revcom.us, August 16, 2021 through August 22, 2021 (#713)

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.

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/683/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/712/rnl-show-episode-65-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 65 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less—Show!

It's NOT a "Scamdemic," It's a FASCIST PANDEMIC! PLUS:
Andy Zee at Revolution Books, Summer of Soul and More...

 

It's not a “scamdemic” or a “plandemic.” It's a FASCIST PANDEMIC! And it's disproportionately killing Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans. Sunsara Taylor breaks down how the fight over the vaccine, masks, and science is fueled by—and feeds into—the broader crisis throughout society and government that makes this a rare time when revolution becomes possible. An excerpt of Andy Zee's major August 4 speech at Revolution Books invites you into historic documents from The Revcoms and Bob Avakian to understand and seize on this rare time. Plus, we get into the new film, Summer of Soul by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots, and share a deep exchange between Bob Avakian and Cornel West from their 2014 Dialogue that includes a deep exploration of the relationship between people standing up and the emergence of an uplifting and liberating culture.

*******

* Sunsara Taylor breaks down how we face a FASCIST PANDEMIC and how this fits into the rare times when revolution becomes possible and why everyone who can should get the vaccine.

* Andy Zee on the potential for revolution and the possibility in these "rare times" for our dreams of freedom to become a reality (an excerpt from his August 4 speech at Revolution Books in Harlem); and a short film of excerpts from 1) A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now FOR A REAL REVOLUTION and 2) From Bob Avakian—Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism: THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLEWHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY.

* an excerpt of a conversation that took place at Revolution Books in Harlem between Miles Solay, singer for Outernational and writer and musician Greg Tate on the film Summer of Soul (... Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) that features never before seen footage of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, B.B. King and more in concert over the course of six weeks in 1969 in Harlem. This is the directorial debut of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson.

* Bob Avakian and Cornel West on Art, Culture, Resistance, & Revolution (an excerpt from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight For Emancipation and the Role of Religion).

 

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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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Donate and become a patron at patreon.com/TheRevcoms 

 

 

 

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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/713/why-basics-3-1-has-been-changed-en.html

Why BAsics 3:1 Has Been Changed

| revcom.us

 

Bob Avakian (BA) has changed the quote that opens the third chapter of BAsics (on making revolution). The quote reads the same but the last point has been boldfaced. BA has explained that:

Boldface has been added in the text of BAsics 3:1 to emphasize that you cannot really, fully put forward, and struggle for, the first part of 3:1 (We need a revolution) if you don’t also boldly put forward the second part (Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit) and struggle for this understanding—vigorously, at times fiercely, with substance and compellingly—in opposition to the many different ways that “bullshit” is put forward, among the basic masses as well as other sections of the people.

To invoke a formulation from Mao, applied here to ideology (how people think—and accordingly act): There can be no construction without destruction.

The point here, as alluded to above, is to emphasize a very important point of orientation and approach with which people—including new people drawn to us—need to be consistently led (and to which they need to be repeatedly returned), conveying the crucial understanding that, in order to win people to the revolution we are working for, it is not enough just to propagate, or even emphasize, the need for this revolution, by itself, but that this must be accompanied by compelling struggle with masses of people (basic masses and others); that we should be “itching for ideological struggle” with these masses, in order to (in a paraphrase of Lenin) divert them from the spontaneous tendency to remain under the influence of the bourgeoisie—or, in simple terms, to break them from the “bullshit” of various kinds that far too many are caught up in, which leads them away from seeing, and acting on, the necessity, as well as the possibility (and desirability), of the revolution that is urgently needed.

 

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/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/713/this-declaration-is-crucial-en.html

"This Declaration Is Crucial!"

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

| revcom.us

 

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.

We opened with an introduction of why we are pulling people together in this way to grapple with the questions in Part 4 of the Declaration (based on the other three parts):

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.

We briefly walked through all four points, directly drawing from and reading the Declaration, then opened it up for them to share their reflections, to lay out their thinking and questions.

First, both of them wanted to know more about Bob Avakian (BA). One person asked, “What is BA’s role and how does he communicate with those he leads?” and the other person asked, “What is the scientific method that BA has developed?” I stepped back with people to talk about who this leader is, drawing from the revcom article, “Bob Avakian For The Liberation Of Black People And The Emancipation Of All Humanity.” I talked about how BA developed as a communist and what his world historic contributions are to developing communism as a science. Here, I drew from the example of just last year in the uprising against white supremacy and murder by police: How can people understand where this oppression comes from? How are they able to see and analyze what are the underlying dynamics that give rise to all this unnecessary suffering that people are put through? BA is not only putting forward analyses on this, but is giving people the tools to themselves understand these things and go to work on transforming it. I talked about the moment we are living in which is a rare time when revolution becomes possible and why this is... BA has been doing analyses since even before the days of Bush, to get into how we have gotten to this point—this is leadership on a scientific basis!

It was heavy, because off of this, one of the people said she had read the Declaration all the way through and was glad to get a better understanding of her question—understanding more the content of this leadership. She pointed to the part in the Declaration where it says, “to be young now means being denied a decent future, or any future at all....” She really agreed with this and said this Declaration is crucial, this is what people need to get their hands on. She said, “I don’t know about 100 years ago or 100 years in the future, but right now, this Declaration matters and can make a big difference in what people understand and how they are acting.”

The other person shared how he’s been confronting the situation and said, “I want to do my part to help the future and keep humanity alive for at least another century. The way things are going now, pretending nothing’s happening is just going to kill everyone.”

The person who co-led the discussion with me said she learned a lot from how I led the meeting, including right from the beginning putting to people part 4 from the Declaration:

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.

The whole discussion was explicitly in the context of—and to go to work on changing—this. At the end of the discussion, we made plans to watch The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show together. That between now and then, people would take this Declaration to others and invite them to a Zoom watch party. There was an important difference in how this discussion was led—really drawing from the Declaration and having people work with what is in that, and having people see themselves taking this to others.

FROM THE REVCOMS (REVCOM.US): A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION

youtube.com/therevcoms


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/713/raising-funds-is-essential-to-getting-organized-now-for-a-real-revolution-en.html

Raising Funds Is Essential to Getting Organized NOW for a Real Revolution

Reflections on the recent $25,000 fund drive from people involved in the National Revolution Tour

| revcom.us

 

Hundreds of people donated in big and small ways to the recent $25,000 fund drive for the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. In addition to raising these necessary funds, the fund drive itself became a means for planting seeds of revolution, spreading the revolution and building organization. This is precious and important, though fragile and needs to take root and grow in an ongoing way—so we wanted to sum this up a little more fully.

The Declaration from the revcoms, A Call To Get Organized Now For A Real Revolution, says: “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.” The funds raised are essential to changing this situation—and even greater funds are needed to be able to have a big impact with this revolution. But just as important is the fact that the process of raising funds is part of spreading the word about this revolution, struggling with people to take responsibility for this revolution and building up the necessary organization and organized networks needed to build this revolution.

We are in a rare time when revolution becomes possible. We are serious about seizing on that situation and building up the forces of the revolution. That means being serious about raising the funds necessary to support that revolution and it means integrating fundraising in an ongoing way into everything we’re doing.

In this last round, over 30 new individual donors contributed (not including what was raised from street donations). Raising and donating funds is a way that people can begin to take up the revolution even if they are just encountering it and don’t yet know everything about it. They can get involved and learn more as they go. When you ask people for funds it poses the question immediately of what is really worth giving your resources to—what really matters.

Experiences in a number of cities gave a glimpse of the potential:

In a neighborhood in South Central LA where the revolution is starting to become known, the revcoms reached out to people who have been getting involved in the revolution. They went deeper with them into what this revolution is all about and strategized with them about how to raise funds. Out of this process a goal of $500 was set and plans were made for a variety of ways to reach out and make the revolution a bigger question in the community. One person had the idea of doing a BBQ and worked on all the preparations and invited his friends and neighbors. Word was spreading, and on the day before the BBQ, the revcoms spread it further with a sound truck and flyers to announce the fundraising effort and BBQ, and call on people to take part in the revolution and donate on the spot. About 15 people came out to the BBQ to buy a plate and hang out a bit in the backyard. Video clips of BA on imagining how another kind of society is actually possible were played and this sparked controversy and discussion about religion and science and how to understand the world. Through this and other efforts, $452 was raised, and through all the outreach new people were met and others got reconnected and the revolution established more of presence in the neighborhood. Two people took up the “revolutionary change jars,” and through accumulating change over more than a week, we exceeded our $500 goal (more on these jars below).

