revcom.us, August 9, 2021 through August 15, 2021 (#712)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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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.

 

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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/708/bob-avakian-this-is-a-rare-time-when-revolution-becomes-possible-en.html

From Bob Avakian—Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism:

THIS IS A RARE TIME
WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—
WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS
RARE OPPORTUNITY

| revcom.us

 

Many people have seen the very important statement from the revcoms, A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution, which is available at revcom.us, and is being posted and passed out to people in neighborhoods and other places around the country, as a key part of spreading the word about this revolution and organizing people into this revolution. Many more people need to get, and get deeply into, this “Declaration and Call.” Here, I am going to speak to some big questions related to this.

FIRST, SOME BASIC TRUTHS

1. We live under a system—the system of capitalism-imperialism (capitalism is an economic and political system of exploitation and oppression, and imperialism refers to the worldwide nature of this system).

This system causes tremendous suffering for people, all over the world, and it poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity.

This is a system dominated by capitalist corporations, banks and other financial institutions controlling vast sums of money, all of which is based on exploiting people—masses of people here, and billions of people throughout the world, including huge numbers of children.

These capitalists are locked in cutthroat competition with each other, and this drives them to penetrate every part of the world, especially the poorer countries, in order to exploit people even more viciously, while leaving many people without a way to work at all, within the regular (“formal”) economy.

This system has white supremacy and male supremacy built into it.

This system continually causes situations where life becomes extremely desperate and often very dangerous for growing numbers of people in their home countries—forcing them to uproot themselves and migrate across countries and continents—and then treats them as criminals when they seek asylum, or relief from unbearable conditions.

This system leads to wars—wars to conquer nations and people, wars for control of key parts of the world, and potentially even wars between nuclear-armed capitalist-imperialist countries, fighting to determine which will be the most powerful oppressor in the world (if anything is left of this world after such a war).

This system is rapidly destroying the global environment.

All this is reality, and no one can escape this reality. Either we radically change it, in a positive way, or everything will be changed in a very negative way.

2. This system cannot be reformed to be a “better” system—it must be overthrown.

The system of capitalism could not exist without exploiting masses of people, and making life miserable for the great majority of humanity, at the same time as it increasingly poses a threat to the future of humanity. (I have analyzed the basic reasons why this is so in the article Commodities & Capitalism—And The Terrible Consequences Of This System, which can be found at revcom.us.)

The system of political rule—the “democracy”—that has existed in this country is, and always has been, democracy on the terms of this system and those who rule it. This capitalist “democracy” is a cover, and a means, for what really rules in this country—the dictatorship of the capitalist class—its domination of political power and official (supposedly “legitimate”) force and violence, as when the police repeatedly murder especially Black, Brown, and Native American people.

The capitalists control the system of elections, and every other dominant institution, in this country. Voting under this system, for either Democrats or Republicans, is voting for ruling class partiesrepresentatives of this system of capitalism-imperialism—who are determined to keep this system going, despite the terrible cost to the masses of humanity, and even with the very real threat this poses to the existence of humanity.

No matter what promises these politicians make—and no matter what schemes people try to come up with to make things more “just” or “equal” under this system—none of this can change the basic nature of this system and the way it has to operate because of its very nature.

The relations of exploitation and oppression that are built into this system are enforced through its institutions of official power and violence—the Congress and the presidency, the courts, and especially the police and the military.

Only a revolution—a real revolution, to ultimately defeat and dismantle these institutions of official violence and power, and bring into being a radically different economic and political system, with the goal of eliminating exploitation and oppression—only this revolution can deal with all this in a way that is truly in the interests of the masses of people and all of humanity.

(In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored, there is a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for this radically different and better society—an actual plan for what to do after the seizure of power and for how to reorganize society on a completely different, emancipating foundation.)

WHY THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE TIMES
WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE,
EVEN IN A POWERFUL COUNTRY LIKE THIS

1. A revolution becomes possible, even in a powerful country like this, when three main factors have been brought into being:

A crisis in society and government so deep and so disruptive of the “usual way of things,” that those who have ruled over us, for so long, can no longer do so in the “normal” way that people have been conditioned to accept.

A revolutionary people in the millions and millions, with their “allegiance” to this system broken, and their determination to fight for a more just society greater than their fear of the violent repression of this system.

An organized revolutionary force—made up of continually growing numbers of people, from among the most oppressed but also from many other parts of society—a force which is grounded in, and is working systematically to apply, the most scientific approach to building for and then carrying out revolution, and which is increasingly looked to by masses of people to lead them to bring about the radical change that is urgently needed.

2. These factors for revolution obviously do not exist right now, but this is one of the rare times when these factors for revolution could be brought into being.

A basic reason why this is true is that there are now very great divisions within the ruling class of the country, and in the country as a whole—and, more than that:

These divisions among the ruling powers, and in the larger society, cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.

Something radically different is going to replace the framework that has existed for all this time—and as the “Declaration and Call” sharply points out:

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.

3. Here are basic reasons why things have gotten to this point.

Even though “democracy, with liberty and justice for all” is a cruel lie, this lie has been crucial for the rulers of this country to keep things together under this system—and especially to keep people who are oppressed under this system believing in the possibility of making this system more just. This is why both ruling class parties generally agreed, for a long time, to work within the same framework for ruling this country—they agreed to accept the results of elections and bring about “the peaceful transfer of power” between the different representatives of this same system, whether Democrat or Republican.

With changing conditions in this country, and in the world as a whole, over the time since the end of World War 2 (75 years ago), it has been necessary for the ruling class, in order to maintain “order and stability” in this country, to make certain concessions to the struggle against white supremacy, male supremacy, and some other oppressive relations, while at the same time insisting that this is all part of “creating a more perfect union” and “further perfecting the great democracy that has always existed in this country.” This has also been necessary in order for the rulers of this country to continue promoting it as “the leader of the free world,” which they say must remain the dominant power in the world—but which, in reality, is the most oppressive and destructive power, plundering masses of people as well as the earth.

But a section of the ruling capitalist class, represented by the Republican Party, has all along resisted even these partial concessions to the fight against oppression, and has become convinced that these changes have now gone too far, that they threaten to destroy what has held this country together and enabled it to dominate the world.

The Republicans have become a fascist party—a party based on open and aggressive white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations—a party convinced that only it deserves to rule, moving to manipulate elections and suppress votes in order to gain and hold onto power, refusing to accept the outcome of elections it does not win, determined to gut and pervert “the rule of law,” trample on people’s rights, and adopt what amounts to an undisguised capitalist dictatorship, ready to use violence not only against masses of people but also against its rivals in the ruling class.

These Republicans have mobilized a significant section of people who believe, with an intense, irrational passion, that white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations (as well as unrestrained plunder of the environment) must be firmly upheld and enforced. They have been driven to a state of vicious insanity, embracing all kinds of lunatic conspiracy theories, along with a crazed Christian fundamentalism, as a response to the threat they see to their entitled (or “god-ordained”) position and their insistence that further concessions to the struggle against oppression will destroy what has “made America great.”

These divisions have already become deeply rooted in the major institutions of this country, including the military, and they will increasingly become sharper and burst out into the open, as things continue to sharpen up in society overall and within the ruling class.

These deep divisions, this intensifying conflict, cannot be overcome—all this cannot be “put back together”—on the terms, and in the way, that the country has, up to now, been held together under the rule of a more or less unified capitalist class.

4. The Republicans have certain significant advantages over the Democrats in this conflict.

The Democrats are committed to “playing by the rules” and “relying on the norms” of “democratic” capitalist dictatorship, while the Republicans are moving to tear up those norms and rule through an open, undisguised capitalist dictatorship.

The peculiar nature of this country—with its history of genocide, slavery, and continuing white supremacy, and repeated “compromises” that have given disproportionate power (power greater than what is represented by their populations) to southern states of the former Confederacy, and other states with significant rural populations of “conservative-leaning” people—this is another advantage that the fascist Republicans have.

If this battle remains on the terms of this system, not only will there be horrific consequences overall, but this could very likely lead to a triumph for the Republican fascists, which would accentuate and accelerate the looming disaster, for humanity as a whole.

But things do not have to—and must not—remain on the terms of this system.

WHAT MUST BE DONE TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE REVOLUTION

1. As pointed out in A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution, we have seen the potential for this revolution in the massive uprisings of people, in this country and in countries around the world, against institutionalized racism and police terror, and in the outpouring in many countries against the oppression and degradation of women.

But this potential for revolution must be transformed into the reality of an actual revolution, by carrying out the necessary work and struggle to make masses of people aware of the urgent need for, and the real possibility for, revolution—and to organize them as a conscious and determined force for this revolution.

2. In order to seize on the rare opportunity to make revolution, the situation we face must be recognized for what it actually is: People need to raise their heads and broaden their sights, look beyond what is immediately around them, break with illusions and phony “solutions,” and take up the scientific method of the new communism to get a basic understanding, and keep on deepening the understanding, of what is actually going on, what are the very heavy stakes in all this, and what are not only the very negative but also the very positive possibilities for radical change that exist within all this.

In particular, this means getting together with the revcoms—and growing numbers of people who are drawn to what this revolution is all about—to seriously get into A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution and get with the revolution it is calling for.

3. This rare situation, with the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.

It is extremely important to deeply understand this:

As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.

And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.

The “Declaration and Call” makes the very important point that the divisions and conflicts among the ruling powers (and in society as a whole) 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.”

It is the responsibility of everyone who recognizes the profound need for revolution—and the rare possibility in a time like this to actually make revolution—to wage a tireless, and at times fierce, struggle to win more and more people to make a radical rupture with the confining and degrading terms of this system, and to take up, and act on, the revolutionary orientation and motivation that is put forward in the “Declaration and Call.”

Instead of “staying in your lane,” and “going for self,” while this system is moving to even more decisively crush any hope for a world worth living in, people need to be looking at the bigger picture, focusing on the greater interests of humanity and the possibility for a far better world—and acting to make this a reality.

Instead of finding excuses to go along with the way things have been, standing apart from (or even bad-mouthing) the revolution, people need to get with this revolution, and not throw away the rare opportunity to be part of bringing something much better into being.

Instead of lashing out with individual acts of frustration, or attempts to take on this system with small, isolated forces that have no chance of succeeding, people need to pour their anger, and their hatred for injustice, into building a movement of millions that could have a real chance to defeat this system and make a real revolution.

Instead of fighting and killing each other, what people need to be doing now is uniting to defend each other—opposing all unjust violence, not launching attacks on anyone but at the same time not allowing the police or “civilian” fascist thugs to wantonly brutalize and murder people. And people need to do this as part of building up the forces for revolution.

Instead of snarking and sniping at each other, and being divided by “identities,” people should be working to unite everyone, from every part of society, who can be united in the fight against oppression and injustice, with the goal of putting an end to this system that is the source of this oppression and injustice.

Instead of being a tail on the Democratic donkey—with its attempt to keep this monstrous system going, and to deal with the growing fascist danger, by relying on the “normal procedures” of this system and doomed efforts to “heal the divisions” that are deepening every day—people need to work for the revolution that is urgently needed, and deal with the fascist danger as part of doing that.

Here is another very important point from the “Declaration and Call”:

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.

4. Acting on the scientific basis, and the scientifically-grounded strategic approach for revolution, which has been developed with the new communism, we need to work tirelessly to build up the organized forces for, create the best possible conditions for, and then carry out the revolution that is so urgently needed.

As emphasized in A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real 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.

And:

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.

As the revolutionary forces grow in numbers and organized strength, fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, they will be able to attract even greater numbers to their ranks and increasingly influence the society as a whole, winning over more people from different parts of society and changing, in a more positive way, the terms on which things in society are understood and struggled over. This will provide even more favorable grounds for exposing the real nature of this system and what is really involved with the divisions within the ruling class, and making clear that the interests of the masses of oppressed and justice-loving people everywhere are in direct and fundamental opposition to this whole system.

The revolutionary forces, through the impact of their growing strength, can create a situation where it becomes increasingly difficult for the ruling powers, deeply divided as they are, to rely on their institutions of organized violence to act in a unified way to put down the righteous rising of the people, and where every move they make to crush this rising leads to further outrage among the people, with more joining the ranks of the revolution, and the ruling institutions themselves further torn by internal divisions. The strength of this revolution, especially as it grows from thousands to millions, can exert increasing influence so that, within key institutions of the organized power and violence of this system, more and more of their ranks—many of whom are drawn from among the most oppressed in society—are won to identify with, and refuse to be part of unjustly attacking and suppressing, the masses of people who are fighting to put an end to injustice and oppression.

5. All this will create the most favorable conditions to carry out the strategic approach that has been developed for fighting to win an actual revolution—the all-out struggle for power in society as a whole. (This strategic approach is put forward in the statement On The Possibility Of Revolution, and is further elaborated in my speech Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, as well as the article A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win, Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution—all of which are available at revcom.us.)

CONCLUSION

There is the basis to seize on the rare possibility to make revolution, even in a powerful country like this—there can be a real chance to win—IF, among growing numbers of people who cannot stand to live any longer under this people-killing, spirit-suffocating system, there is the scientifically-grounded understanding, determination and daring to make this a reality.

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Also referred to in this article:

Commodities & Capitalism—And The Terrible Consequences Of This System
by Bob Avakian

On The Possibility Of Revolution

A Real Revolution—A Real Chance To Win
Further Developing the Strategy for Revolution

by Bob Avakian

 

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

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/712/questions-that-come-up-and-answers-en.html

Questions That Come Up... And Answers

On Revolution And The Need For The Scientific Leadership Of Bob Avakian

On Dictatorship, The Need For Revolution, And What Comes Next

| revcom.us

 

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

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

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

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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/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]

Get to know BA

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

Get Into BA »

 

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Watch: youtube.com/TheRevComs

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/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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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/711/rnl-show-episode-64-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 64 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show

This episode streams the presentation —

“Society is being ripped apart . . .”
We are “two countries sharing the same border...”

Why This Is
A RARE TIME WHEN
REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE

A Talk by Andy Zee

 

Reflections on Bob Avakian's

“This is a Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—
Why That Is So, And How to Seize On This Rare Opportunity”

Presented by Revolution Books & The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show
at Revolution Books, New York City on August 4.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/709/rnl-show-episode-62-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 62 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

A "Rare Time" When Revolution Becomes Possible, IF...
PLUS: Bob Avakian for Black Liberation

 

A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution from The Revcoms, states that we're in one of those "rare times and circumstances" when revolution becomes possible. Now, Bob Avakian has issued a companion piece, deepening the case why this is so—and how to seize on this rare opportunity. Plus, the newly completed and re-edited visual narration of “Bob Avakian for The Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity.”

****

In this episode, Andy Zee challenges all to DIG INTO the NEW PIECE, “From Bob Avakian—Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism: THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY.” Andy says: "This is a work that makes the case, develops the argument, for why the moment in history that we are living in RIGHT NOW could be ripened into a revolutionary crisis... Bob Avakian cuts deep to the root of the problem, dissects the political situation, stretches our sights wide to encompass the broad potential among many different kinds of people for this revolution."

Next, The RNL Show presents the newly edited and now completed visual narration of the article "Bob Avakian For The Liberation Of Black People And The Emancipation Of All Humanity."

In September of 2020 revcom.us published a very important article: “Bob Avakian For The Liberation of Black People And The Emancipation of All Humanity.” This article brings alive a crucial part of who Bob Avakian is as a person and the work he has done on a pivotal question of this revolution, for which he has a great passion: the liberation of Black people, and how this is bound together with the fight for the emancipation of all humanity. The RNL—Revolution Nothing Less—Show has narrated this article, adding images, which include both recent and archival film footage of Bob Avakian, as a contribution to telling this story.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/703/bob-avakian-weapons-of-oppression-en.html

WEAPONS OF OPPRESSION,
AND THE HEART TO FIGHT
TO END OPPRESSION

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

This system has two big weapons it uses to maintain masses of people in a situation where they are oppressed, brutalized, degraded, and demoralized. 

The first weapon is the murderous armed force of this system—which, along with all its other atrocities, continually hunts down and kills Black, Brown, and Native American people in the most depraved ways.

The second weapon is the way this system messes people up and gets them thinking and acting in messed up ways—and especially how this system denies the youth a decent future, forcibly confines so many in miserable conditions and gets them caught up in fighting and killing each other. This, too, is a monstrous crime of this system

What kind of system condemns so many youth to nothing better than this?! What kind of system does so many people this way, and then seizes on what it has got people caught up in—uses this as an excuse to treat masses of people as less than human, murder them in the thousands and lock them up in the millions, right in this country, while it slaughters people all around the world and destroys the earth? It is this monstrous system of capitalism-imperialism that we are now forced to live under—a system that could not survive without viciously exploiting billions of people worldwide, including more than 150 million children—a system that never will, and never can, stop doing all this.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

We revcoms are out to change all thisthe only way it can be donethrough an actual revolution, to do away with this whole system. We have the science, the strategy and plan, and the leadership to do this, and we are actively working and waging the necessary struggle to bring forth and organize a revolutionary force of thousands, and then millions, from many different parts of society—and especially youth whose anger, frustration and desperation to make a mark in this world and be respected needs to be, and can be, transformed into determination to put an end to this system and to bring a radically different and much better world into being—to become emancipators of humanity.

In A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION* we have made it clear: this not only cries out to be done—it is possible. And everyone who has a heart to fight for something really worth fighting for needs to get with this revolution we are working for NOW.

 


* A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION is available at revcom.us—and it is being posted and passed out to people in neighborhoods and other places around the country, as a key part of spreading the word about this revolution and organizing people into this revolution.  [back]

Listen to Bob Avakian on:

"WEAPONS OF OPPRESSION, AND THE HEART TO FIGHT TO END OPPRESSION"

revcom.us · Weapons Of Oppression, And The Heart To Fight To END Oppression, by Bob Avakian

Download flyer (PDF) here

 

 

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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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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
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/712/field-notes-and-wranglings-en.html

Field Notes and Wranglings

| revcom.us

 

The revcoms are getting organized NOW for a real revolution. As part of building a national movement for revolution, revcom.us will be sharing thoughts and experiences directly from the National Tour to Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution, now centered in Los Angeles, and Revolution Clubs across the country. The experience and opinions in these writings and field reports are very initial, not necessarily “the final word,” but are all part of a process of collectively grappling together with the problems of the revolution, learning better how to organize people NOW for revolution, based on the Declaration from the revcoms, A Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution and the recent piece from Bob Avakian, revolutionary leader, author of the new communism, This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity.

 

Digging Into, Learning From, Applying the
Declaration and Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution

On the National Revolution Tour, we've begun to see—in this whole last week—in still initial, but real ways, what is the process described in the Declaration and Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution.

...

An important thing that comes through in the initial experience is what happens when people are grappling together over these questions—on the basis of the Declaration, debating things out, and wrestling with reality and the burning questions of “why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for.”  Digging into these things together with others—in a basic and initial way—is the basis on which they can go organize others.  We need to exponentially build up the forces for revolution and this is the process through which that can happen.

Read more


The Revcom Recruiters on a Campus in a Stop Everything Moment

This week, abortion became effectively illegal in Texas.  This is a stop everything moment... and it's a reflection of the overall way that, as it says in A Declaration, A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution from the revcoms, “Society is being ripped apart.”  In moments like these, we need to make a big leap in organizing for revolution! 

...

On the day the Texas law went into effect, we decided to pull our whole crew together to have a big impact... and we did... with some important lessons for going forward!

Read more


Spreading the Revolution at “Sundays on State Street”:
Field Notes from the Revolution Club, Chicago

With “reaching out to all sorts of people” in mind, the Revolution Club has been participating in a free downtown street festival of various types of small vendors called “Sundays on State.” We designed a simple booth (see photos) with provocative visual displays, including a large photo of the flag burning outside the White House in 2019. The table promoted most prominently our two key working documents “A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution” (and we made sure everyone who came to the table got at least one copy) and BA’s “This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How to Seize On This Rare Opportunity” along with other literature, stickers, T-shirts. We had TV playing “Bob Avakian for the Liberation of Black People and the Emancipation of All Humanity” on a loop.

Read more


Download these new flyers for high school and college students:

For college campuses:

Download PDF

For high schools:

Download PDF


"This Declaration Is Crucial!"

A report about a Zoom discussion of the Declaration from a member of the National Revolution Tour

We’re getting some important experience applying the simple style of organizing called for in the Declaration and Call from the revcoms to Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution. We took this out to a busy shopping area/youth scene on Sunday and based on a serious invitation and challenge in the Declaration, we invited people to a Zoom discussion to get into it. A few people were more seriously interested and two people came on the Zoom.

Read more


Grappling with the Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible... and how to organize for revolution to seize on this

from a member of the National Revolution Tour

I’ve appreciated recent discussions on the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, on the importance and need to root our work and thinking in the Declaration from the revcoms: A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution and the recent piece from Bob Avakian (BA), “This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity.” These are world historic interventions—providing clear leadership on what’s needed and why... putting the basic reality to people, the problems of the revolution, and leading people to grapple with why we need a revolution, the situation we’re in, and how to get organized for revolution.

Read more


A New Understanding of the Process of Organizing for Revolution

Thoughts from a member of the National Revolution Tour

Going more deeply into the Declaration from the revcoms, A Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution, has sparked a lot of thinking. I’m very excited, as I always get when I get clarity on key questions.

First, I’m really appreciating the work we did a few months ago to dig deeply into 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 more we are grappling with a scientific understanding of reality, the more I feel equipped to take this out to others, not just repeating phrases, but breaking things down for people in simple terms.

I also appreciate our discussion of the fact that what’s in the Declaration, and now further developed in this new BA piece, This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity, is “a higher synthesis of what it means to apply the new communism to actually organizing people for revolution.”

Read more


Creating a Buzz About the Rare Time for Revolution at the Mini-Bike Races in Compton

From two members of the National Revolution Tour:

For the last couple months, we’ve gone out regularly to organize for revolution at the mini-bike races in Compton held every Sunday. We heard about these races from a youth who stepped into the revolution a year ago. It’s a scene where all kinds of youths come together to hang out, race their mini-bikes, as well as where youths caught up in the gangs come, but with an agreement to not set-trip for the day. (To give a sense of some of the positive aspirations of some of these youths, one of the slogans of one of the mini-bike crews is, “Smoke tires, not the homies.”) We have been there a number of times in the past couple of months and have learned a lot. There are many youths there—Black and Latino, ranging from 9 to 19, as well as more OG types... older Black and Latino people. About 200 people or so attend these races, and we’ve had somewhat of an impact where people know us, have taken stickers and buttons, have engaged BA, have donated, and have at times raised disagreements with what we are about and are doing.

Read more

 

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/grappling-with-the-rare-time-when-revolution-becomes-possible-en.html

Grappling with the Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible... and how to organize for revolution to seize on this

From a Member of the National Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

I’ve appreciated recent discussions on the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour, on the importance and need to root our work and thinking in the Declaration from the revcoms: A Call to Get Organized Now for a Real Revolution and the recent piece from Bob Avakian (BA), “This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity.” These are world historic interventions—providing clear leadership on what’s needed and why... putting the basic reality to people, the problems of the revolution, and leading people to grapple with why we need a revolution, the situation we’re in, and how to get organized for revolution.

There is a higher synthesis in these pieces of what it means to organize for revolution—linked to the way organizing forces for revolution can interact with an incredibly sharp and volatile situation—building up the forces for revolution, acting on a situation where people are being driven to question, as BA says, “the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way...” which provides more of a basis to make leaps in accumulating forces for revolution... wielding those forces... to have more impact... people becoming aware of the need for revolution (through spreading the revolution everywhere, and as it says in the Declaration, grappling together with others “why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for”)... becoming organizers themselves, spreading this revolution, replicating this process in increasingly exponential ways... and bringing that together in the Revolution Clubs, through monthly meetings and more.

There is a PROCESS described there that is simple, understandable and compressed.

We are also working on moving, volatile ground—there is gravity and intense instability in this situation—the reality that, as BA says, “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” keeps getting borne out/fought out.

This is true on the political, ideological, epistemological (the struggle over what is true and how you come to determine what’s true) levels in terms of “what’s up” and being fought out.

I encourage people to read Jane Mayer’s latest article in The New Yorker, “The Big Money Behind the Big Lie,” where she talks about how hard a section of the Republican Party fascists are working to be able to accomplish what they didn’t in 2020—to steal the election in 2022 and 2024, to not just suppress voting but to subvert it. In discussing this, she quotes the senior advisor to the president of the AFL-CIO, Michael Podhorzer, who gets at how the fascists are acting on the divide that we are “two countries sharing the same border...”

“What blue-state people don’t understand about why the Big Lie works,” he said, is that it doesn’t actually require proof of fraud. “What animates it is the belief that Biden won because votes were cast by some people in this country who others think are not ‘real’ Americans.” This anti-democratic belief has been bolstered by a constellation of established institutions on the right: “white evangelical churches, legislators, media companies, nonprofits, and even now paramilitary groups.” Podhorzer noted, “Trump won white America by eight points. He won non-urban areas by over twenty points. He is the democratically elected President of white America. It’s almost like he represents a nation within a nation.”

The fascists are working very hard (and with a multifaceted plan) to install their fascist program in a context where they are actively delegitimizing their Democratic counterparts... while the answer of Biden is to “reach across the aisle”... legitimizing and accepting the legitimacy of the fascists.

There’s the big shifts and widening of the divide on the biggest questions of what it means to be “an American”—I read about a recent poll where 67 percent of U.S. adults (of 1,400 asked) said “they were extremely or very proud to be American...” But among those aged 18 to 24, just 36 percent said the same, with 35 percent in that age bracket stating they were “only slightly” or “not at all proud to be American.” There are also big shifts happening with whether people are religious, and how they practice their religion. There was a recent Gallup poll that said, “Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50 percent for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47 percent of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, down from 50 percent in 2018 and 70 percent in 1999.” (NOTE: This kind of polling is not a rigorously scientific approach, and needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but it does tell you some things about the shifts and changes among some sections of people. It’s also essential to understand that as BA has said, “What people think is part of objective reality but objective reality is not determined by what people think.”)

Bound up with some of the changes around religious practice, there was an interesting article from the Washington Post, from early July, “A horn-wearing ‘shaman.’ A cowboy evangelist. For some, the Capitol attack was a kind of Christian revolt.” that made the point: “Many forces contributed to the attack on the Capitol, including Trump’s false claims of electoral victory and American anger with institutions. But part of the mix, say experts on American religion, is the fact that the country is in a period when institutional religion is breaking apart, becoming more individualized and more disconnected from denominations, theological credentials and oversight.” And then goes on to quote a sociologist from Yale, “There have been these periods of breakdowns and ferment and reinvention in the past, and every indication is we’re in the middle of one of those now... Such moments are periods of opportunity and creativity but also of danger and violence.” (my emphasis)

This Christian fascism is and has been organized and cohered, but even within that, there is a fraying—as things harden, get more and more unmoored from longstanding institutions and get more individualized.

There is tremendous fascist danger here but the more we grasp, fight for, and organize growing scores of people around “the powerful positive potential” of a scientific, coherent and liberating ideology, framework, worldview, and method... the more that can set different terms, in a context where the old ways aren’t just coming apart... but are being torn apart by the fight at the top. (This “point of orientation” on revcom.us speaks to the powerful positive potential of having a contending, scientific framework and leadership at a time when things are being torn asunder. And in that context, there is a lot to learn from the level of struggle being waged in the Declaration and by BA in “Rare Time...” with the sharpness and loftiness of how BA wages a whole series of polemics in that piece.)

These are just some examples (of which there are many), but I wanted to point to the all-sidedness of this fight.

Applying the Declaration—Forging a Different Style of Mass Work—in the Field

With that as the moving ground, I don’t think we’ve up to now wrestled enough with what it looks like to apply the approach in the Declaration “in the field.”

First, we need to be much more simply setting terms with the content of it and wielding it (reading it on the spot) to wage struggle with people. Making clear that what’s needed is for people who are described by that first paragraph in the Declaration and Call, to “be part of this revolution NOW.”

We need a lot of broader forms for people who are “interested” but not ready to step in... LOTS of people following on social media, subscribing to The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show youtube channel, and spreading the show themselves. But mainly, we need to focus on the people who are serious—or who can be won to be serious through struggle—right then and there on the spot. We need mass forms, immediately and consistently, to bring people together to “grapple with why an actual revolution is necessary, what such a revolution involves, and what kind of society this is aiming for...” enabling “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...”

Think about the simplicity and substance of this: getting into those questions with others, from the beginning and through a process, enables people to become organizers for this revolution and replicating that with others.

This needs to have simple, concrete and immediately actionable forms—the revolutionary change jars, being 1 of 50 people contributing $10 (like the example from the Revolution Club in Chicago), or being 1 of 100 spreading The RNL Show in a week... people stepping in, grappling with these questions, and on that basis, spreading the word, organizing others in a mass way and with mass forms... then reporting to revcom.us and on social media... A simple form that has a lot of potential: T-shirt Thursdays with everyone in the Revolution Club wearing their “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” shirt wherever they are, going to work, on a campus... sparking discussion and questions, advocating for watching the show and getting others to do the same.

Do we need “starter kits” on the spot for people? Where they get into the 5-2-6,1 get 10 copies of the Declaration, 50 palm cards for The RNL Show, 50 stickers, and a couple buttons... how does that interpenetrate with the website and social media where people are getting graphics to spread?

We need to plan monthly mass Revolution Club meetings that happen with regularity—like the first or fourth Sunday of every month. And then intersperse that with social kick-it sessions of some form. A fundraising barbecue or picnic... something where people can come together, get to know each other in a more relaxed setting while raising funds... (building in this kind of informal gathering as a way to get to know people, have people meet each other, forge a sense of “we” and a culture of living by and struggling over the Points of Attention for the Revolution).

Then, there are the questions of learning how to crack the challenge of speaking to blocs of people based on the Declaration. How do people go from turning their heads initially to revolution to stepping into this in numbers? We need a lot of experimentation in the youth scenes. We need more practice and preparation on the agitation ahead of time—searing agitation that challenges frameworks and draws people in... to then have a collective discussion on the spot.

Campuses are coming back into session in a few weeks—and they’ll be coming back in a whole different situation—the students’ entire world was thrown into the air in the last year... the COVID lockdowns and extreme isolation, the mass outpouring of protests against police brutality and murder, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the backdrop of the fires, droughts... the completely uninspiring (and clearly inadequate) Biden program. Going back to campuses, there will be the organized fascists, oblivious individualism and “woke insanity,” but people will be coming back onto campus, and coming together in a really shaken-up world. I can’t wait to hit the campuses in a big way with provocations and invitations that can bring people into the process described in the Declaration quickly and with a lot of struggle and ferment.

There is also a major role for the recent pieces from BA, “Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and ‘Woke Folk’ Insanity: A New ‘Two Outmodeds’“ and “I’m So Sick of this Whole ‘Identity Politics’ and ‘Woke’ Thing, REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATION—NOT PETTY REFORM AND REVENGE: On Movements, Principles, Methods, Means and Ends.” We need to kick up a big shitstorm around these and overall, fighting for people to get into and become followers of BA. (I was very struck by the new listing on revcom.us on BA’s writings in 2020 and how significant these works are—leadership like nothing else on the planet on the most burning, and lofty questions!!!!)

I want to bring all this back to the Declaration and Call and ask whether we’re really understanding what is here and how to wield it. Walking through it, I’ve come to appreciate how this concentrates a different understanding and a different process of organizing for revolution—in a different period. I encourage readers of revcom.us to get together and really walk through what this process can and needs to look like:

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.

The Declaration and Call and the “Rare Time” piece from BA provide a framework of understanding and analysis, of method and approach to organize for revolution now! I don’t want to underestimate how much of a fight we have on our hands, but I want to appreciate again what it could really mean, and how precious it is, to have a serious opening for revolution... to be in a rare time (that really does come along very rarely in a country like this)... and with the simplicity and clarity in approach concentrated in the Declaration to seize on this.

 

1. This refers to the 5 STOPS, the 2 Choices posed by Bob Avakian (“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!”), and the 6 Points of Attention for the Revolution. See here. [back]

 


Reaching youth in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA

 

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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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/a-new-understanding-of-the-process-of-organizing-for-revolution-en.html

A New Understanding of the Process of Organizing for Revolution

Thoughts from a member of the National Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

Going more deeply into the Declaration from the revcoms, A Call to Get Organized Now For a Real Revolution, has sparked a lot of thinking. I’m very excited, as I always get when I get clarity on key questions.

First, I’m really appreciating the work we did a few months ago to dig deeply into 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 more we are grappling with a scientific understanding of reality, the more I feel equipped to take this out to others, not just repeating phrases, but breaking things down for people in simple terms.

I also appreciate our discussion of the fact that what’s in the Declaration, and now further developed in this new BA piece, This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity, is “a higher synthesis of what it means to apply the new communism to actually organizing people for revolution.”

The Declaration says:

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.

People grappling with these questions is what enables them to become organizers for this revolution—people are brought into a process, they’re being trained to wield the Declaration, to themselves grapple with what is in it, with the new BA piece as an important supplement. They can learn how to use the Declaration as an organizing tool. This is very different from people feeling like they need to “know all the right answers,” or know “the right way to take on everything that comes at us while taking this out.”

Bringing people the understanding of the situation we’re in, the potential for revolution, and organizing them as a conscious and determined force for revolution is very different than either recruiting a bunch of foot soldiers or people feeling like they have to go through a whole school course to understand everything. I used to think that spreading the revolution and grappling with these questions were opposed to each other, that one gets in the way of the other because it takes time but instead, I’ve come to understand them as an intertwined process.

This is an important contrast to really get what’s being said in the Declaration—not just “giving people things to do” but also not letting people off the hook in their responsibility to spread this revolution because they have to grapple with these questions. Again, these things happen together and in a process.

I also think for ourselves, it’s important to continue to fight to proceed as strategic commanders, especially in such a volatile situation where things are changing every day—not narrowing our heads down to whatever particular organizing we are doing, but continuing to seize on openings when we identify them. I was struck by Andy Zee’s example in the last episode of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show about how after Martin Luther King was assassinated, the Black Panther Party grew in large numbers—not just because of what they were doing in a vacuum but there was a leap in the objective situation combined with the work they were doing... that drew people to them in larger numbers.

