Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP,USA) revcom.us is a nationwide revolutionary communist party in the United States. Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the RCP, USA and has led the party since its founding in 1975. Avakian's body of work is taken by the RCP as its ideological and political foundation and framework. The party emerged out of the revolutionary movements of the 1960's and early 1970's in the U.S., drawing particular inspiration from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and Mao Tsetung. The party's stated purpose is to lead the masses of people in making a revolution in the United States as part of revolutionary struggles worldwide, with the ultimate goal of communism—a classless world where exploitation, oppression, and all destructive divisions among people are eliminated and all people would be free to work together to build a global society for the benefit of humanity. The organization is actively involved in what it characterizes as "building a movement for revolution and building the Party as its leading core."
The main voice of the organization is its weekly newspaper Revolution/Revolución (formerly called Revolutionary Worker/Obrero Revolucionario, 1979-2005) which is published in English and Spanish, and has been published continuously since 1979. This newspaper as well as works by Bob Avakian, party publications, and information about the RCP's current political work can be found at the website revcom.us.
- 1 Political Overview
- 2 Origins and early history
- 3 A Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
- 4 The Beginning of a New Stage of Communist Revolution
- 5 Website
- 6 Selected Publications from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
- 7 Selected works of Bob Avakian
- 8 Notes
The need and possibility for revolution
According to the RCP, "Under this system of capitalism, so many in this society and so much of humanity are forced to endure great hardship and suffering, exploitation, injustice and brutality, while wars and the ongoing destruction of the natural environment threaten the very future of humanity." The RCP strongly argues that revolution and communism are both necessary and possible. In the party's view the realization of the possibility of revolution and communism hinges on the people themselves, in their millions and tens of millions, becoming conscious emancipators of humanity. The party maintains that without the leadership of a vanguard communist party it is not possible to bring to life and give organized expression to the revolutionary potential of millions of people who are oppressed by what the RCP terms "the system of capitalism-imperialism."
Bob Avakian has made the analysis that capitalism was restored in the Soviet Union in 1956, and that in 1976 proletarian power was overthrown in the People's Republic of China, which led to the subsequent restoration of capitalism. Avakian and the RCP argue that these two events represented the end of an entire "first stage of communist revolution." In a body of work spanning more than 30 years, Avakian has examined this "first stage of communist revolution," summing up what he characterizes as the principally positive achievements of those revolutions, while learning from their negative experiences and mistakes. The RCP claims that Avakian's body of work represents "a new synthesis of communism." Their argument is that while Avakian has proceeded from the basic framework of communist theory, chiefly developed by Marx, Lenin and Mao, Avakian has recast and reenvisioned communism, and that this represents a major theoretical advance. The party holds that this "new synthesis of communism" creates a viable vision and a strategy for "a new stage of communist revolution" in today's world.
In 2010 the party published a Constitution For the New Socialist Republic in North America, claiming that this represents a basic model, fundamental principles and guidelines for the functioning of what they envision as the future socialist society and state in North America.
Communism as a science
The RCP views communism as an integral philosophy and political theory, a revolutionary political movement and an ultimate goal, but also as a living and continuously developing science. According to the RCP, communism provides an outlook and method of understanding all aspects of reality based on deep scientific investigation and practice and on the application of the scientific method. Avakian has emphasized that one of the defining features of the "new synthesis of communism" is that it has put communism on a more solid scientific foundation.
The RCP bases itself on what it calls "proletarian internationalism," a cornerstone of communist theory that in the view of the party has been further developed by Avakian. This theory holds that revolutions and revolutionary struggles in every country must take as their starting point the interests of all oppressed people the world over and must act on that basis; and further it stresses that this internationalist conception and orientation must be foundational to the approach to revolution, in specific countries as well as on a global basis. It argues that the overall development of revolutionary situations in given countries are more determined by changes on a world scale than by developments within specific countries. Further, this view acknowledges that successful revolutions will occur country by country and that socialist societies must first be built in particular countries, but argues that socialist countries must be built as base areas for world revolution and must actively promote world revolution. The party contends that as long as capitalist-imperialist relations and capitalist states remain and hold sway in the world, there will be a basis for capitalism to recreate itself and spread, and there will be a danger of capitalist restoration in socialist countries.
