Prisoners Write on Bob Avakian's The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership, For an Actual Revolution, And a Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation and More
April 25, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Letters from prisoners, like those on this page, are a semi-regular feature of revcom.us/Revolution newspaper. We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The views expressed by the writers of these letters are, of course, their own; and they are not responsible for the views published elsewhere in our paper.
Letter from a California prisoner:
“There can be no half-way communism”
Excerpt from the Section
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity Based on the Solid Core
“One of the things that should really be understood about this Constitution for the New Socialist Republic, in most fundamental terms, is that this Constitution is dealing with a very profound and very difficult contradiction: the contradiction that, on the one hand, humanity really does need revolution and communism; but, on the other hand, not all of humanity wants that all of the time, including in socialist society. So this Constitution is set up to provide the basic methods and means to deal with that contradiction. You don’t just have a popular vote every few years that is set up in such a way that the result is that one day you have socialism, the next day you go back to capitalism, and then you try to create socialism again—which would be impossible, because then you’d get everything bound up with capitalism back, and once again you’d have to go through everything you had to go through to try to get to the point of overthrowing the capitalist system. And, frankly, nobody’s going to support that kind of idiocy. So, at times, a lot of the people may want to be going in a different direction, but you’ve got the institutional means to keep the socialist system going toward the ultimate goal of communism, unless overwhelmingly the people are against you; but, at the same time, this Constitution is constructed in such a way that you have to repeatedly win the masses of people to fight to stay on the socialist road. You need to get to communism, but you’re not going to get to communism by putting guns in the backs of the people and force-marching them to communism. You have to continually win them to that, fighting through all the contradictions that get posed, including the ones that the enemies put in your way, or accentuate, in order to turn the people against you.” (p. 90)
I’m still going through the Science, the Strategy, the Leadership [The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, And A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation by Bob Avakian—editors]. Just got to part VI the strategic approach to an actual revolution on pg 94. But ironically I spent some time on the 2nd paragraph on page 90 that’s also quoted on page 3 of the 3.27.16 issue of Revolution. My note next to that paragraph is “1,000 Cultural Revolutions.” (See the paragraph in righthand column of this page.)
I particularly enjoyed how BA stated the new constitution is constructed in such a way that you have to repeatedly win the masses of people to stay on the socialist road and ultimately communism. The very last sentence is an in-depth dialogue in its own right, continually winning people over to take up all manner of contradictions, including ones that the dogs put in your way to turn people against you.
I was likewise struck by the way BA issued the challenge that more people should be grappling with the new constitution to show what kind of society we’re fighting for of course. But also to convey how heavy all this is.
Years ago I used the Draft Program [of the RCP,USA—editors] to help bring a few brothers through the door of the train depo. It was extremely messy, I still had unresolved contradictions about my ability and desire to put myself too far out there and I wasn’t able to help the brothers want to actually be caretakers of the train, tracks or engine. So it didn’t take up nearly enough of the contradictions it needed to be any real school of thought or base for exposing the system or winning people over. In fact as soon as it turned into some bourgeois bullshit I picked up my toys and went home. But I’m still thankful for the experience and like I said it was completely based on the draft, my haphazard application of dialectics and the scientific road, etc. But it was one of those moments I was able to apply what little I knew to actually try to transform objective reality.
So when BA said that about the Draft Proposal [Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)—editors], I knew what he meant, it can be brought to life even now, even before we get to the new society. But of course I not only picked up my toys and went home, I also hid them. Contradictions were messy for me. I was up against too much (and a few more “excuses”).
In any event, I “read” the draft proposal, but honestly that’s all I did was read it. The dogs confiscated it on some excess literature bullshit. I didn’t ask for help gettin’ an additional copy ’cause I’m up for transfer from the SHU [“Security Housing Unit,” isolation cells in California prisons—editors] and didn’t want to get it until I go to the next gulag.
But in rereading the preamble I was reminded of why I picked up my toys years ago when others began to bourgeoisify it up. The potential for both is within the same contradiction:
“the socialist state must give fundamental priority to the advance of the revolutionary struggle, and the final goal of communism, throughout the world, and must adopt and carry out policies and actions which are in accordance with and give concrete effect to this internationalist orientation.”
This is because there can not be any half way communism. It will go forward (all the way) or it will go backwards (all the way).
Like any contradiction one way or the other, it will resolve itself. So the lengthy next paragraph is highly appropriate in explaining what is a state and that all “states” are dictatorships rooted in the social relations and means of production.
