Carl Dix

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Carl Dix on Truth and Justice Radio.

Carl Dix is a founding member, and a representative, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP).[1] He is a regular contributor to Revolution newspaper (formerly titled Revolutionary Worker).[2]

Dix has long been associated with Bob Avakian, the chairman of the RCP, and credits Avakian's leadership as the key factor in Dix's ability to remain a revolutionary while many other 1960's activists have given up on revolutionary politics.[3]

In interviews, writings and talks, Dix has addressed questions of imperialist war, revolutionary struggles, the oppression of Black people, along with many other issues. He has held a series of public dialogues with Princeton University professor, and author, Cornel West. The theme of their dialogue has been: In the Age of Obama: What Future for Our Youth?"[4]

In 1996, Dix co-founded the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of Generation. Most recently, Dix has been a central figure in the campaign to Stop "Stop and Frisk" aimed at opposing the New York Police Department's efforts to stop hundreds of thousands of people in New York City and frisk them for weapons, drugs or other items. That campaign estimates that at the current pace, the NYPD will stop over 700,000 people in 2011.[5]

Early political life[edit]

Dix grew up in an African-American working class community of Baltimore, Maryland. While attending college, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War. In 1970, he was one six GI's who refused orders to go to Vietnam.[6] This was the largest mass refusal of orders to Vietnam during that war. Dix served two years in Leavenworth Military Penitentiary. It was during his incarceration that he became a revolutionary.[7] After his release from Leavenworth, Dix returned to Baltimore, Maryland, and worked and organized at the Bethlehem Steel plant. He was active in the African Liberation Support Committee.[8] and a member of the Black Workers Congress.

Dix cites an impromptu all-night session in 1974 with Bob Avakian, then a leader of the Revolutionary Union, where he says Avakian helped pull him firmly on the path to revolution and communism.[9] Following this all night encounter, Dix became a founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975.[10]

Controversy[edit]

During Jesse Jackson's bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, Dix took the stance that "Revolution, Not Elections, Is the Way Out of This Madness." He authored articles on both of these campaigns that were published in the Revolutionary Worker newspaper and later published as pamphlets.[11] Dix toured college campuses as an "anti-candidate" during the 1984 presidential elections, campaigning "against the notion that anything fundamentally good for oppressed people could be accomplished thru the electoral arena."

In 1985, Dix organized the "Draw The Line" statement in response to the City of Philadelphia's bombing of the MOVE house in which 11 people, five of them children, were killed. This statement condemned Philadelphia’s Black mayor for his role in that bombing. It was published in the Black-owned Philadelphia Tribune and in other publications on the first anniversary of this bombing, with over 100 signatories.[12] Dix supported Ramona Africa, the sole adult survivor of the bombing who was the only person sent to jail in the aftermath of the bombing. Dix also calls for the release of journalist and former Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has spent 3 decades on death row in Pennsylvania.[13]

When the first President Bush and his Drug Czar, Bill Bennett, launched a "War On Drugs" in 1989, Dix issued a statement titled, "The War on Drugs is a War on The People!"

Dix wrote "Thoughts on The Color Purple", a review defending the movie and book of that name. In his review, Dix took on those who said "The Color Purple" spread negative stereotypes of Black men. Alice Walker, the author of The Color Purple, wrote: "One shining example of criticism by a black man with love is the review of The Color Purple, the movie, by Carl Dix that appeared in the Revolutionary Worker."[14]

In 2009, a similar controversy surfaced around the movie, "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire." Dix co-wrote with Annie Day, "The Controversy over PRECIOUS: The Demonization of Black Men? Or, Shining a Light on the Squandered Potential of 'Precious Girls Everywhere' and Why Everyone Should Want That Realized."[15] The article criticized African-American essayist and poet, Ishmael Reed, who was critical of the book and movie, contending that, "Reed erases the brutal and undeniable reality of what it means to walk the earth as a woman."

