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 day before New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, 30 people gathered to watch the film of a talk by Bob Avakian: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible.
The Bob Avakian Institute sponsored the event, which brought together a diverse group. Students home for the holidays heard about it on Facebook and a number of activists with Refuse Fascism attended. Several people came off of hearing an announcement on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK. In the mix were members of the Revolution Club who had spent time with the talk and wanted to get more deeply into it with others.
After watching the talk and one of the Q&As, a representative of The Bob Avakian Institute asked: Why does BA begin the talk the way he does, where does he go and what do you think?
What followed was a rich and lively discussion on how this fascist regime came to be and the particular history of this country from its founding through to today, saturated with white supremacy, patriarchy and American exceptionalism. People dug into how all of this is rooted in the development of class society and the history of capitalism itself, including the dominance of Western “civilization” throughout the world, how tens of millions of people in this country came to support a fascist regime, and what fascism is and the real danger this poses to humanity and to any effort to get to a better world. We also got quite deeply into some big ideological questions about how we look at our own role in stopping this.
Here are some of the highlights of the wide-ranging discussion:
A woman who opened the discussion said she thought BA began with the exposure of how the U.S. Constitution legalized rape, because you had to have your own thinking challenged about how horrific things couldn’t happen in this country. In this opening, BA explains that while rape wasn’t actually legalized, slavery was and rape was a central part of the functioning of slavery—slave masters systematically raping enslaved women. She said that she had never heard a critique of the U.S .Constitution like this, showing how embedded oppression is in the very founding of this country, and that she was really quite challenged by it. She talked about the concept that BA gets into of The Great Tautological Fallacy (GTF), the circular argument that because America is a force for good in the world, everything it does is by definition good and must be defended. Again, she’d never considered this before and it has really challenged her to look at how this country justifies what it does to the people of the world, but also what it makes possible in terms of a fascist regime.
Two points were raised from the audience about why slavery was an important theme in this talk. One had to do with breaking the disbelief that fascism could not happen in this “democracy,” that there are illusions people have about how the level of repression in fascism is somehow antithetical to the founding principles of this country. But you can see how this is not true when you understand that the roots of America are genocide and slavery. The other point had to do with how the oppression of Black people is woven into the whole fabric of this country to this day. It is crucial to understanding why it is that white supremacy is so core to what is being cohered through the Trump/Pence fascist regime. One person talked about Adam Serwer’s article in the November 20, 2017 issue of Atlantic magazine, “The Nationalist’s Delusion,” which presents this with compelling evidence and really puts to rest that false notion that the 2016 election was mainly an expression of economic distress among the working class.
There was some struggle about this as some people—despite the evidence—kept wanting to chalk it up to white people’s economic distress. Someone marshaled the evidence in BA’s talk to speak to why this was untrue.
People also dug into why BA went back to talk about the development of class society thousands of years ago, and how capitalism developed in Europe, the massive changes that this unleashed with its expansion throughout the world, its rosy dawn dripping in blood, built on the enslavement of millions of people from Africa and the working to death of indigenous people in the gold and silver mines in the new world. A couple people commented on how important that is to understanding the roots of what we are seeing now—about the white Christian supremacy that is woven into the fabric of this country and is finding extreme expression in the current rise of fascism. Someone else brought it back to how this is rooted in the workings of the system of capitalism and why this is so important to understand. A student who had recently read Bob Avakian’s THE NEW COMMUNISM talked about fascism as a response to the needs of this system, the situation that U.S. imperialism is facing today and why American exceptionalism and chauvinism are integral to all of this.
A person very new to BA and this kind of discussion talked candidly about what held him back from going to the recent protests against the Trump/Pence fascist regime. He talked about his personal fear of the violence of the fascists. And then he would hear people he knew talk about what they would do if they were confronted by the fascists and his fear that things could quickly get out of control.
This opened up a whole discussion on how we should understand what we are confronting—how the regime is moving to consolidate fascism in terms of the kinds of changes occurring in every section of government and society; the impact of the Christian fascists, the attacks on the very notion of truth and evidence, and so on; what fascism is and what it would mean for humanity, the great harm it is already doing, but also what it would mean if it was able to make the all-out leap into a society where resistance, as in Germany, was made immeasurably more difficult.
One person talked about how BA spoke to this in one of the Q&As, referring to a second statement from Pastor Martin Niemöller, who is famous for saying in a first statement that he did not speak up as the fascists in Germany came for the communists, then the Jews… because he was not one of them, and when they came for him, there was no one left to speak up. Niemöller spoke later after coming out of the concentration camp that if he and others had spoken out at the beginning, that, yes, there would have been sacrifices, but this could have saved millions from the hell that came after.
This was a deep moment as people reflected on the challenge that the current situation is putting on all of us, and the need to rise to that. Someone else brought in the answer to the Q&A that we did watch all together, where BA talks about how important it is for people to really understand the stakes of what we are facing—and the necessity to act in the streets. This is what will enable people to overcome fear and uncertainty, and to stop putting themselves first—acting in the name of humanity to prevent the consolidation of a fascist America.
A woman from the Revolution Club and one of the main organizers for Refuse Fascism talked about her own education and the impact of the lies told around U.S. history. First, that many people like herself were deprived of an education, having been discouraged to the point of dropping out at a young age, but also the fact that slavery was straight-up justified in what was being taught in her school. She was told that slaves were taken care of by their masters and were happy under their conditions of enslavement. And how people need to understand how these ideas have become acceptable and are being taught as the truth and the consequences of this on the lives of millions of people. Immigrants are called rapists and are being rounded up. This is not something far off in the distant future: these lies are being spread today and this has a dangerous impact in terms of justifying horrors. She argued that the resistance we need is not for later or under some future abstract favorable conditions that won’t exist. She spoke to why this has to be fought now with the goal of bringing millions into the streets to drive out this whole regime.
The discussion was very rich with people continually weighing in and getting deeper into the importance of this talk to understanding what it is we are facing and how this fascist regime will be stopped. People were raising important points to the very end, and many stayed to talk and to connect with the movement that is out to stop all of this.
A number of people wanted to know much more about Bob Avakian, his history and the New Synthesis of Communism he has developed, and purchased books and signed up to learn more about and be involved in future work of The Bob Avakian Institute.