Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
Founded1975
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
IdeologyNew synthesis
Communism
Marxism–Leninism–Maoism
Political positionFar-left
International affiliationNone (formerly the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement)
Website
www.revcom.us

The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (or Revcom) is a communist party in the United States founded in 1975 and led by its chairman Bob Avakian. The party organizes for a revolution in the United States, to overthrow the system of capitalism and replace it with a new socialist republic.[1][2][3]

Since the 2010s, Bob Avakian's new synthesis of communism is the RCP's ideological framework,[4] which it considers a scientific advancement of Marxism–Leninism–Maoism. Prior to this, the party was a founding member of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. The RCP has drafted a Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, to replace the U.S. after a revolution.[5]

The RCP is notable for its various coalition groups, such as the World Can't Wait,[6] Stop Patriarchy,[7] October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality,[8] Stop Mass Incarceration Network,[9] and Refuse Fascism.[10]

The RCP organizes supporters into what it calls Revolution Clubs,[11] (formerly known as the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade) with chapters in Berkeley, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

History[edit]

1960s—1970s[edit]

In early 1968, H. Bruce Franklin and Stephen Charles Hamilton[12] formed the Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU) after a split in the Maoist Progressive Labor Party stemming from disagreements over the path of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and incipient rapproachment with the west. Bob Avakian led a small group from a split of another Maoist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) spinoff into BARU soon after its formation. In 1971, Franklin led a more militant faction of BARU out the organization to join Venceremos, leaving Avakian in a leading position within BARU. Avakian played a key role in uniting several similar local collectives,[13] with the long-term goal of forming a new Communist Party. The new nationwide structure induced BARU to change its name to simply the Revolutionary Union (RU). Avakian was elected to the central committee of the RU shortly thereafter. The RCP claims that of the various groups coming out of SDS, it was the first to seriously attempt to develop itself at the theoretical level, with the publication of Red Papers 1.[14]

In 1974 RU started publication of their newspaper Revolution (renamed Revolutionary Worker in 1979) and in 1975 RU reconstituted itself as the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). After the death of Mao in 1976, the RCP lost about 40% of its membership in a 1978 split over alignment with the new Chinese leadership. Avakian led the faction that rejected what they considered a counterrevolutionary coup against Mao's allies, and the split left him as undisputed leader of the remainder of the RCP.

In January 1979 Avakian and 78 other Party members and supporters were arrested and charged with various crimes in connection to a militant protest against Deng Xiaoping's visit to the White House. 17 demonstrators, including Avakian, were charged with multiple felonies which would carry a combined sentence of up to 241 years.[15] After the RCP and its supporters waged a mass campaign for political, legal, and other support for the defendants, the charges were dropped in 1982, by which time Party leadership had decided to go into exile, with Avakian applying for political asylum in France, where he remained for many years.

1980s[edit]

The RCP organized May Day 1980 rallies in 16 cities across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Seattle, and Washington D.C.[16] Weeks before the May Day demonstrations, RCP member Damian Garcia and two others climbed the Alamo, tearing down the American flag from its pole, and raising the Red Flag in its place before being arrested. Shortly thereafter, on April 22, 1980, Garcia was stabbed to death[17] while organizing in a Los Angeles housing project. At the time, police said that Garcia's murderer was gang-affiliated, while RCP insisted that he had been assassinated by the state in retaliation for his action at the Alamo. Avakian remarked in his memoir that Garcia's murder was "very clearly tied in with police agents...it was an attack on our Party..."[18]

In 1983 Avakian was one of the founders of the now-defunct Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), an international grouping of Maoist parties. The RIM published A World to Win news service from 1981 to 2006, but since its dissolution the publication is now updated on the official website. In 2017, A World to Win was restructured to "a more thorough-going tool for revolution based on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism".[19]

1990s—2000s[edit]

In 1991, C-SPAN aired a presentation by RCP spokespersons, about U.S. wars in the Middle East, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and what the “new world order” means for black people in America.[20]