1992 L.A. riots[edit]

Dix was in Los Angeles when the 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out following the acquittal of four police officers whose beating of Rodney King was captured on videotape. Dix moved to L.A. immediately afterwards to, in his words, "defend the rebellion and the youth who spearheaded it" and to "help them go from rebellion to revolution."[16] In 1996, Dix co-founded the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation and co-wrote its mission statement.[17] He currently serves on its National Coordinating Committee.[18]

Hurricane Katrina and aftermath[edit]

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Dix wrote "From Slave Ships to the Superdome in New Orleans", contending that "In a hundred thousand ways Katrina laid bare the unequal and oppressive relations Black people are forced to endure under this system… As long as power is left in the hands of these capitalist exploiters, we’ll continue to see the kind of suffering seen in New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."[19]

In 2006, Dix coordinated the Katrina hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration. This independent commission, convened by the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience, took testimony from Gulf Coast environmental scholars, activists and displaced survivors from New Orleans and former Red Cross volunteers.[20]

In 2007, Dix traveled to New Orleans and became involved with movement to stop the demolition of public housing there. Dix called the demolitions an attempt to cleanse New Orleans of its poor Black population.[21]

Obama presidency[edit]

During the 2008 elections, Dix argued against those who saw Obama’s candidacy as a vehicle to advance a progressive agenda. Dix popularized the analysis of Bob Avakian—that Obama was a “trump card” being played by those who rule the US in order to bring disaffected forces back into support for the system.[22] Dix wrote that "promoting Obama's campaign can only lead people back into the killing embrace of this rotten system."[23]

Further amplifying on this position, beginning in 2009, Dix engaged in a series of public dialogues with Princeton professor and public intellectual, Cornel West, under the theme of “In the Age of Obama - Police Terror; Incarceration; No Jobs; Mis-Education - WHAT FUTURE FOR OUR YOUTH?"[24]

Mass incarceration[edit]

In 2011 Dix played a key role in initiating the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and wrote "Taking the Movement of Resistance to Mass Incarceration to a Higher Level Thru Unleashing Determined Mass Resistance".[25] Dix, together with Cornel West, author and journalist Herb Boyd, Efia Nwangaza of the Malcolm X Center in Greenville, North Carolina, and Rev. Omar Wilkes, issued a statement "From Up Against the Wall to Up in Their Faces: STOP – "STOP & FRISK"[26] calling for a campaign against at the New York Police Department's "Stop and Frisk" program. On October 21, 2011, over 30 people, including Dix and West, were arrested at the NYPD's 28th Police Precinct in a mass act of non-violent civil disobedience.[27] Earlier that day Dix posted an article on The Huffington Post about why he was going to participate in the protest.[28]

Media and politics[edit]

Dix has done dozens of TV, radio and print interviews and engaged in debate and dialogue with media pundits and a variety of radical figures, around the country and also in significant international events. Dix appeared on CNN’s now defunct Crossfire, where he debated Pat Buchanan and Joseph Rauh.[29]

In 1983, Dix debated Elombe Brath, of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, over the role of the Soviet Union in Africa at "The Soviet Union: Socialist or Social-Imperialist?", an international conference in New York debating the role of the Soviet Union. Dix argued that the Soviet Union had become a "social-imperialist" oppressor in Africa, and that its aid and assistance in Africa had to be understood in the context of the struggle for power and influence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Dix joined with other representatives of Maoist parties and organizations from around the world to denounce the Chinese government’s attack on protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. At this press conference in London, Dix described the current rulers of China as “…typical of the very capitalist roaders Mao Tse-tung fought against all his life.[30]

