” bourgeois attack on communism is, in its own way, as ludicrous and outrageous—crudely in violation of the scientific method and blatantly in opposition to the actual facts—as the fascist mangling of truth which the “liberals” are forever decrying. This does great harm to humanity: Refusing to apply, and acting in opposition to, an honest, scientific approach to communism, the actual history of the communist movement, and the development of the new communism contributes to closing off the only real alternative to this truly monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism—the only viable alternative that represents the fundamental interests and a future worth living for the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole.

The road to a better world is not, and will not be, an easy one—this cannot be accomplished without determined struggle and, yes, great sacrifice. But continuing on the current course, under the domination of this system of capitalism-imperialism, means a continuation of the horrors already being perpetrated in the world today, the far worse horrors that are immediately threatening, and the very real existential danger that is increasingly looming.

In the face of the fascist juggernaut that is still threatening and gaining strength, large numbers of us who are deeply sickened and outraged by this, and who aspire to something much better, have raised and rallied to the call that science and truth matter and must be our guide. Let us now be brave enough, and bold enough, to apply this in an unhindered way, determined to seek the truth and follow the truth wherever it leads, overcoming all obstacles to this, including any cherished illusions and ingrained prejudices that run counter to reality and scientifically-established truth. Let us dare to act to make a reality of what science reveals as possible: a radically different and far better world and future for humanity.

 

Download PDF of this statement (English):    Booklet    |    8.5x11 sheets


In Spanish:

Download PDF in Farsi:

(This translation reposted from the website cpimlm.org)

 

 

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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/686/zoom-seminar-syllabus-en.html

Syllabus for Zoom Into the Revolution Seminars on the
New Year's Statement by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be squandered—mired in oblivious individualism and political paralysis or misspent on misdirected activity that only reinforces this system which perpetuates endless horrors for the masses of humanity and has brought things to the brink of very real catastrophe.
– from The New Year’s Statement By Bob Avakian, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

The events of 2020 and early 2021 were a cataclysmic shock.  Why did this—the wildfire spread of COVID, the uprisings against police murder and white supremacy, the fascist reaction and then the coup attempt by Trump—happen? Where is this headed?  Where do the interests of humanity lie? 

Most importantly: is a different and better future possible?  And if it is, what IS that future... and how do we get to it?

The “Zoom Into the Revolution” seminars will focus on the New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For the Emancipation of All Humanity to dig into and answer those questions.  This statement is not just a scientific analysis—though it is that, and a unique and very profound one—it is most of all a call to fight for and bring forward a radically new world, one in which all of humanity would be emancipated.

 

There will be four sessions:

1. Applying the scientific method to society: what is this method and why is it crucial?

We’ll focus on this from the statement:

“[Following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads] means fully breaking with and moving beyond an approach of merely embracing truths—or supposed truths—with which one is comfortable, while rejecting, dismissing, or evading actual truth which may make one uncomfortable. One important dimension of this is rising above and repudiating methodologically the philosophical relativism of ‘identity politics,’ which does a great deal of harm through its own version of reducing ‘truth’ to partial, unsystematized experience and subjective sentiment (‘my truth’...‘our truth’...) in opposition to real, objective truth, which is correctly, scientifically arrived at through an evidence-based process, to determine whether, or not, something (an idea, theory, assertion, etc.) corresponds to actual material reality.”

And we’re going to dig deeply into this paragraph:

“To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by—what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and the actual solution.”

Supplementary viewing:

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

Session plan for the first “Zoom into the Revolution” seminar:

Further Questions for Session 1 of "Zoom into the Revolution" Seminars

 

2. Applying the scientific method to society, part 2: Why are we in the situation we’re in today?

What has changed—and what hasn’t changed, at least fundamentally—in the conditions of the African-American people, women, the economy, and the grip of religious fundamentalism (internationally, and within the US)?  What accounts for these changes—and what are the dynamics and direction of these, if we confine our actions within the political bounds of this system?  Do you think that BA’s analysis is true—that is, do you think that it accurately reflects objective reality and correctly captures the motion and underlying dynamics of how society has changed, and why?  What do you think about the quote from Leonard Pitts that BA cites at the beginning of section 4—do you think it’s true?  And what do you think about how BA responds to it?

Supplementary viewing:

What is capitalism? Parts 1, 2 and 3 (from Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What’s It All About)

 

3. Why can only revolution, and nothing less than revolution, deal with the problem(s) we face?

How do you understand, and do you agree with, the following—that is, do you think it’s true?  If so why, and if not why not?  And what are the implications of this:

“It is necessary to confront the fundamental reality that there is no future worth living for the masses of people and ultimately for humanity as a whole under this system—which has given rise to a powerful fascism; which is the source of horrendous, and unnecessary suffering, not only for masses of people in this country but for billions of people throughout the world; and which poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity, through its massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons as well as its accelerating destruction of the environment. It is true—an important truth— that the Trump/Pence regime (and others like it, for example the rule of Bolsonaro in Brazil) has made the environmental crisis far worse—has, so to speak, accelerated the acceleration of environmental destruction. But the dynamics and requirements of this system are driving the climate crisis toward the point of no return, regardless of which particular person or regime is acting as its dominant political representative. Capitalism is often extolled for being a ‘dynamic’ system, constantly bringing about changes. But this is a ‘dynamism’ based on exploitation for privately-accumulated profit, and driven by anarchy (and anarchic competition between capitalists), and that very anarchy is rapidly propelling things toward an existential threshold—past which humanity could well be irreversibly hurtled—if this system of capitalism, in its imperialist globalized expression, continues to dominate the world.”

How would you apply science to answering this question? How does BA?

Supplementary viewing:

The Five Stops: Why This System Can't Be Reformed

4. The future we need... the leadership we have—a better world IS possible—the new communism and Bob Avakian.

BA calls on people to

“apply this same approach—that science and scientifically-determined truth matter—to communism and the historical experience of the communist movement, and in particular to the new communism which has resulted from decades of work I have carried out. 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... This scientific approach has led to the conclusion that with the actual socialist societies that have been brought into being, with the leadership of communists, first in the Soviet Union and then in China (before capitalism was restored in the former in the 1950s and in the latter after the death of Mao in 1976), this experience of socialism has been mainly—and in the case of China overwhelmingly—positive, while secondarily there have also been significant, in some cases serious or even grievous, errors.” 

We’ll dig into that experience.

Then, as the main thing, we’ll get into and break down the boldfaced paragraph that discusses the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian.

“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.’ All this will unchain and unleash a tremendous productive and social force of human beings enabled and inspired to work and struggle together to meet the fundamental needs of the people—transforming society in a fundamental way and supporting and aiding revolutionary struggle throughout the world—aiming for the final goal of a communist world, free from all exploitation and oppression, while at the same time addressing the truly existential environmental and ecological crisis, in a meaningful and comprehensive way, which is impossible under the system of capitalism-imperialism.”

Supplementary viewing: 

BA Speaks: REVOLUTION – Nothing Less, from Part 2, 18:08 to 32:14

 

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/689/international-womens-day-2021-en.html

PLANS FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2021

Break ALL the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women As a Mighty Force for Revolution!

STOP the Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere,
and Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation

| revcom.us

 

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a revolutionary holiday to declare our determination to break ALL the chains that hold women down and to fight and work for a radically new world, beyond all the traditional relations and old ways of thinking that keep humanity enslaved.

 

Join us this weekend to rally, to celebrate, and to protest.

Premiered Sunday, March 7

youtube.com/therevcoms

Online celebration and special edition of 
The RNL – Revolution, Nothing Less – Show!

Plans for different cities:

Monday, March 8 – protest against enforcers and symbols of this oppression, let everyone know there is a force determined to change the world.

Check back for more plans as they come in.

ALL WEEK:

revcom.us

Tune in to The RNL – Revolution Nothing Less – Show
youtube.com/therevcoms
 
Thursday, 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST

* * * * *

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a revolutionary holiday to declare our determination to break ALL the chains that hold women down and to fight and work for a radically new world, beyond all the traditional relations and old ways of thinking that keep humanity enslaved.  

Think about these words from Bob Avakian, the most important political thinker and leader in the world today:

Look at all these beautiful children who are female in the world. And in addition to all the other outrages which I have referred to, in terms of children throughout the slums and shantytowns of the Third World, in addition to all the horrors that will be heaped on them—the actual living in garbage and human waste in the hundreds of millions as their fate, laid out before them, yes, even before they are born—there is, on top of this, for those children who are born female, the horror of everything that this will bring simply because they are female in a world of male domination. And this is true not only in the Third World. In “modern” countries like the U.S. as well, the statistics barely capture it: the millions who will be raped; the millions more who will be routinely demeaned, deceived, degraded, and all too often brutalized by those who are supposed to be their most intimate lovers; the way in which so many women will be shamed, hounded and harassed if they seek to exercise reproductive rights through abortion, or even birth control; the many who will be forced into prostitution and pornography; and all those who—if they do not have that particular fate, and even if they achieve some success in this “new world” where supposedly there are no barriers for women—will be surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways. (BAsics 1:10)

We do not have to—we refuse—to live this way! Join us this weekend to rally, to celebrate, and to protest.

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/688/statement-from-osyan-revolt-on-march-8-international-womens-day-en.html

Statement from OSYAN/REVOLT on the Occasion of March 8: International Women's Day

| revcom.us

 

In Iran, after the people’s uprising in December 2017, and especially after the massive rebellion in November 2019, repression has become more widespread and more severe.  Among those targeted by the Islamic regime are women activists, especially those who worked for women’s rights. In large part those are the ones being arrested and are now many of the political prisoners.  Based on the names, places and prison sentences of those arrested, it can be seen that this repression covers all areas of political, cultural and intellectual activities and different localities in Iran. It encompasses environmentalists to labor and women’s rights activists, from oppressed nationalities to religious minorities—from the cities and regions of Tehran and Karaj to Kurdistan, Ahvaz and Azerbaijan ... and from the Fars to the minority people of the Kurds, the Arabs, to the Baluchis, etc.  This is not only the continuation of the permanent repression of the Islamic Republic, but also the beginning of a new round of repression.  And in fact, it is a testimony to the battle between the regime and the people.  The regime aims to restore its lost stability in their current fragile hold on Iranian society.

In Afghanistan, women activists who fight for civil and political rights are assassinated or their character is attacked. These assassinations are carried out to pave the way for the return to power of the Taliban, which is planned by the United States and is being implemented by Afghan politicians.

The Islamic Republic of Iran not only suppresses the people outside the prison or just by imprisoning them. Inside the prisons, the repression continues and is even harsher based on the religious fundamentalist ideology and laws of the Islamic Republic. The hijab is mandatory for every woman on the street.  And this compulsory covering of women by the regime’s morality police is even imposed on the posting of virtual images and photos online!  It becomes more concentrated in prison where every female prisoner must wear a chador.

The use of physical obscenities, the sexual harassment of female prisoners, the pressure on detainees to undergo virginity tests—these are all specific forms of oppression of women that are widely enforced and are all particular aspects of the Islamic Republic's misogynistic ideology.  The regime also maintains its anti-women ideological basis by exerting maximum repression on militant, radical or revolutionary women.  As the inability of the Islamic Republic to solve the problems of the society increases, so does its repression and its misogynistic theocratic oppressive framework widen.

 On March 8, we call on all progressive movements, both in Iran and around the world who are fighting against patriarchy, racism and fascism, religious fundamentalism, environmental destruction, poverty, national oppression, political repression and imperialist wars to unite with all those who are standing up in Iran.  We call on everyone who is opposed to any form of  oppression under the capitalist system to unite around the demand for freedom for all Iran’s political prisoners. Today's political prisoners are freedom fighters of our society.  If we do not unite against the repression of the Islamic Republic, we will have fewer freedom fighters every day, which means that oppression, ignorance and repression will prevail over society.  

At the same time, women’s liberation and putting a stop to the oppression of women which is a global issue, can and should be a unifying factor in linking women's movements around the world. Those of us who have more ability and possibility should raise our voices as loud as we can to unite on March 8 against patriarchal, repressive and oppressive governments. The liberation of women also makes possible the struggle to free all humanity.

Free All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW!

Stop the Suppression and Segregation of Women!

For Women’s Freedom and for the Freedom of All Humanity!

Statement by Osyan/Revolt for March 8, International Women's Day 2021 

**Osyan/Revolt is the voice of women's rebellion to express the determination and to serve their struggle against the Islamic Republic

Contact us at Osyan.osyan@gmail.com and follow us on Instagram @maosyangarim

This video is from Osyan, in collaboration with revolutionary artist Shekib Mosadeq, who rewrote the words of the international anti-rape anthem (English captions on the video) to give it a revolutionary thrust/content. It was performed at a protest in front of the Iranian consulate in Hamburg, Germany last year.


Credit: nashriyeosyan.wordpress.com

See also:

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

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/520/american-crime-case-52-north-american-free-trade-agreement-part-2-en.html

American Crime

Case # 52: NAFTA (Part 2):
Deepening the Plunder and Domination of Mexico and the Exploitation and Oppression of Mexican Workers, Especially Women

Updated | 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 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.

 

 

Inside a maquiladora in Mexico.
By 1998 there were more than a million workers in 3,700 factories assembling electronics, clothing, toys, auto parts, and other products for sale in the U.S. As many as 75% of those hired in the maquiladoras were women, the majority 16 to 23 years old. (Photo: AP)

The Crime: The “free trade” agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, known as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), was implemented in 1994 with much fanfare. The secretly negotiated 2,000-page treaty was touted as a measure to bring increased prosperity to the people of the three countries. NAFTA was, in fact, a predatory treaty whose effect was to ratchet up the cruel and reckless plunder of Mexico and its people. This mainly occurred through the rapid expansion of low-wage border “sweatshops” called maquiladoras. U.S. businesses have reaped enormous profits from hundreds of thousands of low-wage Mexican workers.

NAFTA was designed to allow the U.S. corporations to intensify their exploitation of Mexico and Mexicans. For example, NAFTA removed tariffs on goods crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. This greatly benefited the highly mechanized U.S. corporate agricultural businesses. NAFTA eliminated all taxes for goods, like electronics, brought into Mexico to be assembled and returned to the U.S. In the first year of NAFTA, nearly $100 billion of new direct foreign investment gushed into Mexico.

