- What is a Revolutionary Situation?
- What IS an Actual Revolution?
- Why do we need a revolution?
- What will replace the old system?
- What is communism?
- What has been the history of communism and of communist revolutions?
- What is the strategy to actually make a revolution—to win?
- Who is Bob Avakian?
- Who is the leadership of the revolution?
- Who can join the Party?
Frequently Asked Questions on
Revolution and Communism
Updated November 30, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
What is a Revolutionary Situation?
by Bob Avakian
What is a Revolutionary Situation? A deep crisis and sharpening conflicts in society and in the government and ruling circles, where they cannot find a way to resolve these conflicts—in society and among their own ranks—which do not make things worse for them and call forth more resistance and further undermine people's belief in their "right to rule" and in the "legitimacy" of their use of force to maintain their rule; programs of "reforming" the system are shown to be bankrupt, totally unable to deal with what more and more people recognize as profound dysfunction and intolerable injustice of the whole setup; those, in society as well as among the ruling class, who are trying to enforce the existing system are on the political defensive, even if lashing out; millions of people are actively seeking radical change, determined to fight for it, willing to put everything on the line to win it, and searching for a force to lead them in doing so; and a solid core of thousands is united around a leadership, an organized vanguard force with the vision and method, strategy and plan—and deepening ties among masses of people—to actually lead the fight to defeat and dismantle the violent repressive force of the existing system and its power structure, and to bring into being a new revolutionary system that can provide the means for people to radically transform society toward the goal of abolishing oppression and exploitation.
What IS an Actual Revolution?
An actual revolution is a lot more than a protest. An actual revolution requires that millions of people get involved, in an organized way, in a determined fight to dismantle this state apparatus and system and replace it with a completely different state apparatus and system, a whole different way of organizing society, with completely different objectives and ways of life for the people. Fighting the power today has to help build and develop and organize the fight for the whole thing, for an actual revolution. Otherwise we’ll be protesting the same abuses generations from now!
Why do we need a revolution?
We talk about the “5 Stops”—five huge horrors generated, or kept going, by this capitalist-imperialist system. These include the genocidal persecution, mass incarceration, police brutality and murder of Black and Brown people; the patriarchal degradation, dehumanization, and subjugation of all women everywhere, and all oppression based on gender or sexual orientation; the wars of empire, armies of occupation and crimes against humanity of this empire; the demonization, criminalization, and deportation of immigrants and militarization of the border; and the destruction of the planet by capitalism-imperialism.
All of these demands are eminently reasonable and should just be basic to any humane society. Yet none of these demands have been met by this capitalist-imperialist system, and none can be—because the source of each of these horrors is structured into the very functioning of the system.
What will replace the old system?
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, written by Bob Avakian, provides a blueprint for the new society, socialism. The new Constitution outlines the new socialist political system, brought into being by the revolution, which supports the masses of people in transforming all of society while protecting the rights of individuals; it provides the goals, principles, and structure for a new revolutionary economy, no longer based on exploitation, worldwide plunder, and environmental devastation; and, most of all, it provides a framework for humanity to carry forward the transition to communist society.
Communist society will have eliminated all divisions into classes, all production relations1 which give rise to those divisions, all the relations between groups of people which correspond to those relations, and all the ideas which reinforce exploitation and oppression.
1 “Production relations” refers to who owns and controls the means through which the production of society’s wealth is carried out; how do people relate to each other in carrying out production; and how is the wealth produced through this process distributed.
What is communism?
Communism is the goal of the revolution, a movement, and most of all a scientific method and approach to understanding human society and, indeed, all of nature. Communist society has been described above. As a science, communism was founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, who also founded the communist movement. This science, and the movement based on it, was further developed by V.I. Lenin and Mao Zedong. Today, Bob Avakian has put that science on a new footing. He has developed a new synthesis of communism that has ruptured with elements of communism that previously ran counter to its overall scientific method and approach, and on that basis taken the science forward in many dimensions. To be a communist today means to be a follower of Bob Avakian.
What has been the history of communism and of communist revolutions?
