There is a big problem.
Millions of people are looking at the U.S. presidential election as a crucial turning point in world events. And at the same time the workings of this system have worked coldly to stifle their voices and choices.
As Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, says in the online talk Elections: Democracy and Dictatorship, Resistance and Revolution: "Many people want this election to be a referendum about the Bush program and in particular the whole war program, the whole juggernaut of war and repression, this rolling monster that?s unfolding. Well, this election, as [the media and politicians] are telling us, will be a referendum on war, but not in the way we might like and many people who want to vote for Kerry would wish. It is, as they are saying explicitly, going to be a referendum on who could be the best commander in chief , who has the best war program to carry out the so-called war on terror." (audio online at www.bobavakian.net)
We are living through a time when huge historic issues are being decided, where powerful forces are in play, and many possible outcomes could emerge.
And where huge sections of the people sense they have been crudely cut out of events?betrayed by the workings of this election, and by those who control it.
Over these agonizing last months, a suffocating NON-choice has been imposed inside this election process ?at a time when millions have awakened to politics, many for the first time, and decided that here and now they need to influence world events and the future. Millions of people are living through this election season with open eyes, horror and mounting alienation.
This is a time that demands clear thinking and urgent, massive, and creative resistance? based on a strategic understanding of the stakes for the power structure and the people.
This is a time when people need to deliver an unmistakable NO?so that whoever wins the election, it is very clear that there is NO mandate for the whole agenda of war and repression and that the people are serious about defeating this agenda.
And it is a time when there is a tremendous opening and potential impact for connecting people to a fresh and serious vision of profoundly changing the world.
As we go to press, the electoral season is moving towards a decisive juncture, which may bring unexpected dramas and dangers.
The system is now moving to choose its next commander-in-chief.
It is not yet known which of the two main candidates will be picked. It is not even known how the winner will be picked. Still-hidden power-plays and fraud may decide the outcome.
It is clear what the Bush regime is willing to do to stay in power. Millions of people are still furious about the coup-like action of the high court that brought George Bush to power in 2000. And now, four years later, the fraud has already started again?Black voters have faced intimidation and disenfranchisement, including in key "swing states" like Florida. And new electronic vote fraud may be in place for "winning" in places with razor thin margins.
This summer it came out that there had been high-level "contingency planning" for canceling or postponing the elections in case of some major pre-election attack. And then, in mid-September, the FBI announced that "terrorists" were in the U.S. planning a pre-election attack. This whipped up new hysteria within the elections and unleashed new police intimidation of targeted immigrant populations. The Washington Post (Sept. 23) now reports that these FBI warnings were based on bogus information?and yet, somewhere in the grim machinery of state, some other "October Surprise" may be pre- planned to re-select the current president.
Election 2000 saw the Republican Party unleash bullies to intimidate people who were trying to recount the Florida ballots. Not only have the right-wing forces been building up within the circles of power in the U.S., not only have they been cultivating a whole officer corps within the U.S. military and putting their allies in the Supreme Court, but they have also built up a whole religious, fundamentalist Christian movement, which is essentially a Christian fascist movement?a non-thinking segment of the population, inspired in their non-thinking fundamentalism by the president himself.
Election 2004 has already seen the archbishop of Colorado issue a proclamation that it is a "sin" to vote for Kerry because he supports the right to abortion and stem-cell research; we have already seen the evangelical church mobilizing for Bush because they claim it is "God?s will"?while Bush himself claims that he acts on instinct and word from God rather than reality and reason. And it remains to be seen how such Christian fascist forces? inside and outside the military?would respond to a Kerry victory.
We don?t yet know if and how the final hours of this election will be strong-armed. But we do already know how this whole process has already been rigged and manipulated, all along.
Last year, for a few moments, excitement jelled behind Howard Dean, who spoke in angry language about the Bush regime and its Iraq war.
But then Dean was rudely shut down before the Democratic primaries really started, by the Democratic Party establishment and the media. He was labeled unelectable, and everyone was told to support the approved candidate?Senator John Kerry, a man who carefully supported the fascist Patriot Act and granted Bush war powers in Iraq.
Bush defends his brutal and unjustified invasion of Iraq?and his larger war on the world. And John Kerry insists he will lead the conquest of Iraq to final victory, and free up U.S. military power for further moves?aimed at subduing Afghanistan or Iran, or North Korea.
And then, it is part of the modern dynamics of American politics that Republican operatives denounce Kerry as virtually treasonous and "soft on terrorism"?while Kerry puts a raw imperialist spin on the "Pottery Barn" rules: We broke Iraq, and even if that was a mistake, now we own it.
People don?t want to live in a New Roman Empire?that rules and threatens the world, and sets up a tightening Christian fascist state in the "homeland." A clear majority of the Democratic Party base supports quick withdrawal from Iraq. And yet none of this was allowed to be heard in the official election chatter.
