Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, for Revolution at the Chicago Lake Shore Drive Shutdown


From the Revolution Club, Chicago

In the wake of intense repression, brutality, and murder by Chicago police all summer, on August 2, hundreds of people marched on Chicago’s North Side to demand an end to the segregation, poverty, and violence against Black people in particular. In just the past two months, Chicago pigs shot several people, most recently murdering Harith “Snoop” Augustus, a respected barber they profiled, grabbed, and then shot repeatedly as he tried to get away. Snoop’s whole body was shot up, including a shot in the back of his head. This was a month after pigs murdered 24-year-old Maurice Granton Jr., shooting him in the back as he ran from them.

After Snoop’s murder, people protested in anger and were defiant and determined in the face of the pigs clubbing and beating people. Protests lasted for days, and in those days and in the aftermath, police have targeted people in that neighborhood, several times beating and arresting people out on the sidewalks in the middle of the day where everyone can see. Meanwhile, video recently released of the murder of Maurice Granton Jr. shows clearly police shooting him down while his hands were grabbing a fence he was trying to jump over, and then shows them taunting and threatening his friends who came running when he was shot.

People are furious and fed up, and the trial of the pig who killed Laquan McDonald in 2014 is scheduled to begin September 5. Laquan was the 17-year-old who was shot 16 times by police as he was walking away from them, and the video was hidden and covered up for a year by the police and mayor. Chicago authorities have now come up with a “consent decree” to make a show of making changes to a hated and widely known to be corrupt, brutal police force—and even in this illusion of change, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is opposing parts of it that seem to be going too far in putting limits on the police.

At the same time, the masses of people way too often continue to misdirect their anger toward each other. Told that they are nothing, treated as nothing by this system in a thousand ways, and seeking meaning in fighting over turf that isn’t even theirs, they lash out in heartbreaking ways, shooting and way too often killing each other. The Revolution Club has both joined with people in fighting the brutality and murder of the police and struggled with them to stop killing each other and to get organized into making revolution… for real.

In the context of all of this, Chicago police have come down with repression against the Revolution Club for exercising their right to call all this shit out and organize people for revolution, arresting Revolution Club members all summer and pulling up their cars in front of the Revolution Club Organizing Center in the week of protests after Snoop’s murder.

The protest August 2 was an important response to this whole situation, and the ministers and activists who organized it called for the shutdown of Lake Shore Drive on the North Side to disrupt the baseball game traffic. They called this protest in order to make the whole city take notice about their stand against not only the violence among the people, but also the brutality of the police and the tremendous inequality in general in the city. Their demands included the resignation of the mayor and police chief, and the protest involved people of all nationalities from all over the city.

The Revolution Club in Chicago joined in with this protest, and we were guided by HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution, especially the following paragraph:

Those who catch the worst hell under this system, and those who are sickened by the endless outrages perpetrated by this system, need to join up with this revolution. Thousands need to get organized into the ranks of the revolution now, while millions are being influenced in favor of this revolution. We have seen the potential for this in the protests that have taken place against police brutality and murder, and other ways in which large numbers of people have gone up against the established authorities and the political “rules of the game.” But this needs to be transformed, through struggle, into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization. The organized forces and the leadership of this revolution must become the “authority” that growing numbers of people look to and follow—not the lying politicians and media of this oppressive system—not those who front for the oppressors and preach about “reconciliation” with this system—not those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution. While many people will do positive things in opposing the crimes of this system, we need to approach everything—evaluate every political program and every organized force in society, every kind of culture, values and ways of treating people—according to how it relates to the revolution we need, to end all oppression. We should unite with people whenever we can, and struggle with them whenever we need to, to advance the revolution.

We put out the word very broadly for people who are part of the movement for revolution—those just beginning to step in and those who are more committed—to come with the Revolution Club to be part of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, projecting the message: This system cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown! Several people took up this call, mainly younger guys on the South Side, including some who have been getting deeply into the revolution in a very short period of time. When the Revolution Club crew marched onto the scene in formation, everyone took note. A journalist tweeted out a picture saying “@revclubchi has shown up to the protest.”