An effort initiated by the Revolution Club in Chicago to raise $10 from 50 people unleashed a whole range of outreach by Club members and supporters, spreading the revolution to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors with potential for real organized networks—and raising funds in the process:

A man who we had met in the course of the protests last summer and had related to us only peripherally before this donated $20 and sent this statement: “I am donating because I believe that liberty, for those that have been historically marginalized, can only prevail if they are part of a new revolution that resists fascism and pushes back on negative white social norms.” Following up with him, we learned he had raised another $80—$10 each from eight family members and friends. He said he had been to more protests in the last year than we could imagine, but out of all the speeches and pitches he heard, the Revolution Club had the best message of them all. He said that others don’t want to look at the truth of what is needed in the face, but the Revolution Club does. He said most of his friends and family who donated had seen the Revolution Club in the neighborhood. A 15-year-old nephew of his told us why he contributed. He said he had never heard of the revolution but his uncle told him what it was all about, what they did and what they were trying to do, and he definitely wanted to give to that. [Read the full letter from the Revolution Club about this effort.]

One thing we wanted to draw from this effort is the way people with difficult conditions of life—working full time, caught up in a lot of the chaos of life—were still able to take responsibility for the revolution by contributing and raising funds. This is exactly the kind of process called for in the Declaration and Call from the revcoms—a process of people stepping into the revolution in whatever ways they can, spreading this to others, and in that context, getting deeper into “why this revolution is necessary, what it involves and the kind of society it’s aiming for...” becoming organizers for this revolution and bringing forward new organizers.

The Revolution Club in New York held a mass meeting on the sidewalk in front of Revolution Books in Harlem which drew people who were serious and curious about the revolution. At the meeting they dug into the Declaration and Call and the 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. Fundraising was the way they focused on organizing people, putting to people the role that this can play in forging organized networks for the revolution, involving people and meeting a great need to get the word out about the revolution. They showed the video of family members who lost loved ones to murder by police, calling on people to donate to the National Revolution Tour. One person responded that she is involved in a lot of different things but the revolution is where she goes “to get her soul fed” and she will support this in every way she can. Another person stepped up to become a monthly sustainer because she feels this is the best way she can support the revolution. One woman was inspired off of the meeting to plan a cookout outside the bookstore to raise funds for the revolution and raise the profile of the store. She started talking this up among her friends and then she and a friend sat down with the revcoms to discuss plans for the cookout and walk through how to talk to people about the revolution (this is scheduled for August 22). They read through the Declaration and Call together, using it as a guide to figure out how to promote the revolution as part of advertising for and drawing people to the cookout. This was an important part of putting responsibility for the revolution in the hands of those who are stepping forward to be part of it.

Another new thing that began in LA, and needs to spread across the country, was popularizing “revolutionary change jars.” These are small change jars that people can leave out in their homes, or take to work or bring to family or friend gatherings. Our experience with this is still very initial, but this has a lot of potential to build up regular, sustained networks with people taking responsibility to feed their donations into the revolution.

In LA, some of the younger kids got involved in making these jars. They set up a table on a corner, calling on people to take up these jars while distributing copies of the Declaration and Call. Only two people wanted to commit to this kind of regular form but we need to fight through on this—it’s a more serious commitment than people who just give us a donation on the spot and is a form of regular contact and support for the revolution. This form needs to be fought for, popularized and spread—including among the youth and students as schools and campuses are beginning to open.

Another form that we need to build up is bringing forward people to sustain the National Revolution Tour—contributing a certain amount every month. This means there’s a certain amount of funds the National Tour knows to expect every month and it is an important form of organization. Since the initiation of the recent fund drive, 10 new sustainers signed up—there are now 41 sustainers donating from $5 to $100 per month. This was an important advance, but monthly regular expenses run between $20,000 and $30,000 and we need to have an even bigger impact than we’re able to have on our current budget. Many more people are needed to step into the revolution by making a commitment in this way.

There were all kinds of other important efforts to raise funds—from people setting up big signs at an intersection and reaching out to people in their cars who stop at the light, to organizing yard sales and stoop sales, to one person who set up in the NYC subway and played his horn to raise funds. A group of people in Chicago pulled together to make a statement from people who lost loved ones to violence among the people about why people should contribute, and a group of people in Boston raised funds in honor of the 50th anniversary of the uprising in Attica prison.

All of these experiences represent real beginnings that need to grow and become a consistent part of how the revolution is built. Raising funds is a way for people to take the revolution out to others, to work in a collective way as part of the developing movement for revolution—and it conveys the seriousness of this revolution. No revolution can be built and sustained without the active support—financially and in many other ways—of those who catch the most hell under this system, and of all who refuse to accept living in world that they see crushing hopes, destroying lives, and ruining the very planet we have to live on.

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

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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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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

 

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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)

 

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

Supplementary Excerpts

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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/713/afghanistan-where-do-interests-of-humanity-lie-en.html

As the Taliban Take Over Afghanistan and America Is Driven Out in Defeat...
WHERE DO THE INTERESTS OF HUMANITY LIE?

| revcom.us

 

As we wrote last week, nearly 20 years ago the fanatical Islamic fundamentalists of al Qaeda 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 al Qaeda to stay in their country. The Afghanistan government was headed by a fanatical and repressive Islamic fundamentalist group, the Taliban.

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan cost tens of thousands of Afghan lives, as well as those of several thousand U.S. and European invaders. While this mission was draped in all kinds of honeyed phrases about “spreading democracy” and “liberating women,” in its essence it was about two things:

First, delivering the Mafioso-style message to every other force in the world that if they dared attack the U.S. or even allowed an attack to take place from their soil, they would be destroyed with a vengeance a hundred times worse; and

Second, trying to radically and violently extend U.S. power in a much broader and deeper way into the Middle East and Central Asia and, beyond that, the world. Power that exists to defend a worldwide empire of exploitation, terrible oppression, and destructive plunder of the environment.

In Afghanistan, those “grand designs” of the U.S. empire were ultimately defeated. When the number one oppressor in the world suffers a defeat, that is positive for humanity.

This defeat occurs at a time of great conflict in the U.S. ruling class, unprecedented since the Civil War. While no one can say how any one event will play out, it is very possible that this will heighten the conflict within the ruling class overall and its core institutions of force (armed forces, CIA, etc). These conflicts are deeply explored in these recent works from Bob Avakian—A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity and THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY—and carry with them the possibility to be ripened into a revolutionary situation.

So, for all these reasons, this defeat should be welcomed.

This does not mean that things will automatically become easier for revolution. In the short term, the Biden administration may try to hit back harder elsewhere or in other ways to reassert U.S. domination. The fascists will pursue their own strategy, whether pressuring or attacking Biden or both. Both sides will foster the poison of patriotism, even as they will fight over the content of what that should be. The question here is whether those who see the need for and work for revolutionary change seize on this opening, when people are thinking about big things, to wage ferocious struggle and win people to see what is actually driving things here and what is at stake, and to side with the people of the world and NOT with one or another set of their own rulers.

Through all this, people must be struggled with to see that:

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

BAsics 3:8

The articles in this issue give a living sense of that.

While the defeat of the U.S. is positive, the victory of the Taliban is not. Taliban in power will mean further suffering on top of suffering, in quite barbaric and horrific forms, with its sharpest spearpoint brutally directed against women. Islamic fundamentalism does NOT pose a liberating alternative.

Last week we quoted the following fundamental quote from 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.

BAsics 1:28

People cannot afford to be bounced between the poles of backing one or another of these reactionary forces. We need to bring forward another way, a revolutionary alternative.

That way exists. That way is revolution and a socialist society on the way to a communist world without the oppression of the exploited and dominated nations of the world by the imperialists like the U.S., or of women by men... a world without wars, without borders or even countries... a world community of people, unshackled from the chains of ignorance and suffocation, working together for the common good.