Leaving aside a very brief revolution in Paris, France in 1871 (the Paris Commune), the first communist revolution was made in Russia, in 1917, and led by V.I. Lenin. Communists held power there for nearly 40 years, before that revolution was finally reversed and overthrown. In 1949, Mao Zedong led the Chinese Communist Party to seize nationwide power in China. The revolution carried forward for 27 years and reached its highest pinnacle in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution before it too was reversed—this time in 1976. Though China today, along with some other regimes, still claims the name of “communist,” there are, in fact, no longer any societies in the world on the communist road.
As was stated in the Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage:
The first stage of the communist revolution went a long way, and achieved incredibly inspiring things, in fighting to overcome the very real obstacles it faced and to advance toward a world where all relations of exploitation and oppression would be finally eliminated and people would enjoy a whole new dimension of freedom and would undertake the organization and continuing transformation of society, throughout the world, with a conscious and voluntary initiative unprecedented in human history. But, not surprisingly, there were also significant shortcomings and real errors, sometimes very serious ones, both in the practical steps that were taken by those leading these revolutions and the new societies they brought forth, and in their conceptions and methods. These shortcomings and errors were not the cause of the defeats of the initial attempts at communist revolution, but they did contribute, even if secondarily, to that defeat; and, beyond that, this whole experience of the first stage—with both its truly inspiring achievements and its very real, at times very serious, even if overall secondary, errors and shortcomings—must be learned from deeply and all-sidedly, in order to carry forward the communist revolution in the new situation that has to be confronted, and to do even better this time.
What is the strategy to actually make a revolution—to win?
The Party, led by Bob Avakian, has developed the strategy to bring forward the millions necessary to actually win a revolution, and the strategy—once those millions have come forward— to actually meet and defeat this system’s instruments of violent repression.
Who is Bob Avakian?
Bob Avakian (BA) is the architect of a whole new framework of human emancipation, the new synthesis of communism. This new synthesis is based on more than 40 years of revolutionary work critically analyzing and drawing from past revolutionary experience and theory, and a broad range of human activity and thought. It is a continuation of, but also represents a qualitative leap beyond, and in some important ways a break with, communist theory as it had been previously developed.
Fundamental and essential to this new synthesis of communism is its emphasis on applying a thoroughly and consistently scientific method and approach to understanding the dynamics of society and to charting pathways for its revolutionary transformation. By breaking with aspects of communism that have run counter to its scientific method and approach, Bob Avakian has qualitatively advanced communism as a science, and in so doing, has created the foundation and point of departure for a new stage of communist revolution which he argues is urgently needed in the world today.
This scientific method and approach is key to the breakthroughs of the new synthesis, which include: deepening the understanding of internationalism; developing new insights into the strategic approach to revolution, which reveal the actual possibility of making revolution, even in a country like the U.S.; and re-envisioning how to go forward in the struggle to create a radically new—and truly emancipatory—society. Bob Avakian is the author of the landmark work The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), which provides a comprehensive, visionary, and at the same time concrete, framework and guide for building this new society as an important part of advancing towards a communist world free of exploitation and oppression.
Bob Avakian has been the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA since its founding in 1975. He has dedicated his life to serving the cause of revolution and the emancipation of humanity, and has consistently taken responsibility for leading the movement for revolution—both theoretically and practically. As a leader, he embodies a rare combination: someone who has been able to develop scientific theory on a world-class level, while at the same time having a deep understanding of and visceral connection with the most oppressed, and a highly developed ability to “break down” complex theory and make it accessible to a broad audience.
Who is the leadership of the revolution?
The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, is the vanguard of the revolution. The Party takes as its foundation the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian and Bob Avakian leads the RCP,USA in its struggle to make revolution in the U.S., as part of making revolution worldwide.
Who can join the Party?
Continually building and strengthening the Party is crucial in preparing for the actual revolution that is urgently needed. Anyone who is helping to build the movement for revolution the Party is leading, who hungers for, and is ready to dedicate their life to fighting for, a radically different world, without exploitation and oppression in any form, and who feels that they agree with the goals, methods, and principles of the Party, can and should apply to join the Party. Such an application will lead to a process of systematic discussion of the line of the Party, beginning with the Six Resolutions of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, January 1, 2016 (available at revcom.us), the responsibilities of Party members as set forth in the Constitution of the Party, and other important questions, which will be the basis for determining whether the person applying is in fact ready to join the Party, or whether a further process of work and discussion with the applicant is required before they can be accepted as a Party member.
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