A Message to Students in Dangerous Times
Revolution #013, August 28, 2005, posted at revcom.us
Right now, as you’re heading back to school, the question is being ever more sharply posed: what kind of future will we end up with?
Who would have imagined coming of age in a country where wars without end are waged on the basis of lies, justified on the basis of fear and patriotism, and continued despite tremendous opposition?
Where immigrants are detained and deported, without access to lawyers or contact with the outside world, solely on the basis of suspicion? And where people taken into custody are held outside the bounds of international law and--yes, openly--tortured?
Where religious fundamentalism is being promoted from the highest offices in government, invading all aspects of public and personal life?
Where the theory of evolution is being undermined, and scientific research that contradicts a literal interpretation of the Bible is being suppressed?
Where those who once defended a woman’s reproductive freedom are openly conciliating with Christian Fascists who view women as submissive incubators?
Where the looting and pillaging of not only the planet, but whole sections of the planet’s people, rages on unabated?
And where all this is presided over by a President who stole his election, who threatens countries and peoples all over the planet, who refuses to listen to contrary opinions, who openly promotes and enforces ignorance in myriad ways, who has instituted a whole series of fascist laws and measures based on scare campaigns, and who smirks and lies his way down this unprecedentedly dangerous course?
Yet this is where we live, in the United States, the sole superpower in the world. It’s on a global rampage that is larger in scale and scope than any empire that has ever preceded it. And with this rampage have come dramatic changes in how the rulers rule at home--from how civil rights are conceived, to the powers of the state, to morals and values and even the very meaning of truth.
This whole dynamic is bad enough, but should the fanatics at the core of this succeed in their full aims--and they are getting closer all the time--this will bring very dangerous consequences indeed. What might happen if some of those now in power are able to turn the U.S. into a theocracy--a religion-based government--and can implement Biblical law and on that basis justify executions for "habitual offenders"--including the over 2 million people now in jail -- or for gay people, or women who have sex outside of marriage? If abortion and birth control--and even divorce -- is outlawed? If faith trumps reason everywhere from the courtroom to the laboratory to the schoolroom?
It doesn’t matter how many times you say, "Oh, we’ll never go there. It’ll never get that bad." Look around you now: how much worse do things need to be before "that bad" seems all too possible? How much further do they need to go with dismantling fundamental rights?
We’re on a fast track to very dark times. And it’s no exaggeration to say that each of us is being confronted with a choice: to be silent, keep our heads down (or in our books), and "go on with life as normal," or to pour all our hearts, souls, and imagination into bringing another future into being.
Look for a minute at the serious attacks coming down on the campus itself. Critical-thinking professors and dissenters have been labeled "seditious" and "treasonous" for simply speaking out or organizing against the U.S. war on Iraq. Well-funded and highly organized reactionary students are trained to act as modern shock troops and brown-shirts, informing on and systematically harassing progressive faculty. And highly connected fascists like David Horowitz and even Karl Rove are right in the middle of this. Where is all this going? What is it leading to?
The campuses have been one of the few remaining sites of critical thinking and dissent left in this country. But now the fascist movement in this country aims to shut that down, to enforce uniformity in thinking and compel consent. We can’t allow that!
Again, where is all this going? And what do we have to do about it?
When you see the real stakes for how the future is shaping up it is clear that this generation has a very real responsibility. At major junctures in history students have played a critical role in advancing society forward and standing against reaction. What happens--or for that matter, what doesn’t happen--on the campuses means a huge amount for what happens in society as a whole.
The future won’t take care of itself. The forces behind this fascist dynamic have been working at it for over 20 years--they have stolen elections and some of them actually believe they rule by divine right! So hoping for a pendulum swing--or for a savior from the Democratic Party--will not deal with a force this relentless. Something radically different is needed.
And something radically different there is. There is now taking shape an exciting and crucial movement that millions can be part of. A movement that aims to break people out of the dangerous dynamic of politics as usual. A movement that has a real shot at actually winning a whole different and far better future. A movement that aims to repudiate the whole reactionary package of the Bush regime, beginning with a huge mobilization on November 2--the first anniversary of Bush’s "re-election."
Check out this vision of November 2 from the call "The World Can’t Wait…Drive Out The Bush Regime":
"People everywhere will walk out of school, they will take off work, they will come to the downtowns and town squares and set out from there, going through the streets and calling on many more to JOIN US. They will repudiate this criminal regime, making a powerful statement: "NO! THIS REGIME DOES NOT REPRESENT US! AND WE WILL DRIVE IT OUT!"
"November 2 must be a massive and public proclamation that WE REFUSE TO BE RULED IN THIS WAY. November 2 must call out to the tens of millions more who are now agonizing and disgusted."
But November 2 is only two months away. To make this giant first step urgently requires your energies. Check out pages 6 and 7 for more information on this--for the movement’s call and for information on an upcoming conference.
Sometimes, when people get involved with this effort, one of their first--and perhaps most important--questions is: "what will replace the Bush Regime after we drive them out? What comes next?"
First off, think about how great it would be to have a groundswell of movement from the people that would actually drive out this insane regime. Think of the horror that would stop, dead in its tracks. Think of what succeeding in that would mean to the people around the world and right here.
And think of the kind of movement that would develop--while people unite to force this hated regime from power, they discuss and debate what needs to replace it, from a host of different perspectives and viewpoints.
As communists we have our own vision and program for "what comes next"--a revolutionary socialist society, playing its part in the world struggle to get to communism--to a society where class exploitation and the institutions and ideas that arise on that basis and back it up are no more, and where people live as freely associating human beings.
We are proud in this issue to introduce many of you to a unique and outstanding revolutionary leader with a truly unique vision of a communist world and the historic revolutionary struggle needed to get there. That leader is Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. He has re-envisioned communism for the 21 st century and his vision as well as his method are exhilarating. We invite and challenge you to read, for example, Bob Avakian’s page 8 centerfold article, "Three Alternative Worlds" (excerpted from his new book Observations On Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy)--and see how many of your preconceptions and stereotypes remain intact. And check out his article on abortion on page 4 and 5, as well as the "toolkit" of books, CDs and an incredible DVD in the centerfold.
To quote that centerfold,
"Bob Avakian is the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a path-breaking Marxist thinker. He follows the truth wherever it goes--and he’s not afraid to put it out there, either. He calls out the powers-that-be with a fire, depth, and humor that is one-of-a-kind. He boldly defends the overwhelmingly positive experience and ideas of communism...and he just as boldly criticizes its shortcomings and points to a whole new vision for the future. He analyzes how a real revolution could be made in a country like this, in a time like today.
"In short, Bob Avakian is bringing something really new onto the scene, and you’ve got to find out what it’s all about."
You hold in your hands the newspaper of the organization which can lead the struggle for revolution. This party has the political and ideological line, the revolutionary communist leadership and plan to bring that new world into being. If you read this paper every week you will learn the truth about every twist and turn in society; you will stay plugged in to the crucial struggles of today; and you will get an understanding of how all that links up to the fight for a whole better world--for communist revolution. And if you distribute this paper--if you spread the "contagion" of truth and revolutionary ideas--you will help lay the groundwork for the crucial days when a chance at revolution may very well develop out of the increasingly sharp conflicts of this system and the struggles it gives rise to.
As kids we were always asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" but no one ever asked, "What kind of world do you want to live in?" and then invited us to fight for it. Well, we’re doing that here, because the world desperately needs you to fight for that different future right now.
Welcome to REVOLUTION newspaper…and welcome to The Revolution. CHOOSE A LIFE THAT MATTERS.