Reader Thoughts Provoked by Bob Avakian’s article “Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the Whole Truth.”

The Whole Truth ... on the U.S. military, the police ... and some lessons



Editors' Note: Below are excerpted correspondence of thoughts provoked by Bob Avakian’s article “Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the Whole Truth.” Along with the following, we encourage people to read the original article here.

Dear Friends,

I’m offering some thoughts after reading Bob Avakian’s article “Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the WHOLE Truth:

This week when newscasts featured scenes of some protesters welcoming and even embracing police officers who either marched with them or took a knee, I could not help but think back to the spectacular uprising in Egypt in the winter of 2011 that started the Arab Spring leading to the downfall of the 40-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. At a certain point military leaders declared that they were “with the protesters.” There was a message that they were “all Egyptians” and “in this together.” People were overjoyed and filled with hope but they were being bamboozled. After all, this was the very same U.S. funded and trained military from which the hated dictator came. The same military that had enforced and protected the oppressive system and the rulers of that system for decades. The mis-direction effectively diverted attention, people were completely unprepared for the betrayal and left to not even understand what happened in the disastrous reactionary takeover of the society by that same military that eventually followed.

The news this week featured scenes of some protesters welcoming police officers into demonstrations against the police murder of George Floyd. Numerous observations by commentators in print and on television expressing appreciation of the images of police chiefs and rank-and-file officers taking a knee in these demonstrations and even some protesters embracing policemen. Also this week James Mattis sharply criticized Trump for calling out the U.S. military against the spreading uprising of the people.... These events have been favorably welcomed as signs of positive change by many progressive forces. It causes me to reflect on what BA says in his piece “Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James and the Whole Truth.”

Towards the end he says,

The reality is that this military is, along with the police, the armed enforcer of all this—all the oppression, exploitation and plunder which is built into this system of capitalism-imperialism, and to which it subjects masses of people in this country and billions all over the world—enforcing this with the most depraved violence and wanton destruction.

and follows that up with:

the U.S. military is—without the slightest exaggeration—a machinery of massive, and unspeakable, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and its actions in Vietnam constitute a systematic concentration of this, with a level of destructiveness and depravity that is almost unfathomable...

And last: there is Bob Avakian’s’ quote on the real nature of the police under this system in BAsics 1:24

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation, into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.

This is true and independent of anyone’s subjective intentions. Many people have a sense of the truth contained here even when they advocate for various reforms like “defunding” or “community control” of the police because they do not understand that the police are—and always have been an institution whose very purpose is to protect those very same things that people are correctly upset and angry about and determined to change.


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.”

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