NO to the New Rome
Revolutionary Worker #1251, August 29, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org
NO to Ashcroft and Abu Ghraib, to pre-emptive wars and Patriot Acts, to "smart bombs," lockdowns and midnight raids, to Rumsfeld's leer and Cheney's sneer and Rice's lying
NO to razor-wire penned-in "protest zones," to FBI knocks on the door,
to infiltration, permit denials, fear campaigns, slanders, threats and massive shows of force . . . all to stop a goddamn
protest in the park.
NO to living in a "new Rome". . .
Or an "old" Germany.
NO to Bush . . . and all he stands for.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
The people now in power talk of fighting "terrorists" abroad, while they rain down terror on
innocent people in Iraq, far surpassing 9/11, and openly claim the right to wage war whenever they feel threatened.
They talk of defending freedom in the U.S., while they lock people away incommunicado, run a fear campaign that is
color-coded in more ways than one, and rip up what people once thought were their constitutional guarantees. They talk
of "good versus evil" and unleash a holy-war spirit among their closest followers. They talk of
"safety," and it becomes a password to fascism.
But this has not gone down easy for them. In their war on Iraq they came up against the interests of their rival
imperialists; they met a global antiwar movement that denied them a mandate going into that war and drew their lies
into the open after it; and now they have run head on into the determined resistance of a whole range of Iraqi people--
angry and disillusioned at a brutal, imperial occupation.
As their convention gathers, they face the fact that millions even in this country are sharply questioning this
whole trajectory, agonizing over how to stop it, and wondering whether a different kind of future might be
Have no illusions. They do not intend to just drop this program; the horse they're riding is not one that you can
easily or gracefully dismount from. They have one way forward through this mess, and that is to further bludgeon their
way abroad with their overwhelming military force and to back that up domestically with an even more pervasive
campaign of intimidation, persecution and political suppression. And they view the next few months as crucial to an
agenda to remake the entire planet and to reshape America as part of that.
There is a collision course between the trajectory launched by the Bush clique and the real interests and deep-
down aspirations of millions of people. This collision course threatens the whole juggernaut they have set into motion,
and it forms the backdrop for what will not be just any old election--if they even hold the election! Dick Cheney has
said that we are in for a generation-long war and he calls for a "new normalcy." Karl Rove has said that he
intends to cement Republican rule for 20 years. The moment crackles with danger. The analogy that haunts the hearts
and leaps to the lips of people--the unavoidable reference point--is Nazi Germany in the early '30s.
But many, many people do not want to go there. Literally millions have resisted this course; now more than
ever, they must be brought into even sharper resistance--resistance on a whole other level of breadth, diversity,
determination, and ferocity. We're going to talk a lot more later in this article about our views on what needs to be done
in that resistance. For now, let's just say that we support this resistance movement mightily, and we want to work with
everyone we can, coming from all different kinds of views, in making this resistance strong enough to withstand, derail
and defeat this juggernaut bearing down on us. As we do this, as we work together, we have in our minds and hearts a
vision of a whole different future--and we want to share that with you.
WE NEED A REVOLUTION
It's like this. Shut your eyes and imagine that you were a space traveler coming upon a relatively small but
very beautiful blue planet. As you flew over it and crossed its many lands you would see a bouquet of peoples in
different colors, speaking different languages and singing different songs, while all sharing a common humanity. You
would see that these people had drawn on their resources and created incredible forces of production, forces which
could easily guarantee a happy and healthy life for all the planet's many peoples.
But then you would look closer and see that a relative handful of these people controlled and consumed vast
mountains of this wealth, while most of the rest desperately struggled just to survive. You would see tiny children
working in squalid factories or hot dusty fields in some parts of the planet, and you would wonder why. You would
watch millions of people travelling the planet's roads and rivers, sometimes hunted by other people, looking for work
or just shelter from the storm. You would learn that the people were divided by gender, and that one dominated the
other--and you would hardly be able to believe the twisted forms this took. You would sorrow as you found out that the
wondrous array of colors and languages had itself been turned into markers for one section of people to lord it over
Then you would examine further and shake your head, struck dumb with shock, as you learned of the horrific
destructive powers built up by this dominating handful to use against the oppressed and, at times, against each other in
desolating spasms of violence, all to defend their plunder. Your tears would fall as you discovered that beautiful forests
and fresh streams and entire species of animals and plants had been decimated and reduced to smoking ruins and foul
sewers, all in pursuit of yet more wealth for the insatiable few.
And the knowledge would taste bitter but clear to you as you came to understand that this same handful had
locked the vast majority of the people out of the realm of working with ideas, that they had refused them all but the
most minimal right to even talk about society, let alone run it, and that in doing so had thwarted their vast potential and
violated their spirits and their very humanity. And finally, after learning all this, you would discover the name of this
planet--and it would be Earth.
