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What’s the Truth About Communism and Capitalism?

What’s the Truth About Communism and Capitalism?

By Dennis Loo (4/10/14)

New material at the end added 4/11/14

Second Addendum added 4/12/14

Third Addendum added 4/14/14

Fourth Addendum added 4/24/14

Last night at Cal Poly Pomona, Raymond Lotta spoke about his just released eBook You Don't Know What You Think You "Know" About . . . The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation: Its History and Our Future.

For those of you who were unable to attend the talk in person, a video is being prepared of the talk and I will notify you as soon as it becomes available.

Lotta’s talk introduced a new generation to a completely different view of communist revolutions and communism than what almost everyone has been previously been told is the truth.

“Everyone knows,” as so many people today in the US would say, “that communism has been a disaster.”

“Everyone knows that ‘human nature’ means that exploitation and ruthless competition shall always exist.”

“Everyone knows that the whole world wants to live like middle-class Americans,” even if that means that four more planet Earths would be needed to handle the gigantic resulting carbon footprint.

As a way to broaden and deepen the conversation and level of engagement in pursuit of what is true, we are starting a comments thread about his talk. Since this website is devoted to the pursuit and propagation of what is true, this topic is especially useful and the stakes, as I said last night, could not be any higher: the very viability of this planet is at stake.

We are interested in any and all sincere sentiments, whether in agreement or disagreement. The way to the truth is through contention and via a spirit of open-minded exploration.

Here are questions you might find useful as prompts. Feel free to respond to them or to approach it from whatever angle you would like. We look forward greatly to the unfolding interactions.

*What did you think of the way that Lotta discussed the failures and injustices of capitalism?

*Did his talk stimulate you to "re-think" what you had previously understood about communism and its history?

*Was there any information that you found especially interesting, that you want to learn more about?

*Were there particular points that you strongly disagreed with? 

*If there was one question you would like to ask Lotta, now that you thought more about the presentation and discussion, what would it be?

Lotta will respond personally to specific questions and comments.

Addenda:

As a point of general orientation to the discussion and debate about these questions: a sure sign that someone is trying to fool you is if they tell you that the answer to any political question is simple. For example, if someone says that “communism is bad” and “capitalism is good,” they are trying to get you to stop thinking.

Similarly, anyone who says that public policy and systems are what they are because of “human nature” has either never studied anthropology or sociology or if they did study them, they did not grasp the fundamental principle that makes both anthropology and sociology sciences. Anthropology and Sociology are, after all, the only two disciplines that are exclusively devoted to studying and understanding human society.

What is this fundamental principle? Societies do not take on their character because of the individual personalities, attitudes, values, and behaviors of individuals within them. Societies are collectivities of individuals and groups that function according to logic and rules that are independent of and stand above that of the individuals within them. System logic overall dictates how people will behave within those systems. That is why they are called systems. To further illustrate this point: throughout some 95% of the approximately 200,000 years that human societies have existed, social classes did not exist. The very word, let alone the idea of, individualism, has existed in the English language for less than two hundred years. It first appeared in 1830 as a pejorative term.

***

The truth is something that is not something you can just hand someone and they can pick up that truth the way you can pick up a tool and forever more that tool will do whatever you need it to do. If someone hands you a sword - I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones so I’m using a sword analogy here - and says to you: “This sword is magnificent and you can slay all of your enemies with it. You don’t even have to learn how to use it nor do you have to practice all of the time and train really hard. You can drink all the beer you want and be as lazy as you want. Just carry the sword around with you and it will do everything for you.” Even if the person giving you this sword was right that it was a magnificent sword, the fact that he’s telling you that you don’t have to train incessantly with it would be a clue that you were being misled. What would happen to you the very first time you were challenged and had to use that magnificent sword if you didn’t train constantly with it?

There wouldn’t be another time for us to even speculate about beyond that first encounter.

So, too, anyone who tells you things like the following is trying to fool you: your vote is what puts you, the people, in charge. You get to do it every four years and in the meantime you can just go back to sleep, as the people you vote for will take care of everything. We’ll wake you up every four years from your political slumber so you can exercise your political powers again. In the meantime, it’s best that you concern yourself with personal consumption and not worry your head about big questions. Lucky you live in America!

The official rhetoric about the nature of “democracy” in America is clearly fraudulent if you probe it and are not satisfied with repeating unthinkingly the familiar nostrums about it being the best of all possible worlds. In order not to be fooled you have to think all the time and analyze things – under any system. Anyone who tells you that you don’t have to do these things is misleading you. Anyone, on the other hand, who informs you that you need to stay alert all of the time, to make a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, emphasizes the importance of paying attention to evidence rather than just listening to authorities and what “everyone knows,” and that there is no “magic bullet” that will forever guarantee that things will be fine, is telling you things that are true and things that you need to know. Life is not like the big red EASY button that Staples advertises.

What follows isn’t going to be simple. Elegance exists in the world but elegance isn’t the same thing as simple. E = MC2 is elegant but it isn’t simple.

Politics is complex. Life in general is complicated so there is no reason why we should expect politics to be straightforward. Politics is not, however, obscure and impossible to grasp, even though it is complex. There are certain principles and there is science and theory that allow us to penetrate beneath the surface phenomena to the essence of things.

In evaluating different political and economic systems the first point to keep always in mind is that all social groupings are systems. All of the individuals within those systems are subject to system logic in that they cannot, even if they want to, simply by dint of their will, change the system. The only way to change a system is to get rid of the system and replace it through conscious collective action expressly aimed at destroying the existing system and installing a different system governed by a very different system logic.

Social psychological studies and the study of human history indisputably prove that humans are first and foremost social beings and that even societies such as capitalism that celebrate individualism and competition actually rest upon a foundation of cooperation without which they could not exist. If workers, for example, whose labor enriches that of the capitalists, behaved as bourgeois ideology claims that they should given “human nature” - as selfish, uncooperative individualists - they could not and would not produce the goods and services that characterize capitalist society. Assembly-line production, for instance, requires a great deal of cooperation to function. Without it as their foundation, assembly lines would fall apart immediately. Likewise, athletic and games competitions require as their sine qua non that people adhere to certain ground rules for those games, otherwise the competitions could not occur. If people did not cooperate first and foremost in order to carry out competition, then no competition on a sustained basis could occur. Those individuals who refused to cooperate by the rules of the competitions would be ejected from the group and forced to live and “play” alone. Fighting within families occurs because family members are strongly bonded to each other and those strong bonds include at times and under fairly common conditions, friction, but that friction occurs upon a foundation of a tacit agreement to stay together in order to continue to argue with each other.

The preceding goes to the first question in the following comments thread about the notion that many people have that the one thing that they can do is live a good life and raise good children. Revolutionary change and revolutionary movements, by comparison, seem to many to be too abstract and difficult. Here is the first problem with that well-meaning but mistaken perspective: it does not take into account the fact that we all are always inextricably connected to forces larger than ourselves as individuals and small groups. We are all parts of larger social and economic systems and those systems operate according to system logic that, as a whole, sets the stage for and the parameters of the dynamics that operate on the micro-scale of individuals and small groups such as families and couples. In other words, even if you are a “good” person, if you are living within an imperialist country like the US, you are participating wittingly or not in a system that is not “good.” Merely by living in this society, one cannot help but participate in systems of exploitation and degradation of others. Buying an iPad, for example, involves us in the system of terrible suffering for Chinese workers in the subcontractor factories that churn out those iPads everyday and that leads so many of them to commit suicide or suffer and die from diseases like cancer caused by working with benzene.

We might be a “good” person and might not do anything evil to those who we come in direct contact with everyday, but we are nonetheless involved in exploitation. This is not something that by refusing to buy products frees us from responsibility since it is impossible not to buy things, including food, clothing, energy, and so on. Buying “fair trade” goods doesn’t really change the system of imperialism. Imperialism is destroying the planet, and I’m not speaking figuratively here, and by modifying our buying habits we are not changing the nature of the overall system. That requires overthrowing imperialism. That is what one has to contribute to doing if you’re going to really be doing something effective and worthwhile. And in that struggle there are many different tasks and ways to contribute, such as doing things through one’s speech, writing, monetary contributions, and actions – through fiction, through art, through music, through letters to the editor, in comments threads and Tweets, etc. - that expose the true nature of imperialism and the nature of capitalist exploitation so that others can be woken up to those realities so that they in turn can wake up others and help to build a revolutionary movement.

More will be posted here, particularly when Lotta has lengthier responses to questions and comments posted in the comments thread, so please check back.

Addendum #2:

How does a socialist revolution avoid becoming at some point a system with a new set of oppressors?

This question has a number of different facets to it and an honest answer to it requires an extensive response. I am going to offer some observations about it myself and I fully expect Lotta to expand further on this in his own way.

Since I believe in trying to give the essence of an answer to a question in as brief a way as possible so that when you get into the details of it in the longer explanation, you can better understand the overall picture, this is what I would say to start with. It’s in two parts and the longer answer to this very important question will follow later on when I can finish composing a fuller response.

First, as long as there are still social classes and various other related forms of inequality such as male supremacy, racial and ethnic privilege, rich nations and poor nations, and so on, there will always be a material basis for capitalist relations of exploitation to emerge. You cannot abolish these differences in one fell swoop. The only way to get rid of this is by progressively “eating” it up through bridging and eventually eliminating these material differences over an extended period of time (i.e., over decades and generations). The gap that now exists between social classes, between mental and manual labor, between town and country, between men and women, etc., forms the material foundation for inequality and exploitation to occur. These differences and forms of exploitation cannot be eliminated or even significantly ameliorated under the current system of capitalism-imperialism because this system can only survive based upon exploitative relations among people and between people and the environment. So this system itself in its material relations and in the ideas that flow from those material relations must be overthrown for humanity to be able to begin fully addressing these core inequalities.

Second, to provide a proper sense of proportion here and underscore the urgency and necessity of the circumstances humanity finds itself in now, it is in fact the case that the planet’s very viability is in grave danger now through the ordinary functioning of capitalism-imperialism and that saving humanity and protecting and rescuing the planet from catastrophe confronts humanity as an emergency here and now in a very literal sense. Capitalism-imperialism is recklessly, heedlessly, and implacably destroying the planet itself because of its very nature as a system based upon the relentless and endless pursuit of profit. Even if it were the case, in other words, for the sake of argument, that one could hypothetically prognosticate with absolute certainty that a successful communist led socialist revolution in the US that overthrew imperialism was to go bad several decades down the road and a new set of exploiters were to emerge to reverse many of the gains accomplished by that revolution, it would still have been absolutely necessary to have had that revolution to prevent the near-term catastrophe of climate change and the literal destruction of the oceans as sources of life and oxygen and so on. The positive consequences in terms of that and the likely hundreds of millions of lives saved because of that revolution would outweigh even the most pessimistic scenario of a subsequent capitalist restoration.

Addendum #3:

This is an excerpt from Reading Notes on Chapter One of Globalization and the Demolition of Society. To see the whole thing, see here. They were written by a team of students in consultation with Dennis Loo.

The most common response of those who recognize the U.S.'s growing inequities and problems is that the solution is to control capitalism through regulation rather than conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong with capitalism as a system. Many people, for example, advocate a return to the New Deal economics of the F.D.R. years in which the government “provided a safety net for those that capitalism had temporarily or permanently cast off by supplying unemployment compensation, social security, welfare and so on.” (p. 31)

In response to that view Loo points out:

All systems have rules and inherent logic. You do not change those systems by putting different individuals in charge of them. Systems do not operate the way that they do primarily because of the nature of the people who occupy them. In the Stanford Prison Experiment, for example, the “guards” and “inmates” were all Stanford students. Yet they one and all readily and quickly adopted roles that eerily mimicked real prisons’ occupants and repressive atmosphere. To stop the Stanford students from behaving like prison guards and prisoners, Philip Zimbardo, the experiment’s lead investigator, brought an early end to the simulated prison. You change system outcomes, in short, by changing the system. (p. 31)

What is this system’s logic?

“Capitalism,” he states, “is a system whose governing logic is the pursuit of profit. Neoliberals and libertarians can speak of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ all they want, but profit as the economic system’s cardinal goal inevitably produces certain outcomes.” (p. 31)

Loo thus puts these issues into the overall framework of a systemic problem, governed by system logic, and not one that can be fixed by simply electing the right people or imposing term limits. This is in line with sociology's and anthropology's premise that social structures and social context determine people's actions more than individuals' personal values, attitudes, and choices. (In sociology this is reflected, for example, in Emile Durkheim's term "social facts" and in American sociologist C. Wright Mills' "sociological imagination.") This is certainly not the argument one generally hears in major media, in most books, or even in much of higher education.

As central as this perspective is to social science, even among many social scientists there is a tendency to be inconsistent about this when social scientists address themselves to public policy questions. Even most of those in the U.S. who express great misgivings about the direction of political and economic policy and who suggest change as a solution to that, tend to do so by seeking solutions within electoral politics.

When you think about it, it is not surprising that most people, wherever they live, will spontaneously tend to suggest reforms of the existing systems rather than revolutionary changes. It's much easier, for one thing, to envision small changes rather than big changes and to believe that small changes are more "realistic." 

Events and conditions in the nation and the world, however, are propelling increasing numbers of people in the direction of seeking deeper answers and grappling with why things are the way that they are. This book is specifically designed to give people the level of understanding that they need in order to act effectively rather than acting based on the conventional and mistaken views about how economics, politics, and social dynamics operate.