 

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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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/creating-buzz-about-rare-time-for-revolution-at-mini-bike-races-in-compton-en.html

Creating a Buzz About the Rare Time for Revolution at the Mini-Bike Races in Compton

From two members of the National Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

For the last couple months, we’ve gone out regularly to organize for revolution at the mini-bike races in Compton held every Sunday. We heard about these races from a youth who stepped into the revolution a year ago. It’s a scene where all kinds of youths come together to hang out, race their mini-bikes, as well as where youths caught up in the gangs come, but with an agreement to not set-trip for the day. (To give a sense of some of the positive aspirations of some of these youths, one of the slogans of one of the mini-bike crews is, “Smoke tires, not the homies.”) We have been there a number of times in the past couple of months and have learned a lot. There are many youths there—Black and Latino, ranging from 9 to 19, as well as more OG types... older Black and Latino people. About 200 people or so attend these races, and we’ve had somewhat of an impact where people know us, have taken stickers and buttons, have engaged BA, have donated, and have at times raised disagreements with what we are about and are doing.

Because the mini-bikes make so much noise, you can’t go out with a microphone to reach lots of people and we’ve been grappling with how to speak to “blocs” of people—at the same time as we’re concretely organizing people for revolution, based on what’s concentrated in the Declaration from the revcoms, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution and now expanded on in the new piece from Bob Avakian, This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity.

We have been experimenting with visual posters that have polemical quotes from the new BA piece, as well as quoting from the Declaration: “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.” This all brings to life the reality of what these rare times to make a real revolution mean, and how we seize on that.

This past Sunday, off of wrangling with how to have a bigger impact in the scene overall, not having one-on-one discussions but aiming for mass engagement, we came with a truck with all these visuals posted on the sides of the truck. Our plan was to fight for people to collectively wrangle over what is said in those placards. We also had a Google sign-up form that listed concrete ways people can begin to engage and spread the revolution, things like subscribe to the YouTube channel for The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show, spread the word about it, donate, take flyers, posters, stickers, and join the Revolution Club.

The first grouping of youths we encountered were six brothers age 9 to 18. They were reading the “civil war” placard, thinking about and debating what’s being said there. One of them was saying how he had been learning about the Civil War in his class, and his brother put forward that we just have to get ready to defend ourselves now. The rest of the brothers were agreeing with what the placard was putting forward and saying that we have to fight for what’s right. We signed up the oldest brother to the Google doc and subscribed them to the YouTube channel. The oldest brother wanted to take responsibility for spreading the show online.

One of the brothers was disagreeing with what the Declaration says about why this is a rare time when revolution is possible. (We were reading this part of the Declaration out loud to them.) He said we needed to just go fight the fascists and get people strapped. (This was a question that came up more than once in different ways in this mini-bike scene.) While he said this, he got teary-eyed and angry about these fascists. We clarified what a revolution is and is not and what is the time we are in where a revolution can be possible, how are we understanding why we are in this situation, why this system has given birth to such a fascist movement, and why we need to overthrow this system; and dealing with that, we can understand why (1) if people try to just lash out in individual acts of frustration, people would get slaughtered and (2) doing that also wouldn’t deal with the whole fascist direction which these fascists are fighting for society to take. (This discussion happened more one-on-one, and we summed up afterwards it would have been better to put this question back to the whole group for everyone to grapple with this question together.)

We had the truck weave through the different parking lots where people were kicking it on the sidelines of the races, and had the truck go on the street where the bikes were racing too. This was creating a buzz because people were looking at the truck as it passed by and reading what the placards were saying. We stopped in several parking lots and pulled the truck up where people were able to engage the placards, off of beginning engagement on this question, not trying to answer every question, but driving people to the Declaration, the new piece by BA which we also distributed copies of, while flyering for the upcoming August 5 episode of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show as a way to get deeper into this. There was struggle because some people were into this and some weren’t and we used that to open up more debate about the revolution. We signed people up on our Google form, which was also an important new experience, where rather than just taking people’s number and calling them later with “what they can do,” they signed up concretely agreeing to basic, simple ways to spread this in the week leading into the show, along with committing to tune in on the August 5 episode of The RNL Show.

It was important that we persevered with trying to have a broader impact on the people who go to these races, and concretely organizing people on the spot, and especially making The RNL Show a focal point—having people subscribe and tune in every week because it’s providing revolutionary leadership in an ongoing way for people all across the country.

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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.

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

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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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/705/bob-avakian-answers-accusations-of-cult-en.html

Bob Avakian Answers
Accusations of "Cult":

IGNORANCE, AND COWARDICE

| revcom.us

 

In my writings and talks, I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of seeking the truth by scientific means, and following the truth wherever it leads—applying the scientific method to continually learn about reality, from many different sources, including people who disagree with what we are all about—in order to transform reality in a positive way, in the interests of humanity.

We revcoms are always anxious to learn about any real problems or shortcomings in what we are doing, so that we can do even better in working for the revolution that is so urgently needed. We are strongly in favor of serious discussion, debate and principled struggle over ideas (ideological struggle), especially about the profound problems and critical situation that people here, and all over the world, are facing, and what is the answer to this. There is far too little of this, and we are actively working to overcome that—to promote serious discussion, debate and principled ideological struggle about these crucial questions.

But the accusation that we are a “cult” has nothing to do with reality, is not in any way an expression of principled disagreement, and does not make any kind of positive contribution to serious discussion and debate over crucial questions.

In some cases this accusation comes partly from ignorance—not knowing what we are actually about. But if you don’t know about this, you should find out about it, and not just listen to—and repeat—ignorant nonsense about it. And, on the part of far too many, there is deliberate ignore-anceconsciously avoiding knowledge of what we are actually saying and doing, while spreading rumors and lies about this. Anyone who really wants to know what we stand for, and are working for, can easily find out, by watching The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show and going to revcom.us, where works of mine and other materials make very clear what we are actually saying and doing: We are applying—and continually working and struggling to win growing numbers of people to take up and apply—a scientific (not a “cultish”) method and approach, in building for an actual revolution to sweep away this oppressive and destructive system of capitalism-imperialism, which causes so much horrendous and unnecessary suffering, not just for masses of people in this country but for the masses of humanity worldwide, and which poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity.

But there is also cowardice on the part of some who make this ridiculous accusation of “cult”: It is a way of saying you don’t have the heart to fight for something really worth fighting for, a way of looking for (or inventing) “faults” in what we are about, so that you don’t have to put yourself on the line to do something that would really deal with the terrible situation that so many people are subjected to and the profound crisis that humanity is facing and needs to radically transform. It is a way of avoiding the work, the struggle—and, yes, the sacrifice—that is required to actually have a chance, at long last, to bring down this atrocious system and contribute in this way to the goal of ending all oppression, exploitation, degradation and the destruction of the environment—emancipating humanity from all this.

And it should be obvious who most benefits from this cheap talk of “cult.” It is the powers-that-be—those who rule in this system, who inflict so much suffering on the masses of people, everywhere, with such terrible cruelty and brutal savagery. They are determined to keep on doing this, and they are very happy to see slanders and lies spread about the people who are serious about putting an end to all this and are actively working to do that.

As I said at the beginning, we revcoms are determined to continue learning more, in order to do even better in meeting the tremendous challenge we are facing—building for, and organizing forces for, a real revolution. And we are working to promote serious discussion, debate and principled ideological struggle about the profound problems and critical situation that people here, and all over the world, are facing, and what is the answer to this.

Everyone who does not wish to remain mired in ignorance regarding such crucial questions, and who refuses to sink to the petty, gutter level of accusations of “cult,” should seriously engage what we are saying and doing and take part in the crucial process of grappling with what is really required to deal with the situation with which humanity is now urgently confronted.

 

 

 

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/705/bob-avakian-revolution-and-emancipation-not-petty-reform-and-revenge-en.html

I'm So Sick of this Whole "Identity Politics" and "Woke" Thing

REVOLUTION AND EMANCIPATION—NOT PETTY REFORM AND REVENGE:

On Movements, Principles, Methods, Means and Ends

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

The Ends Must Determine the Means, Not the Ends “Justify” the Means

Movements—in the social and political sense—involve people acting together for certain objectives. Positive social and political movements mobilize masses of people in struggle against oppressive and murderous policies and actions of their government and oppressive social relations (such as white supremacy and male supremacy) and the institutions and culture that embody, promote, and enforce them. For example, in recent years, there have been powerful movements against institutional racism and police terror, in this country and all around the world. And, in many countries, there have been mass outpourings against sexual abuse and other horrific oppression and degradation of women, including attacks on the right to abortion.

Several years ago, when the long-standing predatory sexual behavior of Harvey Weinstein was being forcefully exposed, and could not be denied, I wrote the following:

The phenomenon of sexual harassment and sexual assault—including (but not limited to) the sexual abuse of women by men who hold positions of power over them—is long‑standing and widespread throughout this male supremacist society and is reinforced by the putrid culture it has spawned. The outpouring of outrage against this sexual abuse and the all too commonplace institutional cover‑ups and complicity with it, and the demand for a radical change in the culture—which has made a major leap in relation to the accusations against Harvey Weinstein and has now spread far beyond that, involving millions of women, in sphere after sphere throughout this country and in other countries as well—is right, righteous, and long overdue, and should be supported, encouraged, spread, and defended against counter‑attack.1

At the same time:

This long‑suppressed and thoroughly just outpouring of outrage is not the same as any particular accusation. Such particular accusations do have to be approached on the basis of scientifically evaluating the evidence, and this is especially important where the accusations not only allege misconduct but actual criminal action, such as rape or other sexual assault. But this distinction, between particular accusations and the overall phenomenon, should not be allowed to obscure or diminish the righteousness and importance of the massive upsurge against this widespread and deeply‑rooted abuse and the tremendous injury it does to women and to humanity as a whole.2

Unfortunately, however, as things have developed, particularly in this country, the righteous rage that has been unleashed around this has not mainly taken the form of a movement mobilizing masses of people in struggle against the horrific oppression of women and the institutions and culture that embody, promote, and enforce this. (As one striking aspect of this, while there is an urgent need for mass mobilization taking to the streets in powerful resistance against the mounting attacks on the right to abortion, there has been a marked absence of such mass resistance.) Instead, with “me too,” what this has involved (or devolved into) is not so much a “movement,” but a continuing succession of accusations, directed mainly against individuals, where the goal often is (or becomes) “canceling” the person (or persons) accused, without any kind of scientific evaluation of the evidence.

The issues that have given rise to “me too” are clearly of great importance, and many of the accusations made in this connection are no doubt true. And, as an important article at revcom.us has emphasized:

It is a very real phenomenon, and an egregious outrage, that many women who are raped and sexually assaulted are then intimidated, or otherwise prevented, from coming forward or from pursuing this. And this needs to be resolutely opposed and fought against.3

But again,

as outrageous as this is, as much as it is an additional assault on these women and on women overall, that is not the same thing as saying, and should not lead to an approach that says, that every accusation of rape or sexual assault is automatically (or almost certainly) true—nor even that if there are many people making similar accusations, then those accusations are therefore true (there have been more than a few instances where multiple accusations against a person have proven to be false). What is true has to be determined by a scientific approach, relying on evidence and the correct analysis and synthesis of what the evidence as a whole indicates. Accusations are a kind of evidence—as are denials of those accusations—but in and of themselves they do not constitute a sufficient basis to draw definite conclusions.4

So what is the answer to this? The best and most just way to deal with this, particularly while we are still living under this system, is to build mass struggle to

create the kind of atmosphere in society overall and in different institutions and parts of society, that make it much more difficult for rape and sexual assault to be carried out, and that encourage and support women in resisting this and in coming forward to raise this and seek justice when it does happen, while at the same time insisting on a consistent approach of proceeding in relation to accusations of rape and sexual assault, and accusations of crimes and wrongdoing in general, through a process that relies on a scientific method and approach and where the kind of "trial by media" and "media tyranny" that is so commonplace these days, and the very poisonous atmosphere this creates and reinforces, will be firmly rejected and denounced.5

Continuing exposure of and mass opposition to such outrages as gender and racial oppression is very much needed and extremely important, but the “cancel culture” that often accompanies this is a decidedly negative counter-current, which is generally an expression of petty bourgeois narrowness and cynicism,

which is marked by (real, or artificial and fashionable) outrage at instances of social injustice but at the same time by a dismissal or outright rejection of any real attempt at bringing a truly just society into being, and which is often molded and manipulated by ruling bourgeois forces—and is carried to fanatical extremes, unmoored from and in opposition to a rational, scientific method and approach. And this is made all the worse by the powerful influence of the extreme individualism that is promoted throughout this society, with its poisonous component of constantly seeking to “tear down” others (which has become a perverse “national sport”).6

And here we see the basic problem that I pointed to, in speaking about “cancel culture” in Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds”:

among other things, “cancel culture,” in primarily targeting individuals, is an approach that tends to ignore, downplay and fail to really fight against the institutions and the whole system which constitute the deeper root and source of these outrages. Rarely, if ever, does this approach aim at “canceling” the whole system!7

Further, this “canceling” of people

is often amplified through “trial in the media and social media,” with neither any prospect nor even any pretense of due process or any real attempt to get at the truth, fueled by the dangerous notion that a mere allegation is enough to condemn someone and make them a permanent pariah, and marked by a refusal to apply any measure of proportionality, to make any distinctions between different kinds and degrees of wrongdoing.8

It is true that individuals raising incidents of sexual or other abuse can encourage others to do so, and this can lead to a situation where “the dam breaks” and the whole larger social phenomenon of such abuse forces its way into public consciousness, where before it had been effectively, or largely, suppressed. This could contribute to a real outpouring of mass struggle against such abuse. But, again, that does not mean that it is justified, or will lead to a positive result, to trample on basic principles and methods in the approach to particular accusations of abuse, even if this is done in the name of the larger social good. And focusing on individuals as an overall approach—especially with revenge all too often becoming the aim, and crucial principles and methods violatedcan only lead away from the actual solution.

What is needed are mass movements that mainly focus and direct the struggle against “the institutions and the whole system which constitute the deeper root and source” of the outrages. There is great importance to uniting all who can be united in these struggles, and overall in the struggle against injustice and oppression. Principled ideological struggle, over what are the deeper causes of the outrages being fought against, and what direction the struggle against this should take—this is necessary and important. But this is far different from, and directly in opposition to, petty narrowness and sectarianism—including “woke commodification” of the struggle, with notions of “ownership” of a movement, and the division of those who should be united in the struggle into “commodity” categories: those who have the supposed right to “own” a movement and decide its direction, and those who, on the other hand, are reduced to subordinate “allies” of these “owners.” (It is remarkable how much the terms of capitalist commodity relations and “business” have saturated the “popular culture,” with expressions about “owning” this or that strikingly commonplace; and this way of thinking also has significant influence in “woke” culture and movements claiming to be opposing oppression.) This narrow approach does not seek to break out of the oppressive and suffocating confines of this system of capitalism-imperialism, but strives instead for a “better place” within this system, which causes so much horrendous, and unnecessary, suffering for the masses of humanity.

It is also striking that so many “woke” people do not expose and condemn the fact that the country they are living in (the “good ole USA”) has, over nearly a century, been the most powerful imperialist oppressor in the world, and the greatest destroyer of the environment, doing the greatest harm to humanity. How much, in all the “woke” talk about “privilege,” is there a denouncing and renouncing of American privilege—of American supremacy and American chauvinism? How much a clear-cut stand that American imperialism should be firmly opposed in its attempt to maintain its position as number one oppressor, worldwide, and that the masses of people in this country have no interests and no stake in American imperialism’s rivalry with China, itself a rising capitalist-imperialist power? How much a reckoning with the fact that people in this country share—even though quite unequally—in the “spoils” that come from American imperialism’s plunder of the world’s people, including masses of children? How much an orientation and declaration that it would be far better to do without these “spoils”—by doing away with American imperialism and struggling together with people all over the world to be rid of all imperialism, and all relations of exploitation and oppression, all plunder of people as well as the environment?

Not very much.

In opposition to concepts of “ownership,” in regard to mass movements, while due weight needs to be given to the whole history and present reality of horrific oppression, and the experience of people directly subjected to such oppression, if the goal is actually to abolish and uproot oppression, the standard against which anyone’s (or any group’s) ideas and proposals need to be evaluated is: objective reality—and specifically what is the nature of the particular problem (or form of oppression) people are up against, what is the source and cause of this, how does this relate to the fundamental problem (the whole system), and how to correctly handle the relation between the more particular and the fundamental, in order to move toward achieving the actual solution. (And, no, objective reality is not a white supremacist or male supremacist “construct”—it is...objective reality.)

In this regard,

it is very relevant to refer to a statement by Lenin who said that all those who approach revolution with the orientation, “They had their chance, now it’s my turn to have a go at it”—all those who approach revolution in that way do so from the point of view of the petite bourgeoisie. And it hardly needs saying that the approach of the petite bourgeoisie is not going to lead to the achievement of the “4 Alls” and the emancipation of humanity.9

(The “4 Alls” refers to the statement by Marx that the communist revolution aims for the abolition of all class distinctions, all the production relations on which those class distinctions rest, all the social relations that correspond to those production relations, and the revolutionizing of all the ideas that correspond to those social relations. This is both a concentrated and a comprehensive expression of the fact that this revolution aims for the complete elimination and uprooting of all relations of exploitation and oppression and the institutions that enforce this, along with the radical transformation of the culture and ways of thinking that arise from and reinforce these antagonistic relations among human beings.)

And, of course, Lenin’s important insight definitely applies to people who are not even striving for a real revolution, to put an end to this whole system, but are “working for meaningless petty reforms and seeking funds for themselves and positions within the structures of this system.”10

A Scientific Approach, Not “Knee-Jerk” Reactions, Subjectivism and Sophistry

Here is another matter of fundamental principle:

It has to be said—and cannot be overstated—that, in the world today, there can be no just society without the rule of law; there can be no rule of law without due process of law; and there can be no due process of law without the presumption of innocence (and that presumption of innocence must be real—and not a farce, as it is in this society).That is why so much emphasis is given to these principles in the new communism, including specifically the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored.

It also has to be said that there can be no justice, and great harm will be done, where “trial in the media and social media” is treated as equivalent to, or a substitute for, due process—and this is especially so when what is involved are accusations not against representatives of state power, like the police, but against “ordinary people,” even wealthy and/or prominent ones.11

Yet substituting “trial in the media and social media” for due process, and violating the important principle that an allegation or accusation, by itself, is not in fact “proof”—this all too often characterizes “cancel culture.” This is graphically expressed in the fact that, with “me too,” the orientation has been widely propagated, and taken up, that it is necessary to “believe all women” making such accusations—not just take such women seriously, but automatically “believe” them. And this same approach (that accusations, unless obviously unfounded and blatantly ridiculous, should be accepted as “proof”) has been widely applied to allegations and accusations of many different kinds.

It is also necessary to make certain important distinctions—between different kinds and degrees of wrongful acts (even where “guilt” is validly established) and between situations where the accused acknowledges the wrongdoing and, on the other hand, those situations where they deny wrongdoing and insist on their innocence. But it is often the case that where the accused does deny the accusation, “trial in the media and social media,” with the “presumption of guilt” (particularly in the form of treating an accusation itself as “proof” of guilt) assumes even more insistent and virulent expression.

Some defend “the presumption of guilt” in these situations by applying sophistry (faulty, bogus reasoning) that argues along these lines: “Okay, due process of law, including the presumption of innocence, should apply in court proceedings relating to alleged violation of the law; but in the realm of public life and public opinion this does not apply.” And so the approach is taken—directly and explicitly, or implicitly and in practice—that, in this realm (of public life and public opinion), it is perfectly fine to rely on “trial in the media and social media” and the standard that a mere accusation is the same as actual proof.

This often finds expression in the statement that an accusation is “credible.” Here a trick (a “sleight of hand”) is being played. “Credible” essentially means “believable.” Many things can be “credible” but that does not mean that they are true. Yet, with this logic, “credible” is treated as equal to, or a legitimate substitute for, true. (And acceptance of the idea that accusations being “credible” means the same thing as such accusations actually being true—this leads to, and reinforces, a more general credulousness: a readiness to believe things, especially things that tend to “confirm” one’s inclinations and prejudices, without having a valid basis for determining whether they are true.) This orientation also frequently finds expression in the statement that “I believe so-and-so” (someone making an accusation), where such “belief” is closely akin to religious belief—is a substitute for actual evidence (or flies in the face of evidence that runs counter to such “belief”).

In reality, whether something is true—and specifically whether an allegation or accusation is true—cannot be determined on the basis of whether, by itself, it seems believable. Once again: The truth of such an allegation or accusation can only be determined by examining it scientifically, through accumulating and evaluating evidence, including what is said, and what may be brought forward as evidence, by way of refuting such an allegation or accusation.

In cases where there are serious allegations of wrongdoing but legal, courtroom proceedings do not apply, and what is at issue is something like the accused’s employment or position (as well as their reputation), the best chance of getting at the truth would often mean having a process that is carried out by a qualified “disinterested party” (a person, or group of people, with the appropriate training and experience, and with no “stake,” no “axe to grind,” in the matter) and where the approach that applies in legal matters would also be basically applied, including the requirement that an allegation be proved, with compelling evidence, and there is a real opportunity for the person (or persons) accused to confront and attempt to refute the allegation and any evidence offered as proof of it. (Of course, it will be difficult to effect such a process, in the current atmosphere especially, with the very negative “tear down” culture and far too many people, including many celebrities and influential people, quick to dissociate themselves from, and join the condemnation of, people on the basis of what are mere accusations, which have not been proved—or have, in some cases, been effectively disproved. Even more significantly, corporations and other prominent institutions which for so long ignored, covered up and suppressed exposure of actual wrongdoing, have in many cases “flipped” to an approach of ridding themselves of people accused, without the kind of process called for here. With both these approaches, the basic motivation has been the same: to protect their “brand” and “bottom line.”)

In some cases, and particularly in the absence of the kind of adversarial process that takes place in legal, courtroom proceedings, or something approximating that (both sides presenting evidence and questioning the evidence brought by the other side), it may be very difficult, if not actually impossible, to validly determine whether an accusation is true, or not. And, while it is very important that there be mass struggle against oppression and injustice, it is a fact that there is not a basis within the confines of this system of capitalism-imperialism to fully and finally uproot the oppressive and exploitative relations that are built into this system. But that does not mean that it is alright to substitute “cancel culture” in place of actual mass movements, and to substitute subjective impressions and opinions in place of a valid process for determining the truth.

What I am arguing for here is also in direct opposition to another very harmful aspect of “cancel culture”:

There is the phenomenon of not only targeting and seeking to tear down individuals, but along with that, or as part of it, going through the whole history of people’s lives, going back decades—even into someone’s very early years—and seeing if you can find something around which they can be condemned and which therefore disqualifies them from any positive role in anything. Now, as I have stressed many times, where people have committed real crimes and outrages they should be held accountable; but there is also the need to look at the arc of someone’s life and what is the principal and defining aspect of their life. Is it the mistakes they’ve made, or even a really terrible thing they’ve done at some point? Is that the essential aspect of their life and what defines it? Or has their life involved real transformation, where what has come to define what they are about are the positive things that they have done and the positive trajectory to their life overall?12

Of course, the basic approach argued for here is not “perfect” and will not always lead to the most correct and just outcome (as, in fact, is the case with actual court proceedings, especially under this system). The reality has to be confronted that it is not possible to achieve a fundamentally just resolution to all this within the confines of this system, with the oppressive and exploitative relations built into it, and the putrid culture that it is promoted by this system and serves to reinforce it. But, so long as we are living under this system, the approach I have outlined here is definitely better than “cancel culture,” with its reliance on “trial in the media and social media” and acceptance of an allegation in itself as “proof.”

This emphasizes the point—something which is also a critical matter of method and principle—that people should not “jump to conclusions” about an allegation or accusation, substituting their own inclinations or prejudices for a process which has more of a possibility of arriving at a valid conclusion. It emphasizes that there should be no “trial” in the media and social media—and that an orientation and culture needs to be fostered and fought for where people actively reject efforts in the media and social media to pre-judge and prejudice things in regard to allegations and accusations.

As pointed out in the article on fascist lunacy and “woke folk insanity,” trial in the media and social media, the acceptance of a mere allegation as “proof,” and the whole “cancel culture” that goes along with this, is

just another version of the extremely harmful notion that “the ends justify the means” (that any means are justified if the goal is, or is proclaimed to be, righteous), something that is firmly rejected by the new communism and should be rejected by anyone who aspires to a truly just society.13

Difficult as it may be, especially in the current social atmosphere—where many people are genuinely and righteously outraged by the endless abuses to which masses of people are continually subjected, but may also be influenced by the poisonous culture of “tear down” and revenge that is promoted throughout society—it has to be recognized that there will be situations where it is not possible to come to a well-founded conclusion about certain allegations and accusations. In these situations, it is correct and important not to draw, and especially not to broadcast and propagate, definitive conclusions (even in the guise of “opinions,” “guesses,” and “inclinations”). In short, sometimes it will be correct and necessary to just say “we can’t tell,” and act accordingly—yes, applying what amounts to “the presumption of innocence.”

This will undoubtedly lead to certain situations where someone who is in fact guilty of harmful actions (whether actually illegal or not) will “get away” with this, and escape what would be appropriate accountability. But, again, applying the principles and methods I have emphasized here will definitely lead to a better situation than one where subjective, unscientific judgments are substituted for a process through which allegations and accusations could be reasonably evaluated (or, worse yet, these subjective judgments are persisted in, when there is such a process but it leads to a conclusion that is contrary to these subjective judgments); where, without any semblance or pretense of due process, people are “tried and convicted” in the media and social media; where there is a marked lack of proportionality, so that regardless of the nature of the offense for which someone is “convicted,” they are generally subjected to “cancellation” and, if not literally deprived of their liberty, are often deprived of their livelihood or standing in society and turned into outcasts (treated as permanent pariahs).

With the approach of focusing on and “canceling” individuals, the larger social outrages—the oppression and injustice that does great harm to masses of people—will remain fundamentally in place and unchanged. On the other hand, even while there will be situations where it is not possible to validly determine the “guilt or innocence” of a particular person (or persons) who are accused of wrongdoing, it is definitely possible to come to firm conclusions about what is right and wrong in terms of oppression and injustice, and to build mass movements that focus the struggle against the institutions and culture—and ultimately the whole system—that is responsible for this oppression and injustice.

There are also situations where accusations of wrongdoing do not involve direct personal (or professional) interactions but things such as statements, writings, and actions of the alleged wrongdoer which have a broad social effect (involving, for example, race or gender relations). In this regard, as I have spoken to previously, “in some cases it is actually clear, right away, what is right and wrong—things that should be upheld, and things (such as Confederate monuments) that should be repudiated and removed.”14 In many cases, however, the situation is more complex. Particularly in situations where what is involved is in fact complex, it is especially important to seriously engage what is being said by people on the different sides of a dispute, rather than “rushing to judgment” and looking for cheap ways to attack someone whose position you are inclined to disagree with. Here, the following principles of epistemology (the means for arriving at the truth) are of critical importance:

The truth of something does not depend on who says it, or how it makes you feel. Because something comes from a source you like does not make it true; and because something comes from a source you do not like does not make it untrue. And truth is not a “popularity contest.Because a lot of people believe something does not make it true; and because only a few people believe something does not make it untrue.

Truth is objective—which means: Whether something is true or not depends on whether it corresponds to actual reality.15

But, in opposition to any kind of serious and scientific approach,

“woke folk cancel culture” rejects the distinction between what is more immediately clear and what is more complex—and rejects rational discourse and serious, scientific exploration of and grappling with questions that may in fact be complex, replacing this with knee-jerk reactions, in accordance with whatever have become the momentary imperatives of “identity politics wokeness.”16

“Ends and Means,” and the Fundamental—and Urgently Needed—Solution

The completely legitimate frustration and anger that results from the recognition (or the sense) that there is not, and there cannot be, any fully just resolution to all this under this system—this should be turned into a profound determination to abolish this system, and bring something much better into being. As emphasized in Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis: “The trauma that results from directly suffering horrific forms of oppression and degradation is very real, and no one should deny or underestimate that.” But this needs to become something greater than personal angst, or a desire for revenge—it needs to be “transformed into anger and determination to be part of a collective struggle to put an end to all the atrocities, everywhere, whose fundamental source and cause is this system of capitalism-imperialism.”17

This means and requires building movements that are actual movements of masses of people mobilizing to fight the oppression and injustice constantly perpetrated by this system—mass movements that in word and deed reject the poisonous notion that “the ends justify the means,” and instead employ means that are consistent with, and an expression of, the goal of ending the injustices and outrages to which masses of people are continually subjected under this system.

Fundamentally—and as a matter of urgent importance—it means actively, systematically working now to build up the organized forces for, to bring into being more favorable conditions for, and then to carry out a revolution with the aim of bringing about the elimination and uprooting of all injustice and oppression, all exploitation and degradation, through overthrowing this system of capitalism-imperialism, which is the ultimate source and root cause of all this, and bringing into being a radically different, emancipating society and world, on an entirely new foundation.

As I have emphasized in Breakthroughs:

The goal of this revolution is not revenge and the reversal of the positions of oppressed and oppressor (“the last shall be first, and the first shall be last”).... You see it over and over again—the goal becomes revenge, it becomes something short of transforming all of society. It becomes, “get mine if I can, or if I can’t at least I can tear somebody else down.” That’s very pronounced in this society, particularly at this time, and even struggles which are dealing with very real and profound contradictions and relations of oppression can be turned toward that kind of outlook and approach by the powerful pull of spontaneity and the prevailing relations in this society.

This goes back to the point that even movements which start out highlighting very important outrages and injustices, and carrying out struggle against them, can only continue to go in the direction they need to go in, ultimately—and all these different forces in society that are opposing various forms of oppression can only be united in a lasting and forward moving way—on the basis of a scientific communist approach and what it reveals to be the solution to the profound problems that the present society embodies and enforces. With the outlook of the petite bourgeoisie you’re never going to get there. What is needed is—in a non-reified sense, in the communist sense—the outlook of the proletariat, the outlook and approach that corresponds to the fundamental interests of the proletariat, which involves the recognition that only by emancipating all of humanity can any one section of the exploited and oppressed be emancipated.

In contrast to narrow and petty motivations and aspirations for things such as revenge and “my turn to have a go at it,” the goal of the communist revolution is, as emphasized in THE NEW COMMUNISM, “getting to a different world where all these horrors for the masses of people don’t go on any longer.” The goal is the emancipation of humanity—the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, and the corresponding antagonisms among human beings, and the uprooting of the soil out of which they arise, with the achievement of communism, throughout the world.18

 


1. A Question of Basic Stand and Orientation, SUPPORT AND SPREAD THE FURY AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE, by Bob Avakian, is available at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html.  [back]

2. A Question of Basic Stand and Orientation, SUPPORT AND SPREAD THE FURY AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE.  [back]

3. Some Points of Orientation, Principle, and Method Regarding the Accusations Against Bill Cosby. This article is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

4. Some Points of Orientation, Principle, and Method Regarding the Accusations Against Bill Cosby.  [back]

5. Some Points of Orientation, Principle, and Method Regarding the Accusations Against Bill Cosby.  [back]

6. Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.” This article is also available at revcom.us.  [back]

7. Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds”.  [back]

8. Bob Avakian, Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism. This is available at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html. (This passage is also cited in Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.”)  [back]

9. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary, by Bob Avakian, published as an ebook by Insight Press (insight‑press.com), is available online at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other major retailers (EPUB, MOBI, PDF). It can also be accessed at revcom.us.  [back]

10. FROM THE REVCOMS: A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION. This is available at revcom.us—and it is being posted and passed out to people in neighborhoods and other places around the country, as a key part of spreading the word about this revolution and organizing people into this revolution.  [back]

11. Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.”  [back]

12. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism.  [back]

13. Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.”  [back]

14. Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.”  [back]

15. Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach to Changing the World. This article by Bob Avakian is also available (in both a short and longer version) at revcom.us. (Emphasis—boldface—added by the author here to the phrase “or how it makes you feel.”)  [back]

16. Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.”  [back]

17. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism.  [back]

18. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary. The quote in the last paragraph here is from 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.  [back]

Hope For Humanity
On A Scientific Basis

Breaking with Individualism,
Parasitism and
American Chauvinism

Bob Avakian
Author of The New Communism

Read more     |     Download the PDF

Read excerpts here.

Also by Bob Avakian and referred to in this essay:

Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds”

A Question of Basic Stand and Orientation, SUPPORT AND SPREAD THE FURY AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE

Some Points of Orientation, Principle, and Method Regarding the Accusations Against Bill Cosby

Conspiracy Theories, Fascist “Certitude,” Liberal Paralysis, Or A Scientific Approach to Changing the World

 

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/699/bob-avakian-on-fascist-lunacy-and-woke-folk-insanity-a-new-two-outmodeds-en.html

Bob Avakian On
Fascist Lunacy and "Woke Folk" Insanity: A New "Two Outmodeds"

| revcom.us

 

A number of years ago, drawing from the title of a book by Benjamin Barber, I referred to one of the main confrontations taking place in the world as Jihad vs. McWorld/McCrusade. (“Jihad” here refers to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, and “McWorld/McCrusade” to increasingly globalized western imperialism, infused with a poisonous sense of “the superiority of Western Christian Civilization.”) As I wrote then:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the “historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system,” and in particular the U.S. imperialists.1

Today, these “two outmodeds” still have real importance, but it must be said that there is, in addition, a new kind of “two outmodeds,” which is particularly pronounced in the U.S.: fascist lunacy and “woke folk” insanity.

I have written and spoken extensively about the viciously deranged, anti-scientific mangling of reality and truth that characterizes fascism as a powerful force contending for power—aiming to institute a more blatant and overt capitalist dictatorship, which would gut and pervert the rule of law, brutally suppress the rights of masses of people and carry to even greater extremes the exploitative and oppressive relations of this system of capitalism-imperialism and the threat to human existence through destruction of the environment and the danger of nuclear war.