The vision embodied in this revolution and the strategy to make that revolution has not only been carried forward but in important ways reconceived and put on a more scientific, and firmer, foundation by Bob Avakian. As BA himself has said of the new communism:

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

The world cries out for this alternative. It is up to us to get it to people, to struggle for it and to politically support all those everywhere who do answer this call, in times that carry the potential for either great and liberating advance, or devastating and perhaps existential setback.


People flee Afghanistan. Screen grab.

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/713/on-afghanistan-and-the-extreme-oppression-of-women-en.html

On Afghanistan and the Extreme Oppression of Women:
One Oppressor Cannot Liberate Us from Another—We Need Revolution!

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: The following is adapted from “U.S. Pullout from Afghanistan: Three Lessons and Two Points of Orientation” posted at revcom.us last week.

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 significant reforms did happen for a section of women in the cities, the vast majority remained brutally oppressed and subordinated in conditions similar to those before. 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 below the poverty line and 36 percent facing “acute food insecurity.” And yes, while there were reforms in the situation of women, mainly in the urban areas, even these reforms were nowhere near thoroughgoing. They did not strike at the roots of the oppressive patriarchal relations there, nor were they intended to. In reality, the fundamental change in the situation of women that is needed in this situation can only come about from a thoroughgoing communist revolution, in which this oppression is targeted from the beginning and in which the economic, social, political, and ideological roots are dug at.

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.

 

This system of capitalism-imperialism has been built on, and continues to perpetrate, slavery and white supremacy and all manner of atrocities against Black people, other oppressed peoples, and the masses of humanity throughout the world, including the half of humanity that is female. Some claim that the answer to this is Islam, and in particular fundamentalist Islamic jihad. But that is not the answer—it is not a radical alternative to this system and its monstrous crimes—it is itself another form of enslavement, oppression, and atrocity, against women and the masses of people overall. The answer is an actual revolution—a really radical and emancipating revolution—communist revolution, to bring an end, at long last, to all oppression, everywhere.

Bob Avakian

 


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]


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)

 

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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/713/imperialists-suffer-humiliating-defeat-in-afghanistan-en.html

U.S. Imperialists Suffer Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan as Oppressive Taliban Regime Returns to Power

| revcom.us

 

As we go to press the pro-U.S. government and armed forces of Afghanistan have collapsed. These are forces that the U.S. armed, trained, bragged about, and spent 20 years and billions of dollars on, so that they could ensure a stable Afghanistan firmly under U.S. domination, without significant numbers of U.S. troops having to be there. The U.S. also had tens of thousands of its troops in Afghanistan, including as many as 100,000 at the peak, involved in both fighting and training.

But as soon as the U.S. (first under Trump, continuing under Biden) declared that it was pulling its own troops, contractors and mercenaries out, the Afghan forces began to crumble. And as the declared date of complete U.S. withdrawal (September 11) approached, the collapse accelerated in the face of an offensive by the much smaller—but fanatical and battle-hardened—army of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban that the U.S. had driven out of power in 2001.

By Saturday, August 14, the Taliban had seized almost every major city in Afghanistan except the capital of Kabul—in many cases the Afghan army either melted away without a fight or switched sides. By Monday, Afghanistan's president Ghani had resigned and fled the country and Taliban forces had taken control of the presidential palace; the U.S. flag had been lowered from its huge embassy, and its thousands of employees finished burning documents and were helicoptered to Kabul airport for hurried evacuation. The Biden administration was scrambling to put 6,000 U.S. troops on the ground, primarily to ensure that U.S. military, diplomatic and civilian personnel could get out before the Taliban seized complete control of the city, including the airport.

The Humanitarian Crisis and the Nightmare of Taliban Rule

To be clear, the Taliban—extreme religious fundamentalists who ruled Afghanistan from the mid-1990s until being driven out by the U.S. and its allies in 2001—were and are a nightmare for the masses of people. And their victory is especially ominous for women—under the Taliban’s version of Islamic Shariah law women are treated as literal property of the men in their families, forced to wear oppressive head coverings (the burka) when they go out, and subjected to medieval punishments and even death for violations of these codes.

Moreover, the Taliban (like the U.S.1) has a track record of exacting vengeance on anyone who has cooperated with their enemies, including not just high-level officials but low-level functionaries, soldiers, teachers and so on.

Because of all this, and because of the fighting, as Taliban control spread across Afghanistan, large numbers of people—(the UN estimates about 400,000)—have fled their homes, going west across the border into Iran,2 east to Pakistan, or to the capital of Kabul. In all these conditions people are desperate, often without food or water—and this is happening in the midst of the COVID pandemic as well. Imagine living hungry and homeless, without sanitation or access to healthcare, among hundreds or thousands in the streets or in refugee camps as a deadly epidemic wraps its tentacles around one person after another!

The U.S.—NOT the “Good Guys”

So the situation right now is genuinely dire for the masses of people in Afghanistan. At the same time, the myth that the U.S. defeat is some great tragedy, that America is “the good guys” in this situation and that the government that it backed for 20 years was an inspiring experiment in democracy, is completely at odds with reality.

Take for instance the Afghan state and military: In the U.S. media and among political leaders, the rapid collapse of these armed forces is treated as both a mystery and a tragedy. It is neither. In reality it is a predictable reflection of the fact that this was a reactionary military fighting on behalf of foreign occupiers and the oppressive and corrupt government those occupiers had put in place. From the time the U.S. began preparing to invade Afghanistan in 2001, it forged alliances with an ugly array of warlords and regional despots who were “won over” to the U.S. by a combination of bribes, perceived opportunities to increase their power over the people of Afghanistan, and/or rivalries and feuds with the just-as-or-even-more reactionary Taliban forces.

So their loyalty was always up for grabs, and when it became clear the U.S. was leaving and that the Taliban would therefore win, most folded or went over to the Taliban. The soldiers in these armed forces were often unpaid, half-starved, and fighting for nothing more than a paycheck. They too were not about to throw their lives away in a losing battle to defend one oppressive regime against another.

Life During Wartime in Afghanistan

U.S. media have also tried to paint Afghan society under U.S. control as some kind of beacon of democracy and for the emancipation of women. This is a cruel joke. In spite of the trillions the U.S. keeps moaning about spending (most of which went to bombing and killing people, or was siphoned off by corrupt officials at every level), conditions for Afghan people were horrifically bad, even as compared to most other third world nations.

First, there was the toll of the war itself—at least 43,000 and perhaps as many as 220,000 civilians died by war-related causes. U.S. and Afghan military repeatedly carried out bombing attacks on wedding parties, funeral processions, schools and hospitals—just two weeks ago the Afghan Air Force bombed a private hospital in Helmand Province, killing two people and destroying the facility. Over 60,000 Afghan soldiers died in the war.

On top of this, in this already impoverished country, crops and villages were destroyed, and the economy distorted and disrupted. 1.3 million children under the age of five faced malnutrition. At least one in four Afghan children between the ages of 5 and 14 have to work to help their families survive. As of 2014, only 54 percent of children (male and female) went to school. Yet Human Rights Watch reported in 2017 that “only between 2 and 6 percent of overseas development assistance has gone to the education sector.” All this while vast sums went into the war machine, or into the pockets of the pro-U.S. elite.

Role of Minor Reforms in Sustaining an Oppressive Regime

Yes, it is true that in the major cities, particularly Kabul, with their larger middle class and educated populations, there was a certain degree of lessening of some of the oppressive strictures, relations and conditions facing the vast majority in the rural areas, the smaller cities and the urban slums. In Kabul bolder women could wear jeans rather than traditional Islamic dress, intellectuals and journalists could speak up to some degree (though there was still considerable risk of attack by either the government or the Taliban), there were elections to public office, including many women being elected.

But rather than being the beginning of a society-wide transformation, of uprooting oppression, poverty and exploitation, these were minimal concessions being made to a portion of the population in order to win their allegiance to a regime that served foreign imperialism and rested on a barbaric social order3. Those who mistakenly believed that something more and better was going on, and who really stepped out to fight for the rights of women, for example, are now painfully learning that the U.S. never gave a fuck about that, and they are being left high and dry to face Taliban retaliation as the U.S. ushers its people (and a few Afghans) out of the country.

