For Those Who Cling to the Myth
of “This Great American Democracy”:
Some Simple Questions

by Bob Avakian

April 21, 2020 |


Can anyone honestly deny the plain truth of the following words boldly spoken by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass in a July 4th speech in 1852?

For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

This statement echoes down through time, expressing a profound truth today.

If you doubt, or recoil at, this statement, then think about this: After slavery was formally ended through the Civil War, not only were Black people virtually enslaved once again during the long years of “Jim Crow” segregation, but the constant terror they were subjected to was repeatedly punctuated by thousands of lynchingsand lynchings were the cause for public celebrations, where huge crowds of white people, adults and children, gathered to watch and cheer the lynching and claim parts of the mutilated body of the lynched Black person—and postcards were made from photographs of these lynchings and were sold throughout the country.

This was not a one-time orgy of perverse violence—it happened over and over again, generation after generation. Nor is it some kind of “aberration” from the “especially good” nature of this country. And it is not just “ancient history”—atrocities of this kind are not something that is being left behind as this country carries forward its journey toward “a more perfect union.” Despite the rising of Black people through the Civil Rights and Black Liberation struggles after World War 2, which reached a high point in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has continued in various forms and on various levels since then (and despite the fact that, breaking with the despicable history of this country, large numbers of white youth in particular have actively supported these struggles), the fact is that, in the time since 1960 the police have killed more Black people than all those lynched during the days of “Jim Crow” segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror, and Black people as a whole live with the ever-present threat of being brutalized or murdered by police.

And all this, in turn, is a concentrated expression of everything this country has been about, from the beginning and down to today. This is the reality of how the rulers of this country, while proclaiming themselves “the leaders of the free world,” have amassed their wealth and power—through grotesque brutality, plunder and destruction in every part of the world—something which is extensively laid out in the American Crime series at, and which leaves no doubt as to the huge scope of these crimes and the fact that they are “built into” the very nature and structure of the system in this country. To repeat the words of Frederick Douglass:

For revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

One final question: Is it not time, at long last, to face up to all this and act with determination to put an end to all this, with the recognition that for this to become a reality a radically different system and a radically different kind of country is needed?*

* The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, provides a sweeping vision and a concrete blueprint for “a radically different system and a radically different kind of country.” This Constitution is available at 

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