But there is another kind of insanity that is becoming a major destructive force in politics and society: the increasing move to tear down everything and everyone that does not, and cannot, meet the tortured, anti-historical and anti-scientific “test” of conforming to the often arbitrary standards of “wokeness.” There are numerous and multiplying instances of this—including, for example, situations where someone (say, an artist) who is white does something powerful to expose the oppression of Black people... and instead of this being appreciated for its contribution to the understanding of and struggle against this oppression, the person is attacked for alleged “cultural colonization” (supposedly “appropriating” the exposure of and struggle against this oppression). This is crazy, and worse than crazy. As others have pointed out, carried to its logical extreme, this kind of “identity politics” wokeness—with its insistence that only people who directly experience something can legitimately say anything about it—would, among other crimes, put an end to, or at the least would seriously restrict and vitiate, literature and art. And overall, this does great harm to the struggle against oppression and the kind of society we should want to live in. Yet, like an out-of-control virus, this madness is continually expanding in its scope and mutating in its particular forms, as it becomes more and more extreme, and more and more unhinged from a sane approach to reality.

The Actual Struggle Against Injustice and Oppression, and the Perversion of Poisonous “Cancel Culture”

In A Beautiful Uprising: Right And Wrong, Methods And Principles, in examining different trends that were evident in the mass outpouring against police terror and institutional racism last summer, I emphasized these basic points of method and principle:

It is crucially important to identify what, in any given phenomenon (a system, a movement, a person), is the main thing (the principal aspect), which defines the essence of that phenomenon at any given time, and overall. For example, both Nat Turner and John Brown, who led heroic (if ultimately defeated) rebellions against slavery, were highly religious—and it is not wrong to see each of them as a kind of religious fanatic. But their religious zealotry was in the service of fighting the main (the most egregious) form of exploitation and oppression of that time—slavery. We cannot condemn Nat Turner or John Brown because they did not recognize that, to lead the struggle to do away with all oppression, it is necessary to cast off the mental shackles of religion and take up a consistently scientific method and approach—just as we cannot condemn them for not fighting against what is today the main system of exploitation and oppression subjecting the masses of humanity to horrific suffering, the system of capitalism-imperialism, because in their time the most decisive immediate question was not (yet) the abolition of the capitalist-imperialist system and the ending of all relations of exploitation and oppression, but the abolition of the system of outright slavery. That was the main (principal) contradiction being confronted. And the main (principal) aspect of what they did, in rising up against slavery, was overwhelmingly positive, even with certain definite secondary shortcomings (including the fact that, in the rebellion led by Nat Turner, they killed not only the adults but the children of slave-owning families).2

The cancerous “cancel culture” carried out in the name of “wokeness” tramples on these crucial methods and principles. In “A Beautiful Uprising” I pointed to the fact that, in some cases it is actually clear, right away, what is right and wrong—things that should be upheld, and things (such as Confederate monuments) that should be repudiated and removed—while in many cases the situation is more complex. But “woke folk cancel culture” rejects the distinction between what is more immediately clear and what is more complex—and rejects rational discourse and serious, scientific exploration of and grappling with questions that may in fact be complex, replacing this with knee-jerk reactions, in accordance with whatever have become the momentary imperatives of “identity politics wokeness.” As I emphasized in Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:

where people have committed real crimes and outrages they should be held accountable; but there is also the need to look at the arc of someone’s life and what is the principal and defining aspect of their life. Is it the mistakes they’ve made, or even a really terrible thing they’ve done at some point? Is that the essential aspect of their life and what defines it? Or has their life involved real transformation, where what has come to define what they are about are the positive things that they have done and the positive trajectory to their life overall?

What is involved here is a very wrong and harmful approach of “canceling” people—indicting them (in the realm of public opinion if not legally) and canceling them out—which is different than holding people accountable for serious acts of oppression or other outrages that they’ve committed but then also looking at the whole arc and main content of what their life has been about. (And this is made all the worse by the fact that it is often amplified through “trial in the media and social media,” with neither any prospect nor even any pretense of due process or any real attempt to get at the truth, fueled by the dangerous notion that a mere allegation is enough to condemn someone and make them a permanent pariah, and marked by a refusal to apply any measure of proportionality, to make any distinctions between different kinds and degrees of wrongdoing.)3

It has to be said—and cannot be overstated—that, in the world today, there can be no just society without the rule of law; there can be no rule of law without due process of law; and there can be no due process of law without the presumption of innocence (and that presumption of innocence must be real—and not a farce, as it is in this society). That is why so much emphasis is given to these principles in the new communism, including specifically the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which I have authored.4

It also has to be said that there can be no justice, and great harm will be done, where “trial in the media and social media” is treated as equivalent to, or a substitute for, due process—and this is especially so when what is involved are accusations not against representatives of state power, like the police, but against “ordinary people,” even wealthy and/or prominent ones. Yet “trial in the media and social media”—where mere accusations are treated as proof of guilt and there is a marked lack of proportionality (and at times even a refusal to recognize or accept the outcome of serious investigation and genuine due process)—this is what is clamored for and practiced with the cancerous “woke folk cancel culture.” This is just another version of the extremely harmful notion that “the ends justify the means” (that any means are justified if the goal is, or is proclaimed to be, righteous), something that is firmly rejected by the new communism and should be rejected by anyone who aspires to a truly just society.

But this kind of madness is what happens when petty bourgeois narrowness and cynicism—which is marked by (real, or artificial and fashionable) outrage at instances of social injustice but at the same time by a dismissal or outright rejection of any real attempt at bringing a truly just society into being, and which is often molded and manipulated by ruling bourgeois forces—is carried to fanatical extremes, unmoored from and in opposition to a rational, scientific method and approach. And this is made all the worse by the powerful influence of the extreme individualism that is promoted throughout this society, with its poisonous component of constantly seeking to “tear down” others (which has become a perverse “national sport”).

And, among other things, “cancel culture,” in primarily targeting individuals, is an approach that tends to ignore, downplay and fail to really fight against the institutions and the whole system which constitute the deeper root and source of these outrages. Rarely, if ever, does this approach aim at “canceling” the whole system!

All this is also an expression of “woke entrepreneurialism”: It treats oppression and opposition to oppression as “capital”—and seeks to “own” and “leverage” it—instead of fighting to abolish the oppression.

Now, as with the original “two outmodeds,” it is important to have a definite understanding about which of these new “two outmodeds” represents the greater danger and does, by far, the greater harm. Clearly, it is the fascist lunacy, and not the “woke folk” insanity. But, at the same time, as with the original “two outmodeds,” these new “two outmodeds” also reinforce each other even while opposing each other, and this, too, is a dynamic that must be broken with, in rejecting and opposing both of these new “two outmodeds.” (And those who deny that “woke folk” insanity and “cancel culture” is a real and serious problem—insisting instead that what is involved is merely holding people accountable for wrong-doing—are refusing to look at, or are seriously distorting, reality. They are akin to those pseudo “leftists” who have tried to prettify Islamic fundamentalist terrorism by characterizing it as “political Islam” and even in some cases have tried to portray this as a positive force against western imperialism.)

These New “Two Outmodeds”—Death Throes of This Moribund System—and the Revolution That Is Urgently Needed to Overthrow This System

In my New Year’s Statement (A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity), I pointed to the fact that, while they invoke very different political objectives, the fascists and the advocates of “identity politics” wokeness have much in common in terms of their epistemology (their approach to knowledge and truth). Both treat “truth” as something that conforms to subjective inclinations and prejudices, rather than to objective reality.5 And it has to be said that, in its social effect, “woke folk” insanity actually serves to reinforce and strengthen the fascist forces, which are quite capable of seizing on especially the most egregious expressions of this “wokeness” not just to mock and ridicule “woke” people but to deny very real oppression and obstruct the struggle against it, while in an overall way this “woke folk” insanity constitutes a diversion and evasion from—and actually does great harm to—the struggle against the oppression and exploitation of masses of people, here and throughout the world, and the need for revolution to abolish and uproot the basis for this oppression and exploitation.

It is this revolution—an actual revolution, to overthrow and completely abolish this system of capitalism-imperialism and bring a radically different and much better society into being, on an entirely different foundation—which must be urgently built for now, through applying the scientific method and scientifically-grounded principles of the new communism, in opposition to everything that serves to enforce and reinforce this system of capitalism-imperialism, which embodies the most horrific oppression and which increasingly poses an existential threat to the very existence of humanity.

 

1. Discussion of these “two outmodeds” (Jihad and McWorld/McCrusade) can be found in a number of works by Bob Avakian, including Bringing Forward Another Way, which is available at revcom.us, BA’s Collected Works. [back]

2. The article Bob Avakian On A Beautiful Uprising: Right And Wrong, Methods And Principles is also available at revcom.us. [back]

3. Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism is available at revcom.us, BA’s Collected Works. [back]

4. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is available at revcom.us. [back]

5. New Year’s Statement By Bob Avakian, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, is available at revcom.us. [back]

Click to read.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

Click to read and download (PDF)

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/702/supplementary-excerpts-en.html

Supplementary Excerpts

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following excerpts from works by Bob Avakian (which are available at or can be ordered through revcom.us) are relevant to the article Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds” and generally to the phenomena of “identity politics,” “wokeness,” individualism, parasitism and American chauvinism.

See Further Supplementary Excerpts here.

 

From Breakthroughs, The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (ebook edition, 2021).

And then there’s BAsics 4:10:

For humanity to advance beyond a state in which “might makes right”—and where things ultimately come down to raw power relations—will require, as a fundamental element in this advance, an approach to understanding things (an epistemology) which recognizes that reality and truth are objective and do not vary in accordance with, nor depend on, different “narratives” and how much “authority” an idea (or “narrative”) may have behind it, or how much power and force can be wielded on behalf of any particular idea or “narrative,” at any given point.1

This is extremely important as well—the relation between relativism and “might makes right.” Say, for example, that you are part of an oppressed group. You have a narrative about your oppression. But if the very righteous and just struggle against this oppression—against the police murder of Black and Brown and Native American people, for example—is reduced to a matter of narrative, to a matter of what amounts to a subjective view of the world (“We know what this means, we know where it comes from and what to do about it because we experience it, as part of our particular group identity”)—if that’s the epistemology that you’re putting forward, well, then, what happens when you run into a group with more power than you? Like the police—they’ve got their epistemology and their narrative too: “You are all a bunch of animals, you have to be confined; and if you in any way provoke us, we have the right to kill you.” That’s their narrative. This racism is written right into the law of this society and its bourgeois dictatorship. What do I mean by that? Well, what does the law say in most states? If the police have “a reasonable fear” of either harm to themselves or someone else, they have a right to use force, including deadly force. Well, then, you’ve got racism written right into this, because almost all police regard Black people, particularly young Black males (not only them, but particularly young Black males) as a threat, as a danger. So the rationale for police killing Black people is built in, they’ve written racism into the law. That’s their narrative—and their narrative has the backing of the state, which is why they almost never get indicted, let alone convicted, of these murders, time after time after time.

And then there’s the military of this system. They’ve got a narrative, too, about how they’re a force for good in the world, and they need to wield this force to impose order because that is for the greater good. And they’ve got their military power to back up that narrative. So, if it’s all a bunch of narratives, then whoever’s got the most power behind their narrative is going to ultimately prevail.

This gets to a point from Mao that is important in its own right and also has important application here. Mao said that striking a pose to intimidate is a very common tactic among certain people. In confronting the enemy, he pointed out, it’s absolutely useless, and among the people it does great harm. Think about this: If you’re in these narrow circles where the currency is identity politics, maybe you can get over by insisting on your narrative over somebody else’s. But in the broader world, and in particular up against the enemy, the ruling class, they don’t give a damn about your narrative, they don’t give a damn about your identity. They’ve got their interests and they’ve got a lot of force behind their interests, and your posturing with your identity is absolutely useless, it’s worthless, up against that. And this is all the more the case with the fascist regime that is now [in 2019] in power. Of course, it is not the case that fascism arose and came to power because of identity politics and the corresponding epistemology. The point is that these fascists want to reinforce and intensify the oppressive relations that identity politics is seeking to address in a distorted and ill-founded way, and these identity politics disorient and disarm people ideologically and render them less able to deal with this. Such identity politics, and in particular the posturing that all too often accompanies it, is only “useful” among people who will be intimidated by this, and in fact such intimidation does a great deal of harm. That’s what Mao meant when he said this kind of thing does great harm among the people. Intimidating people rather than winning them to a scientific understanding of reality, and what needs to be done about it, can only do harm among the people, and it’s absolutely useless against those who have real power.

So, once again, there is a great deal that is concentrated in BAsics 4:10 in terms of the relation between epistemology and advancing beyond a state in which might makes right. To further illustrate the important questions of principle and method that are involved, let me cite the following from my “Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology” drawing from the historical experience of the communist movement:

One of the big questions is “are we really people who are trying to get to the truth, or is it really just a matter of ‘truth as an organizing principle’?” Lenin criticized this philosophically—“truth as an organizing principle”—and you can criticize it to reject religion and opportunism which you don’t find particularly useful, but you can end up doing this yourself in another form....

I’m talking about a new synthesis—a more thoroughly materialist epistemology. Lenin wrote Materialism and Empirio-Criticism where he argued against these things [like "political truth," or "truth as an organizing principle"] but sometimes the practical Lenin got in the way of the philosophical Lenin. The political exigencies that were imposed contributed to a situation where some of the way Lenin dealt with contradictions had an aspect of Stalin.* There are many examples of this in The Furies [a book on the French and Russian revolutions by Arno Mayer]. In some instances, the Bolsheviks had a kind of "Mafia" approach in some areas, especially during the civil war that followed the October 1917 Revolution. In some cases, when people would be organized by reactionaries to fight against the Bolsheviks, the Bolsheviks would retaliate broadly and without mercy. Or they would kill people not only for deserting the Red Army but even for dragging their feet in fighting the civil war. While sometimes in the midst of war, extreme measures may be necessary, overall this is not the way to deal with these contradictions....I read Lenin on this and thought, "this is not right." There’s epistemological stuff bound up with all this as well. [Bob Avakian, “Bob Avakian in a Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology: On Knowing and Changing the World,” in Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy. p. 56, p. 55]

*Note added by the author: The reference here to “an aspect of Stalin” is a shorthand way of speaking to the negative side of Stalin—in particular his tendency, in dealing with what were very real and often acute contradictions, to rely on state repression, including capital punishment, instead of ideological struggle (combined with an insistence on adherence to discipline, and lesser punishment for violation of discipline, in situations where that was required).

And here we see the close interconnection between epistemology and morality. The orientation and principle that “Everything that is actually true is good for the proletariat, all truths can help us get to communism” is not only extremely important itself but is also closely related to the fact that 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.


1.   BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, RCP Publications, 2011. An ebook version can be downloaded for free with a link at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html. [back]

 

 

From Breakthroughs.

The goal of this revolution is not revenge and the reversal of the positions of oppressed and oppressor (“the last shall be first, and the first shall be last”). Here it is very relevant to refer to a statement by Lenin who said that all those who approach revolution with the orientation, “They had their chance, now it’s my turn to have a go at it”—all those who approach revolution in that way do so from the point of view of the petite bourgeoisie. And it hardly needs saying that the approach of the petite bourgeoisie is not going to lead to the achievement of the “4 Alls”2 and the emancipation of humanity. Even though at times the practical/political Lenin got in the way of the philosophical Lenin, in the sense discussed earlier, this is a very important statement by Lenin, because what he refers to as the point of view of the petite bourgeoisie is a powerful spontaneous pull, even on people who are not in the petite bourgeoisie. You see it over and over again—the goal becomes revenge, it becomes something short of transforming all of society. It becomes, “get mine if I can, or if I can’t, at least I can tear somebody else down.” That’s very pronounced in this society, particularly at this time, and even struggles which are dealing with very real and profound contradictions and relations of oppression can be turned toward that kind of outlook and approach by the powerful pull of spontaneity and the prevailing relations in this society. [Emphasis— boldface—added here]

This goes back to the point that even movements which start out highlighting very important outrages and injustices, and carrying out struggle against them, can only continue to go in the direction they need to go in, ultimately—and all these different forces in society that are opposing various forms of oppression can only be united in a lasting and forward moving way—on the basis of a scientific communist approach and what it reveals to be the solution to the profound problems that the present society embodies and enforces. With the outlook of the petite bourgeoisie you’re never going to get there. What is needed is—in a non‑reified sense, in the communist sense—the outlook of the proletariat, the outlook and approach that corresponds to the fundamental interests of the proletariat, which involves the recognition that only by emancipating all of humanity can any one section of the exploited and oppressed be emancipated.

In contrast to narrow and petty motivations and aspirations for things such as revenge and “my turn to have a go at it,” the goal of the communist revolution is, as emphasized in THE NEW COMMUNISM,3 “getting to a different world where all these horrors for the masses of people don’t go on any longer.” The goal is the emancipation of humanity—the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, and the corresponding antagonisms among human beings, and the uprooting of the soil out of which they arise, with the achievement of communism, throughout the world.


2. The “4 Alls” refers to the statement by Marx that the communist revolution aims for the abolition of all class distinctions, all the production relations on which those class distinctions rest, all the social relations that correspond to those production relations, and the revolutionizing of all the ideas that correspond to those social relations. [back]

3. 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 [back]

 

 

From Breakthroughs.

The ruling class repeatedly seeks to pit different sections of the people against each other and, contrary to the illusions of “intersectionality,” the ruling class has many powerful ways to do that if you’re not proceeding from the point of view of the emancipation of humanity as a whole.

There is a whole history of different sections of the people being pitted against each other. You have the egregious example of the Buffalo Soldiers after the Civil War—Black soldiers who fought to put down and kill off the Native Americans and steal their land—while in the Civil War, among the different Native American peoples, there were some who sided with the northern Union while others sided with the southern Confederacy, based on their narrow perception of their immediate interests. Only coming from the point of view of communism can you unify the masses of people to overcome every manifestation of oppression and achieve the “4 Alls.” [Emphasis—italics—added here.]

 

 

From Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism, 2019.

Virulent Individualism and Oblivious Individualism

These are two broad categories of individualism, which have some different particular characteristics but also have in common the basic focus on and preoccupation with the self. Virulent individualism is an extremely poisonous variation of this. It’s basically the view that “I’m out to get everything I can for myself and fuck everybody else. And if I have to trample on everybody else to get what I want, that’s just the way it is and I’m gonna do it the best I can, so I can get everything I want—I want it all and I want it now.”

Oblivious individualism is individualism that may not have those particular aggressive characteristics and may not even have a consciously hostile attitude toward other people in general, but involves going along pursuing one’s particular interests, aspirations, or “dreams,” without paying attention to the larger things that are going on in the world and the effect of this on masses of people throughout the world and indeed on the future of humanity.

So there are these different kinds, or two broad types, of individualism (with many gradations, obviously). But what is the unifying element in them? Self. The self. As I pointed out in the Dialogue with Cornel West in 2014,4 the “selfie” is a perfect iconic representation of this whole outlook and this whole culture. It’s not that every “selfie” is in and of itself bad, of course. But there is a whole culture around it, even to the point where people go to a beautiful place in nature and what are they preoccupied with? Taking a “selfie” of themself instead of taking in (and yes, taking photographs of) the vast beauty that’s stretched out before them. The important thing, with this outlook, is: “Here I am, look at me.” It’s the “look at me, look at me, look at me” ethos that is so predominant in both these forms of individualism, even in the one that’s not consciously virulent but is nevertheless strikingly oblivious.

Oblivious individualism may seem more benign (or, in simple terms, less “nasty”) but it is nonetheless marked by being inexcusably ignorant of, or consciously choosing to ignore, what is happening in the larger world, beyond the self (and the narrow circle around oneself), and the consequences of this for the masses of people in the world, and ultimately for all of humanity—or paying attention to this only as it affects oneself in immediate and narrow terms.

Now here let me be very clear: There are people in the world, masses of people in the world, whose lives are so chaotic and whose suffering is so terrible that it’s very difficult for them even to engage, let alone learn about, much of what’s going on in the world. I’m not talking about those people whom the operation of this system grinds down and subjects to so much horror that, on their own, they are really deprived of even the opportunity to learn about and to engage the larger world. I’m talking about people who have every opportunity to do so but, either with a malignant (or virulent) mentality, or in a more “benign” but nevertheless oblivious way, choose not to pay attention to these things. I’m not necessarily opposed to people watching some videos or YouTubes of cats playing the violin (and similar things on the internet), but if that kind of thing is your preoccupation—let alone if snark and tearing down other people on the internet is your preoccupation—then, obviously, this is something any decent person should be very concerned about and strongly oppose and struggle sharply against.


4. REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN (2015). The film of this dialogue is available at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html. [back]

 

 

From Hope for Humanity on a Scientific Basis

Parasitism, American Chauvinism, and Individualism

Interestingly, in an article about privacy and the problems that the internet poses for people in terms of having any privacy (“Just a Face in the Crowd? Not Anymore”),5 the authors of the article, Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger, refer to this as a “status‑obsessed culture,” and they particularly talk about how this is a problem in terms of people having any privacy because people want to use the internet to boost their status all the time: “Look at me doing this, look at me doing that,” and so on, and so forth. But this phrase, I think, is very apropos, is a very relevant and meaningful phrase: a “status‑obsessed culture.” This is what’s been continually encouraged through the major institutions of this society, and it is a particular variant, obviously, of the widespread individualism, both virulent and oblivious.

And this goes along with the coupling of individualism and commodification, a phenomenon whose essence is captured very well in the incessant promotion, the undisguised and unapologetic promotion, of the “brand.” Everywhere you turn you hear: “Oh, this is really gonna be good for developing her ‘brand’”; “Oh, they really have been very creative in how they’ve pumped up their ‘brand.’” You can’t turn around anywhere without hearing the word “brand” used in this kind of way. And this goes along, of course, with the glorification of entre‑manure‑ialism—which objectively amounts to the attempt to get in on the exploitation of people, becoming part of the overall process resting to a large degree on super‑exploitation of masses of people, including children, in the Third World.

All this is very much bound up with the parasitism of American society, which (as explained in Breakthroughs...) refers to the fact that an increasingly globalized capitalism:

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


5. Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger, “Just a Face in the Crowd? Not Anymore,” New York Times, April 18, 2019. [back]

 

 

From Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis.

Identity Politics and Individualism

As pointed out in “All Played Out,”6 there is the “politics of ‘identity’ that really comes back down to me.” We see all the time that, even while this identity is associated with a group, in fundamental terms it’s really about “me” and “mine”; it is posed, at least objectively and often consciously, against other people, even other bitterly oppressed people, in a way that smacks of disgusting individualism and petty rivalry based on that outlook. Along with this, there is the whole phenomenon of “woke” parasitism and seeking “safe” privileged enclaves within, and on the basis of, the depredations and exploitation by this imperialist system of the masses of people of the world as well as the environment.

“Identity politics” distorts, corrupts, misdirects and undermines the exposure of and the needed struggle against what are, in fact, horrific forms of oppression. In this connection, let’s contrast experience in the 1960s vs. today’s phenomena of “triggering” and trauma.

Back in the 1960s, drawing from my own experience, I remember that, in the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in 1964, the culmination and the high point of that struggle was when there was a massive sit‑in, in the administration building on the Berkeley campus. Hundreds of people sat in and refused to leave until their demands were met. Ultimately, 800 were forcibly ejected from the building and arrested when the governor (the Democratic Party governor) of the state called out not only the local police, but the county sheriffs and the state police to come in and roust us out of the administration building. We were confronted with these police who were roughly arresting people—grabbing people, particularly women, by the hair and throwing them down the stairs as a way of evicting them from the administration building. Well, it strikes me now, in looking back on this, that the one thing we forgot to do, in the face of this, was to say: “Wait, you’re triggering us. You can’t do this. You’re causing us trauma.” I’m sure that would have worked to prevent the police from acting in that brutal manner.

Or, when Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, together with others who made up the first members of the Black Panther Party, carried out their armed patrols against police brutality and murder, and they encountered police who threatened them and demanded that they put down their weapons (which the Panthers were legally carrying), well then, Huey and Bobby should have said to those pigs: “Stop—don’t you know you’re triggering and traumatizing us!” Yes, I’m sure that would have made the pigs back off.

Or, we can think about “Stop the Draft Week,” when thousands of people went to demonstrate at the Oakland induction center at the height of the struggle against the Vietnam war, in the effort to shut down the induction center (where people were conscripted—forced—into the U.S. military). People sat in, to block the doors. And the Oakland police, who are known for their racism and brutality going back generations, came in and brutally attacked people, and dragged them away in the most vicious manner. Well, it strikes me now that the real failing at that time was that, as those people were sitting in and the police were approaching, they should have said: “Stop! You’re triggering us.” I’m sure that would have stopped the police from brutally rousting people away from the doors.

And there are many other examples. Think about People’s Park in Berkeley, when, at its high point, there was a massive demonstration of tens of thousands in support of the seemingly modest demand to have a park in an area that the university wanted to turn into a parking lot. During the course of this struggle, people were shot by police and one of the demonstrators, James Rector, was killed as part of a police attack on a demonstration. And in addition to people being shot, the National Guard had been called out, and there were a number of us, hundreds, who went to the fence that the university and the authorities had put around the People’s Park area. The National Guard was stationed inside the fence, and many of us were at the fence, shaking it. Well, because the National Guard was armed and was being ordered to be prepared to shoot—that was very clear—the question for us was: Should we tear down this fence and face the fusillade of bullets coming at us for doing so? And people decided, in those circumstances, that this wasn’t the right thing to do. But obviously we were completely mis‑directed in those circumstances. We should have said to the commanders of the National Guard: “Not just pointing those guns at us, but just having those guns near us, is triggering us. You can’t do this. You have to stop this right now!”

Now, obviously, I’m being ironic here. But the point that comes through—and these examples are deliberately ludicrous to make the point—is that in any real struggle to deal with any real oppression, up against powerful enforcers of that oppression, you are going to have to face the prospect of real sacrifice, including the prospect of being physically attacked. And if you think that you can carve out little safe enclaves, and that this is somehow going to lead to any kind of significant change in society, you are full of illusions and delusions.

So, this is something important to understand. The trauma that results from directly suffering horrific forms of oppression and degradation is very real, and no one should deny or underestimate that—but, instead of an individual “turning inwards,” this needs to be transformed into anger and determination to be part of a collective struggle to put an end to all the atrocities, everywhere, whose fundamental source and cause is this system of capitalism‑imperialism. And, yes, this will require struggle and sacrifice. But it’s worth it, it’s what needs to happen.


6. “All Played Out,” a spoken word piece by Bob Avakian, with musical accompaniment by William Parker (Centeringmusic BMI, 2011) is available at revcom.us/avakian/ba-important-works-en.html and at soundcloud.com/allplayedout. [back]

 

 

From The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us, 2017.

While it is right and necessary to unite with people broadly in opposing the injustices and outrages committed by those who rule this country, and while this has taken on heightened importance with the coming to power of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, it is a basic truth that without breaking with American chauvinism—without confronting the very real horror of what this country has been, and what it has done, here and all over the world, from its founding to the present—and without coming to deeply hate this, it is not possible, in the final analysis, to retain one’s own humanity and act in the highest interests of all humanity. [emphasis added here]

 

 

From The Truth About Right‑Wing Conspiracy...And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer, 1998.

[Bill] Clinton represents an attempt to deal with these acute and potentially explosive contradictions by giving a certain expression to "inclusiveness"—to "diversity" and "multi‑culturalism"—while retaining and fortifying the white supremacist and male supremacist relations that are an integral and indispensable part of the structure of U.S. capitalism‑imperialism. In line with this, Clinton has promoted a less absolutist version of the "traditional values" and the "Judeo‑Christian tradition" which has justified and reinforced the exploitative and oppressive relations on which this system is built.

But, in the view of Clinton's conservative and particularly his fundamentalist opponents, Clinton's program will not work and will only undermine the historically established girdings of the system, both in its economic base and in the superstructure of politics, culture and ideology—it will lead to the unraveling of the legitimating social "consensus" and social "cohesion" necessary to maintain this system. And the fact is that there are today in the U.S. broad numbers of people who, yes, participated in or were influenced by the movements of the '60s and have a corresponding commitment to social justice and equality, and who are unwilling to go along with the notion that America has some inherent moral right and obligation to bully its way around the world and impose a world order under its domination. At the same time, there is the phenomenon that, in some important aspects, the "recovery" of the U.S. economy that has taken place during the Clinton administration, and the more highly "globalized" and "flexible" production that has been a marked feature of this "recovery," has also contributed to "undermining the traditional family." And it has fostered the florescence of an outlook, particularly (though not exclusively) among more highly paid professionals, that involves no small amount of self‑indulgence and, related to that, a weakening of some "traditional values," including old‑style patriotism and the willingness to sacrifice for the officially defined and proclaimed "national interest." [Emphasis—italics—added here]

In some significant ways, what was written 150 years ago in the Communist Manifesto, concerning the consequences of unfettered bourgeois commodity relations, is assuming a pronounced expression among sections of the U.S. population in the context of today's "post‑Cold War" world capitalism. The following phrases from the Manifesto have a particular and powerful resonance: "the bourgeoisie, wherever it has gotten the upper hand...has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self‑interest, than callous `cash payment.' It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value....In a word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation." There is a great irony here: the very "triumph" and "triumphalism" of capitalism in today's circumstances has produced effects and sentiments which tend to undermine, among significant sections of the U.S. population, the willingness to make personal sacrifices for "god and country"—that is, for the interests and requirements of the imperial ruling class, within the U.S. itself and in the world arena. In reaction to this, the "conservatives," with the Christian Right playing a decisive role, are attempting to revive and impose precisely "the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism"—to resurrect a situation where worldwide exploitation that is unsurpassed in its brutality is at the same time "veiled by religious and political illusions."

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/703/further-supplementary-excerpts-en.html

Further Supplementary Excerpts

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: Previously, we have published excerpts from works by Bob Avakian (which are available or can be ordered through revcom.us) that are relevant to the article Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds” and generally to the phenomena of “identity politics,” “wokeness,” individualism, parasitism, and American chauvinism. The following are further relevant excerpts, from Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis, Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism (2019), which is available at revcom.us/BA’s Collected Works. (Boldface emphasis has been added here by the author.)

See Supplementary Excerpts here.

 

Lack of real hope for a better life in this world is a heavy chain weighing down, suffocating and deeply scarring the masses of humanity, including the youth who are concentrated in the ghettos and barrios of this country as well as its overflowing torture chamber prisons. And the extreme individualism promoted throughout this society, the obsessive focus on “the self,” has reinforced the heavy lid on the sights of people, obscuring their ability to recognize the possibility of a radically different and better world, beyond the narrow and confining limits of this system, with all its very real horrors....

As I have pointed out, in Ruminations and Wranglings1 (and in other works), the contradiction that people exist as individuals, but they also exist in a larger social context and are largely shaped by that social context, is a complicated contradiction that is important to handle correctly. And this contradiction is acutely expressed today in the fact that while people do exist as individuals, the terrible suffering of the masses of humanity and the urgent challenges facing humanity as a whole as a result of the escalating destruction of the environment by this system of capitalism-imperialism as well as the possibility of nuclear conflagration that continues to loom as an existential threat over humanity—all this cannot be seriously addressed, let alone actually solved, by each person pursuing their particular individual interests, and in fact people acting in this way constitutes a major obstacle to bringing about the necessary solution. Individualism is a significant factor and “unifying element” in much of the negative trends that play a major role in keeping people from recognizing the reality and depth of the horrors continually brought about by this system—and recognizing the urgent need to act, together with others, to abolish and uproot all this, at its very source. This highlights and heightens the fact that individualism, which is encouraged and expressed in extreme forms in this particular society at this time, is a profound problem that must be confronted and transformed.

* * * *

Here stands out again the great importance of the scientific method and approach of communism, as this has been further developed through the new communism, and the reality and possibility of radical, emancipating change, in this world. In relation to all this, and in particular the question of hope, there is great importance to the following statement by Marx which is cited in Part I of the RCP Manifesto, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage:

Once the inner connection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions breaks down before their collapse in practice.2

This is extremely important because it gives emphasis to the importance of theory and of science—theory that’s grounded in and is an application of a consistently scientific method and approach—to reveal what are the actual relations and dynamics, what are the inner connections and “inner workings,” of the system that people are subjected to. First of all to reveal that there is a system that they are subjected to, and what are the inner workings and dynamics of that system and how it fits into the whole historical development of human society. (Or, in basic terms, that people are living within the confines of a system; that this system is not just something imposed by some powerful people, but is the result of certain historical development; that this system operates, and must operate, according to certain “rules” that flow from its basic relations, and that this embodies and gives rise to contradictions that cause all kinds of suffering for the masses of humanity, contradictions that are fundamental and essential to this system and cannot be eliminated without eliminating this system itself). And this scientific theory reveals that there is a way out of all this—and what that way out is.

* * * *

Particular Interests and General Interests—Differing Class Interests and the Highest Interests of Humanity

In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,3 Marx makes the point that every class viewpoint identifies the particular interest of the class it represents with the general interests of society. Referring back to what is said about the “4 Alls” in Breakthroughs4 (and elsewhere)—that is, the abolition of all class distinctions, of all the production relations on which those class distinctions rest, of all the social relations that correspond to those production relations, and the revolutionizing of all the ideas that correspond to those social relations—referring back to those “4 Alls,” and in particular the relation and interconnection of production and social relations, it is important to recognize how, even spontaneously, different classes (that is, people who are part of different social groups in terms of the relations of production) differently experience and respond to social relations of oppression.

For example, among Black people—and this phenomenon is something you can see in the television program Black-ish, for example—Black people as a whole suffer horrific oppression in many forms, including one of the most egregious expressions of this, murder by police, as well as rampant discrimination and racism throughout the society; but different classes, strata and sections of the Black population experience this differently and respond to it differently. You can see it in people like Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The basic outlook they hold, and propagate, is essentially this: The way to deal with all this is to get big bank—get that paper, that’ll deal with all this. Well, this is obviously the outlook and the aspiration of bourgeois strata, what have become bourgeois strata among Black people. And then there are other manifestations of the same kind of outlook among the more bourgeois and petit bourgeois strata of Black people who see the solution as working within the system and getting a better place within this system. That is their spontaneous inclination, their spontaneous view of the problem and the solution. And, among other things, this explains why there has been such enthusiasm for having Obama as the first Black president.