A Revolution Club member spoke over the bullhorn about what it will take to put an END to the intolerable situation where the youth have no future, speaking to the need to overthrow the system that is responsible for this and replace it with a new system. She spoke about the strategy and leadership we have in Bob Avakian and how to work right now to prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard for the time when millions can be led to go all-out for revolution. Two people who saw the Revolution Club march in and heard this agitation, joined on the spot, putting on REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts and joining the crew for the first half of the march.

The Revolution Club crew had an impact throughout the whole march and the rallies. The message that came through in our agitation, banners, and chants was: “This system can’t be reformed, it must be overthrown”—and this was part of opening up debate about reform or revolution in the context of other groups and individuals calling for reforms. From the beginning, there were groups and individuals we had a level of unity with, there were new people being drawn to the message of revolution, and people not sure what they thought of that message, and there were also a handful of “those who front for the oppressors and preach ‘reconciliation’ with this system” as well as “those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution.”

A number of people who were drawn to the message of revolution marched and chanted along with us, putting on stickers with the same message. We were aiming to have as big an impact as possible and to accumulate more forces for revolution on that basis, including giving people concrete ways to step in immediately. In addition to people who put on shirts and stickers, people volunteered to carry the signs of the “5 STOPS” which together was part of having even greater impact with REAL REVOLUTION on the whole march.

At the final rally, many different forces were in the mix, speaking over bullhorns, leading chants, putting forward their demands and their programs. As the Revolution Club spoke out there—uniting with the protest overall but also drawing a sharp divide between reform and revolution, putting forward the leadership and strategy for revolution, and organizing people into the revolution on the spot—a number of people were listening to this and when called on to step into the revolution by putting on a sticker, reached out to grab stacks of stickers to pass to those around them and some did put the stickers on themselves on the spot. This happened as some of “those who turn people against each other when they need to be uniting for this revolution,” were stepping in to try to stop this from happening. The people who were part of the Revolution Club crew stepped up with a lot of heart for the revolution and the leadership of the revolution, not tolerating any of the bullshit that was coming from these people. One newer person did a whole round of agitation on how getting new politicians doesn’t change shit, we need revolution, and then spoke with a lot of passion about how Bob Avakian has dedicated his life to this for decades. And this was all part of how different people were weighing and thinking about the different programs. The person leading the Revolution Club crew spoke over the mic about how fighting these things out is part of what goes into making revolution.

After the rally was over, the Revolution Club crew headed out, with a new person who had joined in during the march and run with the crew the whole time, including through being right in the middle of the contentious struggle that was going on at the end. As we were making our way down the street, a few blocks down a young woman stopped us and said she hadn’t been able to be part of the march because she was working, but wanted to support, so invited us into the café she worked in for cold water and free coffee. When we showed her HOW WE CAN WIN, she said, “I think I’ve found my people.” All of the people working in the café were happy to provide us with coffee and sparked up conversations with different people in the crew.

We stayed around for a minute to sum up together about the experience of the march, and looked at the Points of Attention as we talked about how to deal with things like actual physical threats against us that were made by someone. A newer person who was part of the struggle in South Shore against the police murder of Harith Augustus was frustrated by the fact that there were some of these people out there talking shit and acting in this kind of way. He hasn’t yet gotten that deeply into the strategy and leadership for this revolution, but was being influenced in a good way by others who have started to do that. And overall he felt like he was part of the team and wasn’t going to tolerate attacks on the team.

People were in high spirits about how the whole thing went. One person described the whole experience as “exciting and intense.” Afterwards, people wanted to keep hanging out together, so we all went to somebody’s house and had dinner and beer and watched the news together and looked at videos from the day. After we were done doing all that, we still stayed together a bit later into the night with people sharing some of their personal experiences of being fucked over by the system and then sharing interests and pictures of their kids—just enjoying being together with other people changing the world together.


Originally published at

The Revolution Club stands for two basic principles: “Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism” and “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution.” The Revolution Club is where you get organized to fight the power today to STOP the horrors of the system, and to transform the people, FOR REVOLUTION



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