In the process, millions of Mexico’s small farmers and Mexican-owned businesses were unable to survive. Unemployment rose and wages for Mexican workers, already low, were driven further down. Mexicans from across the country, desperate for work, flocked to border cities like Juárez, Tijuana, and Nuevo Laredo to work in factories owned by corporations like General Motors, General Electric, Zenith, AT&T, and many others.

NAFTA provided the economic basis for non-Mexican companies, the majority of which are U.S.-based, to expand their operations or open new ones. Many were anxious to take advantage of the favorable “profit environment” in Mexico where wages were 12 times lower than those paid for the same work on the U.S. side of the border! By1998, there were more than a million workers in 3,700 factories assembling electronics, clothing, toys, auto parts, and other products for sale in the U.S.

As many as 75 percent of those hired in the maquiladoras were women, the majority between the ages of 16 and 23. Many were recent arrivals from rural villages and towns. The factory owners hired young women for their dexterity and youthful energy. But they were also preferred because, in societies (on both sides of the border) dominated by patriarchy and misogyny, women are more exploitable—could be put to work for long, exhausting hours, often with no breaks and very short lunch periods with pay lower than their male counterparts. As women, they are regarded as “supplementary income-earners.”

Ciudad Juárez is one of the largest concentrations of maquila factories. One-third of women working in Juárez apparel factories are heads of households. While women workers are vulnerable to manipulation by men in positions of authority, single mothers are especially so because their livelihoods and the well-being of their children are at stake. Mothers and parents rely on working extra shifts or overtime to earn enough. Factory supervisors are known to use this necessity as blackmail. For example, workers from one company complained that supervisors demanded a bribe of 50 pesos a week in order to be eligible for overtime. Workers who protested this kind of humiliating treatment were punished by being sent to a special work area known to the workers as “the prison,” or simply, “hell.”

Many maquiladora workers live in communities of makeshift homes of cardboard, cast off pallets, or packing crates from factories, or in shantytowns without indoor plumbing, electricity, or public lighting. Some make homes next to trash dumps. Their homes are frequently poorly insulated and dangerous. In winter especially, parents worry that children at home alone with a heater for warmth risk fire in their highly flammable structures. There is also the constant problem of food insecurity. Maquila wages are actually below the threshold of survival. A line operator, for example, as of 2015, made 650 pesos, $39 a week, in a place where food costs rival those on the U.S. side of the border. This forces working families into a constant struggle to provide for food and other necessities.

Workers in the maquiladoras are made to work around dust and chemicals that ruin their health, and have been known to cause birth defects. A study conducted in 1994 was the first to show that maquiladora workers gave birth to more lower-weight babies than women who worked in other industries. Their living places are often located near factories where environmental conditions are dangerous. Border residents are often exposed to extremely high air-pollutant levels, including high levels of carbon monoxide. Deteriorating water quality is another concern along the border. The promises made that provisions in NAFTA would guarantee protections for the environment have proven worthless. They have seen gradual deterioration in the urban communities where the factories are located as a result of the toxic waste from the maquiladoras.

Many companies subject women hires to humiliating pregnancy tests as a condition of employment. And women employees are warned that getting pregnant could cost them their jobs. Human Rights Watch documented cases of maquiladora personnel forcing pregnant workers to work unpaid overtime, assigning them more physically difficult work, or refusing them overtime in an effort to force them to quit.

Meanwhile, stories of predatory managers and supervisors using their power to extract sexual favors in exchange for a job or job security are widespread. Failure to comply or efforts to report sexual harassment can mean the loss of a job, of needed overtime, or other punishments. For women and their families, these can be life-and-death issues.

Since 1993, according to Mexican authorities, as many as 1,500 women were murdered in the city of Juárez, next to the U.S./Mexico border. The bodies of many hundreds of these women have been found in the desert area around the maquiladoras. Many were attacked while traveling in dangerous conditions to and from work. Others, it seems, were killed somewhere else—then dumped in the desert. A great many had been raped, beaten, and mutilated before being murdered.

Maquiladora companies have done little in response to the killings. The vast majority—some estimates say 98 percent—of these murders go unsolved. One relative of a victim said, “There’s an element that the women are not worth the trouble.... There’s an incredible disregard for poor, brown women. There’s a racist attitude and a classist attitude.” The mother of a “disappeared” woman said, “We’ve opened the big door, our border to the U.S., in order to allow big multinationals to settle in our city. We give them a permit to do absolutely anything. They don’t have to guarantee the most elementary aspects of life, from wages women can live on to basic service in our communities, or even just security.”

There are a lot of contributing factors to these murders. The shocking rise of these murders coincided with the burgeoning maquiladoras—with poor women migrating to the border from all over Mexico in search of a job—working long hours, dangerously traveling at dawn and leaving work after dark. Janette Terrazas, a visual artist and activist put it, “The maquiladoras created violent public spaces.” Also, the stresses and social conditions of the maquila factories has contributed to marriage conflict, child abuse, and domestic violence against women. Women leaving home to work in the maquiladoras challenges the “tradition” of women’s subordination to husband and “domestic duties”—adding to a situation where more than four out of 10 women say they have suffered domestic violence.

The Criminals:

U.S. President George H.W. Bush (1988-92): NAFTA was preceded by a bilateral treaty between the U.S. and Canada. Negotiations to expand that treaty to include Mexico began under the U.S. administration of George H.W. Bush.

Mexico President Carlos Salinas de Gortari: Presided over Mexico’s NAFTA negotiations. Salinas oversaw the privatization of Mexico’s telephone company and banks among a thousand other public entities. Some were sold at fire-sale prices to personal friends, and to foreign, especially U.S., companies. Salinas promoted NAFTA with the help of powerful Mexican business interests, claiming it would lift Mexico into the ranks of prosperous “first world” countries. But as his term ended in 1994, Mexico’s economy crashed and Salinas fled into exile.

U.S. President Bill Clinton (1992-2000): Pushed through ratification of NAFTA with the help of the U.S. Business Roundtable and other corporate backers. Clinton claimed that the treaty would lift people in all countries.

The Alibi: NAFTA proponents promised that the trade agreement would alleviate many of the problems along the border caused by the existing free-trade zone. NAFTA, it was said, would help to improve working conditions, improve enforcement of environmental laws, and decrease the high maquiladora concentration along the border.

U.S. President George H.W. Bush made clear his support for more free-trade pacts and linked the expansion of markets for American entrepreneurs and farmers with greater freedom throughout the world. He argued that more free trade between countries, regardless of the size and wealth disparities between trading partners, would lead to the expansion of civil and political freedom.

President Clinton said his support of the trade agreement rested on his confidence it would bring jobs and prosperity to all.

The Real Motive:

In the 1970s, U.S. corporations began moving their factories to low-wage countries to bolster profits and competitiveness. By 1994, U.S.-based transnational corporations (TNCs) employed 40 percent of their personnel in oppressed (or “Third World”) nations and conducted a third of their internal trade with affiliates in those nations.

Maquiladoras were first set up in the mid-1960s to take advantage of low-wage labor within easy access of the U.S. border. These borderland factories became a rich haven for U.S. and other foreign investors. Profits from these enterprises grew in importance for U.S. businesses in an increasingly competitive world.

Maquiladora factories became islands of modernity, enclaves of globalized economy distorting Mexico’s economic development and putting increasing control of the economy in non-Mexican hands.

The accelerated capitalist global competition that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the rise of a more economically robust capitalist China, spurred U.S. moves towards even greater exploitation of people and countries. It renewed interest in Mexico, which, since 1848 has been a major source of wealth for U.S. capitalism. Mexico’s dependent economy and its “comprador” ruling elite allowed an open door for U.S. corporations to ramp up their penetration of Mexico’s economy.

The U.S. had long benefited from Mexican workers and the exploitation of Mexico and Mexicans, which has provided sustenance to an expanding empire. Thus NAFTA and the maquiladora system is both a continuation and intensification of the long history of the U.S. accumulating wealth from the plunder of its southern neighbor and a counterweight to the growing economic strength of the European Union, Japan, China, and other competitive countries.


Sources:

James Cockcroft, Mexico’s Hope, Monthly Review Press, 1998

Mexico’s Maquiladoras: Abuses Against Women Workers,” Human Rights Watch, August 17, 1996

Patricia Fernandez Kelly, “The ‘Maquila’ Women, NACLA Report

Sierra Jorgensen, “Maquiladoras and the Exploitation of Women’s Bodies

David Bacon, “The Maquiladora Workers of Juárez Find Their Voice,” Nation magazine, November 20, 2015

Elyse Bolterstein, “Environmental Justice Case Study: Maquiladora Workers and Border Issues

Gil Villagrán, “Maquiladoras, NAFTA’s Sweatshops,” May 2, 2009

Mexico: Wages, Maquiladoras, NAFTA,” Migration News, February 1998

Evelyn Nieves, To Work and Die in Juárez, Mother Jones, May/June 2002

Jessica Livingston, “Murder in Juárez: Gender, Sexual Violence, and the Global Assembly Line,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Volume 25, Number 1, 2004

Alana Semuels, “Upheaval in the Factories of Juárez,” Atlantic magazine, January 21, 2016

 

 

 

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/689/women-in-venezuela-forced-into-motherhood-en.html

Women in Venezuela Forced into Motherhood

From a member of the National Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: This is an updated version of the article.

Forced motherhood is female enslavement!  This is the nightmarish reality facing thousands of women in Venezuela who are being forced against their will to bear children—due to the fact that birth control is almost completely unobtainable and abortion is illegal.  Some of the facts of this situation were brought to light in a recent article in the New York Times, despite its being a major mouthpiece for and pillar of the U.S. imperialist system, which is deeply responsible for the very relations which have brought about this horror.   

Women who had once dreamed of becoming teachers or scientists or following other pathways in life are now condemned to raising families of 6, 8 or even 10 children. “I felt like I was drowning,” said a mother of five children, sobbing bitterly when she discovered that she was pregnant again with her sixth.  She had been searching in vain for any kind of birth control which she and her husband could afford.  But a pack of condoms costs $4.40 while the monthly minimum wage is $1.50—making it completely inaccessible to her and most other women in Venezuela.  Even when women attempt to control their reproduction by avoiding sex during the times when they are the most fertile, it is not uncommon for them to be forced by partners who consider sex their “right”—thus subjected to abuse and on top of that forced to give birth to yet more children. Women who choose instead to try to end their pregnancies are risking and losing their lives—unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal death in a country with a very high maternal death rate.  And girls as young as 14 are choosing sterilization rather than face a life with zero control over their own reproduction.  

The women of Venezuela are caught in a brutal vise of patriarchy, Catholicism, imperialism and the workings of the capitalist system.

Venezuela’s capitalist economy is in severe crisis—the product of an economy totally dependent on oil sales and enmeshed within the global network of imperialist commodity relations in which social and human development hangs in the balance of an unequal structure of world production and trade—and on the movement of prices on the world market. And the price of oil has been falling precipitously over the last decade. The situation is made vastly worse by sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Venezuela meant to punish the government which has declared itself “socialist” and carrying out the “Bolivarian revolution”—despite having nothing whatsoever in common with genuine socialism and an actual revolution.1 These sanctions are further strangling an economy which is already in free fall as the price of oil has declined in recent years. They are preventing new investment or development of other sectors of the economy.  All this has resulted in extreme shortages of basic necessities like diapers, milk, rice, medicine—and birth control.  Contraception—pills, condoms and other forms—used to be widely available in Venezuela but is now completely absent from 90 percent of pharmacies.  In most cases the only way to obtain it is on the black market with prices so exorbitant that this basic necessity of women’s health is available to only the wealthiest in society.

Venezuela is a country which has long been marked by a huge gender gap with only 52 percent of women participating in the workforce, compared to 80 percent of men, and with a 28 percent wage gap between female and male salaries. The collapsing of the economy with the resultant disappearance of contraception is grossly exacerbating these inequalities which are built into Venezuelan and all capitalist societies and tightening the chains of traditional family relations and values.   

A key factor in this is the massive historical influence of the Catholic Church in Venezuelan society which has created a situation where patriarchal views about women—as property of men and bearers of children—hold powerful sway on large parts of the population and have largely gone unchallenged. Abortion is outlawed in Venezuela in all cases except when the mother’s life is at risk—with providers facing a possible one to three years in prison and women themselves facing six months to two years.  Yet numerous women are risking their lives seeking illegal abortions or self-administering medical abortions without the proper medications and conditions to do so safely. Women who do have abortions—and survive them—are saddled with shame and a shroud of secrecy. A recent high profile arrest of a university professor for assisting a 13-year old in obtaining an abortion has struck terror into women and those who have helped them with underground abortion services.

This situation is untenable. A world where women lack even the most basic right to control their own reproduction, to decide if and when they want to bear children, is a world that no one should have to live in.  These chains of oppression and patriarchy are being cruelly tightened and reinforced on the women of Venezuela. The cascade of consequences in women’s lives coming from the loss of access to birth control reveals how deeply the oppression of women is woven into the fabric of capitalist society, how deeply rooted it is in traditional patriarchal family structure and in an economy that is based on meeting the demands of imperialist capital accumulation instead of the material, social and cultural needs of the people.  For this reason the oppression of women cannot be uprooted within the confines of the worldwide capitalist-imperialist system.  

This oppression can only be uprooted through socialist revolution on the road to communism and the emancipation of all humanity.  The following quote of Bob Avakian speaks to how central the liberation of women is to such a revolution and how a socialist economic and political system can unleash a whole process through which not only would full reproductive rights be granted immediately to women, but all the inequalities between men and women could finally be overcome:

In some recent writings on the question of morality, I have called attention to the fundamental point that, throughout the entire revolutionary process that aims to create the conditions for communism, the struggle must be waged to continually, and ever more thoroughly, overcome and uproot the relations of inequality and oppression that shackle women; to promote personal, family, and sexual relations that are based on mutual love and respect and equality between men and women; and to increasingly develop forms for the masses of people to carry out—through cooperative efforts involving men equally with women—the functions which are now focused overwhelmingly in the family and which are a burden on women in particular. Through this profound revolutionary process, the "nuclear family" will be finally abolished and replaced by new forms of social relations in communist society—a society based on conscious and voluntary cooperation among people—without economic, political, and social domination and inequality.

From Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Might Force for Revolution!

