revcom.us, April 5, 2021 through April 11, 2021 (#694)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Posted April 8, 2019

 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/avakian/new-years-statement-2021/bob-avakian-new-years-statement-2021-en.html

 

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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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/692/supplemental-materials-relating-to-the-new-years-statement-by-bob-avakian-en.html

Supplemental Materials Relating to the New Year's Statement by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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.

—From the concluding part of
NEW YEAR'S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN

 

 

The Destruction of the Planet by Capitalism-Imperialism, by Bob Avakian, an excerpt

Bob Avakian, "Not fit caretakers of the earth"

 

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/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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download poster and leaflet:

11x17 poster

8.5x11 two-sided leaflet

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/665/bob-avakian-for-the-liberation-of-black-people-en.html

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

| revcom.us

 

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

As BA has written about his life’s work:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump—Genocidal Racist (Parts 1-10) 

Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System

Police And Prisons: Reformist Illusions And The Revolutionary Solution

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

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

Bob Avakian On Emancipation From Mental Slavery And All Oppression

Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James And The Whole Truth

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

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

Trump And Pigs: A Racist Love Affair

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

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

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

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

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

Patriarchy And Male Supremacy, Or Revolution And Ending All Oppression

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

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

Bob Avakian On Ugly Words & Phrases

Bob Avakian On Tulsa Racist Mobs

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

[back]

Now available as a PDF pamphlet:
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Make plans now to get these materials out very broadly into the world, and raise funds for their publication.

Get to know BA

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

Joining the Panthers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Studying Revolution in Prison, Going Up Against Identity Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Out of Prison and into the Movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“There has never been a leader like this”

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

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

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

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

 

BA Through the Years 1969,1979, 2003

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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/690/basic-points-of-orientation-en.html

BASIC POINTS OF ORIENTATION

| revcom.us

 

1. This system of capitalism-imperialism is the source of endless horrors for the majority of people in this country and all around the world, and it is increasingly threatening the very existence of humanity. We are actively working for an actual revolution—to bring down, to overthrow and completely abolish, this whole system as soon as possible and replace it with something radically different and much better, a new society built on an entirely different foundation. That, and nothing less, is what is needed. So that is what we are all about—and we have the necessary scientific method, the plan, the strategy, and the leadership to succeed in this. But there aren’t enough people committed to this yet. So... this is what you need to be about. Anything else will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution. Given the situation facing humanity, we don’t have time to waste, so we need to get busy working for this revolution, in an organized way, and winning more and more people to do the same.

2. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. He is an old white guy—yes, deal with it! He is providing ongoing leadership for this revolution, and he has a whole body of work that contains the scientific method to analyze the problem and the solution, the strategy for the revolution to bring down this system, and the vision and concrete plan for that radically different and much better society, on the road to emancipate all of humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation, and to enable humanity to become fit caretakers of the earth. He’s even written a Constitution that concretely maps out what to do starting right after the seizure of power, so we can actually work on building up that whole new emancipating society. There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now. We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

 

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/691/there-is-the-powerful-positive-potential-en.html

There is the powerful positive potential...

| revcom.us

 

There is the powerful positive potential of what it is that Revcoms are—and need to be—fighting for, consistently, boldly, compellingly bringing forward and bringing alive. In this context, the following passage is worth reviewing and reflecting on, from Bob Avakian’s The Coming Civil War and Re-polarization for Revolution in the Present Era, Religion and the Right to Religion, DARK AGES MENTALITY AND THE LIBERATING OUTLOOK AND METHOD OF COMMUNISM”:

The religious fundamentalists, of various kinds, make a point of recruiting in the prisons, and they come with a heavy ideological message. There is something very important to be learned from the “Losing My Religion” article that appeared in our newspaper within the past year. The author of the article, who comes from a family steeped in religious fundamentalism, says that his own life experiences had provided plenty of reasons to reject religion, but it was only when there was another coherent ideology that he could take up that he completely broke with religion. And that coherent ideology wasn’t another religion—it was the scientific outlook and method of communism, which he was introduced to through writings of mine which he encountered in college. He also commented on that: he said that these writings, and the outlook and method they embody, taught him to do what religion never did—to think critically. It is not at all the case that people can only “lose their religion” by replacing it with another religion in some form. But there does have to be another explanation about the world and existence and why this is the way it is, and how it could be different. And how an individual relates to that. If you want to rupture people out of shit, not only stuff that lands them in prison, but the daily shit they are caught up in, in the society, you have to have a really strong hardcore ideological thing to bring to them. It doesn’t have to be dogmatic—it should not be dogmatic, and it should not be religious—but it has to be coherent and systematic. It has to explain the world—and in our case we can actually explain it in a scientific way [BA laughs]. That ’s an advantage of communism over religion, even though religion has certain short‑term advantages because it can appeal to things we can’t appeal to, things that go along with spontaneity. But we have the advantage of actually being able to make reality make sense for people. That’s a very powerful thing.

We should not underestimate the importance, not only with prisoners but in general, of doing a lot of ideological work to really enable people to see the world in a wholly different way— really the way it is. To take the pieces of this puzzle that are all out of whack and don’t fit together— it’s like looking through a weird kaleidoscope the way most people see reality. And then it’s misinterpreted for them by all these different bourgeois and reactionary ideologies and programs, and so on, including various religious views. But communist ideology and its application to the world is a way of taking reality and having it make sense for people. That’s what the CD1 of my speech on religion aims to do, that’s what we urgently need to do in general. [Emphasis (boldface, italics, and underlining) added here]

 


1. This refers to a talk on religion given in 2004 by BA which was later encompassed in Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World (Insight Press, 2008)  [back]

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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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/693/seeds-en.html

"Seeds"

| revcom.us

 

Here are powerful seeds to grow the movement for revolution: short, sharp, high-impact quotes from Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement, “A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.”

Spread these around, “plant” them in many different ways, “saturate” neighborhoods in unmistakable and hard-to-miss ways. Be creative and be bold. Use them to provoke people... to challenge their assumptions... to inspire them to dig further and find out more by getting into the entire statement. Engage people, and grapple together with the contradictions these quotes point to. Find ways to organize those ready to awake from the winter.

Spring is here. Time to spread and plant... with an eye to the harvest we need.

 

Download: 11x17 PDF   |   8.5x11 PDF   |   JPG

Download: 11x17 PDF   |   8.5x11 PDF   |   JPG

Download: 11x17 PDF   |   8.5x11 PDF   |   JPG

Download: 11x17 PDF   |   8.5x11 PDF   |   JPG

Download: 11x17 PDF   |   8.5x11 PDF   |   JPG

 

 

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/694/revolution-club-sketches-en.html

GET ORGANIZED FOR AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

The Revolution Club is how to take part in and powerfully represent for the revolution in an organized way, as you learn more about the revolution and advance toward joining the Party.

What is the Revolution Club doing and learning?  How are we working actively, vigorously, tirelessly to hasten the development of things to the time when we can make revolution? 

Read reports, snapshots and reflections from members of the Revolution Club wielding these basic points of orientation with Bob Avakian's "New Year’s Statement" as the central focus and instrument, and "Bob Avakian For The Liberation of Black People And The Emancipation Of All Humanity" as an important supplement to really win people to revolution based on the new communism and the leadership of BA.

 


Planting seeds, setting terms, and bringing forward new followers

Reflections from a Revolution Tour Member

After a long winter, the revcoms on the National Revolution Tour are hitting the streets again... to the masses, with revolution. We are out with a new orientation and new materials and analysis, and seeking to plant the seeds today for a harvest so urgently needed... principally wielding Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement, as well as the piece “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity,” we are out to make big advances over this next period towards organizing thousands of people into this revolution, to follow Bob Avakian and the path he is forging. Very crucially, we are stepping to people with this: If you wanna get free, then you need to follow BA.

Read more


 

Planting SEEDS at a skate park in South Central, LA

 

 


Planting SEEDS at a skate park in South Central, Los Angeles

 

 


In a skate park in South Central, Los Angeles

 

 


Organizing for revolution in South Central, Los Angeles

 


Spreading the SEEDS in South Central, LA

 

 


Organizing for revolution in Compton

 

 

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

A speech by Bob Avakian
In two parts:

 

 

Watch it, spread it, fund it

To read or print the text of the speech, click HERE

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it

Taking "Bob Avakian For The Liberation Of Black People And The Emancipation of All Humanity" to people in South Central, LA

 


 

Noche Diaz talking to skater youth in South Central, Los Angeles

 

 

Some Initial Experience
Setting Terms with Revolution and the Need to Follow BA if You Want to Get Free
“Okay, who is this leader?”

...At one skate park, we had some discussions with a group of Black men (different ages, mainly older). One guy was arguing that we can deal with oppression by putting Black faces in high places. We re-set the terms with what BA represents: getting to the root of the problem, making revolution that uproots this system and replaces it, that BA has written a Constitution laying out how we would rebuild a different society. This guy then said: “Okay who is this leader?” He didn’t want to give us a way to reach him, but donated $10 and was going to look more into BA.

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/694/planting-seeds-setting-terms-and-bringing-forward-new-followers-en.html

Planting seeds, setting terms, and bringing forward new followers

Reflections from a Revolution Tour Member

| revcom.us

 

After a long winter, the revcoms on the National Revolution Tour are hitting the streets again... to the masses, with revolution. We are out with a new orientation and new materials and analysis, and seeking to plant the seeds today for a harvest so urgently needed... principally wielding Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement, as well as the piece “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity,” we are out to make big advances over this next period towards organizing thousands of people into this revolution, to follow Bob Avakian and the path he is forging. Very crucially, we are stepping to people with this: If you wanna get free, then you need to follow BA.

* * * * *

The streets of L.A. are often barren, even in more “normal” times. The neighborhoods of the oppressed are not always abuzz with activity, in the same way they can be in other cities. This can be an acute problem for the revolutionaries: how do you impact masses when the masses are not amassed? One of the ways is to cut through the silence. So we’ve been taking out a very LOUD sound truck, equipped with an agitator or two, and a TV to play video clips. Right now we’ve been focusing on the montage segments from The RNL Show which bring alive the article “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People...”

Teams of Revcoms break out from a starting point, going to each side of the street. Some put up posters—including of the “seeds”—short, sharp, high-impact quotes from BA’s New Year’s Statement—saturating the walls and poles with BA’s words and the statement’s striking title: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity.

Others go out to accumulate—this can mean quite literally going up into an apartment complex, with one comrade stepping out into the courtyard around which the various apartments are arrayed and making an announcement: “HEY! THE REVOLUTIONARIES ARE HERE AND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT OVERTHROWING THIS SYSTEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE—AND WE HAVE THIS LEADER NAMED BOB AVAKIAN WHO YOU NEED TO COME AND LEARN ABOUT”... Through all this, some of us developed this running orientation and challenge to people: “We are here now. We aren’t here all the time—so YOU need to come out of your homes check out this video about this leader.”

On our first outing doing this, some people, in handfuls, did turn their faces to revolution, coming out of their houses or apartments to come to the sound truck and hear for themselves just what we were talking about. And when they did get to the truck, a whole new process was opened up.

The montage segments of “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People...” provide a very important solid core for all this—it does a lot of work with people that a lot of diffuse but “good” conversations cannot and will never do alone—really introducing what this leader is all about, and putting both the work and the person of BA right in front of people, straight up and unfiltered. Now, there is a struggle that has to be waged to get people to watch, and to stay engaged—but it’s a struggle well worth it. In our conversations with people we also kept bringing it back to the basics of: we are organizing for revolution, that we follow BA and why people need to follow him.

* * * * *

We set out in the neighborhood where we did a lot of work last year around the protests and resistance sparked by the murder of Dijon Kizzee. Some people in this neighborhood recognized the “RNL” (Revolution—Nothing Less) shirts—one older woman actually had an RNL T-shirt from that time—but no one really knew about BA. We set out to change that. Once again, the “seeds” posters were posted up and down telephone poles and electrical boxes—while once again we called people out into the street to hear the sound truck. We had less success this time with bringing people into watching the clips, but we made an impression on many people, including by sharply challenging them with the challenge to follow BA and step into the revolution. One man stopped and talked to us for a while—a comrade was really struck by his T-shirt, which was emblazoned with a graphic image of Rodney King’s bloodied face. Though he started off by saying that he was down to protest but he was really “ready to burn shit down”—we challenged him with BA’s statement that we need to want revolution enough to be scientific about it, and that if we just went off and did a bunch of crazy shit tomorrow then we would get smashed - and what good would that do? By the end of our discussion he had a somewhat better understanding of what we meant by revolution, including that it would need to involve millions of people at the decisive hour, and that we aren’t ready to launch that right now, but we need to get busy preparing for such a time, and as such you should step into this revolution. He followed us on social media and took a stack of the “Seeds” posters to get up. He also planned to be a part of an upcoming Zoom call to get deeper into the revolution and wanted to learn more about the new communism.

One woman who was familiar with some of the struggle around the Dijon Kizzee murder was at first having a hard time distinguishing both what we meant by revolution, and what we were saying that was different from other groups (she’s heard these other groups talk about this or that case of the police murdering somebody, and the struggle for justice around those particular cases). After a back and forth, the comrade talking to her made this analogy: if you have a cancerous tumor, you don’t want to treat it with herbal teas—you have to dig it out. You have to go to a doctor and go to the science to figure out what is the real problem, and what you have to do about it. And by analogy, this is what BA has done and why what we’re talking about is different. Once this woman got this, she said that she had never heard anything like what we were talking about—actually ending police murder and terror once and for all, through overthrowing the existing system and replacing it with a radically different system, with a new Constitution that would codify this. And once again, leading with BA, the scientific understanding he's developed (and in this case with the vision that he’s laid out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America), and what revolution makes possible, was decisive.

* * * * *

Another spot we hit up was this skatepark where a couple dozen youth were hanging out. When we got out of our cars and started setting up our sound truck, all wearing our “RNL” shirts, some youth took notice and came to check this out. A few of us went around to gather people around the truck—and this is where we identified we needed to wage a lot of struggle—over why people should take the time to get into this. One of the things we came up against, as we often do, is the feeling and attitude of “I gotta do me—there’s nothing that we can do to change the world, so I just gotta look out for myself.” We called that shit out, telling them: “If you like the ways things are, with everything that’s happening from police murder to the mass rape of women, then we won’t chase you. But these horrors ARE happening, and we have a way out with leadership in Bob Avakian with a fighting chance to win...”

One Black youth watched one of the video clips on “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People...” with several of his friends, and a struggle erupted when he said “OK. I understand people had to fight for that back then, but we’re free now. And the only reason people still get killed by the police is that they don’t act right.” A comrade sharply replied: “So you think George Floyd just wasn’t acting right?” The young man held firm, insisting that he “would never put himself in that position.” The comrade hit back with: “You sound like a slave saying ‘yessa massa, yessa massa’ and ‘if you get whipped, then it’s your own fault for getting out of line.’” We also challenged this group with the 2 choices from BA: “...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!” The reactionary youth was the only one speaking up. The interaction kinda fizzled out after he started spouting some shit about how everyone is responsible for their own place in society, we are all really free, and that women chose to be prostitutes, etc....

We didn’t leave things there. Some of our crew was still out among the skaters when this crew came back and joined them. They were trying to whip up an atmosphere where the revolutionaries didn’t feel welcomed. “This is our skate park. They shouldn’t be coming around here.” But not everyone agreed. Things divided out into two, in a good way. One youth said to a comrade that “you’re trying to do something to make the world better and that’s the right thing to do.”

Towards the end of our time there we had a substantive engagement with a group of Black youth in their 20s who watched some of the videos. From the video, one of the guys really “got” what we meant by revolution and asked what we need to be doing now? We said that now's not the time to wage the all-out revolutionary struggle, but now IS the time to be urgently working for this revolution, to organize the thousands who can lead millions. He said, “oh, I get it. You're in the recruitment phase?” We said, “Yes, and we're here to recruit you to follow BA. There's too few of us right now and this is what humanity needs.” He was weighing the question of what his life is going to be about. His friend said he wasn't sure, “I got to take care of my family, pay my bills, even though I know my death isn't going to mean shit.” We talked about what is worth living and dying for—revolution and the emancipation of humanity, vs. a lightweight or bullshit death of just doing for self... and what's it going to mean for humanity and the planet if everyone just looks out for their own self while the fascists are organizing and the planet burns? They were seriously weighing this and made uncomfortable by it—in a good way. They said they would look BA up on YouTube and would read the New Year's statement, which they got copies of, and then they headed off to play ball, but the woman stuck around because she wanted to see the next video clip. She really felt that we needed revolution, and was very excited to learn more about BA and read his writings. She also said she would come on a Zoom call to get more deeply into this and took a few of the “seeds” to spread around.

* * * * *

Stepping out in this way was certainly new, and how we were talking about BA and how people were being introduced to him were radically different from how we would go about it before. So far it has been translating into a different dynamic, where people are very much relating to BA the person and his work much more directly, and therefore getting a much better grasp of who we are, what we’re about, and what we are seeking to organize them into. There’s much more to learn from applying all this, but a real beginning and changed course has been started out on.

Episode 45 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show
We Follow Bob Avakian. You Should Too. Why? Because Humanity Needs Revolution!


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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/690/bob-avakian-shakespeare-and-strategic-commanders-of-the-revolution-en.html

Bob Avakian on
SHAKESPEARE AND STRATEGIC COMMANDERS OF THE REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

One of the people in the "Get Organized For An ACTUAL Revolution" Tour has recounted her difficulties as a high school student in reading the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. Having difficulty in reading this, and not seeing why it was important for her to do so, she was met with denunciation and insults, rather than help, from her teacher. So, what does all this have to do with the new communism and being a strategic commander of the revolution based on this new communism?

As Ardea Skybreak has emphasized, in an important article on the question of strategic commanders of the revolution: “You don’t have to have been formally trained as an intellectual to be bright, engaged, curious about all sorts of things, able to think on lots of different levels, and to play with lots of different elements.”1 As one application of this, you don’t have to be formally trained as an intellectual to read, and get some important things out of reading, Shakespeare (and no one deserves the title, or the position, of “teacher” who discourages someone from learning by insulting them because they do not find Shakespeare easy to read, or do not immediately understand why he is worth reading).

With regard to Romeo and Juliet in particular, one way to “get into” this is to make the comparison between their situation and what it is like for two people who fall in love while their families are part of rival gangs. Something similar to that is essentially the situation, and ultimately is decisive in determining the fate, of Romeo and Juliet. (And the musical play West Side Story is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to just such a situation.)

Many of the writings of Shakespeare reflect, in very rich ways, significant contradictions of a society in which elements of bourgeois (capitalist) relations, and the corresponding ideas, are beginning to have an impact, while the society overall is still dominated by feudal relations and “values.” Among other things, this is reflected, in a number of Shakespeare’s works, such as Romeo and Juliet, in the contradiction, often acutely posed, between romantic love and feudal/patriarchal authority and “duty” imposed by that authority (including the patriarchal authority of the father/husband, in the family).

At the same time, there are deep philosophical/existential questions posed in Shakespeare’s works—including Hamlet (“To be, or not to be...”) or Macbeth (“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day...”—a passage that was often recited by Huey Newton). This is true even as this is shaped by the prevailing ways of thinking—and the underlying relations they reflect—of Shakespeare’s time (about 400 years ago), and is speaking to these existential questions in a decidedly different way than what is said about this in Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, where I emphasize that devoting your life to revolution aiming for the emancipation of humanity is indeed a life worth living and one full of meaning.2

While some of the language of Shakespeare is archaic (from earlier times, and with words and expressions common in those times but not necessarily today), there is a richness and liveliness to the language that is very rewarding to “take in.” This requires work, but the work is well worth it and the reward very real.

I am speaking to this not because everyone—or in particular everyone striving to be a strategic commander of the revolution—needs to start (or resume) reading Shakespeare right now, but because, as Skybreak emphasizes, being “curious about all sorts of things” is one important dimension of being a strategic commander of the revolution based on the new communism, and this “curiosity” certainly can and should involve an interest in engaging literature and art, of many different kinds, including the work of a towering literary artist like Shakespeare.

 


1. The article by Ardea Skybreak, “Strategic Commanders of the Revolution,” is available at revcom.us.  [back]

2. This refers specifically to the section “Differing Views on the Meaning of Life, and Death: What Is Worth Living and Dying For?” in this work by Bob Avakian, Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism, which is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

Click to read.

See also:

Strategic Commanders of the Revolution

by Ardea Skybreak

Read more

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/strategic-commanders-of-the-revolution-en.html

STRATEGIC COMMANDERS OF THE REVOLUTION

by Ardea Skybreak

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

Ardea Skybreak is a scientist with professional training in ecology and evolutionary biology, and an advocate of the new synthesis of communism—also known as the New Communism—brought forward by Bob Avakian.  Important works by Skybreak include The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters; Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps: An Essay on the Emergence of Human Beings, the Source of Women’s Oppression, and the Road to Emancipation; and an interview with Skybreak, Science and Revolution, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian.

 

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/693/rnl-show-episode-46-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 46 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

Get Ready for May 1st: WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS. WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT SLAVERY IN ANY FORM!

Thursday, April 1, 2021
5 pm PDT / 8 pm EDT
YouTube.com/TheRevcoms

 

International Revolutionary May 1st is coming... and we’ve got an announcement and invitation for all who crave a different and better world.

Plus, after one of the biggest uprisings in U.S. history last summer, a trial is underway of Derek Chauvin, the cop who murdered George Floyd. This case concentrates this country’s whole history and present reality of racial oppression. We need justice! A piece from Bob Avakian will speak to: “Why is police terror necessary for this system?” A conversation between our host Andy Zee and people's lawyer Michael Coard will help us understand some of the laws and stakes now playing out in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Most of all, we need to get organized for the only thing that can get rid of the source of this ongoing police terror: Revolution, Nothing Less!

*****

Segments and links for Episode 46:

 

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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/694/week-one-of-the-trial-of-derek-chauvin-en.html

Week One of the Trial of Derek Chauvin—The Pig Who Murdered George Floyd

Heavy Testimony... High Stakes

| revcom.us

 

The first week of testimony in Derek Chauvin’s trial—for the brutal murder of George Floyd—has been emotionally wrenching and infuriating. Although the prosecution has framed the case from the beginning as being about a few cops who “violated their oath” or “did not follow the training,” the case unfolding is painting a devastating picture of police terror and its toll.

This has been a picture of the lived—and daily living—reality of tens of millions of Black and other oppressed masses, the reality that propelled a much larger section of society defiantly out into the streets during the Beautiful Rising last summer with eyes further opened on “systemic racism”—and concentrated in the trial.

The humanity of George Floyd—and the masses, including in witness testimonials—comes across in stark contrast to the inhumanity and the absolute depraved and unapologetic cruelty of Derek Chauvin, and the pigs on site. The jury—and millions of people following the trial—have seen excruciatingly painful video of the 9 minutes, 29 seconds during which Chauvin’s knee bore down on George Floyd’s neck as he lay on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind his back, gasping for air, pleading for his life, and then passing into unconsciousness and death, without any letup in the torture being inflicted.

We heard from nine witnesses on the scene—ranging from a 9-year-old girl to a 61-year-old man—describing how it felt to see this horror unfold before their very eyes, and to try desperately to prevent it, only to be stopped by what one girl called “a higher power”—cops with guns, mace and legal authority behind them. (See "March 31, 2021 Trial Opens with Devastating Portrayals of Cold-Blooded Murder.") These witnesses are still traumatized almost a year later.

We heard from the paramedics who were finally able to get Chauvin off of Floyd’s dead body describe their heroic but unsuccessful efforts to revive him, to give “a human ... a second chance at life.”

And we heard the heartrending testimony of Courteney Ross, describing her sweet, kind boyfriend, full of love and full of life in spite of health problems including opioid addiction.

Through all of this, the horror of this crime and the brutality of the cops stood out in sharp contrast to the humanity of George Floyd and these people.

But that is not all.

We heard from witnesses who had pleaded with Derek Chauvin and his fellow pigs to let up. These included a mixed martial arts fighter with experience in chokeholds (who had expertise about what kinds of chokeholds were life-threatening); a white fire-fighter EMT (with experience in what people look like when their lives are being extinguished); as well as an older Black man, two teenagers, and a young child, who pleaded with Chauvin and his fellow pigs to let up.

In short, millions of people around the world who were viewing this trial, or parts of it, saw the heartlessness of the pigs—callous, heartless cruelty that Black and other oppressed people confront every hour of every day.

People heard something else: the ways in which different witnesses invoked their feelings that what happened to George Floyd could have happened to any Black person—such as the Black teenager who said it could have been her father or her uncle, or the white firefighter/EMT saying that she stayed on the scene because she was worried that after George Floyd was killed, the remaining cops would begin attacking other Black men in the crowd who were protesting Floyd’s murder.

People came face to face with the fact that Derek Chauvin took George Floyd’s life over a trifle—a counterfeit $20 bill—that the clerk in the store didn’t even want to initially report. Just as Michael Brown lost his life for a packet of cigarillos, Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes on a corner, Trayvon Martin for wearing a hoodie and “looking suspicious” in the eyes of a racist, Amadou Diallo for holding a wallet, 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun... and on and on.

Finally, this trial also has been showing something else unusual. Cops turning on and testifying against their fellow cops. Almost always, even in murders as foul as this one, cops group together and cover for their fellow pig. The “blue wall of silence”—the ways in which police cover for each other when accused of brutalizing or killing a civilian, especially a Black or oppressed nationality person of color—is infamous. Yet here, several police veterans have testified against Chauvin, and this week the police chief of Minneapolis is slated to appear for the prosecution.

The millions who watched this testimony—and everyone SHOULD watch this testimony—saw a huge part of the reality of America in a way in which it has never before been shown in a U.S. court of law. Generally and historically, because of the systemic role of the police in this white supremacist society, prosecutors in such cases “forget how to prosecute” or even act like defense attorneys. Almost never do they portray the full brutality of the police, nor bring out the humanity of their victims especially when Black and Latino, and they certainly don’t have high level cops testifying against the cops on trial, including as is slated, the current police chief of Minneapolis—piercing the infamous “blue wall of silence.”

So why is this happening here?

First and most fundamentally, because last summer, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, coming on top of other murders by the police and white-supremacists around the same time, people rose up powerfully, and demonstrated in the streets day after day in the Beautiful Rising, here and around the world.