Strategic approach to revolution
The stated goal of the party is revolution in the United States as part of revolutionary struggles worldwide aimed at ending the capitalist-imperialist system on a world scale. The party argues that in advanced capitalist societies, such a revolution can only be made when millions and millions have awakened to political life and are involved in massive and sustained opposition to the capitalist-imperialist system; through this a "revolutionary situation" emerges which is defined by a major crisis in society and government where millions become convinced of the need for revolution, and then there is an actual struggle for power between those who want to move society forward to socialism and communism and the forces and supporters of the old order.
The party contends that the "potential for a revolutionary crisis lies within the very nature of this capitalist system itself—with its repeated economic convulsions, its unemployment and poverty, its profound inequalities, its discrimination and degradation, its brutality, torture and wars, its wanton destruction." The RCP's "Statement on the Strategy for Revolution" speaks to crises within the system—"sudden jolts and breakdowns in the 'normal functioning' of society, which compel many people to question and to resist what they usually accept. No one can say in advance exactly what will happen in these situations—how deep the crisis may go, in what ways and to what extent it might pose challenges to the system as a whole, and to what degree and in what ways it might call forth unrest and rebellion among people who are normally caught up in, or feel powerless to stand up against, what this system does."
Within these objective dynamics of the system, the RCP's strategic approach to making revolution is embodied in the recognition that "...the possibility of revolution will never really ripen unless those who recognize the need for revolution are preparing the ground for this politically and ideologically even now: working to influence the thinking of people in a revolutionary direction, organizing them into the struggle against this system, and winning growing numbers to become actively involved in building the movement for revolution." The party refers to this strategic approach as "hastening while awaiting" the changes in the objective situation which will make a revolution possible. The party argues that this approach is "....the key to breaking through the situation where there are not yet the necessary conditions and forces to make revolution, but those conditions and forces will never be brought into being by just waiting for them to appear."
With this as its framework, the RCP sees itself as actively building and leading a movement for revolution. As part of this, in its ongoing work and in various campaigns and initiatives, it actively mobilizes people under the slogan "Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution." It strives to unite broadly with many others with diverse viewpoints in strengthening resistance against what it sees as the never-ending outrages of the system (such as imperialist wars, police brutality and the mass incarceration of Blacks and other minorities, pornography and the degradation of women, and the ravaging of the environment) while working to transform people's thinking so that they increasingly come to see that the fundamental problem is the capitalist-imperialist system, and that the only solution is communist revolution.
For many years the RCP has spoken to what they refer to as the "two maximizings": developing resistance and revolutionary movement among those most severely oppressed by the system, while at the same time developing the same type of movement among those more privileged in society who themselves suffer in many ways by the workings of the system and are outraged by the many injustices of the system. The "two maximizings" refers to developing a "mutually reinforcing" influence and revolutionary dynamic between these two trends in society which the party views as having important implications for building a movement for revolution, and successfully making a revolution.
A hallmark of the RCP is the emphasis that it has placed on the historic and ongoing oppression of Black people and their potential in making revolution. Reflecting and underscoring this view, Bob Avakian has said:
There will never be a revolutionary movement in this country that doesn't fully unleash and give expression to the sometimes openly expressed, sometimes expressed in partial ways, sometimes expressed in wrong ways, but deeply, deeply felt desire to be rid of these long centuries of oppression [of Black people]. There's never gonna be a revolution in this country, and there never should be, that doesn't make that one key foundation of what it's all about.
The RCP considers the full liberation of women as a "touchstone" matter for the movement for revolution and among the ranks of the people more broadly. In its view, the struggle to emancipate humanity is bound up all along the way with the struggle to free women from millennia of oppression, and humanity cannot be free until women are liberated in all respects. It emphasizes that women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure that this revolution does not stop short but instead continues until all oppression is uprooted.
The RCP speaks to "the truly urgent situation with the environment, and specifically the ways in which the capitalist-imperialist system is daily heightening this emergency, in which the future and fate of humanity really is at stake in a very direct and active sense."
