A “Unity of Opposites,” A Matter of Taste
Trump and Biden React—Differently—to the Toppling of the Statues

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Editors’ Note: Following are edited excerpts of commentary by Andy Zee on Episode 15 of the RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!, a weekly show on @therevcoms YouTube channel. The Beautiful Rising of the struggle against police murder and the oppression of Black people has included the toppling of statues and monuments to Confederate generals and leaders, and raised questions about the real history of this country, its foundations in slavery and its continuing legacy of the oppression of Black people. Zee’s commentary below—going into the July 4th weekend—focuses on the differences in approach between the fascist Trump and the Democrat Biden to some of this.

The cultural shift that is tearing down the monuments and ripping the names of so-called “great men” who enforced slavery, segregation, and oppression strikes at crucial formative myths at the core of how people have thought and continue to think about this country—in its foundation in the genocide of the native peoples and the enslavement and continued oppression of Black people. This needs to be the gateway to looking at the whole history, understanding why and how it developed, and then what must be done to end it. To do this—ending all forms of oppression—requires digging up the roots that continue to nourish and compel that oppression to this day. And, that can only be done through overthrowing the system that enforces that oppression. Why that is necessary and how it could be done is something Bob Avakian goes deeply into in the film Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution and is what you will learn about through the RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less! and at the website revcom.us.

Let’s do a bit more tearing into the history and role of America this July 4th. In the struggle around monuments there is a lot to learn about reality. First, I want to recommend an article by Bob Avakian on the website revcom.us, A Beautiful Uprising: Right and Wrong, Methods and Principlesthat provides a way to approach how to evaluate the arc of an individual’s life and history—which applies not only to monuments, but to more.

Here, I want to draw a contrast that reveals something important about the situation we face. This is the sharp contrast between the fascist Trump/Pence regime and the Democrats, led now by Joe Biden.

The fascists and the Democrats are bitterly opposed and represent radically different ways that they each see how this country should be ruled. Yet they share something basic in that they both uphold, defend, and enforce the rule of this system here and its role in the world. Let’s get into this...

First, Donald Trump is an open and outright defender of slave owners and the Confederacy. He threatens serious jail terms and defends the great generals of the South. Trump—that racist to the core pig—tweeted in the last week white supremacists shouting white power at people who were protesting Trump. Later in the week he tweeted video of two white home owners in St. Louis pointing their guns at protesters as they marched by.

Joe Biden—the Democrat who will run for president against Trump—is OK with taking down and putting in museums monuments to those advocates of slavery who committed treason by fighting for the South in the Civil War. But when it comes to the founders of this country... George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, that is too far for Joe Biden, and if he were in power he would use the force of the government to stop that. Earlier this week he said:

there’s an obligation that the government protect those monuments... [Jefferson and Washington] may have had things in their past that were now and then distasteful [“distasteful,” Joe Biden? to who? the slaves, to Black people hounded and lynched by the KKK during the era of Jim Crow, to thousands—thousands—of parents who have lost their children to murder by the police? I think distasteful is insult that adds to their unbearable pain...]

[Biden continues...] Taking down, toppling a Christopher Columbus statue, George Washington’s statue ... I think that is something that the government has an opportunity and a responsibility to protect from happening.

Two quick points, (1) on the reality: Both Jefferson and Washington were not just slave owners, but especially Jefferson viciously fought to expand slavery with the Louisiana Purchase a prime example.

And, (2), you see here in the response of Trump and Biden the difference and what they fundamentally have in common. Trump is, as Chuck D (who will be on the show later) said about Elvis and John Wayne—“straight-up racist, don’t mean nothing to me...” That’s Trump.

But for the Democrats with Biden at their head—for them, even with their real differences, which Biden characterized as “distasteful,” but a mere matter of taste; for them, the line is drawn at protecting and defending those who founded this country and the system that continues to exploit and oppress people here and around the world.

Let’s go a bit deeper: This system that is celebrated on July 4th does not just oppress people here, but around the world.

You will hear on July 4th not only the bellowing and belching of USA #1 from the fascist-in-chief and his very fine people. But you will also hear the leaders of the Democrats complain that with Trump, “WE” are no longer leaders of the Free World...

I am going to play a clip from the film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America: A Better World IS Possible! on the reality of the U.S. as “Leader of the Free World”...this from 2017 (see clip here).