Bob Avakian wrote at the time of the millions who “have drawn inspiration from this righteous uprising.... who have had the blinders forced from their eyes and have been provoked to think anew about what kind of country it is that we live in.” He continued:

This has raised the biggest questions about what is needed for people everywhere to live fully as human beings:

AN END TO INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM
AND MURDER BY POLICE—NOTHING LESS!
AN END TO ANY WAY PEOPLE ANYWHERE ARE
USED, ABUSED, AND BRUTALIZED—NOTHING LESS!

This system has no answers for those questions and these demands. In that light, BA pointed out that “We Need: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” and, with millions having suddenly flooded into the streets, ended the Statement with “Look around you—what seemed impossible yesterday is happening right now! Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?

In short, this uprising raised profound questions about the fundamental character of this system.  If Chauvin is not convicted, there is real concern among at least a section of the ruling class that this could further and even qualitatively erode the allegiance and belief of millions in the legitimacy of those who rule this country.

High Stakes for Those Running This System

Second and related, the depraved murder of George Floyd happened in a city and state controlled by the Democratic Party. The Democrats view their social base, in part, as people who have been historically oppressed—Black people, Latinos, women, LGBTQ people, the poor, and others. Part of their function has been to contain these masses within the terms and horizons of this system, stoking their belief that you can work for change in America and some day arrive at a “more perfect” union in which the horrors of white supremacy and patriarchy have been overcome... even as every passing year brings further attacks on these masses, and even as now America has produced a full-blown fascist menace determined to thrust these groups into a far more oppressed, far more subjugated state.

In addition, the eyes of the world are on this trial. The U.S. boasts of being the “land of the free,” with “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” as inalienable founding rights; the murder of George Floyd, watched by hundreds of millions around the world, called these patently false claims into serious question. A “not guilty” verdict would reveal those boasts to be an utter fraud. It is not for nothing that when the U.S. Secretary of State Blinken attacked China for human rights violations, the Chinese shot back about the murder of Black people by the police.

Finally, the ideals professed by the liberal capitalist-imperialists stand in stark contrast to and are challenged by the fascists, as represented by Trump and the Republican-Nazis, out there “promoting their grotesque white supremacist portrayal of the masses of Black people as ‘criminals’ and ‘un-caged animals’,”1 especially in response to “righteous protests and rebellion,” like the beautiful rising of last summer.

All this is part of why this trial has been so unusual.

The Biggest Stakes of All—For the Masses of Humanity

The biggest stakes though are with the oppressed and those who stand with them. A not guilty verdict will puff up the fascists, the police and their backers. Such a verdict puts society’s stamp of approval on yet another horrible and utterly unjustified murder of a Black human being... and this time after tens of millions, here and all over the world, said NO as loudly as they could, suffering arrest and in some cases giving their lives for this cause.

Any such verdict must be answered with thunderous protest and even more profound questioning of this system, with increasing rejection of the legitimacy of this system.

But despite the overwhelming evidence, the conviction of Derek Chauvin is far from assured.

First, not only must the prosecution get all 12 jurors to find Chauvin guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but it must overcome the systemic biases towards pigs in such cases. This is both how the law is written—for instance, if a cop says he feels in danger, use of deadly force can be “justified”—and in terms of how the masses—including some in the jury—are conditioned by this system to see the role of the police.

Second, the judge has made rulings that allow negative instances of George Floyd’s past to be used in the court, while keeping out the voluminous evidence of past civilian complaints against Chauvin of brutality. As a crucial aspect of their defense, Chauvin’s lawyers are likely to seize on Floyd’s addiction, preexisting health conditions and past behavior as rationalization for his death. They are very likely to argue (see "Likely Arguments by Chauvin’s Lawyers" on this page) that his death was caused by drugs interacting with these preexisting health conditions. The defense has laid the basis for such specious claims by asking that circumstances of Floyd’s previous arrest be entered into the trial. The defense will likely use this to resort to slander against and demonization of George Floyd that will undermine the humanization we, and the jury, have witnessed this past week.

So, again, nobody knows how this will turn out. We have said that people need to stay vigilant, and have “their voices heard during this trial, in diverse, creative and bold ways, from the pulpits and from the stage, on media and in the streets.”

Right now, we need to be spreading the word about the stakes and the course of this crucial trial—through this website, through social media, through the YouTube show Revolution—Nothing Less, and through materials like this poster. If you are new to this website or the movement for revolution, you need to be checking out Bob Avakian and learning more about the solution to all this—beginning with his many works on the oppression of Black people, how this can only be overcome by revolution, and how that revolution relates to the emancipation of all of humanity. We will continue our coverage on all media platforms.

Stay tuned—the verdict of this trial matters, the stakes are high!
 

1. See the New Year’s Statement from Bob Avakian, The New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity. [back]

Download PDF, print, and distribute widely

Bob Avakian, "Yes there's a conspiracy, to get the cops off."

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/690/updates-george-floyd-trial-blog-en.html

Updates on the Derek Chauvin Trial from Revcom.us

A Blog

| revcom.us

 

The trial of Pig Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis is underway. Chauvin is now charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The outcome of this trial—and what the masses of people do in an effort to determine that outcome—will have consequences. The system must not be allowed to let Chauvin off, or to give him a slap on the wrist—Chauvin must be punished for straight-up murder of George Floyd. So it is very important that people have begun to stand up and fight to prevent what could be a terrible injustice on top of an utter horror from going down.

But to really get free... to put an end to the kind of horror that the world saw go down on that Minneapolis evening but that goes on and has gone on all the time, year in and year out, over the centuries... to end the oppression of Black people as part of ending all forms of oppression and exploitation all over the world, people need science and they need leadership. So the most important thing is that through this struggle for justice, more people are enabled to learn about, to get into, and to get organized around the scientific understanding of the problem and the road to the solution—to revolution, nothing less—brought forward by Bob Avakian.

Last summer Bob Avakian wrote a number of important works going into issues raised by the murder of George Floyd and the massive struggle against police brutality and institutionalized racism that arose in its wake, as well as other critical issues in that period, including the struggle against Trump-Pence fascism. Go here for some of those articles; and go here for other seminal works by Bob Avakian on the oppression of Black people, the possibility of ending that oppression through revolution, and its connection to revolution. And go here to learn more about Bob Avakian’s historic relation to this struggle.

A statement from Bob Avakian:
NOTHING LESS!

To all those who have risen up so powerfully and are demonstrating to say “No More!” after the murder of George Floyd, and all the other cold-blooded murders by police.

To all those who have drawn inspiration from this righteous uprising.

To all those who have had the blinders forced from their eyes and have been provoked to think anew about what kind of country it is that we live in.

This has raised the biggest questions about what is needed for people everywhere to live fully as human beings:

AN END TO INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM
AND MURDER BY POLICE—NOTHING LESS!

AN END TO ANY WAY PEOPLE ANYWHERE ARE
USED, ABUSED, AND BRUTALIZED—NOTHING LESS!

We need a world without white supremacy and male supremacy—a world where no one is regarded as “alien”—a world without war, where people from all over the globe, with a beautiful flowering of diversity, act together for the common good and are truly caretakers of the earth.

THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM.

The possibility for this is being powerfully demonstrated in this uprising of the people, of all different races and genders, from all parts of the world—refusing to remain silent or stay passive while all this oppression and brutality goes on.

To Make All This Real
We Need: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

A strategic plan for how to make this revolution, and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and much better world, where all this can become possible—can be found in the work I have done, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

You can learn more about this revolution and become part of making it a reality by going to revcom.us and joining with the revcoms.

We do not need to live in this world where so much of humanity suffers so unnecessarily under this system of capitalism-imperialism that cannot exist without exploiting and degrading people, suffocating their humanity and killing them without mercy. We can do much better! Don’t listen to talk about how “it can never happen.”

Look around you—what seemed impossible yesterday is happening right now! Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?

Day 5 in the Trial of Derek Chauvin (Friday, April 2)
MPD Homicide Lieutenant Testifies: “If your knee is on someone’s neck, that can kill them.”

The main prosecution witness on Friday was Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, with 35 years on the force.

Zimmerman’s testimony was damning:

  • He described Chauvin’s violent restraint of George Floyd as “totally unnecessary ... pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt. And that’s what they would have to feel to use that type of force.”
  • He said that “Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down all the way to, they’re cuffed, how can they really hurt you? That person is handcuffed, and the threat level is just not there.”
  • He pointed out that in the face of little or no threat from either Floyd or the bystanders, the cops were deploying the “highest tier” on the “force continuum” that all MPD cops are trained in on a yearly basis. “If your knee is on someone’s neck, that can kill them.”
  • He also said that “Once you handcuff a person you need to get them out of the prone position as quickly as possible, because it restricts their breathing.” Prone position means having someone face down, which puts pressure on their lungs. And on top of that, being handcuffed “stretches the muscles back through your chest and it makes it more difficult to breathe.” Zimmerman asserted that this is part of training and is well-known—meaning that Chauvin knew that what he was doing could kill Floyd.
  • Zimmerman also said that officers are “absolutely” trained to provide emergency medical assistance, even if an ambulance is on the way.

Coming on top of the testimony of Sergeant Pleoger (Chauvin’s supervisor) yesterday that Chauvin should have ended his knee-choke of Floyd when Floyd was not “offering any resistance,” Zimmerman went even further in driving home the fact that Chauvin was consciously employing deadly force in a way that was not justified by the situation and in violation of MPD training.

 


 

Day 4 in the Trial of Derek Chauvin (Thursday, April 1)
George Floyd, a human being full of life who died at the hands of the police

The witnesses on Thursday included George Floyd’s girlfriend, the two paramedics who attempted to resuscitate him after Derek Chauvin murdered him, and the MPD sergeant who was Chauvin’s supervisor.

  • Courteney Ross, 45, opened the day with moving testimony about her three-year relationship with George Floyd, painting a rich picture of Floyd as a human being, a sweet person full of love and full of life, in spite of being plagued with many problems. She started by telling “her favorite story” of meeting Floyd when she was at a low point in her life, while she was “fussing in a corner of the lobby” at the Salvation Army, and George coming up and offering her comfort. She talked about his love for his kids, for the outdoors and for sports, and how broken up he was when his mother died in 2018. And she bravely shared their struggle with opioid addiction, which for both of them had developed from using pills legally prescribed for chronic pain, and which they tried “many times” to shake.

    Each time Courteney started to talk about George, her face would light up with joy as if her words brought him back to life, joy which quickly turned to pain and tears as she confronted again the magnitude of her loss, and the loss to all who loved him.

    This testimony went up against the dehumanizing portrait painted by the Defense of George Floyd as a “dangerous drug addict.” Ross also made clear that in spite of his addiction and other health issues, George was very active physically, lifting weights, running, playing sports with neighborhood kids, which undercut the Defense argument that Floyd's death was caused by his own ill health and addiction, rather than by Chauvin’s nine-minute chokehold.
  • Paramedics Derek Smith and Seth Bravinder were both in the ambulance that arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s murder. Both noted that there were three cops on top of Floyd when they arrived. Bravinder saw as soon as he got there that Floyd was still in handcuffs even though “I didn’t see any breathing or movement.” Smith – working around Chauvin’s knee which was still on Floyd’s neck – searched for a pulse and couldn’t find one. “In lay terms, he was dead.”

    The paramedics first had to get Chauvin up off of Floyd, and then loaded him into an ambulance. They described a harrowing period of trying desperately to resuscitate George Floyd, but Floyd never again had a pulse. As Smith testified, “When I showed up he was deceased, and when I dropped him off at the hospital he was still in cardiac arrest.” Asked why they persisted so desperately with their resuscitation efforts, Smith said “He’s a human. I was trying to give him a second chance at life.”

Up to this point, the trial has focused on establishing the facts of what happened, and people have been given a vivid picture of the sustained violence the cops unleashed on George Floyd, and on his death during this encounter. But on Thursday attention began to turn to the legal issues that will ultimately determine whether Chauvin is found guilty by the jury.

The first of these issues is the question of whether the cops were legally justified in using the knee-to-neck restraint hold on Floyd for an extended period of time.* In this case, the Prosecution is not arguing against police violence in general because the law allows for a great deal of police violence. But it is saying that Chauvin’s actions were “excessive.” 

  • Sgt. David Pleoger (now retired) was the first witness to address this. Pleoger was the supervisor for Chauvin and the other three cops involved in Floyd’s murder. 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry called Pleoger during the incident because she was alarmed by livestream video of the arrest and felt compelled to alert Pleoger to an extraordinary situation. Pleoger went to the scene of the murder, and then to the hospital where Floyd was officially pronounced dead.

    In much of Pleoger's testimony he seemed reluctant to say anything that could counter Chauvin’s defense. Finally—over fierce objections from the Defense—the Prosecution was allowed to ask Pleoger directly when the use of force (i.e., the knee-on-neck) against Floyd should have ended, according to MPD policy. Pleoger said: “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers.” [Emphasis added.]

    Pleoger also confirmed that cops are required to provide emergency medical aid to people in their custody when necessary—which they did not do with George Floyd.

    Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, tried to turn things around. Cross-examining Pleoger, he “creatively” attempted to show that the small crowd of people demanding that the police not murder Floyd were the reason that the police did not give Floyd medical attention. As NPR reported, Nelson asked Pleoger "If during an arrest, a crowd of bystanders grows increasingly volatile ... should an officer focus on the arrest or the crowd?" Or, "if Pleoger were involved in a gun battle and a person was injured, would he deal with threat or perform CPR on the imaginary victim?"

    But, to be real, this was not the situation. Nelson's imaginary violent mob actually consisted of 12-14 unarmed people, (mostly) on the sidewalk, including three high school girls and a 9-year-old, a 61-year-old-man and a Minneapolis firefighter, none of whom were threatening or physically confronting the cops.

* Note: The fact that something may be legally justified in an oppressive society such as this one does not mean it is right, but it is the focus of the trial. [back]

 


 

Eyewitness Charles McMillian, a 61-year-old Black man from the neighborhood, watches pig videocam and breaks down on the stand.

Day 3 of the Trial:

Today’s testimony was a study in the contrast between the mind-numbing cruelty and indifference of the pigs who murdered George Floyd, and the humanity of George Floyd himself, as well as a wide array of people he encountered in the final hour of his life.

In store surveillance video from Cup Foods* that was entered as evidence on Wednesday, Floyd “chatted with a store clerk about playing football. He grabbed a banana off a shelf, flipped through a wad of cash, and hugged and exchanged pleasantries with a woman, laughing with his hand on her back.” [New York Times]

Christopher Martin, a 19-year-old Cup Foods employee, said that Floyd was “friendly” and “talkative.” Floyd asked to buy cigarettes, paying with a twenty-dollar bill that Martin immediately thought was counterfeit. But he also thought that Floyd was unaware that the bill was bad and so he (Martin) initially decided he would accept it, knowing that it would later be docked from his own pay. He said he felt like doing Floyd—a stranger—“a favor.”

Later Martin had second thoughts and reported the counterfeit bill to his supervisor, who insisted that Martin and another employee go out to Floyd’s car and ask him to come in and talk to the supervisor. Floyd and the two other people in his car declined to do that, and after a second attempt, the supervisor called the cops.

Now flash forward to the arrival of the pigs. In video taken by eyewitness Christopher Belfrey and even more damningly in the body cam video of the four MPD pigs who murdered Floyd that was entered in evidence, these videos reveal aggressive cruelty from the opening moments. Even though Floyd was only suspected of a misdemeanor and had not behaved in a threatening manner to anyone, two cops go up to his car, bang on the widow with nightsticks, and almost immediately pull a gun on him. Floyd, clearly terrified, pleads repeatedly “please don’t shoot me.” Cops handcuff him, even though they could have issued a citation. Then they violently force him into a patrol car even as he cries and pleads that he is claustrophobic. And then we see it all again, from the angle of the pigs themselves, the slow grinding out of Floyd’s life, the complete disregard for the pleas of bystanders to save him.

From the opening moments of arriving at the scene the cops demonstrated aggressive cruelty towards George Floyd.

Charles McMillian, a 61-year-old Black man from the neighborhood, saw Floyd being forced into the patrol car, and his initial reaction was to try to convince Floyd to go along. As he explained in court, he told Floyd that “you can’t win” – meaning the best hope for surviving the incident in one piece was to do whatever the cops said. McMillian persisted with this advice for a while. Even when the three cops were on top of Floyd, holding him down and choking him, McMillian testified that “I’m trying to tell him, just cooperate with them. Get up, get in the car. Go where you can win.”

But soon it became clear that this strategy would not work. "Even I said to the officer, I said, 'man, he said he can't breathe.' They said, 'if he keep talking, well, he can breathe,'" They kept on with their torture. McMillian said that "When the paramedics arrived for Mr. Floyd, I knew then in my mind and in my instinct, it was over for Mr. Floyd. That he was dead,"

Watching the video in court, at the point where Floyd was calling out for his mama, McMillian broke down, sobbing uncontrollably, saying “I couldn’t help but feel helpless. I don’t have a mama either, but I understand him.”

Shortly after the murder, McMillian saw Chauvin as he was getting in his patrol car to leave. Referencing an earlier encounter, he said “‘Five days ago, I told you the other day to go home to your family safe and let the next person go home to their family safe. But today I gotta look at you as a maggot.’”

 

* A busy “groceries plus” store on the corner where Floyd was murdered. [back]


 

March 31, 2021
Testimony of Minneapolis Fire Fighter Reveals Pigs’
Depraved Indifference to the Life of George Floyd

Genevieve Hansen, 27, is a white fire-fighter with extensive training as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Hansen indicated that she has been a first responder on at least 100 medical emergencies .She testified on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Out for a walk on May 25, trying to chill out after her 48-hour shift, Hansen saw flashing lights and went to the scene where George Floyd was being brutalized. She quickly assessed “that [Floyd] was in an altered state of consciousness. What I needed to know was if he had a pulse." She identified herself to the cops as a Minneapolis fire-fighter, asking if they had taken his pulse, and then urged, insisted and pleaded with them that they do so.

Hansen saw Floyd’s condition deteriorating. "He wasn't moving, and he was cuffed. And three grown men putting all of their weight on somebody is too much." She offered to provide treatment, or to walk the cops through treatment. In return Chauvin threatened to Mace her, and she was belittled by Officer Thao, who she recalled "said something along the lines of, 'If you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved.'"

Hansen said that she became “totally distressed” realizing that the cops would not allow Floyd to receive medical treatment. And she was outraged by Thao’s comment: “I got there and I could have given medical assistance. That's exactly what I should have done." Finally an ambulance arrived, but Floyd was apparently already dead. Hansen called 911 to report that she had just seen a man murdered.*

Derek Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, tried to shake, provoke or discredit Hansen. But she stood up with great courage against this and came back with both reason and defiance. Regarding Nelson’s contention that she should have waited quietly for the ambulance, Hansen said “There was a man being killed. I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities, and this human was denied that right.” When Nelson tried to denigrate her for being angry and upset at the scene, she shot back defiantly: “I don’t know if you’ve seen anybody be killed, but it’s upsetting.”

 

* Hansen also testified that after the ambulance left she remained on the scene for a while out of fear that the remaining cops might attack other Black men who had been in the crowd protesting Floyd’s murder. [back]

 


 

March 31, 2021
Trial Opens with Devastating Portrayals of Cold-Blooded Murder

Since opening arguments in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin finished on Monday, the jury—and the world—has heard from eight witnesses. While they are very different from each other—ranging from a Minneapolis fire-fighter to an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter to a nine-year-old girl—they tell an incredibly consistent and horrifying story of three pigs choking the life out of George Floyd for over nine minutes while a fourth pig held back a small crowd of distraught and angry people who demanded that they stop.

Almost every witness was in tears at one point or another as they relived the trauma of that day.

Here are brief reports on some of the witnesses:

  • Jena Scurry, the 911 dispatcher who sent the cops to the scene where Floyd was murdered. She watched the live stream of the cops from her workstation and said that they were sitting on Floyd’s motionless body for so long that she thought the screen must be frozen. When she found out it wasn’t, she became alarmed and called the cops’ supervising sergeant to get him involved, saying “You can call me a snitch if you want to...”.
  • Jena Scurry testifies at Derek Chauvin trial.

  • Alisha Oyler, a 23-year-old white woman working at a gas station across the street, who left work to film what was happening, “Because I always see the police messing with people and it’s wrong, it’s not right.”
  • Donald Williams, a 33-year-old Black MMA fighter and security professional, was coming back from a fishing trip with his son. Based on his martial arts training he quickly assessed that not only did Chauvin have Floyd in a “blood choke” (a choke that cuts off the flow of blood—and therefore oxygen—to the brain through pressure on the neck) but also that Chauvin kept ratcheting up the choke through a method called “shimmying” that increases the pressure on the carotid artery. Williams also observed the stages of Floyd’s passage from extreme distress to losing consciousness to death, which Williams called “torture.” "You could see that he was going through tremendous pain ...You could see his eyes slowly rolling back in his head...”
  • Donald Williams testifies at Chauvin trial.

  • Darnella Frazier, the then-17-year-old Black girl who courageously shot the video that told the whole world of this murder. She was at Cup Foods with her 9-year-old cousin (who also testified) buying her treats. Seeing what was happening Darnella hustled her cousin into the store so she wouldn’t see it and then went herself to film it. Frazier described Floyd as "scared," "terrified," "begging for his life." "It wasn't right. He was suffering. He was in pain. I knew it was wrong. We all knew it was wrong."
  • Alyssa Funari, an 18-year-old white girl and classmate of Darnella’s was there with a younger friend (who also testified). She told the Court: "'He looked like he was fighting to breathe. I slowly knew that if he were to be held down much longer, he wouldn’t live." Then, in tears, she said she felt she was failing because she wanted to intervene but was unable to because "there was a higher power there"–meaning the cop “controlling the scene.” "There was nothing I could do as a bystander there. I couldn't do physically what I wanted to do." (USA Today)
  • Genevieve Hansen, 27, a white fire-fighter trying to chill on her day off. She came upon the scene and immediately saw that Floyd’s life was in danger, identified herself to the cops and asked, urged, begged and pleaded with them to take Floyd’s pulse, to get off of him, to let her provide medical treatment... for which she was taunted, insulted and threatened with Mace. She spoke to what she saw, as a Firefighter and EMT, and saw George Floyd was dying in front of her. The Defense was not able to get her to back down from her account. In the days ahead, we will be posting a more in-depth report on her testimony.
  • Genevieve Hansen testifies at Derek Chauvin's trial

In the face of all this, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, tried to flip the world on its head and imply that this small crowd of bystanders pleading for Floyd’s life somehow caused Chauvin to murder Floyd. In this twisted view, people trying to save the life of a fellow human being are “angry” and “dangerous,” while murdering cops are good people just doing their job. Cross-examining Hansen, Nelson had the nerve to compare the people defending Floyd with a “hypothetical” crowd of people trying to stop fire-fighters from putting out a fire. These pigs are saying that just as people shouldn’t interfere with firefighters doing their job (putting out fires), no one should interfere with the cops doing their “job”—oppressing, beating down and even murdering the people!

What’s It All About?

Despite the terms of the legal trial and courthouse confined to just being about what happened on May 25, 2020, the larger context and what emerges through the testimony is that the murder of George Floyd was not an “aberration” but a concentration of the role of the police and the treatment of Black people. Quite a few witnesses (Black and white) spoke to this in one way or another, but none more powerfully than Darnella Frazier, who closed her testimony with these words:

When I look at George Floyd, ... I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them....

It's been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it's like — it's not what I should have done, it's what he [Chauvin] should have done.

Darnella Frazier testifies at Derek Chauvin trial

And it’s about what we do. As we posed: will all those who were part of the Beautiful Rising—in the face of police repression and vigilante violence—and all those who care about the police brutality and murder of Black and Brown people, stay vigilant? Will they have their voices heard during this trial, in diverse, creative and bold ways, from the pulpits and from the stage, on media and in the streets?

 


 

March 30, 2021

Minneapolis on Edge as Trial of Pig Chauvin Starts—People Demand “Justice for George Floyd!”

Minneapolis remains on edge. After the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, tens of thousands took to the streets across the country and the world. Now, on the eve of opening arguments in the trial of the pig, Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd, people took up different actions—to honor the life of George Floyd, demand justice, and call attention to this important case.

Family members of other Black men killed by cops attended a prayer service, including Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner who was killed in NY with a pig’s chokehold in 2014; and the family of Daniel Prude who was murdered by the Rochester, NY cops putting pressure on his head and body—just three months before George Floyd was killed. George Floyd’s brother Terrence talked about the emotional experience of seeing cops who have killed Black men, going free—like the pig murderers of Sean Bell in Queens, NY, where Terrence lived at the time. “To see no justice in that situation, it made me furious, he said, “We need justice, we need it now!” Another brother of George Floyd, Philonise, said, “He [Chauvin] killed my brother in broad daylight, it was a modern day lynching.”

Dozens of local organizations also rallied at the Minneapolis Government Center on Sunday. Chauntyll Allen of Black Lives Matter Twin Cities said, “We want to give folks a space to come together and talk about what we’ve been experiencing through the jury selection process. And we want to let the system know... We are not sleeping. We’re paying attention and we’re here until the end.” A march downtown temporarily forced light rail service to stop when protesters blocked the tracks at two stations. People then rallied at the Hennepin County Government Center (where the Chauvin trial is taking place), chanting and shouting at the Minnesota National Guard troops stationed inside.

On Monday morning, before the trial started, the Floyd family, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, Reverend Al Sharpton and others took a knee outside the courthouse for eight minutes and 46 seconds—to mark the time Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing him. At a news conference just before this, Ben Crump talked about what he thinks this trial means for the Floyd family and the country, saying, “George Floyd galvanized cities all across America and all across the world when that video, that video of torture was viewed millions and millions of times.” He said now, “The whole world is watching.”


On Monday morning, before the trial started, the Floyd family, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, Reverend Al Sharpton and others took a knee outside the courthouse for eight minutes and 46 seconds—to mark the time Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing him.

Monday evening, after the close of the first day of the trial, there was another protest in downtown Minneapolis, organized by over 20 groups. People marched behind a banner that read, “Justice for George Floyd and all stolen lives.” People are calling for the conviction of Derek Chauvin with the maximum penalties.

The city is saying it will respect people’s right to protest. Meanwhile, officials are putting in place means to repress the people. There is fencing and concrete barriers around the County Government Center, Minnesota National Guard are stationed outside the courthouse, and nearby businesses have been boarded up. Police have said they are planning on increasing their presence with the beginning of the trial.