And what are people offered: the chance to "hold their nose and vote for Kerry," hoping it "will do some good."
And when you look at all this with open eyes, it is starkly and increasingly clear that the will of the people will not be expressed in this election!
Raising Our Heads At a Historic Moment
Bob Avakian has been working intensely to wrench something different out of this moment?and to raise the sights of us all to the ways and possibilities of doing that.
In Elections: Democracy and Dictatorship, Resistance and Revolution he really dissects the current situation around the election. He breaks down why Bush is doing what he is doing and why Kerry is doing what he is doing?how they are both "auditioning" for who can be the best commander-in-chief to represent the larger interests of the U.S. monopoly imperialist ruling class; and why being confined by the terms and logic of this election is very dangerous for the people.
He brings out the deep strategic global interests of the U.S. power structure?why the Bush agenda has had so much initiative; why it is dangerous to hope that the Democrats can be relied on to oppose this agenda; and why people need to unite very broadly in the kind of resistance that can not only oppose but defeat what he calls the "juggernaut of war and repression."
And urging the listener to "fasten your seat belts," he takes us on a unique ride into a different future.
Chairman Avakian argues forcefully that, despite appearances, this system is outmoded and vulnerable?that its intolerable oppression can be overthrown, and that we can together forge a new society filled with the ferment of change and liberation.
At a time when official and unofficial verdicts have written off the most radical revolution as "impossible and undesirable," Bob Avakian has been creatively re- envisioning the whole communist project.
In the film of an historic talk in 2003? Revolution: Why It?s Necessary, Why It?s Possible, What It?s All About ?Chairman Avakian takes us on a journey from the madness of this society to a future worth living in: from the enforced powerlessness of capitalist democracy, the restless aggression and infuriating racism of U.S. society to a new socialist society ruled by the oppressed?a society that the majority of the people, including the millions of artists and intellectuals, would want to live in, a society in transition to a whole new communist world.
And it is vital to stop and think deeply over this: Because no other leader in this country dares talk about this. And because this vision is not just daring but intensely practical and rooted in a dynamic analysis of the real world.
What would it mean for this revolutionary vision and analysis to connect deeply, now, with the millions of people who are looking hard for a way to oppose Bush and everything he represents?
What would it mean if the DVD of this historic talk, Revolution: Why It?s Necessary, Why It?s Possible, What It?s All About,and the online talk Elections: Democracy and Dictatorship, Resistance and Revolution and other online talks were played and debated wherever people gather to discuss the madness of Bush?s America? What would it mean if artists and scientists, revolutionary youth, and proletarians were wrestling with the questions raised about the intellectual life of society and the path to communism in Avakian?s Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism ?
What would it mean if the leadership and analysis of Chairman Avakian were able to connect to millions of people?including many who will undoubtedly have lots of questions and disagreements with these radical new theses? What would it mean if a whole new dynamic and a whole new conversation got the initiative in society and people were able to lift their heads and breathe some fresh air?instead of being reduced to "holding their noses" and "picking the lesser of two evils"? What would it mean if large new circles of people were able to analyze and change the world using the penetrating scientific method and approach that Bob Avakian teaches and applies?
For decades, everyone has been told "nothing else is possible." Now what would it mean for people to tear that myth apart and explore Chairman Avakian?s re-envisioning of socialist society that upholds the historic achievements of the past, while breaking new ground on how to do away with all oppression and exploitation and have a world that people would really want to live in?a radical new synthesis of how proletarian power would be exercised he calls the "solid core with a lot of elasticity." (See "A World We Would Want to Live In," page 6.)
What would it mean for our struggle today to be connected to the future?like a visionary bridge from the intolerable injustices of capitalism to a classless communist world without oppression?
It would have a profound and multiplying effect on what was possible?both today and from now on?if all this was woven into the very fabric of political and intellectual struggle and debate today.
Chairman Avakian has worked to "chart the uncharted course"?to lay bare a path to revolution, even in a powerful rogue superpower like the USA. And, as those who have seen and heard him speak have discovered, things look very different once you dare to consider the possibility of actually overthrowing the monstrous system that dominates the planet and how the world could be radically different.
In their hateful and repulsive way, men like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld dare to remake the world?to reshape international politics and economics in their interests, to enforce a transformation of the whole Middle East at the point of their guns and missiles.
And the masses too?in our millions?have to dare to think about remaking the world? whether or not one agrees with the whole vision put forward by Chairman Avakian, his challenge to wrest a new and liberated world out of the great flux, oppression, change and crisis that lie ahead needs to be given a serious hearing.