Further, the party has stressed that it is wrong to limit a strategic view of the revolutionary process to only contradictions and issues in the political realm. Their strategy stresses the importance of recognizing that revolutionary transformation is a process which goes through "many channels"—that is, important questions of revolutionary transformation often are posed in the realm of the arts and science, in struggles around morality, and in other arenas; and that such issues can themselves become very prominent battlegrounds in society, representing acutely contrasting world views.
Pivotal to building a movement for revolution the RCP promotes what it refers to as the "two mainstays" of the party's revolutionary work, the ongoing and main ways to bring about the ideological and political basis for revolution. The first mainstay refers to "a culture of appreciation, promotion and popularization of what has been brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA) and what he represents;" and the second mainstay refers to the party's newspaper, REVOLUTION, which the RCP describes as the "hub and pivot"—and the scaffolding—of the movement for revolution.
Origins and early history
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP) was founded in 1975 in a process initiated by the Revolutionary Union, a revolutionary group of the '60s and early '70s. Bob Avakian played a major role in the founding of the party and was elected as its first chairman. Avakian has been the party's leader from that time until the present and has been central to its theoretical and overall work.
The RCP took the name Revolutionary Communist Party to distinguish itself from the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA), which it considers "revisionist" for abandoning revolution and continuing to align itself with the Soviet Union after socialism was overthrown there in the mid-1950s and the USSR was transformed into a social imperialist state and superpower.
Along with many revolutionaries worldwide, the RCP was heavily influenced by the revolution in China and particularly the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in China led by Mao. In the party's writings and speeches at the time, they pointed to the many achievements of revolutionary socialism in China—the collectivization of agriculture and industry, the elimination of the massive destitution and degradation that the Chinese people had suffered, the wiping out of illiteracy, and the great strides toward the liberation of women and the equality of nationalities. And they pointed to revolutionary China's support of and mobilization of the Chinese people to actively support revolutionary struggles all over the world as part of spreading mass revolutionary political consciousness throughout China and the world.
From the view point of the overall development of communist theory, the party has pointed to the significance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which they described as Mao's attempt to deal with the challenges and problems of socialism as a transition from capitalism to communism—where socialism represents a giant step away from the oppression and exploitation of capitalist economy and class rule; but at the same time society still faces and must get beyond what they refer to as the "leftovers" and "scars," the remaining economic differences, as well as oppressive social relations and ideas and social differences, from the old society. Within these differences there was a basis to transform society towards communism, but there was also the real danger of going backwards to capitalism. Those high-ranking officials in the government and communist party (people like Deng Xiaoping) who represented a program which would take China back to capitalism were referred to as "capitalist roaders." The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was Mao's approach to and call for continuing the revolution; and it involved unleashing hundreds of millions of the Chinese people to debate and struggle over what course the society would take—forward toward communism or backward toward capitalism.
In the aftermath of Mao's death in 1976, forces led by Deng Xiaoping seized power and arrested and jailed the "Gang of Four," whom the RCP considered revolutionary communist leaders closely aligned with Mao. Avakian took the position, controversial at the time (including among many in the international communist movement), that this represented the culmination of a "counter-revolutionary coup" and that capitalism had then been restored in China—a major defeat for the Chinese revolution and the communist movement internationally.
In the wake of the events in China, there were splits in the international communist movement and this was manifested within the RCP itself. In 1978, a sizeable minority of the organization left the RCP in opposition to Avakian's analysis in regard to the events in China and in favor of what the RCP characterized as, in essence, trade unionism and reformist politics.
In January of 1979 the RCP called for a rally and march in Washington D.C. to politically confront Deng Xiaoping who was on a state visit to the United States to cement relations with the U.S. During the demonstration there was a confrontation which the RCP contends was a violent attack on the demonstration by the police. Many demonstrators were injured, some seriously. There were also many arrests. Avakian himself was arrested. He and seventeen others received severe multiple federal felony charges. After an extended legal battle and public campaign to drop the charges, the charges against Avakian were eventually dropped in 1982.
During this period the RCP confronted many arrests and repressive measures including government surveillance. In 1980, two weeks after having raised a red flag on top of the Alamo in Texas and amidst threats by the police, Damián García, a supporter of the RCP, was murdered as he was doing political outreach in a Los Angeles housing project. Throughout this period Avakian was targeted for government surveillance and harassment including by the FBI, and in 1981 Avakian went into political exile in France.
A Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
Avakian and the RCP openly write about and discuss the struggle within the organization over what is represented by Avakian's leadership and the new synthesis of communism. They characterize the situation that developed within the party over the whole period of the 1980's and 1990's as one where there were in effect two parties, representing two fundamentally opposed roads: On the one hand, there was the "official" line of the party and the ongoing development of that line as embodied particularly in Avakian's new synthesis of communism; but at the same time, there was increasing opposition to this new synthesis and the revolutionary communist line overall, which they attributed to abandoning the outlook and aims of the communist revolution and settling for reforms to the system of imperialism.
As the party's publications recount it, at the point where the continued existence of the RCP as a revolutionary organization was on the line, Avakian called for what he termed a "cultural revolution" within the party. An analogy was being made to the Cultural Revolution in China. According to the RCP, the focus of this struggle within the organization became whether or not to base the work of the party on this new synthesis of communism and on the importance of Bob Avakian's overall leadership itself. This "cultural revolution" eventually resulted in some members leaving the organization. The RCP has summed up that in its most essential aspect, this "cultural revolution" resulted in a "revitalization of the communist and revolutionary outlook, objectives, spirit and culture" of the party and a deeper unity around and appreciation for Avakian's leadership and the new synthesis of communism.
The Beginning of a New Stage of Communist Revolution
The RCP acknowledges that with the defeat of socialism in the Soviet Union and China the first stage of socialism came to an end, but insists that there is a basis to initiate a new stage of communist revolution. Through polemics, debates, and other forms, the party's orientation has been to vigorously challenge those who don't see revolution as the solution or have given up on the prospect of revolution. The RCP contends that with the advances in communist theory concentrated in Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism and the leadership of Avakian himself, there is a renewed and firm basis for initiating a new wave of revolution, if new waves of people—in the words of the RCP, "new initiators" of a new stage of communist revolution, especially among, but not limited to, youth—can be won to this revolutionary understanding and orientation and into the ranks of the party and the broader movement for revolution around it.
Website for the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA: revcom.us
Selected Publications from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
- Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage-A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (2009) ISBN 978-0-89851-006-5. Available as pdf at revcom.us
- Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal). (2010) ISBN 978-0-8951-007-2. Available as html at revcom.us
- Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (2008) ISBN 978-0-89851-001-0. Available as html at revcom.us
- 1995 Leadership Resolutions on Leaders and Leadership. Revolutionary Worker #825, October 1, 1995. Available as html at revcom.us
- "On the Strategy for Revolution," Revolution/Revolución #226, March 6, 2011. Available as html at revcom.us
- Revolution/Revolución newspaper. Available at revcom.us
- "The Oppression of Black People,The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need." Special issue of Revolution/Revolución. (2008). Available as html or pdf at revcom.us
- "A Declaration: for Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity." Special issue of Revolution/Revolución. (2009). Available as html or pdf at revcom.us
- "State of Emergency, The Plunder of Our Planet, the Environmental Catastrophe, and the Real Revolutionary Solution." Special issue of Revolution/Revolución. (2010). Available as html or pdf at revcom.us
- "The Case of Israel, Bastion of Enlightenment or Enforcer for Imperialism?" Special issue of Revolution/Revolución. (2010). Available as html or pdf at revcom.us
- "From the Hellholes of Incarceration to a Future of Emancipation." Special issue of Revolution/Revolución. (2009). Available as html at revcom.us
- You Don't Know What You Think You "Know" About... THE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION AND THE REAL PATH TO EMANCIPATION:ITS HISTORY AND OUR FUTURE. (November 2013). Available as html at revcom.us. Also available in E-book form here.
- Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation. A Revolution pamphlet (reprints from Revolution newspaper), May 1, 2008. Available as html at revcom.us
- The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have: A Message And a Call, From the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (2009). Available as html at revcom.us
Selected works of Bob Avakian
"BA Speaks: REVOLUTION-NOTHING LESS! Bob Avakian Live." Film of a talk given in 2012. Available as a DVD at revcom.us
- BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian (2011), ISBN 0898510104
- Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution (2014), ISBN 9780898510416
- Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World (2008), ISBN 0976023687
- Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy (2008), ISBN 089851004X
- From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist (2005), ISBN 9780976023623
- Observations on Art and Culture, Science and Philosophy (2005), ISBN 9780976023630
- Marxism and the Call of the Future: Conversations on Ethics, History, and Politics, co-authored with Bill Martin (2005), ISBN 9780812695793
- Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality But Not Traditional Morality (1999), ISBN 0976023644
- Phony Communism is Dead ... Long Live Real Communism! - A Response to the Claims of the "Death of Communism" (1992, 2004), ISBN 0898511224
- Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That? (1986), ISBN 0916650294
- A Horrible End: Or, The End to the Horror? (1984), ISBN 0898510708
- For a Harvest of Dragons: On the "Crisis of Marxism" and the Power of Marxism Now More Than Ever - An Essay Marking the 100th Anniversary of Marx's Death (1983), ISBN 0898510651
- Conquer the World? The International Proletariat Must and Will (1981)
- The Immortal Contributions of Mao Tsetung (1979), ISBN 0898510465
- The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tsetung (1978), ISBN 0898510171
- What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, An Interview with Bob Avakian by A. Brooks, Revolution #267, May 1, 2012. Available as pdf at revcom.us.
- Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon. (2010) Available in E-book form here.
- "Some Principles for Building a Movement for Revolution" (May 2010)
- "There is No 'Permanent Necessity' for Things to Be This Way - A Radically Different and Better World Can Be Brought Into Being Through Revolution" (March 2010)
- "Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution" (Fall 2009)
- Ruminations and Wranglings: On the Importance of Marxist Materialism, Communism as a Science, Meaningful Revolutionary Work, and a Life with Meaning" (2009)
- "Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity" (2007), "Part 1: Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right" and "Part 2: Everything We're Doing is About Revolution"
- "Bringing Forward Another Way" (2006)
- "The Need for Communists to be ... Communists (2005)
- "The Oppression of Black People and the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression" (2007), Part 1 ,Part 2 ,Part 3, and Part 4
- "Views on Socialism and Communism: A Radically New Kind of State, A Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom" (2005)
- "The Basis, the Goals, and the Methods of the Communist Revolution" (2005)
- "The Coming Civil War and Repolarizing for Revolution in the Present Era" (2005)
- "On Truth ... On Knowing, and Changing, the World: A Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology" (2004)
- "Dictatorship and Democracy, and the Socialist Transition to Communism" (2002)
- From the RCP's Statement on the Strategy for Revolution":
Under this system of capitalism, so many in this society and so much of humanity are forced to endure great hardship and suffering, exploitation, injustice and brutality, while wars and the ongoing destruction of the natural environment threaten the very future of humanity. In the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) our Party has set forth an inspiring vision, and concrete measures, for the building of a new society, a socialist society, aiming for the final goal of a communist world, where human beings everywhere would be free of relations of exploitation and oppression and destructive antagonistic conflicts, and could be fit caretakers of the earth. But to make this a reality, we need revolution.
- The Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (p.30 in published version) defines what the RCP means by the term "capitalism-imperialism":
By the end of the 19th century, after Marx's death, capitalism had developed in a qualitative way. In Europe, North America and Japan, giant monopolies arose—large, highly centralized and powerful units of capitalist ownership and control. Along with this, the capitalist powers extended their domination and vicious exploitation in a major way to all parts of the world. With this and other related changes, capitalism had developed and transformed into capitalist imperialism. This was a new phenomenon, and presented revolutionaries, and the people of the whole world, with great new necessity—new conditions to scientifically understand, new reality to transform to make revolution.
[I]n today's world the production of things, and the distribution of the things produced, is overwhelmingly carried out by large numbers of people who work collectively and are organized in highly coordinated networks. At the foundation of this process is the proletariat, an international class which owns nothing, yet has created and works these massive socialized productive forces. These tremendous productive powers could enable humanity to not only meet the basic needs of every person on the planet, but to build a new society, with a whole different set of social relations and values...a society where all people could truly and fully flourish together.