Does the advice we get on health care over the mainstream media give us enough scope, depth and detail to allow us to treat ourselves and be our own physicians? Certainly not. Why would political advice dispensed via mainstream media and existing governmental institutions be any better? Is it reasonable to expect that reliance upon the major parties’ campaign pitches and the injunction “just vote” could possibly be all you need to know to change society? The richest 497 individuals in the world have more wealth than the bottom fifty percent of the world’s population. If you had such extreme wealth and power and enjoyed your luxuries more than justice, would you let your possessions be subject to the whims of the principle of “one person, one vote?” Would you let your extraordinary wealth be outvoted? You would be crazy to do so. (Pp. 23-24)

Following this prelude, Loo evaluates neoliberalism's theoretical godfather Frederick Hayek’s reasoning. Loo demonstrates that Hayek's theory’s central premise is fatally flawed because Hayek negates the very notion of society, treating it as a hindrance to liberty rather than the foundation for human life, and because Hayek in a more general sense spurns objective necessity's reality.

In the second part of the chapter, Loo illustrates some of neoliberalism’s devastating impacts upon society and the environment.

Neoliberalism stems from the same tenets advocated by economist Adam Smith (i.e., laissez-faire and the invisible hand). Society is better off, Smith argued, when each individual pursues his or her individual business interests unfettered by any regulatory agency such as government. The theory of neoliberalism introduced by Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek in the 1930s is largely based on Smith’s theory but brings it to another level.

Hayek argued that human rights are commensurate with property rights. He further argued that liberty means that one should be free to act according to his or her will with nobody, e.g., the government or other people, getting in his or her way. If only those who own “property rights” are entitled to “human rights,” however, then obviously not everybody is entitled to the right of liberty. Only those who have capital can be free; the others will be restricted in their ability to follow the course of action they strive for by their restrictive material conditions.

Loo also points out that Hayek’s logic is flawed at another level. Hayekian logic is based on the premise that all that matters in life is what one wants, regardless of whether or not it reflects objective reality or violates the community's interests and needs and the common good. Objective reality, however, is something that one cannot simply dismiss. Objective reality compels us to distinguish between what is true and false. We are surrounded by examples that reflect the fact that human beings make decisions, not solely on the basis of our own desires, but also on the basis of objective reality. Loo writes:

If objective reality does in fact exist, and if science, medicine, navigation, exploration, and technology all rely upon objective reality’s existence to work (a fact evident to anyone using a car or airplane, for instance), then the ongoing effect to determine at any given time in society what the best ideas are … it not merely an idle intellectual exercise but one with powerful material consequences. … If what matters more than anything, on the other hand, is that individuals should have the right to pursue their ideas and plans based on their “own” ideas, then the question of what is true and its impact on the whole of society becomes moot. (Pp. 35-36.)

Objective reality must be considered before one can attempt to fulfill one’s desires, Loo argues. Necessity is one component of objective reality that must be taken into account. For instance, wishing that gravity did not exist so one could fly is not a sufficient condition for one to be able to fly. Similarly, the fact that one needs water and food to survive is not a sufficient condition for one to be able to drink and eat, for the water and the food must be available. Based upon first recognizing necessity and objective reality, humans have been able to create more freedom such as the ability to fly, but only because humans recognized that gravity exists, studied animals and insects that do fly, and developed the science and technical innovations that made human flight possible.

Another component of objective reality is that we are also social beings. Loo illustrates this as follows:

Individuals … can only exist because of groups .… We become human through this socialization process and we become individuals. Becoming human isn’t something that happens by our simply being alive. We do not become humans solely or principally because of our DNA. We become human through our interaction with other humans. (p. 36)

If we look at the course of history, Loo argues, it is obvious that individuals often have to bypass their individual desires and adapt to the group desires/needs in order to survive. If individuals had not learned to pool their efforts towards the group's needs, our species would not have survived, and all the amazing scientific achievements that we take for granted would have never occurred. This further illustrates the fact that, contrary to what Hayek argues, necessities are rarely created by individuals’ desires alone, but rather by necessities inherent in the fact that individuals are social human beings and the fact that we live in a world that is not the Garden of Eden but one in which objective laws, objective realities, and necessities exist.

The interaction between the individual and the group is “organic,” Loo argues. It is comparable to the interaction between a tree and its leaves: the tree needs leaves to remain alive, and the leaves need to remain attached to the tree in order to survive. Likewise, the individual and the group need one another to survive and function as a society. Even the most successful individuals within our society utilize and need the group to some degree. For instance, a leader (a legitimate leader) is appointed by a group of people to represent the group’s interests. A leader can have tremendous power, but his/her power is only as good as long as the group is satisfied with how s/he represents the group’s interests. The leader is not free to act solely upon his/her own personal desires because s/he is accountable for the group, and his/her legitimacy is based upon him/her fulfilling the role of leader. The group needs its leaders just as much as itself, Loo argues, for it “needs its leaders to protect, sustain, and retain them. Without leaders a group cannot organize itself and it cannot act” (p. 39)

As long as there will be (and must be) social groups, Loo asserts, the individual and the group will remain part of the same dynamic/dialectic, and so will freedom and coercion:

"It is impossible, for one thing, to have unanimity, and where there is disagreement, some people’s opinions and preferences must perforce be subordinated to the opinion that holds the day, if people are to remain in groups at all." (p. 41)

If one accepts this premise as true, then one can no longer presume, as Hayek does, that the group has no influence on an individual’s action, and that the individual is entirely free to act according to his or her own desires. Yet, many act as if this premise does not hold true. Neoliberals are among those people. Thatcher and Reagan were the first major national leaders to implement neoliberalism for they were both fervent Hayekians. (Chile's fascist leader Gen. August Pinochet was the first to implement neoliberal policies after his CIA-backed coup over the first elected socialist, Dr. Salvador Allende on 9/11/73). 

As Loo points out, both Republicans and Democrats have embraced neoliberalism since the 1980s and this has been the trend internationally.

Neoliberalism’s advocates re-define government's role as that of supporting market policies at all costs. Loo summarizes the role of government under the rule of neoliberals as follows:

According to neoliberalism’s proponents, government’s role … isn’t to support and safeguard people, unless, of course, you are already one of the elect, in which case government’s role is to protect you at all costs. It is a free market for everyone except those who are already monopolists. For the monopolists, government’s role is to facilitate and protect your privileges rather than to regulate or curb your power, all the while invoking the name of the free market.” (Pp. 47, 48) … Since the 1980s, governments in the advanced capitalist centers have obliged the interests of globalization, vigorously carrying out successive waves of deregulation and privatization, shredding the social safety net, and opening the floodgates to merger mania. (p. 50)Those who most benefit from neoliberal policies are the “super wealthy,” aka the elite or 1%.

This should not come as a surprise, Loo points out, considering the fact the political candidates and the political arena depend heavily upon society's elite members' funding and that the very existence of government itself indicates that class divisions and class conflict exist. Loo further notes that neoliberal economic policies have widened the disparity between the rich and the poor to unprecedented levels. According to Loo, globalization, which is neoliberalism' political expression, is the main culprit. It compels workers (from the working and middle classes) to work harder for less, while bestowing the elite with an ever increasing amount of wealth and power.

Loo further adds that the level of insecurity and coercion has reached unprecedented levels in the U.S., but also around the world. Loo argues that coercion, or what Max Weber refers to as the “means of legitimate violence,” must be utilized more heavily and widely by neoliberals because neoliberal policies are systematically undercutting the people's living conditions and political rights. Force must, therefore, be used to contain the resistance and suppress uprisings.

In contrast to neoliberal rhetoric that claims that it promotes prosperity for all, neoliberal policies are driven by the logic of dispossessing wider and wider swaths of the people and therefore promote growing insecurity by their very nature and intention.

Globalization and neoliberalism’s mantra is to privatize that which has been public; outsource that which has been in-house and in-nation; deregulate so that the “free market” may be unfettered; ceaselessly downsize the workforce, cutting payroll and reducing benefits, making job security and a secure, guaranteed retirement things of the past. Not surprisingly, the inevitable outcome of these measures means that insecurity—the more, the better—is the ineluctable, inevitable, desired outcome. From the standpoint of corporations, the more perilous the jobs and the economic status of the labor force overall the better, since this will compel employees to accept less in return for working ever harder and longer. (Pp. 52-53)

This is also the institutional and organizational level foundation for the "war on terror." In other words, neoliberalism's intensification of insecurity in the domestic arena is directly related to its actually stoking the danger of anti-state terrorist attacks. Loo points out, for example, that several Republican public officials (such as former Senator Rick Santorum) have publicly welcomed the idea of another devastating terrrorist attack on the U.S. because it would reaffirm the value of the Patriot Act and other measures instituted in the name of the "war on terror." Neoliberalism is the greatest source of instability in the world. This is a theme that the book develops even further in Chapters Three and Four.

Loo notes that with the rise of neoliberalism, the funding of programs that support coercion and social control have taken precedence over the funding of social and public safety programs, not fundamentally as a choice but out of necessity given the nature of neoliberalism's undercutting of the basis for the public's willing co-operation. The level of funding for the criminal justice system in comparison to the level of funding for the educational system over the past decades is a prime example of that. The grievous mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina, both before the disaster and in its aftermath, also illustrates this point, as do many other examples he lays out in the book, including the numerous wars the U.S. has launched and continues.

Since the basis for people to cooperate, to behave normatively (for example, to abide by the law) is constantly and deliberately undermined under neoliberal regimes, and since, for the most dispossessed, even less of what was available to them in welfare states with Keynesian economic policies is now offered, governments must increasingly rely upon coercive means with spending on “security” (law enforcement, military, immigration control, prisons, surveillance and so on) rising inexorably. This point bears underscoring: more repression and more coercive means of social control are not principally a policy choice in the sense that people might think of the GOP favoring more coercion and the Democrats less. The overall direction of neoliberal regimes dictates that more coercion will be required, regardless of the party in power and the individuals in office. (Pp. 53-54)

In a passage that reads as if it's a description of how the Occupy Movement got underway (but was written before Occupy appeared), Loo describes the effects of neoliberal policies on the various strata:

The net results under neoliberalism are extraordinary increases in wealth for the upper class, a shrinking middle class, and swelling ranks of the working class (who in turn find it harder and harder to find work) and of the indigent. As outsourcing of work continues apace, and in recent years as even intellectual and white-collar labor is now being exported to places like India, reversing the long-standing brain drain to the US from elsewhere (notice where people live who are giving you most of your technical support now days), the middle class finds itself under siege in ways unprecedented in US history.

Social order in neoliberal regimes becomes more precarious because the guarantee or at least reasonable assurance of work at livable wages for people becomes more and more elusive since those jobs are increasingly disappearing. Persuasion based on actual rewards for going along consequently becomes less and less of a practical tool. Neoliberalism and globalization dictate that positive incentives will be systematically whittled away to make the workforce more adaptable and more “flexible." (Pp. 63-64)

Fourth Addendum

Raymond Lotta writes:

A number of students asked if Cuba is a socialist society. It is not socialist, and here is why.

Background

Between 1898 and 1959, Cuba had been under the thumb of U.S. imperialism. Its economy was geared to sugar production for export. U.S. companies and banks dominated key economic sectors. Cuba was a “playground for the rich.”

In 1959, Fidel Castro led a mass and just revolutionary uprising that overthrew a terribly oppressive regime propped up by the U.S. But Castro was not guided by the communist vision and scientific outlook of overcoming the division of society and the world into classes and mobilizing and unleashing the masses to make a “total revolution”: in economics, politics, social relations, culture, ideas, and values.

Economically

Cuba needed to diversify the economy and create the foundations for a sustainable economy that could achieve food security. Instead, the Castro government simply instituted state ownership of sugar production and turned to the Soviet Union (which was no longer socialist) to buy the sugar crop.

So sugar remained the anchor of the economy. This perpetuated Cuba’s dependency on the imperialist world economy. It perpetuated Cuba’s distorted economic-social structure. Most importantly, it meant that the energy and creativity of the masses of people—workers, agricultural laborers, professionals, and others—were subordinated to the capitalist logic of sugar and more sugar production.

Socially

The Castro leadership did not unfold a profound social revolution. For instance, equal rights and opportunities for women were legally recognized. But oppressive social-ideological relations--like the whole macho outlook, beauty ideals, and women’s role in the family were not radically challenged. Today, prostitution is spreading--catering to tourism that the Cuban leadership is promoting as a “quick fix” for the economy

After 1959, there were great improvements in education and health care for the Cuban people. But this is a top-down “welfare state” where the masses are kept powerless and passive. This is not genuine socialism.

Political life

In Cuba, political life is extremely constricted, the government keeps tight control on things, and dissent is treated harshly.

*A genuine socialist society moving towards communism would be opening up and drawing people into great debate over the big questions of society and the world. It is a society where revolutionary leadership is mobilizing the masses to carry forward the radical transformation of society and their own thinking, and to take increasing responsibility for the direction of society. This is what happened during the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966-76.

*A genuine socialist society would welcome and foster dissent, even views and platforms opposing socialism. Dissent contributes to the struggle to discover deeper truths about society and the world—and to the critical spirit. This understanding is a vital element of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, learning from the shortcomings and problems of the Soviet and Chinese socialist revolutions.

To learn more about why countries like Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea are not socialist and what genuine socialism is, people should look at “Three Alternative Worlds” by Bob Avakian: www.revcom.us/a/071/ba-threeworlds-en.html.