 


1. See “Hugo Chavez Has an Oil Strategy...But Can This Lead to Liberation” by Raymond Lotta. Revolution, July 1, 2007, for an analysis of the actual program and outlook behind Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” which does not represent a fundamental break with imperialism, nor embody a vision or path to truly liberating societal transformation.  [back]


The women of Venezuela are caught in a brutal vise of patriarchy, Catholicism, imperialism and the workings of the capitalist system. Here, women protest at the Ministry of Interior and Justice in Caracas, on the International Day for the Elimination of VIolence against Women, November 25, 2020. (Photo: AP)

Male Supremacy: Stitched Together With Capitalism, by Bob Avakian, an excerpt

 

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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/689/three-piles-of-bullshit-from-biden-administration-one-truth-from-ba-en.html

Three Blood-soaked Piles of Bullshit from the Biden Administration...
One Piercing Truth from BA

| revcom.us

 

On Thursday night, February 25, American warplanes dropped seven 500-pound bombs on buildings in Syria. The airstrike killed between one dozen and two dozen people who the U.S. said were part of an Iranian-backed militia network that allegedly targeted American military contractors in Iraq.

This airstrike has also been justified by no end of commentary from mainstream news that puts a very different spin—that is, bullshit—on what has gone down and what it means. So it’s important to call out some of the lies and hypocrisy—spoken, unspoken, and so-deeply-drilled-into-Americans-that-they-don’t-need-to-be-spoken—involved in this crime:

Bullshit #1: “The world needs the U.S. to enforce the law worldwide. ‘America is back’—and that’s a good thing.”

Really?

Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, pointed this out:

“The United Nations Charter makes absolutely clear that the use of military force on the territory of a foreign sovereign state is lawful only in response to an armed attack on the defending state for which the target state is responsible. None of those elements is met in the Syria strike.”

And by the way: why are American military contractors in Iraq?

These contractors are essentially American troops, “special forces,” and mercenaries who maintain a U.S. military “presence” in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq 18 years ago.1 This U.S. war left hundreds of thousands dead and drove millions from their homes as refugees. And this staggering crime was justified by what was later admitted to be a total and utter lie, that Iraq was building chemical and/or nuclear weapons of mass destruction—a lie which many had called out before the invasion. A lie that justified this wanton invasion and was part of an enormous crime against humanity.

Bullshit #2: “Biden’s going to be much more reasonable with Iran than Trump was, but first he has to ‘show strength.’”

Biden and his foreign policy team have expressed interest in a new nuclear treaty with Iran. The previous one was signed by Obama, and broken by Trump, who instituted extremely harsh sanctions in the wake of this unilateral U.S. withdrawal. These sanctions have inflicted horrific suffering on the people of Iran, including with unnecessary deaths from lack of medical supplies, especially life-saving drugs and protective equipment in the time of COVID-19. In his first sit-down interview upon becoming President, Biden refused to offer any sanctions relief, using this as a bargaining tool instead against Iran’s reactionary regime.2 This strike underlines that brutal, people-killing stance.

So this is Biden’s “opening”—an “opening” backed up by even more blackmail, threats and murder. This is the meaning of Biden’s “strength”—tightening the inhumane, cruel and murderous screws on the people of Iran.

Bullshit #3: “Biden will stand up for right against the Russians.”

Stand up for...whaaat?

A question for those who expressed their disgust with Trump by bringing their "Putin's Puppet" protest signs to anti-Trump demonstrations, as if the big problem was that Trump wasn’t “standing up” to Russia (a story incessantly propagated by the media, like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC): did you ever hear the saying “be careful what you wish for”?

The U.S. and Russia are both imperialist powers. The Middle East is a strategic part of the world—economically strategic for its oil reserves and militarily strategic for its location at the meeting point of Africa, Asia and Europe. The U.S. has dominated this area since World War 2, but other imperialist powers are challenging this. The 2003 invasion and years-long war against Iraq is just one crime among many that the U.S. has committed in its pursuit and defense of that domination—crimes that have taken the lives of literally millions in the last 70 years, driven millions more from their homes (making many of them permanent refugees), and forced hundreds of millions into living under horrifically repressive and brutal regimes that the U.S. backs. (To get even a beginning sense of these staggering crimes, go here and here.)

But Russia during the Trump years made inroads in this region, including vastly strengthening its influence in Iran, as did China. The U.S. under Biden intends to meet this challenge with a different mix of threat, violence and negotiation than Trump did; but they are still trying to dominate, like a criminal gang defending turf and still using violence as their “bottom line” argument.

Asked to choose between these two contending imperialist blocs, anyone with a conscience shouldn’t take a minute to say “they should both lose”!

The Truth That People Need to Confront

In this new situation, brought on by the ouster of Trump and the election of Biden, many will get taken in, deceived by—or deceive themselves with—the hope of easy progress, or at least “going back to normal.” To those we offer, from the New Year’s Statement by Bob Avakian: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, the following hard, but liberating, truth:

There is no question that many of the policies of the Biden/Harris administration will be different than the blatant atrocities of the Trump/Pence regime, and things will definitely “feel different” with Biden and Harris, but the way they will try to “unite the country”—in line with the interests and requirements of this system of capitalism-imperialism—is something that no decent person should want, or be part of. In seeking to re-establish and reinforce “stability” at home, and to maintain the U.S. as the world’s number one oppressive power, Biden, Harris, and the Democrats (as well as other “mainstream” institutions, such as the New York Times and CNN), will make determined attempts to keep the masses of people who have righteously hated the fascism of the Trump/Pence regime, and who aspire to a more just world, firmly tied to this system—restricting their political vision, and activity, within the confines of this system, preventing them from acting in their own fundamental interests and those of humanity as a whole.

 


1. For more on the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the aftermath, see these articles in the revcom.us American Crime series:

November 2004—War Crime Fallujah

* "Operation Iraqi Freedom," 2003

The Afghanistan and Iraq War Logs and the Persecution of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and WikiLeaks  [back]

2. Asked whether he would lift sanctions to get Iran back to the negotiating table, Biden replied “no.” See “Biden says Iran must return to negotiating table before U.S. lifts sanctions,” CNBC, 2/7/21.  [back]


A satellite image of an Iraq-Syria border crossing after the U.S. airstrike this week. Photo: AP

The Great Tautological Fallacy
Bob Avakian

Read excerpt here | watch the clip Free Yourself from the GTF below:

Watch the complete 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.

See also:

Read 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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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/689/riddle-of-the-week-en.html

Riddle of the week:

If Trump supported a cold-blooded murdering thug because he headed an important state AND, anyway, he admires all cold-blooded murdering thugs allied with the U.S....

And if Biden supports the same cold-blooded murdering thug because he heads an important state, even though he would prefer the thug not so blatantly murder in cold blood...

| revcom.us

 


Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

... What is the difference?

On October 2, 2018, Saudi Arabian journalist, U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, after he’d been lured there by Saudi officials on the pretext of providing him papers for his upcoming wedding.   A U.S. intelligence report released February 26, 2021 says that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) of Saudi Arabia approved the assassination.

The U.S. imperialists, under Democrats as well as Republicans, have seen Saudi Arabia as a pillar of American domination of the Middle East and the world. When MBS launched a war of mass slaughter, starvation, and disease in Yemen, he had the backing of Barack Obama and the U.S. The U.S. has turned a blind eye to many other crimes committed by MBS, including kidnapping of the Lebanese prime minister and crushing of internal dissent. Now, Biden has released a U.S. intelligence report (which was suppressed by Trump) fingering MBS as having “approved” Khashoggi’s murder by a special unit reporting to him—but refused to put any sanctions on MBS himself.

Answer to the riddle:

To the People of the World—No Difference at All.

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

Bob Avakian BAsics 3:8

 

 

 

 

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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/689/roger-federers-game-and-the-beauty-of-bob-avakians-game-en.html

From a Reader:

On the Beauty of Roger Federer’s Game, and the “Beauty” of Bob Avakian’s Game—Why BA Is the Most Important Political Thinker and Leader in the World Today

| revcom.us

 

When Bob Avakian’s (BA) article "REVOLUTION, ROGER FEDERER’S TENNIS: WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER? A LOT ACTUALLY." appeared in revcom.us last June, I admit to being a little thrown off (an article from BA on tennis) but also a little excited. While I never played tennis competitively, and have not watched much professional tennis over the years, I had watched enough to have developed an appreciation of Roger Federer’s game and a beginning understanding of the difference between Federer and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, his two main rivals.  

Revcom.us recently reposted the article and in rereading it, I was deeply moved by the second paragraph where BA writes :

What defines Federer’s tennis, and more than anything sets it apart from even his greatest rivals—more than all of his great accomplishments, playing at the highest level of men’s tennis for nearly two decades, from the time he was around 20 to the time, now, when he is approaching 40—is the artistry and beauty of his game. And the revolution I am talking about—a revolution guided by communism, in its further development with the new communism that has resulted from decades of work that I have carried out—this revolution, and the radically different society and world that it aims to bring into being, could not do without, and has as one of its main goals and requirements, precisely an appreciation of and the flowering of beauty and artistry, in many different dimensions of human endeavor.

For some reason, this time around, this paragraph really struck me. Amid all the outrages and horrors the people of the world confront—the devastation of a worldwide pandemic, where Mike Pence has received more vaccinations than 130 countries in the world; the climate catastrophe continuing to unfold, creating among other things, the forced migration of tens of millions of refugees; the rise of fascist movements and governments around the globe, and so much more—and where the urgent need for revolution has never been more immediate, the perspective, insights and method BA employed in writing about something that many people (and most political activists) might not consider worth the time and effort, made me step back to once again think both about the beauty of Federer’s game and also the "beauty" of BA's game—why he is the most important political thinker and leader in the world today.   

It is this ability—not just to be “amazed” by elements of the world around us but to identify and explore this appreciation as a critical aspect of the communist world we are fighting to bring into being and a crucial part of what it means to be a communist leader today; to bring to it the need to apply a scientific method and BA’s focus on the importance of applying that scientific method to all the big questions confronting us—that sets him apart from all other political thinkers and leaders and makes me feel like the term “political” is inadequate. 

BA dives deeply into what makes Federer’s game so unique; the “footwork, movement and flow" that sets Federer apart from other great tennis players and that put him in position to make the shots that simply defy possibility. One of the joys of sport are those moments when something totally unexpected and magical happens, but BA draws out that with Federer, even that “magic” is infused with consistent hard work and practice. This approach combined with his other skills always give Federer a chance to win—even against what BA describes as the “heavy hitters” in contemporary men’s tennis—where changes and developments in the men’s professional game tend to favor strength over the finesse and grace that characterize Federer's own game. 

Another element to Federer's game that BA draws out and which strikes me as special is his willingness to experiment with shots and techniques in the course of a match, even if it might risk losing a point or a match. Frankly, this is unheard of in professional sports of any kind. It is not that that Federer doesn’t want to win or that he is not extremely competitive (nor, as BA points out, that he is undisciplined or that he loses his concentration). It is Federer’s own appreciation of the artistry of the game that gives him both the desire and freedom to strive to expand the limits of what people consider possible. In the highly competitive world of professional tennis, no one else would dare risk losing a game by experimenting is such a way. What this creates are both (sometimes spectacular) failures but also remarkable moments of brilliance—so much so that later, people are more likely to remember the moment than who actually won the game. And when successful, those moments (known in tennis circles as “Federer moments”) can dramatically alter the trajectory of the entire game.

In comparison, for me, watching Nadal, who is himself one of the greatest tennis players of all times, can be like watching a machine, remarkable in its consistency but predictable to the point of sometimes boring. Watching Djokovic literally smash his racket on the court, at losing a point (as he did during this year's Australian Open) is simply painful.

I especially appreciated BA making it clear that to attempt to reduce the relevance of Federer’s brilliance to how it can be narrowly applied to the process of making revolution is wrong and that the “link” between the revolution humanity needs and the tennis of Roger Federer is the profound human need “to be amazed." But I also think that there are other lessons that need to be taken from BA's approach and orientation and, in writing this article, BA is again modeling what it means to be a communist leader in the fullest sense of the meaning. 

BA concludes the article: 

To return to the theme of this article, as expressed in the title, in the future being aimed for with revolution based on the new communism, tennis will not play the same role as it does in the world as it is now, dominated by the dynamics and dictates of the system of capitalism-imperialism and consequently restricted far too much to those with (or with backing from those with) a certain level of finances and resources. But, as spoken to in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and far better society and world—there will continue to be a need for and importance to sports, with an emphasis on basic sports activities involving the masses of people, to promote their health and recreation, but also providing for full-time (professional) sports, which will take place within the overall framework of the relations and values of this radically new society, and will serve to foster friendship and comradeship among those competing, and those following such competition, while promoting and giving expression to the joy, the beauty and the wonder that sports, at its best, can inspire. 

From this perspective, as we look forward to and work actively to make a reality of this revolution, and everything it will finally make possible, if we do not wish to diminish the vision and the goal to which this revolution must aspire, and the kind of society and world it must strive to bring into being, we cannot fail to appreciate beauty and wonder, in the natural world and in the creations of human beings, even now amidst the terrible conditions which this currently ruling system of capitalism-imperialism imposes on the masses of humanity. And from that standpoint, the tennis of Roger Federer has a great deal to do with the revolution we need, even as that revolution will give rise to beauty, and give expression to the need to be amazed, in ways beyond what can even be imagined today.

Again, the breadth that BA demonstrates in this last paragraph is breathtaking if you step back and think about it. What other political leader would dare to grapple with the question of the role of sports under socialism, including providing funding for “professional” athletes as he does in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, a document providing the basis to move to a world of freely associating human beings, where the terms "amateur" and "professional" no longer hold meaning—while underscoring the importance of appreciating the instances of “beauty and wonder” that exists even in today’s terrible world? To me, he does this in such a way that the “beauty and wonder” are not “escapes” from the horrors of the world we live in (as I have often viewed them), but glimpses of the possibilities that help provide the basis for wanting to contribute everything we can to bringing about the revolution that could unleash the untapped potential of humanity to appreciate, contribute to and preserve this beauty and wonder. 

I am resending the article out to friends who have more of a foot in the tennis world and am encouraging them to send me their own thoughts. For so many people, the popular image of socialism and communism remains, at best, a “trade off” where the heights of artistry achieved by individuals like Roger Federer are seen as being sacrificed to the “greater good” of society as a whole and where individual excellence is supposedly tamped down in the name of meeting the material needs of the people. That has never been BA’s approach and it has never been more clearly demonstrated as in this article. It is worth people going back to.