People in Minneapolis and around the country and the world have their eyes on this trial and are demanding, “Justice for George Floyd!” Stay tuned at revcom.us for coverage of the trial and protests.

 


 

March 22, 2021

The Need to Stay Vigilant
Recent Developments in the Trial of Pig Chauvin for the Murder of George Floyd

Editors’ Note: This article captures recent developments shaping the legal terrain in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the brutal murder of George Floyd. For all those who participated in the Beautiful Rising last summer, and for all those horrified by the oppression of Black people and the epidemic of police brutality and murder, it is important to follow the trial and stay vigilant. Justice for George Floyd matters! And is far from guaranteed, despite the uprising or the promises and anxiousness (real or pretended) of liberal politicians.

Introduction

First, let’s remember the original incident:

On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis cops approached George Floyd in his car on suspicion of using a counterfeit 20-dollar bill to buy cigarettes. Almost immediately one cop pointed a gun at Floyd. Cops screamed contradictory orders at Floyd as he begged them not to shoot him. Within minutes, Floyd was handcuffed and forced face down on the ground, three cops on top of him, including Derek Chauvin, who put his knee on Floyd’s neck in a hold that restricts blood flow to the brain. Chauvin kept it there for five minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life, crying “I can’t breathe,” and then for another four minutes after Floyd was unresponsive, and even after another cop was unable to find a pulse.

If you saw this, you might conclude that a Black man who posed no threat to others or himself had his life stolen for no good reason. And you would be right. And you might conclude that the cops who did this must be held fully accountable, not only because of the injustice done to George Floyd and his loved ones, but also because of the chilling message that it would send to pigs everywhere if they faced no serious consequences. And you would be right again.

And you might conclude that even in the United States, with its sickening record of allowing killer cops to walk free again and again, that in this case, with a crime is so brutal, facts so plain, and all caught on video that drew millions into the streets in protest... that this time the cops will be convicted of murder and given lengthy jail terms.

But this is by no means certain.

Selecting—and “Shaping”—a Jury

The pretrial stage of the trial of Derek Chauvin is drawing to a close. It seems likely jury selection will be completed early this week. In addition, on March 19 presiding Judge Cahill ruled on a number of pending pretrial motions. So, barring the unexpected, the actual trial (presentation of witnesses and evidence) will begin on March 29.

The jury so far is reasonably diverse in terms of age, gender and race. There are five men and eight women. Eight are under 50 years old, four are in their 50s and one in her 60s. Four are Black; two are mixed race, seven are white. And generally they come across as well-meaning and decent people, including many who say that racism and discrimination are real problems in the U.S. and that police sometimes treat people of color unfairly.

But through the process of jury selection, two things have been going on.

First, some potential jurors have been “weeded out.” For instance, the judge has dismissed people who said they had intense emotional reactions to the video of Floyd’s murder. The defense seems to be dismissing people who have had personal experience with how police treat Black and Brown people. On the other hand, a number of jurors have been seated who have cops as close relatives, and/or have strong feelings that “the police keep us safe.” In other words, the jury seems to be made up mainly of people who appear to buy into the system’s narrative that police are good people doing a tough and dangerous job, but “they are only human” and may make mistakes in the heat of the moment.

Second, the judge and defense keep hammering at—and getting jurors to verbally commit to—the idea that they are “finders of fact” and not of law, and that they must be ready to vote to acquit on the basis of the law as the judge instructs them on it, and not their emotions. This may sound good on the surface, but the problem is that the law in the U.S. (as explained in our March 15 “Advantage Cops...” article) is designed to give very wide latitude to cops to violently oppress people in the service of their role as enforcers of the unjust order of capitalism-imperialism.

For instance, Chauvin used an extremely dangerous knee-to-neck restraint that is legal for Minneapolis police to use under some circumstances. So you can already envision the defense argument that Chauvin was using a legal restraint in a “difficult” situation. And then the jurors are boxed in to arguing about whether Chauvin exercised good or bad judgment in using it and for how long ... which leaves a lot of room for any juror inclined to sympathize with police to argue “well, it was a tough call, and maybe he should have stopped sooner, but we weren’t there ...” Or in other words, “don’t believe your lying eyes; it wasn’t murder, it was a ‘mistake.’”

Cahill’s Rulings on Pretrial Motions

On March 19, Judge Cahill ruled on several pretrial motions. First was a defense motion to admit as evidence reports and video from an incident on May 6, 2019 in which Minneapolis cops had pulled over Floyd on suspicion of drug activity. In that incident too, the cops quickly and for no valid reason pulled guns on Floyd, dragged him out of the car, and restrained him, while Floyd begged for his life and said he couldn’t breathe. The defense argument for introducing this incident was so slippery and convoluted it is impossible to sum up, but the prosecution correctly characterized it as “a desperate attempt” to “smear Mr. Floyd’s character.”

Nonetheless, Judge Cahill ruled to allow some of this into evidence. Cahill said that as a result of this incident—in which the cops allege that Floyd swallowed drugs when confronted by the police—his blood pressure shot up to a dangerously high level, and a medic said that he could die without treatment. So, Cahill ruled, this was relevant to one of the defense’s main potential arguments about the 2020 killing. As reported in the news, the defense may argue that Floyd died of heart failure due to a drug overdose suffered when he swallowed drugs to avoid arrest—one of the earlier rationalizations floated by the pigs for George Floyd’s death.

This ruling was unjust on two levels. First of all, in January Cahill ruled that most of Chauvin’s record of at least 15 civilian complaints, and his involvement in three shootings, one of which was fatal, could not be admitted at trial1. These records are closed, but if they do establish a pattern of brutality, that would obviously be relevant to the trial.

Secondly, and even worse, by declaring that Floyd’s high blood pressure in 2019 is relevant to his death in 2020, Cahill is essentially validating the defense’s ludicrous contention that Floyd died of a drug overdose. For one thing, there is no evidence that Floyd’s high blood pressure in 2019 was caused by drugs—it could just as well have been caused by being brutalized and terrorized at gunpoint by pigs. And there is even less evidence that Floyd’s death in 2020 was caused by drugs. (See Court TV interview with renowned pathologist Cyril Wecht.2) This is once again setting up a situation where the jurors are being fed “reasonable doubt” that has no basis in reality.

At the same time, Cahill ruled against the defense’s very insistent motions for the trial to be moved out of Minneapolis and/or postponed, because pretrial publicity (videos of the murder, protests, and the recent agreement by the City of Minneapolis’ to pay Floyd’s family 27 million dollars to settle their federal civil rights lawsuit) made it impossible to seat an impartial jury. Cahill has consistently stated that there is no place they could move the trial and no amount of delay that would substantially eliminate the problem of pretrial publicity in such a high-profile case. But that it could be—and is being—dealt with through a rigorous jury selection process.

It is important to keep in mind that while the prosecution, judge, and in this instance, the defense, are all—ultimatelyrepresentatives of the same system, a system that depends on the police and all their brutality to enforce its rule, there are contradictions within all this, and a lot will depend on the evidence, the arguments and back-and-forth of the actual trial, and how well they are fought for—all in the context of the larger and changing political climate. The outcome of the trial is not determined. The Beautiful Rising, the struggle of broad numbers of people who went into the streets to demand justice, did shake this system. Now, as this trial proceeds and there is potentially further exposure of the nature and workings of this system, what is at stake is not only whether Chauvin is convicted and goes to prison, but the larger struggle to end this oppression once and for all through an actual revolution. This poses two challenges:

First, will all those who were part of the Beautiful Rising—in the face of police repression and vigilante violence—and all those who care about the police brutality and murder of Black and Brown people, stay vigilant and have their voices heard during this trial, in diverse, creative and bold ways, from the pulpits and from the stage, on media and in the streets?

Second, will those same masses be challenged to grapple with the revolutionary analysis of Bob Avakian (See Bob Avakian For The Liberation of Black People And The Emancipation Of All Humanity) as to why this deeply-rooted, centuries-old, horrific oppression cannot be ended under this system, no matter how hard people protest and struggle, unless and until that fight is transformed into one that becomes part of building for an actual revolution to overthrow this system, and that CAN actually END this oppression?


1. Cahill is admitting evidence from two incidents that show Chauvin was aware the knee-to-neck hold could be fatal. [back]

2. Wecht points out that while Floyd had a dangerous amount of drugs in his stomach, drugs must be absorbed into the bloodstream before they can cause an overdose. To this we will add that even if Chauvin’s claim were true, and Floyd lost consciousness because of drugs, and not because Chauvin had been choking him for five minutes, Chauvin continued to choke him for another four minutes while he was unconscious. That’s still murder! [back]

 


 

March 15, 2021

As Chauvin goes to trial for the murder of George Floyd:
Advantage Cops! in the Injustice System of these United States

Last spring, millions of people rose up in protest against the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black and Brown men and women brutalized or killed by this system’s pigs. In the vast majority of these police murders, the cops are not even charged, and in the handful of cases in which they are, most of these pigs are given a slap on the wrist or let go entirely.1

Even the very laws are set up to advantage killer cops. Some examples:

Jury selection in this trial involved prospective jurors filling out a long questionnaire about their views on a wide range of issues related to the case, and then going through “voir dire”—a process in which the judge and the attorneys for the defense and for the prosecution question prospective jurors to make sure the jury is “fair and unbiased.”

Jurors—particularly people of color—have been repeatedly disqualified for things like having “an intense emotional reaction” to the video of Floyd’s death. But think about it—who wouldn’t have an intense emotional reaction to seeing a defenseless man brutally killed? Hardcore racists? People who have no sense of human empathy at all? That is not a “fair and impartial” juror, that is a juror primed to acquit the defendant.

Another example is that jurors are asked (on the questionnaire) to respond to the following statement: “Because law enforcement officers have such dangerous jobs, it is not right to second guess decisions they make while on duty.”

The problem here is that this statement is not some random opinion—it is a key doctrine of U.S. law when dealing with charges of police misconduct. This statement is drawn from a ruling by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989 in Graham v. Connor, as follows:

The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

And the ruling goes on:

With respect to a claim of excessive force, the same standard of reasonableness at the moment applies: Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge’s chambers ... violates the Fourth Amendment. The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. [All emphasis added]

The meaning of this doctrine is that jurors are instructed by the judge when they go to deliberations to give very wide latitude to police violence. So even if the video, the bystanders, and experts all show that George Floyd was unarmed, not aggressive, not a danger to himself or others, and that there was no good reason to subject him to violent restraints, much less to kill him... jurors are supposed to imagine themselves as cops dealing with a “dangerous” situation and making a “split second decision.”

The effect of this doctrine is that even in the rare cases where cops are charged and prosecuted, it is very difficult to get a conviction, in spite of all the evidence.

The police play a crucial role and must not be discouraged or punished for exercising extreme violence in the service of that role. As BA puts it:

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.

BAsicsfrom the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, 1:24

 


1. Out of roughly 15,000 police killings since 2005, 121 cops have been charged with manslaughter or murder. Of these, 44 were convicted, often on lesser charges. (New York TimesSeptember 24, 2020).  [back]

 


 

March 9, 2021

People Take to the Streets, Demanding Conviction of Killer Cop, Justice for George Floyd

May 25, 2020: People watched in horror as a Minneapolis pig, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while other cops joined in this modern-day lynching or kept bystanders away. People screamed in horror as George Floyd cried out, “I can’t breathe.” Millions would see the view of this cold-blooded murder. For weeks people all over the country and the world took to the streets in sustained protest. The trial of pig Chauvin has now begun, on March 8. People are taking to the streets once again. And the powers that be have geared up to come down with repression. Barricades and barbed wire have been put up around the Hennepin County Government Center and Minneapolis City Hall. And other measures are being taken to protect other buildings like Chauvin’s pig precinct. Security measures will also be going up around other city infrastructure, such as the police precinct buildings. The Minnesota National Guard has been called in to stand by.


Sunday, March 7. Many hundreds gathered in Minneapolis, demanding justice for George Floyd. People carried a white coffin as the protest marched in silence through downtown. They held photos of George Floyd and flowers. There was a scroll of the names of more than 470 people who have been killed by Minnesota cops, including other murders that Chauvin was involved in. There was a banner with George Floyd’s last words: “I can’t breathe.” The music of Bob Marley, Prince, and Sam Cooke filled the streets. When the march got to the Hennepin County Government Center plaza, where the trial was set to begin, people put down the coffin and placed flowers around it.

About 150 people, including many family members of people killed by the police, marched and rallied in St. Paul, at the house of Minnesota governor Tim Walz. Organizers of the protest, from Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, are pushing for the reopening and investigations of other cases of people murdered by the police.

In Boston, people rallied for George Floyd and also to demand justice for people murdered by pigs in the Boston area. Some 200-300 gathered for a second rally in the afternoon outside Boston City Hall. People demanded that Chauvin be convicted of second-degree murder, but many said they believe the jury will end up acquitting him and that is why people have to keep protesting.


Monday, March 8. Hundreds gathered again at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis as the trial began—demanding the conviction of Chauvin. People chanted, “Say his name, George Floyd,” “The whole world is watching,” “No more killer cops!” and “Ain’t no power like the power of the people!” 

As night fell in Seattle, members of the Seattle Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression gathered in Westlake Park. They were demanding justice for George Floyd, but many don’t think this will be delivered at Chauvin’s trial. A speaker at the rally said, “We see these murders in the streets and we see officers get off, and we’re not holding our breath for a guilty verdict.”

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, protesters who gathered downtown clashed with police who said the sound equipment was too loud and people were blocking traffic. As people were arrested, others chanted, “Let them go.” Eight people were charged with obstructing traffic, causing a public disturbance, and refusing the command of a police officer.

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

RACIAL OPPRESSION
CAN BE ENDED—
BUT NOT UNDER THIS SYSTEM

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

The Fundamental Causes of This Oppression

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “Toxic Combination” of Capitalism and Racism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

THE NEW COMMUNISM

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

Download PDF of book here

 

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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/650/bob-avakian_nothing-less-en.html

| revcom.us

 

A statement from Bob Avakian

revolutionary leader, author and architect of the revolutionary new communism.

 

To all those who have risen up so powerfully and are demonstrating to say “No More!” after the murder of George Floyd, and all the other cold-blooded murders by police.

To all those who have drawn inspiration from this righteous uprising.

To all those who have had the blinders forced from their eyes and have been provoked to think anew about what kind of country it is that we live in.

This has raised the biggest questions about what is needed for people everywhere to live fully as human beings:

AN END TO INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM
AND MURDER BY POLICE—NOTHING LESS!

AN END TO ANY WAY PEOPLE ANYWHERE ARE
USED, ABUSED, AND BRUTALIZED—NOTHING LESS!

We need a world without white supremacy and male supremacy—a world where no one is regarded as “alien”—a world without war, where people from all over the globe, with a beautiful flowering of diversity, act together for the common good and are truly caretakers of the earth.

THIS IS NOT JUST A DREAM.

The possibility for this is being powerfully demonstrated in this uprising of the people, of all different races and genders, from all parts of the world—refusing to remain silent or stay passive while all this oppression and brutality goes on.

To Make All This Real
We Need: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

A strategic plan for how to make this revolution, and a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and much better world, where all this can become possible—can be found in the work I have done, including the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

You can learn more about this revolution and become part of making it a reality by going to revcom.us and joining with the revcoms.

We do not need to live in this world where so much of humanity suffers so unnecessarily under this system of capitalism-imperialism that cannot exist without exploiting and degrading people, suffocating their humanity and killing them without mercy.  We can do much better!  Don’t listen to talk about how “it can never happen.” 

Look around you—what seemed impossible yesterday is happening right now!  Revolution, why should we settle for anything less?

WWW.REVCOM.US          

Share everywhere.

Download PDF of this flier, print and spread:

 

 

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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/694/new-yorks-own-investigation-details-systematic-indiscriminate-brutality-against-george-floyd-protesters-en.html

NYC’s Own Dept of Investigation Report Details Systematic, Indiscriminate Brutality Against George Floyd Protesters

| revcom.us

 


Brooklyn, NY, May 30, 2020: The NYPD ran SUVs into crowds of people protesting the murder of George Floyd. Photo: AP

 

In response to outrage and exposure of police brutality and repression of protests in New York City after the police murder of George Floyd, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commissioned a review of police actions by the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI). In December 2020, the DOI released its report. It documents massive, systematic, indiscriminate repression of what it repeatedly acknowledges as “largely peaceful protests.”

The DOI is not a human rights group, an NGO, a civil liberties organization, much less an organization opposing police brutality and murder. It is an official city agency, accountable to the same officials as the head of the NYPD.

The report states explicitly why the DOI is acknowledging what protesters and millions who saw police brutality against protesters have been saying all along: “When a police officer is seen as unnecessarily impatient, rude, brutal, or otherwise unfair in dealing with a protester, people are more likely to view the police (and the law more generally) as illegitimate.”


Brooklyn, NY, May 30, 2020: peaceful protesters react to the NYPD use of pepperspray. Photo: AP

 

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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/694/chicago-police-kill-13-year-old-boy-en.html

Chicago Police Kill 13-year-old Boy

“He still played with Hot Wheels,” says his mother

| revcom.us

 

Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old seventh grader in Chicago, died when a cop shot him in the chest in the early morning hours of Monday, March 29. After killing him, the police left his body in an alley behind a high school for hours. Initial news reports led people to believe that “the suspect” was an adult. On Wednesday, when his photo was posted, it was clear the police had killed a child. His mother, Elizabeth Toledo, had reported him missing. Two days after her son was murdered in cold blood, she learned from the Chicago police that one of their pigs had gunned him down.

Adam lived with his mother and four siblings in Little Village, a largely Mexican neighborhood in the West Side of Chicago. “I just want to know what really happened to my baby... He was a little kid,” Elizabeth Toledo said through her tears. She said that Adam “still played with Hot Wheels” and that “He was always happy. He loved animals. He was loving to all his siblings... He used to like bike riding. He used to listen to music.” Elizabeth told reporters that Adam had actually wanted to be a cop when he grew up—“And the next thing you know, a cop took his life.”

People in the neighborhood and Adam's friends and family have organized rallies and vigils and called on the city to release the videos of his killing, which they are now reportedly promising to do.

The police are already doing what they usually do to try to justify their violent actions, talking about how there was an “armed confrontation” and that a gun was “found” near the location where Adam Toledo was killed. Whatever happened that early Monday morning, the police killing of Adam Toledo was completely unnecessary and totally intolerable. His mother said in anguish, “They had a lot of options, but not kill him.” What kind of a monstrous, criminal system has armed enforcers of the law that shoots down seventh-grade kids?!


Photo: Courtesy of the family


Photo: Courtesy of the family

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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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/694/the-blatant-fascism-and-naked-white-supremacy-of-georgias-new-voter-suppression-law-more-revealed-en.html

The Blatant Fascism and Naked White Supremacy of Georgia’s New Voter Suppression Law—More Revealed!

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Last week we reported some of what was involved in the new law passed in Georgia that restricts the access of voters to the polls. We showed how the laws effectively target Black people and other people of color. This law is part of a whole host of proposed laws—over 360 at last count, in 47 states—designed to prevent Black people, as well as other oppressed nationality people, from voting. It is part of a major fascist move to further lock in a white supremacist advantage in the electoral laws as they stand.1 And that in turn is part of a major move to cast Black people back to the days of Jim Crow segregation with very few legal rights at all.

Over the past week, there have been two further developments. First, more has come to light on just how harsh and racist this Georgia law actually is. Second, spurred by major Black business figures, a number of corporations—including Coca-Cola, Delta, Dell Computers, and others—have come out against these laws, and Major League Baseball has moved its All-Star game out of Atlanta. These forces, from their own interests, oppose such drastic backward changes—including opposition to such naked and openly regressive white supremacy, the “perception” and “brand reputation” of such companies, the morale of their multinational employees, and potential pressure from the Democrats.

The warning in Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Statement, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation of All Humanity, resonates where he states that in the current situation, “despite the Trump/Pence regime’s loss in the election, the forces of fascism are still in many ways strengthened, and the opposition to this has remained much too passive and reliant on the terms set by the Democratic Party.” This is a situation which needs close watching, and firm opposition.

On March 25, the Republi-fascists’ war against voting by oppressed nationality people of color took a major leap as Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law a 98-page bill that throws multiple new obstacles in the way of Black, Brown, and poor voters—on top of obstacles they already face. The objective is to ensure Republi-fascist control of the state, to guarantee that Georgia will “vote Republican” in congressional and presidential elections to come, regardless of what the majority of people want, and to reduce Black people to second-class citizenship stripping them of fundamental rights.

ALERT: Georgia’s Jim Crow (Black) Voter Suppression Bill Is Now Law... and a “Model” for Other States, March 29, 2021

Since revcom.us posted this alert, further exposure has come out about just how blatantly fascist and white supremacist this voter suppression bill is, and important opposition to it has emerged.

An April 2 in-depth analysis of Georgia’s new voting law by the New York Times (What Georgia’s Voting Law Really Does) “identified 16 key provisions that will limit ballot access, potentially confuse voters and give more power to Republican lawmakers.”

The provisions the Times documented—all of which disproportionately impact Black and other people of color—include:

And, as we reported previously, Georgia’s bill:

The Republi-fascists have justified these assaults by the big lie of massive voter fraud in the last election, but the various provisions the NY Times cites are blatant, naked efforts to make it harder for oppressed and other people living in urban and suburban counties which lean to the Democrats to vote—not prevent fraud. And they aim to give legislatures—now dominated by Republi-fascists—and other officials greater power to step in and determine the outcome no matter how people vote.

This is a brazen assertion of a fascist movement and program—growing out of and continuing the kinds of efforts the Trump-led fascist movement used to bully legislators and officials in Georgia and other states into overturning the November 2020 election.2

Growing Outrage and Protest

There have been growing and significant protests against Georgia’s new law. Two lawsuits have been filed against it spearheaded by the NAACP and other legal groups. After activists demanded action and 72 prominent Black corporate executives took out a full-page ad in the New York Times (“Memo to Corporate America: The Fierce Urgency Is Now”), Coca-Cola and Delta, both headquartered in Georgia, condemned the Georgia law. Heads of other major corporations, including Cisco, Microsoft, Blackrock, and Citibank, have done so as well.

Then, on Friday, April 2, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced it was pulling the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s action, a move supported by President Biden.3

The Fascists Are Still Moving

In the past, such massive outcries and actions by powerful corporations have forced states to reverse some of the measures the fascist Republicans have attempted to force through. For instance, in 2015, the state of Indiana under then Gov. Mike Pence was forced to amend a “religious liberty” measure that had legalized bigotry against LGBTQ people after organizations like Apple, SalesForce, Suburu, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) threatened to boycott the state. In 2017, North Carolina reversed its “bathroom ban” on transgender people after the National Basketball Association and the NCAA moved major events out.

Yet today, the Republi-fascists show no signs of backing down (as Democrats are reportedly divided over how to and to what degree to fight to protect voting rights4).

Georgia’s Republican governor Kemp denounced MLB’s decision and is vowing to fight on.

Meanwhile, the Republican-dominated Texas state Senate just passed a sweeping voter suppression bill outlawing drive-through voting, cutting early voting hours, and preventing election officials from sending mail-in ballot applications even to qualified voters.

A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice “finds Republican state lawmakers have now introduced 361 bills to restrict voting rights across 47 states. Restrictive bills are now moving through legislatures in 24 states, and 29 bills have already been passed by at least one chamber of statehouses.”5

All this underscores the grave danger we face and the urgency of acting! As we wrote on March 29:

More fundamentally, as Bob Avakian shows in his “New Year’s Statement, A New Year, The Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity” and elsewhere (go here and here), “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.” And he goes deeply into the changes over the past 75 years internationally and within this country that have led to the dire situation today.

In that context, the attack on the voting rights of oppressed nationality people—Black people and other people of color—is part of a whole offensive that not only aims to re-impose the most suffocating and horrific forms of white supremacy, but has a definite genocidal thrust to it. The situation is urgent.

The defense of fundamental rights MUST be taken up in the days and months to come, and those who get the real stakes and the real sources of all this must do so boldly putting forward, fighting for and organizing people around the stand that only revolution can deal with this, once and for all.

 


1. The Electoral College system, under which U.S. presidents are elected, gives greatly weighted value to the sparsely populated, more rural states—which are predominantly white—because each state gets three votes in the Electoral College regardless of its population (any additional votes are proportional to population). And Republican-dominated state legislatures frequently engage in gerrymandering—drawing congressional and state legislature districts in ways that isolate and minimize the impact of non-white voters—which can then only be challenged through a protracted battle in the courts, which may or may not overturn these plans. In turn, this has made it easier for these state governments to pass voter ID requirements and other discriminatory laws, furthering their dominance.  [back]

2. While these measures are clearly intended to suppress votes by Black and other oppressed peoples and in Democratic-leaning areas, we are still investigating the ultimate impact of this.  [back]

3. The New York Times reported, “The All-Star Game and its week of festivities were set to include celebrations of the legacy of the Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron, a civil rights icon who died earlier this year. But by Friday, [MLB head] Manfred said, he had concluded that moving the game and baseball’s annual draft out of Georgia were “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.” New York Times, April 3.  [back]

4. See Democrats Splinter Over Strategy for Pushing Through Voting Rights Bill, New York Times, March 30.  [back]

5. Democracy Now!, April 2.  [back]


Voters in line in Augusta, GA, December 2020. Photo: AP


As Governor Kemp sat at his desk to sign Georgia’s new voter suppression law on March 25, the painting that hung behind him was a romanticized depiction of the Callaway slave plantation, on which at least 100 Black people were forced to labor, in a county where “runaways” were hunted with hounds. The use of the painting as a prominent backdrop to the signing ceremony is an all-but-open statement of intent by the Republi-fascists to cast Black people back to the days of open Jim Crow segregation as a key part of their goal of reshaping society. Photo: @UjuAnya

 

Follow: @TheRevcoms
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Watch: youtube.com/therevcoms

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/692/setting-terms-with-revolution-and-the-need-to-follow-ba-if-you-want-to-get-free-en.html

Some Initial Experience

Setting Terms with Revolution and the Need to Follow BA if You Want to Get Free
“Okay, who is this leader?”

| revcom.us

 

From Member of the Revolution Tour:

This last weekend, a few of us went out to various neighborhood parks with an important toolkit for winning people to revolution and organizing them into it: 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,” and the pamphlet, “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity.”