[transcript of the clip] But from childhood we are indoctrinated with the notion that America is a shining light of freedom, and the President of the United States is “the leader of the free world.” Well, when has this been true? Was it true during all the years of slavery? Or during the long years of Jim Crow segregation after the Civil War, when thousands of Black people were lynched while leering mobs of white racists celebrated, and Black people as a whole were subjected to constant terror? Is this a shining light of freedom now, when Black people have to take to the streets demanding “Stop Killing Us!” because the police kill a thousand people every year, many of them unarmed, especially Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans? When millions of women are battered and huge numbers are raped every year in this country, is this a shining light to the world? And what is this “free world”? Does it include the countries where the U.S. has backed and armed military juntas and other oppressive dictatorships, with their bloodthirsty death squads terrorizing the people, over the last 100 years and more, throughout Latin America and many other parts of the world? Does it include today countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey—all “allies” of the U.S. and all ruled by brutally repressive governments? Or what about the Philippines, where the government has carried out the cold-blooded murder of more than 10,000 people within the last year, and the head of state, Duterte, openly boasts of this? Does the “free world” include Israel, a nuclear-armed state that has occupied Palestinian land, in flagrant violation of UN resolutions, for 50 years, and forcibly maintains over a million Palestinian people in Gaza in what amounts to an open-air prison, living barely above survival level, and subject to repeated bombardment by Israeli armed forces, which in 2014, with full support from the U.S. government (headed then by Obama), killed over 2,000 people in Gaza, the overwhelming majority civilians, hundreds of them children? Is all this the “free world” of which the U.S. is the leader? Once you remove the blinders of the Great Tautological Fallacy, it can be seen that the “free world” simply means those parts of the world that are under the domination of, or are “friendly” to, the United States, no matter how monstrous their ruling classes may be, while the “non-free world” is made up of those who remain outside of, and especially those who pose opposition or obstacles to, the domination of the U.S. empire.

The U.S. government wages war in Africa and Asia, as well as the Middle East, claiming it is fighting to defend civilization against the brutal and murderous Islamic fundamentalist jihadists. But the imperialists of the U.S. are certainly no less brutal and murderous, and the “civilization” they boast of is literally built on the blood and bones of people all over the world. And why is this Islamic fundamentalism such a force now? Fundamentally because of the workings of capitalist imperialism itself. Besides the overall role of imperialism in creating more favorable soil for these Islamic fundamentalists, actions of the U.S. imperialists have further fed their growth.

In the 1980s the U.S. actually armed and built up Osama bin Laden and other Islamic fundamentalists to strike at the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

In 2003, in violation of international law, the U.S. invaded Iraq to overthrow the head of government there, Saddam Hussein. This invasion was carried out under the cover of lies that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. This invasion, and the occupation of Iraq by American forces that followed, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, set off bloody conflicts among the Iraqi people and created more fertile ground for Islamic fundamentalist forces.

And the same thing happened in Libya. Under the presidency of Barack Obama, and with the insistent urging of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. intervened in a conflict within Libya on the side of forces opposed to the long-time ruler Muammar Qaddafi. With the fall of Qaddafi—which was brought about mainly as a result of massive bombing of his forces by the U.S. and its allies—the rivalries and conflicts within Libya were intensified, and Islamic fundamentalist forces gained strength. 

Or take the case of Iran. In 1953 the CIA engineered a coup that overthrew a popular government that was moving to nationalize the oil of the country, so that it could be used for the development of its economy, instead of being controlled and plundered by the U.S. and Britain. This coup brought the Shah of Iran to power, and the people of Iran suffered decades of torment and torture at the hands of the Shah and his secret police. And, here again, these actions of the U.S. created more favorable ground for the forces of Islamic fundamentalism, which ultimately seized power through the revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979.

These are only a few examples of the American crimes that have been committed, and the kinds of consequences that have followed from these crimes, in countries all over the world. And all this underlines the crucial importance of casting off the blinders of the Great Tautological Fallacy and breaking with American chauvinism. We need to think about humanity, first and above all.

This July 4th can be an important new step for many who have taken to the streets to look deeply at and act against the enormous injustice and horror brought down on Black people, and people everywhere who are abused and mistreated, whose lives are devalued and snuffed out by the system which the USA sits on top of—a dead weight on the people of the world and the planet itself.

There is a way out of the horror and madness of all this...

Watch the full show.



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