A reader

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

REVOLUTION, ROGER FEDERER’S TENNIS: WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
A LOT ACTUALLY.

by Bob Avakian

Read more

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North 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.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/650/bob-avakian-revolution-roger-federers-tennis-en.html

REVOLUTION, ROGER FEDERER'S TENNIS:
WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
A LOT, ACTUALLY.

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The title of this article will likely come as a surprise to many—not least Roger Federer himself, since he is clearly not an advocate of the kind of revolution I am talking about, a revolution to bring about socialism and ultimately communism throughout the world, in place of the current capitalist-imperialist system that now dominates the world. Federer himself is not merely a tennis player with world-class—and, as I will speak to, unrivaled—abilities; he is also a multi-millionaire, on the verge of becoming a billionaire, as a result of business deals and investments that his tennis achievements have made possible. (At the same time, Federer has devoted significant resources, and personal efforts, to charity benefitting children in southern Africa in particular, and he is widely respected and admired for being, at the risk of sounding corny, “a genuinely nice guy” on a personal level. Federer, from the small country of Switzerland, is one of the most recognized, and popular, athletes in the world, not only among tennis fans but more generally, and that is not just because of his accomplishments on the court, or simply because of successful “marketing of his brand,” but also because of what people perceive in his personality.)

What is put forward in the title of this article—that Federer’s tennis has a lot to do with revolution—can be understood to be profoundly true, once there is the necessary appreciation for both Federer’s unique, unmatched approach to and performance in tennis and what the revolution I am speaking of is, and needs to be, all about. Here, I am not going to enter directly into the debate about whether Federer, or on the other hand one of his current main rivals, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in men’s tennis ( although I have made a case for why that title legitimately rests with Federer in an Appendix at the end of this article). What defines Federer’s tennis, and more than anything sets it apart from even his greatest rivals—more than all of his great accomplishments, playing at the highest level of men’s tennis for nearly two decades, from the time he was around 20 to the time, now, when he is approaching 40—is the artistry and beauty of his game. And the revolution I am talking about—a revolution guided by communism, in its further development with the new communism that has resulted from decades of work that I have carried out—this revolution, and the radically different society and world that it aims to bring into being, could not do without, and has as one of its main goals and requirements, precisely an appreciation of and the flowering of beauty and artistry, in many different dimensions of human endeavor.

As I have emphasized, one of the essential qualities that defines human beings is “the need to be amazed.”1 Certainly, in the tennis of Roger Federer there is a continual source of amazement. It is not simply that he can—and, in the course of his matches, repeatedly does—hit every conceivable shot (and many that seem inconceivable). It is not just the fact that, if you pay careful attention, you can see an incredible display of skill and artistry even when Federer hits a ball to a ball girl or boy (young people responsible for collecting and distributing balls to the players) between points in a match. It is, more than anything, the footwork, the movement—the flow—as Federer floats around the court to get himself in position to hit the ball. While with more or less everyone else among the world’s top men’s tennis players—including Djokovic and especially Nadal—their movement is broadcast with various noises, and their striking of the ball is often accompanied by audible, and often loud, grunts, Federer moves silently, seemingly effortlessly, and the only sound accompanying his strokes is that of the racket meeting and delivering the ball, with an incredible consistency, to just the spot where he intends it to go. Metaphors that could be invoked to describe this movement, such as those comparing it to ballet or other dance, are not, in this case, cliches but actually come close to capturing the fluidity and beauty of Federer’s movement.

Djokovic and Nadal are clearly great tennis players—legitimately considered among the greatest of all time—but one of the things that sets Federer apart from them (and this may seem ironic or even illogical at first) is the fact that their greatest strength is their consistency, while in the course of a match, or a tournament, Federer is likely to have more “ups and downs.” Nadal is relentless, intensely playing each point, and even each shot, as if the whole match depended on it; and, besides—or, in a real sense, even more than—his highly skilled shot-making, it is the wearing down of his opponents through this relentlessness that marks Nadal’s game and accounts for his great success. The key to Djokovic’s game is his defensive skill, which rests to a large degree on his considerable physical flexibility: he is able to return powerful (and/or well-placed) serves and great ground strokes by his opponent, time after time, in a way that puts Djokovic in at least a “neutral position,” and often at an advantage, in relation to the opponent, enabling Djokovic to eventually turn defense into offense and win the point. Here, again, although in a somewhat different way than with Nadal, it is Djokovic’s consistent relentlessness that is his greatest strength.

With Federer it is different. As more than one observer has commented, Federer is an artist, and with an artist you are going to have times of brilliance, beyond what others are capable of achieving, and you are also going to have times when that brilliance does not fully shine. Ironically again, to some degree errors on Federer’s part (and specifically what, in tennis terms, are considered “unforced errors”) stem from his tremendous abilities, particularly his movement and footwork, which allow him to be in position to hit a variety of shots at a given time, and his “racket skill” which enables him to execute so many different shots. There are many instances when Federer gets himself into a position where he has many options in terms of hitting a shot, and on some occasions having so many options—rather than being more limited and forced to just play quickly and “instinctively”—actually results in Federer “out-smarting” himself, including sometimes when he “changes his mind at the last second” about where and how to hit the ball, causing him to either hit an ineffective shot or to miss a relatively easy shot and lose the point. One of the things that makes Federer so uniquely great and breathtaking to observe is that we see the artist at work, trying things that others would not dare to try, willing to fall down at times, in the immediate, in order to find the way to reach the greatest heights.

This comes through in all aspects of Federer’s performance on the court. There is the unrivaled precision, combined with artful deception, in Federer’s game. This finds perhaps its most concentrated expression in Federer’s serve (starting the point), which is one of the very best and most impactful in the men’s game. In the case of Federer, this is not because of raw speed and power—there are many in the men’s game who significantly exceed Federer in those categories—but rather because of disguise (it is very difficult to tell where Federer is going to deliver his serve) and placement (he regularly succeeds in putting the ball right where, or very near to where, he intends to place it with his serve). With his ground strokes, once the point is underway (on his own serve or that of his opponent), it is the same—the same deception and precision, combined with effective power, or subtle “touch.” Watching Federer “paint the lines” (hit the ball right on, or very close to, a sideline or the baseline) is indeed like taking in a breathtaking painting. And there is no equal, anywhere in tennis, to his balance and racket skill at the net (volleying back a shot by the opponent from a position near the net) and here, too, he often makes even the most difficult of these shots seem effortless.

Once again, it is the movement that underlies all this and makes it all possible. As tennis author and journalist Mark Hodgkinson puts it, in a book analyzing not just Federer’s prowess and accomplishments but his unique presence on the court: Federer “Moves Like A Whisper.”2

To some, in particular those who have never concerned themselves with questions of this kind, this might seem “forced,” but in the way Federer is able to use his movement, and his other remarkable skills, to neutralize and overcome the raw power of the “heavy hitters” in men’s tennis, there is an analogy to how the stranglehold of the world’s most powerful oppressive forces could actually be broken and shattered, by the creative action of masses of people, freeing them to embark on the road of bringing into being a society and world free of oppression. But the comparison and relevance of Federer’s tennis to revolution cannot, and should not, be reduced to that. Beyond that, it is the fulfilling of profound human needs—“the need to be amazed,” the appreciation of artistry and beauty—that is the link between the tennis of Roger Federer and the revolution that humanity needs.

Federer’s tennis is not simply the product of a genetically-established high-level athleticism, but also of a great appreciation for the creative and innovative, beyond that of even his most highly skilled world-class contemporaries and competitors. Among the highest level tennis champions, it is only Roger Federer who will frequently experiment with shots, running the risk of losing a point, or even a game, during the course of a match in a high-stakes tournament. It is only Roger Federer who would feel, and at times say openly, that if he did not do this he could find such a match boring, even while he was winning. This is not a “lack of discipline” on Federer’s part, but once again a real appreciation for, and giving life to, an artistry and beauty that can and should characterize the sport of tennis—and does, in its highest form, in the game of Roger Federer. There are a few others near the top ranks of tennis who are willing, or who feel the need, to try “trick shots” and other displays of artistry, at the risk of losing a point, a game, or even a match. Nick Kyrgios, an athletic and highly-skilled young player from Australia, is the most striking example of this, but neither Kyrgios nor anyone else besides Federer has achieved the combination of brilliant artistry with the necessary focus and, yes, discipline—channeling and translating this into world-class level competitive tennis, with the consistency required to repeatedly win matches and tournaments, including the most prestigious and highly-prized Grand Slam tournaments (which involve all, or nearly all, of the world’s top tennis players and require winning seven consecutive matches, within the two week period of the tournament, in order to claim the title).

As much as there is a “magical quality” to Federer’s tennis, it is at the same time the product of consistent hard work—both off the court, in physical work-outs, to reach the peak of fitness, and on the court, in endless hours of practice. And there is the constant striving to increasingly master the game mentally. Federer is a great student of tennis. It has been noted, and demonstrated in practice, that he is very often able to tell (in observing the footwork and position, and knowing the “preferred tendencies,” of his opponent) where that opponent is going to hit a shot, even before that opponent has begun his stroke. And Federer possesses the greatest ability to adapt his game, including in the middle of a match—something that can be seen not only by serious students of the game but even by more casual observers in paying attention to the changes he makes in his approach, including the kind of shots he chooses to make, whether he “stays back” on the baseline or increasingly “comes to the net,” and so on.

All his mental as well as physical preparation and continual “refinement” of his game underlies and is the basis for Federer’s ability to both have tremendous success competitively and to do so with his unparalleled artistry. Hodgkinson writes that, early on, Federer was inclined toward the stand that doing things with artistry was even more important than winning, even as Federer has always had a very strong competitive drive. This was reflected, even fairly far into Federer’s success atop the men’s game, in the fact that Federer resisted using the “drop shot” (hitting the ball just a little ways over the net, especially when the opponent is far back in the court), believing that this shot was somehow a violation of the aesthetics (and perhaps the ethics) of tennis. But, not only did Federer change his mind on this and develop one of the game’s most effective, and yes artistic, drop shots, but more generally, and fortunately for Federer—and for everyone who appreciates the beauty with which the game of tennis can be played—Federer has achieved an unrivaled combination (or synthesis) of artistry and competitive achievement overall.

And he has continued to adapt to competitive challenges, and to technological changes that have affected the competitive challenges. For example, less than a decade ago, Federer was still playing with a racket that was smaller than those of nearly all of his major opponents, feeling that he possessed the necessary skill to hit the shots he needed/wanted to hit, and to avoid excessive errors, with this smaller racket. But the rising level of competition finally convinced Federer to increase the size of his racket, which has played a significant part in his finally gaining a decisive upper hand over his long-time rival and significant nemesis Rafael Nadal. In coming back from a knee injury and surgery in the latter part of 2016 and resuming competitive play in early 2017, aided by the increase in his racket size, Federer worked systematically to improve his backhand stroke, which was key in enabling him to overcome the tactics Nadal had used against Federer to force him on the defensive and out of position, making him more vulnerable to winning shots from Nadal. (For those interested in some of the more technical aspects involved in how Federer has been able to offset Nadal’s tactics and decisively gain the upper hand in matches with Nadal—or, as Federer himself has put it, “crack the Nadal code”—in a footnote below some of the details involved are discussed.*)

Federer has continued to play competitive tennis on a world-class level, vying still to be at the very top of men’s tennis, into his late 30s (which is extraordinary, since in terms of world-class tennis, this is definitely considered “old”). It is remarkable that Federer has been able to retain a powerful competitive spirit, and at the same time an unequaled “cool,” not only during the time when he was the undisputed “number one” in men’s tennis (and frequently referred to then as the Greatest Of All Time) but for many years after that as well. It is one thing to be “hungry” and “focused” when one is young and “rising,” striving to get to the very top of the rankings—or in the situation with Djokovic, who has yet to become, but has openly declared his intention to become, the holder of the most Grand Slam titles and presumably the honor of being declared the Greatest Of All Time—but it is a whole other matter to continue to strive for greatness at the highest level long after one has seemingly achieved all there is to achieve, as has been the case with Federer for some time now.

But, even as he was planning, after another knee injury and surgery, to return once again in the summer of this year (2020) to compete at Wimbledon, the most prestigious of the Grand Slams—and the tournament where Federer has had the most success, winning 8 times—with the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, including the cancellation of this year’s Wimbledon tournament, it is unclear when Federer will return to tennis (interestingly, the French Open, normally held in the late spring, has been re-scheduled for the fall, and as of now has not been canceled—see below, in the Appendix, for the relevance of this to the “GOAT” question). In any case, before too long, Federer’s age will finally catch up with him, and he will retire from world-class level competition. When he does, it is likely that Djokovic and/or Nadal (who are both about 5 years younger than Federer) will continue playing for a few more years; and, if they have not done so already, it is possible that one or both of them will then surpass Federer’s Grand Slam titles record, which now stands at 20 (again, more on this, and how it relates to the question of Greatest Of All Time, in the Appendix below).

But, as truly great as Djokovic and Nadal are, and with whatever specific number of Grand Slam titles they ended up winning, when they leave tennis there will be others, young and hungry, who will rise to, or near, the level of play that has characterized the best of Djokovic and Nadal. With Federer, however, it is not a matter of quantity, not something that can be captured simply with statisticsthe number of Grand Slams and other tournaments won, the amount of time as the top-ranked player, and so on—but much more one of quality: the artistry and creative genius of Federer, which has no equal in tennis, in any era, including the present one. As much as the governing bodies of a sport—and the television networks and other financial institutions which profit from it—seem to feel the need to market things in terms of “rivalries,” and this is definitely the case with tennis, there really is no “rival” to Federer, no one whose approach to the game and performance on the court compares to his or gives expression to the same synthesis of artistry and accomplishment. When Federer leaves, it will be a long time, if ever, before someone comes along who will bring to tennis the beauty and, yes the awe and wonder, that Federer has embodied and inspired.