One last point: the U.S. embargo on Cuba and its attempts to weaken or overthrow the Cuban government are totally unjust and must be resolutely opposed.

Comments   

 
0 # jnandez 2014-04-11 00:23
After presenting this new and truthful idea of communism to my peers, there was an important issue raised that I feel should be discussed. This revolutionary movement is something to be taken seriously, yet so many people choose to disinterest themselves from it. They feel that they can help society, and more specifically their local community, in a more practical and efficient way by being good citizens and raising their children to be good people. Some say that a huge revolutionary movement is such an abstract idea that it's unlikely to even happen, so they would rather do as much "good" in their smaller communities. What can be said to defend the communist movement and revolution in this way?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 01:33
Quoting jnandez:
Some say that a huge revolutionary movement is such an abstract idea that it's unlikely to even happen, so they would rather do as much "good" in their smaller communities. What can be said to defend the communist movement and revolution in this way?

A really good question & one that comes up a lot. To start off: the essence of the answer I think has to revolve around the fact that the macro-problems that humanity confronts (e.g., capitalism-impe rialism literally destroying the planet; wars of plunder...) can literally not be solved on the local level because they originate on the macro level of governments and corporations. To solve them, which is both a theoretical AND a concrete problem, CAN be done and MUST be done (or else the planet is a goner.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 01:37
(cont.) People can act on a local level but they need to understand that their actions are globally significant, if they frame their actions and understanding of what they're doing as global in character rather than something that could be resolved on a micro-level. An ex. of this is the matter of relations btw males and females. Do these originate on a micro-level?
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-1 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 20:16
Your questions deserve a longer answer than can fit into a comments box so look for that as addenda to the article itself above. Raymond will weigh in when he gets a chance to read this after returning from his travels. I will also respond further to your questions in addenda.
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-04-20 18:07
I think saying that a revolution cannot happen because it is an "abstract idea" is ludicrous. This made me think of Bloom's Taxonomy and his last stage: Evaluation. If you never reach this stage as an intellect then you cannot develop the higher-level cognitive skills needed to meta-analyze something. The problem with people who do not think that a revolution is too big to happen are the people who have not reached this level of Bloom's Taxonomy and only follow the beliefs and assumptions of others.
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0 # jnandez 2014-04-11 00:42
America's democracy and capitalism has failed it's inhabitants and the world as a whole. It has failed the common hard worker who slaves away all day in effort to give his family a better life than his. These days, hard work is not rewarded, but class and status are. I think it is important to highlight how this revolutionary movement will destroy the current oppressive infrastructure to replace it with one that values and justly rewards those working for it. It will create a new infrastructure where ALL of those within work for each other and the betterment of society. I am very interested to know more about the details of how a new infrastructure can exactly do what we have been so longly deprived of, true emancipation.
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0 # LA305302 2014-04-11 02:48
I was very happy with all the knowledge I learned. I have a friend that I have known for about 17 years from columbia. Much of her family from Columbia are politicians, and very much into socialism/commu nism. I never felt like I can get into conversations about her beliefs because even though I i did not understand much of it, the educational system has taught me to think bad about it. My question would be this, From a society like the united states that racism is so embedded within our history and society, what would be the first steps to address that so the morality of everyone within matches up, in order to successfully start a socialist movement? If everyone has the same goal towards socialism, will it be easier to deal with inequalities? How I currently view the world I would say is more influenced by Durkheims beliefs. I believe we are made to compete and have some kind of division, but I would love to learn more about how we can successfully function with less inequality
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 20:24
Quoting LA305302:
I was very happy with all the knowledge I learned... My question would be this, From a society like the united states that racism is so embedded within our history and society, what would be the first steps to address that so the morality of everyone within matches up, in order to successfully start a socialist movement? If everyone has the same goal towards socialism, will it be easier to deal with inequalities?

Because values and beliefs vary within any group of people and because specifically around the problem of racism, the key lies in finding the ways to best unleash those who are the most ardent and engaged around those questions to themselves play the leading role in criticizing what needs to be criticized and raising consciousness about the problem. For ex those w/ racist ideas will need to be struggled w/ to see what's wrong with their racist ideas - cont.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 20:31
Rather than relying solely or mainly on administrative dicta from above to deal with social problems such as racism, major reliance will be placed on encouraging and supporting the efforts of those on the grassroots to organize themselves and find creative ways to cope with the various expressions of racism. Racism won't go away by treating it as a matter of etiquette, the way that PC approaches go about it, but only if peo's real views are aired and then discussed in an open session in which truth and fairness are the goal. To build a mov't around this - or anything else - is something that is a process and not one that can only be done if you get 100% alignment of everyone first.
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+1 # vices 2014-04-11 04:06
As I recall, Lotta brought up the point that all of our products come from the hard labor of those in other countries. These laborers are paid close to nothing in order for the corporations in the US to gain profit. The citizens in the US take for granted every necessity because they never had to deal with the struggles that people in other countries deal with daily. US citizens may feel bad about the kids they see starving in other countries, but they do nothing to help with that problem. They are not strongly motivated to do anything about the countries in need because they feel that it does not affect them directly. It is hard for US citizens to relate to issues that they never faced in their lives. Due to this fact, I feel that it would be hard for the majority of US citizens to want to change the system because they lack care and consideration for the people struggling in other countries.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 20:36
Quoting vices:
it would be hard for the majority of US citizens to want to change the system because they lack care and consideration for the people struggling in other countries.

What you're pointing to is certainly part of the challenge and struggle would have to go on with peo over narrow national chauvinist views, relying as the solid core of those who are leading the fight against such views those here who are not nat'l chauvinist in their perspective to help to raise consciousness and train people to see things in terms of humanity as a whole first and not their own personal interests as paramount. Part of that struggle would involve raising peo's sights and connecting up the real contradictions that are in peo's lives to the various ways that the sys exploits and plunders the planet and people. Distorting peo's lives occurs in all kinds of ways - e.g., for males the idea that they have to be aggressive and macho & think of themselves as better than females.
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0 # vices 2014-04-12 18:07
I feel that money is the center of the chauvinist views, in which whoever has the most money/resources is superior. Money is power, so the elites in society who have the most power (capitalist) do everything they can to keep money/resources as the most important key factor. They do this by promoting capitalism and making it seem very intriguing to the US citizens. Capitalism is very seductive because it appeals to the greed of people. Referencing your sword example, it is like capitalist keep everyone happy by giving them low prices on products so when it comes time to vote or change policies, the people are all for capitalist views, as long as they keep getting those low prices on products. This is because the low prices make it seem like capitalism is on their side, so they do not take the time to think on their own about policies, inevitably making them unprepared to vote when it comes time to do so. They have succeeded in getting everyone to stop thinking.
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0 # Luvlife 2014-04-14 04:44
In learning more about communism I have made a few changes like not shopping at Wal-Mart. I have a difficult time thinking that people will understand that in order to make a change people need to stay away from the "low prices" in an attempt to bring down corporations. I think that if we had a little more understanding in what we can do and how we can influence not only our small communities, we can start preparing for the change that needs to be done.
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0 # MayDay 2014-04-14 00:28
I agree with you and I mentioned an idea like this in a comment earlier, but I would like to know what exactly can we do to "train people to see things in terms of humanity as a whole first and not their own personal interests as paramount"? I feel like there is only so much that can be verbally said to sway peoples' values. Americans are such an individualistic society that if it does not affect the person directly, they won't care. Selfish behavior has been woven into our character even if we feel like we are not selfish; we do things that enhance our perception of what is ideal to be happy or socially acceptable. It is complicated to change the whole system so how do we stress the importance of a social revolution? Especially if America is one of the most dominant countries in the world, our general population do not care enough unless it is directly applicable to their daily lives. With that said, even if it is directly applicable, our values are so skewed that even if we are...
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 23:20
Quoting MayDay:
what exactly can we do to "train people to see things in terms of humanity as a whole first and not their own personal interests as paramount"? I feel like there is only so much that can be verbally said to sway peoples' values. Americans are such an individualistic society that if it does not affect the person directly, they won't care.

As with anything else, peo need to be socialized and trained because even being human isn't something that comes automatically with human DNA. You have to be taught how to be human. In gen'l it comes down to 2 major elements. First, changing norms is something that happens among those who are leaders such as those in your peer group who are the most admired and peo follow and model themselves after. Second, the bankruptcy and extremely destructive nature of the existing system needs to be revealed to peo who are being told lies constantly, misled and distracted from reality.
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+1 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 23:25
Further, the view that Americans (or humans in gen'l) are such damn selfish beings is wrong. It's what the peo and the system they personify tries to make us believe but no society could function if peo in it were all or mostly selfish. Society itself demands and can only exist if peo mostly cooperate. This is a fundamental tenet of the two social sciences that actually study human society: sociology and anthropology. This isn't to say that capitalism doesn't promote selfish behavior, b/c it does, but that promotion is not successful and could not be successful in making everyone that way. Even the most selfish individuals such as a greedy monarch has to co-operate and go along with his/her advisers much of the time or else they'd be poisoned to death by someone around them. Take heed Joffrey Lannisters of the world! LOL.
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0 # MayDay 2014-04-14 00:45
CONT from prev...content with what we have, in terms of material items, or we feel like we can change our social status, people would rather try to change status than to touch the seemingly untouchable government because it's thought to be easier. I think that people have to be drastically discontent in their personal lives and are educated enough to know that the government is behind our discontentment to even make a dent in our social infrastructure and that is the hard part. How do we as college students help others understand that we are oppressed and should take initiative to change if we as college students are "in the system(educatio n)", believing that this education and degree will bring us more financial stability? Generally, financial stability is what motivates people to go to college and I believe that the educational institution itself is hindering our awareness of reformation possibilities. Speaking is not enough, how are we able to be so discontent we want to change it?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-15 04:34
Quoting MayDay:
people would rather try to change status than to touch the seemingly untouchable government... people have to be drastically discontent in their personal lives
This gov't that you and many others think is untouchable is not in fact untouchable. If it were so untouchable then pols would not be telling us the specific lies they're telling us. The fact that they have to lie is a sign that speaks volumes if you know how to interpret it. They'd tell us that "might makes right" and dare us to do anything about it if they were in fact untouchable. It indicates that they rely a great deal upon the allegiance of the public to them which rests upon the public's misperception that the gov't is doing the right things for the right reasons. The gov't has to lie constantly in spectacular ways and they're vulnerable to facts and the truth. You might say, but they're getting away with it, aren't they? Why, if most peo are so content, did a majority (cont.)
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-15 04:40
tell pollsters that they supported the goals of Occupy? Why did Occupy act like a lightning rod for the discontent? Why was this untouchable gov't so worried abt a ragtag looking group of homeless peo + students + some intellectuals + others in Occupy encampments w/ handpainted signs that they had to violently evict them and ban them from re-appearing in public squares? The answer is that the gov't and corporations know that there is unrest and discontent and it's just under the surface or exploding into view (e.g., Arab Spring) and that their policies and system are going to degrade the living conditions for larger and larger #s of peo and crises of various kinds including economic, environmental, military, and social are in the near future or even the present. You may not think rev is possible but the peo who run this society do. That is why they're spying on all of us and passing laws to prohibit free assembly and speech and why Obama's got a "kill list."
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-15 04:46
To really understand what's going on you can't rely upon the analytical tools and ideology of those who rule now. Why would those in charge of an exploitative system readily provide the tools and perspective that those they exploit could just pick up and use against those who control them now? They'd be crazy to do so which is why conventional thinking isn't up to the task of giving you the ability to clearly see what's up. That is why revolutionary theory is so powerful and why those who rule try so hard to keep revolutionary theory away from people by saying that revolution and revolutionaries are the worst, most evil, most lunatic, most murderous and dogmatic people ever. Of course they want to steer peo away from the thing that threatens them the most. What's really going on is rarely evident on the surface. You have to penetrate beneath the surface and recognize the stark limitations of conventional thinking and analysis to really come to grips with what's really going on.
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0 # viceless 2014-04-13 23:34
Many Americans are just ignorant to what is going on in other countries and also what is going in their own. The average American does not think about where the goods they are purchasing even came from, they are more worried about where they can find that product cheapest. I believe a large part of the blame lies on the media. Why should I turn on the news and see who Kim Kardashian is dating this week when I have to search the internet specifically looking for the status of the worker strike in Brazil due to terrible conditions related to the preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics?
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0 # cglov3r 2014-04-14 05:19
I couldn't agree more. I was one of those guilty of ignorance a few years back. I was raised to gradate high school, get a job (any job, just get one), get out on your own-coming back was not an option, pay your bills, be a 'good' American and vote every four years, and be happy about it all. No one ever discussed the possibilities of higher education with me or my future. It wasn't until I was laid off due to the plummeting economy that I opted to further my education in an effort to become more financially balanced and therefore have a better quality of life. In turn I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and my college education has thereby become my alternative parent. I am no longer ignorant. And, experiences such as Lotta's talk have impacted my overall understanding. Your comment regarding product purchasing reminds me of Lotta's commentary on consumerism. This topic opened my eyes and mind. I no longer live in the little bubble we are conditioned to believe in.
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0 # deltoro 2014-04-11 13:04
When I hear about communist, the things that come to my mind are negative. All my life a being hearing that communist is bad. But the way you showed it was different. It was difficult to think different when I see and hear about the people of Cuba that don't want to live there. In your presentation you did not mention Cuba at all. They when though a revolution too and the outcome was negative and still is negative. I stronger believe that we need to fight for our rights when I don’t want to become in a situation like Cuba.
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0 # cglov3r 2014-04-14 05:29
I too recall having a dissenting and adverse view of communism my entire life. I remember as a child hearing nothing but unfavorable comments about the "commies." Naturally I associated such individuals and ideals as "bad." Yet everything Lotta discussed in his talk appeared to be quite contrary to what I had been conditioned to believe. The communism ideals are very relevant to our lives as people of this nation.
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0 # deltoro 2014-04-11 13:06
Soc 302. I think that it was not enough time to show and to make all the main point. Also feel connect it to the causes that in the United States we need to do some changes. We need reduces the rate of people being incarcerate. Also, make the all the social class less segregate and to have education affordable to all and others. I just wish you would explain more about how we can change some of these issues.
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0 # IsaChavez 2014-04-11 20:34
Like many people that grew up in the US, I also had a negative perspective on communism. We grew up bombarded with the idea that communism is good in theory but human nature will eventually corrupt it. A comment left before by "deltoro" brought up the example of the situation in Cuba. A lot of people view that as a bad example of communism, but as I now understand we have never had true communism. Cuba is socialist at best. However I would like to find out why the revolution in Cuba and the other attempts of revolution in other Latin countries during that time frame are not described like the one in Russia and China by Lotta. The reason I am concerned with this question is because when I do speak about communism to other people, they are quick to point at Cuba and say people are suffering more there than here under capitalism.
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+1 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-11 20:48
Quoting IsaChavez:
we have never had true communism. Cuba is socialist at best.