Then you would land your craft on this planet and leap from its doors and you would cry out at the very top of
your voice, "Listen! It doesn't have to be this way! Not anymore! There is no reason to let these few tyrants grind
your lives and your dreams and your very planet into dust. You could all share in your planet's great
abundance, you could all share in the tasks of thinking and working and dreaming and creating and determining
the direction of how you want to live. There is no need anymore for these divisions that weigh so unbearably heavy on
you, for the ways in which you exploit each other, for the institutions which enforce all that, and for the destructive and
antiquated habits of thought that this whole thing has engendered in you. For the sake of all your children and their
children and the very future of your planet, cast it off!"
And if you did, you would be talking like a communist. 'Cuz that is our vision.
It's an eminently sane vision, and the only one that is both worthy of our humanity and can save us. But
to reach that vision, we need to do two things. We need to make a revolution to take the power away from the
imperialists that do in fact rule the planet, seizing power from them through the force of tens of millions rising up,
when the time is ripe. And we need to set up a new power and a new kind of power. We need to set up a power
led by the class that, working together, produces the majority of the world's great wealth--that is, the proletariat. A
proletarian power that would also take in and deeply involve the vast majority of groups and classes that are neither
part of the proletariat nor part of the imperialists. We would need to exercise that power not for its own sake, but to get
humanity to that different place--to step by step help the rest of the world get free, and to begin breaking down the
inequalities inherited from millennia of oppression. We need a new power where its whole reason for existence would
be to eliminate the need for any kind of state at all--including itself!
We need a power that would build off the tremendous achievements of the first revolutions the proletariat has
led, in the Soviet Union and China (when those countries were still revolutionary), and that also goes boldly forward
off of them; a society that would take the best from those first steps but also learn from their shortcomings and bring
into being something very new and different. We need a power that brings forth a society full of dissent and diversity
and the struggle to know and change the world--where the vast majority of people would thrive and really want to live--
as the only way to get to our ultimate goal, a society whose outlines can be seen in the vision of Bob Avakian, the
Chairman of our party, the Revolutionary Communist Party.
That's what we're about. And that's how we come at everything, including this huge and historic NO being
delivered in New York City and the still bigger NO that must be manifested between now and election day--as a way to
get closer to the day cherished by that imaginary space traveler who lives deep in our hearts.
RESISTING THE AGENDA. AND RECASTING THE POLARIZATION
Coming from that very place, we say that, right now, resistance--a united resistance of many different
people coming from many different viewpoints--is urgent and crucial. Without it, we won't even be able to debate
about what kind of future we need, let alone get to it.
And here's a tricky question that this resistance faces. The Bush people are formidable enemies. So it might
seem logical at this point to look for other powerful people, powerful people who may seem more humane or even just
more reasonable, to protect us against this scary bunch. And yes it's logical, but it's a seductive and misleading logic
that always comes with a string or three attached. As in, "We gotta get Kerry in office, because these Bush people
are way evil, so chill out on the resistance because it might hurt him with the `swing voters'." As in, "Yeah,
Kerry has to say he's for the war in order to win the election, but when he gets in he'll do the right thing." As in,
"Yeah, the war and repression are really wrong and Kerry has spoken out against them, but if Bush gets in again
we'll be really screwed, so put your energies and money and heart into the election."
People have, unfortunately, tried this logic many times before. And the results, it must be said, have been
uniformly bad. The "more reasonable" section of rulers may have some concerns, but in the end they share
the same class interests and corresponding strategic objectives as the hard-core, and so they ride the thing out . . . until
it runs into too much resistance. Then, and only then, do they fall out. Think Vietnam. Or--again--Nazi Germany.
Right now Kerry may express a few reservations--and these may be more or less real--but he himself insists on
his firm commitment to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and to the new repressive measures like the Patriot Act.
You can see, just from the way he's been campaigning and his whole history, that he is not about to take on the
American holy war theocrats--the Christian fascists--and their continued infestation of the army, courts and schools,
their attempt to take over the culture, and--not the least of it--their relentless campaign against women and gay people.
You can see, from the way Kerry doesn't even mention, let alone protest, the continued outrageous attacks on the
voting rights of Black people in Florida, that he's not going to do anything to reverse the program of impoverishment,
imprisonment and demonization of Black people that has intensified under Bush (but which didn't start with Bush). All
this is because Bush's program--and, right now, Bush's persona and leadership--fit the underlying needs of the system,
of imperialism. This is why Bush and the Republicans always seem to have the initiative, always seem to fight with
such zeal and conviction, and why the Democrats don't.
Right now everyone talks about how the country is polarized between Bush and Kerry. But if the next two
months go down as just a horse race between Big Evil and Lesser Evil, each professing the same program, then
whatever happens on November 2--whether Bush wins, or he just steals the presidency again, or somehow becomes so
much a liability that Kerry gets the nod--it will of necessity be interpreted as a mandate FOR the war and repression
that we have said NO to here this week.