We went to oppressed communities where especially Black and Latino youth are, important sections of people that need to lift their sights and turn their heads to revolution and the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), as part of working on the thousands needed to get organized for revolution in this time period.

We are just beginning the process, but there was some important experience to learn from our initial forays with this. We were doing active social investigation, putting up posters, and had some important practice after wrestling with how to set terms with the basic points of orientation about the need to work now for an actual revolution and the importance of BA’s leadership (instead of chasing people's questions and differences). We also were trying to have an impact and begin to “create a scene” because trying to talk to everybody just one by one isn't the right dynamic to build up the movement for revolution. We set up our truck with a big screen TV to play video of an illustrated segment from the article, “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity” (which aired in episode 43 of The RNL Show).

At one skate park, we had some discussions with a group of Black men (different ages, mainly older). One guy was arguing that we can deal with oppression by putting Black faces in high places. We re-set the terms with what BA represents: getting to the root of the problem, making revolution that uproots this system and replaces it, that BA has written a Constitution laying out how we would rebuild a different society. This guy then said: “Okay who is this leader?” He didn’t want to give us a way to reach him, but donated $10 and was going to look more into BA.

One important thing someone on our team was doing was reading the quote (see right) with people from BA on unspeakable ugliness/unprecedented beauty. One guy responded, “Wow! That's powerful! This sounds like someone who wants to give people freedom.”

These discussions were going straight at BA and everything he concentrates, including the point “We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. He is an old white guy—yes, deal with it!”  On that basis, we’d open up discussion and try to learn what people knew about the Derek Chauvin/George Floyd trial. We learned that not many people are really paying attention to what’s happening. Only some knew about the trial, and we’d return to what it's going to take for murder by police to actually end.

We went to a busy skate park and talked to a number of Latino youth, ranging from 8-16 years old. Again, we started with “We are actively working on making revolution to uproot this system which is the source of all these forms of oppression and we follow the leadership of Bob Avakian because he’s forged a path to putting an end to all this oppression and you need to follow him too, if you want to get free.” The youth were all very talkative and wanted to know what we were about with a lot of interest and curiosity. A number of people asked: “What do you mean revolution?”

We had one heavy discussion about a point in BA’s New Year statement that “the time we have must not be squandered.” One 11-year-old responded that he thought future generations “probably won’t make it,” and, “We might not make it because of Covid.” An 8-year-old said “gangs, killing and shooting each other” and another said “police killing people.” The 11-year-old said, “20 years ago a Black man was hung on that tree over there, in this park.” The 8-year-old said, “My uncle used to skate in this park and he witnessed it.” We brought it back to why this leadership – BA – is so crucial: the unnecessary horrors coming from this system, the possibility to have a different society where kids their age wouldn’t be concerned about being killed by the police or with people fighting and killing each other. The 11-year-old said, “When I’m 18 maybe I can do something.” We put the challenge to them that anyone who wants to get free needs to take this up and work on this now, no matter their age.

Some people we talked to argued that “might makes right” and justified the U.S. slaughter around the world and the fact that this country was built on genocide. At one point, they asked why we thought we could change things when we can’t change how people think and act. We challenged them to go beneath the surface and understand that it's this system that shapes how people think and act. This is why we’re followers of BA and if you want to see a different world, that’s what you need to do too.

An older Latino vendor started to read the New Year's statement in Spanish on the spot because he was appreciative that we were talking to these youth, saying that we needed to organize them. We went back and forth with him about how, “Yes we do, but everyone needs to become followers of BA and work now to make revolution, whatever their age,” and talked more about who BA is and the important breakthroughs he’s made. The vendor said he wanted to seriously dig into the pamphlet because he’s seen different things said about the Capitol attack but hadn’t read anything like this, linking it back to the history of this country. He pointed to where BA says: “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.” He's reading a lot of books, including one about how this country was founded and the ways the land was stolen through slaughtering people who occupied those lands. He said he’s there every weekend and can help by handing out flyers while he continues to learn more and get into BA.

At another park, we ran into a group of African (mainly) men partying in the parking lot with a loud sound system. The emcee saw our shirts and, after asking what we were about, invited us to speak on the mic. We ran down a basic thing of who we are, who BA is and why they should get with this, and invited people to talk to us and come to the truck to watch the clips.

Almost everyone was appreciative and took both pamphlets. A few people told us they were just trying to chill and didn’t want to get into a whole discussion, but took the pamphlet to read later. Two guys we talked to more were from Cameroon and spent time in ICE detention. One said that at first he felt like we were interrupting their good time, but when he heard what we were saying, he’s glad we did. He agreed with the point that now’s the time to get with this, pointing to the murder of the women in Atlanta and said it’s not just Black people this is happening to. He was feeling us on the need to break out of the bounds of this system and make revolution. 

We said more about the importance of BA, then he and his friend came over to watch the BA segment on the truck. He was moved by it, saying he had seen other things about the civil rights era, Selma, and white people standing with MLK, but watching this gave him goosebumps. He had never heard of Bob Avakian before, and wanted to know how to be involved.

We think our agitation needed to do better at bringing to life the urgency of the situation we are facing—why is it that time isn’t on our side and must not be squandered? We were wrestling with the way BA discusses the sharp polarization and struggle around fascism and why nothing short of an actual revolution can deal with this. We also need to more “go to town” on the leadership we have in BA and why you should become a follower too: who is this person, what is the work he’s done and what it means that we have this leader.

BASIC POINTS OF ORIENTATION:

1) This system of capitalism-imperialism is the source of endless horrors for the majority of people in this country and all around the world, and it is increasingly threatening the very existence of humanity. We are actively working for an actual revolution—to bring down, to overthrow and completely abolish, this whole system as soon as possible and replace it with something radically different and much better, a new society built on an entirely different foundation...

Read more

2) We are followers of Bob Avakian. And you need to become followers of BA too...

Read more

There is the powerful positive potential .... Go here for a further important point of orientation

Read more

Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit...

—Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:1

Read more

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

Bob Avakian

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/694/nawal-el-saadawi-writer-and-lifelong-fighter-against-womens-oppression-en.html

On Nawal El Saadawi: Writer and lifelong fighter against women's oppression, 1931-2021

| revcom.us

 

They said, “You are a savage and dangerous woman.” I am speaking the truth.
And the truth is savage and dangerous.

—Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi, the beloved Egyptian writer, doctor, and women's rights champion, died on March 21 in Cairo. She brandished the truth about the oppression of women with daring, verve, and artistry. She has been hailed in tributes as “Egypt’s most radical, secularist, feminist woman” and a “pioneer of women’s liberation” in the Arab countries and worldwide. She wrote more than 50 books of fiction and nonfiction, including Woman at Point Zero, The Hidden Face of Eve, and Memoirs from the Women’s Prison. Her work has been translated into dozens of languages ... and has stirred hearts and minds.

The intellectual fearlessness that fired El Saadawi’s research and sweeping denunciations of the many forms of women’s oppression was matched by her disdain for the personal consequences, which included persecution and imprisonment by the Egyptian authorities and a life lived in the shadow of death threats from religious fanatics.

Nawal El Saadawi was born into a rural family in the agricultural region where the Nile River drains into the Mediterranean Sea. Nawal was six when she was taken from her bed in the middle of the night and thrust into a bathtub where her genitals were slashed, with her mother right beside her. Shortly afterwards, her grandmother tried to teach her “the facts of life,” telling her that “one boy was worth 15 girls.” Outraged, the seven-year-old Nawal wrote her first text, a letter to God challenging him to explain why he treated women differently than men. At a book fair in 2014, she recalled, “He never replied.... I told him, ‘if you are not fair, I’m not ready to believe in you.’”

Challenging Enslaving Tradition and Reactionary Authority

El Saadawi’s scathing exposure in The Hidden Face of Eve of the horrors of female genital mutilation caused an uproar in Egypt and around the world. Her outrage ripped through the complacency of the official Egyptian left, and caused consternation among many progressive forces worldwide, who had for far too long ignored this hideous crime, including through relativist conciliation with the “cultural practices” of the oppressed.

Nawal relentlessly campaigned against female genital mutilation. In 2008, Egypt finally passed a law outlawing the practice—yet  according to UN data, about 87 percent of women and girls aged 15 to 49 in the country have been cut. The large-scale persistence of this cruel practice, even as Egypt’s women have been increasingly drawn out into the world, represents a vicious backlash, a reminder and reinforcer of women’s subordinate role in this system of male supremacy.  

Yet El Saadawi did not turn inward. She became a medical doctor and started her career practicing in the poor villages near where she grew up, until she was reassigned by the medical authorities in retribution for campaigning to raise awareness among her patients.Years later she became director of public health for the Egyptian government, but was fired in 1972 after the republication of her book, Women and Sex, which denounced the sexual oppression of women.

One of her most celebrated works, Woman at Point Zero, was a fictionalized account of the life of a woman Nawal interviewed in the Cairo women’s prison just before the woman was executed for killing a man who tormented her since she was a little girl and forced her into prostitution. Nawal herself soon ended up in that same prison. In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, she talked about her time there, debating with Marxists and arguing fiercely with religious fundamentalists. And with a sparkle in her eye and the defiant sense of humor that she never lost, she quipped to the interviewer, “You should go to prison—I highly advise it,” because it was such a “rich experience.” Political prisoners were forbidden to have any writing materials, so she managed to smuggle in an eyebrow pencil from a prostitute in the adjoining cell and used it to write what became Memoir from the Women’s Prison on toilet paper.

For the rest of her life she was often hounded, threatened and, as Islamic fundamentalism grew stronger in Egypt, driven in 1993 into exile in the U.S., where she taught at Duke, Harvard, Berkeley, and other universities. On her return to Egypt in 1996, she wrote a play called God Resigns at the Summit Meeting, in which all the prophets of the monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, prevail on god to resign so that humanity can move forward. Al Azhar, an institution whose authority in Sunni Islam is comparable to the Vatican for Catholics, formally condemned her for apostasy, and she spent years under a hail of threats from the courts and Islamists.


Nawal El Saadawi in 2012 at Tahrir Square, Egypt, during a women's march. Photo: Gigi Ibrahim

Even while in unstinting opposition to state and religious authorities, Nawal engaged in a lifelong critical dialogue with others in feminist movements where she stood out for opposing the wearing of the hijab head scarf or more drastic forms of covering. She had no patience for the absurd and harmful notion—held by many so-called progressives and radicals—that such feudal practices were somehow positive expressions of cultural identity. She pointed out that no matter what some women might think, this garb was a mark of submission. She argued that the very idea of Islamic feminism was dangerous, because Islamists would never accept anything less than total submission. While women had “no place in heaven” in Islamic theology, she said, patriarchy was a universal feature of all human societies, no less in “the West” than the Middle East: “I am opposed both to covering women's bodies and uncovering them.”

Opposing Imperialism and Zionism; Joining the 2011 Tahrir Square Uprising

Nawal also stood out for her fierce opposition to Western colonialism and imperialism. This was so important to her that when the international Arab women's solidarity organization she had founded took a position in favor of the 1991 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, she quit the organization in protest, and it collapsed. She argued that the social and economic structures imposed by the West and imperialist political maneuvering to use Islamists against more radical movements, as well as the West's own ugly features, were huge factors in the rise of Islamism. “After travelling all over the world... I discovered that girls are brought up in a very similar way—we are all in the same boat. The patriarchal, religious, capitalist system is universal.”

She was an outspoken critic of the 2001 U.S.-led war on Afghanistan—and a fierce opponent of the state of Israel (she described U.S. support for Israel as “real terrorism”). 

This combination of opposition to patriarchy and imperialist domination made her a rare and much-beloved figure among generations of progressives and radicals. Despite her advancing age, she took to Tahrir Square in Cairo during the mass rebellion of February 2011 that toppled the viciously repressive regime of Hosni Mubarak who ruled Egypt for almost 30 years. She considered this uprising the most important event in her lifetime. She continued to wrangle over the relationship between the capitalist-imperialist system, the oppressed nations, patriarchy and women’s oppression for the rest of her life. She participated in a 2011 conference in London about the way forward for the Arab Spring, with speakers including Raymond Lotta, a follower of Bob Avakian; the radical Iranian-Kurdish scholar Amir Hassanpour; feminists; and others.

After Mubarak was toppled, an election brought the Islamic-fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt to power. Then in 2013 the Egyption military overthrew the Brotherhood government and installed General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. This posed a particular challenge to Nawal. She, like most of the generation of Tahrir Square rebels, initially went along with el-Sisi’s coup, considering the military a force that would protect rights—a mistake that caused anguish among some who cherished her. A mistake that underlines the critical need to, as Bob Avakian points out in his New Year’s Statement, not 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.”1

Nawal remained a fiery social critic. In a 2018 interview, she was asked if she might consider toning down her rhetoric to keep safe. Her reply was consistent with a lifetime of unrelenting rebellion: “I should be more aggressive, because the world is becoming more aggressive and we need people to speak loudly against injustices.” Hers was a literature and life of defiance and creativity in a suffocating society and culture. And as for the danger facing one who speaks out in a country like Egypt with several thousand political prisoners kept in horrific conditions, “Danger has been a part of my life ever since I picked up a pen and wrote. Nothing is more perilous than truth in a world that lies.” Nawal El Saadawi will be sorely missed.

NAWAL EL SAADAWI'S NOVELS AND OTHER WRITINGS ARE AVAILABLE AT REVOLUTION BOOKS

Consulted for this article: various writings by Nawal el-Saadawi; Wikipedia; BBC obituary; Guardian obituary; Reuters obituary; BBC's Imagine documentary series.

 

1. To quote the point more fully: “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.”

For more on the relationship between patriarchy, capitalism-imperialism and religious fundamentalism, see Bob Avakian's writings, including: A New Year: The Urgent Need for a Radically New World—For the Emancipation of All Humanity; Bringing Forward Another Way; Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution. [back]

 

 


Nawal El Saadawi

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/691/the-lives-of-irans-political-prisoners-hang-in-the-balance-we-must-act-now-en.html

An Emergency Appeal

The Lives of Iran's Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now

Updated | revcom.us

 

Editors' Note: We received the following from the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners.

A brutal campaign of arrests, torture and executions is now taking place in Iran. This is an emergency. The lives and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners are in imminent, mortal danger.

All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW. 

Beginning in October 2020, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) launched a massive new wave of arbitrary arrests against labor, women's, and human rights activists; dissident intellectuals and artists; protesters and revolutionaries; and members of religious and oppressed minorities.

Many are now being tortured, held in solitary confinement, and denied legal rights, assistance or medical aid, as the IRI attempts to force “confessions,” conducts sham “trials,” and carries out brutal floggings.

Amnesty International (AI) warns of an “alarming rise in executions,” with 49 prisoners executed between December and February. This regime has a blood-stained record of attempting to violently crush any form of dissent or resistance—including sudden mass executions of political prisoners as happened in 1988.

We cannot allow this to happen again. 

Importantly, this repression has been met with inspiring heroism. Many prisoners, their families, supporters and various Iranian organizations have been speaking out and demanding freedom for ALL Iran’s political prisoners—at great risk to their own safety.

The Iranian Writers Association (IWA) has denounced the execution of prisoners of conscience, even as it is under extreme repression. Several members are imprisoned, including Arash Ganji, sentenced to 11 years for translating a book on the Kurdish struggle in Syria. Journalist and Defenders of Human Rights Center member Narges Mohammadi was imprisoned for eight and a half years. She is calling for protest against the solitary confinement of the two brothers of Navid Afkari, the Iranian wrestling champion executed last year for being part of the 2018 mass rebellion. The brothers are sentenced to 54 and 27 years.

The documentary film Nasrin (about imprisoned attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh) is an example of this nightmare of detentions and this implacable spirit of resistance.

Iran’s political prisoners face a dire, life-threatening, immediate emergency. Here are just a few other examples:

A number of dual nationals from Europe, Australia and the U.S. are being held in the “political ward” of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Amnesty International (AI) recently sent out urgent action alerts on two of these prisoners:

Women prisoners are increasingly transferred to more remote prisons, limiting access by their family and lawyers. They include:

All of Iran’s political prisoners must be unconditionally and immediately released.

The governments of the U.S. and Iran act from their national interests. And, in this instance, we the people of the U.S. and Iran, along with the people of the world, have OUR shared interests, as part of getting to a better world: to unite to defend the political prisoners of Iran. In the U.S., we have a special responsibility to unite very broadly against this vile repression by the IRI, and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran.

We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW

We say to the U.S government: NO THREATS OR WAR MOVES AGAINST IRAN, LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS

WHAT WE CAN DO

Write to the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners at: FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNOW@gmail.com

ENDORSE


Photos of political prisoners from @burn_the_cage Instagram

 

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/693/factsheet-dangerous-surge-in-transfers-to-remote-locations-of-irans-political-prisoners-en.html

Factsheet: Dangerous Surge in Transfers to Remote Locations of Iran's Political Prisoners

| revcom.us

 

Since December 2020, there appear to be concerted efforts to disperse those who have been standard bearers of resistance in Iran's prisons including during their imprisonment, including many women prisoners. These women, from different political perspectives, have all been recently moved from the general population in various prisons in Iran to remote prison locations or put into solitary confinement.

 

Golrokh Iraee (Persian: گلرخ ایرایی ‎)

Imprisoned since 2016, Iraee had been held in Qarchak women’s prison in southern Iran.  Last December, she was violently transferred to the “political ward” 2A of Tehran’s Evin prison, put in solitary confinement, denied family contact and interrogated for 43 days.  In late January 2021, she was again transferred, now to Amol prison in northern Iran with one of the highest prison Covid casualty rates.  Iraee is a writer, accountant and human rights activist who advocates against the practice of stoning in Iran. She is serving a 6-year sentence for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” after she wrote an (unpublished) story about stoning.  She has been repeatedly and extensively interrogated while blindfolded, with guards threatening to kill her, and forced to listen to the guards beat her husband in the next cell. She continues to resist, even from prison.

 

Maryam Akbari Monfared (Persian: مریم اکبری منفرد ‎)
Akbari, a human rights advocate, has been in prison for 12 years. In early March, she was abruptly moved from Evin to a prison in a remote city of Semnan, over 136 miles away. As the guards dragged her from her cell, other women prisoners protested her transfer. In late 2018, she and 2 other prisoners, Golrokh Iraee and Atena Daemi, wrote a protest letter to the United Nations representative, asking him to travel to Iran and witness the violations of human rights occurring. In the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran, her three brothers and one sister, all radical activists, were accused of being Mujahedin, and executed.

 

Zeynab Jalalian (Persian: زينب جلاليان
Jalalian is a Kurdish minority political prisoner in Iran who has already been imprisoned for ten years. During this past year, she was moved around different prisons in Iran four times and finally was sent to the southern city of Yazd. She is a women's rights activist who was sentenced to death for "enmity against God" (moharebeh) by an Iranian court in 2008 in a sham trial that lasted only a few minutes. The Iranian rulers accused her of being a member of a Kurdish militant group, which she denies. Her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2011.

 

Atena Daemi (Persian: آتنا دائمی ‎)
On March 16, 2021 Daemi was transferred from Evin Prison to Lakan Prison in Rasht, northern Iran. Daemi is serving a 14 year sentence on charges that include distributing anti-death penalty leaflets plus posting criticism of the Iran regime's executions record on Facebook and Twitter. Subsequent appeals reduced Daemi's original sentence. Then two additional years were added, one for "propaganda against the state", and another year and 74 lashes for "disrupting the prison order". She has repeatedly gone on hunger strikes to protest against prison conditions and against the death penalty while behind bars at Evin prison.

 

Saba Kord Afshari (Persian: صبا کردافشاری ‎)
Afshari and her mother are both political prisoners in Iran. Last December, she was transferred from Evin to Qarchak prison. This past January, she was transferred from Ward 8 of Gharchak to Ward 6, where she was beaten. She is currently housed alongside "violent crimes" prisoners.

The IRI court has sentenced her to 24 years, (later reduced to 9) for appearing in public without a hijab (head covering), and talking about it on social media. The charges included: "promoting corruption and prostitution through appearing without a headscarf in public," "propaganda against the state," and "assembly and collusion with an intent to commit a crime against the national security."

 

Saeed Eghbali
March 22, Eghbali was abruptly banished from Evin Prison to Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, a major city west of the Iranian capital. He is currently held in a cell with 2 death-row prisoners.  Prison officials have told him  that he will be transferred to a ward holding common criminals and that they have no responsibility to protect his life or health. In recent years other political prisoners that the IRI put in similar conditions have been killed by criminal inmates. Eghbali is a civil rights activist accused of  "conspiracy to act against the security of the country,"  and sentenced to 5 years. He had been in Evin Prison for nearly a year.

 

Some of the other prisoners abruptly transferred in in recent months to various prisons around the country include Sepideh Qalyan, Sepideh Farhan, Mojgan Keshavarz, Saba Kordafshari, Golrokh Erayi, Yasman Ariani, Monira Arabshahi, Samaneh Norouz Moradi, Sakineh Parvaneh, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Maryam Ebrahimvand, Asma Abdi, Kasra Nouri, Nasrullah Lashani.

 

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/692/imperialist-parasitism-and-class-social-recomposition-in-the-us-from-the-1970s-to-today-en.html

Imperialist Parasitism and Class-Social Recomposition in the U.S. From the 1970s to Today: An Exploration of Trends and Changes

by Raymond Lotta

| revcom.us

 

Author's Note: The following paper is the product of research inspired and guided by questions and contradictions posed by Bob Avakian about the workings of the imperialist world economy and the dominant position of the U.S. within it—and critical effects of this on the class and social structure of U.S. society.

In Breakthroughs—The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, Bob Avakian writes of an increasingly globalized capitalism that:

relies to a very great degree for production and for maintaining the rate of profit on a vast network of sweatshops, particularly in the oppressed countries of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa (the Third World or global South), 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 physical production of the basic physical materials for) high tech, as well as the service sector and the commercial sphere (including the growing role of online marketing). As Lenin phrased it, this puts “the seal of parasitism” on the whole of societies such as the U.S...

In relation to that “seal of parasitism,” Bob Avakian posed two intertwined questions for research and grappling: How definite and operative is the connection between heightened globalization and intensification of exploitation by imperialism, in particular U.S. imperialism, in the oppressed countries of the Third World, on the one hand, and the changing social and class composition of the United States, on the other? Can these changes be understood as a defining expression of imperialist parasitism?

The answer to these two questions is that there is in fact a very strong connection and, yes, the social-class changes that have taken place in the U.S. over the last few decades are very much a defining expression of imperialist parasitism.

What follows are key findings and synthesis of investigation. A brief Summation of major themes of this paper is available at revcom.us.

INTRODUCTION: ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PARASITISM AND U.S. SOCIETY

Parasitism is a concept that V.I. Lenin, the great communist theorist and leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, worked with extensively in his analyses of imperialism—the system that dominates the world. Parasitism refers to the ways in which the imperialist countries benefit from the superexploitation of labor—horrific conditions of employment in which workers are paid at bare subsistence or below-subsistence levels—in the oppressed countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa (the Third World or global South). This provides a critical source of profits and stimulus to the profitability of capital.

The subjugation of the oppressed countries by imperialism not only distorts their economies and societies—such as the ways in which imperialist agribusiness devastates subsistence agriculture (food grown on small, family-based landholdings to meet basic survival needs) and drives people from rural areas into ever-swelling cities. This subjugation also “reacts back” on the entire social structure of the imperialist countries. The profits, or “spoils,” of empire enable the imperialists to maintain a certain, relative social stability in the heartlands of empire in normal times. Parasitism results in the greater concentration of wealth among bourgeois-financial strata whose economic activity is ever more divorced from the realm of production.

The character of employment and the typical family household in the U.S. are very different today than in 1970 or 1980:

  • A profound transformation of the occupational structure (the types of jobs that people get) has occurred over the last 50 years. The U.S. economy is now overwhelmingly dominated by jobs in services—medical-health, other professions, information, finance, technical, government—as opposed to production. There has been a steep decline in manufacturing employment. The single largest occupational category in the U.S. is retail.
  • Big demographic changes in the labor force, especially involving women and immigrants, have taken place. At the start of 2020, women were the majority (slightly over 50 percent) of employees in the U.S. economy; and immigrants from the Third World are essential to profitable functioning of key segments of the U.S. economy.
  • There has been an ongoing disintegration of the traditional patriarchal household (married couple-family with children and a sole, male breadwinner). This is connected both with these economic changes, especially the decline of better-paying manufacturing jobs and resulting financial pressures on families, and with the struggles of women for equality and access to work and career, along with other social changes.
  • The post-World War 2 working class based in large-scale industry, with union protections, has shrunk massively in the U.S. as a proportion of the labor force—though there are still millions of industrial-manufacturing workers. This was happening as corporations relocated operations to low-wage countries to meet intensified competition and to maximize profits and introduced new job-displacing technology in efforts to raise efficiency and competitiveness.
  • The post-World War 2 “American middle class” of better paid workers who could achieve a “middle-class standard of living” and small proprietors has become less defining of the contemporary U.S. middle class. An upper middle class of professionals (“credentialed” with four-year college and advanced graduate degrees) and financial-administrative-technical strata has gained far greater economic and social weight and influence.

Different factors have conditioned the shifts that have taken place in the class-social configuration of “late imperial” America. These include geopolitics, like the great power rivalry, including the “space race,” between the U.S. and Soviet Union... and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union and its imperialist bloc in 1989-91, which gave the U.S. greater maneuvering room internationally. The necessity of U.S. imperialism to maintain, enforce, and extend its empire has called forth military spending and investments in technology and computerization that spread through the economy. There is the impact of political and social struggles, especially those of Black people and women—and how they have influenced patterns of employment (like the expansion of government jobs for women and Black people).

But the most decisive factor at work—not by itself but interpenetrating with these and other factors—has been deeper imperialist penetration into the Third World, and the fuller integration of the oppressed economies into the world capitalist economy. The defeat of the socialist revolution and the restoration of capitalism in China in 1976 was a critical development: the new rulers of China opened the floodgates to foreign capital investment and China became the epicenter of a massive new wave of imperialist globalization in the global South.

Imperialist parasitism—superexploitation of the labor forces of the oppressed countries and plunder of raw materials—and fierce competition among the imperialist powers for markets has contributed to growing occupational polarization. The U.S. economy requires engineers, “money managers,” and information technology workers. It also needs low-paid cashiers, hospital orderlies, logistics and delivery workers, and low-paid food processing workers.