Lotta will have more to say abt this but for starters, Cuba is not even socialist. At best it has some social welfare aspects to it, but it is not led by and never has been led by genuine communists. Socialism isn't a static thing hermetically sealed but is a state in transition to classless society from the legacy of capitalism. For socialism to be THAT, certain ingredients must be present and those ingredients have always been largely absent. Much more than this has to be gone into to give you an adequate answer so please look for a much longer response from Ray to come.
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-04-13 18:59
I look forward to what Lotta has to say about Cuba and whether it is socialist or communist. There are many aspects of both of these that Cuba lacks. Could this be a new kind of governing method? Would it be a viable one?
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-24 00:23
A number of students asked if Cuba is a socialist society. It is not socialist, and here is why.

Background
Between 1898 and 1959, Cuba had been under the thumb of U.S. imperialism. Its economy was geared to sugar production for export. U.S. companies and banks dominated key economic sectors. Cuba was a “playground for the rich.”

In 1959, Fidel Castro led a mass and just revolutionary uprising that overthrew a terribly oppressive regime propped up by the U.S. But Castro was not guided by the communist vision and scientific outlook of overcoming the division of society and the world into classes and mobilizing and unleashing the masses to make a “total revolution”: in economics, politics, social relations, culture, ideas, and values.

(Continued)
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-24 00:25
Economically
Cuba needed to diversify the economy and create the foundations for a sustainable economy that could achieve food security. Instead, the Castro government simply instituted state ownership of sugar production and turned to the Soviet Union (which was no longer socialist) to buy the sugar crop.
So sugar remained the anchor of the economy. This perpetuated Cuba’s dependency on the imperialist world economy. It perpetuated Cuba’s distorted economic-social structure. Most importantly, it meant that the energy and creativity of the masses of people—workers, agricultural laborers, professionals, and others—were subordinated to the capitalist logic of sugar and more sugar production.
(Continued)
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-24 00:26
Socially
The Castro leadership did not unfold a profound social revolution. For instance, equal rights and opportunities for women were legally recognized. But oppressive social-ideologi cal relations--like the whole macho outlook, beauty ideals, and women’s role in the family were not radically challenged. Today, prostitution is spreading--cate ring to tourism that the Cuban leadership is promoting as a “quick fix” for the economy.
After 1959, there were great improvements in education and health care for the Cuban people. But this is a top-down “welfare state” where the masses are kept powerless and passive. This is not genuine socialism.
Political life
In Cuba, political life is extremely constricted, the government keeps tight control on things, and dissent is treated harshly.
(Continued)
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-24 00:27
*A genuine socialist society moving towards communism would be opening up and drawing people into great debate over the big questions of society and the world. It is a society where revolutionary leadership is mobilizing the masses to carry forward the radical transformation of society and their own thinking, and to take increasing responsibility for the direction of society. This is what happened during the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966-76.
*A genuine socialist society would welcome and foster dissent, even views and platforms opposing socialism. Dissent contributes to the struggle to discover deeper truths about society and the world—and to the critical spirit. This understanding is a vital element of Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism, learning from the shortcomings and problems of the Soviet and Chinese socialist revolutions.
(Continued)
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-24 00:27
To learn more about why countries like Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea are not socialist and what genuine socialism is, people should look at “Three Alternative Worlds” by Bob Avakian: www.revcom.us/a/071/ba-threeworlds-en.html.

One last point: the U.S. embargo on Cuba and its attempts to weaken or overthrow the Cuban government are totally unjust and must be resolutely opposed.
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0 # Shannon Barkley 2014-04-12 00:59
First thing I would like to say is I really enjoyed the Raymond lotta talk. I like hearing facts that the government tries to hide from us and they like to water down scenarios instead of telling us the severity from the beginning. When he talked about the injustices and failure of capitalism, he opened my eyes to a whole different perspective of what I have learned and been taught for so many years. A major point that sticks in my mind is the forced child labor. That makes me so angry that we, the united states, has a significant part in the child labor. I thought we were supposed to protect them? That means everywhere in the world not just in their backyard.
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0 # aplopez 2014-04-12 02:12
His talk did stimulate me to "re-think" what I thought I had previously understood about communism and its history. The way he described three different revolutions and their outcomes were very interesting. Russian, Chinese and the Cultural revolutions were a huge issue during Communism. These three, helped reshape and were attempts to create society. This was also included Socialism because according to Lotta, it means a period of transition and it was a historic transition. Which includes new power, new economy and transformation.
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0 # deltoro 2014-04-14 03:59
Soc 302. His talk also make me re-think about communist. The way he described was different from the way we are learned by our teachers and books. I feel that we do need a change in our society. The system that we have is not working out for all of us.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-12 03:20
PLEASE SEE THE ADDENDA ADDED ABOVE TO THE MAIN ARTICLE HERE. SINCE AT LEAST SOME OF THE QUESTIONS LEFT ON THE COMMENTS THREAD NEED MORE SPACE TO PROPERLY RESPOND TO THAN IS IN THE COMMENTS' BOXES, LONGER RESPONSES WILL BE POSTED IN THE ADDENDA.
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0 # Marisol Parra 2014-04-12 06:10
I really enjoyed the talk and lecture with Raymond Lotta it was truly an awakening experience for me as a person. From an early age throughout grade school and high school you are taught so much but never given the truth behind communism and its history. He talked about the first stage of communism and how the communist party lead workers to rise up to overthrow the regime. The Chinese Revolution was a true social transformation yet there is still so much to address such as child labour. The famous apple computers and products are huge child labour resources in china, how many people around the world consume IPod, I Pad, and I Phone including myself as a consumerism. Many are not educated that consumerism plays a huge role on our world but impacts on how many products are being made. A very sad situation across the nation, we must reassess on what we are truly buying.
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0 # jatoxqui 2014-04-13 04:01
Yes, Lotta explained the three different revolutions and it is an eye opener for a lot of us because we only believe what we see on tv, read on the newspaper, or hear on the radio because media conglomerates control what the public views and hears. Yes, it is a sad situation but honestly, I do not believe that people will stop buying the latest gadgets because we simply don't see. It's like that saying, what we don't see, doesn't hurt. So as long as we don't physically see the sweat shops then, we will not actually feel the need to really do something about it. As college students, we are becoming aware of the reality that has been hidden from our eyes and ears but it is very difficult to actually get up and do something about it instead of just saying that it is a very sad situation-and that includes myself. We become aware but are we doing with that information?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 05:03
Quoting jatoxqui:
we are becoming aware of the reality that has been hidden from our eyes and ears but it is very difficult to actually get up and do something about it instead of just saying that it is a very sad situation-and that includes myself. We become aware but [what] are we doing with that information?

A longer answer to this should be given, but to begin with, don't underestimate the importance and significance of becoming aware. While it is true that there are peo who say that they know something ("I know, I know, but...") and don't do anything about what they say that they know, and while it is true that just knowing something and not doing something about it is useless, at the same time, one HAS to become aware of something before one will do something about it. You can't do something right about something unless and until you are first aware. It's the very important first step on a long journey...
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 05:29
A second addendum in response to other questions raised in this comment thread has been added to the main article above - 4/12/14, 10:30 pm.
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0 # Marisol Parra 2014-04-12 06:34
Raymond Lotta talked about how socialism is the path to communism and the three stepping stone to defeat the state power of the system was very interesting. He mentioned were the new form of political state, new economic system and period of historical transition. Marxist views really portray what Lotta addressed in his lecture we must have concrete ideas to defeat the state power of system to which we may not agree with. Lotta mentioned the prisoners in our country are there because of failure to society as society has nothing to offer them is a very true statement. Locking them away to confinement instead of finding the truth as to why there really committing such crimes turns them worthless to society as it teaches them to commit that same crime over and over in a vicious cycle.
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+1 # Sadiez Moreno 2014-04-12 07:55
I very much appreciate the fact that I attended Ray Lotta's talk the other night (even if it was required!) Because I grew up in this generation in which communism is automatically associated with a negative connotation, it was refreshing to hear an opposite approach. In high school - a mere two years ago - I was involved in JROTC, an Army training program if anyone is unfamiliar. Nonetheless,dur ing our drills we would recite a number of cadences to keep our march in step. Of the many that I memorized throughout the years, one really stuck with me: Kill a commie for your mommy. Therefore, you could imagine my peaked interest as I heard Lotta deliver his ever-so-enthusi astic explanation of communism. One of the things that really stuck with me was his POV on voting as a means of involving the entire nation as a whole. It particularly stuck in my mind because we are always taught that voting is our duty as proper citizens, but Lotta gave me a hole different outlook!
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0 # AJ 2014-04-12 20:19
Raymond Lotta's talk was full of interesting points that a lot of people are unaware of. The most interesting point was when he said that the people of the United States believe that they have a vote on elections when in reality we the people of the U.S really don't have a voice. People are always saying, "every vote counts in order to make a difference," however, our votes hardly make a difference because as Lotta mentioned: the government controls the people in elections. This lead me to believe that his early statement that we live in dictatorship is not that far off from the truth. Overall, Raymond's talk, aside from being very interesting, has opened up my mind to re-think whether what I know about about the society we live in.
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0 # minnie 2014-04-13 07:02
I agree with you, there were so many interesting points in Lotta’s talk that I was unaware of beforehand. For example, Mao of China had been portrayed in most history books as an evil man who did not care about his people and was out to kill. Lotta objectively proved this definition of Mao wrong from one of the books he had examined. It was preposterous to me that the works cited of the book cited that the credibility for the source was “a source carefully reviewed by the author.” Where is the credibility here? This makes me question the validity of the accusations against communism as well. Where are we getting this information from? Can we trust this information?
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-04-13 18:54
I completely agree with this! Listening to Lotta and understanding what he was saying about elections makes me question if we are living in a dictatorship. The media is involved in everything we do that many people, including myself, don't realize how much of an effect it has on us. I want to know more about what we don't know is going on in our government and if we have any say about what they are doing.
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0 # Natalie Rivera 2014-04-14 04:01
Yes! I am wondering if our democracy is a front to cover up the fact that we do not really have a voice? The media can absolutely be thought to be responsible for manipulating the way we view our world. There is a part of me that cringes at the thought of what is being kept from us...
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0 # cglov3r 2014-04-14 05:38
I too completely agree. Our voting privilege has been previously mentioned in other courses I have taken and just as in Lotta's talk, stirs my brain more and more every time. I too question the democracy of our nation when we only have the option of choosing the lesser of two evils in a presidential election. When we are given the options to choose from, are we really choosing? And, agreed again, a dictatorship does not seem so far fetched. Lotta's talk has really caused me to rethink EVERYTHING and question the very things I was raised to believe and take pride in.
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0 # Sme 2014-04-12 22:24
The media and other forms of entertainment deprive us from paying attention to the world around us. Why there is such a thing called politics? And why do we have to pay attention to it? The answer is simple; politics is what defines our lives, politics decides for us and makes laws to control us. If a politician tells the public that communism is not good for our society, we tend to believe it, because we do not look for the truth behind communism.
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0 # Manuel Arias 2014-04-13 21:45
Politics are just the puppets for who really is controlling our society. The elites/upper classes are the ones that decide what is "best for us" when all they really do is look out for themselves. They are doing what they can to keep us at the bottom so they can always rule and be on the top.
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0 # jatoxqui 2014-04-13 01:06
Most of our lives we have been led to believe what is good or bad based on what the government engrave in our minds through the use of the media. During the Cold War with the Soviet Union, anybody who opposed anything that the U.S. government said was considered a "communist". That is when the government instilled fear in the public to speak out about their opinions about the matter. That is why communism has a negative connotation, and therefore people are less willing to say something. It is a way of controlling the public-through fear of what might happen to them if they contradict the "American values" of "democracy" and "freedom". My main concern about overthrowing imperialism would be what happens next? Ok, the goal has been achieved, imperialism is out, now what? What replaces it? How does society go about living? Will the revolutionists who led the movement become the new governors of the group? Wouldn't that mean the people would be governed by the few?...again?
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-1 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 01:15
Quoting jatoxqui:
imperialism is out, now what? What replaces it? How does society go about living? Will the revolutionists who led the movement become the new governors of the group? Wouldn't that mean the people would be governed by the few?...again?


