Reform, Revolution, and Abolition: Historical Reflections

The Paris Commune

By Rodney Green

This talk was given at the Abolitions Conference of the University of California Washington Center, May 6-8, 2023. Recorded sessions can be accessed at

The fight against state repressive institutions has a long history. Central to this history is strategic conflict between reform and revolution. Can change can come from reforming the system (working from within) or does it require a revolution that destroys the state and bring to political power the exploited and oppressed?

Today’s “abolition” initiatives share this conflict. Most participants in today’s abolitionist movements are deeply skeptical of racism, capitalism, and imperialism. All of us in these various movements have faced enormous frustrations in trying to bring about systemic change.

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Ukraine’s Zelensky Sends Love Letter to US Corporations, Promising ‘Big Business’ for Wall Street

By Ben Norton

Reprinted from Scheerpost, January 27, 2023

Editor’s comments: This article clearly delineates Western-backed Ukraine’s dedication to repressive capitalism, on top of the wholesale corruption that has long characterized the country. A Western victory would also add on austerity and anti-worker policies dictated by the IMF. Ukrainian workers have nothing to gain from this war which only offers a choice between competing imperialist exploiters. Ukrainian, Russian, indeed all soldiers and workers need to fight for an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist society.

Ukraine’s Western-backed leader Volodymyr Zelensky sent a love letter to US companies, thanking “such giants of the international financial and investment world as BlackRock, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs” for buying up his country’s assets. “Everyone can become a big business by working with Ukraine”, he enticed, claiming that the reconstruction of his nation “will be the largest economic project of our time in Europe” ( Zelensky likewise praised the Starlink company of billionaire Elon Musk for its technological support, and he called for more Western weapons shipments, including Patriot missiles and Abram tanks.

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US Capitalists Supported Nazis to Stop Communism and Earn Millions

By an antiracist educator, 5-9-2023

(This article adds more examples of US collaboration with the Nazis to those cited in Fighting Fascism,

The book, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler (2002) by Anthony C. Sutton, documents the collaboration of US industrialists and bankers who bankrolled Germany from the 1920’s through the post-WWI period and then proceeded to assist the Nazis re-arm themselves and prepare for WWII, despite the specific prohibition against re-armament in the Versailles Treaty ending WWI in 1919. The US government did not officially support Hitler and declared war on Germany in December 1941.  However, a large number of Wall Street bankers and industrialists did support Hitler in ways that were critical to Germany’s ability to prosecute the war:

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Fighting Fascism: from the Past to the Future

by Karyn Pomerantz, 4-24-2023

This blog article offers a definition and description of the signs of fascism, how it developed in several countries in the 1930s and 1940s, the ways people fought back, and the lessons they teach us. We will explore the Popular Front and anarchist responses compared to a revolutionary strategy.

What is Fascism?  Is the US a Fascist State?

Fascism is a stage of capitalism run by the same class of people as under “democratic” (liberal) capitalism.  It is not a new or different system. It develops when the ruling class cannot govern as “usual” and requires brute force to control workers to accomplish its goals  (

People often believe that fascism requires politicians like Trump or DeSantis who spread a vicious discourse on racism and inspire white nationalists. Fears that either may gain the presidency have pushed liberal voters into the Democratic Party camp or into total despair and inaction.

However, fascism serves the interests of the same political and economic ruling class as under liberal democrats. It is easier for this class to keep its power peacefully by convincing workers to accept oppression rather than resorting to a more violent, disruptive fascist agenda.

Liberal democrats like Biden and former Democratic Party administrations give lip service to democracy in many countries. When US corporations need to steal resources, markets, and cheap labor overseas, the government will install fascist regimes, such as in Chile, Argentina, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

While their practices have elements of fascism, such as breaking strikes and deporting people, they do not signify that we have a fascist form of capitalism. If a liberal government can rule and milk the working class without sparking massive disruption, there is no need to use extreme force and repression to govern.

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Palestinians Don’t Exist?

by Ellen Isaacs

March 22, 2023

“Palestinians don’t exist.” (  This was the recent statement by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich that made shocked headlines around the world. And, of course, he meant it as an affirmation of Jewish nationalism, the right of Israeli Jews to dispose of all Palestinians from the Jordan to the Sea. Sounds kind of like the Nazis, no?