And from this sweeping perspective of what the world could be like and how we could get to a different world, Bob Avakian has powerfully pointed out the importance of uniting all who can be united in resistance NOW: "Once again, the point, clearly, is that whether or not people vote in this election for all those who see the real danger?the very danger that makes them want to vote for Kerry, and to urge others to vote for Kerry, even knowing what Kerry is, and is not?that understanding of the great danger and its immediacy should make people feel compelled to act, and to call on, encourage and help mobilize many others to act, outside of and beyond the elections and the electoral framework?to build now, and in an ongoing way, the most powerful mass opposition and resistance that refuses to be bound by the terms of mainstream politics or by the notions that this politics represents the `ultimate word? on the `will of the people.?" ("Food For Thought While Agonizing Over Bush and Everything He Stands For," RW # 1254)
And what happens if we DON?T do that?
What happens if our discontent is penned into the "regular channels" and deflated by the assumption that "nothing else is possible"?
How much would be wasted if the anger and energy of this moment gets beaten into despair after a Bush victory?
Back in power, Bush would claim popular legitimacy and support for all the madness his crew unleashes next. Can we allow that to happen unopposed and unexposed?
And, on the other side, how much would be lost if the resistance of the people to Bush and everything he stands for becomes dispersed by the collective "sigh of relief" that would likely follow a Kerry victory? What happens if illusions about "buying a little time with Kerry" come crashing down, and the sense of betrayal and powerlessness leaves people paralyzed?
Are the people going to be so locked into the myths of "keeping America safe" that they can be stampeded by suspicious new "incidents"?while power is seized again in illegitimate ways, and while new police powers are imposed in the name of "danger" and "emergency"?
These outcomes would be a disaster for the future and for the people of the world.
There is a genuine fight going on over the future, both open and hidden:
The rulers of the U.S.?these ambitious emperors who dream of a global version of the Roman empire?they intend to stifle and suppress any challenge inside and outside this country. They intend to treat resistance as illegitimate, treasonous, and "pro-terrorist." They are not interested in "listening" to the people. And don?t care what the people (here or anywhere else in the world) want or need.
Let us be clear on what they plan!
Bush and his crew have become the spearhead and symbol for a crusade to impose tighter U.S. domination over the whole world. This is a sweeping operation of war, threats and covert operations that is literally remaking the international order by force. And meanwhile, within the U.S., long-standing legal rights to trial, privacy, and protection from profiling and surveillance are being torn away, and replaced by the raw logic of a growing police state. There is a plan to literally establish permanent rightwing control over the U.S. state?cementing the Supreme Court, the Congress, the Presidency and the military corps for a generation. And it is known that if Bush returns to power, we don?t just face "more of the same"?but instead we face new and dangerous leaps, from a crew that believes no one and nothing must stand in the way of U.S. global domination.
And, through all the twists and turns of an electoral circus, Kerry has made it clear that his presidency would continue the same essential project, even while he differs right now over some of the terms, over the pace and the specific forms with which to implement this program? and some of the extremes to which it should be carried out at this time.
And even if the final selection goes Kerry?s way, huge parts of the power structure sit in the hands of these openly rightwing forces?who will push agressively for Kerry to carry out their program while at the same time tearing him down.
Whatever else happens in this election, the political armies of Christian-fascists and rightwing operatives will not be dispersed by votes, and the power centers that finance and direct them will press ahead in their relentless grab for final and overall power.
They are making an historic grab for the world?taking great risks, unleashing great resources, sending out many thousands of people to kill and die.
Will something else, something powerful and positive, be wrenched out of this moment? Will the people express their will outside the stifling official box of the election?and carry their resistance forward into the whole next period?even under conditions of heightened repression?
Will the people act openly and in mass or be paralyzed if the election is stolen or cancelled by the fascist gang?
The reckless extremism of all this is putting great forces into motion against the current regime. Their lies have come out. Their Abu Ghraib crimes are exposed. The insurgency in Iraq has become more powerful much faster than anyone?certainly in the Pentagon?expected.
In the U.S. and even among the U.S. troops, there is a deep and growing sense that the war in Iraq is not about "protecting our loved ones at home" but about great ambitions, corporate wealth and global power. There is fear, distrust and even hatred of the narrow-minded religious fanatics like Ashcroft and Bush, who actually claim their god approves prison camps and bombing runs?and endorses their bigoted morality.
There is a sense that the future, left in their hands, would be a nightmare.
We are living through the collision of two very different futures?the potential in the overall current situation for two very different extremes?is getting concentrated in this "moment" around the elections and their aftermath. Whatever happens with this election, it will be big. A great deal is at stake for both sides?both the ruling class establishment of the U.S. and for the people (both here and around the world).
When the dust settles?if it does settle!?from this whole election episode, will we be ready for the future?