This is a really important question that requires a lengthy exposition. Ray will undoubtedly want to expand upon this. I am going to respond to it as well as a second addendum to the article above.
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0 # zzchi 2014-04-13 02:20
Raymond Lotta's talk inspired me to dig deeper into communism. I was told as a child that communism is a bad ideology to get involved with. However, as Mr. Lotta informed people during his talk, my inquiry of global failure due capitalism increased. Why do we have to exploit people and children for the benefit of corporations? As a nation, shouldn't we treat others the way we treat ourselves? I live with capitalism everyday, but during Mr. Lotta's talk I understood just how bad it was. For that moment, I understood people commit suicide because of the horrific conditions they have to deal with. These people have no other means of survival than to work in sweat shops and factories. People and children are being exploited because of cost and demands of the global market called capitalism. What kind of people are we to let others be subjected to such conditions? Would it be fair to call ourselves monsters for this? What can be done to prevent this from happening?
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0 # Jolie 2014-04-13 05:14
I thought that Lotta's talk was intereting. Its reminded me of an episode of Law and Order where a man is trying to explain that we are all sheep just following the herd. Throughout the whole show he's trying to get people to understand the we need to be questioning the things that are being shoved in our faces instead of just excepting them. I really feel like that was sort of the same point that Lotta was trying to make in his talk.
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0 # Jolie 2014-04-13 05:22
Also when the girl asked the question about what can we do now as college students to help bring change I was a little confused by the answer because it seemed to me like there wasn't very much we could do. Raising awareness is helpful but like the girl who asked the question said, we are really in a position to have our voices really heard by people who can make big changes like the ones that we are hoping for. I think this movement is very important and change does need to happen. However I think it is going to be quite a bit of time before we really start to see massive change.
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0 # minnie 2014-04-13 07:11
I was also interested in the girl’s question. It is exciting to know that we as college students are living in a point in history where people are thinking about revolution. However, I am interested to see how and when this radical change is going to take place. Who will participate? Will college students be holding marches and rallies? I talked to a man just outside Lotta’s talk who was a supporter of the Revolution and he and I talked about important world issues for a couple of minutes. I was pleasantly surprised at how passionate this young man was about taking action against the injustices in the world (notably poor, urban, minority neighborhoods). These people are those who I look up to: people who want to be the change that they see in the world. I hope to someday be a part of the change I see in the world as well.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 16:18
Quoting minnie:
I hope to someday be a part of the change I see in the world as well.
The revolution begins now in the sense that what you do now and going forward is part of that process and crucial to making it happen. I am not just saying this as hype; it literally is true. Revolutions to be successful need a very involved period of preparation and building. Lotta quoted the RCP's slogan on this: Prepare Minds, Fight the Power...

What this generation of students can be, to answer this question most directly, is the EMANCIPATORS OF HUMANITY. Humanity needs you to be this. The planet needs you to be this. The future beckons, who will answer the call?
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0 # MichaelO 2014-04-17 08:07
The American capitalist system, along with its elites, won't let there power be taken away without a fight. My question is what kind of struggle can we expect to see from this communist revolution? Will this result in full out war between the 'bourgeois' and the 'proletariat'? If so, how can the proletariat stand against such vast power that the system and the bourgeois holds?
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-28 19:11
I respond to your comment later in this blog; search for “Princess Peach.”
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0 # minnie 2014-04-13 06:46
I learned a lot from Raymond Lotta's lecture about communism and capitalism. In my high school English classes I always remember learning that communism was an evil and failing system of government. What I had retained from learning about communism was that communism was "the enemy" of the U.S. government and that capitalism was the best and most efficient form of U.S. government. Lotta revealed communism's history in a different light, a more objective one, that shed light on the truth about communism that the U.S. government would most likely not be in favor of. I appreciated this history presented in a different way because now I feel more educated about communism. I have learned about more than just one perspective of this system of goverment
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0 # minnie 2014-04-13 06:54
I was glad that I attended Raymond Lotta’s talk about communism. It made me think of communism in a completely new way. From the time I had been educated about communism in high school, I had always been taught that communism was an evil and terrible system of government. Lotta shed light on an objective lesson about communism that I am sure the U.S. government would not be too happy that people would know about. I am now a little more educated about communism and I am not ignorant to the more positive perspective of communism.
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0 # Natalie Rivera 2014-04-14 03:54
Yes, I share your sentiment. I too was conditioned/tau ght to view communism as a distorted belief system. I am on the fence in regards to my beliefs on our democracy. However, I do believe that I owe it to myself to research, research, research all sides.
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0 # Sherlock 2014-04-13 07:30
Although I did not attend Lotta's talk, I thought your points mentioned were interesting. I believe that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. But seriously, we need to think about the common good and not just our individual desires. However, I do believe in individuality and although we should not be so unequal, I believe everyone should still be able to have their own ideas and opinions.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 18:12
Quoting Sherlock:
we need to think about the common good and not just our individual desires. However, I do believe in individuality and although we should not be so unequal, I believe everyone should still be able to have their own ideas and opinions.

Yes. I am in basic agreement with you. There's a very important difference between individuality and individualism. See this article of mine about it: http://dennisloo.com/Articles/individuality-v-individualism.html.
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0 # zzchi 2014-04-13 17:59
How do I become an emancipator of humanity? If capitalism is global, how can we as a society change the views of the people deeply embedded in this? When Raymond Lotta said," "F" consumerism because of the exploitation of people and children in harsh conditions in China and in the factories. I honestly thought by donating items to the oppressed, I was making a difference in peoples lives. Instead, I was fooled by capitalism. The items I purchased were made in China, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. Out of speculation, I must have contributed to child exploitation and slavery in China, Bangladesh,and Indonesia. How can we stop capitalism and start to become an emancipator to humanity? How can the process be effective in a world dominated by capitalism?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 18:09
Quoting zzchi:
How do I become an emancipator of humanity? If capitalism is global, how can we as a society change the views of the people deeply embedded in this?

The short answer to your question is to join the revolutionary movement. Check out revcom.us. The longer answer is, to begin with your immediately stated question: the problem is secondarily that people are deeply embedded in this global system, but their being embedded in it isn't the main problem. That is, capitalism & imperialism don't exist and aren't perpetuated by the grassroots. They are systems and the public responds to it and operate within it as best as it can, many peo suffering and dying unnecessarily every day b/c of it. Put another way, it's not public opinion that is keeping this system going. It is authorities who personify the system who use both manipulation and coercion to stay in power and keep the system going. So the solution is to wake peo up to that so that they can act.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 18:20
Put another way: capitalism doesn't exist because ordinary people in our everyday lives are acting in ways and thinking in ways that create capitalism. We live in and under capitalism but we don't make it. It's true that capitalist ideology ("It's all about me and my material acquisitions!") is pervasive but it's pervasive because capitalism's the dominant system and therefore the ideas that justify it and help to perpetuate it are the dominant ideas. A majority of peo in the US told pollsters that they supported the goals of the Occupy movement when Occupy was visible. Why would they say that if they were all dyed in the wool capitalists?

Public opinion is important but it's not the main reason why this system is the dominant system. This system continues only because it has a monopoly over the legitimate means of violence and because the vast majority don't yet know that another world is possible & necessary.
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0 # zzchi 2014-04-13 18:42
Why are the authorities using expendable people, in their eyes, to stay in power and keep the system going? How do they live their lives knowing that their decisions are killing our planet and people? I thought humans had a built in sense of morals and values. Am I wrong about this too?
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0 # Sarah Heitz 2014-04-13 18:51
Listening to Lotta's talk really did make me "re-think" what I previously knew of communism and it's history. Without his interest in the history of communism the whole idea of creating this sense of equality would not make sense. He started with the history of revolts and this made me want to look deeper into the meanings behind these movements. We are taught to think that communism is such a terrible concept, yet there has not been a truly communism country.
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0 # Christian Damian 2014-04-14 03:44
Raymond Lotta's talk also made me "re-think" my previous inclinations about communism. It also made me wonder more about the idea of equality built around communism. This idea always makes me consider the bias we have when considering a family member and a stranger. Even if we reconstruct our social beliefs, I believe we will still be inclined to have preferences to benefit our immediate family over strangers. What are your beliefs on preferences we would have on certain people in a truly communist country?
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0 # dbug 2014-04-14 04:52
Yes, the sense of equality can seem confusing at first. Lotta's talk made me think of an episode on one of my favorite shows, Anthony Bourdain:No Reservations. In this episode the culinary chef introduced the audience to a little part of Denmark that was controlled by the people and not the government. When asked, " then who's in charge?", the chief replied " I'am...but so is everyone else...we have the same problems just like anyone else but we try to solve them in a different way, by embracing people as much as we can." Other young chefs working under the restaurant continued to introduce their latest dishes to the audience. What was interesting is that the owner did not take credit for their dishes and instead celebrated their creativity. After Lotta's talk I did envision the possibility of a new society that embraces one another's creativity instead of brining each other down.
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0 # jessica ulloa 2014-04-13 20:17
Raymond Lotta opened up his discussion with technology. He stated that there was a chemical inside our Iphones that keeps them from overheating. He also stated that people in China who create our Iphones are subject to this chemical and harsh working conditions. I have never heard this before particularly. Although after the talk, I saw on Facebook about an article done on Chinese dying due to benzene poisoning. Sadly, what Lotta was talking about is truly happening. I find it extremely sad that Apple and the company in China that help create our Iphones and other Apple products do not find the need to stop this from happening. Many of these Chinese workers develop Leukemia and die due to the poisoning of working around this chemical. If i hadn't heard Lotta speak on this i probably would have kept scrolling on my news feed. Because of talks like this it makes me mindful of issues that are happening.
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0 # Manuel Arias 2014-04-13 21:37
I too, was unaware of these incident/workin g conditions with the apple company. We always hear stories about sweat shops and how bad the workers are being treated, but only for clothing stores. This was the first time I heard it about apple. I am pretty sure all the Iphone/Iphads holders have no clue about that either. And if we do know, we tend to look the other way and pretend like nothing is happening. We are a very materialistic society, how can we change that when we want to the latest models and the best clothes to impress others? How can we change such ways?
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0 # jessica ulloa 2014-04-13 20:18
This also reminded me of a similar situation. working conditions in china, specifically in factories in china are terrible. A few quarters ago I took Social Change. In that class we discussed issues similar to the benzene poisoning. We watched a documentary on Mardi Gras beads. I never knew much about the beads, but the documentary gave us an inside look at the conditions in which these Chinese workers are put through to create these beads for such occasions such as Mardi Gras. Watching this documentary made me realize so many things that our country partakes in but doesn't do anything about to stop.
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0 # deltoro 2014-04-14 03:47
Soc 305. with that note about china. we in The united States, we are taking and using the resources of others counties. just because we want our fancy shoes, pants and others things. we don't care or we chose not to care where our shoes or pants are coming from and at what cause. we just want are cheap labor.
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0 # jessica ulloa 2014-04-13 20:25
Lotta's talk did spark me to re-think how i saw the world in general. Honestly, i did not know very much about Communism. Aside from what i heard from the media (which i didn't trust at all). I always heard that communism is bad, but never got much else. I didn't ever truly have an idea about it myself, and did not really feel the need to look into it further. Now that Lotta brought up and clarified his perception of communism and how it plays in our world today, i find myself more willing and interested in re-thinking the entire aspect of communism and capitalism.
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0 # Brandon Vildosola 2014-04-13 20:34
After the Lotta talk, I did see the truths in many of his points, especially regarding what is needed to be done to save the world from the carbon footprint damages. I have a few problems with his talk however. Although Mao did have very idealistic approaches to his regime, Lotta seemed to try and stray people away from the fact that he did commit acts of genocide during his revolution; although we should consider his ideas solely based on intelligence, I felt that Lotta was trying to keep our minds away from the fact that he actually was a ruthless killer, regardless of his politics. Lotta also spoke about how if the people in America keep living the consumeristic life, the world will eventually crumble, so the communist approach will solve this problem. However, it is basic human nature that we strive to attain more things in life, so humans will not be content living under anything that will prevent them from competing with others to gain material things, even if it is morally wrong
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 22:40
The claim that Mao committed genocide or any kind of mass murder is not true. It is one of the slanders leveled against him and communists more generally. I say this as someone who specialized in the Chinese Rev in grad school. Attaining more material things in life is not an attribute of basic human nature. If it were, anthropology and sociology would have noticed. If it were, companies wouldn't be incessantly advertising and trying to convince peo to buy more because peo would just "naturally" do it without billions having to be spent on advertising.
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0 # Manuel Arias 2014-04-13 21:26
The comment that caught my attention the most from Lotta was the voting situations that the citizens face every 4 years. As a resident myself I always saw voting as a voice, that I would be proud to have once I would become citizens. And eventually vote and make a change. But he mentions that is not the case. It’s almost a way to just shut the citizens up to keep them thinking they are living the life they presume they are living. Do I want to vote and go to sleep for the next 4 years, like Lotta mentions in his speech? I am not sure if that is what I really want…
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0 # Monique V. 2014-04-14 06:13
I agree. I always thought that voting was my way of having a "voice" in this country. I could not wait to turn 18 and vote in my very first election. I remember feeling excited that I had a "choice" and I was able to exercise my "right" to vote, but after hearing Lotta mention this topic in his speech I question whether I want to contuine being a voter. I am begining to realize that I don't have a say so in anything at all and it's scary to think that this image of "having a right/choice to vote" is projected to the public when in all reality we don't have a choice at all.
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0 # jnc 2014-04-13 22:15
To me politics are what make country crumble and fall to the ground. As citizens we get to elect people into office believing that they will vote and fight for the laws and regulations that they campaigned for. However it always seems that it never happens to turn out that way. Voting to me gives us that one chance to speak up and put our word in with the country, and after the ballot is counted and done or voice goes away forever. People in political office who we voted for seem to forget the reason why they are in office and solely focus on bettering themselves and making sure the outcome on any decision will not effect them in any way. Not caring about how the outcome will effect the people who put them in office.
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+2 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-13 22:44
Voting is a sham designed to persuade us that we are in charge when party bureaucrats and party leaders determine who will be the "legit" candidates and media annoint who the "real" candidates are, ruling everyone else off the table as "fringe" candidates.
Under a different system voting could serve a real purpose but even under the best of circumstances, the idea that public sovereignty could be exercised merely by voting and that peo should be otherwise uninvolved and not exercising choices and making decisions in all arenas of life is absurd. Yet that is the view of democratic theory.
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+1 # mnava 2014-04-14 01:03
Mr. Lotta mentioned that voting was a sham as well. He stated that if was truly important why do we only vote once every 4 years? I never gave that idea much thought, but I found some truth in that. Even though I found Mr. Lotta's ideas hard to swallow-- after all, I've been socialized to believe the current system is the best global way--he made some interesting points. My favorite point made was regarding the patriarchal dominance in the U.S., we think that just because Hillary C. is a woman of power it should be enough. In socialism there are no men v. women power struggles. In our capitalistic culture we are told there are no 'men v. women' completion either but rather whoever is better and it just so happens men are better I suppose. Whoever is the most qualified gets the job is what our system tells us to believe. Truth is, Mr. Lotta, was right on with this notion that there are great injustices to our current system. I left his talk with a lot of refreshing inquires.
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0 # tiffany 2014-04-14 02:29
Its not that they have forgotten why they are in office, its that they never cared. After taking philosophy, history and political science classes I have come to the conclusion that our government is not legit. Voting is sometimes not even necessary because in all honesty, not everyones vote counts all the time. I think it is better to vote in small community ballots with a direct result in order to see a difference that will be in response to your vote. Democracy is flawed yet it is the best system in the world. We "elect" officials to represent us but they only work for their own needs. They blackmail each other, they bribe each other, and they "represent" us. Politics I believe is keeping us together no matter how messed up it is, we need it.
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0 # viceless 2014-04-13 23:26
The discussion of how to fix our current predicaments as a country is one that has run rampant on media outlets for multiple years. Yet the media strategically talks about problem after problem without really discussing what is causing these problems. The real problem as pointed out above is the capitalist and imperialist nature of our country yet these things are rarely discussed by the media who is the "watchdogs" of the government. The fact that roughly 90% percent of media outlets are run by only 6 major corporations (comcast, disney, 21st century fox, time warner, viacom, and CBS)is probably a major reason behind this. Why would these corporations blow the whistle on the system that has made them so powerful and influential in America.
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0 # mnava 2014-04-14 00:49
I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Lotta talk at the Revolution bookstore Tuesday evening. A lot of what he discussed shocked me but I noticed a majority of the people echoed his sentiments, mainly during the comment and question portion. The ideas were so taboo to me, but I really thought about all he said and compared it to all I believed to be true. The way he made it all sound was Utopian. Of course it sounds nice to think we can live in a world where everyone looks out for another. Yet, he even said, the last time nations attempted socialism they were short lived because of mistakes made along the way. He pointed out Russia getting too transfixed on the idea of technology and it leading to the downfall of socialism. There is no proof that attempting to create a socialist nation would go off without a hitch in any nation today. Who would agree to make such a change in their nation with the promise of it working smoothly?
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0 # Christine Lopez 2014-04-14 01:12
Soc 305
I found Mr. Lotta Presentation very informative and useful. I would like to Thank Mr. Lotta for coming and presenting at Cal Poly. I was not aware of the Chinese workers that were working with the Benzene and how harmful it is for there health and that it causes cancer. I can not believe they use Benzene to help cool the I Pad from over heating. I hard to beleive that some compnies would put there employees health in danger for some enonomical profit. but its not only Apple but other company such as walmart who have many sweat shops and I found really sad was how many people died in the garment district fire they were producing clothes for Wal-Mart. the building had no exist and the only possible exist was the roof. I find it really true how Imperialism is destroying the planet. we are trying to buy economical and we do not consider the conditions of the product was made.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 03:51
Just to clarify, benzene is used for cleaning and the material that Lotta mentioned is different, to keep the phones from overheating.
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0 # mdAngel 2014-04-14 02:52
As stated above, if capitalism is trying to get us to stop thinking, it is our duties as individuals no to feed into the cover of the book that is trying to portray to individuals as "ok". It is vital that individuals go out and look for their own answers, to question things such as communism/capit alism and the social problems that surround us and society. Basically, not to stay and follow the herd and look to what affects us directly.
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0 # Princess Peach 2014-04-14 03:23
I personally thought that Raymond Lotta’s talk was insightful and eye opening. Everything that I knew about communism up to the day that Lotta delivered his speech was that communism led to disaster. His talk did stimulate me to “re-think” everything that I had previously learned about communism. I liked how he provided ways that we as students can involve ourselves in change. I do not only want to interpret the world, I want to change it, and this talk provided me with motivation and ideas to change society.
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-28 19:12
Several people have asked, “What can we do?” “What should I do?”

