July 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From a Revolution Club member:
Society Splitting—A Coming Civil War
The weeks leading up to the Republican National Convention, where the unapologetic capitalist pig Donald Trump crouched, sights set on the position of commander-in-chief of this empire, were very revealing. The Cleveland police came on TV regularly with messages of intimidation to protestors, boasting about the $50 million they spent on “security” to protect their imperialist leaders and their lackeys. “White nationalist” groups (i.e., self-proclaimed Nazis) as well as other fascists and fundamentalists puffed out with pride, announcing they would attend in force to support open fascism. People continued to righteously protest murder by police, while major figures and media outlets blamed this just activism for so-called “cycles of violence” and the death of police officers. Big news outlets like the New York Times described the current situation as pre-civil war style conditions, saying that the polarization in this country has not been so sharp in decades and that the cohering norms that people have come to expect are being shredded up before their eyes.
In the face of this, different leaders in “the movement” encouraged people not to protest, inadvertently giving Trump an even freer hand to spread his poison unopposed and puffing up his fascist supporters. Through all of this, those who hate everything Trump stands for were consistently encouraged to lay low, cower in the face of this rising Nazi power, work within the processes of this brutal empire, and play the losing game of voting for a Democrat imperialist…or else take on the hopeless mission of “changing the party.” What Bob Avakian has said continues to ring true, and amplified in this moment: “If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are.” (BAsics 3:12)
Unfortunately, too many took the advice of “movement leaders” to heart. The broader organized resistance against Trump was, frankly, weak. Too many stayed home and snidely tweeted about the #RNCcircus without voicing their outrage in the streets. In the meantime, those streets were wild with Nazis and the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church and their signs reading “God Hates Fags.” And the slogan “Blue Lives Matter” (enshrining murderous pigs, a slap in the face to all those who have lost loved ones at the hands of the police) was seen all around.
Huge white men strapped with guns from head to foot stalked the streets, covered in U.S.-military, straight-up Nazi, and other paraphernalia. They announced their supposed supremacy, nationalism, and bloodthirsty desire for domination over Black people, women, and the nations of the world. Purple-faced and veins bulging, hands on their guns, these nasty, vicious, entitled thugs screamed at scattered protestors, upholding Abu Ghraib, upholding drone strikes, upholding police murder, upholding all the torture and destruction this empire has wreaked on humanity. All the while, the American flag flew unchallenged, a fitting banner over this foul and putrid stew… until the Revolution Club arrived.
Bringing Forward Another Way: Projecting Revolution into Every Corner of Society
When the Revolution Club marched as an organized force into the End Poverty rally opposing the RNC in Cleveland, the whole crowd assembled to see and hear: “It’s time! To get organized! For an ACTUAL revolution!” Photo: Special to revcom.us
The Revolution Club volunteers came to Cleveland from Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, California, Michigan, Indiana, and Georgia. We took the message from the RCP Central Committee, “It’s Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution,” into the projects in Cleveland, brought people into the streets of downtown, into the public square, and right into the thick of this fascist shit show with the message: “America was NEVER great, we need to overthrow this system!”
Our message continued: “When exactly was America so great?? Was it great when they murdered indigenous people, stole their land, and sold them blankets infested with smallpox? Was it great when they kidnapped Africans and shipped them in slave chains across the ocean? Was it great when they dropped nuclear weapons on civilians in Hiroshima, and again on Nagasaki, burning off the skin of innocent people, and poisoning entire cities? Was it great when they used napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam, in efforts to crush a whole fight for liberation?!”
This was RE-polarizing. From the projects to the streets downtown, this tapped into great anguish that people have felt about their so-called “options” between criminal leaders of this criminal system. At the same time, it stabbed into the cold hearts of the brainwashed fascist gorillas and their militarized police force, and nearly everywhere we went, they followed us and tried to shut us down.
We moved boldly and wisely, linking people up with revcom.us and the leadership of Bob Avakian, the most radical revolutionary leader and theorist the world has ever seen. In the projects, where police terrorize, threaten, and kill people on the regular, the Revolution Club was there. At the Prophets of Rage concert, a righteous reunion and protest of radical hip-hop and rock artists from Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy (proclaiming: Make America Rage Again!), the Revolution Club was there. At the End Poverty Now rally, one of the few anti-Trump protests that was called by broader groups, the Revolution Club was there, uniting with the resistance, but boldly asserting the real way out of all this madness through actual revolution.
When the gargoyle Giuliani, under the banner of “Make America Safe Again,” stood amongst his racist, homicidal ilk at the convention—praising the racist, homicidal police, and criminalizing Black, Brown, and Native people—the Revolution Club quickly responded, indicting him and setting the record straight: police murder is completely illegitimate. As the powers that be told the nation to “dial back” resistance against police murder, the Revolution Club held a press conference with Carl Dix, Cornel West, and family members of victims of police murder. And the Club led a march of hundreds to demand a STOP police terror, chanting: “Indict! Convict! Send all killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” And also the Revolution Club chant: “What’s the problem? The whole damn system! What’s the solution? Revolution! Who’s the leadership? Bob Avakian! Who are we? Revolution Club!”
Where the Westboro Baptist Church spewed their vile hatred against women, abortion, and LGBT people, the Revolution Club was there, taking them on directly—with real rage but also with science, walking through where that patriarchy comes from, where it leads, and the real way out. Everywhere we went, we fought the power, strained the limits to bring others into this revolution, and denounced the crimes of this system against the people of the world.