Now, it’s been pointed out before, and it bears repeating, that among all strata in society the outlook that characterizes the petite bourgeoisie and ultimately the bourgeoisie has significant influence. So it’s not like the basic, more proletarian or semi-proletarian masses of oppressed people are somehow immune from this petit bourgeois and bourgeois thinking. Far from it. Nevertheless, in terms of what this represents, what social position and outlook it corresponds to, it is representative essentially of the petit bourgeois and bourgeois strata.

The same thing applies to the oppression of women. As with any oppressed group (in this case, half of humanity), with regard to women any injustice or oppression against any part of women does great harm to women as a whole. But, again, different strata among women—and women in different parts of the world, for that matter—experience this differently and spontaneously have different notions of what is the problem and the solution. Among the more bourgeois-aspiring and petit bourgeois professional women, and so on, a significant spontaneous inclination is: Let’s get more women into positions of authority and power, more women CEOs, more women in the professions, and in government, and so on. That is seen as the solution, or a big part of the solution, to the problem. Now (to use a grammatical double negative) it is not that discrimination against women in the spheres of business and the professions, etc., should not be opposed. It should definitely be opposed, fundamentally because this does harm all women. But this does not deal with what the essence of the problem is and what the solution is. And, in fact, in certain ways this can end up reinforcing this system and its oppressive relations. To be clear, it is not that the fight against discrimination in these spheres is itself harmful (as I have emphasized, the opposite is the case); but what is harmful is the notion that getting more women (or, for that matter, other oppressed people) into positions of influence, authority and power within this society, in the functioning of this system, is the answer, the solution, to inequality and oppression. That is a harmful illusion that can only mislead and misdirect people and actually serve to reinforce the very system that is the source of oppression and exploitation. So here is another complex contradiction that requires the application of the scientific method to achieve the necessary synthesis: waging the fight against discrimination and oppression of any section of women (or other oppressed groups) while combating the notion that fulfilling the aspirations of the petit bourgeois and bourgeois strata among the oppressed is the solution, that it can or will lead to the end of oppression and exploitation of the masses of people and ultimately to the emancipation of all humanity.

This goes back to Marx’s point in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, that every class—or the outlook corresponding to different classes—all consider that the particular interests of their class represent the general interests of society, of the people. The reality is that only for one class at this point is it true that its interests as a class—not in a narrow or reified sense, but in the most fundamental sense—correspond to the general interests of society, or of the masses of humanity and ultimately humanity as a whole. That class is the proletariat, the exploited class under this capitalist-imperialist system, because in the fundamental and ultimate sense only by ending all oppression and exploitation—only with the achievement of those “4 Alls” throughout the world—can the exploitation and oppression of the proletariat as a class be finally ended.

As for the ruling capitalist class of this country, and in general the capitalist-imperialists in the world, their interests lie in maintaining and reinforcing the system of capitalism-imperialism and in their striving to be in the “top-dog” position in a world dominated by this system, with all the terrible suffering and truly dire consequences this involves for the masses of humanity. The petite bourgeoisie (or middle class) is itself incapable of offering any alternative to this present horrendous system.

 


1. Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning, by Bob Avakian (2009) is also available at revcom.us/BA’s collected works.  [back]

2. Marx to Kugelmann, 1868, cited in Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, September 2008 (RCP Publications, 2009). Available at revcom.us.  [back]

3. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (Foreign Languages Press Peking, First Edition, 1878).  [back]

4. Breakthroughs: The Historic Breakthrough by Marx, and the Further Breakthrough with the New Communism, A Basic Summary (ebook edition, 2021).  [back]

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/711/raymond-lotta-the-industrialization-of-sexual-exploitation-en.html

The "Industrialization" of Sexual Exploitation, Imperialist Globalization, and the Descent Into Hell

by Raymond Lotta

| revcom.us

 

Now posted with endnotes and citations.

This research paper was spurred by analysis by Bob Avakian of major global socio-economic changes and social struggles over the last 50 years influencing shifts in class structure and political-ideological developments, especially the rise of fascism. My particular point of departure is from a section of that broader analysis:

The ruin of much of traditional small-scale farming in the Third World 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. [emphasis added]1

This paper examines the dimensions of, and explores key dynamics and historical factors driving, the global growth of prostitution and trafficking of women into prostitution.

I. INTRODUCTION: A NOTE OF CLARIFICATION


Girls in a brothel in Bangladesh. Of the country's 140,000 women and girl prostitutes, the overwhelming majority are trafficked and enslaved. Photo: Allison Joyce

The commercial sexual exploitation of women (and of young girls and boys) has reached massive proportions. What is euphemistically referred to as the “global sex industry,” or the “global sex trade,” has evolved into a hugely profitable segment of individual national economies and the world imperialist economy taken as a whole. The “sex industry” encompasses brothel, street, and escort prostitution; strip clubs and massage parlors; pornography; military prostitution; and global “sex tourism” sites.

In this increasingly integrated and unequal imperialist world economy, women from impoverished Third World countries are lured and trafficked to rich imperialist countries; sold off or kidnapped into sexual exploitation by militaries and gangs; or, as a consequence of the oppressive and distorted workings of imperialist-dominated development, drawn into prostitution as survival strategy.

The scale and horror of this sexual exploitation is veiled by two major factors, one material and the other cultural-ideological.

In the first instance are the complex and overlapping licit and illicit vehicles of supply, marketing, and monetization of globalized sexual exploitation: Internet payment mechanisms; foreign currency flowing to governments of the global South from overseas “sex workers”; telecommunications companies that provide pornography “entertainment”; an international “hotel leisure” industry bound up with expanding “sex tourism” and the airline companies that transport these tourists; banks that lend capital to these sectors; smugglers whose “cargo” simultaneously serves global cheap-labor supply chains and commercial sexual exploitation.

At the same time, and this is the second factor veiling this exploitation, the sexual degradation and violent subordination of women has become increasingly normalized as a given of contemporary economic life and culture: as fashion, as lucrative pornography, as “sex education,” as employment. And in the realm of political-intellectual discourse, sexual subjugation has been poisonously rationalized as an expression of individual “choice” and “agency” on the part of women. Rape, sexual coercion, and sexual humiliation are folded into and masked by the occupational category of “sex work.”

This paper proceeds from the understanding that “sex work”—whether reported/self-reported as “consensual” or “non-consensual”—is, in its essence, the marketed degradation and organized sexual submission of women to male domination. The paper demonstrates why this is the reality, and in the course of the analysis briefly addresses why the concept of “sex work” is profoundly and obscenely misleading and harmful.

II. CRUCIAL FACTS ABOUT GLOBAL COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION


Women at a brothel in Kolkata, India, 2013. Photo: AP

*By recent estimates, there are 40-42 million prostitutes worldwide, 75 percent of whom are 13 to 25 years old.2 Sex trafficking is essential in supplying women for national and international commercial sexual exploitation. International sex trafficking refers to the enslavement of persons by means of abduction, force, coercion, fraud, or deception—and the transport of individuals across the borders of one or more countries.

The “industrialization of prostitution” refers to the condition that this exploitation has become large scale, organized, and concentrated (both through legal and criminal enterprise), and subject to widespread global diffusion.3 Imperialist globalization with its pervasive “commodification of everything”—of people, things, nature, and ideas—has been a catalyst for global trafficking in human beings...who are priced, shipped, and sold.

One can speak, both in the language of scientific political economy and in scarifying metaphor, of a “supply chain” of women and children for sexual exploitation and enslavement.

*By the 1990s, commercial sexual exploitation was accounting for anywhere from 2 to 14 percent of the national income of the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.4 In Thailand in the 1990s, it was estimated that 200,000 to 800,000 prostitutes were under 18.5 (Owing to the “officially” illegal status of prostitution in most of the world, and its many, often brutally disguised forms, data is by its nature limited.)

*By 2000, there were an estimated four to six million prostitutes in China, up from some 25,000 in 1985.6 The overthrow of socialism and restoration of capitalism in China in 1976 and the ensuing capitalist restructuring of China’s countryside led to economic and social polarization in China’s rural areas, with heavy burdens placed on women. This upheaval also contributed to history’s largest migration from countryside to city. Prostitution in China has been heavily concentrated in the rapidly growing coastal areas; and female migrants from the rural areas are a major supply source for sexual exploitation.

*Some 70 percent of sex-trafficking victims worldwide are in Asia. The leading countries are India, China, Pakistan, Thailand, and Bangladesh.7

*The 1990-91 collapse of the economies of the former Soviet (social-imperialist) bloc resulted in a major new source of desperate women seeking employment...and becoming prey to international traffickers. Between 1991 and 1998, some 500,000 Ukrainian women had been trafficked to Western countries for sexual exploitation.8

*In Western Europe, even before the more recent wave of mass migrations, an estimated 65 percent of prostitutes were migrants—many from Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.9 Nigeria and Ghana are two of the major African countries from which young women and teenagers are trafficked to Europe for sexual exploitation. Sold many times over, bid upon at auctions, “prepped” in training camps, physically and psychologically broken, they are reduced to the level of slaves: the property of a third party and controlled by a pimp.

*In 2016, the total number of detected victims of modern slavery/human trafficking was estimated to be over 40 million people, some 70 percent of whom are women and girls. Some 25 million are trafficked into forced labor and 15 million into forced marriage. Within the category of forced labor, some five million human beings, 99 percent of them women and children, are trafficked (forced) into sexual exploitation, over one million of whom are children.10 Human trafficking is recruitment, transfer, transport, and harboring or receipt of human beings—through force, fraud, or deception—for the aim and purpose of exploitation for profit.

NOTE: The particular conditions facing transgender and gender non-conforming people in the imperialist and Third World countries in relation to their vulnerability to sex trafficking and physical-sexual violence will be addressed in future analysis.

*Human trafficking, measured by revenue, is the world’s third largest criminal activity (after illegal drugs and counterfeiting).11

*Sex trafficking is immensely profitable. Forced sexual exploitation was generating $99 billion annually by the beginning of the 2010s.12 A scholar who is an advisor to the UN on modern slavery estimated, in a 2019 interview in the British Observer, that the “return on investment for sex trafficking” (an enraging investigate pursuit with enraging metrics) is around 1,000%, as compared with “lower returns on exploitation” for labor trafficked into construction, agriculture, or mining. Such profitability is bound up with “the fact that the victim can be sold up to 20 times a day, generating tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in profit per victim.”13

*An estimated 9,000 illicit spas were operating in the U.S. in 2018.The $2.5 billion illicit massage parlor “industry” has been growing rapidly in the U.S.14 It is a major source of “demand” for trafficked women and girls, both from within the U.S. and globally. The total number of trafficked victims into the U.S. is not reliably known. Some estimates suggest that 50,000 women and children from Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe are brought to the U.S. each year and forced to work as servants or prostitutes.15 With regard to illegal massage parlors, the majority of trafficking victims who have been reported are from China and South Korea.16 Young girls from the U.S., often running away from abusive parents and relatives, get trapped into trafficking networks.

III. A FIRST LOOK INTO ECONOMIC-SOCIAL FACTORS DRIVING MARGINALIZATION AND DESPERATION OF WOMEN IN THE THIRD WORLD


Ugandan women who were stopped at Nairobi airport in Kenya because they lacked proper employment papers. They were victims of a human trafficking ring in East Africa. Photo: Institute for Security Studies

The sexual subjugation of women is an historical and structural feature of exploitative, class-divided, patriarchal society. The particular forms of this subordination of women and its concrete manifestations in a gendered division of labor are rooted in the dominant mode of production interacting with tradition, culture, law, and the patriarchal family.

The contemporary “global sex industry” cannot be comprehended simply or mainly as the continuation of the “ages-old practice” of prostitution within modern patriarchal society. More specifically, this form of sexual subjugation and degradation of women has been profoundly shaped, massively magnified, and globally integrated by the workings of late imperialism as a world system of exploitation in which the division between rich oppressor countries and poor oppressed countries is a defining feature of imperialist accumulation—with its plunder of resources in the Third World, penetration of markets, and super-exploitation of labor—and by social-cultural factors bound up with the world system of capitalism-imperialism.

A) Land Grabbing, Rural Poverty, and Women


A woman in Colombia at a farm growing roses intended for export to the U.S. Photo: AP

The undermining and destruction of traditional subsistence economies in the Third World—where people farm and work to meet family and local survival needs—have had an immense impact on women: as caregivers, as displaced indigenous land-dwellers, as migrants moving from countryside to town, from town to city, from city to city with limited employment opportunities, and entering global migrant streams...willingly under desperate circumstances, or as trafficked victim. The loss of peasant and farmer land has been a major factor.

In the decade 2000-10, more than 81 million acres of land in the global South—roughly equal to the size of Portugal—was sold off to foreign investors, both corporate and state entities.17 This is what has been called “land grabbing.”

Much of this land that has been grabbed (defined as large-scale acquisition) has been turned into industrial-scale plantations producing commercial crops, like palm oil, soy, and other profitable food crops—often for export. Some of these “grabs” are to grow bio-fuels (like sugarcane), or for the purpose of planting trees to serve as lucrative carbon “offsets” (this is a con game that enables imperialist corporations and countries to continue to produce and burn fossil fuels but supposedly “offset” the damage by planting trees in the global South that will absorb carbon). Some of this land grabbing is simply speculative investment to make acquisitions in the expectation of land-price rise.

NOTE: Two-thirds of these agricultural land deals of 2000-2010 occurred in countries experiencing serious food insecurity.18

For most of the second half of the 20th century, investment by governments in the Third World in dams and roads, expansion of industry, and mining-minerals extraction—with financial backing and prodding by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are imperialist-dominated financial institutions—played a leading role in pushing peasants off the land. The more recent juggernaut of land grabbing represents a second wave of mass displacement in the name of “development” in the global South.

Landlessness spreads as many subsistence farmers (growing food for family consumption or products for sale to maintain households) lack legally recognized ownership over (title to) land they have farmed; other peasants and farmers are forcibly evicted with backing from the state. Women have been pushed out of traditional fishing and gathering activities. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank advance loans to oppressed countries that generally carry conditions like the redirection of agriculture away from cultivation geared to local subsistence-food needs towards specialty export crops, cut flowers, etc.

All of this has had the effect of further marginalizing rural women economically. And these disruptive economic forces, interacting with preexisting relations of female subordination and new forms of gender discrimination, have put new burdens and pressures on women.19

Rural poverty; agribusiness-led transformation and ruin of smallholder agriculture (about which more in section III); environmental stresses on land, water, and resources; and military conflict have profoundly altered traditional work and family patterns and fueled massive migrations of humanity out of the countryside of the global South.

B) Prostitution and the Informal Urban Economy


Red light district in Mumbai, India, 2013. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Prostitution, in its legal and illegal forms, as forced or “voluntary” labor, is an integral element of the global informal economy of unregulated and irregular labor that is the dominant form of employment and survival in the oppressed countries of the global South.

Prostitution is found in shantytowns and informal settlements, alongside factory compounds, agricultural plantations, and around expanding tourism sites (along with tourist guides, drug sellers, street vendors, and others). Foreign mining and logging companies have been known to set up areas of prostitution as a “service” to workers. Special economic (or export-processing) zones servicing foreign capital have been major hubs of prostitution. They are now in some 4,000 locations.20

In Mumbai, India’s second largest city, women migrants from the countryside sell sexual services in brothels and on the street. But another common mode of “exchange” occurs in the informal day-wage labor markets that offer other income-generating activities, like construction and domestic work. The struggle of prostitutes to feed themselves and their families in the cities, and to gain access to shelter and water, takes place in an atmosphere of police persecution and the relentless demolition of squatter settlements.21

C) Migration, Trafficking, and Prostitution


Paramilitary officers in Xiamen in southeastern China detain girls and young women who were among those caught when a smuggling operation into Taiwan was stopped, 2003. Photo: AP/Chinatopix

The uprooting of traditional subsistence economies in the Third World and the “pull” of gainful employment and steady income in particular regions of the world, especially Western Europe and North America, has drawn impoverished labor into migratory streams and human smuggling. Smuggling is not the same as trafficking, which involves entrapment and enslavement, although human smuggling overlaps with trafficking.

Migration across borders has become essential to the survival strategies of women displaced from traditional economies by agribusiness, the climate crisis, regional and local conflicts, and extreme poverty. And these streams of migration “drive up” the supply of “potential sex slaves” to be exploited at low cost.

(Smugglers currently facilitate about 90 percent of the “unofficial” migration to Western Europe and the desperate crossing of borders for safety and a life.)22

Overseas work by Third World migrant laborers also generates “remittances”—a portion of earnings—sent to families back home. These remittances help buoy up economies of the global South. The article Imperialist Parasitism and Changes in Class-Social Formation in the U.S. details the outsized role that migrant and immigrant laborer remittances play in today’s imperialist world economy—exceeding annual foreign direct investment in the oppressed economies.23

The intense demand and search for cheap labor in and from the oppressed countries of the Third World is a driving force to modern-day human trafficking. This demand for cheap labor has been a major impetus to the operations of criminal syndicates that carry out and “regulate” this trafficking. Indeed, there is no global, imperialist “supply chain” economy without inflows of trafficked labor: in construction, manufacturing, “hospitality,” agriculture, and fishing. “Legal” and “illegal” economic activities are increasingly intertwined in the imperialist world economy.

Think about this vicious cycle in this sphere of sexual exploitation: a woman is recruited in Thailand for overseas work as a domestic; she then gets trafficked to other countries and is coerced into “sex work”...she becomes a slave. Even though most of her prostitution "earnings" are apportioned to a pimp or trafficker, she is able to send some funds home to her family in a rural village. In short, money is cycled back into the Thai economy and helps prop up this economy with, yes, its large “brothel sector” (about which more in section IX).

Such is the matrix of dependent, imperialist-dominated development.

IV. PULLING THE LENS BACK FURTHER: DISPOSSESSION, EXPULSION, AND A “SURPLUS” POPULATION IN THE THIRD WORLD


A family takes shelter on a road in Assam, India, after heavy monsoon rains unleashed floods and landslides that displaced millions of people across India, Nepal and Bangladesh, August 15, 2017. Photo: AP

The growth and globalization of the “sex industry” has a pivotal “supply side.” A huge reservoir of displaced and desperate humanity, most especially in the Third World (but not only), is not being absorbed into the structures of the formal economies of the world imperialist system. Formal refers to set pay and hours and some degree of official regulation of working conditions. Rather, vast swaths of oppressed humanity are condemned to precarious modes of survival. Let’s dig deeper.

A) The Separation of Peasant Producers from the Means of Production

Over the last 50 years, a modern-day form of the (often violent) separation of laborers from the means of production has been taking place...devastating the lives of hundreds of millions of rural dwellers in the Third World.

This process of dispossession has been linked to an historically unprecedented process of breakneck and chaotic urbanization in the Third World and the emergence of “mega-cities,” with massive slums and surrounding corridors of squatter settlements inhabited by migrants from the countryside.

What is meant by the “separation of laborers from the means of production”?

*The laborers in question are largely smallholder peasants or farmers who own or rent small plots of land—or who use parcels of community, or what is called “customary,” property.

*The principal means of production that peasant-farmers are being separated from (stripped of) is land, along with associated tools, and access to water.

How are laborers separated from the means of production? The process of separation involves a complex combination of factors:

  • the introduction into the Third World, starting in the 1950s and 1960s, of large-scale, more highly mechanized, technologically advanced agriculture, including new hybrid seed varieties, tied into major national and international channels of marketing, which undermines small producers;
  • competition from global, imperialist agribusiness;
  • the vast takeover of peasant lands through imperialist and state-sponsored infrastructure development (like construction of dams, roads, and storage facilities for large-scale agricultural production, etc.);
  • the “land grabbing” by international private investor groups, foreign governments, and domestic elites that converts local agriculture to industrial-plantation production, like palm oil, and mining operations;
  • loss of water rights;
  • pressure from, and policies imposed by, international “development” and lending institutions, like the World Bank, that pry open markets to exports from the imperialist countries leading to a situation where, for example, U.S. corn undersells and ruins local Mexican maize production...and loans that require as a condition cutbacks in financial support to small growers from governments;
  • the privatization of seed and fertilizer through “intellectual property rights” that bind farmers to imperialist agribusiness.

The dispossession of smallholder peasants and farmers has involved “legal” and illegal methods of land seizure...economic pressure and brute force. Big landowners and local, regional, and national governments in the Third World deploy militaries and militias, gangs and thugs; they create formal titles to ownership that provide legal cover for the purchase or forcible takeover of land held and farmed by local peasant populations and for generations by tribal and indigenous peoples, but without formal private title. At the same time, competition among farmer-peasants results in some gaining advantage in productivity, size of landholdings, ability to hire laborers.  

Here is a revealing statistic: As late as 1983, the majority of the world’s workers were still in agriculture (overwhelmingly in the global South). But by the start of the 2010s, only 25 percent of the world’s workers were in agriculture.24

Here is the ongoing reality for the displaced of the global South: new jobs outside of agriculture are not being created anywhere on the scale to absorb those being separated from the land.

B) Not the Same as What Happened During the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s and 1800s

This process of separation of laborers from the means of production has not been a simple retracing of the experience of the driving of peasants from the land as occurred over several centuries in Europe, and the explosive unfolding of the Industrial Revolution, centered in England, in the late 18th and 19th centuries. At that time, a process of labor-intensive capitalist industrialization was taking place. Capitalist production was stimulating the growth of a new agricultural and industrial proletariat drawn from the countryside. And mass factory production, like the cotton mills of England, with all the horrific conditions, was absorbing new proletarians in great numbers.

But under conditions of imperialist domination today, economic development in the oppressed countries of the global South is both subordinated to and distorted by the needs of imperialism and highly vulnerable to (tied to) the ups and downs of the world imperialist economy. These countries are not “reenacting” the earlier Industrial Revolution, which itself was inseparable from the global slave trade and colonial conquest, whose consequences are still felt in the oppressed countries.

In today’s world-capitalist economy, the dispossessed and uprooted peasants of the Third World are not in their great numbers being incorporated into industrial mass systems of production. Those leaving agriculture—whether forced out or “choosing” to leave under oppressive conditions—are not in their great numbers finding standardized industrial and service jobs. They become a surplus population. A “surplus” not in the sense of “over-population” due to high birth rates or absolute shortage of resources—but a “surplus humanity” relative to capitalism’s demand for labor to serve profit-based production.

Significantly, over the last 40 years there has been a great expansion of manufacturing production in the Third World. This is very much linked to foreign investment and outsourcing of production from the capitalist-imperialist countries. This is a defining feature of the contemporary world-imperialist economy and essential to the profitability of imperialist capital. But new, mass manufacturing capacity in the Third World is largely concentrated in a cluster of countries. Imperialist investment and outsourcing, along with the expansion of local manufacturing-industrial capacity, have not generated employment for the great bulk of the newly urbanized populations of the Third World.25

Here is the historical trend: Throughout most of the global South, the large-scale movement of rural dwellers to cities has not been a large-scale movement into industry and services in the formal economy with set hours, wages, and operating within a certain legal framework.*

Almost 70 percent of employment in low- and middle-income regions of the world is in the informal economy of irregular and insecure (often temporary) jobs, much of which is self-employment or daily labor hire—with no set hours or wages, or safety and health protections or other official regulations. The occupations include street vendors, construction laborers, myriad service jobs (repairing cell phones), domestic workers, rag and waste pickers, and overlap with illegal activities like trade in counterfeit goods. In India, 80 percent of employment outside of agriculture is informal—and in Africa, 85 percent of non-agricultural employment is informal. Over 90 percent of the world’s informal labor force is in the global South.27

C) Displacement and Expulsion

In Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, Saskia Sassen develops an analysis of a transition on a world scale from capitalist-imperialist development “incorporating” masses of the poor and uprooted into economic activity...to one, accelerating at the end of the 20th century and continuing into the 21st century, characterized by the massive “expelling” of people from land, employment, and home.

Sassen sees a global dynamic linking:

displaced persons [in the Third World] who will never go back home—home is now a war zone, a plantation, a mining operation, or dead land... [and] an equivalent shift in the global North, where what until recently was incarceration as response to a crime (whether the crime was actually committed or not) is now becoming the warehousing of people [mass incarceration]...with the United States in a vanguard all its own.

She goes on to observe, and this is particularly relevant to the focus of this paper, that:

expulsions from home, land, and job have also had the effect of giving expanding operational space to criminal networks and to the trafficking of people, as well as greater access to land and underground water resources to foreign buyers, whether firms or governments.28 (Sassen’s talk at Revolution Books on Expulsions is at: https://vimeo.com/108811541)

D) Planet of Slums

This is the title of a book by Mike Davis that provides vital analysis for understanding the phenomena under discussion. The closing chapter begins with an evocative passage from the novel Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau: “A proletariat without factories, workshops, and work, and without bosses, in the muddle of odd jobs, drowning in survival and leading an existence like a path through embers.” The “muddle of odd jobs” is the “informal economy.” Texaco is the name of the squatter settlement in the capital city of the Caribbean island of Martinique.29

The ferocity, speed, and pain of what is happening cannot be overstated. The proportion of the world’s population living in cities rose from 34 percent in 1960 to 47 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2018. Over 75 percent of the world’s urban population lives in the cities of the global South. By 2015, 40 percent of the world’s urban expansion was taking place in slums; in sub-Saharan Africa, over 60 percent of the population lives in slums. In 2019, over 1 billion people, or almost 1 in 7 on the planet, were living in urban slums and so-called “informal settlements” that ring urban areas—with poor sanitation, contaminated water, few health services—overwhelmingly in and surrounding mega-cities of the global South.30

This rural to urban migration of the displaced...this migration that often continues from one Third World country to another...and to the imperialist countries—this has everything to do with the globalization of prostitution.

E) And Global Warming

Economy, society, politics, and the revolution for a radically different and far better world are inextricably bound up with the planetary environmental crisis. Global warming is having disproportionate effects on agriculture in the Third World—drought and desertification. It intensifies environmental stresses in the cities, slums, and squatting settlements of the global South. It compounds the dynamics of expulsion, mass migrations, and the emergence of a “surplus humanity.”

V. WE CONTINUE BY LISTENING TO AYE’S AND MARY’S ACCOUNTS OF THEIR DESCENT INTO HELL...AND THE NIGHTMARE FACING ROHINGYA REFUGEES


This 17-year-old Rohingya woman escaped on a boat to Myanmar from one of Bangladesh's so-called "brothel villages." Photo: AP

▸ Aye was only 14 when a woman approached her family in Myanmar. She told them that Aye could work in Bangkok. Living in extreme poverty, Aye’s parents gave her and her sister permission to travel to Thailand to take advantage of the work opportunity. Upon arriving, they were immediately handed over to a group of men who sold them to a brothel owner.

Aye’s parents didn’t hear from her for three years...until she was found during a brothel raid. She had been held captive on the fifth floor of the brothel, along with 100 other women: required to work from noon to two in the morning, forced to service 12 to 20 men daily. Each girl was given a shirt with a number attached to it; they would watch TV while waiting for their number to be called. A glass wall separated the women and girls from men until he paid the $6.00 charge to spend 30 minutes with the girl of his choice. The women and girls received a dollar a day for their “work.”31

▸ Mary was a promising high school student from the Nigerian state of Edo. She dreamed of going to the university. She was 16 when a woman approached her mother and offered to take the teenager to Italy to find work. Mary’s family pushed her to accept the offer, hoping this would help lift them out of poverty. Mary ended up being trafficked into prostitution: three years in which she was forced into selling her body, endured beatings and threats at gunpoint, and forced to watch the brutal degradation (carrots violently inserted into the vaginas) of even younger girls as an object lesson for what would happen if she resisted.

Mary was finally repatriated to Nigeria after a raid. But Mary’s family shunned her. That was 20 years ago. Today, the situation is far worse. Gangs take advantage of the chaos of the migrant crisis—“selling” more women, and younger and younger girls, into sexual slavery. She reflected that these young girls now have more knowledge of what they are getting into than she did...but they don’t know the trauma they will suffer if they ever get out of it like she did.32

▸ A young Rohingya refugee fleeing Myanmar crosses over to neighboring Malaysia. She is among the hundreds of thousands who have been persecuted, demonized, and expelled from Myanmar. In a camp just inside Malaysia, she and other girls are initially sold into a forced marriage. But then after a certain period of time, their “husbands” sell the girls to other men. Some end up as domestic workers or bonded laborers. Traffickers promising them higher wages lure some of these teenagers and young women into forced prostitution. Other Rohingya women are press-ganged into Thailand’s seafood industry. The industry is highly dependent on cheap and slave labor, and is one in which women are exposed to life-threatening work conditions and sexually abusive treatment. The industry serves the U.S. retail food sector.

Other refugees wind up in Bangladesh, now the main destination for the Rohingya—with some one million living there, including hundreds of thousands who fled in previous decades. Their stateless status and inability to find work legally makes women and girls especially vulnerable to sex trafficking. Some will wind up in one of Bangladesh’s so-called “brothel villages”—where they join Bangladeshi women and teenagers, some as young as 13.

Prostitution is legal in Bangladesh. The steady stream of trafficked women and children into the prostitution industry makes girls disposable to those making money out of them. Some of the young women become so despondent that they cannot continue—they cut themselves, they commit suicide (one a month) in the country’s largest brothel village. The women are forbidden from burying the dead in public cemeteries, so these prostitutes have built private graveyards to cope with the situation...and conduct makeshift funerals. 33

As imperialist globalization deepens, new sex trafficking routes emerge: Mexican women to U.S.-Mexico border towns; Nepalese girls to India; Nigerian women to Italy; Asian women to Australian mining towns.


Unmarked graves of women involved in "sex work" in Mymensingh, Bangladesh—the women are forbidden from burying their dead in the public municipal graveyard. Photo: Allison Joyce

VI. A NOTE ON RATIONALIZATIONS OF “SEX WORK” AND THE DESCENT INTO HELL


Young woman from Bangladesh who was trafficked when she was 9 years old and sold to a brothel when she was 13.

It must be clearly understood and stated that “sex work,” as against its many rationalizations, including those emanating from certain currents of feminism and "woke" identity politics, is not simply “work” of a special kind. It is not just a more heinous form of “trade.” Trafficking for prostitution is not some variant of “migration for labor.” Not when what is actually done to the bodies of women, including being forced and initiated into prostitution through rape and gang rape by pimps and traffickers, with all the attendant physical and psychological effects, is taken into account. Being trafficked for prostitution is "the experience of being sexually used by many men daily, unable to refuse any practice or any male, while under the control of overseers and receiving no payment until a putative debt, made up by the trafficker and added to daily for personal items, is paid off."34 And there is, among the proponents of the "sex work" paradigm for global prostitution, an imperio-chauvinist blind spot: a refusal to reckon with the horrors of this in the Third World.

It is often argued in defense of “sex work” that, yes, it can be degrading...but so too are all manner of jobs under capitalism. In answering this, revcom.us published an article that points to the problem with this argument:

It is definitely true that there are many jobs in this world which are truly degrading and highly exploitative. This is a big part of why we need a revolution; it is utterly insane and unnecessary for so many people’s lives to be squandered in this way.... On the other hand, when a man purchases a woman or very young girl in prostitution or pornography... it is her sexual enslavement and degradation that is being purchased... He is paying for the experience of being able to disrespect, violate, beat, insult, and humiliate a woman. [emphasis added]35

Another line of argument by advocates of “sex work” is that the transaction through which a woman exchanges her body to men for purposes of sexual pleasure—whether as street prostitute, “high-end” escort, performer—is actually a form of female “agency”...of “choice” in a world of globalized commerce and self-promotion. In this view, the operative fact is that a conscious choice is being made. This is a species of delusion and self-delusion.

As this analysis has demonstrated, larger economic-social forces set and delimit the range of “choices” afforded women, especially impoverished and uprooted women on the planet. The workings of imperialist accumulation and the social fabric of patriarchy condition these choices. And as Bob Avakian powerfully explains in the article “On Choices...And Radical Changes,” people make choices, but that “doesn’t mean that they chose to have those choices.”36

An essay rebuking “choice-based” rationalizations of “sex work” makes the important point that prostitution is “created by a relation and not by individual willingness... [that is,] without male sex buyer and prostituted woman, there is no prostitution.”37

The recognition of the intrinsically oppressive nature of prostitution, and uniting with the just demand for the decriminalization of prostitutes, is not, however, the end of the matter...

The sexual exploitation and oppression of women must and can, and can only, be ended through the communist revolution to overthrow this system and uproot all exploitation and oppression. Put differently, the conscious and collective making and carrying forward of this revolution to radically rupture with all traditional property relations and all traditional ideas and values is “agency,” liberatory agency, writ large.

VII. SEX TRAFFICKING AS A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF THE GLOBAL ILLICIT ECONOMY THAT HAS BOOMED IN THE LAST 20 YEARS


A Nigerian woman trafficked to Burkina Faso and forced into prostitution in the gold mining town of Secaco walks through a tent encampment where she and others like her live and are forced to have sex with up to 30 men per night. (AP photo/Sam Mednick)

We turn to a critical point of analysis: imperialist globalization has facilitated a kind of “global architecture” that not only intertwines legal and illegal global labor supply networks but also blurs the distinctions between them. In any number of legal industries, illicit economies circulate around and into them: including fishing, cobalt, gold mining, and the timber trade. In the realm of finance, “legitimate” banking bleeds into “shadow” banking and money laundering.

The global illicit economy is valued at $2.2 trillion.38

As the study The Global Illicit Economy: Trajectories of Transnational Organized Crime puts it: “The opaque global banking system that developed at the start of the new millennium has allowed legal and illegal profits to come together to create billion-dollar reservoirs of untouchable assets, while reinforcing the power and influence of the actors who utilize them.”39 And the tools of digital technology and digital commerce have served at once to bolster and camouflage illicit micro-activities and illicit economies of scale—drugs, weapons, human trafficking. Payments to traffickers can be conducted without trace of transaction.