The most basic answer is this. If you are concerned and upset by what is going in society and the world, by what is happening to the planet—and you have this desire to do something meaningful to really change this world—then you should find out about and get into the movement for revolution being led by the Revolutionary Communist Party. Because the only way we can achieve a radically different and far better world, where human beings can truly flourish, is through revolution. A revolution to radically overturn this system. A revolution to bring something new into being. A revolution based on the new synthesis of communism of Bob Avakian.
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-28 19:13
To learn why we need revolution, what its goals are, and how to work for this revolution, go to revcom.us and read the newspaper Revolution.

I encourage people to read or listen to Bob Avakian’s New Year’s Message “A Call To Revolution” at: http://www.revcom.us/avakian/ba-new-year-message/bob-avakian-new-year-message-en.html. Avakian says: “We can change all this—we can change ourselves as we change the world—Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, For REVOLUTION.”

On May 17, an important and dynamic talk will be given in LA: "Where We Are in the Revolution." This will be a great opportunity to learn about this revolution, the strategy for it, where we are in the process of making it, and how you can get involved. Program details at: http://www.revolutionbooksla.blogspot.com/.
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0 # Raymond Lotta 2014-04-28 19:14
And…this Thursday, May 1st, you can join up with the Internationalis t Contingent for May Day: 10 am at Chavez & Broadway, march to Federal Detention Center at Alameda & Aliso; 3:30 pm meet at Olympic & Broadway, march to 1st & Broadway.
And on Sunday, May 4th, 5 pm: Internationalis t Program & Dinner celebrating May Day at Revolution Books. Details at: http://www.revolutionbooksla.blogspot.com/
Let’s keep the dialogue going!
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0 # Christian Damian 2014-04-14 03:23
Raymond Lotta mentioned that this revolution would need to be global in order to be successful. How would this address the direction that science and technology would take? In order for the development of technology to take place there is always an outdated form left behind. However, with the advancement of technology the level of livelihood and life expectancy has risen. With the benefits brought from technology, how would consumers stray from capitalism?
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0 # mdAngel 2014-04-14 03:30
Also, many people in society are so believing on what they see/hear from people of high positions. This goes to what I said about individuals having to question what they hear/see. We are often tricked into believing that everything is in for our benefit, but that is not always the case. The truth is often covered up by the lies we are being subjected to on the media.
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-04-14 03:32
I wonder if Lotta has a cell phone and what kind. He spoke of workers being exploited to get the materials for the I phones. We all know that any repetitive task is filled with exploited workers. If there is change to be made it takes the people who are passionate about the problem to boycott the products. Every one phone not sold will add up to make a difference. We really need to ask ourselves if what we are buying or considering buying a need or a want.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 03:42
Lomanaco: See this from my article above:

"even if you are a 'good' person, if you are living within an imperialist country like the US, you are participating wittingly or not in a system that is not “good.” Merely by living in this society, one cannot help but participate in systems of exploitation and degradation of others. Buying an iPad, for example, involves us in the system of terrible suffering for Chinese workers in the subcontractor factories that churn out those iPads everyday and that leads so many of them to commit suicide or suffer and die from diseases like cancer caused by working with benzene."
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-05-25 16:32
I understand this, but if someone is that concerned they should boycott. Changing the whole system of things would be better, but do what you can with what you have right now.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-25 16:37
You can't boycott the whole system. Apple is actually RELATIVELY speaking, one of the better transnational corporations in terms of keeping tabs on their subcontractors. Almost every manufacturer in this country is guilty of savagely exploiting labor and resources. People can complain by writing letters to Apple etc. and this can help because they care about their image.
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-05-25 16:51
if they were doing such a great job they would not have workers committing suicide or allowing the use of unsafe chemicals. they would take better care of their workers.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-25 16:52
They are not doing a great job. You are right that if it was a great job that workers would not be committing suicide or suffering and dying from unsafe chemicals such as Benzene.
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0 # Natalie Rivera 2014-04-14 03:39
It was my impression that Lotta is a passionate speaker, however throughout his presentation I felt that I was being "talked at," instead of being "talked to." I felt that I was expected to be upset about the injustices that occur due to our democracy. There were moments throughout Lotta's presentation in which I felt that I needed to "re-think" my view on communism. An example was when Lotta mentioned the fact that communism does work, and that our society has been led to believe that communism is bad. Lotta's comment made me question whether communism in the United States would be more beneficial to our society than our current democracy? Also, if rules or laws are needed in order for any belief system to function, wouldn't that indicate that there is a democracy within a communist society?
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0 # dbug 2014-04-14 04:13
Lotta's talk was inspiring and awakening. He mentioned a new rule were the oppressed would be in a position were they could change the state of the world. Instead of having an economic system that makes profit out of exploitation, it would be controlled through state ownership and make it possible to assist one another and benefit humanity instead of using it for completion. Perhaps the thought of a revolution and transformation of a new society may be difficult for us to understand. Some of us would ask, "who would be in charge?" or " wouldn't there be chaos?". If the new society would focus on benefiting humanity then creating chaos would be unreasonable. We might feel uncertain because we live in a world were we were taught not to think, rather just obey without questioning the government.
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0 # Elizabeth Arroyo 2014-04-14 04:30
Lotta's presentation was empowering in the fact that he addressed issues such as the United States problem with consuming products such as iPads or iPhone or unnecessary items in general. When he was talking about these products it sadden me to think of the suffering other people have to go through just so we can have items that are not essential to our everyday lives. We do not have to have these types of products to survive but people really don't understand or care that it has a negative affect on other people who have to get the necessary materials needed to make such a product. Unfortunately, Lotta was a passionate speaker and it was clear that he wants to make a difference, but I do not think people care enough to change because it does not impact them personally.
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0 # Monique V. 2014-04-14 04:41
One topic I found particularly interesting was when he mentioned if everyone in the world consumed at the level we do in the U.S. we would need four Earths to sustain our ways. That is just mind boggling to me. I had some idea that the way we are living and the level of consumption was getting worse, but i had no idea it was that bad. What makes it worse is that the way we are consuming is having the most negative and direct effect on people third world countries that have no say so. Globalization has become a huge problem and has created exploitation of people in these countries and have had a massive negative effect on our environment. It was interesting to hear him bring up this issue, and it's something I would be interested in learning more about.
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0 # Danielle Waldman 2014-04-14 06:43
Monique V., I completely agree with you. I was so shocked when Mr. Lotta talked about the amount and rate of American consumption. Most consumers do not recognize the amount of over consumption that occurs within our society. For students like ourselves that do understand the impact to a certain extent and to still be completely unaware of the actual rate and to be as shocked as we were, is completely baffling to me. It's very sad but also a good thing that the rest of the world isn't as messed up as the American society and our outrageous amounts of consumption.
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0 # Uriel Gonzalez 2014-04-14 07:25
It is evident our country in general demands more than what is available. To make a change, I honestly believe it starts with you. The role that one plays in their daily lives sets the example for future generations. Therefore, in order for our high consumption rates to go down, I honestly believe that we as a culture need to start being more humble and not find a lot of value behind material things. Our culture needs to understand the value in people rather than the value in a product. These shared values begin at the household and should be taught at schools as well.
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0 # thatdude 2014-04-14 04:56
I agree that saving humanity and this planet from further destruction should be one of the nations top priorities. However, becoming a part of this revolution and trying to steer away from the capitalist system will be difficult for such an individualist society that is driven by competition, personal gains and self-interests. In discussing this, specifically, in what ways do you think this revolution could have an impact on the next generation and what are some ways it would affect people's everyday lives?
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0 # SecretSeaBridges 2014-04-14 05:21
After attending Raymond Lotta's discussion on Communism, I feel like it truly opened my eyes on our country. The people of the United States are not free. Every right that we think we have is controlled by the Government. We are led to believe that our vote can make a "difference", but in reality our votes do not matter because our choices are already decided for us. We are being blinded and controlled by Capitalism.
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0 # BBM 2014-04-14 05:31
(I attended his talk on Wed. @ Cal Poly.)