To return to the theme of this article, as expressed in the title, in the future being aimed for with revolution based on the new communism, tennis will not play the same role as it does in the world as it is now, dominated by the dynamics and dictates of the system of capitalism-imperialism and consequently restricted far too much to those with (or with backing from those with) a certain level of finances and resources. But, as spoken to in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and far better society and world—there will continue to be a need for and importance to sports, with an emphasis on basic sports activities involving the masses of people, to promote their health and recreation, but also providing for full-time (professional) sports, which will take place within the overall framework of the relations and values of this radically new society, and will serve to foster friendship and comradeship among those competing, and those following such competition, while promoting and giving expression to the joy, the beauty and the wonder that sports, at its best, can inspire.3

From this perspective, as we look forward to and work actively to make a reality of this revolution, and everything it will finally make possible, if we do not wish to diminish the vision and the goal to which this revolution must aspire, and the kind of society and world it must strive to bring into being, we cannot fail to appreciate beauty and wonder, in the natural world and in the creations of human beings, even now amidst the terrible conditions which this currently ruling system of capitalism-imperialism imposes on the masses of humanity. And from that standpoint, the tennis of Roger Federer has a great deal to do with the revolution we need, even as that revolution will give rise to beauty, and give expression to the need to be amazed, in ways beyond what can even be imagined today.

 


* Note on Federer’s Gaining Decisive Dominance Over Nadal:

Nadal is left-handed and, particularly with his forehand, he hits the ball with a lot of “top spin,” which causes the ball to bounce high after it lands (this is true on all tennis court surfaces but is especially so on clay, which is by far Nadal’s favorite surface, on which he is most effective—more on that below, in the Appendix). Both of these factors (Nadal’s “left-handedness” and his extreme top spin) for some time enabled Nadal to create a lot of problems for Federer in their matches, because (for various reasons, including the fact that the net is lower in the middle of the court than it is on the sides) hitting the ball cross-court is easier and less risky than hitting it “down the line” (over the higher part of the net, on the same side of the court the player is on when hitting the ball). So, in the course of points in matches against Federer, Nadal would repeatedly try, with a large amount of success, to hit the ball with his forehand cross-court, where Federer (being right-handed) would be forced to hit the ball, not with his own forehand—his stronger stroke—but with his backhand. And the extreme top spin with which Nadal hit his forehand cross-court—causing the ball to bounce up to shoulder height, or sometimes even higher, before Federer could “make contact” with the ball—often resulted in a situation where Federer either hit a weak shot, setting Nadal up to hit a “winner” ( a shot Federer could not return) or Federer actually “missed” with his backhand (hit the ball into the net or “out” of play), giving Nadal the point. And this was especially so in the frequent exchanges where Nadal would hit forehand after forehand with top spin to Federer’s backhand—something Nadal was often able to do, because it was difficult for Federer to “redirect” the ball “down the line,” to Nadal’s backhand, and in attempting to do so Federer would run a higher risk of mis-hitting the ball and either losing the point outright by hitting it out, or into the net, or hitting a weak shot in response to which it would be easy for Nadal to hit a winner.

In recovering from a knee injury and surgery, and in preparing to return to competitive tennis, in the latter part of 2016, Federer focused on improving his backhand—aided, again, by his now larger racket—which enabled him to “stand his ground” on the baseline (rather than being pushed back farther and farther behind it, in an increasingly defensive position) and, from that position on the baseline, “take the ball earlier” with his backhand (before it could bounce as high), giving him more control and the ability to hit winners with his backhand and generally to hit backhand strokes with more variety, including by “re-directing” balls “down the line” to Nadal’s backhand, his less imposing shot. This resulted in Federer beating Nadal in the final of the Australian Open (one of the four annual “Grand Slam” tournaments) in early 2017. Since then, in matches played between the two, Federer has beaten Nadal 4 out of 5 times—the only exception being a semi-final match in the 2019 French Open (another of the Grand Slams), a match on clay, played moreover in conditions so ridiculous, with such powerful gusts of wind, that it was impossible for Federer to come close to playing his normal game, which relies, much more than other top players, not so much on power but at least as much on finesse and “touch” and fundamentally on movement to get in position to hit an incredible variety of shots—all of which was effectively impossible under the conditions.  [back]

 


Appendix: The Greatest Of All Time

As spoken to in the main part of this article, in one sense the argument about who is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in men’s tennis (a debate that now centers around Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic) is mis-placed, especially if (as is generally the case) this debate focuses on matters of quantity—numbers of Grand Slam titles, etc.—because with Roger Federer it is above all a matter of quality: the unique and essentially irreplaceable artistry he brings to the game, playing on a world-class level. But, without abandoning that decisive understanding, let’s examine the question of quantity—in a scientific way, drawing on relevant evidence in its significant dimensions.

First of all, in what is generally regarded as the most essential measure of greatness and achievement, there are the totals of Grand Slam titles won. While, as I will speak to shortly, this number, taken by itself, is not adequate to determine the issue of greatness (or, specifically, Greatest Of All Time), it does provide one important part of the picture. The current Grand Slam title numbers are: Federer 20; Nadal 19; Djokovic 17.

Looking into this further, however, we see that a clear majority of Nadal’s titles (12 of the 19) have been won on one particular surfaceclay—at the French Open Tournament. It is true that a large number of Federer’s Grand Slam titles have been won on his most favored surface—grass, at Wimbledon—but the majority of Federer’s titles have been won on other surfaces. And it is not simply the case, as more than a few commentators are known to say: “Well, Federer is the best on his favorite surface, and Nadal is the best on his.” If we subtract from Federer’s total of 20 the 8 he has won on grass at Wimbledon and subtract from Nadal’s total of 19 the number he has won on clay at the French Open (12), we end up with this count: Federer 12, Nadal 7—a difference far greater than the total numbers (20 and 19).

Beyond that, clay is not just “another surface.” It is a very different surface than either grass or “hard courts” (courts consisting mainly of asphalt or concrete), the other surfaces on which Grand Slam Tournaments are played. Clay causes the ball to bounce higher and effectively “slows down” the game, with the result that hitting “winners” (either with the serve or other shots) is more difficult, and those players whose game relies to a large extent on lengthy rallies, wearing down opponents, have an added advantage. All this plays heavily into the strengths of Nadal’s game. That there is not just a minor but a qualitative difference between clay and the other main tennis court surfaces is reflected in the fact that, on the one hand, in the men’s game specifically, there are at least 10 people who have won the French Open but have never won another Grand Slam title, while there are a number of tennis greats, with multiple Grand Slam wins (on grass and/or hard courts), who have never won on clay at the French Open—including not only Pete Sampras (with 14 total Grand Slam titles) but also Jimmy Connors (8), John McEnroe (7), Stephan Edberg, and Boris Becker (6 each). (Also, among women, those who have won multiple Grand Slam titles but never won at the French Open include Venus Williams, Virginia Wade, and Martina Hingis. And, although she has won at the French Open, Serena Williams—who can legitimately be considered the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, and indeed is one of the world’s greatest athletes in any sport—has had much less success on the clay at the French Open than she has on other surfaces.)

This difference in surfaces is strongly reflected in the head-to-head competition between Federer and Nadal: On every surface except clay Federer has the advantage, while on clay Federer’s wins against Nadal are less than 15%!

There is also the fact that changes, beginning more than 15 years ago, in the other surfaces besides clay—and in particular the grass at Wimbledon—has meant that, even while it is still the case that on Wimbledon’s grass the ball tends to “skid” through the court, overall the courts at Wimbledon do not “play faster” than many of the hard courts. In short, these surfaces, other than clay, have become much more similar, with grass no longer significantly different than hard courts—and the difference is certainly nothing like that between grass, and hard courts, on the one hand, and clay on the other. Thus, Federer’s wins at Wimbledon—which have come after these changes began there—are in no way in the same category as Nadal’s at the French Open.

All this puts into perspective the actual significance of Grand Slam titles won by each. Even if Nadal were to equal Federer’s total of 20 by winning the French Open this year (assuming it is actually held), that would not change the reality that Federer’s total of Grand Slam titles is much more meaningful in terms of being representative of overall accomplishment.

In regard to Djokovic, his Grand Slam total of 17 titles is also more evenly spread out among the different tournaments, with most coming at the Australian Open, but also significant numbers at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open, the last of the 4 Grand Slam Tournaments. (Notably, Djokovic, like Federer, has only won once at the French Open.) A number of commentators have offered the opinion that Djokovic, who is presently healthy and in “top form,” is likely (some even say “almost certain”) to catch or surpass Federer in number of Grand Slam titles.

This, however, is not certain. Federer won a majority of his titles before 2010, when he was in his 20s—although it is a measure of his greatness that he has won 3 titles in the last 3 years, at the age of 35 or older. Djokovic is now 33, and just as Federer faced very strong competition, from Nadal and then from Djokovic as he hit his prime just after 2010 (when he was in his early to mid 20s), as alluded to in the main part of this article, there are now a number of very talented younger players in the men’s game, who are just as hungry to win Grand Slams as Djokovic is to become the all-time Grand Slam title winner. Besides the question of age in general (and again, in terms of world-class tennis competition, being well past 30, and especially beyond 35, is “old”) there is also the fact that, with increasing age the likelihood of injuries, including more serious injuries, increases, and Djokovic has already not been free of injury during the overall period when he was at, or near, the very top of the men’s game. (It is another manifestation of Federer’s greatness that he has not only won a number of Grand Slam titles at 35 and older, but that he has done so after being sidelined with a knee injury serious enough to require surgery and then a period of rehabilitation.) For these reasons, among others, one is inclined to reply “not so fast” when hearing predictions that Djokovic will (almost) certainly surpass Federer, and overtake Nadal as well, in Grand Slam titles (besides the very real possibility that Nadal will win more Grand Slams, particularly keeping in mind his peculiar success at the French Open, there is also the fact that it would be a mistake—one which has been made before with regard to Federer—to discount the possibility of his winning one, or more, additional Grand Slam titles).

In terms of the GOAT argument, there is the fact that Djokovic has an overall narrow lead over Federer (27 to 23) in head-to-head matches. Here it has to be noted that this is the result of the fact that Djokovic gained the upper hand over Federer in head-to-head matches only after Federer was well past 30, while Djokovic was only in his 20s. Djokovic has continued this overall dominance in recent years, although a number of the matches he won were very close, and in 2 of their last 3 matches Federer has either beaten Djokovic—as he did convincingly in the end-of-the-year championships in 2019—or he has very, very narrowly lost to him, as happened in the 2019 Wimbledon final. (In that final Federer had two “match points”—a situation where he needed only to win one of the two next points in order to finish the match victoriously—on his own serve, but he was unable to finish Djokovic off and eventually suffered a heartbreaking loss in a classic match that was extended to nearly 5 hours. See the footnote below for some analysis of why Federer did not succeed in winning one of those two match points.**)

It was after this devastating defeat that Federer rebounded and decisively defeated Djokovic in two straight sets (2 sets to 0) in the end-of-the season championship (although Federer did not go on to win that tournament). It is true that Federer lost to Djokovic a couple of months later in the semi-finals of the Australian Open (a tournament won by Djokovic), but in that semi-final match Federer was clearly injured and not capable of playing anywhere near his best. Assuming world-class tennis is able to resume, in more or less its full dimensions, before so much time has elapsed that finally Federer has actually passed his prime, it remains to be seen whether, as he has with Nadal, Federer can gain a decisive upper hand over Djokovic, one more time, before Federer does finally decide it is time to give up competitively playing the sport he loves.

In any case, while Grand Slam titles and head-to-head competition are a significant part of the picture, in terms of determining who deserves the title of Greatest Of All Time, they are not the only factors that matter and they do not, by themselves, settle the question. As indicated above, the fact is that Federer has only been overtaken by Djokovic in head-to-head competition in more recent years when Federer has been in his 30s, even past 35—an age when, before Federer (and Serena Williams, in the women’s game), tennis players would have been considered well past their prime, certainly in terms of winning Grand Slam tournaments, something Federer has done as recently as 2018 (and very nearly did the next year at Wimbledon). Federer’s “longevity” is another important dimension to his greatness and to the argument for his status as the Greatest Of All Time. This is not just a matter of “hanging in there,” even at the very highest level, but of continually adding to an incredible record of accomplishment.

Looking at overall achievement, Federer has won far more tournaments overall (103) than either Nadal (85) or Djokovic (79). He has won far more matches (1,227) than Nadal (977) or Djokovic (893). He has gotten to more Grand Slam finals (31) than Nadal (27) or Djokovic (26). Federer has won more Grand Slam semi-finals (47) than Djokovic (36) and Nadal (33). Even more remarkably, Federer has far out-done both Djokovic and Nadal in consecutive appearances inGrand Slam semi-finals (23) and quarter-finals (33), accomplishments that are incredibly difficult to achieve.

It would be possible to go on at greater length into various statistics (and, while I believe the most relevant statistics strengthen the argument for Federer as the Greatest Of All Time, there are some that could be cited that are favorable to Djokovic or Nadal); but again, statistics, while part of the picture, do not give the full story, nor get to the essence of the matter. So, with regard to all that has been spoken to here, let me end with what I wrote near the conclusion of the main part of this article:

But, as truly great as Djokovic and Nadal are, and with whatever specific number of Grand Slam titles they ended up winning, when they leave tennis there will be others, young and hungry, who will rise to, or near, the level of play that has characterized the best of Djokovic and Nadal. With Federer, however, it is not a matter of quantity,not something that can be captured simply with statistics—the number of Grand Slams and other tournaments won, the amount of time as the top-ranked player, and so on—but much more one of quality: the artistry and creative genius of Federer, which has no equal in tennis, in any era, including the present one. As much as the governing bodies of a sport—and the television networks and other financial institutions which profit from it—seem to feel the need to market things in terms of “rivalries,” and this is definitely the case with tennis, there really is no “rival” to Federer, no one whose approach to the game and performance on the court compares to his or gives expression to the same synthesis of artistry and accomplishment. When Federer leaves, it will be a long time, if ever, before someone comes along who will bring to tennis the beauty and, yes the awe and wonder, that Federer has embodied and inspired.