All of this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic:

Decades of globalization and trade liberalization have created massive disparities in wealth and power. Before the coronavirus pandemic, opportunities for working in the legal economy were already diminishing. As a result of the pandemic, the situation has become even worse, especially for those working in the informal economy...These conditions create space for illicit economies to expand and offer services and employ (often coercively) an increasing number of people.40

As discussed earlier, the chaotic urbanizing trends of Third World economic development under imperialist domination interact with the inability of the formal economy to provide employment. In the slums and informal urban settlements, the state is not able to provide governance, services, and safety. Demand for water, and charcoal to heat homes and for use as cooking fuel, and other essential requirements, cannot be met in the unregulated economic atmosphere. Into this vacuum, criminal groups and local gangs often step—and increasingly co-opt unregulated markets. In some cases during the COVID-19 pandemic, gangs have been enforcing health quarantines.

The underground illicit economy grows and provides that “alternative space” for employment and income generation. Prostitution is a major component of this burgeoning “alternative” economy. The gangs and criminal groups, drawing in youth and the extremely marginalized, multiply and branch out to other activities—interweaving with traffickers and migrant smugglers, and with the global “sex industry.”

VIII. SEX, MAIDS, AND EXPORT PROCESSING...AND THE RISE OF “SEX TOURISM”


Women at a brothel in Macao, China—a big center for "sex tourism," promoted as the "Las Vegas of the East."

A) The Movement of Women in the Third World Into and Out of the Formal Economy

A 2001 research essay, Sex, Maids, and Export Processing: Risks and Reasons for Gendered Global Production Networks, explores how, over the preceding three decades, great numbers of women in the Third World have been drawn into the three named sectors of the study's title...and moved among them.41

Imperialist outsourcing of production has stimulated the growth of export-processing zones, which depend for profitability and competitiveness on women as superexploitable workers. Yet, the “race to the bottom”—imperialism’s ever-intensifying search for cheaper labor—results in the constant, competitive shifting and relocation of production. A first wave of outsourced garment and other consumer goods manufacturing in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, etc., gave way to a second wave focused in other areas, like Bangladesh and China—and led to the shuttering of many of these factories.

Outsourced/subcontracted factory employment is at once grueling and tenuous. This heightens the vulnerability of women workers and their families. At the same time, the imposition by imperialist financial institutions of austerity and structural adjustment, beginning in the 1980s and continuing in various forms to today—with resulting cutbacks in and privatization of basic services—exerts greater pressure on women to scrape together means to maintain households.

Some of these women in factories return to the household or informal sectors of work, including domestic service and prostitution—or migrate to join these sectors abroad. But once they become prostitutes, many women find themselves trapped...forced to stay in this work owing to stigma, debts accumulated to “sponsors” (often traffickers), and criminal organizations that prevent them from escaping this condition.

B) The Case of Dongguan in China


Women workers, exhausted at their work stations, at a factory in Dongguan, China, that makes webcams and other equipment for Microsoft. Photo: The National Labor Committee

The city of Dongguan is in the heart of the Pearl River Delta, the massive export-manufacturing zone on China’s southern coast adjacent Hong Kong. In the first decade of this century, Dongguan became known as the “Amsterdam of the East” with some 300,000 prostitutes in the city. Though officially illegal, by some estimates, prostitution accounted for 10 percent of the city’s revenues and employment.

The role of internal migrant labor was critical. Hundreds of thousands of women from the poor rural interior of China had flocked to the coast for better-paying jobs in the cheap-labor manufacturing sweatshops in rapidly growing cities like Dongguan. Some 90 percent of Dongguan’s prostitutes had originally sought work in these factories, but either could not get those jobs or found that these jobs were not what these women were told they would be.42

Prostitution became the job of opportunity and compulsion under such circumstances. These “sex workers” were in demand from male migrant workers who had also come from the interior, though in far greater numbers than women; and these prostitutes were in demand from businessmen who came to this coastal city to conduct commerce.

As China’s export boom slowed on account of the 2007-09 global recession and as China moved into more advanced manufacturing that was less labor-intensive—and with employment opportunities for women contracting—more women sought work as prostitutes. Brothel owners and traffickers had a growing reservoir of desperate women to lure and deceive. The government launched crackdowns, but the industry did not disappear; it simply changed its methods of operation...and Dongguan remains China’s “sin city” in the exultant language of online “sex tourist” guides.

C) Global “Sex Tourism” and the Formative Role of the Genocidal U.S. Military


A U.S. GI walking past a brothel in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. During 10 years of America's genocidal war in Vietnam (1965-75), between 400,000 and 500,000 Vietnamese women and girls became prostitutes.

From the aptly and provocatively titled book and extremely valuable analysis by Sheila Jeffreys, The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade:

Military prostitution was a most important vector in the globalization and industrialization of prostitution in the late 20th century. The massive industrialized militaries of the 20th century understood that prostitution was necessary for their military preparedness...Military prostitution on a scale similar to that employed by the Japanese [mass prostitution and sexual enslavement of women in the countries and territories occupied by Japanese imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s] was part of the U.S. military rest and recreation regimes after World War 2 throughout South East Asia. They formed the basis for the huge sex industries and trafficking of women that developed in Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines, and became such important sectors of their economies. In its sheer scale, military prostitution can be seen as kick-starting a crucial aspect of the globalization of prostitution, the sexual exploitation of a sexual proletariat of women and children from poor countries by members of rich westernized nations....After military prostitution caused the industrialization of prostitution in a country, local women and girls became the raw materials of the global sex industry, not only prostituted within local and sex tourism industries at home but trafficked into prostitution worldwide.43

The American Crime series at revcom.us has an installment, “America’s War in Vietnam and the Sexual Subjugation of Women,” which documents the forging of a “huge brothel economy” in South Vietnam. In the ten years (1965-75) of America’s genocidal war, some 400,000-500,000 Vietnamese women and girls became prostitutes.44

Sexual exploitation to service U.S. soldiers became more organized, “industrialized,” as it was spread to Thailand. This was enshrined in a pact between the U.S. and Thailand engineered by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in 1967. In exchange for economic aid, the Thai government agreed to provide sexual R&R (“rest and recreation”) for American soldiers on temporary leave—thus giving “sex tourism” in Thailand both official sanction and external boost.45 All in a decade’s work of murdering two million Vietnamese!

Sex trafficking during war has remained a “tradition” of the U.S. military: for instance, in the U.S. “green zone” in Baghdad following America's invasion of Iraq in 2003, women from Belarus, China, and Iran were trafficked by U.S. subcontractors to work as prostitutes.46

At the same time, military prostitution on a mass scale has had its own “multiplier effect.” There is a very definite connection between the “boom” in military prostitution during the Vietnam War, the U.S.’s military bases in East and Southeast Asia, and the subsequent development of “sex tourism” in that region. As Jeffreys writes:

The development of the sex tourism industry in Asia from the 1970s outwards was substantially aided by the groundwork put in place by U.S. military prostitution. It began in the same sites in which prostitution had been developed to service the U.S. military in rest and recreation, such as Thailand, the Philippines, and Korea, and developed to the point where it was providing a substantial proportion of GDP in those countries. Indeed, the governments of poor countries have deliberately developed sex tourism as a means to gain foreign exchange...

Prostitution tourism has not just developed in countries and sites in Asia that harbored military prostitution. It is a developing part of the prostitution industry in all those areas where men as individuals or in groups travel for fun, on business, for sports events or political assemblies. They may be tourists visiting specially for the purpose of prostituting women, or to use casinos since prostitution use is integrally connected with this activity, or visiting businessmen, or male sports enthusiasts who prostitute women as an ordinary part of the traveling experience. There are prostitution tourism destinations in the rich world, such as Amsterdam and the U.S. state of Nevada. There are poor countries too that have used prostitution tourism as a tool to develop their economies and place local women in the marketplace as a resource to be exploited, without having profound experiences of military prostitution, such as Jamaica.47

Indeed, in the late 1970s, Jamaica received loans from the International Monetary Fund, loans in exchange for “policy reforms.” Those “reforms” required that the Jamaican economy be redirected towards the needs of the imperialist world market. This came first with a push towards export-led manufacturing. That short-lived initiative collapsed in the face of competition from even cheaper zones of production. What followed was the promotion of tourism—the “commodification of paradise” in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia—with the “exotic” and “submissive” female body on offer.

Jamaican-born writer Nicole Dennis-Benn (who spoke at Revolution Books) captures some of the human consequences in her 2016 novel Here Comes the Sun. In commentary on the novel and the choices made by its characters, she has pointed out:

Upward mobility in Jamaica is extremely difficult, which is why a lot of working-class Jamaicans leave. But those who stay have to find ways to make ends meet. In my novel, Margot had to supplement her meager salary as a hotel clerk with prostitution. In a country like Jamaica where tourism is our number one revenue, our disenfranchised population capitalize off that. It’s not like the hotels are using their profits to make things better for us and our society.48

Let’s take this in at a higher level of abstraction. International tourism (with the implicit "attraction" of easy access to commercial sex) has come to be seen by increasing numbers of Third World governments, with the prodding of imperialist investors and international financial institutions, as a form of economic growth, as a “strategic development activity.”

Many young women, excluded from sectors requiring certain skills, along with children facing desperate conditions, seek employment in tourism’s informal sector. And in many oppressed countries, informal sector tourism is inseparable from the “sex trade” industry of women and children. Western capital—hotel chains, airlines, and shipping companies, the list goes on—derives enormous benefits from this major “global industry” that exists and thrives on the sexual subjugation and degradation of women.

“Sex tourism” is a feature of the imperialist countries as well. The “supply chain” (the global “raw material”) for legalized and semi-legal prostitution in these countries centrally involves foreign prostitutes. In the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal and “prostitution tourism” is a major “tourist attraction” in the capital city of Amsterdam, an estimated 60 to 75 percent of the country’s prostitutes are migrants.49

D) Business Prostitution

If prostitution is normalized in the Third World, in the ways analyzed, especially “sex tourism,” it takes on new, ever more normalized dimensions in the venues of deal making and business entertainment in the imperialist countries. From Tokyo to Shanghai, from London to cities in the U.S. like Atlanta (which relies heavily on commercial conventions), “business prostitution” has grown enormously and become more central to “business networking” internationally.

This segment of the “sex industry” comprises overt prostitution, strip clubs, and massage parlors, and global “sex tourism” centers. It functions as a special, exclusionary mode of male bonding in the pursuit of commerce. It embodies and reinforces male privilege at all levels of corporate hierarchy. Various “glass-ceiling" studies point to these disgusting rituals as a major impediment to professional women's ability to gain access to the “informal social networks” necessary for advancing careers.50

IX. PARASITIC CULTURE, THE VIOLENT REASSERTION OF MALE ENTITLEMENT, AND GLOBALIZED PROSTITUTION

The analysis in this research paper has mainly focused on the “supply (chain) side” of the global “sex industry.” But what of the “demand” side, the (rising) demand for women’s sexual subservience and degradation—and its enactment in myriad forms? What has been influencing and shaping this? It is a question that deserves fuller investigation and deeper synthesis in its own right. What follows are some preliminary reflections and markers for further investigation.

A provocative question is posed by an Australian scholar of globalization and prostitution. She writes:

Poverty, dislocation, and female desperation are routinely cited in explanation of prostitution, as well as the trafficking that organizes the trade...But parallel to these global developments, what has caused growing numbers of men to prostitute women at greater frequency over the past fifty years, if we see the global sex industry as having burgeoned during this period? In other words, what has accelerated demand for prostitution among men...what has caused the fashion to emerge among men that buying sex might be thought reasonable, even desirable?51

We are not, as this scholar correctly points out, dealing with some biological “essentialist” male sex drive, or some “latent prostitution demand” that lies dormant in men. And she is on to something when she observes that the “banal sexual trading of women and children within the context of men’s everyday lives as consumers is a twenty-first century reality that the gendered anti-slavery movements of neither the nineteenth nor twentieth centuries have been able to prevent.”52 Her use of the term “banal” is, of course, to highlight the routinization, that normalization, of sexual exploitation and violence directed at women.

Bob Avakian has provided the analytic tools with which to explore and understand this. He is the architect of the only kind of revolution, a revolution guided by the new communism, through which we can radically transform this. The new communism takes the liberation of women as a central and touchstone question for the revolution in the 21st century to emancipate humanity from all oppression and exploitation.


We live in a world in which “two outmodeds” are clashing with each other: the outmoded economy and culture and ruling strata of the imperialist system; and reactionary fundamentalisms, reflecting the outlook of historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity.53 Pornography meets the veil—women’s dehumanization in medieval and modern form.

We live in a world of extreme parasitism and privilege in the imperialist heartlands—of wasteful, toxic, and numbing consumerism, including garish “sex entertainment”; a world of “sex tourism” as “growth industry” in the Third World.

In so many ways, as Avakian has emphasized, underlying economic forces and deep social-cultural changes and struggles have put the patriarchal family, and patriarchal relations in general, under enormous strain.54 Traditional social ties and roles have fractured, both in the imperialist and the oppressed countries. Peasant women have become superexploited wage laborers in garment and electronic factories in Third World export-processing zones. In the U.S., women who in previous generations would have been full-time wives and homemakers now graduate from college in greater numbers than men. Households have changed: dual income, female-headed, alongside cultural challenges to gender traditions.

But these economic and social changes remain contained and constrained within the shell (and armor) of prevailing economic, social, and ideological relations, of the patriarchal organization of society. This applies in distinct but profoundly interrelated ways in both the imperialist and oppressed countries—not least because of the processes of imperialist globalization and its cultural expressions.

In this light, a few additional points of reflection for subsequent investigation:

*“Male revanchism” in response to the undermining and erosion of traditional and formerly stable forms of patriarchal control over women—and a felt “loss of male status” at home, work, and in society at large. Violence against women, including rape and gang rape, plays an integral role in the reassertion of male privilege, entitlement, and standing...and as “punishment” to those threatening it.

*The mass production, spread, and consumption of pornography on a global scale...the huge role of sex trafficking in this global industry...and of pornography in “educating,” socializing, and habituating young boys and men in general to what is acceptable, indeed valued—reinforcing the extreme commodification and objectification of women.

Bob Avakian has drawn a searing parallel between pornography and “postcards of a hanging”—the postcards, with graphic pictures of lynchings of Black men in the early 20th century, that were sold as “souvenirs” of sadistic punishment and mutilation.55 Like those postcards, pornography perpetrates, rationalizes, and delights in violence against real people.

There are multiple research studies showing that pornography is a primary source of information about sex for young people—and that young boys in particular who view internet pornography regard its depiction of sex as "realistic."56 Never mind consent, intimacy, and equality.

Another salient fact: America has been the leader in the global production, proliferation and global “mainstreaming” of pornography and its dominant tropes: misogyny, sexual violence, racism, and neocolonial sexual conquest. The global pornography industry generates some $97 billion, with the U.S. hosting some 60 percent of the world's pornography websites.57