So I personally see why BA broke it down as he did explaining the overall role of any state, our state, and the dogs. Also the solid core, though, to my mind the solid core is always humans and especially the advanced agents of those that uphold the road. But in Science, Strategy, Leadership he spoke of the solid core as conditions and although I understand his point, if I was asked to explain the point I would use the term logical necessity (the things that can’t be up for debate).
But yeah, I do see the importance of spreading the draft proposal to get people to envision what could and should be possible.
* * * *
“No way can Hamilton be a role model”
I’m writing a college student who wants a more equitable world. I’m trying to go slow but my intention is to have her break down science, strategy and revolution with me. But I also wouldn’t mind kickin’ up Hamilton or the real American hustle with her. I sent her the article about the Don Scalia [“Gangland Mouthpiece Found Dead in West Texas Motel Room!”]. Awaitin her feedback.
But yeah, fuck all that, that shit’s for the birds. Even when I was deaf, dumb & blind and knew nothin’ about any of those old fuddy duddies, I knew that back then this whole thing was set up to dehumanize, ostracize and brutally exploit Blacks and Native Americans. This is before I understood how fluid that was, how it was because of the mode of production, both a slave economy and traditional wage labor economy in the North. Before I knew the hell women caught or what was going on in any specific way about how brutal all those things was. The simple fact that I knew they treated my ancestors like shit was enough for me to say they could go play in traffic.
So it’s particularly shameful that there are Black, Brown & women in 2016 trying to reform them sorts of people. No way can Hamilton be a role model. No one alive in the 1770s should be embraced if they owned slaves or condoned owning slaves, who set out policies that would strip Blacks of their humanity, their beauty, their equality. Shit we still struggle to address 250 years later. And the only people who caught more hell then was the Native Americans. And the ramifications of that is even more dire for them today.
Hamilton was much like Lincoln in that for all his heroic garb his main thing was to keep the white man’s union together at all costs and to belittle the human suffering of Blacks and Native Americans as they simply did not count. Just the union/government etc.
I don’t got much to say about Hamilton. Sorry. Just sad that there is such a thing as a Black, Brown or woman Hamilton or “founding father” image reformers.
Hopefully Russian youth or Jewish youth don’t try to do the same thing for Hitler. But I do think I saw some Neo Nazis in Russia, and ’though I haven’t seen any Jewish youth try to reform Hitler, they sure try to reform their leaders’ genocidal policies against the Palestinians and their land. So I guess anythings possible...
* * * *
Who gone save the world?
You gone save the world?
Then, me too gone save the world
We gone save the world
Through revolutionary Love
Fuck a chain
And fuck a whip
They just make me angrier
Fuck fisticuffs amongst
Fist up, fist up for the masses
Ask a friend
Ask yo’ self
Then ask the enemy
If I fight back
XXX, California Prisoner
From an ex-prisoner:
“Communism is about fundamentally transforming the whole world and being emancipators of all of humanity”
Before I was released from prison, I had the opportunity to read BA’s latest work, The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, and A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation. This talk which he gave the summer of 2015 touched on a lot of significant points in a very concise manner, while at the same time reinforced key contradictions that we must become better at. The more we strive to reorient people towards approaching the problem and solution from a scientific approach, the better we will be overall in creating a material force—a movement for revolution—that will be capable of carrying out a real revolution in this imperialist country, and once successful, expanding that material basis on an international scale. Because in the last analysis, communism is about fundamentally transforming the whole world and being emancipators of all of humanity not just the proletarians and basic masses within the borders of the United States.
One key point that BA touched upon, that I definitely think we should continually deepen our understanding of and our ability to disseminate to others so that they can come to understand more clearly themselves, is his comments summed up under the subsection: “Through Which Mode of Production.” In it, he asks:
Why is this true, that through which mode of production is the most important, the most fundamental question—not the only, but the most important and the most fundamental question—to be posed? When you’re taking up any kind of question in society, any form of oppression, anything that you feel needs to be changed, the most fundamental question is what is the mode of production that’s setting the basis and the ultimate terms and the ultimate limits for what can be changed and how? (p.27)
Now, these questions that he poses above are very relevant. Suppose we lived during the time of chattel slavery in this country. Let’s say around the 1850s. Under the system of chattel slavery, was it possible for white supremacy to be overcomed once and for all? The answer to that is obviously, “No!”