 


** Note on Federer’s Narrow Loss to Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final:

Federer’s failure to win one of the two match points he had on his serve in the 2019 Wimbledon final against Djokovic has to do, on the one hand, with Djokovic’s “grittiness” but even more, and more concretely, with minor mis-steps on Federer’s part. On the first of those two match points, Federer narrowly missed his first serve—which, if he had gotten it in play, would very likely have resulted in his winning the point, and the match—and on the second serve of that point, after Djokovic returned the serve to a spot deep in the middle of the court, Federer attempted to hit the ball back on an angle into Djokovic’s backhand corner, which if it had succeeded would likely have put Djokovic on the run and given the advantage to Federer, with the probable result that Federer would have prevailed. But, in attempting this, Federer “went for a little too much” (hit the ball on too sharp an angle), with the result that the ball landed out and Djokovic won the point. On the next point, Federer’s first serve was in and, in response to a fairly routine return by Djokovic, Federer chose to come to the net, with the aim of finishing the point off quickly with a successful volley that Djokovic could not return (or could return only weakly, setting up Federer to finish off the point with his next shot). But, in this case, Federer’s “approach shot” (the shot he hit to set up his coming to the net) did not have quite enough on it (it was hit toward Djokovic’s forehand corner, but not deeply enough or at a sharp enough angle to force Djokovic into a position where he could only hit a weak shot in return, enabling Federer to finish off the point, and the match, from a solid position at the net). Instead, in response to Federer’s approach shot, Djokovic was able to set up well and hit a forehand winner, which got past Federer at the net and landed securely within the court, beyond the reach of Federer’s attempted forehand volley. From there, a no doubt momentarily deflated Federer lost the next two points and the game—and the chance to finish the match off then and there—although he was far from “folding,” and in fact he continued to fiercely battle Djokovic for another 8 games, before losing the final match-deciding “tie-breaker.”

Again, credit definitely has to go to Djokovic for “hanging tough” and “refusing to fold” when he was on the brink of defeat. But, at least as much, this was a matter of Federer quite understandably feeling the great pressure of being “oh so close” to what would have constituted one of his greatest victories—winning a Grand Slam title, at this late point in his career, in a match against another great player who has dominated Federer for most of the last few years. The result was that, in a situation where literally inches decide things, Federer failed, by the thinnest of margins, to prevail. If Federer had played either of these two match points a little less anxiously, it is very probable that he would have succeeded in winning the match. (With the first match point, Federer could have “gone for a little less” with his first shot after Djokovic’s return of serve—hitting the ball toward Djokovic’s backhand corner but “leaving a little more margin,” to make sure the ball was “in,” while still being an effective shot—and then working from there to gain the advantage in the point and finish it off. With the second match point, here again having an aggressive approach, as Federer did, rather than passive one, is right and necessary—and also difficult, because in a situation like this it is very tempting, and seemingly easier, to just keep the ball in play and hope that the opponent will make a mistake and “give you the point.” But, instead of “coming into the net” right away, Federer could have again “worked the point” a little longer, in order to get a clear advantage and then finish the point by coming to the net or with a winning ground stroke. Or, if Federer were going to come to the net early in the point, as he did following his first shot after Djokovic’s return of serve, then it would probably have been better to hit an “approach shot” into Djokovic’s backhand corner, forcing him to hit a difficult “passing shot,” which could then be volleyed away for the win. Of course—of course!—it is easier to offer these opinions here and now, far removed from the court and the crucial moment of play, and without any of the pressure that inevitably accompanies such a momentous situation, in which a decision has to be made on literally a “split-second” basis; but observations removed from the heat of the moment can be valid and valuable—and, in any case, I could not resist offering these observations here, for whatever they are worth!)

As I wrote in the main part of this article:

It is remarkable that Federer has been able to retain a powerful competitive spirit, and at the same time an unequaled “cool,” not only during the time when he was the undisputed “number one” in men’s tennis (and frequently referred to then as the Greatest Of All Time) but for many years after that as well. It is one thing to be “hungry” and “focused” when one is young and “rising,” striving to get to the very top of the rankings—or in the situation with Djokovic, who has yet to become, but has openly declared his intention to become, the holder of the most Grand Slam titles and presumably the honor of being declared the Greatest Of All Time—but it is a whole other matter to continue to strive for greatness at the highest level long after one has seemingly achieved all there is to achieve, as has been the case with Federer for some time now.

Ironically, however, that very determination almost certainly results in a feeling of tremendous pressure, especially up against one’s major competitors, in a situation where beating them still has great significance, especially after they have for some time had the upper hand over you, as was the case for Federer in his 2019 Wimbledon championship match against Djokovic.  [back]

 

1. See "Materialism and Romanticism: Can We Do Without Myth?" This is an excerpt from Getting Over the Two Great Humps: Further Thoughts on Conquering the World, which is available in BA’s Collected Works at revcom.us.  [back]

2. Mark Hodgkinson, Fedegraphica, A Graphic Biography of the Genius of Roger Federer, Updated edition, Aurum Press; Revised edition, 2018“Moves Like A Whisper” is the title of the fourth chapter of this book.  [back]

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

 

 

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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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/689/prisoner-letter-en.html

From a Prisoner:

Using Bob Avakian's New Year's Statement to Educate Other Prisoners

| revcom.us

 

Revolutionary Greetings Comrades.

I am writing to notify you that I have received the New Year’s statement from you. Thank you for sending me a copy. While we remain on lockdown, except for work, we have begun to pass it around to those we can; and to discuss its contents while on our lunchbreak at work.

The statement itself has become an instrument we are using to educate individuals. It has proven to be very enlightening to some. Recently I gave it to a “Progressive” friend that I have engaged with for a couple months now about why progressive ideals are dangerous, and why communist revolution guided by the new synthesis is the only real option. After reading the pamphlet, this friend decided to write to PRLF! He was a political writer and has worked on democratic campaigns. After reading the New Year’s statement, he has embraced the struggle!!

What I have found to be most importantly highlighted in the statement is the topic of how there can be no “reconciliation”. I have continuously stressed to people that one of the key reasons why revolution is required is that it is impossible to work within the system to change the system. A key factor in this issue is that both republicans and democrats are agents of the Capitalist-imperialist Structure, and irregardless of words, they do not truly wish reconciliation. And even should they want it, reconciliation is impossible within the system. Those who truly want change can only find it in the new synthesis of communism, and only after a revolution guided by this political line!

All of the study group comrades here appreciate you for sending us materials.

In struggle,

XXX

 

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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/689/murdering-pigs-still-go-free-en.html

NY State AG Admits: “The System Was Built to Shield” the Pigs

Meaningless Reforms + Black Elected Lackeys = Same Oppressive Shit, as Murdering Pigs STILL Go Free

| revcom.us

 

More than five years ago, after New York City pigs murdered Eric Garner with a deadly chokehold as he cried out repeatedly, “I can’t breathe,” the State of New York formed a “Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit” to supposedly investigate and prosecute cops who have killed people.1 Then, in 2018, the Democrats put up and elected Letitia James as New York’s state attorney general. James is a Black politician who made her name as “public advocate,” an elected position in New York City.

This week, James announced that she had been unable to convince a grand jury to indict Rochester police for the cold-blooded suffocation murder of Daniel Prude.

In fact, this is part of a pattern. In the years since the unit was formed, here’s its record:

# of investigations: 43
# of cops charged: 3
# of convictions: 0

There’s a pattern here.

One of these cases was the 2020 murder of Daniel Prude, who was having a mental health crisis when pigs in Rochester held him down and put a “spit sock” over his head until he stopped breathing. On February 23, 2021, a grand jury decided to bring NO charges against the murdering cops. Daniel Prude’s brother Joe Prude said, “The justice system doesn’t give a damn about us. That’s not built for anyone in the community. That’s built for the police to keep slaughtering people.”

Even many prosecutors admit the legal system works in favor of the police. Letitia James, who heads up the state prosecutors as the attorney general, said she was “disappointed—extremely disappointed” in the grand jury’s decision. She also said, “The system was built to protect and shield officers from wrongdoing and accountability.”

Contrary to Shakespeare’s famous point about “the sound and fury signifying nothing,” the sound and fury of James’ outrage at the grand jury is significant. It points to the fact that whoever occupies what slot in this so-called system of “justice” makes virtually no difference whatsoever.

James is a politician, a representative of the system she purports to criticize.

But to those of you who are not bourgeois politicians, yet who continue to work for reforms in what you claim to see is a system: Have you truly gone deeper to find out WHY that system was set up, HOW it works, and WHAT it will take to get rid of this heart-crushing outrage that is built into it?

It is time, and past time, to confront the one scientific analysis of that. As Bob Avakian has written in his New Year’s Statement, A NEW YEAR, THE URGENT NEED FOR A RADICALLY NEW WORLD—FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF ALL HUMANITY:

To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by—what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and the actual solution. This means coming to the scientific understanding that we are living under a system, and what that system actually is (the system of capitalism-imperialism); working to grasp the deeper relations and dynamics of this system and how this is setting the framework for how different sections of society spontaneously think and react to events in society and the world, and what is the possible way forward to transforming all of this in the interests of the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole.


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

Bob Avakian
BAsics 1:24

 


1. “A Special Unit to Prosecute Police Killings Has No Convictions,” New York Times, February 26, 2021. [back]

2. Washington Post database on police shootings. [back]

Police body camera video shows pig putting spit hood
over head of Daniel Prude.Police body camera video shows Rochester, NY pig putting a "spit hood" over the head of Daniel Prude, March 23, 2020.

Joe Prude, brother of Daniel Prude, and Daniel's nephew Armin, with a picture of Daniel PrudeJoe Prude, right, brother of Daniel Prude, and Daniel's nephew Armin, with a picture of Daniel Prude in Rochester, N.Y. On February 23 a grand jury decided that the pigs who murdered Daniel Prude will NOT face any charges. (Photo: AP)

 

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/688/amerikkka-three-decisions-and-an-anniversary-en.html

AmeriKKKa: Three Decisions and an Anniversary

| revcom.us

 

Make a list of the people killed by cops. Then make a list of pigs who have been charged with murder (let alone convicted).

One list is very, very long. The other so short you could probably write it on a matchbook.

*****

August 24, 2019, Aurora, Colorado cops stopped 23-year-old Elijah McClain after getting a report of a “sketchy” man walking in the neighborhood. Translation: a Black man walking home from the store. The pigs claim McClain was suffering from “excited delirium.” In a video you hear McClain saying, “I have my ID right here.... That’s my house. I was just going home,” then weeping, saying, “I can’t breathe. Please stop.” The cops administered an overdose of the powerful sedative ketamine, causing McClain to vomit continuously, go into cardiac arrest and later die.

February 24, 2021, a grand jury decision: The pigs who murdered Elijah McClain will NOT face any charges.

March 23, 2020, 42-year-old Daniel Prude was having a serious mental health crisis and ran into the streets naked. He needed help. He needed compassion. But the Rochester, NY pigs grabbed him, pushed his face into the ground, and put a "spit sock" over his head, holding him down until he stopped breathing. Prude later died at the hospital.

February 23, 2021, a grand jury decision: The pigs who murdered Daniel Prude will NOT face any charges.

April 9, 2020, Cleveland cop Jose Garcia was on his way to work when he claims he saw two young men stealing a box of soda from a truck. Garcia pursued the men in his car, drove up beside their car and shot 22-year-old Desmond Franklin five times in the head, killing him. 

February 12, 2021, a grand jury decision: The pig who murdered Desmond Franklin will NOT face any charges.

February 23, 2021: The one-year anniversary of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. A white father and son armed themselves and pursued Arbery in a pickup truck after seeing him jogging in their neighborhood. Arbery died from three close-range shotgun blasts. The murderers were let go by the police and only charged two months later when a video of the murder surfaced. The family of Arbery is still waiting for justice.

Now Say these other names: Randall Lockaby, in Erlanger, KY; Carl Dorsey III, in Newark, NJ; Ryan Shirey, in Lehigh County, PA; Derek Hayden, in Seattle, WA; Andrew Hogan, in Trotwood, OH; Trey Bartholomew, in Pennsburg, PA; Keenan Sailer, in Mesa, AZ; Christopher Hagans, in Stratford, CT; Kevin Costlow, in Laytonsville, MD; Richard Fenton Thomas, in Caroline County, VA... February isn’t even over, and at least 10 people have already been murdered by cops this month.

Murder after murder after murder by the pigs who “serve and protect” this system—a system that needs to be overthrown.

"How Long?! How Many More Times Do the Tears Have to Flow?" A clip from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION— NOTHING LESS!


Elijah McClain (Family photo)


Daniel Prude
(Courtesy Roth and Roth LLP via AP)


Desmond Franklin


Ahmaud Arbery
(Credit: runwithmaud.com)

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/688/rnl-show-episode-41-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 41 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

The Oppression of Women & Climate Change: How Capitalism Is Holding Us Back.

This episode will look at two critical questions highlighted in Bob Avakian's New Year's Statement. First, the oppression of women and the changes in their position in society. Second, the destruction of the environment, where BA reveals how capitalism-imperialism is the essence of the problem. Join our hosts Andy Zee and Sunsara Taylor as they get into all this.

International Women's Day is coming, and a revolutionary fight for women's liberation is needed! The role of women in the world and at home has changed profoundly in the last few decades. But why is it that even after many changes in society, such as women entering the professions and public life, the oppression of women has not been ended but instead has taken on new forms? How does capitalism-imperialism play a role in the continued subjugation of women? 

We've seen wildfires blazing out of control, summers getting hotter and intense deep freezes, but what does this tell us about where we are at with the threat of climate change? Is there anything we can do about this? And despite the removal of the anti-science, fascist Trump/Pence regime, why is it that Biden, the Democrats, and the imperialist world leaders can only bring more destruction and not a real solution to this crisis?

We'll watch a clip from Bob Avakian where he makes it clear: "Capitalism-imperialism is the real nightmare for humanity. And it's not even a good idea on paper."

 

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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/689/poland-fascist-mix-of-nationalism-patriarchy-and-catholicism-en.html

POLAND: A PERVERSE FASCIST MIX OF NATIONALISM, PATRIARCHY AND CATHOLICISM

A letter from a member of the Revolution Club

| revcom.us

 

A member of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour recently wrote a letter titled “On the Polish Government’s Attacks on Abortion Rights, the Rising Tide of Global Fascism, and the Need for a Radically Different Alternative.”1 This letter stated that:

On January 27, 2021, the fascist regime in Poland announced that it would begin enforcing a ruling, first announced in October, which bans the vast majority of abortions in the country, including making illegal the most common form of legal abortion, those due to fetal defects. This means that now, all forms of abortion are outlawed, with the only exceptions being in the event of rape, incest, or where the life or health of the woman is threatened. This has everything to do with slamming women back into more “traditional forms” of oppression and subservience, in response to and in revenge for the increased participation of women in the economy and social life, and as part of a larger theocratic-fascist agenda and global movement that is on the march, and advancing.