Dix continues to speak on campuses and doing radio and TV appearances.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carl Dix, National Spokesperson for the RCP,USA"
  2. ^ Revolution is a weekly newspaper and the official voice of the RCP.
  3. ^ "Traveling with Chairman Avakian: A Determined Revolutionary Leader, and a Fired Man, for Decades", Revolutionary Worker, no. 1240, May 16, 2004.
  4. ^ New York Revolution Books, video DVD, 2009 (a rough cut of film of the first dialogue is available here).
  5. ^ Stop Mass Incarceration Network
  6. ^ "Lewis 6 Refuse Vietnam Duty", Ft. Lewis Free Press, No. 1 (1970)
  7. ^ "Revolutionary Worker Interview: Carl Dix: Days of Resistance. Part 1: The Fort Lewis 6", Revolutionary Worker no. 1188, February 23, 2003.
  8. ^ Dix was part of a panel marking the 15th anniversary of the founding the African Liberation Support Committee on May 23, 1987 at the City College of New York.
  9. ^ "Traveling with Chairman Avakian: A Determined Revolutionary Leader, and a Fired Man, for Decades", Revolutionary Worker, no. 1240, May 16, 2004.
  10. ^ "Traveling with Chairman Avakian: A Determined Revolutionary Leader, and a Fired Man, for Decades", Revolutionary Worker, no. 1240, May 16, 2004.
  11. ^ Dix, "Jesse Jackson, The Right Stuff For U.S. Imperialism" (pamphlet), RCP Publications: Chicago (1985); "Revolution Not Elections is the Way Out of This Madness" (pamphlet), RCP Publications: Chicago (1988).
  12. ^ "Draw The Line" was also published by the San Francisco-based Sun-Reporter, and two New York-based weeklies, The City Sun, and the New York Amsterdam News.
  13. ^ Dix, "Stop the Legal Lynching of Mumia Abu-Jamal", New York Amsterdam News, September 17, 1994; Dix, "The People Must Defend This Revolutionary Brother! Stop the Execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Free Him from Jail!", Revolutionary Worker, no. 1098, April 15, 2001.
  14. ^ Alice Walker, Living by the Word. (Mariner Books; October 23, 1989) ISBN 978-0-15-652865-8.
  15. ^ Revolution no. 189, January 17, 2010
  16. ^ Remarks made on April 29, 2011, in a public dialogue with Cornel West at the University of California, Los Angeles, "In the Age of Obama – Police Terror; Incarceration; No Jobs; Mis-Education – WHAT FUTURE FOR OUR YOUTH? A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Carl Dix.
  17. ^ "Wear Black!" October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality national newsletter, 1996.
  18. ^ October 22nd Coalition
  19. ^ Revolution no. 13, September 4, 2005.
  20. ^ Verdict and Findings of Fact, September 13, 2006, by International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States, preface by Howard Zinn.
  21. ^ Dix, "Abandoned, then Bulldozed: The System's Plan for Public Housing in New Orleans" (Revolution no. 112, December 16, 2007); "Destroying Homes for the Holidays in New Orleans" (Revolution no. 113, December 23, 2007); "Protesters Pepper Sprayed, Tasered, Arrested, New Orleans: Resisting Demolition" (Revolution no. 14, December 30, 2007).
  22. ^ "Obama: Playing the Trump Card?", Revolution no. 149, November 30, 2008.
  23. ^ "Obama's "Yes We Can" Illusion ...and the Killing Reality for Black People"", Revolution no. 141, August 24, 2008.
  24. ^ Dix and West were interviewed after their first dialogue on Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" show. See the transcript or watch the interview here
  25. ^ Revolution no. 242, August 9, 2011.
  26. ^ Revolution no. 246, September 25, 2011.
  27. ^ "Harlem, October 21: An Audacious Start to the Movement to STOP Stop and Frisk", Revolution no. 248, October 23, 2011.
  28. ^ Dix, "Why I am Getting Arrested Today", The Huffington Post, October 21, 2011.
  29. ^ More on Dix's media appearances here.
  30. ^ Colin Harding, "Maoists put blame on 'capitalist' Deng", The Independent (London, UK), June 15, 1990.