Refuse & Resist! (R&R) was founded in 1987 by C. Clark Kissinger, a longtime member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), which is a Maoist organization calling for the overthrow of the U.S. government and the establishment of a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” The close relationship between R&R and the RCP is evidenced by the fact that the two entities frequently issue joint press releases. Kissinger and his organizations enjoy the backing of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which, by its own words, “upholds the revolutionary Communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,” and views the Chinese Cultural Revolution as “the farthest advance of communism in human history.”
R&R’s founding statement condemns America for what it calls the country’s drive to use “force of arms” to achieve “global dominance and superiority over other people” — a goal with “a distinctly fascist aura … raising the specter of a police state.” Strongly opposed to America’s current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, R&R accuses the U.S. of engaging in “the glorification of war in general through the promotion of mindless Ramboism.” R&R representatives maintain a visible presence at most anti-war rallies around the United States. A number of these representatives — most notably the organization’s national spokesman Carl Dix — have appeared as guest speakers at such events.
R&R is a member of the Not In Our Name Project, an anti-war movement founded by Kissinger; it is also a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, which is led by Leslie Cagan, a longtime communist activist who aligns her politics with those of Fidel Castro’s Cuba; and it is a sister organization to the anti-President Bush group World Can’t Wait.
Consistent with its opposition to America’s war on terror, R&R strongly opposes the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center where several hundred terror suspects are in the custody of the U.S. military. Said R&R in April 2004: “We believe that the President cannot be allowed to create a ‘legal Black Hole’ into which people are dropped with no recourse to the courts or to international law. … [T]his dangerous new presidentially-designated category of ‘enemy combatants’ who have no legal rights is unjust, illegal, and immoral, and cannot be allowed to stand.”
On the domestic front, R&R claims that racism in the United States is on the rise: “A record of sympathy for white supremacy [has] become the passport to high judicial office.” Characterizing Americans as intolerant of immigrants, R&R states, “Xenophobic attacks are made on anything foreign, combined with calls for the compulsory use of English.” In addition, R&R condemns America’s “compassionless market economy.” “The problem in this country,” says Kissinger, can be traced to one root cause: “the oppressive system of capitalism that exploits people all over the world, that destroys our planet, that oppresses minority people, that sends people to the death chambers in droves. That is a problem that has to be done away with.”
Consistent with its belief that the U.S. is a nation infested with racism and injustice — particularly in the criminal-justice system — R&R endorsed an October 22, 2002 National Day of Protest exhorting Americans to rise up and “Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.” The document announcing this event stated: “Since September 11, 2001, the authorities have rapidly imposed a resoundingly repressive atmosphere. … All over the U.S. people are being killed by law enforcement officers at an escalating rate. … In city after city, cops viciously beat people, confident that they will face no punishment. … Racial profiling … has now come back with a vengeance. … Since September 11th thousands of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians have been rounded up, detained and disappeared. … Hard-won civil liberties and protections have been stripped away as part of the government’s ‘war on terrorism.’ The USA-PATRIOT Act brings in a new set of repressive laws and restrictions on people …” Moreover, this document explicitly defended the convicted murderers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, as well as Jose Padilla and Lynne Stewart, who were convicted on terrorism-related charges — depicting all four as persecuted political prisoners of a repressive American government.
Throughout its history, R&R has consistently portrayed law-enforcement officials as racists intent on corralling and incarcerating minorities on the weakest of pretexts. When some social commentators called for the boycotting of the rap singer Ice-T’s controversial 1992 song “Cop Killer,” R&R held a demonstration outside the headquarters of Time-Warner (the record’s distributor), displaying banners that read, “Ban Killer Cops, not ‘Cop Killer.'”
During the 1992 Los Angeles rioting, which R&R characterized as a justifiable “rebellion” against societal inequities, Kissinger’s group attempted to gain amnesty for all those arrested in order to “preserve the right to rebel.” The group similarly applauded the 2001 riots in Cincinnati, which erupted following a police shooting of a young black man. R&R represented the rioting as “spirited and righteous protest.”
R&R opposes the enforcement of immigration laws, likening illegal aliens who have been detained or deported to the “disappeared” — a reference to those political prisoners of totalitarian states who simply vanish and are never seen again. When the Patriot Act required male immigrants from some twenty Arab or Muslim countries and North Korea to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, R&R objected, warning that such a policy would be a steppingstone toward the establishment of “a nation behind barbed wire” wherein many people would eventually be herded into concentration camps.
Viewing the United States as a nation that oppresses women, R&R says, “We cannot look to courts, cops, and politicians to protect women’s rights. … Women and men across the country have to thunder our outrage, organize a real defense of the [abortion] clinics, and go on a new footing against the forces of misogyny. We ourselves have to create both a political climate and a practical situation where it is impossible for the Christian fascists to wage their attacks on women and their clinics.”
R&R was a Co-Sponsoring Organization of the April 25, 2004 “March for Women’s Lives” held in Washington, D.C., a massive rally that advocated unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. On March 10, 2005, R&R exhorted Americans to celebrate a National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. “Stand up with your abortion services provider,” said R&R, “and say: ‘Thank you for your heroism, perseverance, courage, and commitment to women.'”
R&R accepts financial contributions in two forms: Credit card donations go directly to the organization, while check donations are made payable to “IFCO / Refuse & Resist!” IFCO is an acronym for the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, a pro-Castro group founded in 1967 for the purpose of raising money for leftist causes. IFCO is currently the fiscal sponsor of R&R and was closely allied with the now-defunct Not In Our Name Project.