This will eliminate nearly all abortions in Poland.2 It is also good to keep in mind that what happened in Poland can happen in the rest of Europe and the U.S. What we see in Poland currently can be the future of abortion in the U.S. if the Christian fascists keep persisting in getting their way on reversing Roe v. Wade.

Ever since the fascist “Law and Justice” (PiS) party has come into power in Poland, they have made the attack on a woman’s right to her own body a major priority. Around 2016, PiS went as far as to make an attempt to even criminalize a woman for going outside Polish borders to receive an abortion.3,4 Yet this makes one ask, “How did Poland go from one of the countries with the most liberal abortion laws in Europe to one of the most draconian ones in Europe?” This has to do with the particular history of Poland, with deep-rooted veins of nationalism, patriarchy, and Roman Catholicism that find vicious and concentrated manifestations in the current fascist regime. The contradiction of women in Polish history is of them being revered as “heroines of a nation” though at the same time becoming the ones that suffer most due to the patriarchal culture heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. The dynamic of this is complex and it would need nothing less than a Revolution to uproot this.

A BRIEF HISTORY LEADING UP TO FASCISM TODAY:

In 1794, Poland lost its independence and national sovereignty by being divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Poland was off the map until 1918. Throughout those years, Poland would have a number of revolts and uprisings to regain its independence that did end up in failure.5 The men that took part in those revolts were either exiled, executed, or sent to Siberia. Women were definitely involved in this resistance during those years while also being integral in the upbringing of their children to raise “young patriots” that would be the next generation that would keep fighting for Poland’s return to national sovereignty. It was during this part of Polish history that the term the “Mother Pole” came to portray the Polish woman utilizing her motherhood as a patriotic and heroic act.6

Poland, along with other Eastern European countries like Romania, East Germany, etc., was in the Soviet orbit following WW2, with an attempt to “impose” a similar social system there. As Avakian has stated, without anything remotely resembling a thoroughgoing revolution, “socialism never existed in these Eastern European countries ... and it was never created through the class-conscious struggle of the masses there with a proletarian vanguard.”7 Following the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in the mid-fifties after the death of Stalin, these Eastern European countries, under the dominance of the revisionist Soviet Union, then followed a similar revisionist model. Nevertheless some reforms were enacted as part of this. Abortion actually was legal in Poland from 1956 until 1993.

As the “Solidarity” movement gained strength against the faux8-revisionist “communist” party in Poland during the 1980s, so did the Roman Catholic Church’s influence in the federal government as it headed into the 1990s. The “Solidarity” movement would be eventually co-opted by the CIA with the backing of President Ronald Reagan in the U.S., with an alliance that was formed with Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope in the Vatican who was held to be a symbol of ethnic pride among religious Poles.9

THE BRUTAL REALITY TODAY

Now Poland has a legitimate fascist party in charge that not only upholds the patriarchal values of the Roman Catholic Church, but is associated with international Christian fascist groups such as Ordo Iuris that are helping the Polish Constitutional Tribunal with their anti-abortion legislation while at the same time using Poland as a testing ground as they work to attack women’s reproductive rights throughout Europe eventually10—while at the same time they are utilizing Poland’s past as a tool for the oppression of women as the pro-abortion protesters are labeled as people attacking Poland’s values and way of life. This is a similar pattern to what many fascist governments would label opposition protesters in other countries. Poland’s “Justice” party is no different. The “Law and Justice” party11 wants Poland to return to a past deeply rooted in Roman Catholicism where women did uphold motherhood as the biggest form of female heroism as a national identity. “LGBT Free Zone” was promoted for the sake of a false “religious freedom.” These forms of demonization have encouraged fascist street thugs loyal to the “Law and Justice” party to threaten and assault immigrants and LGBT people.

The education rate among women since 1989 has been higher than ever in Poland,12 which would eventually lead to shaking the patriarchal Roman Catholic hegemony that haunted feminism in Poland for hundreds of years. The conflict of women being the heroines of Poland being tied to motherhood historically while advancing in education as well as in the workplace is a contradiction that is clashing in Poland currently.

Women in Poland who wished to pursue higher education along with being career driven had to face a society that would label them as “selfish” for not wanting to utilize their “traditional” duties by getting married and having children. Before World War 2, women had to deal with many roadblocks in pursuing education and careers that countered traditional oppressive relations such as a heavy decrease in pay compared to their male counterparts to the point where it was not affordable for a woman to pursue her ambitions, especially in academia. When Poland’s “communist” party took over to build more of a state-capitalist economy, there was an improvement of women in education and the workplace, but many of those societal expectations dealing with oppressive gender relations were not uprooted while still at times expecting of women to hold onto their traditional place as the “Mother Pole” model was still upheld.

A fetus is not a human while motherhood MUST be a choice and NEVER a patriotic obligation.

This quote from the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian seems very fitting to the situation in Poland currently, off of the 2012 talk BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

[W]omen are subjected to continual assaults on their right to abortion and even birth control. Don’t let these people tell you, these so-called right-to-lifers, that the issue is the killing of innocent babies. The issue is the control over women, exercised by forcing them to be mothers, whether or not they want to be at that time. Now, to have children, to raise children, can be a really beautiful experience if that’s what you want to do and if you feel in a position to do it in the way that you feel it should be done. But to have it forced on you is virtual enslavement. Not to even have the choice as to whether you will do that. And here’s the key to how you know–or one key to how you know–this is not about killing of innocent babies: Try to find one of these rabid anti-abortion groups that is also not opposed to birth control. You’ll have a very hard time. They’re all opposed to birth control, because the issue is not the killing of innocent babies, it’s the control and subordination of women who are regarded as getting all out of hand these days in this society, which is another reason why we have, or a contributing factor to why we have, this vicious pornography. So the goal of these attacks on abortion and, yes, on birth control, the right to them, is to deny women the ability to determine something as basic as when or if they will have children and raise children, or be part of raising them–forcing motherhood on them, once again, and enslaving them in that way.

Sources

 


Footnotes

1. On the Polish Government’s Attacks on Abortion Rights, the Rising Tide of Global Fascism, and the Need for a Radically Different Alternative, revcom.us, February 15, 2021.  [back]

2. For Polish women with scheduled abortions, ruling brings chaos, fearPolitico, October 29, 2020.  [back]

3. Polish Women Protest Proposed Abortion Ban (Again), New York Times, March 23, 2018.  [back]

4. Why Are There Protests in Poland?New York Times, October 27, 2020.  [back]

5. A history of Polish Christianity, Jerzy Kloczowski, Cambridge University Press, September 14, 2000.  [back]

6. The Struggle for Abortion Rights in Poland, Wanda Nowicka.  [back]

7. See Bob Avakian, Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will.  [back]

8. “faux” means “fake” or “false”.  [back]

9. Reagan and Pope Reportedly Conferred on PolandNew York Times, February 18, 1992.  [back]

10. Four reasons why Poland’s war on abortion should scare youOpen Democracy, February 3, 2021.  [back]

11. Trump Hails Poland as a Beacon of Freedom. Rights Groups Beg to Differ.New York Times, July 6, 2017.  [back]

12. Feminization of Higher Education in Poland 1918-2018, Krzysztof Popiński, December 2019.  [back]

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. 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.

Bob Avakian


Pope John Paul II, the first Polish pope in the Vatican, was held up as a symbol of ethnic pride among religious Poles. The photo is of his first visit to Poland in 1979. As the "Solidarity" movement gained strength against the faux-revisionist "communist" party in Poland during the 1980s, so did the Roman Catholic Church's influence. The "Solidarity" movement would be eventually co-opted by the U.S. in an alliance with Pope John Paul II.


People gather and face police during a protest against a new anti-abortion law in Warsaw, Poland, January 28, 2021. A near total ban on abortion has finally taken effect in Poland three months after a top court ruled that the abortion of congenitally damaged fetuses is unconstitutional, a move that has sparked a new round of nationwide protests. Photo: AP

"...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!"

—Bob Avakian

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/689/further-questions-for-session-1-of-zoom-seminars-en.html

Further Questions for Session 1 of "Zoom Into the Revolution" Seminars

| revcom.us

 

As a service to readers, we are posting the session plan for the first “Zoom into the Revolution” seminar.

* * *

Welcome to the opening seminar on Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement—A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.

On one very important level, we’re going to dig into an extremely important analysis of the crossroads that all of humanity stands at from Bob Avakian, or BA as we call him—the most important political thinker and leader in the world. On another, deeper level, we’re going to learn the method that he uses to scientifically analyze the source of the problem we face and the pathways to solving it, through revolution.

Through this, we’ll be learning to “interrogate”—ask questions about—the social reality we live in with the scientific method and approach of the new communism. Sometimes we’ll struggle over the answers. Sometimes we’ll build on each other’s insights. And sometimes both. The point through it all is to learn more deeply, again, what is the problem humanity faces... and what is the solution?

For the first session, it would be good if people thought about the paragraph on the top of the syllabus:

The electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only “buys some time”—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism. But, in essential terms, time is not on the side of the struggle for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be squandered—mired in oblivious individualism and political paralysis or misspent on misdirected activity that only reinforces this system which perpetuates endless horrors for the masses of humanity and has brought things to the brink of very real catastrophe.

We should walk through this—as it grounds why we are doing these seminars. Why is it said that this defeat “only ‘buys some time’”? Do you think this is true? What questions or reflections did it provoke in you? And so on.

The second thing to think about is this: in the statement, BA writes that:

Among many who have been outraged by the way Trump has consistently engaged in both pathological and purposeful lying, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the importance of science and truth, on facts and evidence-based reasoning. This has focused to a significant degree on the criminally anti-scientific approach that Trump and Pence have taken to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the encouragement of this anti-scientific madness among the fascist “base” in society at large—all of which has led to at least tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of unnecessary deaths as well as unnecessary hardship and suffering for masses of people. This emphasis on science and the scientific method is vitally important, but it is also necessary to emphasize the real need and great importance of being consistent with this, and following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads, in order to correctly understand reality, in every sphere of life and society.

Immediately after that, comes the paragraph in your syllabus on identity politics. How do you understand the argument being made here by BA?

[Following scientifically-determined truth wherever it leads] means fully breaking with and moving beyond an approach of merely embracing truths—or supposed truths—with which one is comfortable, while rejecting, dismissing, or evading actual truth which may make one uncomfortable. One important dimension of this is rising above and repudiating methodologically the philosophical relativism of “identity politics,” which does a great deal of harm through its own version of reducing “truth” to partial, unsystematized experience and subjective sentiment (“my truth”... “our truth”...) in opposition to real, objective truth, which is correctly, scientifically arrived at through an evidence-based process, to determine whether, or not, something (an idea, theory, assertion, etc.) corresponds to actual material reality.

Then, we’ll touch on the final point in your syllabus for the first session—

“To understand why we are confronted with the situation we are, it is necessary not merely to respond to—and in effect be whipped around by—what is happening on the surface at any given time, but to dig beneath the surface, to discover the underlying mainsprings and causes of things, and arrive at an understanding of the fundamental problem and the actual solution.”

What we don’t get to this time, we’ll get to next time. We’re going to limit these sessions to two hours maximum, while we’ll also allow for extra optional sessions if people want to pursue questions further.

Syllabus for Zoom Into the Revolution Seminars on the New Year's Statement by Bob Avakian

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/689/blm-activist-in-kenosha-facing-felony-charges-en.html

Beloved BLM Activist in Kenosha Facing Felony Charges as Kenosha Pigs Get Away with Blood on Their Hands

Written by members of Revolution Club Chicago

| revcom.us

 

Clyde McLemore, founder of the Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter in northern Illinois, is being charged with disorderly conduct and felony attempted battery along with threatening a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during the citywide protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake that garnered nationwide attention. If Clyde McLemore is convicted, he faces a fine up to $6,000 and imprisonment for up to three years and 90 days.1

Clyde is no stranger to the Revolution Club Chicago. He marched with us last summer on the South Side where we called on the youth who are killing and dying on the streets of Chicago to lift their sights and get with the revolution. He also spoke at a couple of Refuse Fascism Chicago protests downtown at Federal Plaza and marched against the fascist Trump/Pence regime. 

On August 24, Clyde McLemore was protesting with 50 others in front of the Civic Center Park for what was supposed to be a scheduled press conference from local officials, which included Kenosha mayor John Antaramian. McLemore along with the rest of the protesters were attempting to go inside where the press was setting up. Police then came in and pepper sprayed the protestors to make sure no one entered the building.2 McLemore allegedly kicked the door that the pigs were trying to close. This led to charges against him that took six months for the Kenosha County government District Attorney Michael Graveley to file due to this alleged accusation.

Kenosha has been a major battleground in the recent few months as in regards to the local pigs shooting Jacob Blake multiple times with tasers and a handgun in the back in front of his three children unnecessarily as he was trying to de-escalate an argument between two women prior to the arrival of the Kenosha cops. This scenario left Blake paralyzed from the waist down. The masses in Kenosha righteously rose up against this travesty of injustice. Local fascist militia members made a call for volunteers to “protect” local business from the uprising. Seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse from nearby Antioch, Illinois, answered the fascist call and ended up viciously murdering two protesters, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding a third, Gaige Grosskreutz.3 

And yet local Black Lives Matter activist Clyde McLemore gets slammed with trumped up charges on disorderly conduct and attempted battery for allegedly kicking a door a Kenosha cop was trying to close. These charges were thrown at McLemore out of the blue six months later as he is now facing a felony. The felony charge stems from a statement off of McLemore’s Facebook page in which he allegedly said that he “was mad enough to try to break the officer’s fingers.” There was no physical injury to any of the Kenosha pigs done by McLemore.