One of the points that Mr. Raymond Lotta brought up, and which I found very contradictory to the rest of his talk was the point where he stated that for a Communist Revolution to be successful, it must happen on a global scale, and social classes would have to be eliminated. (This is the way I interpreted it) I find that with the social structures that are in place today, it is nearly impossible to make this type of revolution happen on a global scale.
If you ask me, I would compare this movement to the idea of making all people on the planet conform to the same religion.
Now sure, it is a nice thing to think of, but I feel like his argument was more of a fairytale, or a happy ending in a Disney movie.
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0 # Dennis Lo 2014-04-14 05:43
What Lotta said was that for communism to exist it could only exist on a global scale. Socialism, on the other hand, can and would exist in different parts of the world at a time and so he wasn't saying that a worldwide revolution would have to take place for these changes to occur. Had he had more time he would have elaborated further on why this is so. For ex., since communism means there is no longer a gov't, it would also mean that there would no longer be an army or police force so that's one of the reasons communism would have to exist in the whole world since if you had some part of the world going communist but other parts still having classes and armies, then it could invade and immediately undo communist society thru use of violence.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 15:51
See my response a few boxes down. You are right that what you thought he said is unrealistic. What he said is different, however, than what you interpreted him to say.
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0 # BBM 2014-04-14 05:31
Continued...

Would I love to see this type of revolution occur? OF COURSE I WOULD. I think that the world would be more harmonious, but I guess the point that I am trying to make is, that this idea seems out of reach, and a bit too good to be true.
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0 # thatdude 2014-04-14 05:32
The article brought forth the fact that everyone is contributing to exploitation through the purchasing of goods. Also, it stated that it is a never ending cycle that will continue to destroy our planet unless we, as a society, speak up and spread the word about the atrocities that this imperialist system encourages. I agree with this statement because just like other issues such as white privilege, and racial profiling by law enforcement, unless these things are brought forward to the public and discussed people will pay no attention to them as they always have. Awareness of subjects like these is the only way to put an end to them and the capitalist system that fuels these inequalities among people in our country and even those exploited individuals that aren't.
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0 # BBM 2014-04-14 05:39
One thing that I wish I could do more about is the exploitation of foreign workers. Dr. Loo, I would like to know how I could join a movement to stop these kinds of exploitations. I feel like the biggest question I had at the end of Mr. Lotta's talk, was... WHERE DO I START? WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? WHICH COMPANIES DO I AVOID?
I would really love to hear more about the exploitation of foreign countries. I feel as though rising up against this type of exploitation is a goal that I see prevailing. I think that there are ways to fight against companies that practice such horrendous practices. I think This is a more realist fight that reaching Communism on a Global scale.
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0 # Jane Doe 2014-04-14 05:42
Hearing Lotta speak about a topic that I have rarely ever thought about or actually had ANY knowledge of was surprisingly interesting. I definitely agree that when we ask a question about anything politic related we get a simple answer, and like most people I conformed with what I got back without actually asking more in depth questions or any type of clarification. I found it extremely interesting when Lotta made the point that as a democratic country we are made to believe that we have a say in what we do, what the laws are, that we actually have CONTROL of what we do. From what I understood he was letting us know that that is not all that true. Most if not all Americans are conformist, which is why most want to be "middle class" which is better than being poor and close enough to being wealthy. It is how most American's view it. Therfore being a conformist.
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0 # Jane Doe 2014-04-14 05:43
During Lotta's talk at Cal Poly Pomona he stated that in China in 1966 the Chinese Cultural Revolution lasted 10 years, but the poor fought for what they wanted. It was done on the bases of conscious activism of thousands of people fighting for what they believed was fair and got it. This leads to the connection I believe Lotta was trying to make between American's believing as a democratic country we actually have a say and the China, although a communist country were able to get what they were asking for. We get put restriction, our choices are narrowed down. For example when it comes to voting, we are only given either A or B not really having much of a say. What if we do not see any as fit for the job? We have the option of leaving it blank, but even though we do someone still is chosen, whether we liked them or not.
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0 # Danielle Waldman 2014-04-14 06:27
I found Lotta's talk to be very interesting. I too am one of those people who did not really know much about the Russian and Chinese Revolutions. It was refreshing to hear something different from what we've all been taught throughout our schooling. I too agree that our Capitalistic Society is ruining this world and change needs to occur for it will never get better without it, though I do seem to think that this type of revolution that Lotta talks about would simply not work; not that it is a bad idea, but that within the constraints of the government, they would simply not allow for something like this to occur. Being a revolution the government would need to be overthrown, I just think that with as much control as they have, this would never get by. :-| or could it?
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0 # Jason Kubanis 2014-04-14 06:30
Raymond touched on the environmental woes in the beginning of his presentation that are globally discounted continually; with rising seas and the acidic levels approaching their maximums, we have done little to combat this issue. Our country continues to allow other resources to be extracted from the earth, like hydraulic fracturing, which is the extraction of natural gas through the use of over five hundred chemicals. This has created issues for families in these areas destroying and contaminating the water table, making it virtually unusable. Our country’s capitalistic ways have done little to nothing to assert this problem, because of its high value; this country continues to endorse this through the media and other outlets because of the large profits. I believe that Mr. Lotta is right that our country needs to rise up and revolt, though his approach seems to be aggressive, and with that he may turn some of his future revolutionaries away.
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0 # RMM 2014-04-14 06:30
I am new to the idea of the US needing a revolution to change from capitalism to socialism. I do agree that we need change. But at the risk of sounding unintelligent I don't see why the only way to change the system is to get rid of it or replace it entirely?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 15:42
Quoting RMM:
I don't see why the only way to change the system is to get rid of it or replace it entirely?

It's called a system because a system operates according to system-logic. To grasp why revolution is necessary you need to start from an understanding of what the existing system's logic is: the ruthless and never-ending pursuit of profit. It's not designed as a system to meet social needs or to sustain and protect the environment. It's designed and runs on the logic of capital maximization. This is why, for ex., wars over resources and markets go on, even tho they involve mass destruction and deaths. B/c of the US invasion of Iraq (under the lie of WMD & in violation of the UN Charter & int'l law that prohibits aggressive war), more than a million Iraqis have died violent deaths and if you count suicides, more than 60,000 American soldiers. The planet is being destroyed by capitalism-impe rialism. Systems can't be changed fr w/in.
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0 # Jason Kubanis 2014-04-14 06:45
When Raymond spoke of Apple and the use of Coltan in their products I had not the slightest idea of what he was talking about. Being a blind Apple follower this came to surprise me, the minute he spoke of this I began to Google what Coltan was and, what its benefits were, according to an ABC article this mineral is considered well paid for the miners in the Congo who can make up to fifty dollars per week, while it is selling for 400 dollars a kilogram which most workers produce in one working day. These workers get paid little to nothing of the profits being made by its distributor. This made me stop and think, as I have always been against any type of clothing produced in a sweatshop, this is very similar and has raised my awareness of these capitalistic companies taking advantage of third world countries and their resources.
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0 # RMM 2014-04-14 06:59
I truly enjoy listening to Raymond Lotta and liked the historic information he provided that I hadn't previously learned in the history classes about communism and reading all of the comments and simply learning more and more about the the concept
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0 # Uriel Gonzalez 2014-04-14 07:12
One thing that stood out to me from Raymond Lotta's talk was that he mentioned Socialism was a stepping stone towards Communism. Raymond defined Socialism as not a benevolent stage where people are being taken care of. I agree with Raymond that today we are no longer living in a Socialism system. Pensions are no longer available for employees. Before you know it, social security will be gone as well. I believe this change is good. People need to be more independent and not have to rely on government to support them.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 15:26
UG: you're referring to welfare states such as the New Deal in the US. The point Lotta was making was that the essence of socialism isn't a welfare state but one in which society is moving towards the full empowerment of everyone - involved in every arena and engaged in learning and doing - rather than as passive recipients of the largesse of "condescending saviors."
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0 # Dennis Lo 2014-04-14 15:13
BBM: What Ray said was that communism could only exist globally, not that a revolution had to take place simultaneously globally. Socialism wd first have to exist globally, and that wd be accomplished thru a series of nation-based revolutions, eventually embracing the whole world - which would also not be simultaneous but protracted and thru twists and turns. The reason communism could not exist except globally is because communism means no gov't & therefore no armies or other standing bodies of violence and if you tried to have that in a world where there were still countries w/ armies, then those countries could easily take over your communist country and undo it thru violence.