Going Forward

The situation now is very fluid. As we say in our main editorial, “As the Taliban Take Over Afghanistan and America Is Driven Out in Defeat... WHERE DO THE INTERESTS OF HUMANITY LIE,” the humiliating defeat of the U.S. project to dominate Afghanistan and the whole region is a very good thing, but the victory of the Taliban is a bad thing. And so the immediate situation confronting our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan has grown even more dire. There is great fear among many in Kabul—one young Afghan woman journalist described the streets as largely deserted, especially of women and children, and she said that she herself had to desperately search for hijab (head covering) instead of her normal jeans for fear of what the Taliban might do.

People there will have to find the ways to fight against this—and bring forward another way. And people around the world will have to find the ways to support them. But if there is one thing that the 20-year U.S. “project” in Afghanistan should have taught everyone, it is that for humanity to find a way out of this mess means taking up the struggle and the science to overthrow all oppressive systems (however difficult that might appear) rather than taking the “easy” but doomed path of backing one oppressive order against another.

 

1. Many of the “dangerous terrorists” that the U.S. tortured and/or imprisoned after al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center turned out to be people who held very low-level jobs—like drivers—within the Taliban or al-Qaeda. And of course many of the U.S.'s prisoners had nothing to do with those organizations at all. [back]

2. Where there are reports that some have been shot and killed by Iranian border guards. [back]

3. The Intercept reports that much of the urban middle class “threw their weight behind the post-2001 order largely for pragmatic reasons: It gave them a reliable government, police, or army salary with which to build a home or raise a family.” [back]


Afghan youth fleeing to Pakistan. Photo: Rusen Takva

 

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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/713/bob-avakian-quotes-from-bringing-forward-another-way-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Quotes from
Bringing Forward Another Way,
by Bob Avakian

 

Editors’ Note: In 2007, revcom published Bringing Forward Another Way, a talk from Bob Avakian going into the international situation, the conflict between imperialism (especially U.S. imperialism) and Islamic fundamentalism, and important questions of strategy, method, epistemology and morality. This talk is well worth going back to in the current crisis. A member of the National Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour selected some of the following quotes for people to get a sense of this talk. Some of these quotes were reprinted in BAsics.

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.

BAsics 1:28

One thing we should really understand—and I believe this is a slogan, or formulation, that could and should be popularized: If you look at what they did in Iraq, the way they justified it and what’s happened there, you can capture a lot of this in the formulation They lied to us and deceived themselves. This is a big part of what happened. They actually believed their own propaganda. The way they were seeing the world—they really thought that’s the way the world is. They really thought they could do what that Bush administration functionary said to Ron Suskind—that they could just continue to create their own reality on the ground, as if no other factors, and no other people, have anything to do with what reality is and how it develops.

As I was listening to one of these imperialist spokespeople on the media recently, I couldn’t help blurting out: “They don’t understand how their own system works.” This is important to grasp. They don’t understand what the actual nature of U.S. society is and what it rests on fundamentally.

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

BAsics 3:8

But their problem is, as we are seeing, that whether it’s Afghanistan or Iraq, these imperialists are good at invading countries and knocking over regimes, but then when they find themselves in the position of occupying the country and they have a population that gets aroused against them, it becomes a different dynamic, and it is not so easy for them. It is not so easy for them to maintain “order” and to impose the changes they want to impose in accordance with their interests. It is not so easy to impose this “from the top down”—which is the only way imperialist occupiers can impose changes.

Besides the moral bankruptcy of seeking to avoid chaos for yourself and the things that more immediately affect you, while many, many others are caught up in this and are suffering horribly—besides that whole moral dimension, which I will return to later, because it is in fact something that needs to be emphasized and joined with people—there is the reality that, even those now occupying more privileged enclaves in the imperialist countries and in other parts of the world will not be able to avoid being affected by great upheaval and chaos in the period ahead. The essential question is not whether there will be chaos or no chaos, or whether it will end up affecting people everywhere, in one way or another. The question is: What will this all lead to, what will come out of it, what kind of world will emerge out of all this?

To put it in basic terms, Israel is a colonial-settler state which was imposed on the region of the Middle East, at the cost of great suffering for the Palestinian people (and the people of the region more broadly). Israel could not have come into being without the backing of imperialism, and it acts not only in its own interests but as an armed garrison and instrument of enforcement for U.S. imperialism, which supplies the Israeli state with aid, and in particular military aid, to the tune of billions of dollars every year.

As a matter of general principle, and specifically sitting in this imperialist country, we have a particular responsibility to oppose U.S. imperialism, our “own” ruling class, and what it is doing in the world. But, at the same time, that doesn’t make these Islamic fundamentalist forces not historically outmoded and not reactionary. It doesn’t change the character of their opposition to imperialism and what it leads to and the dynamic that it’s part of—the fact that these two “historically outmodeds” do reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. And it is very important to understand, and to struggle for others to understand, that if you end up supporting either one of these two “historically outmodeds,” you contribute to strengthening both. It is crucial to break out of that dynamic—to bring forward another way.

The widespread ignorance that does exist, even among the relatively educated population in the U.S., is generally accompanied by an attitude that we’re the “good guys” in the world, so what we do that brings suffering to other people doesn’t count in the same way as if the same thing were done by others. Partly out of an attitude like that, and partly out of just plain ignorance, it is very likely that a majority of people in the U.S. do not know—or have been unable, or unwilling, to “process the information”—that the U.S. has actually used nuclear weapons, that it has dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations. Or somehow it’s like the Bob Dylan lines I referred to in the Memoir (From Ike to Mao and Beyond, My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a Memoir by Bob Avakian): When the character in a Dylan song tries to get into a fallout shelter, he is refused and threatened by the owner of this bomb shelter, and then there is the following exchange between the two of them: “I said, ‘You know, they refused Jesus too’; he said, ‘you’re not him.’” This is the same kind of logic that many people in this country use—and a logic that is systematically used by the rulers and apologists of this system—when just some of the “unequaled barbarity” they have committed comes to light: “That’s us—that doesn’t count... you’re not us.”

A lot of people talk about “common sense,” and this is something that is frequently invoked by right-wing politicos, talk-show hosts, etc., especially when they want to appeal to a certain philistinism in the service of their reactionary objectives. They will often say, “let’s just talk common sense here.” Well, it is very important, in terms of epistemology—in terms of struggling with people over how to really understand what is going on in the world, and why—it is very important to grasp the fact that “common sense” means one (or both) of two things: It means either elementary logic and/or thinking proceeding from assumptions that are so deeply embedded in the prevailing culture that people don’t question them, or even are unaware of them.

There was that slogan back in the ’60s, which was not fully scientific, but it was more good than bad and more correct than incorrect: “You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.” That kind of orientation was not wrong. If you drew the lines irrevocably and you didn’t try to win people over when they were on the wrong side (or were trying to sit on the sidelines), well then, yes, that would be wrong. And if you didn’t make any kind of materialist analysis of what are the actual driving forces underlying things, and what are actually the ruling and decision-making forces in society—then, yes, that would be wrong. But it is not wrong, and in fact it is very necessary, to pose the challenge to people: Look, there’s a great earthquake here, and neither side of the way the earth is separating is going to lead to anything but disaster; we’ve got to forge another way, you’ve got to be part of that—and you’ve got to get out of your “comfort zone” to do it.

This is the only chance the masses have. They don’t have any other chance. Mobile Shaw was right: we are collectively the only hope the masses of people have. Of course, there are other communists throughout the world. But collectively we are the only hope the masses of people have and the only hope the world has—hope that all this craziness and destruction and sacrifice that’s coming anyway is going to turn toward something much better. We must not shrink from that role. And we must never forget that this is our role, through everything we’re doing. Even when we’re sitting down and having a cup of coffee with people—and overall in working our way through a lot of things that are short of revolution—we can’t ever forget that this is what it’s all got to be aimed for. We’ve got to have those broad arms and that sweeping vision; and, as I’ve said before, we’ve got to go be willing to go right to the brink of being “drawn and quartered,” without allowing that to actually happen, in order to move all this forward.