Yet this cannot and does not happen; instead for the great majority of humanity, and for large numbers of people in this country, things get worse, and seem ever more hopeless.Why? Because these productive forces are socially created and worked, through the labor of vast number of people, but they are owned and controlled by a relative handful: the capitalist-imperialist class. And the imperialists' private appropriation of socially produced wealth is backed up by law, by custom...and by the armed force of the state.
- For more on the RCP's analysis of both the achievements and shortcomings and errors in the Soviet Union and China when they were socialist countries see You Don't Know What You Think You "Know" About... THE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION AND THE REAL PATH TO EMANCIPATION:ITS HISTORY AND OUR FUTURE ,Revolution #323, November 24, 2013. E-book available here. Also see thisiscommunism.org the website of the Set the Record Straight project. For a fuller presentation of Avakian's and the RCP's analysis of "the end of the first stage of communist revolution and the beginning of a new stage of revolution" see Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage-A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA" , RCP Publications (2009). Available at revcom.us.
- For a basic description of Avakian's new synthesis see Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage-A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,Chapter IV "The New Challenges, and the New Synthesis", (2009), pp. 22-29 in published version.
- Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) ,RCP Publications (2010). Available at revcom.us.
- See Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA ,Appendix: "Communism as a Science", RCP Publications (2008), pp. 25-42 in published version
- See, for example, Bob Avakian's Making Revolution and Emancipating Humanity Part 1:"Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right", subhead "Marxism as a Science-Refuting Karl Popper". Serialized in Revolution, October 2007-February 2008 and included in Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation, a Revolution pamphlet, (2008), pp. 18-30 in published version. Available at revcom.us.
- The RCP maintains that:
Bob Avakian made an extensive critique of erroneous tendencies in the history of the communist movement, and in particular the tendency toward nationalism—toward separating off the revolutionary struggle in a particular country from, and even raising it above, the overall world revolutionary struggle for communism. He examined ways in which this tendency had manifested itself in both the Soviet Union and China, when they were socialist countries, and the influence this exerted on the communist movement more broadly, including in the sometimes pronounced moves to subordinate the revolutionary struggle in other countries to the needs of the existing socialist state (first the Soviet Union, and then later China). Along with this, Avakian made a further analysis of the material basis for internationalism—why, in an ultimate and overall sense, the world arena is most decisive, even in terms of revolution in any particular country, especially in this era of capitalist imperialism as a world system of exploitation, and how this understanding must be incorporated into the approach to revolution, in particular countries as well as on a world scale. While internationalism has always been a fundamental principle of communism since its very founding, Avakian both summed up ways in which this principle had been incorrectly compromised in the history of the communist movement, and he strengthened the theoretical foundation for waging the struggle to overcome such departures from internationalism and to carry forward the communist revolution in a more thoroughly internationalist way.
- See "Some Crucial Points of Revolutionary Orientation in Opposition to Infantile Posturing and Distortions of Revolution", appendix in Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation. A Revolution pamphlet (reprints from Revolution newspaper), May 1, 2008
- "Statement on the Strategy for Revolution", Revolution/Revolución #226, March 6, 2011. Available at revcom.us.
- For more on the political initiatives that the RCP has taken up, see revcom.us.
- In an interview published by the RCP, What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, An Interview with Bob Avakian by A. Brooks. ,(2012), p.113, Avakian says:
[T]here needs to be what we call the "two maximizings": the maximizing of rebellion and resistance and the development of a revolutionary consciousness and a revolutionary trend and organization among those bedrock basic masses, to put it that way; but also the same thing among sections of the middle class. And there needs to be the mutually reinforcing influence of those two things—maximizing this among the one section and among the other, and the mutual influence of that—in order to bring forward the overall process of revolution, and even in order to fully bring forward the force among the basic bedrock masses who can and must be the driving force of this revolution—who have, frankly, less to lose and who are subjected to conditions which make them much more willing to break free of, or to rise up against, the oppressive conditions and the daily grind of the ongoing functioning of the system.
You will never fully develop even that in isolation, or just unto itself, because people in that situation will say, and have said: "Look, we can't do this all by ourselves. If everybody's against us, if there are not others out there who are at least moving in a positive direction, in terms of protesting and rebelling and beginning to fight the power, we will be isolated and crushed." There's truth to that.