That will have consequences, very bad consequences. It will give the mantle of legitimacy to the U.S. rulers and
it will make it much harder for people in this country to question and resist--"after all," we'll be told,
"you voted for 'em, didn't you?" And it would have worldwide consequences, as well--people from Ankara
to Egypt to London would think that the American people didn't mind pre-emptive war and unlimited aggression done
in their name, so long as it came with a refined Massachusetts accent. They would lose heart, and the precious
dialogue--manifested in massive anti-war protests--that began in the fall of 2002 between the people of the world and
the people here would take a very hard hit.
PEOPLE, WE GOT SOME SHIT TO DO, RIGHT NOW!
We can't let it go down like that. Go ahead and vote for Kerry if you feel you really have to, but put your
efforts toward recasting this polarization. Let's make it a polarization between a growing section of people more
determined to STOP this program of war and repression and a shrinking section of people who support it. Let the whole
world know that, whoever gets into office and however they do it, there is a larger and growing section of people in this
country that intend to RESIST its present course. We can do that, but only if we turn this coming week and then these
next two months into a huge resistance campaign against the Bush program of war and repression.
And that too will have consequences. Remember Lila Lipscomb, in Fahrenheit 9/11? The woman whose
son was killed in Iraq and began to question what was going on? What happens as more Lila Lipscombs come to
question? Or what happens as their sons and daughters in uniform become disgusted at what they're being ordered to
do, whether by a re-installed Bush or a newly elected Kerry? If this agenda seems to win a mandate at the polls, they
would very likely feel hopeless. But how would they look at their options if instead they have heard that there are
millions who have made clear through word and deed that what these soldiers are being ordered to do is
illegitimate, immoral and unjust ? If they have a sense that there is a strong movement of resistance that can hear
their questions and have their backs if they take a stand? They might feel as if they had a different, better option, than
risking life and limb to mow down people in a foreign land. And what would that do to this government's
ability--whoever is in charge--to rain down terror anywhere it so pleases?
Or what happens if there is another "incident" like 9/11--an incident which people like Condi Rice
have been all but promising? What then will happen to the immigrants--immigrants who, to the great shame of
all of us, have since 9/11 been treated as a separate caste in this country? Will they still feel utterly isolated, persecuted
for the crime of being the "wrong" religion, or coming from the "wrong" part of the world? Or
would they draw hope from a huge movement that, beginning now, makes known their plight and pledges to resist it?
Will there be a movement they can look to that declares its intent to uphold the best traditions of the Sanctuary
Movement of the 1980s, or the Underground Railroad of slavery days?
And what about the political opponents of the government, as they face slander, suppression and worse? Will
they hold firm, inspired by huge outpourings of people between now and November 2 who declared their solidarity in
opposition to this government and its lies? Will those who have been persecuted perhaps feel empowered and
emboldened and might they spread the contagion of resistance? And what would that do to this government's
ability to intimidate and repress and run roughshod over people's rights? All that needs to happen--but none of it will, if
our movement rolls over and plays dead so as not to disturb the electoral shell-game now being so loudly
We can't just turn things on after the election. Later may be too late; the time is now. By our acts, by our
relentless political initiative between now and November 2 and beyond, we must build this resistance and change the
entire climate in the country. There's plenty of basis to do this; what is required is that we join together not only to act,
but to make our actions count for what we want to see happen.
No, this will not be easy--you think we don't know that? And yes, this will be a real struggle, a bitter and, at
times, a demanding and even desperate struggle. You will be told that you are messing things up for Kerry, your ideas
and values will be misrepresented by the media, you will be threatened, you may be arrested, and you will no doubt at
times wonder if it's worth it. You will need to stay in touch with the defiant part of yourself that brought you to New
York this week, or to whatever other site of resistance you find yourself at, and you will need to keep talking with other
resisters. To wage this struggle--to build this resistance--is the right thing, and it will continue to be the right thing, and
no seductive logic or nasty slander or ugly threat can change that. This was not a struggle that any of us chose, or
would have chosen--but it is the struggle that events have put before us, and now the people of the world are counting
We communists are all the way down with this. We need this resistance because first it makes a huge life-or-
death difference to the people in the path of this juggernaut. It makes a huge difference as to whether we all are going
to be able to build, or even conceive of, a larger movement. And on the positive tip, there's this: the more that people
resist, the more we open up to new possibilities and to our own potential power. The more we resist, the more we
develop the skills of critical thinking and tight organization. The more we resist, all of us, the more we develop the
ability to debate our differences as part of strengthening our unity against the biggest threat to the planet and its people,
the U.S. imperialists. And as our resistance changes the minds of millions and draws them closer to seeing the need for
radical, fundamental change, all those qualities that we develop as we resist and the new values and morality
that we forge in the course of that struggle will fit us to be able to recast all of society, and to seize power as the first
step in doing that. The more we resist, the more we see the glimmers of a possible new society and the more we foster
the fragile but precious shoots of that society.
This is a time of great heaviness and, paradoxically, a time of great hope.a time for great deeds and, perhaps,
the bringing into being of a great new future. . . if we rise to the occasion.
We need to talk with each other. We need to work together. We need to struggle, for our lives and for the future
of this planet. Get with us. Check out the revolution.
This article is posted in English
and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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