We have two things going for us, against all the very big things that we have to confront, the gigantic and momentous things we have to go up against, the very daunting things. One is our dialectical materialist outlook and method, our scientific approach to reality. And the other is reality itself and its motion and development, which that outlook and methodology reflect and encompass.

This is an analogy that I have found helpful: Reality is like a fire, like a burning object, and if you want to pick up that burning object and move it, you have to have an instrument with which to do it. If you try to do it bare-handed, the result is not going to be good. That’s another way of getting at the role of theory in relation to the larger world that needs to be transformed, in relation to practice, and in particular revolutionary practice, to change the world.

BAsics 4:21

Theory and (political and ideological) line are abstractions from reality which, the more correct they are, the more they can guide us in changing the world in accordance with its actual nature and its actual motion. If you are going to wield theory and line as an instrument to change the world, you have to take it up and wrangle with it in its own right—abstracted from the reality out of which it comes, of which it is a concentration—and to which, yes, as Marx emphasized and we must emphasize, it must be returned in order to change the world. But if you leave out the step of grappling, on the level of abstraction, with theory, you are bound to go astray and land in a pit.

And everybody can deal in abstractions, by the way. It’s not only a handful of people who can do this. Revolutionary theory, communist theory, has to be made accessible to masses of people, but they actually engage in abstraction all the time, with different world outlooks. I’ve never met any basic person, or any person from any stratum, who doesn’t have all kinds of theories about all kinds of things—most of them drawn from the bourgeoisie and ultimately reflecting its outlook—although some of them do this only indirectly and appear to be, and to some degree are, ideas and theories that people have “cooked up” on their own, more or less unconsciously reflecting the dominant bourgeois outlook in society. Of course, to make theoretical abstractions that most correctly, deeply and fully reflect reality, in its motion and development, requires taking up the communist world outlook and methodology and increasingly learning to apply this consistently and systematically. And, as Lenin emphasized (in What Is To Be Done? and elsewhere), this communist outlook and methodology will not just “come to” the masses of people on their own and spontaneously, but must be brought to them from outside the realm of their direct and immediate experience. But the fact remains that everyone engages in theoretical abstraction of one kind or another—everybody is capable of this—and, fundamentally, it is a question of how are you doing this, with what world outlook and methodology?

BAsics 4:22

American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People’s Lives.

BAsics 5:7

Here I want to bring up a formulation that I love, because it captures so much that is essential. Soon after September 11, someone said, or wrote somewhere, that living in the U.S. is a little bit like living in the house of Tony Soprano. You know, or you have a sense, that all the goodies that you’ve gotten have something to do with what the master of the house is doing out there in the world. Yet you don’t want to look too deeply or too far at what that might be, because it might upset everything—not only what you have, all your possessions, but all the assumptions on which you base your life.

BAsics 5:10

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

BAsics 5:11

“Never underestimate the great importance of ideology.”

We have a very negative example of this with the Islamic fundamentalists. The way in which they are proceeding to do what they’re doing has a very powerful ideological component to it.

How do people respond to the conditions that they find themselves in? What course or road do they take, and what do they respond to, in the face of those conditions? This is not predetermined. There is not just one way that people respond, automatically and regardless of influences on them. And even the level on which people sacrifice depends on their ideological orientation to a very significant degree.

BAsics 5:15

 

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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/713/on-the-revcom-orientation-points-on-afghanistan-en.html

From a Reader:

On the Revcom.us Orientation Points on Afghanistan

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ Note: We received the following email at revolution.reports@yahoo.com from a reader, regarding the article “U.S. Pullout from Afghanistan: Three Lessons and Two Basic Points of Orientation,” that was posted August 9.

This article has a good and important orientation. One thing that occurs to me is that the rapid Taliban advance which will probably lead to their victory very soon will sharpen contradictions in the U.S. Taliban victory is a real blow to U.S. interests and especially to its prestige in the world. It also will tend to create new situations of inter-imperialist rivalry. Part of the thinking behind the withdrawal may be to encourage Islamic fundamentalist insurgency targeting China in Xinjiang.

Taliban victory does and will involve a highly visible humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, especially affecting women and girls. This, along with the loss of prestige, is giving the fascist forces in the U.S. a huge opening to go after the bourgeois democrats, especially Biden. This will also likely strengthen fascists within the military.

My initial conclusion is that this moves society more deeply into a revolutionary situation as a defeat for the U.S. empire, but initially in a very bad direction in terms of political polarization (both in the U.S. and internationally).

 

 

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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/713/bob-avakian-on-covid-the-importance-of-getting-people-vaccinated-individualism-en.html

From Bob Avakian:
On COVID, The Importance Of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism

| revcom.us

 

Extreme individualism—the concept that “I have a right to do whatever I want, in line with my sense of my personal freedom”—is a tremendous problem in this society today, among all sections of the people. And one of the worst things about this is that this extreme individualism is actually a point of unity between some Black people, and other oppressed people, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the genocidal racist fascists. What a terrible situation where some Black people and other oppressed people can actually find themselves in the same place as those fascists who regard them as inferior sub-humans and want to deny them basic rights, lock them up permanently, or outright exterminate them!

This has come out sharply around the question of COVID vaccines—in opposition to getting the vaccines. While there is, particularly among Black people, some awful history with medical experiments, and some bad experience, historically and right to today, with medical authorities and medical treatment, it is a fact that the COVID pandemic has, in this country, hit Black people (as well as Latinos and Native Americans) the hardest, and with the heaviest death toll; and it is a fact that the vaccines against COVID have been clearly demonstrated to be safe and to be overwhelmingly successful in preventing serious illness and death from COVID. So, there is no good reason NOT to get these vaccines—and refusing to do so not only puts those refusing at risk of serious illness and possibly death, but also exposes others to the same risks.

And people are not just refusing to get the vaccines because of any legitimate concerns about the safety (or the effectiveness) of the vaccines. Far too many people—especially lunatic anti-scientific fascists but far too many others as well, including among those hardest hit by the COVID pandemic—are refusing to get the vaccines because of a combination of crazy conspiracy theories, other anti-scientific garbage, and rampant individualism. People insist that “it is a matter of personal choice” whether to get the vaccine—and those refusing to get the vaccine argue (often angrily and belligerently) that “it is a matter of my personal freedom.”

This is nonsense—very harmful nonsense! Individual freedom is not absolute—as almost everyone will agree when this is posed to them in terms that do not run up against their individualism. For example, few will argue that someone should have the freedom to drive 100 miles an hour through a school zone when children are crossing the street. And any reasonable person will agree that it is not okay for white supremacists to lynch Black people—or for the police to wantonly murder Black people—simply because they feel like it—because they see it as an expression of their “individual freedom” (and “personal choice”).

Along the same lines, it is worth noting that, in opposition to civil rights laws, people who owned businesses, such as stores and restaurants, and wanted to discriminate by refusing to serve Black people, would very frequently argue that it was a matter of their “freedom” to discriminate in this way (their right to do what they wanted with their business). And we have seen the same kinds of arguments from people who want to discriminate against other oppressed groups. Should that “individual freedom,” to discriminate in that way, be upheld?

It would be impossible to live in any society where “individual freedom” (or “personal choice”) were absolute. The question is: Are expressions of individual freedom, or restrictions on individual freedom, good or bad—do they make for a better, or worse, society?

This is why no woman should ever be forced to bear a child against her will, and it should therefore NOT be legal to deny women the right to abortion. And, on the other hand, it is why it SHOULD be legal to require (mandate) that people get vaccinated against COVID (except those for whom it would actually pose a demonstrable health problem) and mandatory to wear masks in situations where there is a real possibility of contracting, and spreading, COVID.

From Bob Avakian:

VACCINES ARE A DECISIVE MEANS FOR DEALING WITH COVID—THEY ARE NOT A "CONSPIRACY" OR A "PLOT" BY THE GOVERNMENT AND BIG CORPORATIONS
Read more

Important Points of Theory and Method Regarding Freedom and Restrictions on Freedom
Read more


Download / print pamphlet of all three articles (PDF):
8.5 x 11 single pages
8.5 x 5.5 printer spread

 

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/713/bob-avakian-important-points-of-theory-and-method-regarding-freedom-en.html

Also From Bob Avakian:
Important Points of Theory and Method Regarding Freedom and Restrictions on Freedom

| revcom.us

 

The following are helpful in getting a deeper sense of the basic content, and the method and principles, involved in the article On COVID, The Importance Of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism. All are available at revcom.us.