- A special issue of Revolution newspaper titled "The Oppression of Black People,The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need" , (October 5, 2008) says:
1) The USA arose on the foundation of the genocidal theft of Native American (Indian) lands, and the enslavement of African people. Since that time, the oppression of Black people has been essential to the functioning of this system, changing as that system has changed, but always deeply woven into the very fabric of society. White supremacy and capitalism have proven to be so closely intertwined that, even when millions have risen up, time and again, to fight the oppression of African-American people, the system has in the end responded by re-entrenching and reinforcing, even if modifying the forms of, that oppression. Today's situation is extreme and dire; and any solution that leaves capitalism intact is no solution at all and, indeed, a damaging dead end.
2) There can be a revolution in this country and this revolution can finally uproot and put an end to the long nightmare of oppression and degradation that has been the lot of Black people in particular, along with many, many others, in this country, throughout its history. During the 1960s, a movement that arose from the struggle of African-American people for freedom ended up spreading throughout society and bringing every pillar of this oppressive capitalist-imperialist system into question and under fire; it seriously shook the foundations of imperialist rule. That it did not go far enough must not obscure what it DID accomplish and powerfully demonstrate; and today a party and a leader which locates its roots in that era but which has developed the theory to meet the challenges of this time not only exists, but is actively working to bring forward a new revolutionary movement.3) This Party has a deep understanding of what kind of revolution must be made, of how the new state power can back up the masses in transforming every sphere of society and in finally overcoming the wounds and scars of capitalism and all forms of enslavement and degradation—including the oppression of Black people—and how all that can and must be linked to the largest goal of all: the emancipation of all humanity from the chains of class society and all the oppressive divisions, all the institutions and ways of thinking that are bound up with and reinforce those chains.We are determined to do everything we can to hasten the day when such a revolution can finally be made, and fundamental change can begin for real. The challenge now is posed to you who read this.
- BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian (2011), Chapter 3, #19, pp. 85-86
- Bob Avakian has written and spoken extensively about the oppression of women and the liberation of women through revolution. He writes:
You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.
- The RCP's "A Declaration: for Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity" ,(March 2009) says:
Women need emancipation. Women need liberation from thousands of years of tradition's chains. This is a declaration that stands on the clear recognition that for humanity as a whole to advance, half of humanity must be lifted from centuries of being condemned to being the property of men and pitilessly exploited, demeaned and degraded in a thousand ways.
Women are not breeders. Women are not lesser beings. Women are not objects created for the sexual pleasure of men. Women are human beings capable of participating fully and equally in every realm of human endeavor. When women are held down, all of humanity is held back. Women must win liberation, and they can only be liberated through the revolutionary transformation of the world and the emancipation of all of humanity, and through being a powerful motive force in that revolution....This declaration calls for a revolution—a revolution that takes the full emancipation of women as a cornerstone. A revolution that unleashes the fury of women as a mighty force, and that grasps how central this question is to uprooting and abolishing all exploitation, oppression and degrading social relations, and the ideas that go along with them, among human beings as a whole, all over the world.
- Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon. ,(2010), p. 96. Available as an E-book
- In What Humanity Needs: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, An Interview with Bob Avakian by A. Brooks p. 67 Avakian says:
[T]here are also things that come up in the realm of art, or science, or other spheres of society that are, at least in a certain sense, unexpected. That is, their existence may not be unknown, but they become major questions somewhat unexpectedly. Then they do become, at a certain point, major social and political battle grounds. But they didn't start out as that.
You can take things like evolution, for example. That's just something that in the sphere of science—and more specifically, biology—was brought forward as a great leap forward in humanity's understanding of reality, a major part of reality....But in the United States—given the history of the role of religion, and Christian fundamentalism in particular, in reinforcing the status quo and the oppressive order in this country—evolution has become, once again a major flash point or concentration point of struggle, with implications regarding the larger question of whether to uphold or whether to rebel against, and ultimately sweep aside, the established order.So that's just one example. Many other things can come up....This is what's being gotten at with the "many channels" point. You can't just conceive of the way that people come forward in opposition to the system, and the way questions get struggled out in society, as narrowly limited to the more recognizable and more directly political realm.
