By Raymond Lotta and Larry Everest • April 27, 2023 at 11:09 PM | Reprinted from the Columbia SpectatorClasses are ending this spring on May 1, also known as May Day. This May Day comes at a time of unprecedented existential dangers—and a rare time when revolution and the construction of a better world despite the horrors of today have become more possible. But to seize that possibility requires putting revolution on the map, to embrace the challenge of building a better world. We invite Columbia students to join us in making a revolutionary, internationalist May Day a reality. The May 1 march will gather at 132nd Street and Malcolm X Boulevard at 4 p.m.
Right now, masses of people around the world are suffering, and the planet stands at a precipice. There is war raging in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people have been subjected to a murderous and unjust Russian invasion, the United States’ involvement in which we analyze as a proxy war with Russia with the potential to escalate drastically, perhaps even to nuclear war. The climate crisis that threatens life on this planet is accelerating, and the United States retains its title as the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has stripped women of their constitutional right to abortion. Young Black and Latino people are routinely shot, killed, or beaten by police. Refugees seeking asylum in the United States are brutalized, detained, and deported. Over 400 anti-trans bills have been or are being debated in state legislatures. And the list of shocking assaults goes on and on.Will students step forward? The time is now. Why do these horrors keep happening and getting worse? And why is now a time when something can really be done about it?
The root of the outrages in society and the world isn’t the justice system, the corporate system, or the voting system. It’s the capitalist-imperialist system that undergirds and shapes all society and the world. No election, or changing the faces of those who rule over us, or giving new names to the oppression that humanity lives with, will change things. Only revolution to overthrow this profit-based system can put an end to the horrors of racism, patriarchy, wars of empire, and the destruction of the planet—and pave the way for a whole new system and society. The vision and blueprint for a truly liberating society is set forth in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian.
The chance to make a real revolution is not off in the distant future. Why? Because the divisions among this system’s rulers are deeper and more antagonistic than they’ve been since the Civil War. The Republican Party is going for full-out fascism and no longer accepts the rules of the game and the peaceful transfer of power. The Democratic Party has no answers other than keeping the same system of endless wars and oppression intact. These two parties are at each other's throats—and their clashes can jolt people into questioning whether this is the best of all possible worlds and whether this system is as eternal as it proclaims. But for anything good to come out of this escalating nightmare, the movement for revolution must reach different aspects of society to show people why this is happening and what must be done.
This requires that the revolutionaries of today must very quickly grow to the thousands and then the millions. And that is where May 1, 2023 comes in. As revcom.us has put it: “On that day, people need to see the reality of a force—one whose numbers may not yet be large but whose vision, determination, daring, and confidence in their cause and message will reach out and reverberate far and wide.”
Historically, students have played a vital role in revolutions, in waking up and shaking up society. But right now, too many progressive-minded students are caught up in narrow and insular thinking and woke politics that lowers sights. We need unity; we need a real revolution. We challenge the Columbia community to seriously dig into what revolutionary communists are saying and doing. Bring us your questions, concerns, and disagreements; and struggle with us for the truth about what it will take to emancipate humanity and how you can make a meaningful contribution to that. This calls for broadness of mind and generosity of spirit.
So join with others in taking to the streets on May 1. Show up for revolution … show up for a world without oppression and exploitation. Let it be heard from students: “We refuse to accept this system’s future!”