First, the following:

On the basis of a constitution, laws embody and involve both protection and coercion, in regard to members of society and their rights. As I spoke to earlier, in socialist society for example, you can’t go and decide that somebody has something that you want and it’s unfair for them to have it, so you’re just going to arbitrarily take it. There are laws which will prevent that....

So, we have to understand this once again as materialists: As long as you have laws, and as long as you have a constitution setting rules, this is going to involve both the protection of rights and the protection of people in society and, at the same time, coercion in regard to individuals and generally the members of society. This, once again, flows from a materialist understanding—it reflects where we are and where we have not yet gotten. Even when we have made the leap to socialism, it reflects where we are and where we have not yet gotten in terms of the social relations and in fundamental terms the production relations, but also the role of the superstructure in such a socialist society.

The above excerpt is from Constitution, Law, and Rights—in capitalist society and in the future socialist society, Selections from the writings of Bob Avakian including excerpts from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). It is originally from Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon, Part 1). Note also the following from the (same Part 1 of) “Birds and Crocodiles”:

Here we see once more the profound importance of the understanding that freedom does not lie in the absence of necessity and constraint—nor of coercion of one kind or another. Nature coerces us all the time, in case anybody hasn’t noticed. But even social coercion is not something that we’re going to move entirely beyond: the essential question is whether or not that takes place in the form of social antagonism rooted in fundamental relations of exploitation and oppression. But, to put it in general terms, necessity will always confront human beings; there will always be both constraint from nature in the larger sense and social constraint on individuals and on members of society collectively, and there will always be struggle over how to deal with those contradictions. Freedom will always lie not in the evasion or the absolute absence of these things, and of necessity as a general phenomenon but, once again, in the transformation of necessity into freedom through struggle.

And this, from the article Bob Avakian On The Law, Justice, And Ending Oppression And Exploitation, is also very relevant.

The criminal legal process is not—or should not be—a contest between individuals but a confrontation between the state and people whom the state seeks to deprive of freedom on the basis that they have violated societal norms that are embodied in criminal statutes. The whole point of a legal system is, or should be, to remove disputes or perceived wrongs from the sphere of individual grievance—and the corresponding attempts to settle such grievance through individual acts of revenge or reciprocal wrongdoing—by providing a framework in which society, through established institutions and statutes, which are to be applied and work equally in regard to all, can adjudicate such disputes or claims of wrongdoing. (Emphasis—italics—in the original)

For further reading: The Supplementary Excerpts from Bob Avakian, and Further Supplementary Excerpts, which accompany the articles 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—and in particular the excerpts from Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis on individualism—are very relevant and important.

From Bob Avakian:

VACCINES ARE A DECISIVE MEANS FOR DEALING WITH COVID—THEY ARE NOT A "CONSPIRACY" OR A "PLOT" BY THE GOVERNMENT AND BIG CORPORATIONS
Read more

On COVID, The Importance Of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism
Read more


Download / print pamphlet of all three articles (PDF):
8.5x11 single pages
5.5x8.5 printer spread

 

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/713/three-points-on-this-fascist-pandemic-en.html

Three Points on This FASCIST Pandemic

(Adapted from commentary by Sunsara Taylor on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show.)

| revcom.us

 

First, this IS a FASCIST PANDEMIC!

From the second this pandemic was known, that bloated bag of fascist feces, Donald Trump and his whole fanatical fascist movement—in and out of government—have attacked and denied basic science. They held armed rallies and threatened state officials for taking safety measures to mitigate the spread. They pushed lunatic lies that the disease would just disappear on its own. They promoted dangerous drugs and crazy “cures” like drinking bleach or light beams.

They mentally drowned people in disinformation and wild, racist conspiracy theories and unleashed their foot soldiers to not only refuse to wear masks but violently attack people who asked them to.

Then, finally—through the extraordinary efforts of scientists and healthcare workers the world over—we got vaccines that are proven to be safe, proven to save lives, proven to put the brakes on the spread of this pandemic.

But to this day, these fascist lunatics defend refusing to get the vaccine or to wear a mask as a matter of their selfish individualistic “freedom”—no matter who it endangers or kills.

The fascist governors of Texas and Florida, Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis, have even used the power of the state to bar and punish any local government or business or school system from being able to insist on mask-wearing in their own institutions and areas!

And just like everything else about these fascists, all this has white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia woven into and pulsing through it all. It is Black people, Native people, and Latinos; it is immigrants in detention and people in the prisons and those who make up the ranks of the essential workers who fill the grocery stores and meatpacking plants and Amazon warehouses and others who already lived on the desperate edge who have been among the hardest hit by this pandemic. And these fascists KNOW that.

Rand Paul, a sitting Republican Senator, knows that when he tells people to defy any mask mandates, saying, “They can’t arrest us all.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene, that QAnon white supremacist, anti-Semitic, certifiable lunatic who is a sitting Republican Congressperson, knows this when she gets a crowd in Alabama cheering because their state has the lowest vaccination rate in the country and then suggests that people exercise their “Second Amendment rights” against anyone who dares to knock on their door to distribute scientific information on the safety and value of the vaccine.

Yes, this is a FASCIST PANDEMIC. And we should be using this label with everyone—especially those people who think they’re hip or daring by calling it a “scamdemic” or a “plandemic.”

Second, all the spreading of this confusion and madness has been fueled and shaped by—but also is feeding into and intensifying—the rare time we are in when revolution becomes possible.

Bob Avakian, in his piece THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY, notes that a basic reason why this is so is that there is a huge fight among the ruling powers of this country—now between the fascist Republicans and the Democrats—and huge divisions in the country as a whole. But 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.

These divisions run through every single major issue that confronts society and end up making them all significantly more intense: from the pandemic to global warming to the refugee crisis made immeasurably worse by the climate crisis to how to understand, and educate youth about, the history of this country, and beyond.

This leads to what BA described, in his piece, THE DEADLY ILLUSION OF “NORMALCY” AND THE REVOLUTIONARY WAY FORWARD, as “cascading crises,” in which each crisis is subsumed in and amplified by this overall division. And, as the Declaration and Call states:

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.

Third: If you are not getting the vaccine, you need to really ask yourself THIS question:

At a time when it is possible to greatly reduce the damage being done by this pandemic—a pandemic which is disproportionately hitting, and killing, Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans...

Do you really want to be finding yourself in the same camp with these lunatic anti-scientific fascists?

Do you really want to be bedfellows with these genocidal racists—in their crusade against the vaccine and other health measures?

No, get the vaccine and fight for everyone around you to do the same. Utilize the resources at this site and at The RNL Show to learn more and spread the truth.

 

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From Bob Avakian:

On COVID, The Importance of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism

Read more

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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

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

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

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

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/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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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/712/how-the-revolution-would-deal-with-epidemics-en.html

We Need a Whole Different World

How the Revolution Would Deal with Epidemics

| revcom.us

 

After more than a year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, things are actually getting worse all over the world.  All this—despite the heroic work of scientists in putting together a vaccine, despite the knowledge of how to prevent transmission of the virus, despite the tremendous creativity of people once unleashed around a common cause. 

In the U.S., over 600,000 people have died—and there is another surge of cases and deaths with a new variant of the coronavirus, as hospitals fill up once again in some parts of the country. Right now, tens of thousands across the U.S. are hospitalized and hundreds are dying every day. Nearly all these current COVID-19 cases are among people who have not been vaccinated—even as Republican fascists spread dangerous lies against vaccines and mobilize people against wearing life-saving masks, which have fooled and confused millions of people. And while the government claims the economy is “back,” millions now face imminent eviction and hunger.

Billions more, around the world, continue to be ravaged by the pandemic.  The grossly unequal access to live-saving vaccines has made the divide between wealthy imperialist countries and poor oppressed nations even sharper and more deadly. Less than two out of every 100 people in Africa have been vaccinated; in Asia, less than 10 out of 100; in the U.S., more than one out of two had their shots.  In Indonesia over 2,000 people died on COVID-19 on July 27 alone.  Desperately ill patients have no oxygen or even hospital beds, and there is not even burial space for those who have died from the disease. 