Flag-burning by RCP members led to the Texas v. Johnson case. RCP regarded the 1992 Rodney King riots as legitimate political rebellion and advocated for the defendants in the Reginald Denny beating case.[21] RCP advocated for international Maoist movements such as the Shining Path guerrilla movement in Peru.[22] In 1996,[23] the RCP launched the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality.[24]

RCP branches opened Revolution Books stores in major US cities and became a frequent presence in protest movements.[25]

2010s[edit]

In 2011, RCP spokesperson Carl Dix along with Cornel West co-initiated the campaigns to Stop "Stop and Frisk" and "Stop Mass Incarceration".[26][27] Dix and West appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the state of Black America in the age of Obama.[28] RCP organized Rise Up October against racism and police brutality; the attendance included Quentin Tarantino.[29]

In July 2016, mass protest and police arrests erupted over a flag-burning by the RCP outside the Republican National Convention, before a crowd of thousands.[30][31] The next week, the RCP staged another flag burning outside the Democratic National Convention, after denouncing the United States.[32] Later that year, in response to Donald Trump’s tweet calling for the criminalization of flag burning, RCP supporters burned another American flag outside the Trump International Hotel in New York City.[33]

In October 2016, RCP supporters were banned from the University of Chicago for "trespass" after encouraging students to get organized with the revolutionaries, with one activist arrested by police;[34] the next day they returned to defy the ban, while denouncing U.S. elections and America.[35]

In August 2016, the RCP led protesters in a two-day march on a barricaded police station after the fatal officer shooting of a black man by Milwaukee police;[36] the police chief blamed the RCP for inciting "violence towards police."[37]

In October 2017, an RCP spokesperson confronted Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, in relation to NFL players' U.S. national anthem protests over "his troubling tendency to muzzle his players and align himself with an oppressive president [like Trump]."[38]

In October 2018, the RCP organized a demonstration in Chicago’s Daley Plaza on the 23rd Annual "National Day of Protest to STOP Police Brutality," in response to the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and other black youth.[39][40]

Bob Avakian's leadership[edit]

After major splits in the party, some ex-members and other groups have alleged that the RCP has a cult of personality around Bob Avakian.[41] Mic has called it "a communist doomsday cult that is obsessed with Avakian".[42] Alternately, San Francisco Chronicle has written of Avakian as "the marathon man of the international anti-imperialist struggle".[43]

The party has responded to these allegations, calling them "lies and slander" and "complete and utter nonsense," saying "Bob Avakian and the RCP are the exact opposite of a cult."[44]

Current activities[edit]

The RCP releases daily updates online and a periodic print edition of its weekly newspaper, Revolution (formerly called Revolutionary Worker, 1979–2005) which is published in English and Spanish and has been published continuously since 1979.

In December 2016, party members and others co-initiated Refuse Fascism, a coalition group formed to "drive out" the Trump administration through sustained street protests.[45] The statement was used by InfoWars and other far-right conspiracy theory websites to claim that RCP and Refuse Fascism were organizing a military overthrow of the government on November 4, 2017.[46] Several nationwide anti-Trump protest marches were organized for that day, numbering in the thousands.[47][42]

RCP supporter and Refuse Fascism organizer Sunsara Taylor appeared on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight in 2017, where she debated the host and said that Trump is "more dangerous than Hitler" because of his access to nuclear weapons.[48]

Refuse Fascism protesters were arrested in September 2017, with some facing criminal conspiracy charges,[49] after blocking four lanes of the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour.[50][51]

In July 2018, Refuse Fascism and RCP supporters organized 100 handmaids to protest U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in New York City, saying "[he] is a Christian fascist theocrat for whom the handmaid's tale is a model."[52][53]

On International Women's Day 2019, the Revolution Club joined supporters of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist), to march through Westwood, California, calling for universal women's rights.[54]

On the one-year anniversary of the police shooting of Stephon Clark, a Revolution Newspaper correspondent was detained by police after confronting Al Sharpton, calling him "bourgeois electoral bullshit", while urging protesters to organize for revolution rather than political reforms.[55]