And why was that so? Well, because as long as production was organized in a way by which it was necessary to hold one ethnic group, primarily Blacks, in bondage in order to produce and reproduce the agricultural demands of the market, it would incessantly give rise to the need to justify this socio-economic division of labor. In other words, the slave owning ruling class—mostly white males—would’ve never been able to sustain and maintain the enslavement of Blacks under the socio-economic system of chattel slavery without justifying our enslavement via pseudo-sociological justifications, a white supremacist worldview, the use of Christianity to legitimize it morally, amongst other things. The only way for any socio-economic system to legitimize itself in the eyes of its population, in the main, is for it’s institutions to perpetually condition its population to see its society as being legitimate: politically, legally, sociologically, ethically, culturally, etc. If not, or if it fails in this regard to convince the people, the people will in time rise up and declare such a system to be illegitimate and demand its replacement.
So again, as long as the socio-economic system of chattel slavery existed, the by-product of it would’ve continuously gave rise to white supremacy in many different forms to justify the system overall. White supremacy, as an ideology, was a tool that the demographic of individuals who had a monopoly of power politically, economically, and culturally used to stay in power; that is the slave owning class of white males. The same sort of thing occurred in other countries, where a particular demographic of individuals primarily made up the ruling class of that nation. In Great Britain, the English historically, for instance, viewed themselves as being racially superior to people of Irish descent. This form of bigotry—national chauvinism—stemmed from the fact that the ruling class in England were made up of individuals primarily of English descent, and because Ireland was a colony of Great Britain, it gave rise to the need to justify their political, economical, and cultural domination of the Irish people collectively; consequently, this form of national bigotry became the by-product of it. In the international division of labor, the English ruling class needed to reinforce their master/slave position over their Irish subjects.
While chattel slavery in America found it necessary to use white supremacy domestically to maintain the rule of the slave owning class over their Black subjects in the South, British imperialism found national bigotry indispensable to its foreign policy agenda in order to maintain their rule over the nations they had colonized such as Ireland, Jamaica, India, etc. White supremacy and national bigotry, thus, work hand and hand as by-products primarily of socio-economic systems to justify and legitimize their class rule and domination over other peoples and nations.
If that’s the case—and I would certainly not want anyone to just take my word for it, but to scientifically analyze this themselves to see if this actually reflects the real world in its contradictoriness and motion—then is it possible, for instance, to overcome white supremacy and American national bigotry once and for all under this capitalist-imperialist system in America? To satisfactorily answer this question, one must again ask themselves:
When you’re taking up any kind of question in society, any form of oppression, anything that you feel needs to be changed, the most fundamental question is what is the mode of production that’s setting the basis and the ultimate terms and the ultimate limits for what can be changed and how? (p. 27)
Well, let’s think about this for a minute. When has white supremacy not existed in this country? That question at first glance seems ridiculous because it ALWAYS HAS. Now think about that: it ALWAYS HAS!
It begs the question then: why has it existed for 400 years then, and only been repackaged at certain junctures in this nation’s history? Well, again, the two modes of production in this country’s history—chattel slavery and capitalism—are two socio-economic systems that relied on dividing all demographic categories in order for a small ruling class of whites to monopolize power politically, economically, and culturally over and above the other ethnic groups domestically and other nations internationally.
This has always been a pressing necessity of these two modes of production in order for the small class of whites to maintain their class rule. That’s why you have people like Donald Trump, who’s a part of the capitalist ruling class, consistently appealing to white supremacy and national bigotry. When we hear him say code phrases like, “We need to take our country back,” what demographics are he alluding to? Well, everybody not white to be blunt. When we hear him railing against state capitalist China and the fact that the United States is “consistently losing” to other countries in these “trade wars,” what is he appealing to? American national bigotry, American national chauvinism. And the reason for this is because many whites in the ruling class know that white supremacy and American national bigotry are two indispensable pillars that buttress their class rule both domestically and internationally.
So when viewing the problem and solution of white supremacy and American national bigotry through the lens of the capitalist mode of production, one can readily conclude that it’s impossible to once and for all overcome them under the mode of production of capitalism-imperialism. Absolutely impossible! The only way to address them once and for all and overcome them is to replace this particular mode of production with one which is capable of doing so. And when we scientifically investigate what that particular mode of production is, one will be forced to conclude that only the socialist one can begin to address them once and for all.
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