The economic transformations of the last few decades... the dramatic turns of the economy, most notably the “great recession” of 2007-09... and the economic disruptions and widespread suffering related to the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic as it has unfolded within the structures and constraints of world capitalism... these major developments have NOT led to a “great leveling” within the U.S.

This underscores an important feature of U.S. society:

Imperialist globalization has contributed to an increasingly fractured, polarized, and “enclaved” society—not only racially but also in terms of different social groups. U.S. society is marked by extreme deprivation on the bottom... income and employment gains for professional-technical strata... and the obscene, grotesque redistribution and concentration of wealth towards a small upper fraction of society.

For anyone yearning for a radically different and far better world, it is important to gain a scientific understanding of the nature and scope of the social-class changes that have taken place in U.S. society since 1970: their material roots and political-ideological manifestations. This is deeply shaping people’s lives. It is part of the ground on which fascism in the U.S. has grown and taken hold. These trends and changes have profound implications for socialist-communist revolution in this era—for being able to identify its bedrock and broader forces and for being able to recognize and act on the potential for and obstacles to making that revolution.

Not least, it is this highly parasitic society that a truly radical, liberatory revolution must transform... as part of advancing the world revolution to emancipate all of humanity. In this light, Bob Avakian's New Year's Statement: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation of Humanity is essential reading—to understand the dynamics that have led to the dire situation that humanity is now confronting and why revolution, guided by the new communism that Avakian has developed, is the only real alternative to this system of capitalism-imperialism with all its horrors.

This research paper is divided into nine sections organized around these themes:

  1. Setting the stage: heightened imperialist globalization, shifts in the global labor force, and superexploitation in the Third World
  2. Imperialist globalization and financialization of the U.S. economy
  3. Massive decline of manufacturing employment in the U.S. economy... but not its disappearance; the attack on and decline of unions
  4. More on changes in the occupational structure and growing inequality in the U.S.
  5. When work disappears, the pain is great... but far greater for Black workers than for Trump’s “neglected” white worker; broader employment and unemployment trends, especially for Black people
  6. A changing economy and women’s struggle for equality: shifting gender norms colliding with patriarchy and its brutal reassertion
  7. Foreign-born workers in the U.S., and the “brain drain” from the Global South
  8. Not a “disappearing” middle class... but a reconfigured middle class whose traditional core has been “hollowed out”
  9. Growing regional divergence in the U.S. and growing inequalities

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.

NEW YEAR'S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN

I. SETTING THE STAGE: HEIGHTENED IMPERIALIST GLOBALIZATION, SHIFTS IN THE GLOBAL LABOR FORCE, AND SUPEREXPLOITATION IN THE THIRD WORLD

The heightened imperialist globalization of production refers to the fact that a qualitatively greater share of industrial production serving the profit-making requirements of imperialist capital is carried out in wider parts of the world, outside the “home” (the domestic) market of the imperialist economies—even though the national-home market remains the single largest market and is the base of the national-imperialist capital of countries like the U.S., Japan, Germany, Russia, etc. This heightened globalization is an expression of the expand-or-die logic of capitalism-imperialism and the rivalry among imperial powers. Imperialist globalization involves the growth of manufacturing capacity (factories and equipment) and related transport, power generation, and communications in the oppressed countries of the Third World. It involves the integration of production activities worldwide under the dominance of imperialism.

In particular, a greater share of manufacturing—whether we’re talking about the production of automotive equipment, clothing, appliances, and so forth—is carried out overseas by imperialist firms in the Third World. This is done through direct foreign investments, as when a General Motors sets up factories, distribution centers, etc. Or investment takes the form of “outsourcing,” as when a Walmart, Target, or Apple contracts out production to local firms in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In all these cases, needed elements for production (like components required for Best Buy TVs produced by local companies in China) may be subcontracted out to yet other local suppliers.

  • Some 30-35 percent of all exports leaving the U.S. and some 30-35 percent of all the imports entering the U.S. are actually goods that are being transferred within U.S. transnational companies (like General Motors, General Electric, Boeing, etc.) that straddle the globe. For instance, some 40 percent of the value of goods that the U.S. imports from Mexico is actually part of a loop-like process in which, to take an example, automotive parts manufactured in the U.S. might be shipped to Mexico for assembly, and then exported back to the same companies in the U.S. Boeing encourages its U.S. domestic suppliers of equipment to outsource to Mexico.
  • This lowers costs for U.S. capital. It cheapens the cost of parts and supplies. It cheapens overall labor costs. Again, taking the case of Mexico, in 2016 average hourly manufacturing compensation costs (wages and benefits received by workers) in Mexico was $3.91; in the U.S. it was $39.03—in other words, workers in Mexico were receiving 1/10th the pay of U.S. workers in manufacturing.1 All this enhances profitability and is essential to bolstering the competitiveness of U.S. capital on the world market.

  • A large percentage of the world’s clothing, appliances, and other consumer goods—and a growing share of the components and equipment, and other elements that enter into the production of more advanced manufactured goods in the imperialist countries—are being produced in the countries of the global South. Between 1970 and 2012, the share of Third World countries in the total amount of worldwide exports of manufactured goods rose from 20 percent to 60 percent.
  • Before 1980 the great bulk of manufactured goods that developed capitalist and imperialist countries imported into their economies came from other advanced capitalist countries. But this has also changed: the share of imported manufactured goods of advanced capitalist countries coming from Third World countries rose from 10 percent in 1970 to 57 percent in 2012.2

    Let’s look at some examples:

    —If your shirt or iPhone could talk...

    In 1990, 56 percent of all clothes purchased in the U.S. were made in the U.S. By 2012, only 2 percent of these clothes were produced in the U.S. Most of the workers producing these garments and textiles are employed in the poor countries of the global South. Most are women, some are boys and girls. Fewer than 2 percent of workers in garment and textiles earn a “living wage.” In 2016, Western clothing giants like H&M, Next, and Esprit were found to have Syrian refugee children sewing and hauling bundles of clothes in subcontracted workshops in Turkey. The World Bank has calculated that in the global garment industry, the wage cost per clothing item produced is only 1 to 3 percent of the final selling price!3

    As the 2010s opened, most of Apple’s iPhones were assembled in a factory compound in China run by the Taiwanese-based company Foxconn. Employing 450,000 workers, this was the largest agglomeration of factory workers in the world. These workers were subjected to a relentless pace of work, and cruel systems of control, including public humiliation and punishment for speaking. It was outside the gates of this factory complex in 2010 that assembly line workers threw themselves off the roofs of towering 10- and 12-story dorms where many live—killing themselves in protest against such conditions.4 Note that Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony also outsource production to Foxconn.

    —Pharmaceuticals and medical

    The U.S. controls the dominant share of the highly profitable global pharmaceuticals market. It benefits more than any other imperialist country from the use of “intellectual property rights” (patents for new drugs that keep prices high and unaffordable for great numbers of people in the oppressed countries and that, for extended periods, prevent cheaper, generic versions from being produced). At the same time, 80 percent of the ingredients going into many of these patented drugs sold in the U.S. are manufactured abroad. China is the largest overseas supplier of compounds that go into drugs. And 40-50 percent of the generic drugs consumed in the U.S. are manufactured in India.5

    Or take the case of personal protective equipment. A product essential for protecting the lives of medical personnel who save lives is produced in imperialism’s supply-chain sweatshops that endanger lives. Consider the conditions at the Malaysian company Top Glove. It supplies 25 percent of the global rubber glove market.

    This is a company that has been sued for forced labor. Its workers live in dormitories, 20 to a single room, producing up to 220 million disposable gloves a day, with workers earning some $300 a month. With facemasks “soaked in sweat,” they work week after week of overtime, with no social distancing, and never receiving the results of COVID tests they are required to take. Of the 11,215 employees, 5,700 in a single complex have tested positive since November. A whistleblower who warned of the unsafe conditions and dangers was promptly fired.6

  • Pulling the lens back... supply chains and the competitive struggle for imperialist profitability.
  • These are the workings of “supply chains” that began to take hold from the 1970s onward. A supply chain is an integrated network of production units, transport, and distribution forming the process of producing a final commodity for sale: from clothing, to automobiles, to pharmaceuticals, to electronics,  and jet engines. Imperialist capital contracts out to different suppliers that are links in interrelated segments of production. Supply chains encompass mining of materials, manufacture of parts and components, assembly of products, and transportation.

    Supply chains (sometimes called “value” or “commodity” chains) constitute what some scholars call the “new central nervous system” of the world (imperialist) economy. By the 2010s, 80 percent of global trade was flowing through supply chains dominated and controlled by Western transnational corporations. One in five jobs worldwide is linked to production in these chains.7

    Low-cost production in the oppressed countries is pivotal to the profitability of these supply chains.

    Now the same factory in China might be producing goods for different Western corporations. But supply chains are not some single monolith serving a single “super-imperialist” capital. They are privately controlled by competing corporations, banking, and investor groups. They are weapons in the competitive battle of imperialist capital for winning market share. The imperialist corporations that command these supply chains, that purchase the output from low-cost suppliers, put continual pressure on suppliers to further cheapen costs, and move operations from, let’s say, Indonesia to Vietnam. And as imperialist rivalry intensifies, supply chains are geographically reconfigured to lower costs, to minimize disruptions, and build up new or strengthen existing bases of competitive strength. This has been a phenomenon of the 2020-21 pandemic, as trade tensions between the U.S. and China grew.

    Imperialist supply chains combine 21st century high-tech global coordination of production and transport with 19th century sweatshop conditions in the oppressed countries, as in the garment factories of Bangladesh that employ 3.6 million workers, many of whom live in mud-drenched slums. Low-cost suppliers in Honduras, in China, in Vietnam, and elsewhere are competing with other suppliers to meet production targets and standards set by a company like Target. If that means factories with no grounded wire or fire exits... if it means makeshift buildings that collapse, only to be replaced quickly by others—so be it. That is the cost-cutting logic of capital and profit maximization.

    Think about it: Apple, the iconic emblem of so-called “American ingenuity” and “technological prowess,” would not be the U.S’s first $2 trillion company (a record ignominiously achieved during the COVID pandemic) without the 40,000 children who dig tunnels and haul rocks from cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo—providing a mineral essential to gas turbines and jet engines as well as to powering smartphones, laptops, electric cars, and other “devices of our times.”8

  • Under the dominance of imperialist capital, a globally integrated, cheap-labor manufacturing economy has been forged. The numbers below show how the global industrial workforce is increasingly concentrated in the oppressed countries of the global South.
  • 1950: 34 percent of the world’s industrial workers lived in the global South
    1980: 53 percent of the world’s industrial workers lived in the global South
    2010: 79 percent of the world’s industrial workers lived in the global South9

    On the one hand, more of the world’s industrial production is carried out and more of the world’s workers are located in the Third World. On the other, the global labor force effectively doubled in size between 1980 and 2000—rising from 1.5 billion workers to 2.9 billion workers.10

    A major factor driving the vast enlargement of exploitable labor available to imperialist capital beginning in the 1980s was the defeat of the Chinese socialist revolution and restoration of capitalism in China in 1976. As imperialist globalization intensified through the 1980s and 1990s, a now-capitalist China was incorporated into the world imperialist economy—with Chinese sweatshops and low-cost factories integrated into global supply chains. For the last 20 years, China has been the second largest recipient of foreign investment, and the superexploitation of Chinese labor became a vital stimulus to imperialist profitability.*

    Put differently: there would be no “Walmart price” without the “China price”... based on savage exploitation. And keep in mind that Walmart is the largest retailer in the world (bigger than Amazon) and that 70 percent of Walmart’s merchandise is manufactured by workers in some 30,000 factories in China.11

    In this period of the 1980s and 1990s, India was also being more fully integrated into the world imperialist economy. By 2008, China accounted for 43 percent of all global supply chain jobs, followed by India with 16 percent of all global supply chain jobs. For both countries, the main destination for the goods they produced and sold on the world market was the U.S.12

  • The vast growth of a global pool of labor—much of which is cheaply employed, under-employed (part time or temporary), and unemployed—puts downward pressure on wages worldwide, including in the U.S.
  • How is this so? Accelerating in the 1980s, U.S. corporations were relocating more and more manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. to low-wage countries (and similar processes were at work in Western Europe). In those low-wage countries, an abundance of labor—people whose traditional rural livelihoods had been ruined... people flooding into the cities owing to poverty, war, violence, and ecological calamity... people desperate for work—this has created favorable conditions for superexploitation. The fact that more of what is manufactured in the world is produced by laborers in the oppressed countries subjected to cruel working conditions and low pay and the threat of “outsourcing” more jobs—this exerts downward pressure on average wages in the imperialist countries.

  • At the same time, the vast increase of imported consumer goods based on highly productive, low-wage (intensely exploited) labor in the Third World has contributed to sustaining mass consumer purchasing power in the U.S. (and other imperialist countries). Low-cost production abroad has also contributed to lowering the cost of hiring workers in the imperialist countries.
  • How is this so? Less skilled workers in the U.S. can be paid low wages and still hold on to a certain level of consumption, even as wages have been stagnant and even as people struggle to scrape by—for instance, by holding more than one job. This is because low-cost production in the oppressed countries has enabled prices of certain consumer goods to fall, like clothing and electronics. So the cost of a flat-screen TV, which is standard in the vast majority of households in the U.S., has come down—and this means that the amount of labor time that the average wage-earning worker in the U.S. must expend in order to buy that TV has also come down.

An important point of understanding: the imperialist world economy is marked by a situation where the process of production (increasingly carried out in the Third World) and the final consumption of goods (focused in the rich imperialist countries) are increasingly disconnected from each other. This is a major expression of modern-day imperialist parasitism.


Between 1970 and 2012, the share of Third World countries in the total amount of worldwide exports of manufactured goods rose from 20% to 60%. (Photo: Tegra)


Syrian refugees, including children, sew and haul bundles of clothes in subcontracted workshops in Turkey.


Most Apple iPhones were assembled at this Foxconn factory in southern China. Foxconn employed 450,000 workers. (Photo: AP)

The imperialist world economy is marked by a situation where the process of production (increasingly carried out in the Third World) and the final consumption of goods (focused in the rich imperialist countries) are increasingly disconnected from each other. This is a major expression of modern-day imperialist parasitism.


The workers at Top Glove factory in Malaysia live in dormitories, 20 to a single room, produce 220 million disposable gloves a day for "roughly $300 a month in salary." This is a case of how a product essential for protecting the lives of medical personnel who save lives is produced in sweatshops that endanger lives. (Photo: AP)


40,000 children dig tunnels and haul rocks from cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing a mineral essential to gas turbines and jet engines as well as smartphones, laptops, etc. (Photo: AP)


People whose traditional livelihood was ruined from poverty, war, violence, and/or ecological calamity flee to cities. This has created favorable conditions for superexploitation. Here, some of the 3.5 million who have left oppressive conditions in Myanmar. (Photo: UNCHR)

Imperialist supply chains combine 21st century high-tech global coordination of production and transport with 19th century sweatshop conditions in the oppressed countries.

II. IMPERIALIST GLOBALIZATION AND FINANCIALIZATION OF THE U.S. ECONOMY

Heightened globalization of production, with China at the epicenter of low-cost manufacturing production, has also gone hand in hand with heightened financialization in the rich imperialist countries, with the U.S. at the epicenter of this process.

Financialization refers to the greatly increased importance and weight of banking-financial activity, investment in stocks and management of financial funds, the growth of new and ever more speculative kinds of financial instruments (where there is great risk of loss but also expectation of great gain); and the general rise of financial profits in the overall economy.

  • In the early 1990s, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE for short) surpassed manufacturing as the single largest sector of the U.S. economy.13
  • The extraordinary growth and size of this FIRE sector is measured by its share of “output,” or the “value added” of its activity: like providing “financial services,” deriving fees for “managing risk,” facilitating buyouts and mergers of corporations, arranging “initial public offerings” of sale of stock of new companies poised to grab market share, and profiting from wild run-ups in “value” of stocks and exploiting momentary “price differences” between currencies (the euro, dollar, yen, etc.), profiting from “appreciation” (rising market worth) of commercial real estate, etc.

    The purpose of the quotation marks (“ ”) in the above paragraph is to call attention to the fact that this financial activity is not producing real new value in the economy. But these FIRE profits do not come out of thin air. They ultimately rest on real production, on a base of globalized production, on a feeding chain of global exploitation and superexploitation from which imperialist capital and financial institutions extract profits.

    Here is a useful characterization (put in somewhat technical terms) of some of the mechanisms at work:

    “Extremely high rates of exploitation rooted in low wages in the export-oriented periphery [the oppressed countries of the global South producing raw materials, parts, and finished goods for sale on the world market] have given rise to global surpluses [earnings from selling exports] that can nowhere be profitably absorbed within production [in these less-developed countries]. The exports of such economies are dependent on the consumption of wealthy economies, particularly the United States.... At the same time, the vast export surpluses generated in these ‘emerging’ export economies are attracted to the ... capital markets of the global North, where such global surpluses serve to reinforce the financialization of the accumulation process.”14

    Let’s put this parasitism and the larger workings of imperialism and the suffering it causes in more graphic terms:

    The toil and agony of superexploited labor in the hellholes of China’s export-processing zones in the 1990s and 2000s was providing U.S. companies with low-cost manufactured finished goods and parts and supplies, and huge profits... while also generating dollar earnings for these Chinese manufacturers exporting goods and other investors... who then exchange these dollars with the Chinese Central Bank... which invests these dollars in bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury. This inflow of funds into the U.S.—rooted in sweatshop labor—helped finance U.S. government spending and stimulated the U.S. economy in the early 2000s.

    This inflow of funds also fed a speculative housing bubble (remember the term FIRE—finance, insurance, and real estate)... a housing bubble that later morphed into the subprime mortgage crisis... a mortgage crisis that triggered the global financial crisis of 2008-09... that led to people losing homes and savings in the U.S.... and to the drying up of much imperialist bank lending to many poor Third World countries, leading to cuts in already minimal health spending in these countries... and more unnecessary suffering.

  • The parasitism of the U.S. economy is facilitated and buttressed by the “privileged” role of the dollar in international finance and trade. What does that mean? The U.S. dollar is the main currency in the world: for conducting trade (oil, for instance, is priced in dollars); for much of global bank lending and repayment of debt (when governments in the Third World borrow money, they must export goods to earn dollars with which to pay back what they owe imperialist banks and governments). The dollar and U.S. market also serve as a “safe haven” for overseas banks, corporations, large private investor institutions, and governments. They invest in U.S. property and financial markets to protect holdings against political and economic instability elsewhere in the world. This “special role” of the dollar gives the U.S. competitive leverage in the world economy; and enables the U.S. government to run up huge deficits in ways that other countries cannot.
  • Financialization is not just a characteristic of the banking sector per se; it encompasses the increasingly financialized operations of companies like GE and GM (for instance, trading in global financial and currency markets; establishing financial lending arms). At the same time, on the financial sector side, companies like Master Card and Visa are “high-tech innovators” in artificial intelligence and digital commerce.

    In cities like New York and Los Angeles, employment in the FIRE sector is large. In New York City, one of every 12 workers is employed in finance and insurance alone.15 This sector generates demand for all kinds of services, for information technology, for communications infrastructure. Investment in U.S. commercial and luxury real estate, sports arenas, high-end shopping districts, and profit-driven gentrification of ever larger tracts of U.S. cities has had a huge impact on the urban landscape of “late imperial America.”

    The financial sector contains a high concentration of high-income earners. This has contributed to greater social inequality and social polarization in U.S. society: the enclave-like existence of different segments of the population manifested in housing, access to health care, schooling, and higher education.

The heightened financialization of the U.S. economy is at once a product of and essential to the profitable functioning of an ever-more globalized world capitalism—in which imperialist capital and the imperialist countries benefit (siphoning value) from globalized, cheap-labor production networks. From the standpoint of how a consciously planned, socialist economy serving social need would function, this is cruel and absurd. From the standpoint of the requirements of this system of competitive, profit-based, globalized capitalism-imperialism... it is preeminently rational.

A NOTE ON THE OBSCENE CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH IN A WORLD DOMINATED BY CAPITALISM-IMPERIALISM

In 2019, some 2,150 billionaires in the world, with the U.S. leading the pack, had more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet! This is parasitism writ large. (Oxfam, Time to Care: Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis, Oxford: 2020)


Financialization refers to the greatly increasing importance and weight of banking-financial activity, investment in stocks and management of financial funds, the growth of new and ever-more speculative kinds of financial instruments (where there is great risk of loss but also expectation of great gain); and the general rise of financial profits in the overall economy.


The U.S. dollar is the main currency in the world: for conducting trade; for borrowing funds and repaying debt (when governments in the Third World borrow money, they must export goods to earn dollars with which to pay back what they owe imperialist banks and governments).


The financial sector contains a high concentration of high-income earners. This has contributed to greater social inequality and social polarization in U.S. society: the enclave-like existence of different segments of the population manifested in housing [gated community shown here], also is reflected in access to health care, schooling and higher education.

III. MASSIVE DECLINE OF MANUFACTURING EMPLOYMENT IN THE U.S. ECONOMY... BUT NOT ITS DISAPPEARANCE; THE ATTACK ON AND DECLINE OF UNIONS

  • Manufacturing employment as a share of total U.S. employment declined from 28 percent of all employed workers in 1960 to 8 percent in 2017. In terms of the actual numbers of workers, manufacturing employment fell from a peak of 19 million workers in 1978 to 12.4 million in 2017, a decline of one-third.16 Between 2001 and 2016, about 18,000 factories closed their doors in the U.S.17
  • For the 25 years following the end of World War 2 in 1945, the U.S. enjoyed unmatched global economic supremacy and limited competition from other imperialist powers. But that changed in the early 1970s, with the growing economic strength of Japanese and German imperialism. In the 1980s, in particular, large numbers of manufacturing jobs in consumer electronics, automobiles, machine tools, steel, and microelectronics were lost to Japanese competition. Companies like Toyota made huge inroads into markets that U.S. companies had previously dominated, including the U.S. market. This competition was a spur to the kinds of intensified globalization of production discussed earlier—direct investment overseas, outsourcing. And the development of global supply chains has been essential in the battle for global market share.

  • In 2010, China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest manufacturer. Today the U.S. is the world’s second largest manufacturer, and Japan is the third.
  • The imperialist globalization of production, in particular the shift of manufacturing to oppressed countries, is not the only reason for the decline in manufacturing employment in the U.S. and other imperialist countries.

  • Automation and technological change is the other decisive—actually, the main—factor that has contributed to the decline of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Automation involves machines replacing human labor, like robotics. From 1997 to 2016, real manufacturing output (the goods actually produced) in the U.S. rose 40 percent while manufacturing employment fell some 30 percent. That is a staggering statistic.18
  • New technologies have led to increased productivity of labor: fewer workers producing more goods. Technological innovation and transformation, and the resulting rise in productivity and shrinkage of the better-paid manufacturing labor force, have been driven by the competitive capitalist need to raise efficiency, in order to preserve and extend market share and profits.

  • That drive for efficiency and cost-cutting to maximize profits also called forth new corporate strategies of workplace reorganization. Intensifying international competition, particularly coming from Japanese imperialism in the 1980s, spurred new management practices like “lean production” and “downsizing”: eliminating jobs considered wasteful or that could be combined with others, making greater use of part-time and temporary labor, keeping inventories of products and materials at flexible levels in order to respond to volatile changes in global demand. The 1990s saw greater use of new monitoring (and surveillance) technologies to intensify the pace of work. These new modes of workplace organization put a premium on fewer workers producing greater output.
  • In the U.S. economy today, the largest segments of manufacturing, measured by sales revenues, include sectors like computer and electronic products; motor vehicles and parts; aerospace; machinery; refined petroleum products (fuels for transport, industry, etc., petrochemicals that go into plastics, fertilizers, etc.); pharmaceuticals. The U.S. is now the world’s largest oil producer (“achieved” during the Obama years). It is the leading manufacturer of commercial jets and dominates other aspects of aerospace. Measured by employment, auto and auto parts is the largest single sector of U.S. manufacturing, with some 1 million jobs in 2019.
  • In looking at that category of “computer products,” keep in mind that Apple is classified as a “manufacturing company” in this sector. But while the iPhone is, as the label says, “designed in California,” the product is almost in its entirety manufactured abroad in low-wage countries, mainly China.

    Manufacturing in the U.S. demands, and has seen a shift towards, a labor force with a higher “skill set” and “educational attainment” than was the case 40 years ago. At the same time, and as supply chains operate within the U.S., there are low-paid, less-skilled tiers of workers producing parts and components, along with low-paid sectors like food processing. Temporary workers, most of whom receive lower wages than full-time workers, make up about 10 percent of the U.S. manufacturing labor force.

  • The five largest manufacturing regions in the U.S. in terms of numbers of workers are, in this order: 1) Los Angeles Metropolitan area; 2) Chicago Metropolitan area; 3) Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area; 4) Houston Metropolitan area; 5) Detroit Metropolitan area. The Los Angeles manufacturing hub encompasses the high-tech, aerospace sector of better-paid workers, and auto. It also includes the labor-intensive garment industry, which relies heavily on immigrant (and undocumented immigrant) workers—and other sectors, like electronic instruments, medical equipment and supplies.19
  • The assault on unions by government and industry has been integral to “workplace reorganization” in the manufacturing sector and broader economy. In 1980, one in five workers was unionized (much of this in mining, manufacturing, and transport). In 2019, only one in 10 U.S. workers was represented by unions, a record low since the end of World War 2.
  • An historical turning/tipping point came in 1981, when then-president Ronald Reagan moved to crush a national strike by air traffic controllers. In the decades since, two things have been happening: a concerted attack on unions by companies and the growth of jobs that were not the traditional object of mass union drives. In the 1970s there were, on average, some 300 large strikes—involving at least 1,000 workers—every year. Through the 1990s that number plummeted to fewer than 60 major strikes per year; in the 10 years 2008-2018, the average number of large strikes per year was just 13!

    De-unionization has been a major contributing factor to growing wage inequality in the U.S.: the widening gaps in pay between different sections of the labor force. It is estimated that one-third of the growth of wage inequality among men, and a fifth among women, in the years 1973-2007 was due to fewer workers being represented by unions. To clarify what this means: the wages or earnings for significant sections of workers would have been substantially higher if those workers were covered by union contracts, which typically bring higher wages and benefits—and these workers’ wages are falling further behind those of better-paid workers (both union and non-union) and professionals.20

  • The steep decline of manufacturing employment as a share of total employment is a stark and defining feature of a changing job mix in the U.S. One consequence is the enormous strain of limited opportunity this puts on young workers without college degrees searching for jobs. It is generally the case that two or even three service jobs can often be required to make up for the loss of income from, or to earn the equivalent of, one decent-paying manufacturing job.