Consciousness would need to be raised worldwide over time to where these ideas that you say sound good could become reality.
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0 # ch2782 2014-04-14 20:17
Personally, Lotta’s speech was an eye opener for me. I was not informed of the magnitude of the problem that Chinese people face for making the products that come here to the U.S. I thought many of the Chinese people who work in factories or in any form of manual labor, got paid a decent amount of money. Never did I imagine that Chinese people committed suicide for the hard labor they are require to do. Not only did Lotta’a speech make me reflect more as a person and individual, it made me aware of the social conflicts and dilemmas that occur outside of the U.S.
I tend to consider myself a “good” citizen, since I’m not hurting nor helping my society with my actions; I am more on the neutral side. Reflecting on the actions I have been taking, I have started to evaluate myself as a person in society.
to be continue...
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0 # ch2782 2014-04-14 20:19
For instance, what contributions have I made and what accomplishments would I make to society to make a chance rather than being one of the billions of people in this world? Living on earth without a purpose in life, not making my voice heard? In my perspective, not being heard is the same thing as being invisible.
Politics and religion are the most complex topics and most controversial themes to discuss to someone, but not impossible. These two topics are difficult to discuss and advocate because everyone has a different point of view. In many cases there is no “right” religion to choose from. If someone wants to convey the importance of religion and politics, one must be prepared and have enough evidence to back-up their statements.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-14 20:33
ADDENDUM #3 HAS BEEN ADDED ABOVE. IT SPEAKS ESPECIALLY TO QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS IN THE COMMENTS THREAD, INCLUDING WHY SYSTEMS CANNOT BE CHANGED FROM WITHIN, THE NATURE OF SOCIAL LIFE AND GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL OPINION, AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FREEDOM AND NECESSITY.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-15 13:58
"The US Government is a Paper Tiger" speaks to the question of why the government's alleged invincibility is a misperception and why struggle against it can and must win: http://dennisloo.com/Articles/the-us-government-is-a-paper-tiger.html.
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+1 # Giovanna Serrano 2014-04-15 23:57
In my personal opinion this talk raised a lot of red flags but most importantly it was more of an eye opener for what was happening to other people in the world. For instance the fact that Chinese citizens are committing suicide and jumping out from buildings in order to protest and get better pay and better working conditions when working in manufacturers that make products for the U.S. is something that left me truly in awe. Especially since we are living in the 21st century we would like to imagine that those days of no rights and harsh working conditions for workers globally have long improved. Lotta's speech made me more aware of what is happening outside of our country and was truly an eye opener.
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0 # Karen Cornejo 2014-04-16 21:55
I think most people find this concept to be challenging and hard to understand so like several people said above, most of them chose to not take part in it. People will vote and say ok I did my part because that is an easy thing to do. Everything else would make them have to actually try and find out information and I feel like people do not have that kind of motivation and they are definitely not going to find it the way our government releases information.
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0 # Heng Chang 2014-04-16 22:24
Lotta's speech was interesting and something that's considered new to me. I was confused at first, about our freedom being limited by the government and that the consequences of not having a government would lead to anarchy, but Lotta clarified that for me, stating that there will still be a Constitution. Even if the government or the way of governing changed in the United States, it might not necessarily change in other countries. The reason for America to be in such "disaster" is mainly because we make life too complicated. Children in Africa and other countries can be satisfied with a coconut soccer ball whereas children in the United States throw tantrums when they don't get the newest phone or video games, which are made by other human beings, who are supposed to have the same rights as us. The reality is cruel and it is caused by humans!
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0 # Jessica Rodriguez 2014-04-16 23:23
From what I recall, I thought the talk was pretty interesting over all. I never heard anyone talk about communism in a positive way. I believe that we will all taught to think a like and for a country to be communist was like being the devil, at least the way I saw it. I do believe that capitalist are inhumane, from what he said like working for a very cheap pay, yet the iPhone for example is really expensive. I think that those jobs and others need to come back or at least pay the workers the right amount that they deserve. I tried to talk to about how good communist can be from what I learned and he just look at me as if I was crazy. overall I thought it was a new point of view to see the world, even though I strongly believe that this will not happen any time soon.
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0 # MichaelO 2014-04-17 08:42
Just last quarter I took a class on the History of America. In one homework assignment, we had to identify why America is so against communism and why it was our duty as a free nation to 'contain' it. I recall the communist system, in our textbook, being referred to as a system of slavery, completely opposite to that of the American capitalism. Ray Lotta's speech really challenged my previous understanding of what Communism and has really sparked in interest in me that will lead me to closer examination of the true nature of these two conflicting systems. I agree that there are many, many flaws with our system the way it exists today, but I remain skeptical about whether revolution is absolutely necessary. Check out this video by former KGB propagandist Yuri Bezmenov.
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0 # Susan Torres 2014-04-18 00:50
Capitalism has completely changed people's values and altering the conscience collective to benefit itself. Putting consumerism and profit at the very top of that list. Just as Loo points out, that it would be almost impossible to not contribute to such a terrible system when we have to buy food, clothing etc. If we were to refrain from becoming involved in this cycle of consumerism and being driven by profit we wouldn't be doing much because we are part of something bigger than just us. It's such an abstract thought that it makes me think if we will ever be able to reach the point that Raymond talks about. Would there need to be a sort of re-education of the people in order so they can understand this abstract concept and in turn bring about this change to replace our current system?
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0 # marcam 2014-04-18 21:26
To answer the question “Did his talk stimulate you to "re-think" what you had previously understood about communism and its history” I can say that it did change my thoughts. I used to think of communism as a bad thing because it was the rival of the US. But after Lotta’s talk I think that it would be a better way of living. A way of living were everyone would be more equal and working together for the greater good of society instead of being greedy and only thinking about how can I get more money. I think the culture revolution he spoke about should happen again to awake people around the world about the harm capitalism is doing by splitting people apart by class instead of joining them and everyone helping each other for generations to continue bettering themselves. I also agree that change won’t happen overnight but even if an aspect of society is functioning we should still work on it to see if it can still improve.
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0 # MarieB 2014-04-21 05:53
This speech was, as it has been said, much more surprising and beneficial to listen to than I would have expected. Understanding all the sides of a story is vastly important to me, and it is always difficult to please everyone and understand everyone's point of view. Lotta's points make sense that our system is flawed, but I'm still uncertain as to who would be in charge of a communist regime, and how it could change people's attitudes towards the benefit of everyone in a society. The point about voting every 4 years was a good example of how our “democracy” is not optimal, & gerrymandering & electoral votes in themselves are obviously flawed, & it seems like a dead end for politics. Unfortunately, I & many other truth-seeking citizens find the entirety of micro and macro economics, all of the types of political systems, and fully understanding and remembering human societal history very overwhelming and discouraging. However talks like these benefit us & makes us think.
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0 # Frank sahagun 2014-04-22 12:00
When I finally realized what was happening in this country, and in this world, which was very recently, I was very pissed off. It took me a long time to accept it but I finally did. I couldn't believe that I never noticed it before because much of these things are right in front of our faces in plain sight. We just need to care enough to actually look. It seems when people in this country are just on the verge of seeing it too, things like the iphone, or facebook, or the next tv series, or the next celebrity gossip comes out, diverting their minds from the important issues, and towards the narcissistic, wasteful, consumerist mindset that most people in this country possess. Although I agree that this gov has to go, I am still up in the air about what is best to replace it. Through my research, i developed distrust for everything that is being pushed onto the people. This causes me to question the motives behind the communist revolution idea, though I definitely am not against it.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-22 14:07
Quoting Frank sahagun:
When I finally realized what was happening in this country, and in this world, which was very recently, I was very pissed off. It took me a long time to accept it but I finally did. ... We just need to care enough to actually look.
What caused you to re-examine what you had not seen before? I bet it wasn't because you finally "care[d] enough to actually look." I'd bet that it had to do with your being shown certain things and having certain taken-for-grant ed, everyday things presented in a different light. If that's true of you, why isn't that true of others? Why describe the problem as their being too distractable and narcissistic?
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0 # frank sahagun 2014-04-23 21:55
while what you said about being showed certain things differently and having taken other other things for granted is true, I also never cared enough to look because like most people, I was too wrapped up in my own stuff. The distractions consisted mostly of technological devices such as tv, computer games, video games, and the iphone, to name a few. facebook is another major culprit as well, enabling everyone to talk about themselves all day long, not to mention, it damages our social development and decreases the amount of face-to-face interaction amongst people. I have seen very minimal benefits come out of these things. All I see is that people's attentions are greatly diverted because of these things.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-23 23:04
What was it that caused you to look at what you said was there in plain sight but you previously hadn't actually seen it? What took you away from being distracted?
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0 # Frank Sahagun 2014-04-24 00:05
It was a combination of things that caused this. First thing was my education, in that being a Soc major, I was taught how to see things on a much larger scale than just myself and my closest friends & family. It was also due to my major, in which I wrote many papers on several different contemporary social problems or topics, therefore my extensive research on these various subjects contributed to it as well. One more thing that contributed to me looking at things differently was drug use. I'm sorry if that is inappropriate to say but I truly feel that they contributed to me thinking in a different way which in turn, caused me to see certain things I never had noticed, or "cared" to notice before. Although I don't currently use anymore, I have no regrets because you cannot learn until you live and in order to know "good" you must know "bad." While I am not encouraging drug use to anyone else, I feel that they were a important part of my journey through life
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-24 00:17
Thanks for the concrete answer. As you say, these things "caused me to see certain things I never had noticed, or 'cared' to notice before." While it's true that there are some individuals out there who b/c they care more, bother to look more deeply into what's going on. But we need to ask what makes certain peo more likely to care? The gen'l answer is that certain things happen to them: they see injustice around them, they wonder about contradictions btw the rhetoric about compassion & justice v. actual behavior of authorities and their agents like police, they're exposed to glimpses or more comprehensive accounts that critique the official story. These are all things that spark peo to want to find out more. It isn't a case that those who are not informed & are refusing to act against injustice just lack sufficient caring to do so. Cont. in next comment.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-24 00:25
It would be incorrect, which is the point of my earlier comments and articles, to say that people in this country are ignorant because they just don't care enough. Blanket statements abt everyone are useless b/c any group breaks down into different segments. It's true that there are a minority of peo who are self-centered and who really don't care much abt others. But they are not typical. And it would be wrong to judge and evaluate the whole of society on the basis of its smaller, most socially indifferent section. If you want to understand what is wrong you want to base yourself not on an unrepresentativ e sample of the most philistine section but on those that more accurately represent not only the majority, but the best aspects of humanity, not its worst. Let's assume arguendo that it WAS true, peo don't care enough. What would you then do about it? How cd you change that? How cd you make more peo care? Cont.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-24 00:32
Saying that the prob is peo don't care enough and they need to start caring more isn't a strategy to change things. It leaves you nothing to do except bemoan peo's indifference. It leaves you to accept whatever comes and whatever authorities and the system bring b/c you've left yourself no basis on which to change the world. So that's one point. But the main point is that it's a wrong analysis of the problem in the first place and doesn't even conform to your own personal case. You didn't wake up one day deciding to be more caring. You had things happen to you and you did things that had an effect on you that provoked you to re-examine what you had taken to be true. That's why I've been saying that the key here is that those who are more aware and awake need to help others wake up, esp. those who are more open to doing so right now, by exposing them to the truth and exposing the contradictions btw the official views and the truth.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-24 00:50
You mention distractions like FB and so on. These sites and devices ARE intended to get peo to be overly absorbed by them. Peo didn't demand that they had to have FB or iPhones before they existed. They were manipulated into thinking that they have to have them and various inducements are offered to make peo get deeply into them. It's true that distractions are a problem - it's a major problem because it's very hard now to just sit or stand quietly and think about things. There's so much like TV's on and ads everywhere we go and it's harder for peo to spend the time you need to reflect on things. This isn't mainly peo's fault, even if to some extent peo have a role in this. It's mainly due to larger capitalist forces that stand to profit from doing this and getting peo sucked into it.
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0 # menava 2014-04-28 06:58
What caused me re-examine was not because I cared enough, but it was because things began to not add up. I was told if I just believed in myself one day I could be President, I was told that we were all equal and experienced unequal treatment, I started to realize that as a woman of color I didn't have the same opportunities available to me: what I was taught to believe did not happen for me in the real world. It's when I started to see, from firsthand experience, that the system was flawed that I began to question what was really happening in this country and the world. Firsthand experience is a better teacher than hearing about it. It’s much harsher, but wow it really forces a cold dose of reality on some of us.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-24 00:39
NOTE: Ray Lotta has just posted several comments in the thread above in response to Sarah Heitz's (and other people's) questions about Cuba. To find it easily, do a Find search with "Cuba" in it or look for "Sarah Heitz" 4/13/14 comment and you'll see Ray's comments after hers.
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0 # Slovebee 2014-04-28 07:32
I had no idea what to expect when I attended Raymond Lotta's talk at school. You learn about Communism and all the different ways it turned out to not work. I have always been confused with the ideology as far as why (if it's such a good idea) does it turn to a strict almost-form of enslavement especially for the last societies that have adopted it? Lotta's perspective on communism and the communist revolution were interesting. He brought it down to the basics. An important concept that I agreed with was that of changing what we value. I do believe that if we continue to live lives that are based off of material well-being and success we are going to go no where. I don't believe that having nice things are bad, but I do think that the idolization of stuff has taken our society to a rock bottom state. If we came together in love and started to really appreciate our relationships (with friends, family, the earth), our passions, or our life experiences, we would live differently.
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0 # Marcos1 2014-04-30 23:43
I have to admit that the very thought of someone promoting communism made me cringe. Ever since I can remember the word "communism" has always been used negatively. Movies, books, history teachers, peers, etc etc. I went to the talk to learn as much as possible, to try and understand different paradigms and then analyze it. Ray Lotta had a lot of validity within his speech. The fact that we are leaving a huge carbon footprint, that we are taking more resources that we need, and that it would take 4 planets for everyone in this world to live as we do is like starring at a monster. It's a sad reality that leaves you completely startled, because you know that in order for everyone in the world to progress us Americans must regress (by not consuming as much), until you get distracted or entertained. Capitalism is a beast, yes, but every system will have it's flaws. We need to solve the cries of the world, but in a more peaceful way. Not via violent overthrow.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-01 00:24
Quoting Marcos1:
Capitalism is a beast, yes, but every system will have its flaws.

I look at it this way: I don't believe in utopias (or in dystopias for that matter). I know, however, as a sociologist, that a) systems exist and b) they shape and govern the fundamental processes and outcomes of society based upon their system logic. If you have a system whose basic logic is exploitation and plunder, then it will produce certain inevitable outcomes including terrible daily, endemic violence such as the 25k/day of children who die worldwide from readily preventable causes such as unclean drinking water producing fatal diarrhea. 25,000 x 365 days/yr = 9,125,000 children who die this way, each and every year. This does not include all of the wars waged over economic resources which involve millions and tens of millions in world wars also over economic resources, the murder of females thru sexual violence, minorities murdered, etc. Cont.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-01 00:31
So it's not a question of whether any system has flaws, because no system is going to produce a utopia. It's a question of what results can one inevitably incur as a result of the system you have. As you pt out from Lotta's talk, it would take 4 more Earths to deal with the huge US footprint if everyone lived like the US does now. The planet is being destroyed - right now there's a fire blazing in Rancho and the climate gets hotter and hotter every season. The hottest day now will be the coldest day in the near future worldwide. Imagine that! How can we continue to accept these system outcomes? Why is it wrong to put every effort possible into rescuing this precious planet from destruction? To put the ques opposite of the way that is usually posed: why must those who now rule insist on using tremendous violence and other forms of repression now and escalating levels of violence to protect their system from being overthrown? Cont.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-05-01 00:45
There is ENORMOUS endemic violence on a daily basis under this system and they are preparing to use more and more against peo who make the perfectly ridiculous request (sarcasm) that the planet, humanity, and other species that co-inhabit this earth be respected and protected from harm. So rather than being the ones who are most caring about terrible violence, those who look away from and don't fully grasp the significance of this endemic, daily violence, are actually assisting that daily violence in continuing. So that's a different framing of the issues to consider.

If you have a system that is not based on exploitation but based in its fundamental logic on striving to meet social needs first and foremost, while such a system will not be without problems, the problems it has will be on an entirely different level than the ones produced by a system that is inherently based on inequality, exploitation, and greed.
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0 # mitchell denerson 2014-06-08 22:46
I feel as though we can continue to talk about revolution all we want, but I just don’t see it happening anytime soon. Although it would be cool to be apart of, I just do not see it. There are too many people that will not actually take action and protest. We talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Raymond Lotta’s talk made me look into communism more. I even attended the extra credit opportunity about “Where we are it the revolution” and I found that even with that group of people, there wasn’t any talk about HOW it can be done. All they did was talk shit about our current government and all the wrongs they have done over the last half century. I feel as though there are too many people unwilling to accept change and would go against the idea of revolution (mostly the white upper class) who hold the majority of the power. The truth is that the world now runs on capitalism and I feel its going to stay that way until it collapses completely.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-06-08 22:52
Quoting mitchell denerson:
Although it would be cool to be apart of, I just do not see it. There are too many people that will not actually take action and protest. We talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

I think you are missing some really important principles here. First and most importantly, you are repeating the stand that I have been criticizing vigorously in many different articles: the problem is all those OTHER people. You really can't sincerely say that something would be "cool" to be a part of, and then say that you're not going to do anything to help make it happen because of all these other people who are so messed up. What you're doing when you make a statement like that is making an excuse as to why it's useless for YOU to help to change the world and to save the planet. Even if everything that you said was true, it's still wouldn't stand up as anything more than a rationale for your own inaction.
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0 # Jessica Rodriguez 2014-06-09 03:04
Growing up and taking the history class that we need to take, i was told that communism was a horrible and evil thing. This was betraying your own country. with this talk i had my eyes open and finally know the truth about what capitalism and communism really are. that this whole time our government was the bad guys in the story i was told since middle school.
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0 # Richard Stark 2014-09-29 23:10
These days I want to endlessly popularize Bob Avakian's statement that "After the holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel." This is exceedingly well put, and right on. Raymond Lotta's book, AMERICA IN DECLINE helped my understanding immensely! I suggest REVCOM.US as an invaluable resource!
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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12