The rulers of the world, and of America, fight between themselves, with no real answers—while the masses suffer horribly.

The pandemic would have taken lives—even many lives—in any social system.  But this capitalist-imperialist system is responsible for many unnecessary deaths. 

Yet it does not have to be this way! In a different system—a socialist system on the road to communism—this could be dealt with in a whole different way.  The state power and economic system would be geared to overcoming the chains and scars of capitalist society—the savage inequalities and oppressive relations and ways of thinking ... to meeting the needs of the people in a way that capitalism could not possibly do ... and to unleashing the conscious initiative of the people in order to do all that.

We are organizing now for an actual revolution to get rid of this system—and we are fighting for a whole new kind of state power—the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Here is some of what THAT socialist society would do:

One. The revolutionary power would prepare for disasters like this, not leave society defenseless.

The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, states the following:

Research and other work will be done to anticipate, as much as possible, and to prevent to the greatest degree possible, outbreaks of disease and epidemics, and to detect and treat such outbreaks and epidemics as quickly and effectively as possible where and when they cannot be prevented.

Just compare that to what the current system did. The government knew for years that a virus like this could easily hit. They even did studies that told them what they would need: extra hospital beds for emergencies ... preparing stockpiles of protective equipment like masks and emergency machines like ventilators ... planning ahead how to tide people over in emergency without millions going hungry or worse. But very little of that was done.

Why? Because the system we live under—capitalism-imperialism—is NOT set up to meet people’s needs. This system runs on cutthroat competition between those who own the means of creating wealth, who must create ever more wealth or go under.  So what is profitable ultimately determines what does—and does not—get done.  Planning for emergencies, stockpiling critical supplies, and producing vaccines that may be needed in the future are not that “profitable” in the short term and were increasingly cut back before COVID hit.

Two. The new socialist state would draw on the knowledge of scientists and ordinary people all over the world to defeat the epidemic. To again quote the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America:

In keeping with a scientific approach, as well as an internationalist orientation, research and development, and practical developments, in the field of medicine shall be shared, as fully as possible, with people in this (and related) fields in other parts of the world, and cooperation shall be promoted and effected in detecting, combating and preventing outbreaks of disease and epidemics...

But look at how this system we are under now operates: while scientists have tried to cooperate across borders and without regard to private gain, big pharmaceutical companies control the rights to produce the medicines and use that for profit.  Who can buy them determines where they go.  So wealthy imperialist powers stock up on more than enough vaccines for their own populations ... and give out the bare minimum to billions of people in poor, oppressed areas of the world.

Three: The masses of people will not only be truthfully informed of the whole situation, their intelligence, creativity and spirit of self-sacrifice will be brought to bear. Again, from the future Constitution:

In the treatment of disease, and in other aspects of medicine, the sensibilities, as well as the experience and knowledge, of patients, and of the people broadly, shall be taken into account and drawn on fully as a basic requirement and a basic resource in the practice of medicine and the development and application of medical science.

As part of that people will be trained in the scientific method as a foundational part of their schooling.  The Constitution states that:

The educational system in the New Socialist Republic in North America must enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity....

Scientific and other theories which have been clearly confirmed and validated through the scientific method (such as evolution, which is one of the most soundly confirmed and well established facts in all of science) shall be presented as what they are—true and valid understanding of reality—and shall serve as a foundation from which to proceed in further learning about and changing the world, while at the same time the ongoing application of the scientific method shall be fostered and supported in order to continue learning more about the dynamics of processes such as evolution and the natural-material world in general.

Compare that to the system we live under now, where most people are kept ignorant of science and kept passive and needlessly fearful during a crisis like now, vulnerable to all manner of conspiracy theories.  Think about what could be done if the educational system—including lifelong learning—brought forward people with a real understanding and the tools to learn more and contribute to the process ... think about what could be done with all kinds of people with all kinds of knowledge working on problems together—how to produce the vaccines and distribute them, how to educate people, and all the other things that this system does not and cannot do.

Last, but hardly least—because social production would be geared to meet people’s needs, and not for the profit of this or that capitalist, necessities could be stockpiled in advance and shared in an equitable way when a disaster like this DID strike. Compare that to this system, when millions don’t have the money for rent, or even groceries, and will either go homeless or hungry.  And the New Socialist Republic in North America will not just selfishly hoard all this, but work tirelessly to aid the people of the world.

The world envisioned in this Constitution is possible. But to bring that world into being we need an actual revolution. There is the leadership for that revolution, in Bob Avakian, BA. There is a strategy he has developed which, through hard struggle, can get us there.  And now we are in a rare and special time—one in which a revolution could actually be possible.  As the revcoms have stated:

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.  [A Declaration, A Call To Get Organized Now, For A Real Revolution]

Think about the world that could be possible with revolution, and think about the future we face now without revolution.  Then get with this revolution.

CONSTITUTION For The New Socialist Republic In North America

See also:

No Return to "Normalcy"
COVID at This "Rare Moment" in History, Contributing to and Manifesting This...

Read more

 

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

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

The Ongoing Need for Sustainers

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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.

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/713/iec-spreading-the-international-emergency-appeal-en.html

From the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners

Spreading the International Emergency Appeal – Around the World and on the Airwaves

| revcom.us

 

Editors’ note: We received the following from the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners

August 13, 2021

IEC Emergency Appeal Impacts Nouri Protests in Stockholm, Sweden

From August 11 to 13, the trial of Hamid Nouri began in Stockholm, Sweden.  Nouri was being tried for his role in the massacre of at least 5,000 political prisoners in 1988 when he was an assistant to a prosecutor at Iran’s Gohardasht Prison in Iran.

The trial started just days after the inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  In 1988, Raisi was a member of the “death commission” directing these executions, and this trial is implicitly about his role in those massacres.*

Activists with the Burn the Cage/Free the Birds prisoner support movement in Europe joined the protests in front of the Stockholm courthouse.  They displayed a gigantic enlargement of the Emergency Appeal as published in the current Summer issue of the New York Review of Books.

The Mothers of Khavaran, some of whom are family members of the victims of the 1988 massacre, brought posters of their lost loved ones to display in front of the courthouse.

*For more see, Press Release from the Center for Human Rights in Iran: “Swedish Trial of Iranian Prosecutor Offers Historic Opportunity to Shed Light on Iran’s 1988 Massacre,”August 4, 2021

***

The New York Review of Books ad of Emergency Appeal taken up in Toronto, Canada

On Thursday August 5 (coinciding with Raisi's inauguration), a protest took place in Toronto, Canada against the Islamic Republic’s shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in January 2020.  Supporters of Burn the Cage movement made a large poster with the printout of the Emergency Appeal as published in the current Summer issue of The New York Review of Books.  The poster said “1988 MASSACRE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS ORDERED BY DEATH COMMISSION THAT EBRAHIM RAISI WAS KEY MEMBER OF.  WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN.”


Toronto, Canada

Spread the ad of the International Emergency Appeal

These are examples of what everyone can do in spreading the ad of the Emergency Appeal – taking it into protests and amplifying its impact at the grassroots. Go to www.FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNow.org and click the “Download PDF” tab on the right for a PDF of the New York Review of Books ad.

Email photos and reports of such actions in your area to the Campaign at: FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNow@gmail.com

***

Spreading the International Emergency Campaign on the airwaves

KPFK: New developments in the fight to Free Iran's Political Prisoners

Larry Everest and Mariam Claren on the Michael Slate Show–August 13

Michael Slate · KPFK The Michael Slate Show 8 - 13 - 21

There have been important new developments in the fight to free Iran’s political prisoners – including the publication of a very important Appeal in the New York Review of Books – and in the Iranian people's fight against oppression. So on today’s show host Michael Slate talks with two members of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners about these developments – Mariam Claren (daughter of Nahid Taghavi) and Larry Everest.