But in a perverted way he was right (forgive me, read on). People exist, all people exist, but there are huge divisions between us. In this universally capitalist world, the divisions that truly describe our station in life and the power to control our lives depend not on our ethnicity but on our class, workers versus bosses and their henchmen. Workers exist in every nation, as do capitalist power holders, and in every nation workers are exploited for their labor and used as soldiers to fight the workers of other nations as capitalists compete for wealth and resources. The alternative is for workers of all nations to recognize our commonality, unite and build a new worldwide society, based on our own interests. In that world there will be no nations, no racism, no sexism, and no exploitation for profit. International workers exist!

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From Turkey to NYC:

This Is What Capitalist Disasters Look Like – This Is What Fight Back Looks Like

By Karyn Pomerantz, 2-16-2023

Earthquake in Turkey

The world is aflame, from the blazing bombs in wars to the fiery heat of global warming. The drivers of empire use our bodies as cannon fodder in Ukraine and Russia and extract our minerals out of the ground in Congo and our bodies from earthquakes.

The huge earthquakes in Turkey and Syria killed over 40,000 by today’s count (2-16-2023). We may say, “well, that’s nature, there’s nothing we can do about that.” But that would be wrong.

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Let’s Not Choose Among Imperialists- Workers and Soldiers Must End Ukraine War

by Ellen Isaacs

February 3, 2023

Sympathy and help for Ukrainians is everywhere. Blue and yellow flags flying, refugees being welcomed, marches held, monies sent, applause for armaments. What if Russia had invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo, for control of cobalt, coltan and gold let’s say? Do you think Americans and Western Europeans would be sending aid and arms and welcoming African refugees? Have we seen

  • Mass support for Yemeni civilians suffering the “worst humanitarian crisis” on the planet, according to the UN, while the US armed Saudi aggressors?
  • Aid for Haitians lost in a morass of poverty and gang violence after years of US exploitation and manipulation of elections?
  • Mass aid for Gazans living without enough food or water as thousands are killed by US ally Israel?

And the list goes on – Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan – many countries that the US has invaded or supported one side in a proxy war causing death, injury and hardship to millions. Where were Ukraine’s supporters when safe passage to Poland was denied to African exchange students? Could racism possibly be at play?

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Solidarity Among Bus Drivers – Hail to the Working Class

by Karyn Pomerantz, 2-2-2023

This video celebrates the multiracial love and respect among bus drivers from all different parts of the world. While the song sung by a Sikh driver focuses on British drivers, it applies universally.  Link here

Meanwhile in the US: Metro Workers Strike Again

Since 2021, the DC area has experienced four strikes of workers in Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 against private contractors that operate public transit vehicles. The workers—black, Latin, Sikh, Ethiopian, and white, men and women, immigrant and U.S. born—have all shown great unity in the struggle, even more necessary because the ATU International, which has intervened in the current strike, has typically accepted substandard contracts in the past to save money by shortening the length of the strikes.

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Israel: More Right and Too Little left

by Ellen Isaacs

January 19, 2023

There is much consternation about Israel’s move sharply rightward under Netanyahu’s new government, but it is really just a move to more overt fascism, by which is meant rule by force without any pretense of democracy or respect for human rights. The change is really minimal as Israel has created a society of inequality, racial and gender discrimination and has unleashed terror upon Palestinians since its founding in 1948. This article will discuss some of the ways in which these conditions are manifest and how any substantive change will demand unity between Arab and Jewish workers within all of historic Palestine and most likely with workers of the world. Unity not only to struggle together but to build a non-racist, non-exploitative society beyond capitalism.

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by Ellen Isaacs

November 20, 2022

There is nothing new to say

Except that it is astounding, it is horrifying, it is revelatory that

Those who began it, who knew what they were doing, who now know

That the warming world, their enterprise, will kill itself and us too.

And still they barely act.

We will not say anything new

Except that we will omit the part

About how it might be averted, might reverse itself

Might not destroy our home —

Unless we destroy the destroyers.

Let’s not forget that scientists noted that something was amiss as early as the mid-1800s. In 1824, Joseph Fourier calculated that an earth-sized planet, at our distance from the sun, ought to be much colder, and in 1856 Eunice Foote discovered that carbon dioxide and water vapor were trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. By 1886, Svante Arrhenius predicted that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could increase surface temperature; by 1956 climate change was predicted.1


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