A NOTE ON FASCIST LIES ABOUT THE LOSS OF MANUFACTURING JOBS.

The discussion of the decline of manufacturing jobs would not be complete without an explicit, scientific retort to Donald Trump’s racist-fascist narrative that Mexican, Chinese, or other workers from Third World countries are “stealing jobs” from American workers. This has no empirical foundation:

First off, many of those “lost” U.S. manufacturing jobs ”are “forever gone” to technology—like farm jobs that no longer, and will no longer, exist. In fact, as discussed, automation has been the main driver of job loss over these past 50 years.

Second, workers in the global South are subjected to the same global cost-cutting dynamics of competitive capitalist accumulation and resulting job loss and relocation: jobs moving from Mexico to China, from China to Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia... from China back to Mexico. This is not workers from one country “stealing” jobs but capital “racing to the bottom” of wage scales.

Finally, nobody “owns” their wage job. The capitalist class owns and controls the major means of production, and laborers must, in order to survive, sell their labor power to the capitalist. That private capitalist control over the means of production and the overall conditions of profitability set the terms for workers being hired or let go.

What has changed in the last 30 years is that the exploitable-superexploitable labor force of the world has grown vastly and become more fully integrated into global networks of production commanded by imperialist-monopoly capital. And low-wage/high-productivity labor in the Third World plays a critical role in the production and accumulation of imperialist profit. Which is to say... sections of U.S. industrial workers are thrown on the scrap heap not by foreign workers but by the workings of profit-maximizing capital.


Closed auto plant in Detroit.


Warehouse employees have to get used to working with robots called "drives" that move goods through delivery-fulfillment centers. Robots speed up productivity and bring down costs. Keeping pace with this artificial intelligence technology is taking a toll on human workers' health, safety and morale. Photo: Amazon-YouTube-screencapture


Click to enlarge


The U.S. is the leading manufacturer of commercial jets and dominates other aspects of aerospace. But Boeing has cut production of commercial jets in an effort to reduce costs as orders have slowed. Boeing plant in Renton, Washington, 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Boeing


The 1990s saw greater use of new monitoring (and surveillance) technologies to intensify the pace of work. These new modes of workplace organization put a premium on fewer workers producing greater output.

IV. MORE ON THE CHANGING OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE AND GROWING INEQUALITY IN THE U.S.

  • By 1970, the United States completed the transition from a society in which most workers were predominantly engaged in goods-producing sectors of the economy (manufacturing, agriculture, mining) to one in which most were employed in service-producing sectors (like retail, finance, health care, education, etc.).
  • Dennis Gilbert’s The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality21is a valuable reference that offers this overview of how this goods-to-service employment trend has played out in the U.S. over the past four decades, using data from the mid-2010s:

    “The post-industrial economy tends towards occupational polarization. It requires engineers, money managers, and physicians, but it also needs cashiers and hospital orderlies. The demand for routine blue-collar and office workers shrinks ... reducing the opportunities for workers without strong educational credentials.... The trend towards earnings inequality is remarkably pervasive. Inequality has increased between the college and high-school educated, between the skilled and unskilled, between younger and older workers, but also between the college educated, among the high-school educated, among doctors, among carpenters, among people employed in manufacturing, among those employed in the service sectors ... even among corporate executives.... The one notable exception to this pattern: the earnings gap between men and women has narrowed. But at the same time, earnings disparities have increased among women and among men.”22

  • The largest single occupational category in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is retail salespersons—followed by food preparation/serving workers (including fast food), and then cashiers. Walmart and Amazon are the two largest private employers in the U.S. It is emblematic that Amazon’s immense warehouse (“fulfillment center”) in the Baltimore area occupies the former site of what was once the largest steel-making facility in the world.
  • The expansion of what is called “informal” or non-standard work is an important phenomenon of a highly competitive, turbo-charged globalized imperialist world economy. “Informal” employment refers to jobs that are highly insecure: without regular hours (or even set pay); with few if any safety and health protections; and few if any benefits, like unemployment pay or retirement support.
  • Despite the growth of manufacturing and other industry in regions of the Third World, almost 70 percent of employment in low- and middle-income regions of the world is in the “informal economy.” This refers to street vendors, food stalls, rag and waste pickers, domestic workers, construction laborers, and others working without regular hours and pay. At the same time, other informal workers fall within far-flung subcontracting arrangements by large firms in industries like toys, footwear, and clothing.23

    This is very much linked to the dynamic of the rapid and chaotic urbanization of the Third World: the expansion of city populations without the corresponding growth of industrial and non-industrial employment... and without any kind of rational urban planning and allocation of resources for safe sewage disposal, for educational and health systems for these new migrants to the cities. And so the rise of shantytowns and slums on a scale not seen before in human history.

    In the imperialist countries since the 1980s, and tracking with intensified globalization of production, non-standard employment as a share of total employment has greatly risen. It is estimated by the imperialist think tank Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development that 60 percent of new job offerings in the 1990s and 2000s had these non-standard features of jobs without regular hours and pay and with few benefits. There has been a widening gap between those workers with more “standard” jobs and who have some small, limited measure of job security, on the one hand—and those, on the other, with non-standard jobs. Younger workers are more clustered in these less secure jobs.24

  • In the U.S., 25-30 percent of the labor force participates in some capacity in what is now called the “gig economy”—and 1 in 10 workers relies on “gig work” as their primary source of income. This “gig economy” refers to temporary or freelance jobs, where workers often connect with clients and customers independently and mainly through online platforms.
  • As throughout the U.S. economy, “gig work” is deeply segmented. Some of this work is high-paying/self-employed in technical/professional/financial services. Much of the “gig work” that goes on is supplementing other work, other jobs, that people might have. This is a new, non-traditional way in which people are working. Some of these “gig economy” jobs are held by the chronically under-employed (people in part-time or temporary jobs wanting to work full time)—and who often rely on this work as their primary livelihood.25

    The lower rungs of “just-in-time” logistics workers, including the so-called “last mile” delivery workers for digital commerce, emerged as an important component of the “gig economy” during the COVID-19 pandemic (many Amazon drivers are actually independently contracted and working under great duress).

  • The pandemic and occupational inequalities. Access to “safely distanced” work situations is economically and socially polarized. In low-wage sectors with “essential workers,” like meatpacking, workers have long faced extremely hazardous work conditions, including high rates of industrial injury, etc. When the pandemic hit, major meatpacking companies balked at introducing safe-distancing and other protective measures; regular COVID testing was not implemented; and infection rates were high, especially in the early months of the crisis.
  • In terms of who is able to “telework” (work from home): as the pandemic unfolded, only 9 percent of workers in the lowest 25 percent of wage-salary earners are able to “telework” from home, as compared with over 60 percent of those in the top 25 percent of wage-salary earners.26

  • A large sector of low-wage workers is a characteristic of the U.S. labor force: 53 million workers—44 percent of all workers aged 18-64—hold low-wage jobs, with median hourly wages of $10.22 (and annual earnings of about $18,000). Nearly two-thirds of low-wage workers are in their prime working ages of 25 to 54—and 40 percent in this group are raising children.27 Close to half of workers earning less than $15 an hour are employed in what was designated at the start of the pandemic as “essential occupations,”  including nurses aides, personal care assistants, and maintenance workers.28


The rapid and chaotic urbanization of the Third World—the expansion of city populations without the corresponding growth of industrial and non-industrial employment and without rational urban planning—is leading to the rise of shanty-towns and slums on a scale not seen before in human history. Here, Mumbai, India, 2020. Photo: AP


In the U.S., 25-30 percent of the labor force participates in some capacity in what is now called the "gig economy"--and 1 in 10 workers relies on "gig work" as their primary source of income. Here, food delivery workers for Whole Foods.

V. WHEN WORK DISAPPEARS, THE PAIN IS GREAT... BUT FAR GREATER FOR BLACK WORKERS THAN FOR TRUMP’S “NEGLECTED WHITE WORKER”; BROADER EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT TRENDS, ESPECIALLY AFFECTING BLACK PEOPLE

Historically, the manufacturing sector was the source of relatively high-paying jobs to men with high school or less education. The decline of manufacturing has had disruptive effects on the lives of workers of all races and national/ethnic groups—but disproportionately and massively so on Black workers and families.

Some relevant documentation:

  • Major job disruption in cities with large Black populations. In Detroit, middle-income Black families depended more on manufacturing jobs than white middle-income families: slightly less than one-third of all Black employed individuals worked for manufacturing companies—a rate almost twice that of white workers, making the loss of these jobs more devastating for Black families. From 1970 through 2013, the number of Black manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and construction workers employed in Detroit fell by nearly half: from 102,000 to 53,000. These workers’ average yearly earnings fell by almost $7,000 in the same period. In Chicago in 1960, one-third of Black workers were employed in manufacturing; in 2017, just 5 percent of Black workers had jobs in that sector.29.
  • Black workers have historically lagged behind white workers in household wealth. This refers to the value of vehicles owned, home value paid off, retirement savings, stocks, etc. When manufacturing downturns hit, white families had some resources and mobility to leave “de-industrialized communities” and seek out new work prospects. Black families did not have the same capacities, owing to a persistent and worsening “racial wealth gap” (less “household wealth”) and the dynamics of residential housing segregation: being “stuck in place” and not having the same ability to move into neighborhoods of choice because of discriminatory lending practices and other racist institutional barriers. Moreover, in the wake of major plant shutdowns and the overall evaporation of factory jobs, Black workers had considerably less access, and for many no access, to government job-retraining programs.
  • Flint’s poisoned water system as a horrific case study of manufacturing decline, urban fiscal crisis, and unconscionable health endangerment.
  • The city of Flint, with a population that is 60 percent Black, lost 70,000 manufacturing jobs—mainly as a result of the decline of auto production from the late 1970s to 2006. The city lost nearly half of its population (with many white people leaving) between 1960 and 2010. The financial stress this put on the city was immense. Because factories shut down, tax revenues fell; as that tax base contracted, it was harder for the city government to borrow money. This put great financial pressure on the city, leading to spending cuts and measures to cut costs.

    One such measure was the decision taken in April 2014 to change the city’s water source from treated water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to water sourced from the contaminated Flint River. Between 6,000 and 12,000 children were exposed to drinking water with high levels of lead—which may lead to cognitive-developmental impairment.30

  • Manufacturing job loss and widening Black-white inequalities.
  • As discussed, historically, the manufacturing sector provided well-paying jobs to less educated men. In the last 50 years, the decline of these types of better-paying jobs has not only had a broad adverse impact on less-educated men in general (including white men) but has also had a larger effect on Blacks relative to whites. In a society and economy in which capitalism and white supremacy are entwined, hardship is not equally distributed. The decline of manufacturing intensified economic and social inequalities between whites and Blacks.

The findings summarized in the study “Torn Apart? The Impact of Manufacturing Employment Decline on Black and White Americans.”31 are revealing.

In terms of effects, the decline of manufacturing employment on the Black community:

  • The decline in manufacturing in the 1960-2010 period led to a 13 percent decline in Black male wages.
  • This decline accounted for one-third of the increase in wage inequality among Black men (in other words, more income going to higher-paid Black men).
  • This decline of manufacturing employment was associated with higher poverty rates for Black women and Black children.

At the same time, there has been a widening difference in the economic and social conditions between Blacks and whites:

  • The decline in manufacturing increased the gap in wages between white and Black men.
  • The decline in manufacturing also contributed to widening the already substantial gap between Black children living in poverty and white children living in poverty.
  • There are similar outcomes over those 50 years in other dimensions as well, like widening gaps in Black home ownership relative to whites, and mortality rates for Black children relative to that of white children.

So the decline in manufacturing employment has put a disproportionate burden on the Black community.

  • On African-American employment trends overall. Here is a concise picture as of the mid-2010s:
  • “Compared with whites, Blacks are still underrepresented at the top of the occupational structure and overrepresented at the bottom, most notably among service workers, which remains, by far, the largest single occupational category for Blacks.... Blacks are still much more likely than whites to have no job at all—especially in periods of recession....

    “One result of these trends has been increasing class differentiation among African-Americans. Although large numbers of young, well-educated Black men and women have been moving into jobs that were open to few of their parents, the Black underclass of low-wage or unemployed workers persists.

    “The Black-white pay gap, which had long been shrinking, began to expand after 1980. From 1980 to 2016, the median hourly wage of Black men (median is a kind of average) sank from 76 to 69 percent of white men’s. For Black women, who were near parity with white women in 1980, the retreat was even larger: from 90 to 80 percent. (The wages of Black women rose in this period, but white women’s wages rose faster.) In part, these trends reflect larger changes in the American economy, which have especially affected lower levels in the labor market, where Blacks are still disproportionately concentrated: falling employment in manufacturing, the decline of labor unions, the widening wage gap between college educated and less educated workers.”32

    The kind of occupational inequality that exists between whites and Blacks (especially the high concentration of Black workers in low-paying service jobs) is captured by this stark statistic: in the U.S. labor force in the mid-2010s, there were approximately 2 health aides for every practicing physician, but 15 African-American health aides for every Black physician.33

  • Black unemployment over the last 50 years has, on average, been twice the level of unemployment of white workers. And this official rate does not include individuals who are not actively looking for work.
  • In fact, a higher proportion of would-be workers among Black people are “discouraged” workers. They have given up the search for work for extended periods, owing to discrimination and lack of jobs in close proximity to neighborhoods. Again, the impact of manufacturing job loss in cities where Blacks have lived and the movement of jobs to suburbs to which lower sections of the Black labor force do not have ready access—often because of lack of convenient public transportation, as well as housing discrimination.

    Many “discouraged” workers become “disconnected” from the formal economy.

  • Systemic racism and under-employment among Black people. Underemployment refers to the phenomenon that a significant section of the working population is compelled to work part time or in temporary jobs—but really want to be working full time. And so, this grim reality: in 2019, in a pre-pandemic period of economic growth, the Black underemployment rate was 12 percent—that’s 1 out of every 8 Black workers, which is twice the level of underemployment for whites.
  • Many African-Americans are working in jobs that do not reflect the skills and educational level they have achieved... they cannot gain employment in their chosen field. And so, this grim reality: in 2019, in a pre-pandemic period of economic growth, almost 40 percent of Black workers with a college degree or advanced (graduate school) degree who were employed... were working in a job that does not require a college degree. To put it differently, they are working in jobs that do not give expression to their skills, creativity, and aspirations.34
  • The “crime of mass incarceration” perpetrated against Black people and its consequences for employment. As is well known, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. As is well documented, African-Americans are more likely to be incarcerated following an arrest than whites (states imprison Blacks at five times the rate of whites).
  • The formerly incarcerated have a far more difficult time securing employment than does the general population. Studies show that having a “criminal record” reduces employer callback rates (after a formerly incarcerated person files a job application or interviews for a job) by 50 percent. The jobs that many formerly incarcerated do land tend to be insecure and low-paying. And exactly because of the instability of these jobs, people in and out of these jobs will often leave the labor force altogether, or enter into the “underground economy” of semi-legal work.35

    The formerly incarcerated of color return to impoverished neighborhoods of high unemployment (again, the vanishing manufacturing jobs that had once been a staple of local economies). Many with prison “records” are denied full access to public housing, to food stamps, student financial assistance, and job training. They face high barriers to getting certain jobs requiring occupational licenses and apprenticeships (and at the same time go through training and certification programs that lead nowhere). In some of the poorest Black communities, the formerly incarcerated confront a near total absence of or exclusion from regular, gainful employment and the omnipresence of a drug economy.

    In a cruel way, the U.S. prison system acts as a systematic “regulator” of jobs and labor markets for Black and Latino men in particular—steering the formerly incarcerated into low wage jobs and excluding them from better-paying jobs.36

* * * *

A NOTE ON SOME CHANGING EMPLOYMENT PATTERNS OF MEN... AND TRUMP’S BASE OF “ANGRY WHITE MALE WORKERS”

  • There has been a significant decline in the participation rate of men aged 23-54 in the labor force. In the 1950s and 1960s, 97 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 were working or looking for work; in 2018, this was down to 89 percent, and was much lower in distressed manufacturing regions.
  • There have been changes in how long people work for one employer—and this has a gender dimension. Since the early 1970s, as manufacturing employment has declined, women have been entering the labor force by the millions. As these women get older, their “job tenure”—this means how long on average they stay with one employer—increases. But for men in certain age categories, job tenure has undergone change. In the 1980s, some 40 percent of men aged 50-59 had been in their current jobs 20 years or more. But by the mid-2010s, this had dropped sharply to 26 percent. This was especially pronounced in manufacturing, but occurred across a wide range of industries, including construction, retail, and agriculture.37
  • “Angry white men” finding fascist “voice and vindication” in Trump-ism.
  • As demonstrated in this analysis, white workers were not hit harder by economic strains and distress of the past 50 years than Black workers. But two things must be noted:

    First, the fabric and expectations of the “longstanding social world” of sections of privileged white male workers have been fraying since the late 1970s—especially since the early 1990s when globalization of production centered in China greatly accelerated. Steady, well-paying, “male-dominated” manufacturing jobs were being lost. The new jobs available were increasingly low-paid service, on the one hand, and those requiring more education on the other. And both categories of jobs have been and are increasingly populated by women and minorities.

    Second, sections of these strata were and remain fired up by a sense of “dispossession as members of the formerly autonomous, independent, lower middle class of independent farmers, small shopkeepers, and skilled workers.”38 The fascist response has been the mobilization of “aggrieved (white) male entitlement”: the cry of being “robbed and emasculated” of a “birthright” by “undeserving others” (fill in the blank). This is very much linked to the dynamics of imperialist globalization, the decline of manufacturing employment, and the erosion of previous conditions of relative stability and some measure of upward social mobility (the ability to climb job ladders and make gains in income). At the same time, there have been dramatic changes in the position and role of women in the economy and society that become grist for the politics of fascist resentment.


Flint's poisoned water system is a horrific case study of manufacturing decline, urban fiscal crisis, and unconsionable health endangerment. Photo: AP


The decline of manufacturing intensified economic and social inequalities between whites and Blacks, 1980-2018. Click to enlarge.


Black unemployment has been consistently twice the level as for white workers. Chart: Lance Lambert Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click to enlarge.

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.

NEW YEAR'S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN

In a cruel way, the U.S. prison system acts as a systematic “regulator” of jobs and labor markets for Black and Latino men in particular—steering the formerly incarcerated into low wage jobs and excluding them from better-paying jobs.

VI. A CHANGING ECONOMY AND WOMEN'S STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY: SHIFTING GENDER NORMS COLLIDING WITH PATRIARCHY AND ITS BRUTAL REASSERTION.

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.

Bob Avakian

The dynamics associated with the “post-industrial” transformation of the U.S. economy, resting on ever-more globalized production centered in the Third World, have interacted with the struggle of women in profound ways. This has had major effects both on the representation of women in the labor force and on the traditional patriarchal family (patriarchy referring to the dominant position of men in society and the economy).

The ranks of working women increased markedly in the 1950s and 1960s. This took a further leap in the 50 years since. In 1968, 40 percent of working-age women were participating in the labor force—that is, either holding jobs or looking for jobs; in 2018, 60 percent of working-age women were in the labor force. In January 2020, just before the pandemic hit, women were the majority (just over 50 percent) of employees in the United States.39

  • The massive entry of women into the labor force has been driven both by economic necessity and political-social struggle. As “well-paying” manufacturing jobs with benefits were vanishing—and these jobs were predominantly held by males—the wages of the male “breadwinner” (the person whose earnings support a family) could no longer financially support that family.
  • This economic pressure compelled more married women to seek work. This was simultaneously accompanied by the great expansion of the largely low-paying, female-dominated service economy. Some of the key sectors are retail, health care, and education. Much of that employment, such as in rapidly expanding retail like Walmart, “offered” highly variable work hours at low wages and with few benefits. Growing numbers of married women entered the labor force—preponderantly into these kinds of jobs—and this helped buffer against loss of family income from the decline of male manufacturing employment.

    At the same time, the struggle of women in the 1960s and 1970s for equality was undermining traditional work expectations and life trajectories. Occupational barriers were being broken down as married and unmarried women—often using laws like Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which prohibits discrimination by employers based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin)—fought for the opportunity to make employment decisions for themselves and to pursue a career outside the home.

    Anti-discrimination and affirmative action measures had a major effect of boosting the employment of women, as well as Black workers, in particular sectors, especially government jobs. For decades, women have made up the majority of the state and local government workforce, and in 2019, women made up 60 percent of all state and local public-sector workers.40

    In the last 50 years, work has become a core part of women’s identity, an identity no longer strictly defined and circumscribed as “homemaker” or “support system” for men. But this was/is happening in a male supremacist and white supremacist society.

  • Social and cultural changes and the vanishing “traditional family.”
  • Important social-cultural changes have facilitated women entering into, and being pulled into, the workforce. These include wider availability of contraception and a declining birth rate; a rising divorce rate; and the increasing proportion of births to single women. In the United States today, mothers are the breadwinners in nearly half of families with children under 18. Forty-five percent of white mothers are the breadwinners, 47 percent of Latina mothers, and 74 percent of Black mothers.41

    By 1970, the traditional American family of a married couple with children “headed” by a sole male breadwinner (the stuff of old TV shows) was disintegrating. In the early 2000s, only 1 of 14 households in the U.S. was made up of a married couple with children in which only the husband works.42

    By 2015, 20 percent of all family households were headed by females—up from 10 percent in 1970. For families with children, over 25 percent are headed by women (in other words, neither a “male breadwinner” nor two-parent incomes). These families experience high levels of poverty.43

  • Huge increase of women gaining college degrees and women’s increasing presence in the professions.
  • As the U.S. expanded higher education in the late 1950s and 1960s (this was strongly linked to the global competition with the Soviet Union), more women began entering and graduating from college and graduate school. This trend accelerated from the 1970s onward. Since 1982, women have earned more bachelor (4-year) degrees than men. At the graduate school level: in 1971 women received just over 10 percent of doctoral degrees, by 2014 it was over 50 percent; in 1970, women made up just over 5 percent of medical school graduates; today some 50 percent of medical school graduates are women.44

  • Inequality among women in the labor force
  • While women of all economic and racial/ethnic groups entered the workforce in greater numbers, this also took place alongside a major divide between professions open to middle-class women with college and graduate degrees and the kinds of work generally available to less-educated women, especially women of color.

    Indeed, part of the conditions that made it more “feasible” for professional women to enter higher-paying occupations has been the expansion of services like housecleaning, day care, home health care, and food preparation. These jobs are largely low-paying and overwhelmingly performed by women—and many of the home and care jobs are filled by immigrant women from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and other parts of the Third World.

    At the same time, households headed by women, especially women of color, face enormous financial strain and hardship. These women struggle to support families generally without access to affordable child care and paid family and medical leave.

    So there is this “pulling in different directions,” in terms of family income. Married heterosexual couples in which both spouses work in the professions have seen a great increase in their combined family income. And the earnings of wives in these households have been pivotal to the growing share of total income of the top 20 percent of families in the U.S. Meanwhile, the difficult circumstances facing female-headed families with children has put downward pressure on the incomes of those on the lower rungs of society.

    Patriarchy continues to place the onus of choosing between “career or family” on women. The unequal, patriarchal division of labor that continues to assert itself—and the lack of social-government policies to support caregivers who also work—means that the norm for working mothers is that they return home to a “second shift” of unpaid housework and caregiving.

    “At the end of the day,” even though working parents are the modern norm—women still spend far more time caring for children and performing household labor than men with the same parental and working status. And through the 2020-21 COVID pandemic, great numbers of women have had to leave jobs because of school closures and caregiving responsibilities—and various studies have shown that women are doing significantly more of the additional childcare, education, and housework during the pandemic.45

  • Changing economy and gender roles... and men. Men continue to benefit from structural-institutional male privilege in job access, pay, and workplace authority. But there has been a downward trend for sections of male workers compared to the pre-1970 situation, with respect to a) acquisition of skills; b) employment rates; c) occupational “status” (the vanishing of well-paying manufacturing jobs); and d) real wage levels (especially for those without a college education).
  • As globalization, technological transformation, and the decline of unions accelerated, the economy, as already discussed, was shifting from occupations traditionally dominated by men to more female-dominated, low-paying service jobs, many of which have the “stigma” of “women’s work” attached to them: like caregiving, which is profoundly devalued in this society. (More men are joining some of these jobs, but not at the rate that women are joining male-dominated jobs.)

    As the U.S. economy has undergone the economic-social changes described, principally driven by leaps in imperialist globalization, there is this new reality of “late imperial America”: more women at work... more of household income being provided by women, and in growing numbers of households with two wage earners, women earning more than husbands... and more men at home unwilling to take certain jobs, or locked out of work (as is the situation facing currently incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Black and Latino men). This alongside the continuing unraveling of the “traditional” family.

  • The massive entry of women into the workforce has not overcome “gender segregation of jobs.” The last 50 years have seen more men and women moving into “non-traditional” occupations: for instance, more women becoming doctors and more men becoming nurses. But the mixing of women and men in occupations slowed down after the 1990s and came to a halt in the 2000s. More than 40 percent of workers are in occupations in which more than 75 percent of workers are of one gender.
  • One of three working women is employed in two industries: health care and social assistance, and the so-called leisure and hospitality industry (food and beverage, hotels and other lodging, travel, etc.). But even when men and women work in the same occupation—as hairdressers, cosmetologists, nurses, teachers, computer engineers, mechanical engineers, or construction workers—men earn more, on average, than women.

    The concentration of women, especially women of color, in the hospitality and service sectors made them particularly vulnerable to the economic disruptions of the pandemic—these were jobs that shut down early. Relative to their pre-pandemic employment levels, Black and Latina women suffered the greatest employment setbacks in the first year of the pandemic relative to any demographic in the labor force.46

    Women continue to be under-represented in certain industries and occupations and are paid less than men in all sectors. Today a woman employed full-time, year round, earns about 80 cents for every dollar earned by a similarly employed man. In relation to white non-Hispanic men, white women earn 79 cents, Black women 63 cents, and Latinas just 55 cents.47

  • And across all occupations, the plague of sexual harassment
  • What has been called the “‘manly’ jobs problem” refers to a diminishing set of jobs and an associated workplace culture where being “adept” is defined in aggressive, masculine terms of physical strength. Again, that sense of male entitlement “threatened” both by the contraction of manufacturing employment and by the entry, starting in the 1970s, of women into these jobs (as well as construction and mining). Women perceived as “undeserving” and “unqualified”; women as the objects of the vile and violent reassertion of male hegemony.