- Avakian speaks about the RCP's "two mainstays" in these two excerpts from Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon. ,(2010), pp.93, 95:
To take the first mainstay, a culture of appreciation, promotion and popularization of what has been brought forward by Bob Avakian and what he represents: this has everything to do with projecting a radically different vision, a radically different political and ideological pole and authority—with raising what have been the extremely lowered sights of people. Now, if we were about something other than revolution and communism, if we were just working to bring about some minor adjustments within the established order, as horrendous as it is, then there would not be much significance to the new synthesis, to what it is that BA has brought forward and represents, to his whole body of work and method and approach. There is not much significance to that divorced from what we really do need to be about: the recognition, and acting on the recognition, of both the necessity and the possibility of revolution leading to a radically different society, and ultimately a radically different, communist world. If that is, in fact, what we are all about, then not only should it not be hard to go about building this culture of appreciation, promotion and popularization, we should be fired with enthusiasm and with inspiration for doing this and finding creative ways to do it.
To put it in very fundamental terms: People need to know about objective reality in order to transform it in their interests. And a decisive part of objective reality is that people need leadership, a certain kind of leadership, in order to transform society and the world through revolution....
At the same time, there is the crucial role of the other mainstay, our Party's newspaper as the "hub and pivot"—and the scaffolding—of the movement we are building for revolution. In this light, there is a need for this newspaper to do even better at not only exposing the system and bringing to life the necessity and the possibility of a radically different, communist world, but also bringing to life, in an active sense, the actual development and building of this movement for revolution, and the involvement of real people—not in a reified way or in a contrived way, but the actual involvement of growing numbers of people—on various levels and in various forms in this movement for revolution. Reading the paper—not necessarily in every issue, but over any period of time, and I don't mean decades—people should be getting a living sense of this movement and how this Party and its newspaper is at the center of this. It should be increasingly enabling people to act in unison—not in a uniform way, in a bad sense, like some kind of automatons, but in a unified way, in a basic and living sense—in response to major events in the world, all toward the goal, with increasing onsciousness of the necessity as well as the possibility, of actually breaking through, making revolution and getting to a new stage and new platform from which to carry forward that revolution.
- The RCP, and the revolutionary Union before it, have written extensively on the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, its transformation into an imperialist power, and on the role of what communists term "revisionist" parties such as the CPUSA. For a personal account of the nature of the CPUSA see Bob Avakian's memoir From Ike to Mao and Beyond, pp. 149-150. Also pages 301-304 of his memoir discuss the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and the debate around the nature of the Soviet Union in the early 1970s.
- In 1978 the RCP held public "Mao Memorial meetings" on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. At these events Avakian delivered a speech upholding Mao and Mao's leadership of the Chinese revolution and in the world revolutionary struggle while also speaking to the RCP's analysis of the counter-revolutionary coup that had occurred after Mao's death.The text of Avakian's speech at these memorials is available as The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tsetung, RCP publications, Chicago, 1978. Also see Avakian's book Mao Tsetung's Immortal Contributions, RCP Publications, Chicago, 1979.
- See the "Introduction" to Revolution and Counter-Revolution: The Revisionist Coup in China and the Struggle in the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Major documents of both sides of this dispute are included in this book.
- Avakian, "Bob Avakian Speaks on the Mao Tsetung Defendants' Railroad and the Historic Battles Ahead," Introduction and pp. 18-21.
- For accounts of this case and its significance from a legal and political repression perspective, see 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.
- Avakian, From Ike to Mao and Beyond, (2005), pp. 364-365, 435-436.
- For coverage of repression aimed at the RCP in just Los Angeles alone in the 1980s, see the series of articles by David Johnston in the Los Angeles Times: "Use of Special Prosecutor in Spy Case Urged" (Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1982) and "New Probe Ordered on Spying by LAPD" (Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1982).
- Henry Mendoza and Tom Paegel, "One Killed, One Hurt at Communist Rally", Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1980
- From Ike to Mao and Beyond, Ch. 24 and Ch. 25, (2005), pp. 402-425
- See Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage-A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Chapter VI. "A Cultural Revolution Within the RCP", (2009), pp. 34-45 in published version.
- See Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage-A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Chapter VI. "A Cultural Revolution Within the RCP", (2009), pp. 43 in published version.