*The role of the Internet in amplifying the global trade in women and children: for “sex tourism” and sex centers in the U.S. and Western Europe, for “business prostitution,” domestic escort-prostitution agencies, “compensated dating,” etc. Cyber-connectivity has “stimulated” the demand for and access to commercial sex venues. The Internet is in fact the principal means by which pornography is delivered to men, especially in the imperialist countries. And, not least, cyber-technology facilitates prostitution and sex trafficking...and their disguise.

~~~~~~~~~~

The horror, the horror...
Break the chains. Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!

 


Endnotes and Citations

* Taiwan and South Korea are often cited as “miracles of development” and a first wave of “newly industrializing countries” that other Third World countries could emulate. But these are special cases. The economic-industrial development of Taiwan and South Korea after the end of World War 2 in 1945 is inseparable from their strategic role as “frontline” states in the U.S. Cold War confrontation in Asia, especially directed against revolutionary China led by Mao. Taiwan and South Korea were built up as privileged neocolonial “client states” with special access to foreign assistance, loans, investments, and to the U.S. market. They became favored sites of industrial investment-relocation by U.S. and Japanese transnational firms. And this high-speed economic-industrial development pivoted on savage repression carried out by these client states against their populations.26  [back]

1. “NEW YEAR'S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN: A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, January 2021,” www.revcom.us, Emphasis added. [back]

2. This 40-42 million estimate appears in the comprehensive studies of global prostitution produced by the Paris-based Scelles Foundation; Catherine Goldmann, Current Assessment of the State of Prostitution, 2013 (Paris: Scelles Foundation), p. 5. [back]

3. An early theorization of global prostitution as subject to forces of “industrialization” is found in Kathleen Barry, The Prostitution of Sexuality (New York: NYU Press, 1996). [back]

4. International Labor Organization,“ Sex Industry Assuming Massive Proportions in Southeast Asia,” Press Release, August 19, 1998. [back]

5. Brian M. Willis, Barry S. Levy, "Child prostitution: global health burden, research needs, and interventions," The Lancet, Vol 359, April 20, 2002, p. 1417; Patricia D. Levan, “Curtailing Thailand's Child Prostitution Through an International Conscience,” American University International Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 3 (1994), pp. 869-70. In 2007, some 40 percent of Thailand's prostitutes were estimated to be under 18—see Ecpat,  Global Monitoring Status of Action against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Country report of Thailand, 2011, p, 13. [back]

6. HIV and AIDS Data Hub for Asia-Pacific, China: Sex Work and HIV/AIDS 2010, Table 1, p. 2. [back]

7. International Labor Organization, Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labor and Forced Marriage (Geneva: 2017). [back]

8. International Organization for Migration, Information Campaign Against Trafficking in Women from Ukraine-Research Report (Geneva: 1998). [back]

9. PICUM, Safeguarding the Human Rights and Dignity of Undocumented Migrant Sex Workers (Brussels: 2019), p. 9. [back]

10. Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, pp. 9-11; more data and analysis is found in UN Office on Drugs and Crime, “Executive Summary,” Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2020 (New York: 2020), [back]

11. Channing May, Transnational Crime and the Developing World (Washington, D.C.: Global Financial Integrity, 2017), Table X1. [back]

12. International Labor Organization, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor (Geneva: 2014), Table 2.1, p. 13. [back]

13.Cited in Corinne Redfern, “The Living Hell of Young Girls Enslaved in Bangladesh’s Brothels,” Guardian, July 6, 2019; see also, Siddharth Kara, Modern Slavery: A Global Perspective  (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017). [back]

14. Polaris Project, “Hidden in Plain Sight: How Corporate Secrecy Facilitates Human Trafficking in Illegal Massage Parlors,” April 2018, p. 1. [back]

15. Cesar Chelala, “Child Trafficking: A Global Scourge,” The Globalist, July 16, 2019. [back]

16. Cara Kelly, “13 Sex traffficking statistics that explain the enormity of the global sex trade,” USA Today, July 30, 2019. [back]

17. Kate Geary, Our Land Our Lives: Time Out on the Global Land Rush, (Oxford, UK: Oxfam International, 2013). The small-farmer advocacy organization GRAIN.org maintains a data base of global landgrabbing. See also, Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Complexity and Brutality in the World Economy (Cambridge: Belnap Press, 2014), chapter 2, “The New Global Market for Land.” Analysis of land dispossession, resistance, and conflict is found in The Journal of Peasant Studies, including the special issue “The New Enclosures: Critical Perspectives on Corporate Land Deals” (Vol. 39, Issue 3-4, 2012) with articles on landgrabbing in Africa; and the special issue "Rural Land Dispossession in China and India” (Vol. 47, No. 6, 2020). On Thailand, Cambodia, and Mynanmar, see  Local Act Thailand, “Land Grabbing and Impacts to Small-Scale Farmers in Southeast Asia Sub-Region,” (April 2015). [back]

18. Geary, Our Land Our Lives. [back]

19. See, for instance, Michael Levien, Gender and Land Dispossession: A Comparative Analysis, (New York: UN Women, 2017). [back]

20. UNCTAD, Enhancing the Contribution of Export-Processing Zones to the Sustainable Development Goals (New York: United Nations Publications, 2015), Preface. [back]

21. For a street-level, investigative study, see Svati P. Shah, Street Corner Secrets: Sex, Work and Migration in the City of Mumbai (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014). [back]

22. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Migrant Smuggling FAQs,” 2018. [back]

23. Raymond Lotta, “Imperialist Parasitism and Class-Social Recomposition in the U.S. From the 1970s to Today: An Exploration of Trends and Changes,” Revcom.us, March 22, 2021. [back]

24. Aaron Benanav, “Automation and the Future of Work-2,” New Left Review 120, Nov.-Dec. 2019, p. 119. [back]

25. Important analysis of the differences from the Industrial Revolution is found in: C. Scherrer, “Superfluous Workers: Why SDG 8 [Sustainable Development Goals] Will Remain Elusive,” in M. Kaltenborn, et al. (eds), Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights, Volume 5, (Springer: 2020); and D. Rodrik, “Premature Industrialization,” Journal of Economic Growth, Vol. 21, No. 1 (2016). The early capitalist-industrializing countries led by England also had a historically significant "safety-valve": mass immigration (after 1815) to North America and elsewhere to absorb surplus workers and moderate economic and social tensions and conflicts.  [back]

26. See, George Aseniero, “South Korean and Taiwanese Development: The Transnational Context,” Review (Fernand Braudel Center), Vol. 17, No. 3 (Summer 1994); Martin Hart-Landsburg, Korea: Division, Reunification, and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998). [back]

27. International Labor Organization, “More than 60 percent of the world’s employed are in the informal economy," Press Release, April 30, 2018. [back]

28. Sassen, Expulsions, pp. 16, 89; see  also “Conclusion.” [back]

29. Mike Davis, Planet of Slums (New York: Verso, 2006). [back]

30. Data on cities: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospect (New York, 2018); United Nations Statistics Division, “Sustainable Cities and Communities," (New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs); UN Population Division, “World Urbanization Prospects,” 2018 Revision; David Satterthwaite, “An Urbanizing World,” International Institute for Environment and  Development (London), April 9, 2020. [back]

31. Aye's story is told in Kathryn Farr, Sex Trafficking: The Global Market in Women and Children (New York: Worth Publishers, 2005). [back]

32. Mary's story from Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Kieran Guilbert, “Migrant Crisis Fuels Sex Trafficking of Nigerian Girls To Europe,” Thomson Reuters Foundation, May 31, 2016. [back]

33. See Chris Buckley and Ellen Barry, “Rohingya Women Flee Violence Only To Be Sold Into Marriage,” The New York Times, August 2, 2015. The experiences of trafficked girls in Bangladesh's “brothel villages” is movingly told in Redfern, “The Living Hell of Young Girls Enslaved in Bangladesh’s Brothels”; see also, Tania Rashid, “Inside the Bangladeshi Brothels Where Rohingya Girls Are Suffering,” PBS NewsHour Report, April 26, 2018. [back]

34. Sheila Jeffreys, “Prostitution, Trafficking, and Feminism: An Update on the Debate,” Women’s Studies International Forum, 32 (2009), p. 319. [back]

35. Sunsara Taylor, “Questions About 'Feminist Porn,' the Nature of Truth, 'Sex Work,' and Socialism Encountered on a Liberal Arts College Campus,” Revcom.us, February 21, 2014. [back]

36. The original passage on “Choices..And Radical Changes,” is found in Bob Avakian, “More on Choices...And Radical Changes,” www.revcom.us, January 28, 2013. [back]

37. “Discourse Surrounding Prostitutional Propaganda Online: An Analysis,” in Sexual Exploitation: New Challenges, New Answers, 5th Global Report (Paris: Scelles Foundation, 2019), p. 5. The term sexual exploitation applies to the spectrum of activities ranging from the “self-employed” and remunerated “sex worker” to a kidnapped child trafficked across borders to become a sex slave in a brothel. [back]

38. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, “Illicit Trade Endangers the Environment, the Law, and the Sustainable Development Goals,” (Geneva: UNCTAD, July 18. 2019). [back]

39. Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime, The Global Illicit Economy: Trajectories of Transnational Organized Crime (Geneva: March 2021), p. 31. [back]

40. Global Illicit Economy, p. 36. [back]

41. Jean Pyle, “Sex, Maids, and Export Processing: Risks and Reasons For Gendered Global Production Networks,” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 15, No. 1 (2001). [back]

42. Palash Ghosh, “Prostitution Thriving in China: The Dark Underbelly of Economic Prosperity,” International Business Times, May 7, 2013. [back]

43. Sheila Jeffreys, The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 107, 119. Jeffreys (pp. 118-19) discusses the prostitution system set up for the American military in the Philippines following World War 2 and the imposition of U.S. bases. The U.S. military institutionalized medical checks around the major U.S. naval and air force bases in order to facilitate prostitution (and “prostitution towns” that developed around the bases). [back]

44. “American Crime, #8: America's War in Vietnam and the Sexual Subjugation of Women,” www.revcom.us, March 4, 2021. [back]

45. On the 1967 U.S.-Thai agreement, see Emily Nyen Chang, "Engagement Abroad: Enlisted Men, U.S. Military Policy and the Sex Industry," Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, Vol. 15, No. 2 (2001), pp. 40-41. [back]

46. Debra McNutt, “Privatizing Women,” Counterpunch, July 11, 2007. [back]

47. Jeffreys, The Industrial Vagina, pp. 130-32, emphasis added. [back]

48. Island Outpostings, “Interview: Nicole Dennis-Benn's Debut Novel is a Love Letter to Jamaica.” [back]

49. Anna Tokar, et al., “‘I don’t want anyone to know’: Experiences of obtaining access to HIV testing by Eastern European, non-European Union sex workers in Amsterdam, the Netherlands,” PloS One, 15(7), July 7, 2020. [back]

50. See, for instance, Sheila Jeffreys, “The Sex Industry and Business Practice: An Obstacle to Women's Equality,” Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 3, No. 3 (May 2010). Jeffreys cites studies showing that 40 percent of strip-club spending in major U.S. markets is for business purposes. [back]

51. Caroline Norma, “Globalization and Prostitution,” Entry in Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance (Springer International Publishing, 2018); emphasis added. [back]

52. Norma, “Globalization and Prostitution.” [back]

53. See Bob Avakian, “From Bringing Forward Another Way: Bob Avakian on The Two “Historically Outmodeds,” revcom.us, December 4, 2015. [back]

54. See Bob Avakian, New Year's Statement 2021; and Raymond Lotta, Imperialist Parasistism and Class-Social Recomposition, Section 6. Available at www.revcom.us. [back]

55. “More Postcards of the Hanging—The Horrors Perpetrated Against Women Under This System,” From Sampler Edition: Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution, pp. 7-9. Available at www.revcom.us. [back]

56. Maggie Jones, “What Teenagers are Learning From Online Porn,” The New York Times, February 7, 2018; Peggy Orenstein, "If You Ignore Porn, You Aren't Teaching Sex Education," The New York Times, June 24, 2021; Sandra Laville, "Most boys think online pornography is realistic, finds study," The Guardian, June 14, 2016. [back]

57. NBC News, “Things are Looking Up in America's Porn Industry,” January 20, 2015; Felix Richter, “60 Percent of Porn Websites are Hosted in the U.S.,” Statista, August 21, 2013. [back]

 

 

 

 

 

 

India


The extensive quarantines from corona virus contributed to women prostitutes facing more dire financial debts.


Women prostitutes wait in line for handouts of groceries in the "red light" district of Kamathipura in Mumbai, India, 2020. Photo: PTI


Women, veiling their faces to hide their identity, at a protest against eviction from their rooms in the "red light" area of New Delhi, India, 2003. Banner in background reads: What is the future of these tens of thousands of women? Photo: AP/Gurinder Osan

Mexico


Prostitutes in Mexico City, originally from Honduras, split a small meal; one of the women said she began in prostitution at age 12. Photo: AP/Rebecca Blackwell

Peru


Transgender "sex workers" in a shack they share with others in the San Juan de Miraflores shantytown of Lima, Peru, 2020. Photo: AP/Martin Mejia

Nigeria


Two women who were trafficked from Nigeria and forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso—where they managed to free themselves from the captors but had to continue in prostitution in order to earn enough money to return home. Photo: AP/Sam Mednick


Above and below: Nigerian women who were trafficked and forced into prostitution, at Bois de Vincennes park on the outskirts of Paris, France. Tens of thousands of Nigerian women and children have been trafficked throughout Europe and other parts of the world.


South Africa


Two women friends who live together in a shared room and sell sexual services on the street in Cape Town, South Africa, 2009. Photo: AP

Zimbabwe


Prostitutes in the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe, 2020. Photo: AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Cambodia


Women prostitutes in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 2002. Photo: AP/David Longstreath

Thailand


Prostitutes working in the "sex industry" in Thailand. Photo: AP

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/711/summary-industrialization-of-sexual-exploitation-imperialist-globalization-and-descent-into-hell-en.html

Summary: The “Industrialization” of Sexual Exploitation, Imperialist Globalization, and the Descent Into Hell

| revcom.us

 

This research paper examines the dimensions of, and explores key dynamics and historical factors driving, the global growth of prostitution and trafficking of women into prostitution. “Sex work” is a profoundly and obscenely misleading term—what is involved is sexual exploitation: the marketed degradation and organized sexual submission of women to male domination. The “industrialization” of sexual exploitation refers to the fact that this sexual exploitation is globalized, large-scale, and organized. The “sex industry” encompasses brothel, street, and escort prostitution; strip clubs and massage parlors; pornography; military prostitution; and global “sex tourism” sites. This sexual exploitation has become increasingly normalized.

*By current estimates, there are 40 million prostitutes worldwide, 75 percent of whom are 13 to 25 years old. What is referred to as the “global sex industry,” or the “global sex trade,” has evolved into a hugely profitable segment of individual national economies and the world imperialist economy taken as a whole.

*The contemporary “global sex industry” cannot be comprehended simply or mainly as the continuation of the “ages-old practice” of prostitution within modern patriarchal society. The current-day forms and magnitude of sexual subjugation and degradation of women have been profoundly shaped, massively magnified, and globally integrated by the workings of late imperialism as a world system of exploitation in which the division between rich oppressor countries and poor oppressed countries is a defining feature of imperialist accumulation—with its plunder of resources in the Third World, penetration of markets, and super-exploitation of labor—and by social-cultural factors bound up with the world system of capitalism-imperialism.

*The paper discusses major dislocations in the Third World and how they have affected the lives of women. Rural poverty; agribusiness-led transformation and ruin of small-peasant and farmer agriculture; environmental stresses on land, water, and resources; and military conflict have profoundly altered traditional work and family patterns and fueled massive migrations of humanity out of the countryside of the global South. Migration across borders has become essential to the survival strategies of women displaced from traditional economies. And these streams of migration “drive up” the supply of “potential sex slaves” to be exploited at low cost.

*The research paper digs deeply into an historical and social-economic phenomenon of great importance of the last 50 years. There has been a modern-day form of the (often violent) separation of laborers (small-holding peasants and farmers) from the means of production (mainly land)...devastating the lives of hundreds of millions of rural dwellers in the Third World. As late as 1983, the majority of the world’s laborers were still in agriculture (overwhelmingly in the global South). By the start of the 2010s, only 25 percent of the world’s workers were in agriculture.

*But the ongoing reality for the displaced of the global South is that new jobs outside of agriculture—especially in industry—are not being created anywhere on the scale to absorb those being separated from the land.

*This process of dispossession has been linked to an historically unprecedented process of breakneck and chaotic urbanization in the Third World and the emergence of “mega-cities,” with massive slums and surrounding corridors of squatter settlements inhabited by migrants from the countryside.

*Prostitution in its legal and illegal forms, as forced or “voluntary” labor, is an integral element of the global informal economy of unregulated and irregular labor (without set pay, hours, or protections) that is the dominant form of employment and survival in the cities of the oppressed countries of the global South.

*“Sex tourism” is a major feature of the economies of Thailand and the Philippines, as well as other countries—and the governments of many poor countries have deliberately developed “sex tourism” as a strategy of development. Western capital is a prime beneficiary: hotel chains, airlines, banks and credit card companies, the Internet.

*The development of the “sex tourism industry” in Asia from the 1970s onward was substantially aided by the groundwork put in place by U.S. military prostitution. It began in the same sites where prostitution had been developed to service the U.S. military: 400,000-500,000 Vietnamese women and girls were prostitutes in South Vietnam during the 10 years of America’s genocidal war of 1965-75. Thailand became a major site of sex “rest and recreation” for U.S. soldiers on leave.

*Sex trafficking takes place on a huge scale on the planet. Some five million human beings, 99 percent of them women and children, are trafficked (forced) into sexual exploitation, over one million of whom are children. It is immensely profitable—generating $99 billion a year at the start of the 2010s. The research paper tells of the horrors of young women from Nigeria and Myanmar, including Rohingya refugees, who have lived this nightmare.

*There is a vicious cycle in the sphere of sexual exploitation: a woman is recruited in Thailand for overseas work as a domestic; she then gets trafficked to other countries and is coerced into prostitution…she becomes a slave. Even though most of her “earnings” is apportioned to a pimp or trafficker, she is able to send some funds home to her family in a rural village…in a country that thrives on “sex tourism.”

*Foreign and migrant prostitutes, many of whom are trafficked, play a major role in the “sex industries” (street prostitution, pornography, “sex tourism,” etc.) in Western Europe. The U.S. is the world leader of the pornography industry: its production, global proliferation, and mainstreaming.

*Globalized and “industrialized” sexual exploitation is a concentrated expression of the extreme and horrific commodification of the female body under imperialism.


A Nigerian woman trafficked to Burkina Faso and forced into prostitution in the gold mining town of Secaco walks through a tent encampment where she and others like her live and are forced to have sex with up to 30 men per night. (Photo: AP/Sam Mednick)

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/no-return-to-normalcy-en.html

No Return to "Normalcy"

COVID at This "Rare Moment" in History, Contributing to and Manifesting This...

| revcom.us

 

In the spring of 2020, as COVID began to tear through the world, we published “THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF ‘NORMALCY’ AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD” by Bob Avakian (BA). This article has proved prescient in many respects, including its statement that: “Whatever happens in regard to the elections that are scheduled to be held this November [the presidential election of 2020 that Biden won], and however the coronavirus crisis is resolved—or if it is not really resolved but becomes part of ‘cascading crises,’ with one crisis leading to another... and another—there will be no returning to some idealized notion of ‘normalcy.’[emphasis added]

In THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY, BA goes into the way that these “cascading” crises and break from “normalcy”—stemming from and manifesting in the sharp divides atop the ruling strata of society, including in this instance in different and conflicting approaches to COVID from the Republican-fascists and the Democrats—can lead to a situation in which the main factors for a revolutionary situation, an actual revolution, could be ripened. In particular, the profound point that:

... the deepening and sharpening conflicts among the ruling powers, and in the society overall, provides a stronger basis and greater openings to break the hold of this system over masses of people.

It is extremely important to deeply understand this:

As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.

And as “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way.

***

As the articles grouped here reveal, this crisis continues and develops, “cascading” with others.

Much of what is pointed to and analyzed in what we are excerpting here from BA—especially the ways in which the economic and social relations, and the political structures reflecting and reinforcing them, cause tremendous unnecessary suffering—is sharply exposed in “Oppressive, Parasitic Workings of Capitalism-Imperialism Continue Needless COVID-19 Horrors,” "The Crippling Role of Republi-fascist Governors in the Fight Against COVID," and “Check It Out: ‘The Kindergarten Exodus.’” These articles also bear out the point from BA—including as illustrated in “The Crippling Role of Republi-fascist Governors in the Fight Against COVID”—that, even with Biden now in office, the fascist movement “amplifies and fortifies the barriers that the ‘normal functioning’ of the capitalist-imperialist system places in the way of a systematic and coordinated approach to combating the coronavirus.”

The article on "Why Everyone who Can Should Take the COVID-19 Vaccine" and “Communique #4 from the Revcoms: We Need a Whole Different World. How the Revolution Would Deal with Epidemics” give concrete examples of the need for a scientific outlook and approach to this disease; as well as the ways in which the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America provides a whole different framework for how such crises would be approached, taken up, and resolved—with an actual revolution and under a radically different state power.

 

 

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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/640/bob-avakian-the-deadly-illusion-of-normalcy-en.html

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

by Bob Avakian

| revcom.us

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Immediate Dangers, the Fundamental Problem and the Revolutionary Solution

Several years ago, I pointed out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As “Notes” further states:

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

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

See also:

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

by Dr. Hubert Locke

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

Read more

Watch BA's whole speech:

Watch clips from speech

 

 

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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/712/why-everyone-who-can-should-take-the-covid-19-vaccine-en.html

Letter from a reader:

Why Everyone Who Can Should Take the COVID-19 Vaccine

| revcom.us

 

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading at an alarming rate across the country. The new Delta variant, one of many mutations of the original disease, is highly contagious, and it is infecting people especially those who have not been vaccinated. Right now, tens of thousands of people are hospitalized across the U.S., and hundreds are dying every day. Nearly all COVID-19 deaths are among people who have not been vaccinated—over 40 percent of people in this country who are eligible (over 12 years old) have not been fully vaccinated.


Highly magnified particles of the Coronavirus.

In the U.S., where the vaccine has been available to most eligible people, an important part of why people are not getting the vaccine is confusion, disinformation and misinformation, and a campaign of lies about the vaccine itself, how it works, and why it is important to take it. I felt this letter would be important in addressing the basic science involved, why everyone eligible should take it, and what are the stakes involved in whether people take it or not.

First, how does the vaccine work?

According to the World Health Organization:

Germs are all around us, both in our environment and in our bodies. When a person is susceptible and they encounter a harmful organism, it can lead to disease and death.

The body has many ways of defending itself against pathogens (disease-causing organisms). Skin, mucus, and cilia (microscopic hairs that move debris away from the lungs) all work as physical barriers to prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place. 

When a pathogen does infect the body, our body’s defences, called the immune system, are triggered and the pathogen is attacked and destroyed or overcome.1

When the pathogen is a disease-causing organism the body has never encountered before, it takes time for the immune system to recognize it, and to produce ways to defeat it. One of the most important parts of the body’s defenses are antibodies—large proteins that are able to recognize particular pathogens, and neutralize them so they cannot infect the body. There are thousands of antibodies for different diseases in a healthy adult.

Vaccines have been developed over hundreds of years, and have saved untold millions of lives. What vaccines do is provoke an antibody response—they train the body to recognize the pathogen and develop the antibodies to defeat it before the pathogen arrives. Some vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a pathogen which provoke the body to produce antibodies. Newer vaccines contain the “blueprint” for producing antibodies. Regardless of what kind of vaccine, it will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will train the immune system to be able to mobilize against the disease.

When cases of a new contagious disease caused by a new type of coronavirus appeared in 2019, scientists applied recent scientific advances to develop vaccines in a very short time. The coronavirus is named “corona” (for “crown”) because it has “spikes” like a crown. The “spikes” enable the virus to attack healthy cells. These spikes were crucial to the development of vaccines against the coronavirus.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for COVID-19 are called “mRNA vaccines” because they use lab-created messenger RNA (mRNA). This mRNA is genetic material that instructs people’s bodies to make proteins which are the same protein as in the “spike” that surrounds the coronavirus. The body then learns to recognize the “spike,” and therefore produces antibodies to fight the coronavirus.2 An important part of the reason that scientists were able to develop the COVID-19 vaccine so quickly—in less than a year—is because research into developing vaccines for two other corona viruses, SARS and MERS, laid a basis for the mRNA vaccine for COVID-19.3

The side effects some people experience from the first or second shot of vaccines, which are mild in the overwhelming number of cases, are the impact of those antibodies being activated.

What is the science underlying these vaccines?

The foundation of the science behind the vaccines is the science of evolution. This is the most tested theory in all of science,4 and it shows how all of life developed over billions of years, how all the species and forms of life developed. It is not possible to understand the human body, the immune system, or the way disease pathogens develop without being grounded in evolution.5

We cannot go into the science of evolution in depth here, but strongly recommend The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, by Ardea Skybreak.6 The Science of Evolution has a section addressing the ways that evolution was essential for scientists being able to develop a response to the SARS epidemic—and, this applies as well to COVID-19. (This is in a box alongside this article.)

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

A big part of the challenge of combatting infectious diseases is that the pathogen, the virus in the case of COVID-19, evolves and continues to develop new forms (mutations) (like the Delta variant) which can be resistant to vaccines or, as in the case of the Delta variant, can be more contagious. What evolution points to is that the emergence of new forms is not a product of a conspiracy coming out of a government lab, as some of the disinformation/misinformation out there claims, but is in fact the way that all life develops. New generations emerge which are descended from the previous one but which contain random differences, variations, and this provides a basis for new types of organisms to emerge in unpredictable ways. This happens all the time, in every species.

This science takes us to very clear conclusions—if someone doesn’t get vaccinated, they are much more likely to get infected, and they will both spread the virus to others, and their body will become an “incubator,” a place where germs will mutate and this could lead to the emergence of a more dangerous variant. This is an assessment based on a solid, evidence-based understanding. The larger the pool of people who are not vaccinated, who are “incubators” in this way, the greater the threat that even worse variants will emerge, and the greater the danger to society overall.7 If the vast majority of people in society DO get vaccinated, this protects the individuals who are vaccinated, the people they encounter in their lives, and it makes it much less likely that new and dangerous variants of the disease will emerge.8


Medical personnel check the temperature of COVID-19 patient in Baton Rouge, August 2, 2021. Louisiana leads the nation in new Covid cases per capita, and remains with the bottom five states administering vaccines. Photo: AP

Isn’t the process of the testing and distribution of the vaccines “corrupt” and something “we” cannot “trust”?

Given the global pandemic and threats posed by COVD-19, the most basic point here is that there actually has been a scientific, evidence-based process not only of developing these new vaccines in a short time, but also of testing whether they worked, and whether they had harmful side effects. These tests were conducted in a scientific way, and some of the vaccines met the challenge. This was done fast, because of the urgent need in the middle of the global pandemic, with basic public health standards being maintained.9

This process of testing the vaccines has itself been studied and reported on by scientists using methods that are scientific and the testing of the vaccines holds up.10


Queensland University lab technicians work on coronavirus vaccine, January 5, 2020.

For one example, Lancet, a highly-respected British medical journal reported on May 1, 2021, that the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccine—approved for use in the U.S.—had “shown excellent safety and efficacy in phase 3 trials.” (Phase 3 trials are large scale and longer-term studies that all new drugs are required to go through. These are more thorough than the original studies that led to Emergency Use Approval for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.).11

And a February, 2021 article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study of the Moderna vaccine (approved for use in the U.S.) involving over 30,000 volunteers and concluded the “vaccine showed 94.1% efficacy at preventing Covid-19 illness, including severe disease. Aside from transient [very short term] local and systemic reactions, no safety concerns were identified.”12

An important thing to note is that while Trump did try to turn the scientific and medical arms of the U.S. government into instruments of his fascist politics, and he did some real damage, he did not fundamentally succeed. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which have had important responsibility for the COVID-19 vaccines, are both part of the capitalist system, and at the same time, are scientific bodies. We have cited some things from their websites here because there are important truths that people can learn from them.

In conclusion:

Everyone who is eligible should get the vaccination, and urge others to do the same.

 


1. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-do-vaccines-work  [back]

2. See How mNRA Vaccines Work at the CDC website.  [back]

3. The lightning-fast quest for COVID vaccines—and what it means for other diseases, Phillip Ball. Nature, December 18, 2020  [back]

4. The Science of Evolution, p. 34-35:

In addition, like any good scientific theory, the theory of evolution is open to challenge and to being falsified or proven wrong. What does this mean? It means that when scientists have a theory about something, they make predictions about how, if the theory is TRUE, then it should be possible to find such and such evidence. But they also indicate what kinds of evidence would be incompatible with the theory and would prove the theory to be FALSE. The amazing thing about the theory of evolution is that in the more than 140 years since Darwin published his major breakthrough theory, thousands of scientists from all over the world have been able to collect literally tons of evidence of different sorts which is compatible with and demonstrates the truth of evolution theory, but no one—not a single person anywhere—has been able to come up with a single shred of concrete scientific evidence (of the kind that serious scientists can go out and verify for themselves) that would show the theory of evolution to be false. And that, my friends, should also tell you something. Especially since (as many other people have pointed out) anyone who could somehow manage to prove the theory of evolution to be false would become an overnight celebrity for having been able to overturn one of the most solidly held facts in all of science!  [back]

5. In basic terms, evolution is descent with modification. Life forms reproduce, and the next “generation” both inherits a basic form, and at the same time, there is variation within that among different individuals—no two individuals are the same. And some individuals thrive and reproduce in the environment they find themselves in, while others don’t. Through this process, over many generations, whole new species, new kinds of organisms, come into being. This is how all life has developed, from very simple single-celled organisms which emerged 3.5 billion years ago, to all of the diversity we now see today.”

Skybreak, The Science of Evolution (p. 8):

But, at any rate, there is plenty of evidence that all the life-forms which are around on earth today—all the bacteria, all the species of plants, all the species of animals, including humans—are descended from a single common ancestor. One of the most important indicators of this “common descent” is that all living things on this planet make use of the same basic underlying genetic code and share many particular mechanisms of protein synthesis.  [back]

6. A major theme of The Science of Evolution is to expose and oppose the lies and deceitful methods of the hard-core Christian fundamentalist opponents of evolution. These people are the core of the social base of Trump, they number in the millions, and a big majority of them are also refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. There is a deep linkage between opposing evolution and rejecting medical science about the vaccine.  [back]

7. In this obscenely unequal world, where some countries have more vaccines than they need, and other countries have hardly any vaccines at all, there is a grave danger of whole sections of the world becoming “incubators” because of these unjust, and completely unnecessary, inequalities.  [back]

8. The science is clear that taking the vaccine strongly benefits society as a whole. But we are in a society where there is a deeply entrenched fascist movement which elevates individualism in even more extreme ways than American “me first” culture has done for generations. This individualism is the foundation for a morality which sacrifices the more vulnerable to the epidemic, and mocks and opposes even easy things which should be done for the common good like wearing masks and getting vaccinations.  [back]

9. We are not saying here that there were no problems in vaccine development. In the dog fight between different capitalists which characterizes capitalism, and which shaped a massive competition between corporations and nations to develop and sell vaccines (and which is still going on), there were vaccines which failed, and others which had problems at times for various reasons, and not all vaccines are the same. But it is clear that overall, people SHOULD take the COVID-19 vaccines.  [back]

10. Science is a method to understand actual objective reality. There is an assault on science coming from two sides which is very intense in society right now. On the one side, the fascists hate science and attack its methods and all its results that do not serve their immediate purposes (when it comes to making more powerful weapons of destruction, the fascists are all for science!) On the other side, you have the “woke folk insanity,” an approach that denies science and tears down everything that does not conform to the latest arbitrary standards of “wokeness.” Here is an important distillation by Ardea Skybreak on what science is:

So I think it might be worth starting a little bit by talking about what is science, to demystify it a little bit. I mean, science deals with material reality, and you could say that all of nature and all of human society is the province of science, science can deal with all that. It’s a tool–science–a very powerful tool. It’s a method and approach for being able to tell what’s true, what corresponds to reality as it really is. In that sense, science is very different than religion or mysticism, or things like that, which try to explain reality by invoking imaginary forces and which provide no actual evidence for any of their analyses. By contrast, science requires proof. It requires evidence. It is an evidence-based process. That’s very important. Science is an evidence-based process. So whether you’re just trying to understand something in the world, or trying to figure out how to change reality–for instance, you might be trying to cure a disease, or you might be trying to understand the dynamics of a rain forest or a coral reef ecosystem, or you might be trying to make a revolution to emancipate humanity, you know, the full range of material experience–science allows you to figure out what’s really going on and how it can change.

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 by Ardea Skybreak, p. 2  [back]

11. See “Vaccine side-effects and SARS-CoV-2 infection after vaccination in users of the COVID Symptom Study app in the UK: a prospective observational study,” The Lancet, July, 2021  [back]

12. See “Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine,” The New England Journal of Medicine, December 30, 2020  [back]

 

 

From The Science of Evolution and the Myth of Creationism:

Evolution Science and the SARS Virus

It is simply the case that no one can come to understand anything essential about the SARS virus and epidemic (and how best to deal with it) without factoring in some basic facts about biological evolution. The basic principles of biological evolution are, first of all, helping to identify the genetic structure of this particular virus, and to uncover what other viruses the SARS virus is related to (the evolutionary family of closely related “corona viruses”). This evolutionary knowledge in turn is important for trying to figure out which medications and/or vaccines might or might not have an effect on the SARS virus (for instance, if it’s in the evolutionary family of corona viruses, it makes sense to look first at what we already know does or doesn’t work against other closely related viruses in the same corona family). Then there’s the question of trying to figure out where this particular SARS virus came from: understanding evolutionary principles has helped us to understand that viruses can sometimes “jump” from one biological species to another (often, it seems, through predation, when one species eats another species). Understanding how evolution works also helps us to realize that members of a species which have eaten virus-infected members of a different species are much less likely to get sick themselves if the two species in question are only distantly related than if they are more closely related. (Among other things, this is one of the reasons it’s really not a very good idea for human beings, who are primates, to eat other primates, such as monkeys and apes; there continues to be speculation, for instance, that the rapidly mutating strains of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in humans originally evolved out of some closely related viruses which have been found to cause an AIDS-like disease in some African primates. A number of biologists suspect some of these viruses may at some point have “jumped” to human hosts through the consumption of “bush meat”—including various species of monkeys as well as apes, such as chimpanzees—which is an ongoing practice in the region.)

Disease organisms themselves evolve over time and often in conjunction with (together with or in relation to the evolution of) their hosts. The more recently two species shared a common ancestor in the evolutionary past (and the more bodily features they still have in common) the more likely it is that some of the factors that can sicken one (such as a particular virus) can also sicken the other. The theory of evolution allows us to understand such things, and this understanding in turn can give us clues about where to look next to try to figure something out. People who reject evolution, and who believe that all living species of plants and animals are completely unrelated to each other, can’t make any real significant breakthroughs in the modern-day struggle to manage or cure infectious diseases. Only people solidly grounded in evolution science can do that. For instance, it is only because they understood and were taking into account some of the basic principles of biological evolution that epidemiologists (biologists who study infectious diseases and their spread and containment) even knew to go looking for the possible source and reservoirs of the SARS virus in non-human species which shared common evolutionary ancestors with humans in the not too distant evolutionary past. Humans are mammals, and researchers have therefore paid particular attention to some of the other mammals that humans come into contact with in areas with a high original incidence of SARS (both domestic mammals, such as pigs, which sometimes live with humans at close quarters, or wild mammals which are hunted and consumed by humans). They have been looking for SARS viruses in areas of rural China where, some scientists think, the virus could have “jumped” from pig to human. And, as I write this, the latest news is that a species of wild civet (a cat-like mammal which is apparently occasionally hunted and consumed by people in the region) may harbor the SARS virus and represent the pathway through which humans initially contracted the disease. It is too early to tell for sure. But whether or not this particular source turns out to be the right one, the point is that trying to figure out where this virus came from is an important part of trying to figure out how to treat it and contain it in human populations—but scientists wouldn’t even know where to look for it if they didn’t understand some basic facts about evolution, including why it is that disease-causing factors can sometimes jump between prey and predator species and sicken the predators, especially if they still share many evolutionary features in common with their prey.

The SARS virus, human susceptibility to the brain-wasting “mad-cow disease,” the rapidly evolving AIDS virus, the increasingly problematic evolution of bacteria resistant to all known antibiotics—all these are serious public health problems, and they cannot be fully understood and correctly addressed unless one takes into account the past and present evolution of these disease-causing agents.

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/oppressive-parasitic-workings-of-capitalism-imperialism-continue-needless-covid-19-horrors-en.html

Oppressive, Parasitic Workings of Capitalism-Imperialism Continue Needless COVID-19 Horrors
Part 1

| revcom.us

 

A number of articles posted previously at revcom.us1 have exposed how the workings of capitalism-imperialism have led to needless horrors under the COVID-19 pandemic:

ALL OF THIS has not only continued but gotten even more horrific.

Part 1 of this article will examine how the pandemic has exacerbated poverty and hunger, especially in poor Third World countries; and will look at the ways already existing inequalities have been deepened with COVID-19.

Part 2 examines how the lopsided nature of a world with rich and poor countries is reflected in not only the percentage of the population vaccinated, but also the overall levels of danger, death, and suffering in different countries.

*****

COVID-19 Deepening Poverty and Hunger

East London, South Africa: Thembakazi Stishi is a single mother. Her father, who worked as a mechanic at a Mercedes plant, helped her feed her family. Then in January, Stishi’s father died of COVID-19. Stishi went door to door offering housecleaning for $10 but got no work and for the first time, her children went to bed hungry. Millions like Stishi were already living in desperate conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic has now pushed them over the edge into deeper poverty and hunger.

Goshen City, Peru: When the pandemic hit, Milinka and Luis Miguel’s father, a motorcycle taxi driver, and mother, a toy factory worker, lost their jobs. The family is now surviving on about $9 a day—which mostly goes to water, electricity, gas and cellular data so their children can take virtual classes. They lunch at a “communal pot”—one of the makeshift food stations that are popping up to help people share their meager food rations. Dinner is often only bread and water. Milinka stopped playing with her Hello Kitty doll on the dirt floor, sitting in a corner with a mouth infection and Luis Miguel lost interest in playing soccer. Their mother, 27-year-old Marimar Avila thought they were just depressed but when she took them to the doctor she found out they were anemic.

These examples give a living picture of how the poverty and hunger that were already so stark in Third World countries have been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic an estimated 150 million faced life-threatening food shortages. Now this number is 270 million (UN World Food Program). And the number of people in the worst phase of a hunger crisis—on the brink of famine—has gone from 34 million last year to 41 million.

For many years now, global hunger has steadily gone up in poor countries, especially in Africa, due to armed conflicts, deepening poverty, as well as climate-related droughts and floods. The pandemic has accelerated all this and the already huge economic chasm between rich and poor countries is deepening, with hunger a defining measurement of this inequality.

South Africa has been one of the most food-secure nations in the African continent. But now, unemployment is at a record high of more than 30 percent. By the end of 2020, nearly 40 percent of South Africans were facing hunger. School closures eliminated free lunches that fed millions of students. And a strict lockdown meant informal food vendors were forced to shut down—which means many residents had to travel farther to buy groceries and shop at more expensive supermarkets.

The first major report looking at how the pandemic has affected global food security was released recently by five UN agencies showing that due to various impacts of the pandemic, world hunger jumped by an estimated 1.5 percent in 2020, affecting an estimated 720 million to 811 million people throughout the world. The report found that:

The pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, leading to food prices skyrocketing. For the first time in 22 years, extreme poverty—people living on less than $1.90 a day—was on the rise last year.

Foundation of a Lopsided World of Savage Inequalities

The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities between countries and within countries. Already, poor countries faced worse living conditions, and now the lack of adequate health care conditions means people are more vulnerable to getting and dying of COVID-19.

Grossly unequal access to life-saving vaccinations has grown on this soil of economic and social inequality. At least 4.3 million people in the world have already died from COVID-19, and probably two or three times that many. Only 15.4 percent of the world population have been vaccinated [Our World in Data]. And it breaks down like this: The U.S. has vaccinated around 48 percent and countries of the European Union about 42 percent. This is in stark contrast to the African continent where only 1.43 percent have been vaccinated and Asia, where only 9.49 percent have been vaccinated.

Outrageously, rich nations have continued to amass a surplus supply of vaccines, while poor countries go wanting. Only one percent of people in poor countries have received at least one vaccine dose. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, has called the global vaccine distribution a “vaccine apartheid.”

This “vaccine apartheid” has been further exacerbated by the fact that big pharma and rich countries have resisted waiving “intellectual property rights”—making it difficult if not impossible for poor countries to develop their own production and distribution of vaccines. Africa gets 99 percent of all its vaccines from other countries.

Statistics from April 2021 show that 87 percent of all vaccines administered worldwide had gone to high-income or upper middle-income countries, while low income countries received only 0.2%. Not two percent, but zero point two percent!

The apartheid of vaccinations is apparent everywhere. The U.S. government has a surplus of vaccines and begs people to get vaccinated while Haiti only received its first delivery of vaccines on July 15—and only 500,000 doses for a population over 11 million. Canada has more than 10 doses for every resident while Sierra Leone’s vaccination rate is 0.2 percent

In fact, European and American officials involved in the distribution of vaccines told the Associated Press there was no thought about handling the pandemic globally. Instead they focused on making sure the U.S. got enough vaccine for its own use.

There has been talk about how COVID-19 is a “great equalizer,” that the virus doesn’t respect boundaries and that “we are all in this together.” But the real truth is that the system of capitalism-imperialism by its nature is a “great creator and amplifier of inequality.” And this has been sharply illustrated with the horrors of inequality in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The longer COVID-19 continues to spread, the more likely the virus will mutate, creating conditions for more aggressive strains to arise.