Update (8/14/21)

The Burn_the_Cage movement announced on their instagram that on Saturday, August 14, seven defense lawyers and political activists were arrested at the office of the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights in Tehran.  The arrestees included Mostafa Nili, the lawyer for political prisoners Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, Bahareh Soleimani, Somayeh Kargar, and Nazanin Mohammadnejad who were recently sentenced unjustly. https://www.freeiranspoliticalprisonersnow.org/updates 

Also arrested were attorneys Arash Kaykhosravi, Mohammand Reza Faghihi, activist Mariam Farafraz, Leila Heidari; as well as Mehi Mahmoudian, who is a journalist and a member of Etihad Mellat party (People’s Unity Party).  Attorney Mohammand Hadi Esfanian Kaseb was arrested but then released. 

Ominously, not only has no information has been released by the Islamic regime on the reason for the arrests but those arrested “have been moved to unknown locations.”  The Burn_the_Cage instagram said that during the arrests, computers, notebooks, cell phone and other personal items were confiscated. This report was confirmed on the websites of Radio Zamaneh and HRANA in Farsi (Human Rights Activists News Agency). 

These arrests follow a pattern of repression of defense lawyers who heroically stand up for their defendants such as Nasrin Sotoudeh and many others.  https://iranhumanrights.org/2021/06/zilabi-iran-human-rights-lawyers/ 

Stay tuned for further updates from the International Emergency Campaign.  Now is a good time to show everyone the film Nasrin to inform and involve others in this campaign. 

 

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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/713/the-fascists-are-clearly-coming-for-abortion-and-soon-en.html

The Fascists Are Clearly Coming for Abortion, and Soon
So Why Is the Response of "the Movement" to Prepare for When It's Gone?

by Toni Redtree

| revcom.us

 

This fall the Supreme Court has decided to hear a case concerning a Mississippi law restricting abortion after 15 weeks with no exception for rape or incest. This law makes abortion illegal two months before the third trimester, and is in direct contradiction to and a challenge to the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the U.S.1 The Supreme Court now has a majority of Christian fascist appointees, with Trump’s appointments of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joining others like Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts.

For many decades now, reactionary anti-abortion forces, led by Christian fascists, have been passing numerous state anti-abortion laws—with the expectation that legal challenges to such laws would eventually result in a Supreme Court ruling that would either outright overturn or effectively invalidate the right to abortion. Ninety new state restrictions have been enacted in just this year alone. 

In July, 228 members and minority leaders of the fascist GOP including Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and 12 governors issued statements calling on the Supreme Court to outright overturn Roe v. Wade. That means we are now at a tipping point where the most fundamental right of a women to determine her reproductive destiny is on the verge of being reversed.

As it stands, “24 states would likely take action to prohibit abortion outright. Twelve states—including Mississippi—already have ‘trigger’ bans in place that are intended to ban abortion if Roe is overruled."2 That would mean at the outset abortion would be almost immediately illegal in a big chunk of the country—and under siege overall by a fascist movement that sees banning abortion as only the first step to putting women back in their place—with birth control, divorce, and the civil rights of LGBTQ people as next in their amped-up fanatical crosshairs.

Abortion is not murder, and the movement against it is not about concern for babies—it’s about control over women. Forced motherhood is female enslavement, it means denying a woman the right and autonomy to decide and control if and when she will have children.

Yet how is this grave, potentially fatal assault on Roe v. Wade being met by those who claim to stand in the forefront of defending this right?

NOT by mounting or calling for an all-out political revolt of millions in the streets like those that have been seen in Poland and Argentina.

NOT by marshaling our great strength in fully mobilizing the majority of the people who not only support a women’s right to abortion but cannot imagine going back.

NOT by bringing forward artists, clergy, sports figures, intellectuals, on an international scale to stand against this and use their platforms to make clear the huge stakes of the fight.

No, instead of calling for massive resistance now, “reproductive rights” NGOs and activists are preparing for the “long incremental struggle to reverse laws.” They are promoting organizing means to get around the law in “red” states by building transportation networks to the Democratic-controlled states where abortion would still be legal.3 They are organizing mail order nonsurgical abortion (which can only be performed up to 10 weeks) and state laws or Congressional acts to protect the right of abortion.

This losing logic both preemptively concedes the real ability to get abortions for millions of women who can’t afford to travel out of the “red states” AND assumes that you can protect the rights of women in the “blue” (Democratic-controlled) states in the future. It refuses to confront that we are facing a fascist movement with powerful forces at the top of the ruling class institutions of state power that are working relentlessly to seize the ship of state by any means necessary and will not stop at leaving the restriction of abortion to “the states.” The same Republican Party calling for an overturning of Roe v. Wade and the Christian fascists in control of the judiciary have the objective of imposing this as law over all the land, and the statement issued to overturn Roe shows the momentum is on their side. A law has in fact already been passed in Texas to ensure that anyone who aids and abets a woman trying to control her own reproductive life will be persecuted, punished and worse.

History shows that which you will not resist and mobilize to stop now, you will learnor be forcedto accept later.4

A writing team for revcom.us will be covering different critical aspects of this as things develop.

 


1. Roe v. Wade gives wide allowance to states to ban abortion during the third trimester. [back]

2. Center for Reproductive Rights. [back]

3. In “‘Two Americas’: Aid groups prepare for more women needing to cross state lines for abortions,” NBC News, Yamani Hernandez of the National Network of Abortion Funds is quoted as saying how people have been "preparing for a long while for an eventual reality where Roe is decimated, and a lot of that has been trying to scale abortion funds. These groups have already been navigating a difficult year-plus, and if things do not go well with the Supreme Court, a lot more travel and a lot more assistance will be needed. Distances to travel will increase and the amount of people travelling will increase."  [back]

4. This is to those who say we’ll cross that bridge when we’ve come to it. NO!, we’re already at it! [back]


Argentina, 2020: Thousands took to the streets in Buenos Aires for abortion rights. Photo: AP


Poland, 2020: Protesters in Warsaw, October 28. After 14 straight days of protest, the government of Poland has been forced to delay implementation of an abortion ban. (Photo: AP)

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/713/rnl-show-episode-66-en.html

| revcom.us

 

Episode 66 of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show

Afghanistan Ravaged by U.S. Imperialism and the Taliban, The Fascist Pandemic, And THE REVOLUTION WE NEED!

 

Afghanistan has been ravaged for 20 years by U.S. imperialist invasion and occupation. The Taliban's seizure of power opens a new chapter of horror, especially for women. Humanity urgently needs—and the new communism provides—another way! Andy Zee brings scientific clarity to these ground-shifting events, including how they enter into this rare time when revolution becomes possible. Sunsara Taylor returns to the fascist COVID-19 pandemic, with mobs flooding school board meetings to oppose masks and vaccines. She draws from street interviews by the RNL Team and a crucial polemic from Bob Avakian taking on the rampant individualism which has become a point of unity between the fascists and too many Black people and other oppressed people, “woke folk,” and so-called progressives. Finally, a look at how a revolutionary society, guided by the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, would do far better in the face of a pandemic. Watch, spread, and join this revolution!

*******

In this episode:

* AFGHANISTAN! U.S. imperialist horror or Islamic fundamentalist Taliban nightmare are NOT the only choices. Another way IS possible, through a real revolution and the new communism. Andy Zee exposes how Afghanistan was not the “good war” and the U.S. are not the “good guys.” A powerful segment from Bob Avakian challenges you to break with American chauvinism and “free yourself from the GTF!” (Great Tautological Fallacy). Andy points to the need, and basis, to advance the revolution that can free humanity from this nightmare in these rare and tumultuous times.

* THE FASCIST PANDEMIC! Anti-mask, anti-vaccine mobs descend on school board meetings. Sunsara Taylor exposes these shocktroops of the Republican fascists fighting to impose their white supremacist, misogynist, xenophobic, fascist rule. She draws from Bob Avakian's timely and sharp new piece, “On COVID, The Importance Of Getting People Vaccinated, And The Very Real Problem Regarding Rampant Individualism,” to challenge the rampant individualism that has become a point of unity between the fascists and far too many Black people and other oppressed people, “woke folk” and so-called progressives. Plus, street interviews conducted by the RNL Team.

* THE DIFFERENCE REVOLUTIONARY STATE POWER CAN MAKE! We bring alive how the revolutionary society we are fighting for would handle a pandemic with radically different values, methods, goals and results. Yes, we want state power. We are fighting for the new society laid out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian. And you should want to join in fighting for this, too!

 

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