As a young man he became involved with the Students for a Democratic Society at Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement and the Black Panther Party. In 1968 he wrote articles for the Peace and Freedom Party's publications and in July 1969 he attended the Black Panther conference held in Oakland, California. In the early part of the 1970's he "fils served" time in jail for "desecrating the American flag" during a demonstration. During that period, Avakian was a member of the Bay Area Revolutionary Union.
Avakian was charged with assaulting a police officer in January 1979 at a demonstration held in Washington DC to protest Deng Xiaoping's meeting with Jimmy Carter After receiving an "arrest warrant" Avakian "jumped bail" and fled to France. He gave a speech to 200 protestors in downtown, Oakland, California in 1980 and his police assault charges were dropped a few years later.
He went on a speaking tour in 2000. and published an autobiography called: From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist in 2005.
- Avakian, Bob (2005) From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, Insight Press
- Baum, Richard (2010). China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom (1st ed.). University of Washington Press. p. 241. Retrieved Sept 11, 2014.
- Oppenheimer, Mark. "Free Bob Avakian!". Boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved Sep 8, 2014.
- Werkmen, Dirk (March 10, 1968). "Freedom: The Birth of a Party, 1968" (page 5). Independent Star News.
- Benson, George S. (March 28, 1972). "Looking Ahead". page 11 (The Evening Independent). Retrieved Sep 9, 2014.
- Baker, Ross S. (Nov 22, 1970). "A History of The Weathermen". Express and News. Retrieved Sep 9, 2014.
- Avakian, "Bob Avakian Speaks on the Mao Tsetung Defendants' Railroad and the Historic Battles Ahead", Introduction and pp. 18--21.
- Athan G. Theoharis, "FBI Surveillance: Past and Present", Cornell Law Review, Vol. 69 (April 1984); and Peter Erlinder with Doug Cassel, “Bazooka Justice: The Case of the Mao Tse Tung Defendants – Overreaction Or Foreshadowing?”, Public Eye, Vol. II, No. 3&4 (1980), pp. 40--43.
- Unknown author (May 2, 1980). "Scores arrested, Injured In May Day Violence". Logansport Pharos-Triubune. UPI. Retrieved Sep 9, 2014.
- Buchwald, Art (August 12, 2000). "Leisure Will Kill You". Indiana Gazette (Indiana). Retrieved Sep 8, 2014.
- Unknown (Dec 6, 1979). "Communist s get year sentence for disruption" (page 2). The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill). Retrieved Sep 9, 2014.
- Ely, Mike. "Letter 4: Truth, Practice and a Confession of Poverty". http://kasamaproject.org/kasama/40-import-data/4349-letter-4-truth-practice-and-a-confession-of-poverty. Kasama Project.
- "What Is Kasama". Kasama Project. Kasama Project. Retrieved Sep 5, 2014.
- Official website
- Book review of From Ike to Mao in CounterPunch,
- Book review of From Ike to Mao in SFGate
- How Can We Apologize for Taking History into Our Hands by Bob Avakian at archive.org
- Speech at Revolution Talk