Due to the working of this system, COVID-19 has deepened poverty and hunger and exacerbated existing inequalities—and millions of people have, and will continue to die and suffer needlessly from COVID-19.

 

Sources:

Conquering the Great Divide,” by Joseph Stiglitz, International Monetary Fund, Fall 2020.

Inequality in the Time of COVID-19,” by Francisco H.G. Ferreira, International Monetary Fund, Summer 2021.

Five Ways Coronavirus is Deepening Global Inequality,” The Conversation, September 8, 2020.

COVID-19 exacerbating global inequality, report finds,” Philanthropy News, January 26, 2021.

Coronavirus vs. inequality,” United Nations Development Programme, 2020.

COVID-19 has shown us the true extent of global inequality,” by Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director, Oxfam International, January 25, 2021.

How unequal COVID-19 vaccine distribution is exacerbating global inequalities,” by Majd Mansour, ONE, July 21, 2021.

A Pandemic of Vaccine and Technology Hoarding: Unmasking Global Inequality and Hypocrisy,” by Lauren Paremoer, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, July 12, 2021.

Vaccine inequity undermining global economic recovery,” Health Policy Watch, July 22, 2021.

Covid-19 Spreading Faster than Vaccines: Rich Countries Must Address Vaccine Inequality,” International Federation for Human Rights, July 7, 2021.

COVID-19: Vaccine imbalance highlights global inequality,” by Somshankar Bandyopadhyay, Gulf News, July 25, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccinations And Inequality In Crises,” by Carmela Lopez, The Organization for World Peace, July 21, 2021.

Vaccine inequity: Inside the cutthroat race to secure doses,” by Lori Hinnant, Maria Cheng, and Aniruddha Ghosal, Associated Press, July 18, 2021.

More than half of global COVID-19 deaths in the Americas: PAHO,” Aljazeera, July 7, 2021.

Experts warn of prolonged COVID-19 pandemic due to vaccine inequality,” by Guy Davies, Brittyn Clennett, and David Andreas, ABC News, July 28, 2021.

Pandemic-driven hunger is making the world more unequal,” by Anthony Faiola, Washington Post, July 12, 2021.

6 Key Facts Everyone Should Know About How Global Hunger Has Spiked Amid COVID-19,” by Joe McCarthy, Global Citizen, July 14, 2021.

Get Ready for a Spike in Global Unrest,” by Elise Labott, Foreign Policy, July 22, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine Inequality and the Fight for Vaccine Solidarity,” by Amanda Latchmiah, Amref Health Africa, July 2, 2021.

This is how much work is left to vaccinate the world against COVID-19,” World Economic Forum, August 3, 2021.

Africa’s vaccine crisis: It’s not all about corruption,” by Nanjala Nyabola, Aljazeera, July 19, 2021.

Ten million reasons to vaccinate the world,” The Economist, May 15, 2021.

There have been 7m-13m excess deaths worldwide during the pandemic,” The Economist, May 15, 2021.

More evidence emerges of India’s true death toll from covid-19,” The Economist, June 12, 2021.]

No Work, No Food: Pandemic Deepens Global Hunger,” by Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, August 6, 2021.

Worldometer, Covid Deaths, August 8, 2021.

"Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World," by Josh Holder, New York Times, updated August 12, 2021

"Living and dying with covid - How the world is grappling with yet another major coronavirus surge," by Sammy Westfall, Washington Post, August 11, 2021

___________

1. See revcom.us: “Parasitism, Pandemic, and the Needless Horrors of a Lopsided World,” December 28, 2020; “U.S. and Other World Powers Hoard COVID Vaccines, Condemning Millions in Asia, Africa and Latin America to Unnecessary Suffering and Death,” January 4, 2021; and “American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives! COVID Vaccine Distribution—A World of Obscene Inequality,” July 19, 2021. [back]

2. Moderate food insecurity is when people struggle to regularly afford healthy, nutritious diets and meet their caloric needs. Severe food insecurity means a person is often unable to afford or access a meal. [back]


There is a glaring disparity in vaccination rates around the world. More than 48% of adults in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times, but only about 1% of Africans have been fully vaccinated. Here in Kampala, Uganda, people wait to be vaccinated, May 10. Photo: AP


People whose traditional livelihood was ruined from poverty, war, violence, and/or ecological calamity flee to cities. Here, some of the 3.5 million refugees in Myanmar, who face food insecurity. (Photo: UNCHR)


The U.S. government has a surplus a vaccines and begs people to get vaccinated while Sierra Leone's vaccination rate just reached 1% on June 20. Photo: UNICEF


One-half of all vaccine doses have gone to wealthy countries, which make up only 19% of the world’s population. Here, people in India line up for vaccine during a surge in cases and. deaths, April 2021. Photo: AP

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/crippling-role-of-republi-fascist-governors-in-the-fight-against-covid-en.html

The Crippling Role of Republi-fascist Governors in the Fight Against COVID

| revcom.us

 

From the time the coronavirus was first known to be infecting humans, the GOP has basically been “the Party of COVID.” It started with then-president Trump’s denialism1 and then his assurances that COVID-19 could be cured with hydroxychloroquine or even by self-injecting bleach.

Since then, America’s fascists and other reactionaries have made a virtual religion out of opposing public health measures that are absolutely necessary to preventing the spread of deadly disease.2 They organized armed protests against these measures at several state capitols last spring, and have unleashed threats against hundreds of local public health officials. Facebook, Fox News pundits, QANON, and some GOP political leaders have become mouthpieces spreading lunatic “theories” that the COVID-19 vaccine is “really” a magnetic tracking device, or causes infertility, or other nonsense.

Most of the 27 Republican governors are not out there with the same kind of open insanity as Trump, Fox’s Tucker Carlson, or Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.3 And early in the pandemic, when Trump was briefly pressured into calling for a 30-day “pause” in the economy, most governors went with that and implemented some statewide public health measures, some of which remained in effect even after the “pause” ended. Since then, they have “encouraged” people to wear masks; and, when the COVID-19 vaccine was approved, they promoted vaccination and were vaccinated themselves.

But while appearing somewhat more “reasonable,” since those early shutdowns they have increasingly played a decisive role in subverting and obstructing the fight against COVID-19, by refusing to impose public health rules at the state level, and blocking local governments or even private businesses from implementing their own. The Republi-fascists claimed that masks, social distancing, and vaccines were a matter of “individual choice,” not social responsibility. They declared the “right” to willfully infect and perhaps kill other people to be an emblem of American “freedom,” and that establishing rules that would combat COVID amounted to “tyranny,” “socialism,” or “communism.”

Because of the federal system of government in the U.S.,4 state governors have enormous power to impact public health... and many have used that power to bring about the situation in which well over 600,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., and the Delta variant is now spreading at an extremely rapid pace.

Here are two examples of the role of prominent Republican governors in large states that have been centers of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

When Florida reopened in early May, there had been about 1,300 reported deaths up to that point. Three months later, the total had risen to 7,000—a roughly five-fold increase! And as the highly contagious Delta variant took root this summer, DeSantis dug in his heels.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

With the emergence of the Delta variant this summer, Abbott took the offensive... against public health measures! On July 29, 2021, he issued Executive Order GA-38, which did the following:

This was followed up by an order from the Texas Education Agency, which oversees primary and secondary schools that:

These policies were aptly characterized by Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale: “This is conservative virtue signaling. It’s meant to send a message: We don’t care about public health expertise or guidance, we are all about liberty and freedom unconstrained by any responsibility to others. Give me liberty and give me COVID.” Or as Dr. Dara Kass, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, put it, these policies are “objectively insane.”

As of August 8, 2021, Texas has had at least 3.2 million COVID cases, and nearly 54,000 deaths.

 


1. On February 26, 2020, Trump tweeted that we “have 15 people, and ... within in a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” On the same day he told the media that “this is like a flu,” and later added “far less lethal” than most cases of the flu.  [back]

2. Such as mandating that people wear masks and socially distance indoors, or requiring people to be vaccinated before entering crowded venues.  [back]

3. Greene recently cheered Alabama’s record-low vaccination rate, suggested that southerners shoot anyone who came to their door encouraging them to get vaccinated, and blamed the COVID pandemic on Dr. Anthony Fauci.  [back]

4. A system established at the country’s founding in order to give greater power and autonomy to the southern slave states.  [back]

5. He also tried to manipulate the state’s COVID data so things would appear better than they were, and fired the state official who refused to go along with that.  [back]


America's fascists organized armed protests against public health measures at several state capitols last spring, as here at Lansing, Michigan, April 30, 2020. Photo: AP

As of August 8, 2021, Texas has had 3.2 million COVID cases, and nearly 54,000 deaths.

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/andy-zee-why-this-is-a-rare-time-when-revolution-becomes-possible-en.html

"Society is being ripped apart..."
We are "two countries sharing the same border..."

Why This Is
A RARE TIME WHEN
REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE

| revcom.us

 

Welcome to Revolution Books, New York; And, welcome to all the viewers watching the The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show on August 5, 2021 ...

This is The RNL Show’s 64th Episode and the first in front of a live audience here at Revolution Books. My name is Andy Zee, and I am the host of The RNL Show.

There are dreams that startle you awake... nightmares that leave you with a dread of the night... and a haunting of the day. There are other dreams too—beautiful in technicolor... where you feel fully alive with joy and purpose... dreams that motivate with aspirations of freedom from all that oppresses and represses—a living not downpressed by the life sucking machine of this system that destroys people and thwarts being fully human.

A little over a year ago, we saw in the streets of this country and around the world millions of young people—born in this, the 21st century—youth resplendent in their diversity of race, nationality, and gender taking to the streets struggling for a dream of a world at last rid of racial oppression with its concentrated expression in the murder of Black and Brown people by police just for being who they are.

There are dreams from the 1960s that still resonate with potential to be ignited again—hopes and dreams, and yes, there were some schemes, for a world rejecting the white, Mad Men, Jim Crow, apartheid, patriarchal, anti-gay, oppressive, murderous, stultifying U.S. society—a fierce and liberating desire, a new culture and ferocious struggle for a world of equality and liberation, a world... yes, of peace, love, and understanding. Revolution was in the air. A time when there were revolutionary societies and revolutionary struggles, revolutions that were ultimately turned back. Seeds were planted.

There are dreams that a people brought from Africa in chains and their descendants have endured for 402 years to be free from murderous bondage... free from the life-stealing legacy of slavery that still suffocates and strangles this nation and is manifest in every sphere of Black people’s lives down to today, with the searing, obscene expression in the cold eyes of the pig Derek Chauvin’s indifference to the life he stole from George Floyd. But song and struggle for freedom still glows.

Dreams to be free of all that oppresses have been written in verse and prose, theorized in scholarship and revolutionary theory, wished for and fought for and died for. But rare is the time when there is the potential for such dreams to become real.

THIS IS SUCH A TIME. Why?

Because those who rule this country are locked in bitter struggle with each other over how to hold their country together, over how to keep their whole setup, the system that we live under—capitalism/imperialism—going ...

Because they are locked in an irreconcilable struggle over how to cohere and enforce their rule over the people here and around the world whom they oppress and repress...

Because they are divided over how to maintain the U.S. as the top power in the world today...

The deep divisions at the very top of this society are tearing open the shroud of myth and lies that America is the land of “freedom and opportunity”—that “The USA Is the World’s Good Guys.”

The reality that those who rule and their political representatives can no longer rule this country in the way they have in the past could lead to a terrible future for humanity if there is a future at all, yet, at the same time this very fraught situation contains its opposite:

The sharp divide at the top of society also holds the possibility of leading to something very good, but only if we act together and struggle for people like all of you listening to go out and struggle hard with masses of people to get with the revcoms, to get organized now for a radically different future, where we, the masses of people in our millions, could go to work on overcoming all the inequalities, divisions and injustices of the world today. This really could be—a future made possible by a real revolution.

You are in the right place to learn why that is, and why making it so depends on you being a part of what will be perhaps the greatest struggle and achievement in history—making a real revolution in this country.

Tonight you are in Revolution Books, the political and cultural center of the revcoms... or, you are watching this talk on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show, the weekly show of the revcoms.

It is The Revcoms who have issued A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution.

It is the leader of The Revcoms and the foremost political thinker and revolutionary in the world today, Bob Avakian, BA, who has just published a deep, provocative, challenging and inspiring pamphlet: This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity. This work, which is a crucial companion to A Declaration, A Call, is our topic and more, our purpose this evening: to challenge and inspire you to get a copy, read it, grapple with it, take it out to others, and get down with the revcoms, online and on the real.

Let’s be straight up here—calling for people to get organized now for an actual revolution is momentous. It is the most daring call that could be made. Serious. It requires sacrifice. It is complex. It requires a thoroughly scientific approach to deal with all the complexities and difficulties that will be encountered. Revolution requires the most consistently scientific leadership. We have that leadership in Bob Avakian.

Let’s not talk falsely. Maybe you came to Revolution Books tonight having heard the carping, the online snark and slander on the street against BA and the revcoms—in short, all the bullshit that you hear from people who are ignorant or complacent, groveling for their pathetic place in this cesspool of a system and struggling for you to do the same. Let’s say it like it is: they don’t know shit about the problem humanity faces or what is the only real solution. And, they have never read or studied the work BA has done. Bob Avakian has done pathbreaking work to advance the scientific method and approach to revolution for the emancipation of all humanity that we call the new communism. He has answered historically vexing questions that others haven’t even thought of.

A Declaration, A Call puts it like this:

“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.”

***

We are on the cusp of a moment in history when the two opposed dreams that I began with this evening—the nightmare of the worst that humanity can be, including our species’ possible extinction, and, on the other hand, the dream of a radically different and far better, liberatory world where all humanity could truly flourish. These two dreams, these two realities, stand arrayed against each other. The future really does hang in the balance. What we do will determine which future prevails.

These are not just poetic words—mere metaphor to inspire. This is real, and we are going to go there tonight. We have to. These are the stakes. That you’re here at Revolution Books or watching The RNL Show is a positive step.

But, let’s be real: If I yelled (and do so) “LOOK OUT DANGER IN BACK!!!” you would spin around and do what you could to get out of the way and hopefully help others to do so too.

But are you confronting head up, eyes wide open, the real deadly situation that is bearing down on all of us? Are you turning away from a dread that all the vile monsters of Amerikkkan society that Trump and the Republi-fascist Party and their masters and backers in a section of the ruling class have summoned up from every nook and cranny of the basement are not gone? Are you pissed off and griping that these anti-scientific know-nothings led by Trump are spreading disease and death—but you don’t want to think about the larger reality that they are hardening their forces and preparing to try again for an all-out assault to attain full power?

Have you let yourself be deluded by the Biden/Harris babbling of bipartisanship and their own liberal version of make America great again? Did Biden lull you in his inauguration speech with this:

We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors.... We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity there is not peace, only bitterness and fury.... No nation, only a state of chaos....

And, let’s not shirk from the truth... Let’s put it all on the table: Too many bought into the false and phony hope of Obama’s Change You Can Believe In, only to see no fundamental progress, no fundamental change to any of the outrages people care about—from police murder to the continuing and growing obscene, insufferable, life-stealing inequality—instead, what we did get is that the resistance movements that had been growing during the reign of George W. Bush became muted by phony hope and honeyed words, lulled by his image and the hip hop playlists and the surface shine that had all too many progressive and Black people lulled into thinking change had come.

For the white supremacist, Christian fascist movement that had been organizing, growing in strength and virulence over the decades since the 1960s, a Black president was more than they could abide. In Trump they recognized someone who, like Hitler, gave unfiltered vent to all their vile grievances, a lying pig who would shatter all the rules and norms to cement into place a fully white supremacist, patriarchal, xenophobic, bellicose America First fascist society.

And really what is the main thing being achieved by Biden and the top Democrats today who are calling and working to get things done with the Republican fascists? Lowering the temperature and demobilizing those who stand for justice, who rightly took to the streets in righteous rage against continuing police murder and brutality, against the lack of future for our youth, against the rampaging inequality, and the continued destruction of the environment. They’ve got you passive, they’ve got you, as Cornel West says, adjusted to injustice, they’ve got you corralled into becoming them, which should not be where you want to be. Bob Avakian said 16 years ago, now in BAsics 3:12:

“If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are.”

BA in This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity takes the blinders off, shines the penetrating light of a scientific method and approach to understanding the problem we face. He illuminates the potential and the road to a radically different and far better future through a real revolution.

There is plenty of horror that people here and around the world are going through today. And you may have a sense that worse is to come. We get that this can be a pull to recoil and turn away from all that. Do not go there for it will only fuel a greater horror.

What Bob Avakian, BA, brings is hope on a scientific basis. Confronting reality as it actually is—objectively, not just how it feels to you or what you wish it to be—but getting to the root and the dynamics of the problem we face, BA hacks open the potential for something liberating and positive that really could be.

Bob Avakian, in his “New Year’s Statement,” quotes the Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr who wrote of the 2020 election, that it:

“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 border....”

“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.”

This is a window into the basic answer to why revolution has become possible now. A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution puts it straight:

“... 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.”

And that reality—that these divisions in the ruling class and down through the two countries within one border has now given rise to a political situation where there is the possibility that a revolutionary situation could be ripened which holds the possibility of overthrowing this system with all the unnecessary misery it causes at last cast off.

Let’s be clear on what a revolution is. The Declaration is clear:

“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.”

To go deeper into this, we are going to show a short video prepared by The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show. This short film makes three points that set the stage for understanding why we need a revolution; what it is; and why it is possible now.

The video starts where Bob Avakian begins in This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible... with the first section titled: “First, Some Basic Truths” in which he paints a brief picture of the system we live under. Then, in the second two parts of the video we draw from A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution to illustrate, first, the potential for this revolution in all the different kinds of people who hate and who have acted against the deep hellacious problems this system brings down and for which it has no fundamental solution; and #2, we briefly bring to life the sharpening conflict in the ruling class as concentrated in the sharp divide between their political representatives: the Republican-Fascist Party and the Democratic Party.

 

[The video clip can be seen here. The words from the video are available in the sidebar.]

 

Let’s step back for a moment to the first of the three segments of the video we just watched, which presented a devastating picture of just some of what the capitalist-imperialist system means today: including the destruction of the environment with the desperate, dangerous flight of millions of refugees, the white supremacy and patriarchy built into the system and the foundation of this country, and it also touches on the system’s relentless compulsion towards war. All this underscores this essential understanding: the system we live under

causes tremendous suffering for people, all over the world, and it poses a growing threat to the future of humanity.

And, do not shirk from this:

... this is reality, and no one can escape this reality. Either we radically change it, in a positive way, or everything will be changed in a very negative way.

If you disagree, if you think that things are bad, but not that bad, perhaps getting better, make the case and let’s get into it and determine what’s objectively true. But again, do not let yourself say: this is too upsetting to me, so I choose not to think about or act in accordance with this reality. To understand why capitalism can’t be reformed, go to revcom.us and read an article titled Commodities & Capitalism—And The Terrible Consequences Of This System; A Basic Explanation by Bob Avakian.

The exploitation and oppression of the capitalist system is governed through a political system of capitalist democracy, or bourgeois democracy, that enforces its oppressive system through all the “institutions of official power and violence—the Congress and the presidency, the courts, and especially the police and the military.”

The last segment in the video, quoting A Declaration, A Call, said the Democrats, in opposing the Republi-fascists, are doing so by trying to keep this oppressive system going by appealing to their base with honeyed words of freedom and justice for all while making minor concessions to a few while their system continues to grind up the lives of billions of people and destroys the planet. The Declaration draws this crucial understanding:

“...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.”

BA says in This Is A Rare Time:

“No matter what promises these politicians make—and no matter what schemes people try to come up with to make things more ‘just’ or ‘equal’ under this system—none of this can change the basic nature of this system and the way it has to operate because of its very nature.”

This is why, as I read earlier, A Declaration, A Call, says:

“Anything less than this revolution will completely fail to deal with the root of all the problems or lead to the actual solution.”

On this foundation, let’s get further into why a real revolution has become possible now. Recall that an actual revolution involves “nothing less than overthrowing this whole system—defeating, disarming and dismantling the murderous armed power and other institutions that enforce this system...”

Take a few seconds to think about what kind of situation would have to exist to be able to make an actual revolution that does that in this, the most powerful imperialist country. (Pause)

In This Is A Rare Time, Bob Avakian plainly puts forth what is necessary for a revolutionary situation:

“A revolution becomes possible, even in a powerful country like this, when three main factors have been brought into being:

“A crisis in society and government so deep and so disruptive of the ‘usual way of things,’ that those who have ruled over us, for so long, can no longer do so in the ‘normal’ way that people have been conditioned to accept.

“A revolutionary people in the millions and millions, with their ‘allegiance’ to this system broken, and their determination to fight for a more just society greater than their fear of the violent repression of this system.

“An organized revolutionary force—made up of continually growing numbers of people, from among the most oppressed but also from many other parts of society—a force which is grounded in, and is working systematically to apply, the most scientific approach to building for and then carrying out revolution, and which is increasingly looked to by masses of people to lead them to bring about the radical change that is urgently needed.”

Then he says:

“These factors for revolution obviously do not exist right now, but this is one of the rare times when these factors for revolution could be brought into being.”

The first criteria is the key to what has now changed that opens up the possibility that a revolutionary situation could be ripened. “Ripened” is a very important word that A Declaration, A Call uses—because a revolutionary situation is not something that just comes about automatically—it must be fought for. The revolution will not be a matter of two sides lining up good guys here, bad guys there, and when we get enough people someone blows the starting whistle.

We have work to do to bring about the second two criteria—where masses of people lose their allegiance to the system and their determination to fight for a more just society is greater than their fear. And, there is a growing influential organized force that is looked to and that can lead them. These two factors as they mature will then impact the divided ruling class who through unfolding events will be seen as more and more illegitimate in the eyes of the masses of people.

Getting to that situation where a successful revolution could be launched requires that organized force is influencing and ultimately leading millions in relation to what other forces in the society and the world are doing, as well as to unforeseen events, even natural disasters. For example, while it was not a revolution, when Martin Luther King was assassinated, hundreds of cities rose up in righteous rebellions and the Black Panther Party grew faster than they could even deal with. This rapid growth wasn’t only a result of what the BPP was doing the day before, it was this larger event in the world that provoked that response.

Revolution is a complex process that requires scientific leadership. And, we have that leadership in Bob Avakian, who has scientifically studied the strategic questions of preparing for and then making revolution and has developed a pathbreaking strategic synthesis on how to prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the leading forces, the vanguard for revolution and he has developed the strategy for how to lead millions of people when the time is right to go all out in the actual struggle for power and win. This is elaborated in BA’s books, pamphlets, and films available here at Revolution Books and online at revcom.us.

Let’s briefly get into how this sharp divide that is brewing today reveals the kind of crisis in society and government that it is now and which will only grow sharper, deeper, and more disruptive of the normal way in which this society has been ruled; leading to further intensified conflict both at the top of the government and down through different sections of the people.

Think about the fact that the overwhelming majority of the base and the leadership of the Republican Fascist Party fanatically believe that the 2020 election was rigged, the biggest fraud and theft in history. Many of them say and believe that Donald Trump is going to be reinstated, some think in a matter of weeks. This is part of a whole package of lies and lunatic conspiracy theories. Note this: the more far-fetched, the more this fuels their cause.

This is not just talk, but in Republican-controlled state legislatures they are passing law after law that effectively gives these fascists the right—and the “legal” means—to overturn any election that doesn’t go their way. While at the same time, they are further stacking the deck by disenfranchising Black and Latino voters.

There is a method to the madness—the more they sow doubt on the election, or on any fact that contradicts their objectives, the more dust they throw in people’s eyes; it all leads to “who’s to say” what’s true? You know how Trump plays it: “a lot of people say...” and then fill in the blank with whatever he wants his people to believe. Thus the groundwork is laid: the legislatures can say it is not clear who really won, what really happened, and then the fascist-dominated legislature can come to the rescue, clear up confusion, and install their fascists. And in the election of the President, because of the legacy of slavery, a contested election could ultimately be thrown to the House of Representatives dominated by Republican states or to federal courts dominated by Trump’s fascist appointees, and then the stage is set for one kind of “legal” fascist coup. This is in the works right now. It’s already happening. The work is being done. The laws are being passed. The structures are there.

But, they have been and are preparing for a more serious type of coup. Look at the January 6th Trump-led attempted coup at the Capitol to stop the certification of the 2020 election. The Republican Fascist Party, their media, and tens of millions of followers are speaking out of three contradictory sides of their large foul mouths saying first, it was peaceful; second, that it was really antifa, Black Lives Matter, with Nancy Pelosi to blame; and third, that it was a just and patriotic event with Ashli Babbitt a martyr at the hands of a Black Democratic cop. The key point here—the conclusion to be drawn from the illogic of these lies is that January 6th is only a foreshadowing of what is to come. The Republi-fascist movement is now more battle-hardened, more lunatic, more aggrieved, more openly racist, xenophobic than ever, if that is even imaginable, and it surely is. Members of the editorial board of Refuse Fascism referred to the January 6th attempted coup as a dress rehearsal, more recently the conservative editor of the Atlantic called it a prelude of what is to come.

And, what about the Democratic opposition? Biden gave an impassioned speech decrying this. But Biden and the Senate leadership are focused on reaching across the aisle—working with Republicans to rebuild U.S. infrastructure to largely benefit big businesses, increase U.S. competitiveness as well as national defense. This only serves to legitimate the fascists and leaves the Democratic base—the decent people, perhaps many of you, who care about injustice—passive, demoralized, and paralyzed as to what you can and should do.

In the House of Representatives the Democrats are right now dramatically exposing much of the reality of the January 6th coup attempt but they could not even get the Republicans to agree to objectively investigate the first outright assault on their Capitol since the British burnt it down in 1814. And, when Texas Democrats fled to Washington to oppose the new fascist election law in Texas, Biden would not meet with them. All this is vivid illustration that this divide will not be bridged but will grow more extreme.

BA writes:

These divisions among the ruling powers, and in the larger society, cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist ‘democracy’ that has been the ‘normal’ means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.

Concessions, reforms in response to the struggles of women, LGBTQ people, Black and Latino peoples, were granted as a result of the struggles of the 1960s and the need for the rulers of this country from both parties to be able to promote the U.S. as the “leader of the free world.” BA points out these reforms were always resisted by the Republican Party but they have become convinced

“that these changes have now gone too far, that they threaten to destroy what has held this country together and enabled it to dominate the world.”

And,

“The Republicans have become a fascist party—a party based on open and aggressive white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations—a party convinced that only it deserves to rule ... adopt[ing] what amounts to an undisguised capitalist dictatorship, ready to use violence not only against masses of people but also against its rivals in the ruling class.”

This fascist movement is moving fast to radically change the lives of millions of people. Women’s right to abortion is close to being effectively if not completely outlawed in most of the country with new state laws passed every week and with an anti-women, anti-abortion majority of Trump appointees on the U.S. Supreme Court. And, what is the Democratic Party and the official women’s movement that follows the Democrats doing in response to this? Preparing to figure out how to live with and work with this new Handmaid’s Tale reality... instead of resisting with all they’ve got—here, adjusting to injustice doesn’t begin to capture the outrage of what amounts to cold indifference to the deaths, to state-coerced forced motherhood which is nothing less than the theft of women’s ability and basic right to determine their own lives and their own futures.

What does it mean that these fascists will use violence to enforce their program? One example: in state after Republi-fascist state, “citizens”—meaning fanatic lunatic fascist thugs—can now legally, legally, run down protesters who block a road in peaceful protest with their cars and trucks. In Texas there is a new law under which any fascist—again, “citizen”—can sue doctors and other medical staff who performs an abortion or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion. This is the legitimizing of a force of stormtroopers outside of and above any legal process determining fact and thus the rule of law. This is very important. This is what fascism is. This is the essence of it. Yes, I know, there’s things of “13 characteristics of fascism,” (...“10 characteristics,” etc.)... there are lots of books, lots of articles. But the essence of fascism is the open terroristic dictatorship by those who rule this capitalist-imperialist system, employing violence of the state against the masses of people and discarding traditional democratic forms of rule and civil liberties, as well as employing extralegal thugs to enforce this and terrorize masses of people to accept it.

All this only foreshadows what it will mean, a hint of what it will look like when the rulers can no longer govern and rule in the “normal” way that people have been conditioned to accept. In This Is A Rare Time, Bob Avakian goes into why the Republicans have certain significant advantages in the struggle between these two ruling class parties.

Tonight, I have only touched on the depth of analysis in BA’s piece. Yet, there is one more critical point that I want to read from This Is A Rare Time that paints a vivid picture of how this situation will develop that indicates the potential to seize the time:

"As this situation develops, and the ruling class is more and more unable to rule in the old way, society and daily life for masses of people, from different parts of society, can become increasingly unsettled and chaotic, with frequent “disruptions” of the “normal” way things have been.

"And as the “the normal way” society has been ruled is failing to hold things together—and society is increasingly being ripped apart—this can shake people’s belief that “the way things have always been” is the only way things can be. It can make people more open to questioning—in a real sense it can force people to question—the way things have been, and whether they have to stay that way. And this is all the more likely to happen if the revolutionary forces are out among the people shining a light on the deeper reality of what is happening, and why, and bringing out that there IS an alternative to living this way."

Here, what is positive that can come out of this situation is not only revolution to be rid of this oppressive system and its institutions, but also bringing into being a radically new and far better society. The vision and the blueprint for this society is written in a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America authored by Bob Avakian.

"Nowhere else, in any actual or proposed founding or guiding document of any government, is there any society like this... with a radically new socialist economy that would meet the needs of the people while overcoming all the forms of savage inequalities from the old society, while providing for the most extensive civil rights and dissent, intellectual and culture ferment, an educational system that pursues the truth, and a society that is going to work on the saving the planet and most fundamentally working towards and supporting revolutionary struggle for the emancipation of humanity throughout the world." (from the concluding part of NEW YEAR’S STATEMENT BY BOB AVAKIAN)

My talk tonight has focused on the first of the two questions posed in the title of BA’s article: Why This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible. This to provoke and compel you to go to the work, and get into the second decisive part of this piece which digs into how we go to work now to seize on this rare opportunity.

Regular viewers of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show will be familiar with the following critical guidance from A Declaration, A Call for how we get started in organizing forces today. This program and BA’s new pamphlet, should make this all the more urgent and on target.

“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.”

And:

“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.”

Taking this up and getting with the revcoms, BA says,

“... is the responsibility of everyone who recognizes the profound need for revolution—and the rare possibility in a time like this to actually make revolution—to wage a tireless, and at times fierce, struggle to win more and more people to make a radical rupture with the confining and degrading terms of this system, and to take up, and act on, the revolutionary orientation and motivation that is put forward in the ‘Declaration and Call.’”

BA cuts deeper, waging a pointed and sharp struggle with the thinking and harmful ways that different strata of people are trapped within the dog-eat-dog, individualist terms of the system. More, he contrasts these mental traps and dead-end roads with the inspiring outlook and life of being a part of something truly worth living for. He begins these polemics with this:

“Instead of ‘staying in your lane,’ and ‘going for self,’ while this system is moving to even more decisively crush any hope for a world worth living in, people need to be looking at the bigger picture, focusing on the greater interests of humanity and the possibility for a far better world—and acting to make this a reality.”

In bringing these first reflections to a conclusion, I want to end with this:

We should recognize the historic momentousness of what A Declaration, A Call puts forth, and the accompanying lifeline of clarity, argument, and direction in Bob Avakian’s This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity.

Fired with a scientific understanding of what really could be—let’s struggle hard for masses of people to take this up themselves with determination and daring. Let’s resolve to reach out

"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...."

SEIZE THIS RARE TIME AND BE A PART OF THIS REVOLUTION.

Thank you.

Why This Is
A RARE TIME WHEN
REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE

A Talk by Andy Zee

Reflections on Bob Avakian's
"THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY"

See also:

Commodities & Capitalism—And The Terrible Consequences Of This System; A Basic Explanation

by Bob Avakian.

Read more

The following is the script from the short video that Andy Zee showed as part of his speech at Revolution Books:

From Bob Avakian—Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism:

This Is A Rare Time When Revolution Becomes Possible—
Why That Is So, And How To Seize On This Rare Opportunity

FIRST, SOME BASIC TRUTHS

1. We live under a system—the system of capitalism-imperialism (capitalism is an economic and political system of exploitation and oppression, and imperialism refers to the worldwide nature of this system).

This system causes tremendous suffering for people, all over the world, and it poses a growing threat to the very existence of humanity.

This is a system dominated by capitalist corporations, banks and other financial institutions controlling vast sums of money, all of which is based on exploiting people—masses of people here, and billions of people throughout the world, including huge numbers of children.

These capitalists are locked in cutthroat competition with each other, and this drives them to penetrate every part of the world, especially the poorer countries, in order to exploit people even more viciously, while leaving many people without a way to work at all, within the regular (“formal”) economy.

This system has white supremacy and male supremacy built into it.

This system continually causes situations where life becomes extremely desperate and often very dangerous for growing numbers of people in their home countries—forcing them to uproot themselves and migrate across countries and continents—and then treats them as criminals when they seek asylum, or relief from unbearable conditions.

This system leads to wars—wars to conquer nations and people, wars for control of key parts of the world, and potentially even wars between nuclear-armed capitalist-imperialist countries, fighting to determine which will be the most powerful oppressor in the world (if anything is left of this world after such a war).

This system is rapidly destroying the global environment.

All this is reality, and no one can escape this reality. Either we radically change it, in a positive way, or everything will be changed in a very negative way.

***

From Point 2 of the short version of

The Revcoms’

A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution

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.

***

From Point 2 of the long version of

The Revcoms’

A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution

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.

 

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/712/us-pullout-from-afghanistan-en.html

U.S. Pullout from Afghanistan
Three Lessons and Two Basic Points of Orientation

| revcom.us

 

In 2001, fanatical Islamic fundamentalists hijacked several airplanes and flew two of them into the World Trade Center, a massive office complex in New York. The center was destroyed and nearly 3,000 people were killed. They also attacked the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department. In response, the U.S., under Republican President George W. Bush, declared war against the government of Afghanistan, which had allowed the group that had done this—al Qaeda—to stay in their country. The Afghanistan government was headed by a fanatic and repressive Islamic fundamentalist group, the Taliban.

This qualitatively intensified a dynamic identified by Bob Avakian:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28

Biden has now announced the withdrawal of U.S. ground forces by September of this year, after 20 years of war and tens of thousands of Afghan deaths and countless more destroyed lives. We will in future weeks further analyze what is behind this move and how it factors into today’s explosive political situation. This withdrawal has caused concern and alarm among a number of liberal commentators as to the harm that it will bring to women. And there is a basis for this alarm: it is very possible that the Taliban will again take power and impose extremely reactionary forms of oppression against women and girls, denying them all basic rights and utterly negating their humanity, and enforcing this with brutal barbarity.

In looking at this situation, it’s important to pulls the lens back.

As the accompanying articles point out, the U.S. has in part justified this war as a war to “liberate the women of Afghanistan.” As these articles also show, while some reforms did happen, they remained oppressed and subordinated. But this tactic proved successful in mobilizing support for this war from “progressive” sections of U.S. society, including many liberals and progressives.

A question: why would anyone who cared about the half of humanity who is female call on the powerful country that sits atop a system in which millions of women a year are trafficked into prostitution and sexual slavery... in which the right to abortion, and soon birth control, is under constant assault and now hangs by thread... in which rape and other forms of assault go on all the time against women and the hatred and denigration of women permeates society, taking countless forms and in which those horrors take an even more concentrated form in the very armed forces that were supposedly being sent to “liberate” the women of Afghanistan... in which discrimination in every sphere still runs rampant... and in which the super-profits that make the “standard of living” possible in imperialist countries is disproportionately sucked out of the labor of bitterly exploited women in the global South? Why, when you came to grips with these facts, would you call on people to line up on the side of such major oppressors of women, in the expectation that they would end the oppression of any women, anywhere?!?

And what in fact did this war bring? Death, destruction, and horror—the overwhelming majority of it against civilians—far beyond what was done on September 11. By August 2016, some 111,000 people had been killed and over 116,000 injured as a result of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Nearly five million people have been forced from their homes by the war. At dungeons set up by the U.S. military, countless numbers of Afghans were imprisoned without trial and brutalized, including two prisoners tortured to death at the notorious Bagram prison. One repressive and corrupt government after another, all imposed and run by the U.S., which perpetuated and made worse the misery, poverty, and enforced backwardness that the Afghan people had to confront every day. Afghanistan is among the 10 poorest countries in the world, with nearly 50 percent of people living under the poverty line and 36 percent facing “acute food insecurity.” And yes, a few reforms for a small sliver of women—the opening of schools to one-third of girls—while the overall horrific oppression of women went on.

And what are the net results of the two decades of horror that killed thousands and thousands of people and destroyed the lives of millions? First, that the barbarically patriarchal Islamic fundamentalist grip on Afghanistan will be strengthened, at least in the short run.1 Second, that the U.S. imperialists were able to at least temporarily mobilize a section of people who have progressive impulses behind the utterly false, corrupting, and profoundly damaging idea that this government can be pressured to “bring democracy” to other countries and that therefore when these butchers are able to drape their wars in these robes the people should support them. The spirit captured in BAsics 5:7—that American lives are NOT more important than other people’s lives—which once ran through a significant section of the society has suffered greatly over these past two decades and must be revived; internationalism is more important than ever!

At the same time, a third result must also be noted: that the vaunted U.S. war machine can wreak tremendous destruction and savagery, but it cannot always impose its will, even on opponents who are much weaker than it is. And it is also a fact that this war, along with the even more baseless war launched against Iraq, has contributed to the whole crisis that the U.S. ruling class now finds itself caught up in. This lesson—that as powerful as their machinery of death and destruction undeniably is—it is NOT all-powerful, even up against lightly armed opponents—is important for people to reflect upon.

In conclusion, two lessons:

One: People cannot allow themselves to be drawn into crusades by the imperialists in the name of supposedly ending one form of oppression while defending and strengthening another form of the same oppression. As the crucial quote from BA at the top of this article drives home, this is a bloody dynamic that only strengthens oppressive relations overall. And the only way to begin to break this dynamic is by firmly opposing one’s “own” imperialists when they launch any war, whatever their excuse.

Two: What we here in the imperialist countries must do is not only oppose these wars launched supposedly to implant “democracy,” but we must boldly instill in people everywhere a spirit of welcoming the defeats of these oppressors in trying to carry out these vicious schemes.


1. It is the case that the dynamic that has played out in Afghanistan, and in significant sections of the Middle East, is exactly what Bob Avakian described in terms of the two outmodeds confronted right now. As the U.S. and other imperialist powers launched horrific and repressive attacks against the Afghan population, what has transpired is increasing support for the Taliban in opposition and resistance to that. What is now the situation, with the Taliban poised to take control of Afghanistan, with horrific effects, is the result of 20+ years of this dynamic.  [back]

 

An excerpt from THE NEW COMMUNISM

by Bob Avakian

From the section: "Internationalism—Revolutionary Defeatism"

