Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Da - Dd   —

[From Hindi and related languages, ‘dakaiti’:] A term often used in English in India for armed robbery or banditry. More fully: the criminal activity of gangs of armed bandits, including not only armed robbery but also often murder and other crimes. Dacoit is the word for an individual bandit.

An armed squad. This is a term frequently used in India for small revolutionary guerrilla squads.

[Sometimes not capitalized.] The newer name in India and South Asia for what were once called the “Untouchables” or the “Scheduled Castes”. Unlike those terms, Dalit is the name used by these people to refer to themselves, and means “the crushed” or “the oppressed”. Traditionally they have been landless and restricted to the worst and poorest paying jobs. Because these people have been so victimized by the Hindu caste system, many of them in modern times have converted to Buddhism or Christianity.
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DALTON, John   (1766-1844)
The developer of the modern atomic theory in science, and thus one of the founders of the science of chemistry. He also made contributions to meteorology and the physics of gases.


DARWIN, Charles   (1809-1882)
English naturalist and primary creator of the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection. He was one of the most important and most influential of all scientists in history. Marxism, of course, enthusiastically embraces evolutionary science, and sees in its materialist explanations for the origin of species some important additional verification of its whole philosophical outlook.
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DAVIS, Angela   (1944-   )
Prominent African-American revisionist who was a long-time member of the so-called
Communist Party USA, and then later split off with a CPUSA faction to form the Committees of Correspondence.

A violent demonstration, or riot, organized and led by the “Weathermen” (later
Weather Underground Organization) faction of the Students for a Democratic Society in Chicago on October 8, 1969, and two days later. This demonstration was against the U.S. imperialist war in Vietnam and was timed to coincide with the Chicago Seven trial. The organizing slogan was “Bring the war home!”, and the organizers hoped to create massive chaos in Chicago with many thousands of protesters causing widespread havoc. They expected this to start to “wake up” the American population to the vicious imperialist war going on, and to be the first step in a growing series of destructive and chaotic demonstrations by students and others which would eventually force the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam. One of the organizers, Bill Ayers, said much later that

“The Days of Rage was an attempt to break from the norms of kind of acceptable theatre of ‘here are the anti-war people: containable, marginal, predictable, and here’s the little path they’re going to march down, and here’s where they can make their little statement.’ We wanted to say, ‘No, what we’re going to do is whatever we had to do to stop the violence in Vietnam.’” [From the documentary The Weather Underground, produced by Carrie Lozano and directed by Bill Siegel and Sam Green, 2003.]

The organizers expected many thousands of protesters to come, but only two or three hundred actually showed up. Nevertheless they went ahead, first by rampaging through the afluent Gold Coast neighborhood, smashing the windows of a bank and many cars. After a few blocks they ran into a police barracade which they charged. More than a thousand police counter-attacked, and at least twice the cops purposefully ran squad cars directly into groups of protestors. The whole riot lasted only about half an hour, during which 6 Weathermen were shot by the police and a large number were injured. 68 rioters were arrested and 28 police were injured.
        Shortly before that demonstration/riot, the Weathermen had blown up a statue honoring the police. Two days later, they staged another violent demonstration of about 300 people which broke through police lines and smashed the windows of cars and stores in the downtown Chicago Loop area. Within 15 minutes more than half of the crowd had been arrested, including most of the leaders of the Weathermen.
        While the motives of the protesters (opposing the imperialist war and attempting to stop it) were admirable, this sort of “propaganda by the deed” turned out to be highly counter-productive. It did not serve to turn the American masses against the war; on the contrary, it served more to turn many of them against the students and the anti-war movement. It is not that violence is necessarily wrong, but people should be smart enough to only use it when there is good reason to believe it will advance a good cause. The Weathermen were so out of touch with the masses that they could not understand this. They were even quite out of touch with the thinking of most of the members of SDS itself, which is why they expected so many more members to show up at the demonstration. And, finally, this sort of pointless hooliganism, along with the destructive penetration of the Progressive Labor Party into SDS, ended up destroying that important organization, and seriously harming the student, anti-war, and revolutionary movements as a whole.


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