LGBT issues[edit]

The RCP platform demands full recognition of LGBT rights as a fundamental component towards establishing socialism.[56] However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the RCP was noted for its opposition to homosexuality as "petty bourgeois"[57][58] and its former prohibition of LGBT individuals from party membership.[59][60] This outlook was consistent with then contemporary Marxist–Leninist states such as Cuba,[61] China, and the Soviet Union. The RCP officially reversed this position in 2001, writing:

"The revolutionary proletariat is staunchly opposed to the attacks on homosexuality by reactionary forces such as religious fundamentalists, and to all physical assaults on, discrimination against, and government repression of homosexuals, which is so widespread and vicious in the U.S. today. In the new society, discrimination against homosexuals will be outlawed and struggled against in every sphere of society, including personal and family relations."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Revolutionary Communist Party protests Trump, America". WND.com. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America". AbeBooks. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  3. ^ ""What the Heck is the Revolutionary Communist Party' Doing In Ferguson?"". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  4. ^ "The New Synthesis of Communism: Six Resolutions of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA". Indymedia UK. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "Unveiled: Constitution for New Socialist North America". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "The World Can't Wait! Stop the crimes of your government". WorldCantWait.net. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  7. ^ ""Activist: Abortion Is a 'Great Decision,' 'Should Be As Common as Possible'"". CNSNews.com. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Bolerium Books https://www.bolerium.com/pages/books/215264/revolutionary-communist-party-repression-october-22-coalition-to-stop-police-brutality-the/two-leaflets-related-to-the-case-of-the-jena-6. Retrieved March 21, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Ora.TV http://www.ora.tv/offthegrid/article/2015/11/17/10-questions-for-carl-dix-founder-of-riseupoctober-police-brutality-protest. Retrieved March 21, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "Homeland Security fell for YouTube videos about 'Antifa Civil War'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  11. ^ "Revolution Clubs". revcom.us. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  12. ^ Hamilton, Steve. "On the History of the Revolutionary Union". Theoretical Review No. 13, November–December 1979.
  13. ^ "Bob Avakian (BA)—Official Biography—Part 1: FORMATIVE EXPERIENCES, CRITICAL JUNCTURES, DECISIVE LEADERSHIP". revcom.us. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  14. ^ "Red Papers 1". Originally published by the Bay Area Revolutionary Union, now available online thanks to Marxists.org's Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line project. Spring 1969.
  15. ^ Avakian, Bob (1981). Bob Avakian Speaks on the Mao Tsetung Defendants Railroad and the Historic Battles Ahead. Chicago, IL 6065: RCP Publications. p. 1. ISBN 0-89851-047-3.
  16. ^ "MAY 1st 1980: REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS STORM HISTORY's STAGE" (PDF). Revolutionary Worker. May 5, 1980.
  17. ^ ""Los Angeles detective briefs reporters on Damian Garcia homicide"". UCLA Film and Television Archive.
  18. ^ Avakian, Bob (2005). From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist. Insight Press. p. 408. ISBN 978-0976023623.
  19. ^ "Editorial Introducing a transformed AWTWNS". A World to Win News Service.
  20. ^ https://www.c-span.org/video/?17375-1/yo-world-turned-upside
  21. ^ "20th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Rebellion - It's Right to Rebel Against Injustice!". revcom.us. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  22. ^ "RW Online: Support the People's War in Peru!". revcom.us. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  23. ^ http://october22.org/history.html
  24. ^ https://blackagendareport.com/carl_dix_fighting_mass_incarceration
  25. ^ https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/just-in/2018-08-17/struggle-continues-checking-revolution-books
  26. ^ https://newsone.com/2467979/cornel-west-carl-dix-mass-incarceration/