What do I mean by revolutionary defeatism, and why is it so important? Revolutionary defeatism means that you oppose the actions of your own government and ruling class in carrying out their wars, which are wars for empire. It means that you welcome any setbacks they suffer in those wars, because that weakens their oppressive hold over masses of people, here and in the world more generally. Now, we do have to recognize that we have a different situation than back in the day with the war in Vietnam. In those days, the National Liberation Front (NLF) in Vietnam was a revolutionary organization of the people in South Vietnam who were waging the fight, along with the government and people in North Vietnam, against the U.S. imperialists. And the leader of that struggle, until he died in the late 1960s, was Ho Chi Minh, who called himself a communist but was actually more of a revolutionary nationalist. Beginning soon after the end of World War 2, Ho Chi Minh led the armed struggle of the Vietnamese people to drive out the French, who had colonized Vietnam, and then to drive out the Americans, who, beginning in the 1950s, attempted to replace the French as the colonial master of Vietnam. Now, back in those days we used to go to demonstrations and people would march through the streets chanting, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is gonna win.” It felt very good, and it was right to do it. It was right to be on the side of the Vietnamese people and Ho Chi Minh leading them. It wasn’t just that you wanted your government to lose the unjust war it was waging, you could actually be on the side of the people fighting against your government, because those people represented a righteous cause, they represented a real struggle against imperialism. They weren’t going around attacking civilians. They were fighting against the military of U.S. imperialism that had invaded their country and was bombing it massively. So, in those days, you could actually be with the people fighting against the U.S. government, the U.S. imperialists.

Today, unfortunately, the situation is different and not as favorable in the short run. Nobody coming from a decent place should want to root for these reactionary Islamic jihadists who are in fact also enforcers of brutally oppressive relations—particularly, but not only, horrific patriarchal relations—and who, in the service of that, carry out all kinds of depraved slaughter of ordinary civilians. So you cannot, if you’re coming from the right place, identify in any way with these forces and support them. Now, there are some people around the world who call themselves leftists or even communists or Maoists, people like this guy Ajith, who try to put a pretty face on these Islamic fundamentalist jihadists and insist that they are anti-imperialists, that they’re waging an anti-imperialist struggle. But the fact is that, while they may fight against the U.S., they do not represent a positive, progressive, let alone a revolutionary force; and where they have succeeded in exercising power, their rule is brutally oppressive. That has been shown repeatedly in the real world. In your mind, you can try to make these people into something other than what they are, but that can only do a great deal of harm, because in the real world they are not a positive force, even while, coming from where they’re coming from, they’re opposing U.S. imperialism, to some degree, although not in any thoroughgoing way and not toward any positive end.

This makes for a difficult situation because, especially given how parasitic U.S. society is—where significant sections of the people, particularly among the middle strata, receive some share of the spoils from imperialist domination and plunder in the world—when the U.S. government is able to point to the continuing atrocities carried out by these Islamic fundamentalists, this reinforces the tendency for people to side with, or at least not to seriously oppose, their own country and government in the wars it is waging against these Islamic fundamentalists. It makes it easier for people to go along with what is, and take the position: “I don’t really like these wars, but look at these other people; we have to do something about groups like ISIS.” Never mind the fact that Saudi Arabia, a big ally of the U.S., beheads a lot more people than ISIS does, and embodies and enforces all kinds of horrendous oppression, against women and others. But still, people can say, “Well, look at these people, like ISIS.” This makes it easier for people not to do the hard thing of going up against their own government in the wars it is waging.

Yes, it is true: the Islamic fundamentalists who are opposing these imperialists are no good, they don’t pose a positive alternative. But that does not make the wars of empire being fought by this government just wars. This situation has gone on way too long and needs to be frontally and deeply challenged. These are wars for empire. These are unjust wars. They are carried out with massive means of destruction, killing civilians in the hundreds of thousands, torturing people in the service of these wars. This should be opposed and opposed strongly. It is not acceptable that people just take the stand, “Yes, I wish those wars would be over with, but we gotta do something about these Islamic fundamentalists.” It is crucial that people come to see what the nature of these wars being waged by their government actually is, and why these wars have to be actively opposed; and even if you can’t, and shouldn’t, support the other side, you still have to have the basic approach of welcoming the defeat of your own government in the wars it is waging. The defeat of these imperialists should be welcomed because, number one, their wars are unjust, even if the people opposing them are also unjust. And, two, every such defeat weakens this system and its ruling class and brings closer the time when people can actually bring it down and bring something liberating into being in its place.


Afghan villagers near home hit by U.S. NATO air strike — killing five women, three children, one man—north of Kabul, Afghanistan, March 5, 2007. Photo: AP/Musadeq Sadeq


The U.S. promised to improve life for the Afghan people, but over half Afghanistan's 35 million people remain impoverished, a quarter of them severely, constantly facing hunger. Nearly half of Afghan children don't go to school, with girls disproportionately affected. Here children make bricks to survive. (Photo: RAWA)

Accompanying Articles:

STOP

STOP

Stop Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!

 

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/711/biden-administration-announces-plan-for-expedited-removal-of-migrants-en.html

Biden Administration Announces Plan for Expedited Removal of Migrants

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following article gives an example of how, while the Democrats have differences with Trump and the Republi-fascists in relation to immigrants, fundamentally, they have NO ANSWERS or real solutions that are in the actual interests of humanity. This follows Kamala Harris going down to countries in Central America telling prospective migrants “Do Not Come.” And the same applies to all the other systemic problems confronting the masses of people, such as the continuing epidemic of police murder of Black and other oppressed people. This has to do with the reality that the Democrats—like the Republi-fascists—represent the interests of the capitalist-imperialist SYSTEM, and this system has absolutely no answers for any of the horrors humanity is facing, even as these two forces among the rulers have sharp differences over how to best pursue the interests of their system. This system cannot be reformed, and must be overthrown, through an actual revolution.

As Bob Avakian (BA), revolutionary leader and the author of the new communism, points out in THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY:

[T]his is one of the rare times when these factors for revolution could be brought into being.

A basic reason why this is true is that there are now very great divisions within the ruling class of the country, and in the country as a whole—and, more than that:

These divisions among the ruling powers, and in the larger society, cannot be resolved within the framework that has existed, and has held things together, for nearly 150 years, since shortly after the end of the Civil War which led to the abolition of slavery—they cannot be resolved on the basis of the capitalist “democracy” that has been the “normal” means of capitalist rule (dictatorship) for so long.

Something radically different is going to replace the framework that has existed for all this time—and as the “Declaration and Call” sharply points out:

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.

***

On July 26, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it intends to use “expedited removal” to speed up the deportation of thousands of migrant families with children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without papers.

Under the “expedited removal” policy, agents of the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) are able to expel immigrant families captured at the border immediately, without a hearing before an immigration judge. This procedure first started under Bill Clinton and has been used by both Democratic and Republican presidents since then. Under expedited removals, families will be quickly screened, and unless they are able to present a “credible fear” of persecution or violence in the country they fled, they will be summarily deported. Azadeh Erfani of the National Immigrant Justice Center pointed out that “Expedited removal was designed to bring migration from Black, Brown, and Indigenous people to a standstill, at the expense of due process and the right to asylum.”

Leaving the decision on asylum up to CBP officials instead of the courts violates both the principles and laws of the asylum system. In the past, when expedited removal has been applied, it has forced unknown numbers of qualified asylum seekers back to the dangers they fled, often to their deaths. For example, being denied the right to appear before a judge means women who've survived a dangerous trek in search of protection from domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence now face a greater risk of being forced back to those horrors without ever having the chance to present their case.

This decision by the Biden administration to fast-track the deportation of migrant families comes on top of their continued use of a federal order called Title 42, which the fascist Trump/Pence regime invoked in March 2020 to immediately expel hundreds of thousands of asylum-seeking migrants, under the pretext of protecting the U.S. against the spread of COVID-19. Title 42 enabled Trump, and is now being used by Biden, to deny the right to apply for asylum to all asylum-seekers except unaccompanied minors and those traveling together as families coming to the border in the name of protecting public health.

The July 26 DHS announcement made clear that “expedited removal” and Title 42 work together as deportation weapons: “Beginning today, certain family units who are not able to be expelled under Title 42 will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.” This is in compete violation of the law and of the rights of people seeking asylum. Starting with Trump and continuing with Biden, over 752,000 migrants have been expelled from the U.S. under Title 42.

“There is zero daylight between the Biden administration and Trump administration’s position”

There is mounting opposition and condemnation by immigrant rights and human rights forces, progressive legal forces, and physicians to the continued use of Title 42. “The Biden administration’s use of Title 42 is flatly illegal,” said Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU sued Trump over Title 42, and the Biden administration continues to defend the policy in court. Gelernt said, “There is zero daylight between the Biden administration and the Trump administration’s position.”

Physicians for Human Rights issued a report1 on July 28 documenting some of the harmful medical and human rights consequences of the expulsion policy. The report discusses family separations, abusive treatment by U.S. and Mexican government officials, and acute medical and psychological effects on asylum-seeking children and adults, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.

The huge numbers of unaccompanied minors crossing the border continue to be held for long periods in filthy and dangerous health conditions at overcrowded facilities. Some of this was spotlighted last week because of news reports of a whistleblower complaint filed by volunteers at a huge detention facility at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas. The complaint describes a COVID outbreak that spread to hundreds of children in the overcrowded facility, putting some in the hospital, while those in charge did all they could to keep it covered up.2

Surge of Immigrants at the Border

Biden's decision to use expedited removal along with Trump's Title 42 comes as the surge of immigrants to the U.S.-Mexico border is now greater than at any time in the past 20 years. From last October 1 to the end of this June, over 1.1 million undocumented migrants were apprehended. Border agents captured over 188,000 in the month of June alone. Of those captured, nearly 56,000 were parents and children traveling as families—an increase of 25 percent from May. The greatest numbers are fleeing horrific conditions of poverty, hunger, and violence in the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador), as well as Mexico. As we wrote recently,3 on top of the devastating effect of the pandemic, climate change is forcing more and more people to escape in order to survive.

Unlike the Republi-fascists, the Democrats shed some crocodile tears when talking about these immigrants. But as there is an increasing flow of people arriving at the border in desperate search of safety and a means to live, they are instead being expelled in greater numbers and at a faster rate than ever.

 

1.  Physicians for Human Rights, Neither Safety nor Health: How Title 42 Expulsions Harm Health and Violate Rights, July 28, 2021 [back]

2. COVID-19 outbreak at Texas migrant kids facility covered up: whistleblowers, New York Post, July 29, 2021 [back]

3. “Migrants Continue to Face Horrors at the Border,” revcom.us, July 19, 2021 [back]


A family from Brazil struggles up an embankment after crossing the Colorado River from Yuma, Arizona on June 10. The Biden administration's plan to fast-track deportation, which violates both the principles and laws of the asylum system, is combined with the continued use of Title 42, originally invoked by the fascist Trump regime to deny the right to apply for asylum to ALL asylum seekers in the name of "protecting public health." (AP photo)

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

"The demonization, criminalization and deportations of immigrants and the militarization of the border" An excerpt from Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution, a speech by Bob Avakian

 

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

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

Get a free email subscription to revcom.us:



 


 

Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/mandatory-lies-and-patriotic-brainwashing-en.html

The Fight Against the White Supremacist Whitewash and Fascist Suppression of Historical Truth

Part 1: Mandatory Lies and "Patriotic" Brainwashing

by Rafael Kadaris

| revcom.us

 

The fight against the fascist suppression of historical truth, in education and beyond, will be a critical and ongoing struggle over the coming period. This battle raises political, legal, and epistemological questions of extreme importance. We will be covering it here at revcom.us and strongly encourage our readers to write in and share your experiences encountering this, research you’ve done on this, or any ideas you have on how to wage this fight. Email: revolution.reports@yahoo.com

In recent months, Republican fascists have launched a nationwide assault on the right of students to learn the true history of this country. They aim to force teachers to teach a false version of American history—where the foundational role of slavery and genocide is erased, or whitewashed and justified once again, and the big lie of American “greatness” is shoved down everyone’s throat. And this time the erasure and whitewash has the force of law and the power of the state behind it.

They have targeted “critical race theory” (CRT), a framework developed in law schools for explaining the persistence of racial inequality even when the laws appear to be equal. Most of these Republican fascists don’t know anything about CRT, but they are using it as a catch-all buzzword to incite and inflame white resentment, and suppress any discussion about systemic racism against Black people and other people of color. In fact, they flip things completely upside down and claim that simply acknowledging the history and reality of anti-Black racism is divisive and racist against white people!

Their goal is to impose a framework where the facts of racial oppression can only be explained as anomalies and outliers from the overriding “special goodness” of America. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, this leads very quickly to banning the facts themselves. Think about it: If racism is just a matter of a few prejudiced people, how do you explain the systematic policy over decades of “redlining” Black neighborhoods, and denying Black people home loans and insurance, which is a major factor in the racial wealth gap we see today?1 If slavery is an aberration from America’s core identity, how do you explain the fact that slave labor produced the major part of the wealth that fueled the development of this country, not just in the South but in the North as well?2

This fight over historical truth, and what lessons and values students will learn from that, is a high-stakes battle in its own right. And it is a key front in a larger political war these Republicans are waging to restructure society with a new fascist order, where truth is banned, dissent is outlawed, critical thinking is stifled, and white supremacy, male supremacy, and other oppressive relations are even more aggressively enforced.

This must be opposed, and the true history—and the teachers who are under fire for teaching it, and the students trying to learn it—must be defended. At the same time, as we will show in future installments of this series, while critical race theory unearths and confronts some of the ugly truth about this country, it is not scientific about the fundamental problem or the actual solution, and ultimately won’t be able to stand up to this fascist assault.

The Fascist Attack Is Already Deadly Serious, with Laws Being Passed...

Republican fascists have unleashed a massive, coordinated legislative campaign—at the federal, state, and local levels—targeting education:

Mobs Unleashed...

Educators Being Driven Out...

And Student Speech Being Targeted as Well...

Extending the Attack Throughout Society

These fascist attacks have focused on K-12 education, but have reached way beyond, impacting the whole social and political discourse. Fox Fascist News’ Tucker Carlson recently attacked General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accusing him of helping set the stage for genocide against white people, because Milley said that he wanted to understand “white rage” and that military leaders should study critical race theory.6 Fox “News” mentioned “critical race theory” 901 times just in the month of June. A Texas “think tank” released a list of words to be “on the lookout for” in order to identify critical race theory and get it banned, including “equity, diversity, and inclusion,” “colonialism,” “institutional racism,” and “social justice.”

This fascist offensive is already having a chilling effect on some educators. And there is growing fear among progressive teachers and students about what will happen in the fall when these laws go into effect—when reactionary white students get turned into state-sanctioned classroom spies, snitching on their teachers for making them “uncomfortable,” and racist parents and “community members” get even more unleashed. Imagine what it’s like to be a teacher being forced to lie to your students. Imagine how many will self-censor.

As Bob Avakian wrote last August: “We can recognize the looming shadow of a situation where not just school children, but everyone in society, will be required to pledge allegiance to a white Christian fascist America.”

Imagine how many will just leave, rather than stand up to the mob. Imagine where this will lead... IF there is not powerful resistance to and defiance of these laws, increasingly linked up to an evidence-based scientific understanding of history and current day reality, and a revolutionary movement that stretches everywhere into society.

 


1. American Crime Case #62: How Capitalism + White Supremacy Created Chicago’s Black Ghetto. Part 1: Great Migration and the Brutal Reality of the “Promised Land,” revcoms.us [back]

2. From The Michael Slate Show: Vicious Slavery and the Development of U.S. Capitalism, revcom.us [back]

3. High school paused distribution of yearbook over pages about Black Lives Matter movement, Local10.com, June 7, 2021 [back]

4. Lewisville teacher on leave as parents upset over ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘I can’t breathe’ yearbook back cover, Dallas Morning News, May 28, 2021 [back]

5. How student-led lesson on the Black Lives Matter movement exploded in Clarkstown, Rockland/Westchester Journal News, May 29, 2021 [back]

6. For more on the roots and meaning of the Milley controversy, see “Bitter Fighting at the Top Reveals a System in Crisis: THREE THINGS THIS WEEK THAT TELL YOU THE RULERS OF THIS COUNTRY ARE IN DEEP SHIT,” revcoms.us. For the strategic implications, see Bob Avakian’s THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY, including his point that “These divisions have already become deeply rooted in the major institutions in this country, including the military, and they will increasingly become sharper and burst out into the open, as things continue to sharpen up in society overall and within the ruling class.” [back]

7. Which does take extreme and insane expression these days, and which actually serves to reinforce and strengthen the fascist forces. Read Bob Avakian On Fascist Lunacy and “Woke Folk” Insanity: A New “Two Outmodeds.” [back]

 


Fort Worth school trustees greeted with chants of "No CRT!" countered by a woman shouting out: "Stop whitewashing history!" Photo: Juan Figueroa/Dallas Morning News


Fascist Republicans have been constantly attacking "critical race theory." Here, Amy Carney, Republican from Arizona, May 24, 2021. Photo: The Republic

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

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

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/on-the-california-governor-recall-election-en.html

On the California Governor Recall Election

| revcom.us

 

California is coming up on an election to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. On September 14, in a special election, voters will decide on two questions: first, whether Newsom should be removed as governor; second, if Newsom is voted out, who should replace him. The list of people voters can choose from to replace Newsom, a Democrat, consists entirely of Republicans. And the winner does not have to get a majority of the votes—whoever gets the highest number of votes is the next governor of California. The election has become an important focal point of the struggle between fascist forces and Democratic Party forces nationally.

The Republican Party in California has been extremely weak in terms of winning elections. Democrats now outnumber Republicans nearly two to one in California.1 Trump lost to Joe Biden by nearly 30 percentage points in California last year. Republicans hold no statewide offices and hold less than one-third of the seats in both houses of the state legislature.

Yet Newsom, a powerful, highly connected rising star of the Democratic Party, stands a real chance of losing. This despite the fact that the initiators and early organizers and supporters of the recall effort are a small group of right-wing and some outright fascist political groups including the Proud Boys (although they have been aided at key times by the national Republican Party, and the effort is supported by Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and other nationally prominent Republi-fascist figures).

The website Politico said that the possibility that the California governor could be brought down by a force like this is “either a triumph of democracy, or a confirmation that there are no rules anymore. Absolutely anything can happen.” And further in the same article, there is a claim that “the origin of the entire enterprise was, essentially, a series of flukes.”2

No, Politico:

- This is NOT a “triumph of democracy”—it is the product of a whole system and an electoral system structured, both nationally and in some particular ways in California, to give fascist forces a political advantage.3

- This is NOT a confirmation that there are “no rules”—though the fascists are not playing by the old rules of mainstream politics. They do not abide by elections except when they win; they recognize no other ruling class force except themselves as legitimate. Getting and holding on to power is the “rule” they obey.

- And what got us to this point is NOT a “series of flukes”—this is a society full of fascists, and their social base is roused and ready to go after Gavin Newsom, but the Democratic social base is being lied to about the fascist threat, told to “play by the rules,” has no enthusiasm for Newsom, and many might not even bother to vote in the recall election.

Even in the “bluest of the blue states,” California, fascist forces have found a way to take initiative and threaten to take the very powerful office of governor. Even the fact that they have put this recall on the ballot legitimizes fascism. Republican candidates are running around attacking the homeless,4 attacking COVID-19 mandates,5 casting doubt on climate change science,6 opposing abortion rights,7 and claiming it is “unfair” that Trump is being blamed for the January 6 attempted fascist coup.8

All this is a sign of the intensifying conflicts at the top of society, the determination of the fascist forces to rule, and the fact that these conflicts cannot be and are not being contained within the framework of what politics has been under this system.9

 

1. California Voter and Party Profiles, Public Policy Institute of California [back]

2. The Three Men Who Could Take Down Gavin Newsom, Politico, March 19, 2021 [back]

3. There is a long history of extremely reactionary initiatives and recalls in California that have succeeded in having great influence in the state and the country. This in some ways is an even more pronounced expression of the national electoral system, which has been set up to give more weight to rural areas and to states that have smaller urban populations (and this underlying advantage is now being greatly heightened by Republican Party attacks on voting rights of Black people and others across the country). In this California recall election, having an election at an odd time when most people are not thinking about voting, and whipping up and mobilizing a mob of reactionary voters to get the rich liberal Newsom, when at the same time the Democratic Party base is not that excited about Newsom, gives real and important advantages to the fascist forces. [back]

4. Republican candidate John Cox, for example, has said he “would force homeless people into mental health or addiction treatment before providing them with housing,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. (“GOP’s Cox: California should force homeless into treatment,” June 28, 2021) [back]

5. On August 4, four Republican candidates running against Newsom “met on the debate stage ... railing against COVID-19 mask mandates and accusing the Democrat of failing the state’s business owners and school children by forcing closures during the worst of the pandemic.” (“Republicans vying to replace Newsom in California recall attack his handling of COVID-19 in debate,” CNN, August 5, 2021 [back]

6. For example, Larry Elder, a top Republican candidate against Newsom, said he is “not sure” if climate change has played a role in the wildfires scorching California and other western states, despite scientific research showing the clear links between warming climate and more frequent and devastating wildfires around the world. (“Recall election: Conservative radio host Larry Elder on Gavin Newsom, COVID and whether Trump lost in 2020,” August 3, 2021) [back]

7. Republican candidate Larry Elder has called abortion “murder” (which is a totally unscientific falsehood—see here for what abortion actually is and why the right and access to it is so important for women). Another top Republican candidate, John Cox, says he’s “pro-life” (that is, anti-abortion) “but not talking about it.” (“Where the Republicans running to replace Newsom in the recall say they stand on the issues,” Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2021) [back]

8. According to the San Jose Mercury News, which interviewed Larry Elder, the Republican candidate “suggested that it was unfair Trump was blamed for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., while Hilary Clinton was not blamed for the arrests and vandalism that took place when Trump was inaugurated in 2017.” (“Recall election: Conservative radio host Larry Elder on Gavin Newsom, COVID and whether Trump lost in 2020,” August 3, 2021) [back]

9. As Bob Avakian points out in THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY: “These deep divisions, this intensifying conflict, cannot be overcome—all this cannot be ‘put back together’—on the terms, and in the way, that the country has, up to now, been held together under the rule of a more or less unified capitalist class.” [back]

 

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/simone-biles-a-different-kind-of-olympic-athlete-en.html

Simone Biles: A Different Kind of Olympic Athlete

| revcom.us

 

From a sports correspondent:

If you are paying attention to the Olympics, or not, you have probably heard about U.S. Olympic athlete Simone Biles withdrawing from the Olympic gymnastics competition after she missed a difficult vault, completing 1.5 twists of a planned 2.5 twists. Biles has won 31 combined Olympic and World Championship gymnastic medals with four gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics and is considered the greatest gymnast of all-time.

In an interview with NBC after withdrawing, Biles talked about her mentality of competing. She recounted that at age of 24, she had begun to get nervous about her skills. She said, “I’m a little bit more scared of my skills now. Because whenever I was younger, I was pretty fearless. But now I’m just like, ‘Okay, I’m getting older. This could go wrong, this could go wrong, that could do this.’ And so, that kind of scares me a little bit.”1

After she withdrew, Biles received an ugly fascist barrage, but she also garnered support from many athletes and celebrities, which we previously wrote about.2 Biles came back and won a bronze medal in the balance beam.

To begin to understand this, we need to recognize the extreme pressure that elite Olympic athletes face. Michael Phelps described it as being under “unbelievable pressure.” Simone Biles said she felt that she was “having the weight of the world on her shoulders.” The athletes are expected to bring home medals no matter what. And what happens if you fail to win when you are expected to? You get thoroughly trashed in the print media, on television and in social media.3

The Physical Dangers of Gymnastics

Elite gymnasts perform incredibly difficult and dangerous routines. The aerials that Biles does require being suspended 10 feet in the air, upside down and twisting at a high rate. Her routines are so difficult that there is not a formula for being able to score them because no one ever thought that those routines would ever be attempted.

Most aerial routines done by Olympic gymnastics athletes could result in severe physical harm when they fail to complete the maneuver. Adriana Duffy, a former Puerto Rican national champion, was paralyzed while training on vault in 1989. The Chinese gymnast Sang Lan sustained a similar injury on vault when her coach tried to adjust the position of the springboard as she ran toward it. Melanie Coleman, a collegiate gymnast in Connecticut, died from a spinal cord injury in 2019 after her hands slipped off the uneven bars during practice.

Biles spoke about the inherent danger when you are failing to complete the maneuver as happened to her in her vault routine at the Olympics. “You have to be there 100 percent or 120 percent because, if you’re not the slightest bit, you can get hurt. I didn’t want to go out there and do something dumb and get hurt and be negligent.... Not worth it. At the end of the day, it’s like, we want to walk out of here. Not be dragged out of here on a stretcher or anything.”4

The “Twisties” and the “Yips”

In most sports the inability to do something that you have regularly done is known as the “yips.” This is when a basketball player, who historically is a very good free throw shooter, becomes unable to make free throws, or a baseball pitcher, who historically throws strikes over the plate, becomes unable to do so.

In gymnastics, this is called the “twisties.” Former UCLA gymnast JaNay Honest said, “It’s kind of like forgetting how to twist your body in the air. It’s really scary because when you’re doing a skill like Simone does ... it’s really dangerous.”

On a basic level, the twisties is a mental state where your muscle memory shuts down in the air mid-twist. It can happen to any gymnast at any time, but is more likely under intense pressure.

According to the BBC, the “twisties” “can cause a gymnast to lose their sense of dimension and space while in the air, and could potentially cause them to lose control of their body and do extra flips or twists while airborne. The condition may also lead to an athlete being unable to safely land.”5

Dominique Moceanu put it this way: “In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool [with] no water. When you lose your ability to find the ground ... the consequences can be catastrophic.”

Biles said that she has had several bouts of the ‘‘twisties” but never during a competition and that it took her a couple of weeks to get over it.

Capitalism-Imperialism Is Harmful to Athletes’ Health

Under the capitalist-imperialist system, the culture of sports is that you are expected to sacrifice your body for the sake of the team or the country.

Women’s gymnastics is one of those sports where athletes are subjected to grueling training, putting their bodies on the line every time they leap into the air. They are sexually objectified and forced to wear bikini-cut leotards. In order to maintain a certain body type, women gymnasts have higher rates of eating pathologies than other sports. Further, over 500 women gymnasts in the U.S., including several dozen national team members including Biles, were subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of former national team doctor Larry Nassar under the guise of medical treatment at the Martha and Bela Karolyi National Women’s Training Center.6

Biles spoke about the role that USA Gymnastics had in knowing about the sexual abuse and not doing anything about it: “We had one job [winning Olympic gold],” Biles said. “And we have done everything that they asked us for—even when we didn’t want to. And they couldn’t do one damn job! You had one job; you literally had one job, and you couldn’t protect us!”7

In an interview on the Today Show, Biles was asked if the (sexual) abuse could have affected her performance in Tokyo. Her response was, “Now that I think of it, like maybe in the back of my head probably yes, because there are certain triggers that you don’t even know, and I think it could have.”8

A Different Kind of Olympian

After she withdrew from several events, Simone Biles came back and competed in the final Olympic Women’s Gymnastics event, the balance beam, winning the bronze medal (third place). She changed her routine so she would not have to do a very dangerous twisting dismount. According to many observers, Biles’ mere presence was more important than her performance, and her bronze medal may be the most important medal she has won. She did not fail. She made a comeback in the same Olympics.

Her decision to withdraw from events that required twisting in the air was not based on poor mental health. In fact it’s the opposite of that. It was based on her taking control over her own physical health and saying “no” to those who demanded her to compete despite the fact that she was having a bout of the “twisties.”

Further, Simone stayed and cheered on her teammates who took her place in the events she withdrew from. She became friends with the Chinese gymnasts who won medals and gave them big hugs when they performed well.

Biles has been a vocal supporter for the righteous protests against police murder of Black and other oppressed peoples. In an interview with Vogue magazine, she said, “We need change. We need justice for the Black community. With the peaceful protests it’s the start of change, but it’s sad that it took all of this for people to listen. Racism and injustice have existed for years with the Black community. How many times has this happened before we had cell phones?”9

Simone Biles has given us a small glimpse of the kind of athlete we need—one that does not objectify women athletes; one that does not require giving up your body for your team or your country; one where athletes can express their political views and not be punished; one where athletes can make the ultimate determination regarding their own physical health; one where friendship is more important than competition.

 


1. Simone Biles talked about how her mentality towards gymnastics changed before pulling out of the team event, Insider, 7/27/21  [back]

2. Ugly Fascist Barrage Aimed at U.S. Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles, revcoms.us  [back]

3. *Officials in Israel’s delegation to the Tokyo Olympics voiced strong criticism of the country’s judo team, which failed to win a medal.

     *Chinese social media users targeted Olympic athlete Wang Luyao with online abuse after failing to qualify for the air-rifle finals.

     *Following the defeat of ace archers Deepika Kumari and Pravin Jadhav at the quarterfinal stage of the mixed archery event, the Times of India chose to mock the athletes over their performance.

     *Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who lit the Olympic cauldron, took a drubbing on social media, with some questioning her identity (her mother is Japanese and her father is a Black Haitian) or right to represent Japan after she lost a tennis match.  [back]

4. Simone Biles was abandoned by American Olympic officials, and the torment hasn’t stopped, Washington Post, July 29, 2021  [back]

5. Simone Biles Opens Up About Her Battle with 'Twisties' at the Tokyo Olympics, Shape.com, July 30, 2021  [back]

6. The Gymnastics Factory: The Rise and Fall of the Karolyi Ranch, ESPN, July 14, 2020  [back]

7. Simone Biles blasts USA Gymnastics: ‘You had one job . . . and you couldn’t protect us!’ Washington Post, August 7, 2019  [back]

8. Simone Biles: Larry Nassar sexual abuse ‘could have’ affected her in Tokyo , Today, August 4, 2021  [back]

9.  Simone Biles Just Spoke About Breonna Taylor, Colin Kaepernick, and Black Lives Matter, Glamour, July 9, 2020  [back]


Simone Biles

Sports in the future socialist society
from the Constitution For The New Socialist Republic In North America (Draft Proposal)

Article I. Section 2.
J. Art and Culture.

6. In addition to the sphere of art and artistic creation, the government (with the central Executive Council having the overall responsibility, while establishing agencies and instrumentalities for this purpose and working with government at other levels) shall also promote and support sports events and activities, to provide entertainment and recreation and promote health and fitness throughout society. This shall include some professional sports teams and leagues, while at the same time emphasis is given to the participation of people broadly, and in particular the youth, in sports of many different kinds. The role of competition in sports will be recognized and given its appropriate place, but the basic and overall priority in sports will be to foster bonds of friendship, comradeship, community, cooperation and the shared experience and joy of sport, along with its contribution to health and fitness–and the promotion of internationalism, particularly in sports activities that are engaged in together with people from other countries.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/global-fires-cause-massive-suffering-point-to-ghastly-future-en.html

Global Fires Cause Massive Suffering and Point to a Ghastly Future If Climate Change Continues

| revcom.us

 


California Dixie Fire levels dozens of homes and multiple historic buildings, August 4, 2021. Photo: AP

From a reader:

This article is being written on August 6. The situation with the fires in the Northern Hemisphere continues to intensify.

Intense wildfires now raging in southern Europe, the western U.S., and Siberia are causing massive suffering and destruction. These fires are the latest manifestation of the climate crisis threatening humanity and the natural world.

Southern Europe

Since July 28, 180 fires have broken out in Turkey, killing eight. More than 100 fires were burning in Greece on August 5. Wildfires are also raging in Albania and Bulgaria. North Macedonia has declared a state of emergency.

A historic heat wave struck in July contributing to the size and intensity of the fires. Some facts:

Most of the countries where the fires are burning are among the poorest in Europe and lack the resources that are available in richer countries to fight the fires.

Turkey, which spends billions purchasing military aircraft from the U.S. and Russia, does not have a single firefighting plane. Residents of a province in Turkey where many lost their homes and livestock told the Associated Press that the regime has done nothing to battle the fires and the people have been left to fill up buckets of water to save their homes.

Western U.S.

On August 6, the National Interagency Fire Center reported 107 active large fires burning throughout the western U.S., forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

One of these fires, the Dixie fire in Northern California, has burned for more than three weeks and is only 35 percent contained. It is growing rapidly and is now the third largest fire since California started keeping records. On August 5, the fire destroyed the small town of Greenville, about 150 miles north of Sacramento. Eight people have been reported missing. It is feared that the fire could destroy more towns. “It looks like a bomb went off. There is nothing left,” a man whose father lost his home told the New York Times.

Fires of historic size and levels of destruction have become a feature of California in recent years. Of the 10 largest wildfires ever recorded in California, six were within the past 12 months. According to firefighters, fires which were recently considered once-in-a-lifetime blazes now happen regularly.

In Oregon, the Bootleg fire—which has been burning for more than one month—is so large that it is creating its own weather systems. This includes “fire tornados” and fierce windstorms that produce dry lightning. There were 3,100 lightning strikes this last week that ignited new clusters of wildfires.

Smoke from the fires has poisoned the air throughout the western U.S. On August 6, the smoke plume from the fires reached Salt Lake City, Utah, 650 miles away, where the air quality was the worst among the world’s major cities.

Siberia

For the third year in a row, fires have burned huge areas in northern Siberia. Siberia has the lowest winter temperatures outside of Antarctica but, in recent years, summer temperatures have soared to over 100 degrees F. The average temperature is rising more than twice as fast in the Arctic as it is in the rest of the world.

During this winter, smoke rose from under the snow, evidence of what have been labeled “zombie fires” which smolder underground from the previous year. As the snow melted this year, new fires reignited earlier than usual.

Smoke from the fires now covers an area larger than half of the United States. “For a month already you can’t see anything through the smoke,” a 63-year-old man told the Guardian. “We have already sent the small children away.”

The Fires and Climate Change

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “While wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year. Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire. The length of fire season is estimated to have increased by 75 days across the Sierras.”

Historic heat waves contributed to these 2021 fires. World Weather Attribution, which studies the links between climate change and extreme weather events, found that the recent heat wave in western North America “would be virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.” They said, “Our results provide a strong warning: our rapidly warming climate is bringing us into uncharted territory that has significant consequences for health, well-being, and livelihoods.”

Climate change is not the only factor in the spread of wildfires. Other factors such as a lack of controlled burns to limit the accumulation of fuel, land use policies that put urban developments near wild areas, and tree death from the spread of parasites and heat also play a role. Many of these factors are related to capitalism and its unsustainable pursuit of profit at the expense of the natural world.

***

The climate crisis is a crisis of unprecedented and existential dimensions—threatening the ecosystems of the planet and life itself. To get into what underlies this crisis, and what must be done—go to the revcom.us climate change resource page: Capitalism-Imperialism Is Destroying the Planet... Only Revolution Gives Humanity a Real Chance to Save It.

 

Sources

 


Northeastern Siberia, where 2.8 million acres burned, August 7, 2021. Photo: AP

STOP

STOP

Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet!

 

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The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/712/check-it-out-the-kindergarten-exodus-en.html

From a reader

Check It Out:

“The Kindergarten Exodus,” New York Times, August 7, 2021

| revcom.us

 

A recent study conducted by Stanford University and the New York Times about the impact of the COVID pandemic on education reveals a maddening picture of how hundreds of thousands of young children from low-income communities throughout the U.S. have been discarded by the savage inequalities so built into the educational system in this country.

The New York Times article detailing this study opens with a story about Solomon, a bright six-year-old African American boy in Philadelphia, who can’t even spell his own name without his father’s help because he was unable to attend any kind of kindergarten program that would teach him that and the other basic skills a child his age should have already acquired.

The study compared school enrollment between 2019 and 2020 and found that more than 340,000 five-year-olds across 33 states went “missing” from kindergarten in 2020—the vast majority from communities where the household income for a family of four was $35,000 or less. In one elementary school attended largely by Asian Pacific Islanders from the housing projects of Honolulu, Hawaii, enrollment in kindergarten was cut in half between 2019 and 2020. What will the fate of those “missing” children be?

The pandemic brought disruption to the education of students of all ages and economic backgrounds in this country (and the world) with the closure of much of the in-classroom education, causing difficulties for millions of students who had to try to navigate their education through remote on-line classes. But the choices facing families with young children from the communities of the most oppressed were particularly wrenching. Parents had to choose between enrolling their very young five-year-old children in on-line classes, requiring hours of parental assistance if they had access to computers and internet at all, while trying to juggle low-wage jobs and other family demands—or giving up their jobs to stay at home with little or no income to feed their children—or scraping together the funds to send their children to some kind of day care or other situation that failed to meet the needs of children who were ripe to begin learning and life-experiencing. Tens of thousands of these parents had no choice but to keep their children out of school—the biggest drops in kindergarten enrollment across the board being in the neighborhoods with the lowest household incomes.

One early education advocate, Patricia Lozano, spoke to the devastating impact of these children going “missing”: “That first year is so important. This learning is crucial to the rest of your education. At that age, their brains are on fire. A year of development at that age is like 10 years for us. We need to start thinking about what will happen next year. How will we help these kids?”1

On top of the grossly disproportionate rates of disease and death from COVID striking people of color and others at the bottom of society; on top of devastating loss of jobs and income in low-income communities as a result of the pandemic—hundreds of thousands of young children in the communities of the most oppressed will now enter first grade struggling to adapt and catch up in under-funded schools that under the best of circumstances do not begin to meet the educational needs of these children. Discarded and handicapped before their lives have barely begun.

But what the New York Times story does not bring to light is any of the truth of how these maddening inequalities they expose are built right into the very functioning of the capitalist system they are dedicated to lauding and upholding. In a piece written in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic Bob Avakian painted a vivid picture of how even the attempts to confront a crisis like COVID bring even more suffering and misery to the masses of humanity:

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

From “The Deadly Illusion of “Normalcy” and the Revolutionary Way Forward

 

1. “What Happens to Children Who Missed Kindergarten during Covid-19 Crisis?”, Karen D’Souza, EdSource, January 28, 2021 [back]

 

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August 5, 2021 For Immediate Release
Contact: International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners
202 556 3906
press@freeiranspoliticalprisonersnow.org
Twitter: @IranPrisonEmerg
Interviews available

 

Dual Nationals Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf Sentenced to nearly 11 years in Iranian Prison

Political prisoners Nahid Taghavi and Mehran Raouf have been sentenced to 10 years and 8 months each: ten years for “membership in an illegal group” and 8 months for “propaganda against the regime.”

Their sentences were handed down August 3 in a Tehran court behind closed doors, with no court hearing nor any measure of due process resembling a trial. It is unclear if the defendants were even present.

Sentences of six years and eight months were also issued for Somayeh Kargar and Bahareh Soleimani, and three years and four months was imposed on Nazanin Mohammadnejad.

“The verdict is what we expected. The fight will go on until they are free,” said Mariam Claren, daughter of Nahid Taghavi, who, from her home in Germany, has been waging a relentless campaign to free her mother.

Nahid Taghavi is a dual German-Iranian citizen. Mehran Raouf is a dual British-Iranian citizen. Both were illegally seized by the Islamic regime while visiting Iran. They should never have been arrested. Yet both have been held, isolated, and repeatedly interrogated in Iran’s notorious Evin prison since October 2020. Given their age (mid 60s) and chronic health issues, their long sentences are untenable and could effectively become death sentences.

The threat to Nahid Taghavi’s life is blatant in the face of her being Covid positive for several weeks. Her health is rapidly deteriorating and she is being denied medical care. Another nine women in her ward who tested positive have all been issued medical release. What is this if not outright torture by the Islamic regime of Ms. Taghavi, and torment of her family and supporters? The health of Mehran Raouf has not been verified since an aborted court hearing on June 13 when the lawyers had no access to case files nor to the defendants.

“These unjust sentences must be protested by all justice loving people worldwide,” says Dolly Veale of the International Emergency Campaign. “Any hope for reduced sentences through an equally sham appeal process is illusory. This is more so given the charges against them are murky.”

This sentencing is coinciding with the publication of a bold Emergency Appeal by our campaign in The New York Review of Books.

At this critical hour, we seek to shine a bright light of denunciation on this criminal act by the IRI and its incoming president Ebrahim Raisi, a proven butcher of Iran in his direct role of the 1988 massacres of political prisoners.

The German and British governments have not done all that is possible to get them released from the IRI, including the immediate medical release of Nahid Taghavi.

The Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners NOW urges action:

 

BACKGROUND, WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Demand Immediate Release of Nahid Taghavi for COVID Treatment – Freedom for Iran’s Political Prisoners, International Emergency Campaign, July 21, 2021

Coronarivus ‘sweeps through women-only wing at Evin jail’, The National, July 22

About the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners

This Appeal has been published in the Summer issue of The New York Review of Books:


Full Page Appeal in NY Review of Books Calls for Freeing Iran's Political Prisoners