Burn That Rag! Flag-Burning in the Middle of Trumpfest for the World to See
Joey Johnson at the RNC, July 20, before burning the US flag
In the face of all this, the Revolution Club publicly announced our intention to burn the flag in downtown Cleveland on July 20. When the time came, the area at 4th and Prospect was crawling with white nationalist groups, Trump supporters, and hoards of police who had come to stop us, but the Revolution Club slipped quietly and anonymously into the scene. In seconds, our BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! shirts were on, and we formed a circle around Gregory “Joey” Johnson, revolutionary communist and infamous flag burner (who won the U.S. Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson), as well as a poster with an image of Bob Avakian. Johnson gave a short and passionate speech about internationalism and what the American flag actually represents. Meanwhile, the gorillas lost their shit and tried to get to him but were held off by the Club standing together, arms linked and holding strong.
Then, that flag went up in flames. Police barreled through, and the Nazis tried to snatch at the revolutionaries. The circle was brutally torn apart, the fire extinguished, and the street was filled with piles of seven or eight pig police on top of each revolutionary. We continued to chant loudly, telling the truth for the world to hear, while at least 100 cameras captured the scene from different angles.
Lunatic forces such as infowars.com—the slimy right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones—had organized to stop us. Other die-hard white-male American supremacists had caught wind of the flag burning and showed up to try to make sure it didn’t happen. Literally hundreds of police were organized and ready to keep that flag from burning. The chief pig of Cleveland held a press conference and, among other things, said that they have been following the Revolution Club ever since we arrived. And guess what? Despite all that? That fucking thing burned.
Acting on the Big Stage, Advancing Internationalist Revolution
We burned the flag because it is dripping in the blood and tears of generations. We burned the flag because it has flown over the plunder, rape, and pillaging of entire peoples. We burned the flag because we are internationalists, the whole world comes first—and we are determined to see this empire not only fall, but to lead millions when the time is right to overthrow it and bring into being a radically better society: a New Socialist Republic in North America, on the way to a world no longer divided between rich and poor, masters and slaves, rulers and ruled.
We burned the flag because with all the lies told by Amerikkka, the biggest lie is that this system is the best we can do, and we are all just supposed to get used to it. Bow down, roll over, and thank the empire for democracy. We burned the flag because today U.S. imperialism is virtually unchallenged by anything other than Islamic fundamentalism, which also represents a horror for the people of the world, not least of which is the half of humanity that is female. We burned the flag because we have taken responsibility to bring forward another way, the REAL solution to a world of oppression and exploitation—revolution and the kind of communism made possible by the new synthesis brought forward by Bob Avakian.
Every major media outlet had to run a story on the flag burning. Instantly, it was everywhere. New York Times, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox News, Associated Press, Al Jazeera, Mother Jones, USA Today, Business Insider, you name it—there it was. And even though some of this coverage repeated police lies, it was clear: There is a communist force in the belly of the beast of imperialist Amerikkka, right in front of Trump’s goons and gangsters, with the strategic confidence and organization to burn their flag in their faces and openly declare intent to overthrow this system at the soonest possible time. Revolution Club members were especially happy to see the story in Al Jazeera, which is not only international press but has a wide readership in the Middle East—one of the places that most desperately and acutely needs this revolution. Our action was showing clearly that there is a third thing out there other than what BA pointed to as “Jihad on one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other.” (from BAsics 1:28)
After 16 members of the Revolution Club were illegally arrested and (finally) arraigned and released for sending that powerful message to the world, they made a proper exit from the RNC, marching and leading others to march straight back into that scene with the message and the leadership for an actual revolution. We closed the RNC out with one last crowd-splitting, re-polarizing round of marching, speeches from Carl Dix, Sunsara Taylor, and Joey Johnson, and agitation from the Revolution Club.
Some Trump supporters tried to sneak up behind us, and others chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” But as the Revolution Club agitated about what that crazed lynch mob really represents, they lost their initiative. The Trump supporters had no real answer to the indictment against them—that they stand for slavery, genocide, and war, and that they laugh off torture and the misery of the billions of people on this planet. Others in the crowd were moved to come up and hold our signs, belt out the chants, and position themselves between members of the Revolution Club and their potential attackers.
Joey Johnson, after release from Cleveland jail, July 21.
Among other things, Joey Johnson declared—for everyone to hear—what his inspiration for burning the flag in 1984, again in 1989, and now in 2016 at the RNC was. And he talked about scientific internationalism, the new synthesis of communism, and the leadership of Bob Avakian.
As we were summing up our time in Cleveland, one of the Revolution Club members, who is Black, said she had spent her whole life since childhood in fear of the exact people we were confronting (armed white supremacists). And she talked about how she found the strength and courage to go right up in their faces with the truth. A male revolutionary told a story from jail: the men who were arrested were in holding, singing songs to keep their spirits up, when all of a sudden, the women came marching in formation, still in cuffs, loudly singing, “Hell you talmbout,” in bold defiance of their arrest! He said, “We thought, damn, that is how you do that.”
Many young revolutionaries expressed how they knew that, without the revolutionary leadership we have in Avakian, the RCP, the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and the Message from the RCP Central Committee, they would be doing something totally different with their lives. Now, they said, they are determined to return to their respective cities on fire, and determined to get more scientific about revolution and communism. We inspired and were inspired by each other, found forte in each other, and left with a renewed energy to dig deeply into the new synthesis and throw ourselves into further advancing the world revolution. We are the revcoms… MIGHTY MIGHTY revcoms, we’re fighting for a new world, and hell bent on winning.