  27. ^ https://allhiphop.com/features/carl-dix-talks-ending-police-brutality-marching-with-cornel-west-shutting-em-down-t9Nrdgrcq0-zv0Vj5iF0RA/
  28. ^ https://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/22/cornel_west_and_carl_dix_on
  29. ^ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-elerick/an-interview-with-carl-di_b_8580844.html
  30. ^ https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/cleveland-police-arrest-protesters-flag-burning-outside-rnc
  31. ^ http://time.com/4415901/republican-convention-protest-flag-burning/
  32. ^ https://deadspin.com/communists-dnc-flag-burning-interrupted-by-desean-jacks-1784488205
  33. ^ https://www.wnd.com/2016/11/communists-burn-u-s-flag-in-nyc-to-protest-trump/
  34. ^ https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2016/10/26/video-communist-protester-arrested-standing-table/
  35. ^ https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2016/11/2/communist-returns-campus-arrest-ban/
  36. ^ https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-milwaukee-police-shooting-fallout-met-20160815-story.html
  37. ^ https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/midwest/ct-milwaukee-police-shooting-protests-20160814-story.html
  38. ^ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-i-confronted-dallas-cowboys-owner-jerry-jones_us_59ea5542e4b0a484d0633677
  39. ^ https://wgnradio.com/2018/10/22/rally-to-stop-police-brutality/
  40. ^ http://m.amsterdamnews.com/news/2018/oct/25/october-22-coalition-stop-police-brutality-still-g/
  41. ^ Weir (2007). "Maoism". In Weir, Robert. Class in America: H-P. Greenwood. p. 492. ISBN 978-0313337192. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  42. ^ a b Smith, Jack IV (November 2, 2017). "The far-right thinks a violent antifa overthrow is coming Nov. 4, but the truth is far stranger". Mic.com. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  43. ^ https://m.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Berkeley-Memoir-follows-author-s-road-to-2676772.php
  44. ^ http://www.revcom.us/a/357/stop-the-lies-and-slanders-bob-avakian-and-the-rcp-are-the-exact-opposite-of-a-cult-en.html
  45. ^ "In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America". Revcom.us. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  46. ^ Hayden, Michael Edison (11 October 2017). "'Antifa' waging civil war on November 4, according to right wing conspiracy". Newsweek. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  47. ^ Strickland, Patrick (4 November 2017). "Far-right conspiracies fizzle amid anti-Trump rallies". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  48. ^ https://insider.foxnews.com/2017/02/21/tucker-carlson-takes-refuse-fascism-organizer-who-likens-trump-hitler
  49. ^ https://countercurrents.org/2018/09/28/ominous-and-illegitimate-persecution-of-11-members-of-refuse-fascism-la-and-the-revolution-club-la/
  50. ^ https://www.laweekly.com/news/why-did-protesters-block-the-101-and-what-does-nov-4-mean-8694296
  51. ^ https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2017/11/21/anti-trump-protest-shuts-down-101-freeway-in-downtown-la/
  52. ^ https://abcnews.go.com/US/handmaids-protest-mike-pence-kirstjen-nielsen-manhattan/story?id=56936641
  53. ^ https://www.metro.us/news/local-news/new-york/handmaids-to-protest-mike-pence-new-york-city
  54. ^ https://dailybruin.com/2019/03/09/revolution-club-leads-march-through-westwood-in-support-of-universal-womens-rights/
  55. ^ https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article228103274.html
  56. ^ "RCP,USA: On the Position on Homosexuality in the New Draft Programme". revcom.us. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  57. ^ Gallagher, Conor R. (2015). Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists. Zero Books. pp. 186–187. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  58. ^ EROL. "RCP: Hit for antigay-rights line". www.marxists.org. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  59. ^ EROL. "Toward A Scientific Analysis of the Gay Question, RU Position Paper". www.marxists.org. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  60. ^ Leonard, Aaron; Conor, Gallagher (2015). Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists. Zero Books. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  61. ^ CNN, By Shasta Darlington,. "Castro admits 'injustice' for gays and lesbians during revolution - CNN.com". Retrieved 2018-11-25.

Further reading[edit]

Critical opinions[edit]

External links[edit]