    The #MeToo outpouring of 2017-2018 against male sexual abuse, harassment, and degradation initially erupted in media companies, technology start-ups, and the entertainment industry. The cancer is pervasive. This is from an account of a 25-year legal battle to redress sexual harassment of women who had worked at a Chicago Ford plant. Many of these women had finally won jobs that paid a living wage. They lifted their heads only to find that:

    Bosses and fellow laborers treated them as property or prey. Men crudely commented on their breasts and buttocks; graffiti of penises carved into tables.... They groped women, pressed against them, simulated sex acts.... Supervisors traded better assignments for sex and punished those who refused.

    In her last year there [one of the African-American plaintiffs who quit her job at Ford] said she earned $23 an hour; at Bed Bath & Beyond, she got only one-third of that pay. [Since leaving Ford], she worked as a home-health aide at night and mowed lawns during the day.... “I’m 61 years old, and I cut grass for a living.”48

    Extensive research shows that women are driven out of non-traditional occupations by hostile work environments. Some 60 percent of women working in science, technology, and engineering jobs experience sexual harassment. Over time some half of women in these occupations quit their jobs—and half of them wind up leaving these fields altogether.49

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.

Bob Avakian


Click to enlarge.


Click to enlarge.


The struggle of women in the 1960s and 1970s for equality undermined traditional work expectations and life trajectories. Photo: Wikimediacommons

In the early 2000s, only 1 of 14 households in the U.S. was made up of a married couple with children in which only the husband works.

VII. FOREIGN-BORN WORKERS IN THE U.S. ECONOMY; THE “BRAIN DRAIN” FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH

Imperialist globalization has intensified the flow of migrant laborers and immigrant workers from Third World countries to the rich countries.

A migrant worker is a person who migrates from one country (or region) to another to seek employment—but not with the intention of permanently staying in that country. In 2015, 150 million migrants, overwhelmingly from the global South, were part of the global labor force. Almost half of these workers are concentrated in two regions: Western Europe and the United States. The vast majority of these migrants (70 percent) are employed in services, a significant number of them are domestic workers, and 73 percent of all migrant domestic workers are women. Immigrants are those who leave a country to settle permanently somewhere else, and who have the option of returning home.50

All told, the number of people in the world who live outside the country of their birth has risen from 153 million in 1990 to 272 million in 2019.51 Growing numbers of refugees are part of the world’s migrant population—tens of millions who have been forced by circumstances to leave their countries to seek safety and asylum—but who often wind up in impoverished refugee camps and brutal detention centers.

The increasing flows of migrant workers and immigrants to the imperialist countries are bound up with conditions of imperialist domination, plunder, and distorted development in the oppressed countries. Imperialist agribusiness undermining traditional agriculture, with the poverty and dislocation that results; the ruinous long-term effects of U.S.-sponsored wars on the economies of countries like El Salvador and Guatemala; and the destructive effects of global warming on agriculture and rural life.

At the same time, the deepening integration of the economies of the global South into the world imperialist system has spurred the growth of middle class and professional strata in these countries—and the imperialist countries exert a pull on these strata. There is the magnet of better-paying/high-paying, and more secure technical and professional jobs, along with advanced research and hospital facilities, etc., and a relatively more stable political-social environment. So, the rich capitalist countries draw in the down-pressed and the educated-professional middle strata (and take measures to attract highly skilled immigrants).

A) Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Force

The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. As of 2017, some 44 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country. This is a record number in the history of the U.S. Immigrants represent 13.6 percent of the total U.S. population, up from 4.7 percent of the population in 1970—which amounts to an almost a three-fold increase. The 1990s saw a huge increase in the number of immigrants coming into the U.S. The number of adult immigrants coming into the U.S. and the grown children of immigrants is now a major and critical source of the increase in the U.S.’s potential labor force—people who would be working or looking for work.52

  • Most of the immigrants in the U.S. come from three countries, in this order: Mexico, China, and India. There are 11 million immigrants from Mexico, compared to some 3 million from China, and 2.6 million from India. So Mexico is far and away the largest source of immigrants in the U.S. This has everything to do with deep poverty in Mexico, intensified by the North American Free Trade Pact (NAFTA) that took effect in 1994, and which opened up more of Mexico’s economy to U.S. imperialist capital. As of the 2010s, the fastest growing segment of immigrants to the U.S. is from Asia.53
  • Immigrants and migrant workers make up 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, some 1 in 6 workers—and 1 out of 3 immigrants in the workforce is estimated to be an undocumented immigrant. Immigrants represent 25 percent of all construction workers and 40 percent of all meatpacking workers. And anywhere from 50-75 percent of the field workers who grow, harvest, and process the  food that Americans eat are undocumented immigrants, overwhelmingly from Mexico. Undocumented workers make up 25 percent of all maids and cleaners in the U.S.54
  • Because of their precarious status, the estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. labor force are not fully protected by U.S. labor laws. They are subjected by employers to substandard working conditions and unpaid wages. The sword of deportation hangs over their heads—and the reality and threat of deportation are part of the conditions in which undocumented workers are profitably incorporated as a superexploitable section of the U.S. workforce... living in the shadows.

  • A defining feature of the relations between the rich capitalist countries and the oppressed countries of the global South is the growing importance of funds that migrant and immigrant workers living and working in the rich countries send home to support their families. While this might amount on average to only 15 percent of these immigrant workers’ earnings in the U.S., this money is often a lifeline for the poor families back home of these immigrant workers—needed cash for basic necessities.
  • Funds that overseas workers send home are called “remittances.” These financial flows have grown so enormously over the last four decades that their year-to-year amount now exceeds the year-to-year amount of imperialist foreign aid sent to the oppressed countries and imperialist private direct foreign investment (as when Ford opens a factory) in the oppressed countries.55 The exploiting ruling classes of the oppressed countries in turn count on remittances from migrant workers to provide some financial relief towards economic and social stability in conditions of high unemployment and poverty.

    Funds sent home by Mexican immigrant workers in the U.S. play an integral role in the current and strategic economic relations of domination by the U.S. over Mexico.

    There is a vicious dynamic bound up with the workings of imperialist global expansion. Imperialism’s deepening penetration and anarchic transformation of the oppressed countries drive people from their home countries to the imperialist countries to find jobs. Immigrant workers from Mexico typically work in the lower rungs of the U.S. labor force, where they are subjected to harsh conditions of employment and pay.

Mexico is now the U.S.’s largest trade partner, having replaced China in 2019. As rivalry for global markets with capitalist-imperialist China intensifies, the manufacturing supply chains in Mexico take on magnified importance for U.S. imperialism and global competitiveness. And the remittances sent home by Mexican immigrants working in the U.S. help sustain impoverished households that form part of the reservoir of superexploitable labor serving the profit-maximizing requirements of U.S. imperialist capital.

B) Imperialist Parasitism and the “Brain Drain” from the Third World to the Imperialist Countries

  • High Tech and Foreign-Born Workers
  • The recruitment of skilled foreign workers from the Third World has played, and continues to play, an essential role in America’s high-tech sector.

    High tech refers to those industries and companies with a high concentration of workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It includes firms in computers, software development, and information technologies; robotics; biotech; and artificial intelligence. It includes companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Google, Oracle—and new “start-up” companies in these fields. The historical hub of high tech has been Silicon Valley, the area south of San Francisco.

    High tech has been a major source of U.S. imperialism’s competitive strength in the world economy. U.S. technological advances today are highly dependent on investment in the high-tech sector, including by Apple, Alphabet-Google, and Microsoft. The supply chains discussed in this paper require sophisticated information, communications, cost-monitoring, and logistics technologies. The genocidal military machine of U.S. imperialism requires this technology. Indeed, there would be no high tech/Silicon Valley absent U.S. government and Pentagon investments, contracts, and funding for science, space, and modern computing.

    In this light, think about the following imperio-chauvinist account by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham regarding the important role of skilled foreign workers in the emergence of Silicon Valley:

    “Silicon Valley is a vital catalyst for America’s economic edge. It is the global center of the digital revolution.... The country reaps the economic benefits of having some of the largest and most innovative technology companies and research centers housed within our borders.

    “But in the late 1970s, the center of technology revolution wasn’t guaranteed to occur in the US

    “At the time, top computer talent was scattered across the globe, and the industry needed a place where the best and brightest could gather to collaborate and innovate. It could have been anywhere—but Silicon Valley ended up in America.

    “Why?

    “The answer, in large part, is because the US opened its doors to skilled foreign workers.”56

    In 1965, the “door opened” with the repeal of the Immigration Act of 1924—facilitating a large inflow of skilled foreign workers, overwhelmingly from the Third World, particularly India. Many were recruited and hired into the burgeoning tech centers of the U.S., notably Silicon Valley. This is a “brain drain” from the poor countries to the rich countries. It is a “subsidy” to imperialism: the cost of training these skilled workers is borne by their home countries. The former U.S. Energy Secretary gleefully recounts that between 1973 and 1977, more than 60 percent of the top electrical engineering graduates from the India Institute of Technology came to the U.S.

    The door for skilled workers opened wider in 1990, when the U.S. introduced a special visa (H-1B) that allowed U.S. employers to hire highly skilled foreign workers on a temporary basis. In the mid-2010s, 70 percent of these visas were issued to engineers and other high-tech workers from India.

  • Over 70 percent of information technology employees in Silicon Valley in the mid-2010s were foreign born. In Seattle, another high-tech hub, the share of high-tech workers born abroad increased from 11 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2016—and more than 40 percent of these tech workers come from India.57
  • A strategic sector of the U.S. economy thrives on a “brain drain.”

C) “Stealing” Health Care Professionals from the Third World.

In the mid-2010s, there were more than 247,000 doctors with medical degrees from foreign countries practicing in the United States—accounting for over 1 in 4 doctors in the U.S. Some 23 percent of nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides are foreign-born. One in 10 of such aides comes from the Caribbean and Central America alone!58 There has been a century-long colonial/neo-colonial relationship between the U.S. health care system and medical colleges and nursing schools in the Philippines, which have essentially trained huge numbers of nurses to work in the U.S. And in times of health crisis in the U.S., as with AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s, more nurses from the Philippines are steered to the U.S.

As more graduates of U.S. medical schools go into high-paying specialized medicine, more primary care positions in the U.S. are being filled—more of the basic health care needs of Americans are being met—by physicians and health workers from Third World countries. This exacerbates health care shortages in the Third World. Countries that are major “providers” of doctors to the U.S. and other imperialist countries include India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa—all countries that suffer shortfalls of physicians.59

How this plays out in Africa overall is criminal. According to the World Health Organization, Africa has more than 24 percent of the global burden of disease, but has access to only 3 percent of health workers and less than 1 percent of the world’s financial resources spent on health. Africa is in chronic (crisis) need of health care for mothers and their infants. But Africa has experienced an enormous drain of skilled medical professionals to the imperialist countries—to Great Britain and the U.S. in particular.

In 2015, the number of African-trained medical graduates practicing in the U.S. alone was some 14,000, a 27 percent increase over 2005. This is the equivalent of one African-educated physician migrating to the U.S. each day over those 10 years, 2005-15. It is estimated that Africa loses $2 billion annually through the brain drain from the health sector, in terms of the unreimbursed costs of training of medical personnel in African countries who then immigrate to the West, and related losses suffered.60

But the “cost” goes far beyond the ways in which poor countries are financially subsidizing rich countries by providing medical personnel. There is the loss of lives that emigrating physicians could have saved, especially children under the age of five. To put this in stark perspective: at the height of the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, there was an average of 2 doctors per 100,000 in Sierra Leone, and 45 per 100,000 in Nigeria—as compared to some 250 doctors per 100,000 people in the U.S.61

The “brain drain” from the Third World is a savage expression of imperialist parasitism.


Immigrants and migrant workers make up 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, that's about 1 in 6 workers. 1 out of 3 immigrants in the work force is estimated to be an undocumented immigrant. Because of their precarious status, the 8 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. labor force are not fully protected by U.S. labor laws. Photo: FERN-News


In 2015, 150 million migrants, overwhelmingly from the global South, were part of the global labor force. Almost half of these workers are concentrated in two regions: Western Europe and the United States. Migrants from Central America headed north, stop in Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: IOM (International Organization of Migration)


Imperialist globalization has intensified the flow of migrant laborers and immigrant workers from Third World countries to the rich countries. Migrants from Turkey arrive in Lesbos, Greece, March 2020. Photo: AP

In 2015, the number of African-trained medical graduates practicing in the U.S. alone was some 14,000, a 27 percent increase over 2005. This is the equivalent of one African-educated physician migrating to the U.S. each day over those 10 years, 2005-15.


The number of international students in master's and doctorate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs now earn more than half of all degrees conferred. Companies sponsoring international technical workers has been integral to the growth of top tech companies. The most well-known way companies hire foreign workers is the H1-B visa, a three-year work visa for a "specialty occupation." Source: One Zero. Click to enlarge.


The American health care system is highly dependent on professionals born in other countries, an analysis of U.S. census data shows. As of March 2020, there were just over one million professionally active physicians in the United States, and about 1 in 4 are from other countries. Photo: Public Domain

Globalization and deindustrialization have not led to a “great leveling.” The U.S. is a far more polarized, fractured, and segmented society than it was in 1970. This is true economically, socially, regionally, and politically.

VIII. NOT A “DISAPPEARING” MIDDLE CLASS... BUT A RECONFIGURED MIDDLE CLASS WHOSE TRADITIONAL CORE HAS BEEN “HOLLOWED OUT”

A certain historical configuration of the U.S. middle class has shrunk. This middle class grew and to some degree thrived economically in the 1945-75 period. It encompassed and was centered on sections of better-paid and unionized workers in large-scale industry, craftsmen, small-business owners, lower managers, salaried public sector workers like teachers, and those in professions not requiring college or advanced degrees.

This middle class was a social base for the “American dream” with its ideological beckoning of material security, the ability of a family to buy a home and “build up some wealth,” and the promise of some upward social mobility (the ability to earn more) for itself and its children. This middle class has seen its conditions deteriorate. There are contradictory effects of the loosening grip of the cohering myth of the American dream. Traditional expectations have been exploded. This is also part of the ground on which Trump fascism feeds.

This decline of the core of the traditional middle class is very much related to what has been analyzed, notably the waves of globalization, technological change, and downsizing of the manufacturing labor force. The auto and steel companies were no longer providing the scale of well-paying, low-skilled jobs that they had in the past, with union agreements offering pensions and benefits. The “big box” stores (Target, Home Depot, etc.) were putting immense cost pressure on small businesses. Teachers have been hard hit since the 1970s—suffering big losses in income as state governments slashed budgets over the last decades. The health care sector remains one of the few in which “middle class-paying” jobs with low- and mid-level skills are being generated.

At the same time, the economic forces working in this direction were also contributing to the growth of an upper end of the U.S. middle class. Concretely, imperialist globalization, technological change, and heightened financialization—and with this the evolution of many U.S. companies like IBM and Dell from production to services over the last few decades—stimulated the expansion of higher-income “domestic supply chain” service jobs. Jobs like operations managers, computer programmers, etc. Their average earnings in the mid-2010s were $63,000. At the higher end of these services—like engineering, design, software publishing, logistics services, etc.—earnings averaged $89,000.

So with the decline of the traditional middle class has come the growth of an upper end of the professional and “new entrepreneurial” petite bourgeoisie. It is found in finance, information technology, biotech, in the legal and medical professions, consulting, and other such sectors. People work as salaried employees and independent contractors, and as business owners. In 1970, 18 percent of the middle class worked in business and professional services; in 2015, 33 percent of the middle class worked in these sectors.

This change in the composition of the middle class has also been a factor contributing to growing inequality in U.S. society. On the one hand, you have the deteriorating situation of the traditional “blue-collar middle class” (those better-paid workers in highly unionized industry who aspired to and achieved a certain middle class lifestyle). In 1971, 28 percent of adults in middle-income households were in manufacturing; in 2015, that figure was 11 percent. On the other, you have the increase in households earning more than $126,000 a year, which in 2015 accounted for 1 in 5 households in the U.S. These households often consist of those highly educated, high-earning married couples in the professions.

So the middle class has declined from an estimated 60 percent of the adult population in the early 1970s to 50 percent or so in 2015, largely because of the decline of its “traditional” core. Meanwhile, an “upper end” of the middle class has grown and made substantial income gains.

To return to a basic understanding of this paper: the expanding upper-end professions exist on the foundation of parasitic globalized production (think Apple) and sit at the higher reaches of the imperialist feeding chain—but those working within these professions are also subject to the work-intensity pressures and squeezes of global competition and profit-maximizing capital.

________

Supplementary Technical Note: The data and income categories in this section are drawn from Sam Fleming and Shawn Donnan, “America’s Middle-Class Meltdown: Core shrinks to half of US homes,” Financial Times, December 9, 2015. They work from the Pew Research Center database. The measure of traditional middle class used is a household having an income that ranges from two-thirds of the median income to two times that income. “Median” is a kind of average income, in which half of wage and salary earners earn more and half earn less. The upper middle class household is one whose income is 2 to 3 times the overall median household income.

IX. GROWING REGIONAL DIVERGENCE IN THE U.S AND GROWING INEQUALITIES

A number of mainstream economists have pointed to a growing divergence (a widening gulf) of incomes among regions in the United States. Some express worry that there is no foreseeable (translation: bourgeois) solution to this and its socially and politically polarizing implications.62

For most of the 20th century, incomes were converging among regions in the United States. But since 1980, incomes have been growing further apart by region. This accelerated in the 1990s—much of this linked with the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and the rise of capitalist China as the manufacturing center of the world imperialist economy.

The point is, it is not simply that certain sections of the U.S. labor force were hit harder by the loss of jobs and income in consequence of imperialist outsourcing, intensifying global imperialist competition, and technological change. Nor simply that other sections of the labor force have fared far better in terms of jobs and income. It is also the case that these upward and downward trends are more concentrated in certain regions—for instance, heavy manufacturing job losses in the Midwest and the growth of new high-earning middle class professions in the Northeast, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest, etc.

The high-earning, so-called “knowledge economy”employing a highly educated workforce, turning scientific discoveries and research towards profit-making application, and linked with university-research and medical-hospital complexes—is locally clustered in particular cities and in regions (as mentioned above).

Further, the enormous concentration of capital in companies like Amazon, which so thoroughly dominates digital commerce, is another engine of regional inequality—both on the low end of grueling, $10 an hour jobs (Amazon added 425,000 non-seasonal workers during the first 10 months of 2020) and in how it funnels money into wealthier parts of the country, like Seattle and Washington, D.C.63

At the same time, there is increasing regional divergence within states: between coastal cities and cities and towns in the interiors of states.

  • In New York in particular but also in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a few other cities that function as financial-administrative command and control centers of empire, class and social divides are extreme, widening, and hardening. With the growth of wealth on the upper end has come the growth of “wealth work” on the lower end: an expanding category of low-paid “urban servants”—grooming the better-off, stretching them, driving them, delivering for them. Women and immigrants perform much of this work. Many of these workers commute long distances from low-cost neighborhoods to perform this work.
  • As we have seen, a growing share of men of prime working age (25-54) are not working or seeking work. Among white men in this category in non-metropolitan areas, the last 20 years saw a rising death rate, especially among 25-44 year olds, due to suicide, opioids, etc. Places such as Kentucky and West Virginia had the same life expectancy as New York as recently as 1990; today they lag five years behind.64
  • Workers without a college education are still the majority of the U.S. labor force. But today there is very little “upward mobility”—that is, improvement of earnings and incomes over time—for non-college-educated workers. The earnings differentials between non-college-educated and college-educated workers have widened. “Upward mobility” is almost exclusively the preserve of the college-educated—especially so in those regions and cities where high tech, the “knowledge economy,” and finance are concentrated. But as we have also seen, in the racialized and gendered labor markets of U.S. capitalist-imperialism, there is pervasive inequality, including among those with college and advanced degrees.

  • Globalization and deindustrialization have not led to a “great leveling.” The U.S. is a far more polarized, fractured, and segmented society than it was in 1970. This is true economically, socially, regionally, and politically.
  • A crucial insight of Bob Avakian that has helped guide—and that is confirmed through—this analysis: “It’s a very marked feature of the society right now...as compared to, say, 50 years ago, [that] this society is much more rigidly divided into different strata and much more enclaved.... [T]here is a widening and hardening of class and social divisions, not just along ‘racial lines,’ or in terms of national oppression, but also more broadly in terms of different social groups in society.”65

CONCLUSION

At the start of this paper, the question was posed: How definite and operative is the connection between heightened globalization and intensification of exploitation by imperialism, in particular U.S. imperialism, in the oppressed countries of the Third World, on the one hand, and the changing social and class composition of the United States, on the other? Can these changes be understood as a defining expression of imperialist parasitism?

This paper demonstrates that the answer is a definitive yes...

But not in a simple, mechanical way. Heightened globalization is not the only cause of changing social and class composition; nor is there a one-to-one connection between, let’s say, the increase in jobs in global supply chains and the loss of jobs in the U.S. This paper has also shown how the “changing social and class composition in the United States” has been influenced by other important factors, like technological transformation and social struggles. These have interacted with the intensification of exploitation in the oppressed countries of the global South by imperialism.

In understanding trends and changes, it is necessary to recognize the role of contingency as well—that is, major events and shaping circumstances that were not certain to occur and could not have been fully anticipated. Of major importance in this regard was the collapse of the social-imperialist Soviet Union and its bloc in 1989-91, and the defeat of socialism and the restoration of capitalism in Maoist China in 1976. China’s trajectory from 1976 to the present—from a subordinate, capitalist “workshop/sweatshop” for Western imperialism, to a rising imperialist power—has had enormous impacts on and consequences for the world imperialist economy and rivalry among the major imperialist powers.

Imperialist parasitism, of the U.S. in particular, has been heightened through a massive new wave of globalization and deepened penetration of the Third World, especially since 1990. And the changes in the social and class composition in the U.S. over these past 50 years are indeed, in ways illustrated in this paper, a “defining expression of imperialist parasitism.”

Bob Avakian reveals the underlying reality of this capitalist-imperialist system:

This system crushes and deadens the human spirit as well as grinding away the life—or outright stealing the life—of billions of people in every part of the world.

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

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

And all of this is completely unnecessary.66

It’s a very marked feature of the society right now...as compared to, say, 50 years ago, [that] this society is much more rigidly divided into different strata and much more enclaved.... [T]here is a widening and hardening of class and social divisions, not just along ‘racial lines,’ or in terms of national oppression, but also more broadly in terms of different social groups in society.

—Bob Avakian

See also:

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

by Bob Avakian

Read more

This system crushes and deadens the human spirit as well as grinding away the life—or outright stealing the life—of billions of people in every part of the world.

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

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

And all of this is completely unnecessary.