Kenosha County government District Attorney Michael Graveley will not press charges against the Kenosha pigs that shot and paralyzed Jacob Blake but will prosecute a local activist Clyde McLemore, who is beloved and deeply respected by many people in the communities of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and northern Illinois. This is what Jacob Blake’s sister, Letetra Wideman, said about Clyde at a recent “Free Clyde” press conference in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse: "Officer Sheskey delivered seven bullets in the back of a father in front of his children. Clyde McLemore delivers groceries to hungry families. And that's the person you want to lock up? Then what does that say about you, Kenosha?”4

Are we to be shocked at how white supremacy is so interwoven with this system of capitalism-imperialism that someone such as Clyde McLemore who is so passionate about confronting injustice in his surrounding communities, helping prisoners find employment and housing after serving time, along with helping to get food for people of low income, is facing three years in prison—while Kenosha pigs such as Rusten Sheskey shoot an innocent man like Jacob Blake in cold-blood in front of his three children to leave him paralyzed from the waist down, but yet the system makes sure he is not guilty? The United States has 400 years worth of blood from Black people on its hands, and the terror will not be ending any time soon as long as this system of capitalism-imperialism remains in power. Black people were lynched after the Civil War in the Jim Crow South without any repercussions to the murderers. Chicago Black Panther Fred Hampton Sr was lynched by the Chicago Police Department with no repercussions to the Windy City pigs. We can go on with names such as Bunchy Carter, John Africa, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown Jr, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, etc., etc.... The names can go on and on of murdered Black people and the murderous culprits in law enforcement that have gotten away with it. Jacob Blake nearly joined that list but he did survive to tragically be paralyzed from the waist down. 

If Clyde McLemore goes to prison, he will be a political prisoner that this system will make an example out of like they did with people such as the MOVE 9, Mumia Abu Jamal, and members of the Black Panthers that are serving heavy time since the 1960s and 1970s. What led to Chicago pig Jason Van Dyke being found guilty for the murder of Laquan McDonald was the fear of people rising to demand justice. But this time the people need to rise for Clyde McLemore to demand the charges be dropped. Because if Clyde McLemore does end up being found guilty of the bogus charges that are put forth before him by the Kenosha DA, then the pigs will not stop with him and be bold enough to go after others. But how long will we have to tolerate white supremacist police lynchings of Black people along with others too?

Revolutionary leader Bob Avakian has done scientific study on how this system can’t be reformed and must be overthrown. Black people in the U.S. have been murdered for hundreds of years, and do we really want the future of OUR youth 50 years from now to face the same police terror along with protesting the same injustice over and over again? It is critical to struggle with others for moving beyond reforms within this system of capitalism-imperialism that go nowhere but instead move forward to Revolution to TRULY emancipate Black people and the rest of humanity for a future worth living for and not worry if you might survive when a cop pulls you over.

Revcom.us will be paying attention to the Clyde McLemore case and will inform as it moves forward. Leaving you with this quote from Bob Avakian from his New Year’s Statement, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity

Unable to provide a positive resolution to acute  contradictions bound up with these changes—unable to end systemic racism which involves degrading discrimination against even economically better-off sections of Black people—unable to integrate large numbers of Black people into the “formal” economy—the ruling forces in society have responded to this situation with mass incarceration of millions of Black males (and growing  numbers of females) with arrests, trials, convictions and sentences embodying yet more discrimination and injustice, and by unleashing and backing systematic police terror, which is especially directed against Black people in the inner cities but can target any Black person, anywhere, at any time. The attempt to brutally enforce “law and order,” given that a more just solution is impossible under this system, heightens the volatility of this whole situation, leading to further upheaval—including completely justified and righteous protest and rebellion—which, in turn, is seized on by fascist forces in promoting their grotesque white supremacist portrayal of the masses of Black people as “criminals” and “uncaged animals.”

 


1. Illinois Black Lives Matter activist charged with felony, misdemeanor following Kenosha unrest in August, WTMJ-TV, Feb. 21, 2021.  [back]

2. Activist facing felony, misdemeanor charges for alleged actions during Blake protests, Kenosha News, Feb. 20, 2021.  [back]

3. Kyle Rittenhouse won’t face higher bond or arrest warrant following hearing over questions about where Kenosha protest shooter is living, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 11, 2021.  [back]

4. Activists rally, demand county drop charges against BLM founder, WISN, Feb. 25, 2021.  [back]


Clyde McLemore leads a group of demonstrators in a march to Civic Center Park on Aug. 25, 2020, two days after the police shot Jacob Blake in the back. Photo: GoFundMe page


Demonstrators march around the Public Safety Building for Clyde McLemore, founder of Black Lives Matter Lake County Chapter, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Photo: Kenosha News/Sean Krajacic

 

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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/689/american-crime-case-8-war-in-vietnam-and-sexual-subjugation-of-women-en.html

American Crime

Case #8: America's War in Vietnam and the Sexual Subjugation of Women

| 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

America’s genocidal war in Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s resulted in at least two to three million Vietnamese deaths and possibly as many as four million. As one little known but horrific part of this towering crime against humanity, the U.S. military participated in the creation of a huge “brothel economy” in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. Rather than liberating the Vietnamese, they were subjugating an estimated half a million women to sexual domination by the U.S.

There were approximately more than 7.5 million tons of bombs dropped by the U.S. military on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia between 1965 and 1975 as well as at least 20 million gallons of deadly herbicides sprayed throughout the lands. Encyclopedia.com reports, “The widespread destruction of the farms and villages in the South Vietnamese countryside turned huge numbers of peasants into homeless refugees. Many of these people fled to the cities where they made a living in any way they could—including through illegal activities. The poverty and desperation of the war years—along with the influence of Americans—resulted in major changes to Vietnamese families, culture, and society.” Even a mainstream American journalist, who thought the U.S. was “motivated by the loftiest intentions,” admitted in his book Vietnam: A History that the U.S. war against Vietnam “did indeed rip South Vietnam’s social fabric to shreds.”  

The city of Saigon was known as a brothel to many U.S. soldiers. Once a month, military personnel would get a couple days to themselves for a little R&R, rest and recuperation, or in the words of some soldiers, “intoxication and intercourse.” “In fact, I don’t know anyone in my unit who expressed the slightest bit of interest in Vietnam’s culture or history. When we went on five days of R&R during our tour of combat—for example to Hong Kong, Thailand, Okinawa, Japan or the Philippines—most of us were interested in only one thing: getting drunk and getting laid,” Lloyd Lofthouse, a U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, recalls about his time in the Vietnam. 

With a neocolonial and racist way of thinking, that Asian women were “exotic” and naturally “submissive” to Western superiority, the GIs kept the bar girls, masseurs and sex slaves of East Asia employed. According to Nanette J. Davis in Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems and Policies, over the course of the 10-year war, there were an estimated 500,000 Vietnamese prostitutes servicing U.S. troops, translating to approximately one prostitute per American soldier at the height of the U.S. savage war and occupation. In a New York Times op-ed, “How Not to Win ‘Hearts and Minds,’’’ George C Herring, professor emeritus of history and author of America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975, cited how the “number of houses of ill-repute expanded proportionately as the number of Americans in Saigon surged into the tens of thousands.” Herring notes how this provoked criticism from U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, who asserted that “both literally and figuratively Saigon has become an American brothel” while criticizing American foreign policy, which he followed with cited reports of “Vietnamese putting wives or daughters to work as bar girls” or “to peddle them to American soldiers as mistresses.” 

Cases in which a woman’s or a girl’s entire family were somehow involved in the sale of her body were not uncommon. Women and children were lured into prostitution as a means of survival. Many, perhaps even a majority, of the prostitutes employed by U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam War or later in Southeast Asia were minors. Bar girls would find themselves indebted to the often-times violent bar owners, thus always keeping them enslaved. As noted by Madi Gilkes in Trouble & Strife, others would be recruited by Americans to serve U.S. Army camps. Every day, women would be transported to military bases to earn their monthly incomes based on how many soldiers they had sex with and the amount of hours they put in.

Taina Bien-Aime, Executive Director of Equality Now, said that Thailand becoming a sex tourism destination was condoned and sanctioned by Robert McNamara. McNamara, U.S. Defense Secretary for President Lyndon B. Johnson, oversaw massive troop and bombing escalations during the war in Vietnam. In 1967, the Thai government and Defense Secretary McNamara completed a pact in which Thailand agreed to provide R&R leave for American soldiers and in return would secure economic developmental perks. The U.S. government, entrenched in the Vietnam War, signed this treaty with Thailand enabling U.S. soldiers to come ashore for R&R and giving the sex tourism industry what amounted to official sanction, and a new era dawned. Less than a decade later, Thailand could claim more than 20,000 brothels and other sex-industry establishments; and the hyped mythology of the young, submissive, sexy girls waiting for wealthy tourists in sultry Southeast Asia was making its way around the world.

Richard Marcinko, a retired U.S. Navy Seal commander and Vietnam War veteran, recounts in his autobiography Rogue Warrior, “My social life was as busy as my professional schedule. Women were plentiful. There were the local LBFMs—Little Brown Fucking Machines—brought in an endless supply by my houseboy Sothan.” LBFM was a term American troops used to describe Vietnamese women during the war, and it was later used to describe Filipino and indigenous women. The women, called “dollar-earning patriots” by some, and the children born from prostitution were oftentimes ostracized by their families and communities so badly that the girls fathered and left behind by U.S. servicemen often went into sex work as the only choice open to them. 

A major source of Thailand’s economic growth during America’s imperialist war was the commodification of women’s bodies. Not only did it dehumanize and brutalize the women, but it helped shape Thailand’s development as a destination and mecca for sex tourism. When American bases started closing in the Philippines and Thailand, those countries refocused their attention on attracting foreign tourists. Frances L. Starner, in his 1967 article Thai Sins,” published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, reported that an estimated 250,000 foreign tourists visited Thailand in 1965. Tourism was the sixth greatest source of foreign currency in Thailand in 1967—and by the mid-1990s, it would be the greatest.1

In his book Disposable People, Kevin Bales wrote of Thailand’s brothels that by 1996, the country had more than seven million tourist visits a year, 66 percent of which were unaccompanied men. More recently, National Public Radio reported that the total worth of the sex industry in Thailand is approximately $6.4 billion, which equals three percent of the total national budget. The National Center for Biological Information at Thailand’s Mahidol University estimates that approximately 36,000 out of 150,000-200,000 prostitutes in the country are children.

THE CRIMINALS

The U.S. imperialist government and military, from its commanding levels on down, all played a part. From their establishing actual brothels on military bases to soldiers being encouraged by officers to use them and being given condoms, the legal and illegal sex trade thrived because of this in Southeast Asia.

The pro-U.S. puppet governments of South Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines were also responsible for such atrocities committed against women. 

THE ALIBI

The age-old alibi of “men will be men” is heard from various directions, as well as “there were laws against prostitution, so what happened was not our doing or it couldn’t have been stopped.” Some would say that the women and families were “voluntarily” doing this; others would claim they were “helping these poor girls out with a few dollars.” 

On January 25, 1972, the New York Times ran an article with the headline U.S. Now Admitting Prostitutes To Some of Its Vietnam Bases,” which stated that even though there were concerns about narcotics being smuggled into the bases, “many said they supported the practice to keep peace within the increasingly disgruntled ranks of Americans still left in Vietnam.”

This dangerous way of thinking continued well into the years that followed the war. One of the biggest cases in relation to this was when, in 1995, three U.S. servicemen pled guilty to having rented a van and abducting a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa, Japan, and then raping her. U.S. Navy Admiral Richard C. Macke, when asked about the incident, replied, “I think it was absolutely stupid, I’ve said several times. For the price they paid to rent the car, they could have had the girl.”

THE REAL MOTIVE

The establishment of military brothels, sex education and hiring of prostitutes for U.S. military personnel were all ways for the U.S. military and government to “keep morale high” in order to continue carrying out the U.S. atrocities against the Vietnamese people. A 1966 Time magazine article, “Disneyland East,” explained that the An Khe brothel, a 25-acre complex nicknamed “Disneyland” by soldiers, was owned by Vietnamese, but U.S. military police “patrol[ed] the compound and check[ed] the pass of each GI entering.” 

Mass murder in the jungle by day, sexual Disneyland by night. The open secret that women and their bodies were seen as the “spoils” of war boosted recruitment for the U.S. military. Think about what this tells you about the oppressive social relations that this army embodies and enforces.

Some of the information for this article was drawn from “The U.S. Military and the Growth of Prostitution in Southeast Asia,” by Preston Jones, Advisory Board Member, ECPAT-USA, an anti-human trafficking policy organization.

 


1. The U.S. military-related prostitution-trafficking also spread to the Philippines, where there was a large American military presence, and this went on through the 1990s, especially around large U.S. air and naval bases like Clark and Subic Bay.  [back]

 


This little girl was injured and orphaned in a bloody attack by U.S. and puppet South Vietnamese troops against the Vietnamese National Liberation Front (the so-called "Vietcong") forces at Dong Xoai, South Vietnam, June 10, 1965. Photo: AP


A woman tries to carry a child to safety as U.S. Marines storm the village of My Son, near Da Nang, searching for National Liberation Front ("Vietcong") insurgents in April 1965. Photo: AP


Women at a bar and passing U.S. soldiers in Saigon on May 28, 1971. Photo: AP


A headline in the New York Times, January 25, 1972, read: "U.S. Now Admitting Prostitutes To Some of Its Vietnam Bases." (Click image to enlarge.)

See also:

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/689/rnl-show-episode-42-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 42 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

International Women's Day—Break ALL the Chains!

Episode 42 of The RNL Show comes just four days away from this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD). We will look at the role of women in the world and the profound potential of the emancipation of women brought out in the new communism developed by Bob Avakian.

For thousands of years women have been battered, raped, abused, treated as less than human and forced into a position of subjugation, but it doesn't have to be this way!

Learn about the liberating history of the communist movement on this question, an inspirational part of history that has been buried and needs to be uncovered. And this year, connect up with the revolutionary struggle to end this oppression!  

Join hosts Andy Zee and Sunsara Taylor as they share excerpts from Bob Avakian on breaking all the chains and unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution, talk about the revolution we are fighting for and that you need to join, and hear from members of the National Revolution Tour. 

This episode features: 

You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can’t say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.

BAsics 3:22, from BAsics: from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

*National plans for actions on and leading up to International Women’s Day, including a Special program hosted by The RNL Show on Sunday, March 7

*BAsics 1:10, read by Amina from the National Revolution Tour, from the film Stepping Into The Future 

*A commentary by Andy Zee 

*Bob Avakian speaks on a radically different world that is needed and what was begun in the first communist revolutions of the 20th century. From a speech in 2003 called Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, and What It’s All About   

* Noche Diaz, spokesperson for the Revolution Clubs, speaking at the 2020 International Women’s Day march in Los Angeles

* Bob Avakian on the need for a change in culture—an excerpt from the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!—and an IWD interview with Prose and Maya from the National Revolution Tour on lessons learned from the first wave of communism on the emancipation of women and the freedom that revolution unleashes.

*The song “Free Women” by the revolutionary rock band ¡Outernational!

 

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