—Bob Avakian

 


* It is beyond the scope of this paper to analyze the complex dynamics of China's emergence as a major imperialist power, now contending globally with U.S. imperialism. For the 25 years 1980-2005—and especially through the 1990s when foreign capital flooded in—China principally functioned as a dependent "sweatshop for Western imperialism," offering up vast labor reserves. Foreign companies were deriving huge gross profits from differences between cost of production and retail price (and a company like Apple has had the additional monopolistic advantages of patented technologies, branding, and retailing). And it is still the case that vast transfers of value are taking place, even as China's ruling class has built up, and is rapidly accelerating the build-up of, a powerful, independent base of national-imperialist accumulation. [back]

1. Congressional Research Service, U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective, 2018.  [back]

2. Data from John Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis, New York: Monthly Review Press, 2016, p. 53.  [back]

3. Data from Dana Thomas, Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, New York: Penguin, 2019, Introduction.  [back]

4. See Brian Merchant, The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, New York: Back Bay, 2018; and Keith A. Spencer, A People’s History of Silicon Valley: How the Tech Industry Exploits Workers, Erodes Privacy, and Undermines Democracy, London: London Publishing, 2018.  [back]

5. CNBC, “Fears of US drug shortages grow as India locks down to curb the coronavirus,” March 19, 2020.  [back]

6. See “A Company Made P.P.E. for the World, Now Its Workers Have the Virus,” New York Times, December 20, 2020.  [back]

7. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Investment Report, 2013; International Labor Organization, World Employment and Social Outlook 2015: The Changing Nature of Jobs, 2015.  [back]

8. See “Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over Congolese child cobalt mining deaths,” The Guardian, December 16, 2019.  [back]

9. Smith, Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century, p. 100.  [back]

10. See the widely cited study by Richard Freeman, The Great Doubling: The Challenge of the New Global Labor Market, New York: The New Press: 2006.  [back]

11. Oscar Quine, “Walmart Triples India Exports as Major U.S. Companies Pivot From China,” Newsweek, December 15, 2020.  [back]

12. See Intan Suwandi, et al., “Global Commodity Chains and the New Imperialism,” Monthly Review, March 2019.  [back]

13. Bureau of Economic Analysis data cited in “America’s Path To A Fire Economy,” Global Macro Monitor, June 5, 2019.  [back]

14. John Bellamy Foster and Robert McChesney, The Endless Crisis, New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012, p. 63.  [back]

15. “Recent trends in employment and wages in New York City’s finance and insurance sector,” Monthly Labor Review, April 2019.  [back]

16. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  [back]

17. Alan S. Brown, “State of American Manufacturing 2019,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers, April 30, 2019.  [back]

18. “Most Americans unaware that as U.S. manufacturing jobs have disappeared, output has grown,” Pew Research Center, July 25, 2017.  [back]

19. Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited in “What Gets Made in LA Is Way More Than Movies,” National Public Radio, November 30, 2015.  [back]

20. Data on unions and strikes from Steven Greenhouse, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, New York: Knopf, 2019.  [back]

21. Dennis Gilbert, The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality, Thousand Oaks, CA.: SAGE Publications, 2018.  [back]

22. Gilbert, pp. 251-2.  [back]

23. World Bank, “Challenges of Informality,” in Global Economic Prospects, January 2019; and J.J. Thomas, Surviving in the City: The Urban Informal Sector in Latin America, London: Pluto, 1995.  [back]

24. See Aaron Benanav, “Automation and the Future of Work,” New Left Review, November-December 2019.  [back]

25. See Gig Economy Data Hub, “How many gig workers are there?” and “Who participates in the gig economy?” March 15, 2020.  [back]

26. Economic Policy Institute, “Not everybody can work from home: Black and Hispanic workers are much less likely to be able to telework,” March 19, 2020.  [back]

27. Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman, Meet the low-wage work force, Brookings Institution, November 2019.  [back]

28. “Essential workers comprise about half of all workers in low-paid occupations,” Brookings Institution, November 15, 2020.  [back]

29. Data from Center for American Progress, “Trade and Race,” July 18, 2019; The Atlantic, “Chicago’s Awful Divide,” March, 2018.  [back]

30. For background, see Anna Clark, The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water, and the American Urban Tragedy, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2018; and Peter Hammer, “The Flint Water Crisis, the Karegnondi Water Authority and Strategic-Structural Racism,” Testimony to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, July 18, 2016.  [back]

31. Eric Gould, VOX, Center for Economic Policy Research, 19 December 2018.  [back]

32. Gilbert, p. 58.  [back]

33. Gilbert, p. 58.  [back]

34. Data from Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson, Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality, Economic Policy Institute, June 2020.  [back]

35. See Lucius Coulotte and Daniel Kopf, Out of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people,” Prison Policy Initiative, July 2018.  [back]

36. For detailed documentation of ways this plays out in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods, see Jamie Peck and Nik Theodore, “Carceral Chicago: Making the Ex-offender Employability Crisis,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, May 2008; see also, Reuben Jonathan Miller, Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration, New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2021.  [back]

37. Data in this section from Raven Molly, et al., Changing Stability in U.S. Employment Relationships, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020.  [back]

38. Michael Kimmel, Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era, New York: Nation Books, 2017, p. 277.  [back]

39. Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Tara Law, “Women Are Now the Majority of the U.S. Workforce—But Working Women Still Face Serious Challenges,” Time, January 16, 2020.  [back]

40. David Cooper and Julia Wolfe, “Cuts to the state and local public sector will disproportionately harm women and Black workers,” Brookings Blog, July 9, 2020.  [back]

41. Sarah Jane Glyn, “Breadwinning Mothers Continue To Be the U.S. Norm,” Center for American Progress, May 10, 2019.  [back]

42. “Traditional Families Account for Only 7 Percent of U.S. Households,” Population Reference Bureau, March 2, 2003.  [back]

43. Gilbert, Growing Inequality, p. 84.  [back]

44. Data from “Professional Women: A Gendered Look at Inequality in the U.S. Workforce,” Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, 2017; Data base, Association of American Medical Colleges.  [back]

45. Claire Cain Miller, “Mothers Return to Work While Handling Covid Burdens at Home,” New York Times, March 5, 2021.  [back]

46. Ella Koeze, “The Job Recovery Is Slowest for the Disadvantaged,” New York Times, March 10, 2021.  [back]

47. Data in preceding section from Valerie Wilson, Exposed and underpaid: Women still make less than men, including in sectors especially affected by the coronavirus, Economic Policy Institute, March 30, 2020.  [back]

48. Susan Chira, “How Tough Is It to Change a Culture of Harassment? Ask Women at Ford,” New York Times, December 19, 2017.  [back]

49. Wilson, “Exposed and underpaid.”  [back]

50. International Labor Organization, ILO Estimates on Migrant Workers, December 2015.  [back]

51. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, International Migration 2019.  [back]

52. Jynnah Radford, Key findings about U.S. immigrants, Pew Research Center, June 17, 2019; Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, Immigration projected to drive growth in U.S. working-age population through at least 2035, Pew Research Center, March 2017.  [back]

53. Radford, Key findings about U.S. immigrants.  [back]

54. See Radford, Key Findings; Stephen Groves and Sophia Tareen, “U.S. meatpacking industry relies on immigrant workers. But a shortage looms,” Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2020; Miriam Jordan, “Farmworkers, Mostly Undocumented, Become ‘Essential,’” New York Times, April 2, 2020.  [back]

55. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Remittances matter: 8 facts you don’t know about the money migrants send home, June 17, 2019.)  [back]

56. Spencer Abraham, “The U.S. is only a leader in tech because of foreign workers.” Business Insider, November 29, 2018. Emphasis added.  [back]

57. Adrian Otoiu and Emilia Titan, “Trends among native- and foreign-origin workers in U.S. computer industries,” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2017; Gene Balk, “More than half of Seattle’s software developers were born outside the U.S.,” Seattle Times, January 17, 2018.  [back]

58. American Immigration Council, Foreign-Trained Doctors are Critical to Serving Many US Communities, January 2018; Journal of American Medical Association, “Proportion of Non-US-Born and Noncitizen Health Care Professionals in the United States in 2016,” December 4, 2018.  [back]

59. See Matt McAllester, “America Is Stealing the World’s Doctors,” New York Times, March 7, 2012.  [back]

60. Mo Ibrahim Foundation News, Brain drain: a bane to Africa’s potential, August 9, 2018.  [back]

61. Statista, Physician density in West African countries suffering from the 2014 Ebola outbreak, August 16, 2014.  [back]

62. See Paul Krugman, Regional Economics: Understanding the Third Great Transition, September 2019 Memo for conference sponsored by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  [back]

63. See Alec MacGillis, Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021.  [back]

64. Krugman, Regional Economics.  [back]

65. Bob Avakian, The New Communism, 2016, p.235.  [back]

66. Bob Avakian, “Capitalism-Imperialism—The Suffocation of Seven Billion—and the Profound Need for a World on New Foundations.”  [back]

 

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Episode 47 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

No Future Under This System—
A Call to Get Organized NOW for a REAL REVOLUTION!

Thursday, April 8, 2021
5 pm PDT / 8 pm EDT
YouTube.com/TheRevcoms

 

These are serious times. Times of tremendous danger, but also real revolutionary possibility.

This episode of The RNL Show will feature an important message from the Revcoms delivered here by members of the Get Organized for an Actual Revolution Tour: A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION. To everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of the way that so many people are treated as less than human, this is an urgent invitation and challenge for you to join in getting organized now for a real revolution.

** Host Andy Zee and Revolution Club Spokesperson Noche Diaz discuss and invite you to join in preparing for and attending gatherings on international revolutionary May 1st across the country.

** Segment 4 of Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity.

** Co-host Sunsara Taylor interviews Dr. Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, about the rise of militant and militaristic patriarchy among Christian fascists as a major social force in this country.

***** 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/694/a-declaration-a-call-to-get-organized-now-for-a-real-revolution-en.html

FROM THE REVCOMS (REVCOM.US):

A DECLARATION,
A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW
FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution—nothing less!

To everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie ... who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) ... everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all ... everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible ... everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution.

This revolution is not just “a good idea”—it is actually possible.

Is this for real? Are we serious about this, and can we back it up? YES. We are not here to repeat garbage that may be “popular” or to spread the lies we are constantly told by the people in power and their mouthpieces in the media and elsewhere. We are here to bring the truth. So here are some basic truths that we need to understand and live by.

1. The system we live under, the system of capitalism-imperialism destroys lives and crushes spirits. It is the source of endless horrors for the majority of people in this country and all around the world, and it is increasingly threatening the very existence of humanity. The military of this country is not carrying out an “honorable service”—and it is not some “bad ass” force that people should respect. It is doing the same thing around the world, on a massive scale, that the police are doing here: carrying out the cowardly killing and terrorizing of people in the service of the biggest oppressors in the world, the rulers of this country. And it is a major cause of the destruction of the environment.

It is a hard but basic truth: For the masses of people, and ultimately for humanity as a whole, there is no future, or no future worth living, under this system.

But there is a way to a world and a future that is worth living, and is worth fighting for right now: revolutiona real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number. A revolution means a force of millions, drawn from many different parts of society and organized for an all-out fight to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution.

2. Revolutions are not possible all the time, but are generally possible only in rare times and circumstances, especially in a powerful country like this. This is one of those rare times and circumstances. This system is in real trouble, caught up in crisis and conflicts for which it has no easy or lasting solutions. Throughout this country the workings of this system have given rise to deep divisions which cannot be resolved under this system. Society is being ripped apart. Those who rule are locked in a bitter fight among themselves, and they cannot hold things together in the way they have in the past. Although there are a lot of bad things connected with this and it could lead to something really terrible, it is also possible that we could wrench something really positive out of it—revolution, to put an end to this system and bring something much better into being.

We have seen the potential for revolution powerfully demonstrated just last summer when millions of people, of all races and genders, all over this country, and all around the world, rose up together against racist oppression and police murder. We have seen this potential in the mass outpourings of women, in countries all over the world, refusing to put up with being abused and degraded. This potential is also revealed in the deep distress being expressed, by scientists and millions of ordinary people, about the continually worsening climate crisis and the threat this poses to the future of humanity—a crisis this system cannot solve, but can only make worse. But, with all this, right now only a small number of us have recognized the need for this revolution and are acting to make it happen. So there is crucial work that must be done now to win people to understand the need for revolution and act to make it real—to turn the potential for revolution into a powerful movement and organized force for an actual revolution.

3. To make this revolution a reality, we need leadership with the scientific method, the strategy and program that can shine a light through the madness and chaos that this system is constantly creating and can lead in carving the path forward out of this madness to the radically new world we need. AND WE HAVE THAT LEADERSHIP—IN BOB AVAKIAN (BA). BA is the architect of a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now. We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

4. We need to urgently change the situation where not nearly enough people know about this revolution and are with it. We need to get this revolution, and its leadership, known everywhere. We need to challenge and seriously struggle with people right around us, and all over the country, to do something that, yes, requires real heart and will make a positive difference for real—become part of this revolution, and follow this revolutionary leadership. We need to organize more and more people into the ranks of the revolution.

Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same. On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.

We need to struggle hard with people to take up the orientation and strategy, the values and goals, for this revolution, and dedicate themselves to working for this revolution, while we unite growing numbers to fight the abuse, brutality and destruction perpetrated by this system, and through all this get thousands and then millions of people prepared and steeled to do away with this system that brings so much hell to people. We need to wield this growing revolutionary force to stand up to this system and its murderous enforcers and to change the whole “terrain” (the political, social and cultural situation and “atmosphere”) throughout society, in order to weaken the hold of this system over people, win people away from acting to strengthen and enforce this system, and create the best possible conditions for this revolution to succeed.

To come back to basics: We need revolution—a real revolution. We cannot afford to waste these rare times and circumstances that could be ripened into a real chance to make revolution. We cannot afford to squander the rare and precious leadership we have for this revolution. We have to get busy, build the movement and the organized forces for revolution all over the country, and work together tirelessly for this revolution, to actively prepare for the situation where this system can be brought down and something much better brought into being.

To get more of the tools and the knowledge you need to become part of this revolution, and to go to work building for this revolution, get with those representing for this revolution right now, become part of the Revolution Clubs around the country, go to our website revcom.us regularly, and watch The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show every week.

To get deeper into this, there is also a longer version of this statement, which you can get directly from people representing for this revolution who are out in the neighborhoods and other places, and you can go to revcom.us.

If you want to know more about this, right now, keep reading: here is further knowledge about these basic truths. >>


Download Pamphlet version (PDF)

Basic Version
Extended Version

 

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/694/a-declaration-a-call-to-get-organized-now-for-a-real-revolution-full-en.html

FROM THE REVCOMS (REVCOM.US):

A DECLARATION,
A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW
FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

| revcom.us

 

Let’s get down to basics: We need a revolution—nothing less!

To everyone who can’t stand this world the way it is ... who is sick and tired of so many people being treated as less than human ... who knows that the claim of “liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie ... who is righteously enraged that injustice and inequality go on, and on, and on, despite false promises and honeyed words from people in power (or those seeking power) ... everyone who agonizes about where things are headed and the fact that to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all ... everyone who has ever dreamed about something much better, or even wondered whether that is possible ... everyone who hungers for a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty, and destruction of the environment ... everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to be part of this revolution.

This revolution is not just “a good idea”—it is actually possible.

Is this for real? Are we serious about this, and can we back it up? YES. We are not here to repeat garbage that may be “popular” or to spread the lies we are constantly told by the people in power and their mouthpieces in the media and elsewhere. We are here to bring the truth. So here are some basic truths that we need to understand and live by.

1. The system we live under, the system of capitalism-imperialism destroys lives and crushes spirits. It is the source of endless horrors for the majority of people in this country and all around the world, and it is increasingly threatening the very existence of humanity. The military of this country is not carrying out an “honorable service”—and it is not some “bad ass” force that people should respect. It is doing the same thing around the world, on a massive scale, that the police are doing here: carrying out the cowardly killing and terrorizing of people in the service of the biggest oppressors in the world, the rulers of this country. And it is a major cause of the destruction of the environment.

It is a hard but basic truth: For the masses of people, and ultimately for humanity as a whole, there is no future, or no future worth living, under this system.

But there is a way to a world and a future that is worth living, and is worth fighting for right now: revolutiona real revolution, not playing around with a few changes that leave this system in place and in power, while benefitting only a small number. A revolution means a force of millions, drawn from many different parts of society and organized for an all-out fight to overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different and much better economic and political system, a socialist system, based on meeting the needs of the people and carrying forward the fight for a communist world where there will finally be an end, everywhere, to the exploitation, oppression, and destruction of the environment that is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism. Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution.

2. Revolutions are not possible all the time, but are generally possible only in rare times and circumstances, especially in a powerful country like this. This is one of those rare times and circumstances. This system is in real trouble, caught up in crisis and conflicts for which it has no easy or lasting solutions. Throughout this country the workings of this system have given rise to deep divisions which cannot be resolved under this system. Society is being ripped apart. Those who rule are locked in a bitter fight among themselves, and they cannot hold things together in the way they have in the past. Although there are a lot of bad things connected with this and it could lead to something really terrible, it is also possible that we could wrench something really positive out of it—revolution, to put an end to this system and bring something much better into being.

We have seen the potential for revolution powerfully demonstrated just last summer when millions of people, of all races and genders, all over this country, and all around the world, rose up together against racist oppression and police murder. We have seen this potential in the mass outpourings of women, in countries all over the world, refusing to put up with being abused and degraded. This potential is also revealed in the deep distress being expressed, by scientists and millions of ordinary people, about the continually worsening climate crisis and the threat this poses to the future of humanity—a crisis this system cannot solve, but can only make worse. But, with all this, right now only a small number of us have recognized the need for this revolution and are acting to make it happen. So there is crucial work that must be done now to win people to understand the need for revolution and act to make it real—to turn the potential for revolution into a powerful movement and organized force for an actual revolution.

3. To make this revolution a reality, we need leadership with the scientific method, the strategy and program that can shine a light through the madness and chaos that this system is constantly creating and can lead in carving the path forward out of this madness to the radically new world we need. AND WE HAVE THAT LEADERSHIP—IN BOB AVAKIAN (BA). BA is the architect of a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism. We are followers of BA. And you need to become followers of BA too. There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now. We cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

4. We need to urgently change the situation where not nearly enough people know about this revolution and are with it. We need to get this revolution, and its leadership, known everywhere. We need to challenge and seriously struggle with people right around us, and all over the country, to do something that, yes, requires real heart and will make a positive difference for real—become part of this revolution, and follow this revolutionary leadership. We need to organize more and more people into the ranks of the revolution.

Organizing people into this revolution means reaching out to all sorts of people—not just where there are protests and rebellions against oppression and injustice, but everywhere throughout society—spreading the word about revolution and getting people together (in real life and online) to grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for. This will enable people who are new to the revolution to themselves become organizers for this revolution and to recruit more and more people to do the same. On this basis, and through the growing ranks of the revolution acting together as an increasingly powerful force, it will be possible to attract and organize the necessary numbers, and build up the necessary strength, to be in the position to do what needs to be done.

We need to struggle hard with people to take up the orientation and strategy, the values and goals, for this revolution, and dedicate themselves to working for this revolution, while we unite growing numbers to fight the abuse, brutality and destruction perpetrated by this system, and through all this get thousands and then millions of people prepared and steeled to do away with this system that brings so much hell to people. We need to wield this growing revolutionary force to stand up to this system and its murderous enforcers and to change the whole “terrain” (the political, social and cultural situation and “atmosphere”) throughout society, in order to weaken the hold of this system over people, win people away from acting to strengthen and enforce this system, and create the best possible conditions for this revolution to succeed.

To come back to basics: We need revolution—a real revolution. We cannot afford to waste these rare times and circumstances that could be ripened into a real chance to make revolution. We cannot afford to squander the rare and precious leadership we have for this revolution. We have to get busy, build the movement and the organized forces for revolution all over the country, and work together tirelessly for this revolution, to actively prepare for the situation where this system can be brought down and something much better brought into being.

To get more of the tools and the knowledge you need to become part of this revolution, and to go to work building for this revolution, get with those representing for this revolution right now, become part of the Revolution Clubs around the country, go to our website revcom.us regularly, and watch The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show every week.

If you want to know more about this, right now, keep reading: here is further knowledge about these basic truths.

One. This system of capitalism-imperialism rules and profits by exploiting and oppressing, using and abusing masses of people, including children, all over the world; by treating whole groups of people as less than human; by slaughtering people who get in its way; by threatening people with its arsenals of mass destruction; by destroying the environment. Regardless of who is in the positions of power, this is the only way this system can operate, and under this system things can only get worse. All this is why we need a revolution. Bob Avakian (BA) has put this very clearly: “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!

To make it very clear once more: By revolution we mean nothing less than overthrowing this whole system—defeating, disarming and dismantling the murderous armed power and other institutions that enforce this system—completely abolishing this whole system and replacing it with something radically different and much better, a new society built on an entirely different foundation. And this new system we need is socialism—an economic and political system that is set up to meet the needs of the people, not the profit and power of exploiters and oppressors—a system that moves to do away with all exploitation and oppression, and supports people everywhere fighting against exploitation and oppression, in order to get to a communist world, where all this madness will finally be ended, for real, and people all over the world will be able to work together for the common good. Don’t be fooled by talk about how communism is no good and will make things worse. That is just talk that helps to keep this system of capitalism-imperialism going, with all its horrors for the masses of humanity and its growing threat to our very existence. In the works of BA, and other works you can find at revcom.us, you can learn the real truth about communism and the way BA has further developed communism into an even more powerful and liberating science of revolution: the new communism.

Two. This is one of those rare times and circumstances when revolution becomes possible, not just because this system is always a horror, but because the crisis and deep divisions in society now can only be resolved through radical means, of one kind or another—either radically reactionary, murderously oppressive and destructive means or radically emancipating revolutionary means. Those who have ruled over us, for so long, with their Republican and Democratic parties, are now caught up in bitterly fighting each other over how to hold this country together, keep this system going, enforce its rule over the people it exploits and oppresses, and maintain this country as the world’s top-dog oppressive power. The Republicans are moving to exercise this rule through fascism: discarding the pretense of “democracy for all,” relying on naked brutality and trampling on people’s rights, to enforce undisguised, aggressive male supremacy, white supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners and persecution of immigrants, especially from non-white countries) and crude “America first” chauvinism. The Democrats are trying to keep things together with more disguise and deception, with the claim that what exists in this country is a “great democracy” representing “the will of the people,” and for this reason it deserves to be, and needs to be, the most powerful force in the world. But, in reality, both of these ruling class parties are working to maintain the violent oppressive power, the dictatorship, of this capitalist-imperialist system, with all the horrors for humanity this involves.

These divisions and conflicts have ripped big holes in the camouflage of this system, further exposing its real nature and the lie that this is “the greatest country in the world,” the “shining light of freedom” and “leader of the free world.” All this is very likely to become more and more intense, tearing apart the bonds that have held things together under this system and further deepening the divisions throughout society, including within the institutions of power. This could lead to something very bad—or something very good, IF we act in the way we need to in these rare circumstances and fight to take things where they need to go.

As BA has emphasized, in a powerful New Year’s Statement (A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity), the fact that the fascist Trump was voted out of office is important but it only “buys some time” and time is not on the side of the fight for a better future for humanity. So the time there is must not be wasted by going along with this system. We will never get where we need to go by being a tail on the Democratic donkey (and, obviously, not by siding with the Republican fascists). No, we need to break out of acting on the terms, and within the confines, of this system, which has all this murderous oppression and destruction built into it. We need to be actively working to radically change the “alignment of forces” in society, to where things are more favorable for overthrowing this whole system.

These days there is a lot of talk about another civil war, especially from fascists, in government and the broader society, who think they could just carry out a one-sided slaughter of those they hate, including Black people and other people of color, “illegal immigrants,” “uppity women” and those who don’t conform to “traditional” sexual and gender relations and “norms.” This situation needs to be radically changed, to where there are masses of people prepared to defeat these fascists and to do so as part of getting rid of this whole system, which has bred these fascists, along with all the other horrors it continually perpetrates.

What we need is “repolarization for revolution—making real revolution an active and increasingly powerful force of first thousands, and then millions, of people organized to work for and win more and more people to this revolution—radically changing the “terrain” on which the revolution will be fought.

Today, there are not only many fascists in the murderous police forces, but more than a few in the military as well. But it is a fact that, at the high point of the 1960s, the strength of the radical liberation movements at that time reached into and strongly influenced every part and every institution of society—including the armed forces of this system, where more of the soldiers looked for leadership from the Black Panther Party and other revolutionary-minded forces than from the president of the United States (the so-called “commander-in-chief” of the armed forces). Even with the differences between then and now, creating this kind of situation—where a revolutionary movement based on the new communism and the leadership of BA is impacting every part of society and key institutions—this is achievable, and is a very important part of preparing the ground for the seizure of power, when the time is right. This will make it possible to have the best fighting chance to take revolution all the way, and not be beaten back down into yet more horror.

And the potential for this revolution is real. There is the ever intensifying climate crisis—and it is a scientific fact that this system of capitalism-imperialism cannot solve this crisis, but can only make it worse. At the same time, over the past few years, literally millions of women, all over the world, have demonstrated their outrage at the murder and rape, the attacks on their right to abortion and birth control, and the all-around brutality and abuse they are continually subjected to, as a result of the male supremacist relations that are built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and all systems that are ruled by exploiters and oppressors. And last summer, when millions of us, of all races and genders, rose up all over this country in righteous rebellion in response to the vicious murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, this powerfully demonstrated the potential for revolution.We were supported and joined by millions more in countries all over the world. And, at the height of this, the whole country, the whole world was compelled to recognize and to talk about the long and continuing chain of these racist murders and big questions about the whole history and nature of this country. Yes, this powerful rising was, in the short run, misled into dead-ends by people working for meaningless petty reforms and seeking funds for themselves and positions within the structures of this system. But that does not change the fact that what was demonstrated was the possibility and potential for something much greater and far better—an actual revolution.

Three: Bob Avakian (BA) came forward as a revolutionary and developed into a communist leader through the mass revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s. He is an old white guy—yes, deal with it! Unlike so many who considered themselves revolutionaries at that time, BA has never given up, never departed from the road of revolution. He has continued to advance on this road and to confront the problems and difficulties in making revolution. He has drawn crucial lessons from the historical experience (positive and negative) of revolution throughout the world, and from many other aspects of human society and human endeavor. He has deeply studied how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works, and what are the defining contradictions of this system that constitute the basis for overthrowing it. It is through all this that he has brought forward a whole new framework for the liberation of all oppressed people and the emancipation of all humanity: the new communism.

BA is providing ongoing leadership for this revolution, and he has a whole body of work that contains the scientific method to analyze the problem and the solution, the strategy for the revolution to bring down this system, and the vision and concrete plan for that radically different and much better society, on the road to emancipate all of humanity from every form of oppression and exploitation, and to enable humanity to become fit caretakers of the earth. He’s even written a Constitution (the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America) that concretely maps out what to do starting right after the seizure of power, so we can actually work on building up that whole new emancipating society. It is simply true: There never has been a leader like this in this country and there is no other leader like this in the world now, and we cannot afford not to follow this leadership if we ever want to get free and put an end to this madness.

Four: Many of the people who can be won to this revolution are not “into this” now and are not acting in accordance with the methods, principles, and goals of this revolution. And there is still way too much trying to get over on each other and attacking each other, which only brings more heartbreak and misery. This revolution is in the interests of all people who catch hell under this system and all those who hunger for or dream about a world where an end to exploitation, poverty, inequality, injustice and oppression is not a bitter joke but a liberating reality. Instead of fighting each other, we need to be uniting everyone with a heart for justice and protecting and defending each other from the criminal, brutal and murderous actions of “official” forces and fascist forces with the power to do us the greatest harm. We need to be working together to build up the ranks of the revolution and prepare to defeat the forces, of any kind, that would keep this system going and make its madness even worse.

And, in working to change the world in this way, people can change themselves—they can be united with in refusing to put up with injustice that no one should accept, and struggled with to see that revolution is the way to put an end to all this—that revolution is what we should live for and fight for. The basis for making this real is concentrated in the guideline: Fight the Power, and Transform the People—for Revolution.

To do this, people need to break with this system’s ways and take up radically different and emancipating methods, principles and goals, and a radically different and far better culture, morality and way of relating to each other. With the revolution it’s not “everyone out for themselves and against everybody else”—it’s all of us together who can’t stand to live like this and hunger for something much better, something truly emancipating.

At the same time as leadership and guidance for this revolution is being provided, in an ongoing way, through our website, revcom.us and through The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show, and while paying attention to the necessary health measures in light of the still continuing COVID pandemic, we are reaching out directly (in real life) to people around the country, to bring the liberating message of this revolution, to win growing numbers of people to this revolution and organize them into the ranks of this revolution.

All over the country, in every neighborhood, every school, every place and every institution where there are people sickened by the way things are, or questioning whether things have to be this way, revolutionary organization needs to be built, as part of the nationwide revolutionary movement. This revolution and its leadership need to increasingly become the authority that people look to and the leadership they follow, setting the standard and providing the direction for how people see things, and how they act.

Through all this, growing numbers of people can be working together to shape the political situation, winning masses of people to revolution and strengthening the organized revolutionary forces for the all-out fight for revolution when the conditions for revolution have been ripened.

To come back, once more, to basics: We need a revolution—a real revolution. And this revolution is possible. To everyone who hungers for an end to oppression and injustice, and everyone who has the heart to fight for something that is really worth fighting for: You need to get into this revolution, become part of the organized forces for this revolution, and work tirelessly for this revolution, so that we can have a real chance to win.

 

[[ Return to basic version ]]

Download Pamphlet version (PDF)

Basic Version
Extended Version

 

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: