Some Points on Strategic Orientation for the Next Period
Central Committee, Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
These are initial edited excerpts from a report and working document recently prepared by the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA that contain some points on strategic perspectives, orientation, and plans for the coming period. They have been edited for wider publication and accessibility. The orientation and plans will be further developed through continuing editorials, articles, and letters on the website, and through the role of revolutionary communists in the crucial battle to oust the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power, including initiatives like Refuse Fascism.
I. Fascism—An Even More Grotesque and Openly Murderous Form of the Same System
Liberal bourgeois democracy, such as that represented by Clinton and Obama, and fascism, such as that represented by the Trump/Pence regime, are different forms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, that is, of the capitalist-imperialist class, exercising its rule and enforcing its system. This is what is essentially in common between bourgeois democracy (bourgeois dictatorship in the “democratic” form) and fascism, even if they represent the rule of different sections of this same class. This is what was illustrated and manifested when Obama said of Trump soon after the election that “ultimately we are all on the same team,” even with their sharp differences.
At the same time, fascism is an even more grotesque and openly murderous form of this same system, representing horrors for humanity and the planet, beyond what this system already inflicts every moment. This relationship of being qualitatively different, even while sharing a common essence, is considered “a unity of opposites.”
The communist revolution aims to get rid of the capitalist-imperialist system and replace it with a radically different economic and political system, socialism. Socialist society represents the dictatorship of the proletariat (DOP), the rule of a different class, the proletariat―and is a transition, as part of a protracted worldwide process, to get to communism, a world free of exploitation, oppression, and antagonistic social divides. This revolution is also the only real solution to the horrors of what is concentrated in the 5 Stops1—the wars for empire, the oppression of women, of Black, Latino, and other oppressed nationality people, of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment—none of which can be resolved under this capitalist-imperialist system. This stands in stark opposition to the “unity of opposites” of bourgeois democracy and fascism.
As a form of rule, fascism resolves the contradiction between the essence and appearance of bourgeois democracy by exercising this class dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in its naked form. Describing this, and its dynamics, revcom.us has recently been running the following definition of fascism:
Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.”
At the same time—and this can be seen through studying the examples of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini—while it will likely move quickly to enforce certain repressive measures in consolidating its rule, a fascist regime is also likely to implement its program overall through a series of stages and even attempt at different points to reassure the people, or certain groups among the people, that they will escape the horrors—if they quietly go along and do not protest or resist while others are being terrorized and targeted for repression, deportation, “conversion,” prison, or execution.
The capitalist-imperialists can enforce their system and its dominance through either bourgeois democracy or fascism, even as they may differ sharply as to what is the necessary and desirable means at a given time. Describing this, Molotov (a top official in the Soviet Union—a socialist country at the time—during World War 2) memorably termed fascism “a matter of taste for the bourgeoisie.” However, this is decidedly not so for the masses of people—here and around the world. It matters a great deal whether or not fascism is imposed and successfully implemented―both because of the extreme levels of horror and atrocity that are perpetrated, as well as the draconian ways in which the “trampling on what are supposed to be legal and civil rights” make the waging of any larger struggle for human emancipation much more difficult.
With the Trump/Pence regime in its early stages, one can see both pre-figurations of these aspects of fascism—and the dynamics of fascism on the march, with worse horrors to come. They have issued and implemented executive orders ratcheting up vicious and cruel measures against sections of the people, including undocumented immigrants and those from particular Muslim-majority countries, labeling them “undesirables” and “dangers to society.” They have launched an unprecedented and escalating assault on the mainstream press as “the enemy of the American people” with related assaults on the truth as “fake news.” They have advanced fascist mass mobilization around these themes. Where the judiciary and intelligence agencies have posed obstacles to their program or not done their exact bidding, this regime has attacked them as well, asserting the unchallengeable supremacy of the executive branch in opposition to “the system of checks and balances” between the different branches of the government, which is a fundamental principal of the U.S. Constitution, and even within the executive branch, asserting the unquestionable domination of the hard core fascists at the very top, even in relation to other bourgeois forces within the state.
Why did the Trump/Pence fascist regime arise now? In fact, this did not “come out of nowhere.” For many years now, Bob Avakian has pointed to the rise of fascist trends and a definite fascist movement in U.S. political life.
Bob Avakian (BA) is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. He is the architect of the new synthesis of communism, a whole new framework for human emancipation on a thoroughly scientific foundation. For more, we encourage readers to read and engage THE NEW COMMUNISM, by BA, the interview with Ardea Skybreak, Science and Revolution: On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian, and other works of BA available on this website, revcom.us. BA leads the revolution in the U.S., theoretically and practically.
BA has scientifically analyzed the rise of this fascism, its underlying causes and drivers, and peculiarly American expressions such as Christian fascism—and what is to be done for the emancipation of humanity—and we strongly encourage people to seriously engage the following works by Bob Avakian: (a) The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer, and (b) the compilation of excerpts in The Coming Civil War and Re-polarization for Revolution in the Present Era.
In a nutshell, in response to the underlying necessity and challenges faced by the U.S. ruling class, globally and in this society, sections of the bourgeoisie have coalesced around a fascist program and regime, the Trump/Pence regime. This may not be a “perfect fit” and carries tremendous risks, but this is what Trump represents and aims to consolidate. And theocratic Christian fascism is a critical dimension of this.
What is that necessity—what contradictions do the capitalist-imperialists in the USA confront? In a large section of the world, U.S. imperialism is bogged down in wars for empire, locked in struggle with the historically outmoded forces of Islamic jihadism, even while they mutually reinforce each other in a dynamic that is deadly and oppressive to hundreds of millions. The U.S. faces challenges from China as a rising economic and military power, and inter-imperialist rivalry with Russia and Europe. The warming of the planet has growing and long-term implications, including mass migration from the oppressed nations which are disproportionately affected. In this society, the oppression of Black, Latino, and other oppressed nationality people, of women, and of immigrants intensifies, even while the traditional social fabric is strained by changes in demographics, the role of women, and gender and sexuality norms.
Clinton, Obama and the section of the ruling class associated with the Democrats profess, and to a degree give expression to, “multiculturalism,” “inclusiveness,” and liberal secularism even while maintaining the essential Christian, white supremacist, and patriarchal relations that characterize U.S. capitalism-imperialism. In contrast, the fascist Trump/Pence regime, and the Republican leadership that supports them, represents an extremely reactionary section of the bourgeoisie and their response to these contradictions, which in worldview and program is qualitatively different. With the leading edge of “America First,” white supremacy, patriarchy, and absolutist “traditional values” and Biblical morality, this constitutes and further reinforces underlying oppressive and exploitative relations of this system―and coheres its base around an uncritical exaltation of American might and a violently oppressive and repressive stance toward all who do not fit, or will not subordinate themselves to, the white Christian-fundamentalist mode.
Imposing this fascist program on society requires going after and replacing the norms and institutions of bourgeois democracy, especially those that pose obstacles to them like the press, the judiciary, and other sections of the ruling class. Bob Avakian makes the following crucial observation in "The Fascists and the Destruction of the 'Weimar Republic'... And What Will Replace It" (one of the excerpts in The Coming Civil War and Re-polarization for Revolution in the Present Era):
[B]esides attacking people who are genuinely opposed not only to this fascism but to the capitalist-imperialist system as a whole, one of the main lines of their assault is (to use a very relevant analogy) viciously going after the Weimar Republic (the bourgeois-democratic republic in Germany after World War 1, which was replaced and forcibly abolished when Hitler and the Nazis came to power in the 1930s)....
Going after the equivalent of the Weimar Republic in the U.S. today, the Democratic Party and the “Liberals” and so on—attacking them as nothing less than traitors―is part of an overall program aimed at silencing and outright suppressing, including through the force of the state, any group or section of society, even within the ruling class, that would pose an obstacle to the implementation of the program that the Christian Fascists, and forces in the same general camp with them, are very seriously seeking to impose on the U.S. (and indeed throughout the world). There is, and for some time there has been, a very definite, conscious and concerted effort by the forces in that general fascist camp to systematically attack not just communists, or anarchists and other radicals, but liberals, mainstream ruling class liberal politicians—attacking them as having been nothing less than traitors, from the time of the cold war to the “war on terror.” [bolded emphasis original, italicized emphasis ours]
This is the phenomenon we see with Trump branding the mainstream press, principally and normally a propaganda organ at the service of the liberal bourgeois state, as “the enemy of the American people,” for criticizing his regime and exposing its extreme measures. Similarly, while the principal role of the judiciary is enforcing the system, enshrined in the laws of the land, it also includes the protection of “civil and legal rights” even if that is more formal than actual for vast sections of the oppressed masses under this system. In this context, fascist assaults on the judiciary aim to remove institutional obstacles to both “unchecked” power of the fascist executive and to the “trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights”for the people. This is the dynamic of the fascist juggernaut.
The imposition of different and more oppressive cohering norms in society, the escalated, violent, and viciously cruel attacks on sections of people, the trampling of civil and legal rights, the mobilization of violent fascist social bases, require, contribute to and are part of this dynamic and momentum of the fascist juggernaut. Precisely because of this dynamic, the scope and space for protest and even dissent is undermined by a fascist juggernaut on the move, with a constantly weakening basis for the masses of people to fight, to resist―even as the horrors of fascism accelerate and accentuate!
For these reasons above, the fascist regime needs to be DRIVEN OUT before it consolidates! This is the NECESSITY of the moment!
II. The Necessity We Face―The Need and the Basis to Oust This Fascist Regime, Its Relationship to Making Revolution
While the fascist Trump/Pence regime has its hands on the reins of state power, it has not fully and firmly consolidated its power and successfully implemented its fascist program.
There is both a normalization of fascism even while there are manifestations of sharp divides and protestations against this regime’s measures in the ruling class—among the Democrats, the mainstream media, etc. Those in opposition to the regime—including sections of the mainstream press, the judiciary, and the intelligence agencies—have not yet been fundamentally silenced and/or suppressed.
Resistance, protest, and outrage among the people have been and continue to be a feature from the very beginning of this regime. The Women’s March the day after the presidential inauguration and all the protests against Trump’s executive orders on immigration have manifested widespread and defiant resistance from sections of the people. We have to learn from these, to lead what is needed. This starkly manifested some of “the reservoir” of those who hate what this regime represents, and we must win growing sections of them to the necessity to oust this regime, and no less. With the unfolding reality, it is also becoming clearer, among growing sections of people, that Trump/Pence is a fascist regime, and has the potential to perpetrate horrors way beyond what the system also produces, and possibly posing existential threats to humanity—with the use of nuclear weapons―and the planet—with environmental devastation and global warming.
In assessing and understanding this moment, it is similar to the time period between Hitler being appointed chancellor and the consolidation of fascist rule where the Nazis had crushed the opposition. The Trump/Pence regime has not yet succeeded in imposing and institutionalizing its new norms, against both resistance and protest from sections of the people, and overcoming all the divides and protestations from sections of the ruling class and others.
Stopping this fascist regime, through massive political resistance, before it consolidates its power, is NECESSARY and still viable at this point, with a window and possibility in a relatively finite/telescoped period. While this window is uncertain, and could be slammed shut with major events in society and/or acts of this regime, there is an urgency to act and make real advances in ousting this regime in the immediate few months. This “window,” the possibility to oust this regime, could possibly re-open later with major changes in the world and this regime, but there is no guarantee of this, and in the meantime, this fascist regime would potentially inflict horrors untold, and it would be immeasurably harder to unseat this regime as time passes and fascism consolidates. This poses the urgent need for the necessary forces to be brought forward, united, organized, and mobilized in the ways, and on the scale necessary, in this finite/telescoped period, with the appropriate and commensurate means and forms for doing this.
In this context, it is sobering and critical to recognize, as an analogy, that “once Hitler consolidated power, it took a whole world war to bring him down, and then he was not brought down by any internal dynamics and struggle from within German society itself.”2 Given the circumstances that this fascist regime has not consolidated, the concrete objective of removing this regime from power remains a valid objective in its own right―for now―from the perspective of making revolution.
There is a dialectical relation between the crucial and immediate political battle against the Trump/Pence fascist regime and the even further heightened importance and urgency of carrying forward the “3 Prepares”3and building for revolution in this highly fraught situation. At this moment the former is principal and the latter fundamental.4
What is decisive in this context are the two mainstays—promoting and popularizing BA, and the website, revcom.us―along with accumulating forces for revolution, all the way INTO the Party, and building and growing the Revolution Club as a form of revolutionary organization—at a moment when millions of “new” people are being thrust into political life. This is integral to everything we need to be doing and to actually even succeed in this crucial political battle... in line with what is ultimately needed to get to a radically different and far better society through revolution.
III. A Strategic Perspective on, and Approach to This Moment and the Crucial Political Battle
The correct orientation of those forces leading the revolutionary proletariat in the kind of situation we face now is captured in the last paragraph of the Weimar article by BA, “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’... And What Will Replace It”:
The “Weimar Republic” does need to be replaced, and superseded. The bourgeois republic—the rule of capitalism and imperialism, in its bourgeois-democratic form―is in fact a repressive system of rule, rooted in a whole network and process of exploitation and oppression, which brings untold, and unnecessary, suffering to millions, and literally billions, of people, throughout the world, including within the republic itself. It needs to be replaced and superseded, however, not by an even more grotesque and more openly murderous form of the same system, but by a radically new society, and a radically different kind of state, that will open the way and lead finally to the abolition of all forms of oppressive and repressive rule and all relations of domination and exploitation, throughout the world.
First, this orientation highlights the even greater import of projecting a radically different and far better society that is represented in concrete and visionary form in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (CNSRNA), authored by Bob Avakian. Particularly at a time when the question of how society should be organized, and on what principles, is much closer to the surface, this needs to be much more widely known. This Constitution represents a qualitative advance beyond previous socialist societies, and is a concrete application of BA’s New Communism―the result of more than four decades of work, scientifically summing up past communist and revolutionary experiences and theory, leading the revolution, practically and theoretically, in this country, and drawing from developments in other fields of human endeavor like the sciences, history, and art.
Objectively there are three futures contending in this struggle—(a) what is represented by the Trump/Pence fascist regime, the whole reactionary social phenomena that brought them to power, and the Republicans who support them, (b) what is represented by Obama, Clinton, and the Democrats more broadly, and (c) communism as advanced by BA, THE NEW COMMUNISM.
Even while the first two represent the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (DOB), and have nothing to do with genuine emancipation and the fundamental interests of humanity, there are real differences between them in regard to societal cohering norms and epistemology (what is true, and how do you get to it), and the understanding and approach to the overall necessity/freedom faced by the imperialists at this moment, domestically and globally. The open and stark manifestations of white supremacy and misogyny among the fascists, Christian fascist absolutist epistemology and morality co-existing with wholly relativist “alternative facts” epistemology and Trump morality, and attacks on longstanding institutional norms of bourgeois democracy are manifestations of these differences.
What is more fundamental, however, is that what is represented by the 5 Stops—the wars for empire, the oppression of women, of Black, Latino, and other oppressed nationality people, of immigrants, and the destruction of the environment—are not resolvable under this system, causing untold horrors, even while Obama/Clinton and Trump/Pence have different approaches and responses to these. The approach of revolutionary communists in taking fascism on is not to return to what “was” in Obama/Clinton, but to move forward toward replacing the whole goddamn system and bring about a radically different and far better society as represented by the Constitution of the NSRNA.
Second, this orientation stands in contrast to a position or orientation, historically characterized as United Front against Fascism (UFAF), which was dominant in the international communist movement in the 1930s in response to the rise of Nazi Germany. This line fundamentally divorced fascism from the capitalist-imperialist system, ultimately drawing too sharp a distinction between the democratic, antifascist section of the bourgeoisie and the reactionary section of the bourgeoisie for whom fascism was a response to and resolution of underlying contradictions. Fundamentally conflating different and antagonistic class interests, this line and approach called on the international proletariat to strategically ally with those bourgeois sections upholding bourgeois dictatorship in its "democratic" form, objectively making its upholding the centerpiece, and was part of an international line that drew the dividing line between fascism and democracy, full stop. UFAF also concentrated a crude economist approach of “the most widely applicable” means to attract people at the moment, what people are in motion around, rather than responding to necessity from a scientific and revolutionary communist viewpoint and goals. All this stands in opposition to leading the masses of people in independent historical action to achieve a crucial objective short of socialist revolution, with the overall strategic perspective and goal of working towards a radically different future embodied in that revolution.
At this immediate moment, scientifically analyzing the objective situation and the necessity we face, ousting this fascist regime is “a stage we have to go through.” In this, there is an aspect common with UFAF, but this aspect in common is very secondary to the fundamental differences in approach, orientation, and goals. Further, this immediate objective of driving out the fascist regime could change radically and quickly, including with the more or less full consolidation of the fascist regime, or some other resolution yet unforeseen, and the necessity faced will correspondingly change—where it will simply no longer be the case or necessity that ousting this regime is a valid objective and “stage we have to go through” as part of making revolution and carrying out the “3 Prepares” in this changed objective situation. This is therefore relative, and contingent on an objective situation in flux.
In this crucial battle, a guideline and orientation is to apply what is concentrated in the “mouthful sentence” from BA, i.e., “to continuously forge (and re-forge under new conditions) unity as broadly as possible so that it is objectively in line with and furthering the aims of the proletarian revolution and so that, at any given time in that process, as many people as possible are being won and influenced in their subjective consciousness toward the communist position, without however overstepping and undermining the correct unity for the given circumstances, which will be on a level different from, and short of, support for the communist position and proletarian revolution.” [Emphasis ours]
A rather simple illustration of an application of the first part of the mouthful sentence is to proceed in this crucial battle from the standpoint of what is in the interests of all of humanity, “In the Name of Humanity,” not of America per se―and struggle to win others and unite as broadly as possible around this orientation.
IV. The Necessity to Drive Out This Fascist Regime, and the Possibility on This Basis
We have to make—and continue to make—a case for the NECESSITY to oust this regime. This is the principal aspect of the NECESSITY/POSSIBILITY dialectic, where the possibility for ousting this regime is primarily based on the necessity of doing so, and the means realized by growing sections of people being won to this, and acting on this understanding.
When people ask “how” or what is the “mechanism” to oust this regime, the question to be returned to IS the “why,” the NECESSITY! This is first and foremost. When people understand this and become convinced, all sorts of things become possible with people doing all kinds of things, taking initiative, with creativity and defiance. History is full of such examples, including defiant, persistent, and growing protests that withstood and overcame tremendous repression and led to the fall of reactionary regimes (for example, the Arab Spring protests against Mubarak in Egypt, or those against Ceauşescu in Romania in the 1990s, etc.). More recently, we understand the upcoming scientists march on April 22 was originally initiated by someone horrified by this regime’s attacks on science, coming to feel this is unacceptable as they learned more, and confronting the need being posed for a scientists’ march, took this to heart and acted on it. This is what is needed, on a growing mass scale.
Grasping the necessity to oust this regime is the key link in ideological struggle in this realm, and we should explicitly lead people in this, with ways they can talk to their friends, colleagues, and others they are reaching out to—bringing the case back to NECESSITY, with substance.
In this instance, it is a concrete application of Lenin’s What Is To Be Done, and Mao’s emphasis on the decisiveness of line.
This—the decisive import of making, and increasingly winning the case for the necessity to oust this regime―is both a summation of experience of the past period (going into the inauguration), and what is to be done now, looking forward. This necessity is based on the illegitimacy of this regime, stemming primarily from its fascist character and content posing an existential threat to humanity and the planet (Hitler did not have nukes, which Trump/Pence do!), and causing tremendous harm and needless suffering, beyond what this system does already on a daily, ongoing basis. Living, compelling agitation on this is critical, in person and even more on social media and online. Secondarily, this regime was only able to come to power as a result of the Electoral College—which is a legacy and manifestation of slavery and its continuing effects—further contributing to its utter illegitimacy.
By now, there is EVERY basis to know the horrific consequences for humanity and the planet if this regime is not ousted—and we should lead and struggle with others, with this orientation. We have to be ON A MISSION flowing from the fact that this is completely UNACCEPTABLE, with an urgency and impatience of WHY SHOULD WE PUT UP WITH THIS, “In the Name of Humanity!” This sense of mission should be no less than that of parents whose child has gone missing—not stopping till the child is found, searching for every opening and every clue, and rallying people in this cause and mission.
At the same time, the necessity/possibility relationship is dialectical, a dynamic interrelation—and we have to make a case in its own right for the viability and possibility of ousting this regime, outlining the means for doing so, and concrete ways people can act on this understanding. The more this case is made and becomes a reality, the more people will grasp the necessity and feel compelled to act to do so.
All of this informs the approach to the righteous and defiant eruptions of protest against particular outrages such as the regime’s executive orders around immigration. We have to both welcome and uphold, making the case that these are just and righteous, and need to spread and become more defiant, and at the same time, win people to the fact that this is NOT enough, what’s needed is to oust, to “Drive Out” this regime. With the right orientation of unity-struggle-unity, we need to make the case to drive out this regime because fighting rearguard actions against the fascist juggernaut are incommensurate with its dynamics, not only because (a) the horrors qualitatively accentuate and accelerate but (b) there is a weakening basis to fight.
To fundamentally win this on a societal basis, there is a need for, and openings for, ideological struggle. One of the key tasks is to break away the social base from the Democrats, from Obama to Sanders to Schumer, to win people to consciously repudiate and reject their normalization edicts whether it is Obama’s repeated public declarations of the common goals he shared with Trump, or Sanders’ repeated pledges to work with Trump on jobs. OUR TEAM IS NOT THEIR TEAM! They have TOLD you, especially concentrated in Obama’s bald (and baldly true) statement that elections between Democrats and Republicans are “intramural” contests, that they are all on the same team... and we—the masses of people—need to understand, and act on the understanding, that we are on a different team, one that is in fundamental opposition to their “team.” We need to widely use and propagate the revcom.us articles, related memes, etc. that expose all this. (See "Obama on Trump: 'We’re All on THE Same Team' (!)," "Bernie Sanders Covers Himself with Collaborationist Shame," and "Obama says that 'if Trump succeeds, we succeed.' Two questions, Obama...")
There is a role and real importance for revolutionary communists to come from outside the bourgeois democratic framework and norms, going up against and hammering against deep-set assumptions about the history of this country, the nature of this system and what is ultimately needed. The more this is out there, the more it sets favorable terms for the struggle that is needed. For example, this should include the reality that “America Was Never Great,” or that “Job Creation” under this system merely being a way to organize people into exploitative relations when things could be done radically differently. A particularly illustrative example is that of responding to those who say the “ballot box” is a sacrosanct American tradition with “what about the Seven Billion of Humanity”—should their future be put up to the ballot?
V. Further Points on Advancing Strategic Objectives—Re-Polarization for Revolution, Bringing Forward New Forces for Revolution
While revolution is not yet a mass question, there ARE big questions on people’s minds, objectively posed. There is a “moment” here, where provoked by the fascism of Trump/Pence, big questions are up—on epistemology, how did we get here with this monstrous and grotesque regime, what will it take to get beyond all this for a world free of exploitation and oppression, etc.
Most of all what characterizes this moment is millions of “new” people thrust into political life, acting in ways they would not have a few months ago.
This is strategically very, very favorable ground, including provoking big questions on, in short, the 5 Stops and the 3 Things5, to which we have thoroughly scientific answers. In this context, especially on campuses, among the intelligentsia and artists, and in the middle strata overall, grappling with and even sharply struggling around the questions of epistemology to make a breakthrough is critical. For example, Trump has taken relativism to the extreme, forcing an opportunity for us to make the case on objective reality, truth, scientific method and approach, etc., and more fundamentally what is concentrated in Chapter 4 of BAsics, including 4:106 and 4:11.7
Overarching in its import in this context and overall is the interview with Ardea Skybreak—further highlighted by its title/subtitle―Science and Revolution, On the Importance of Science and the Application of Science to Society, the New Synthesis of Communism and the Leadership of Bob Avakian. In particular, the last section of the interview needs to be highlighted and called attention to as a model of a “Follower of BA”—not only in opposition to all the ridiculous slander of “cult,” but, positively, as an embodiment and concentration of the radically different and far better world, of what it means to be communist in the vein of The New Communism―with the particularity of a scientist who is “An Explorer, a Critical Thinker, a Follower of BA: Understanding the World, and Changing It for the Better, in the Interests of Humanity.”
We have to be ON A MISSION—on everything we are tasked with, but with particular focus on accumulating forces for revolution (and especially communist forces). The orientation, based on the two guidelines of “for whom and for what” and materialism8―should be nothing less than that, as the example above, of parents whose child has gone missing, and do NOT give up or bow down to obstacles till the situation is resolved. We need a moving “Ohio”9, where the Revolution Club sees their main task as accumulating forces for revolution, and in this context, a couple of points:
- The key link is: “are people in the club on a mission to make revolution?” Obstacles are approached differently in this context, bullshit included. For example, if someone objects, saying “I like the idea of revolution, but can I keep my car?” it is decidedly not an occasion for a loooong answer, but pointing out rather sharply, “we’re talking about the future of seven billion of humanity—and you’re worried about whether you can keep your car?” This has to be the orientation, setting and re-setting terms, not letting the terms get set by answering every question posed, questions that objectively represent a bourgeois or petite bourgeois outlook.
- Anyone in and around the club should be struggled with to prepare themselves to be in the Party, after they’ve been there for a little while—as opposed to “a permanent resting place.” The best of what is done is far from enough. In this, there is a correct relation of passion to science—the dialectics of the head and heart, which can get separated either way... and it is crucial to correctly approach and lead this dialectic... as in the WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS: Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism, an interview of BA by A. Brooks. We need an impatience grounded in science... We have to pay attention to the “Ohio” in and through everything we do and in its own right.
- Training people to be strategic commanders of the revolution. The key question here is: Do you want to WIN—and WHAT do you want to WIN? It is like playing a game of chess—with the bourgeoisie, various other social forces, etc.—as opposed to just proceeding linearly and singularly from “what we’re doing” and the masses of people, absent of larger societal dynamics and changes, both objective and in response to “what we’re doing.” The section of the Skybreak Interview on Strategic Commanders (pages 62-66) is a “must-read-and-review” for all those concerned with making revolution and bringing into being a radically different and far better world! The quality, the content, the correctness and the sharpness of revolutionary agitation is very linked to being strategic commanders, and approaching things from the mountaintop, the “godlike” position of the proletariat.10
1. “The 5 Stops” refers to the following demands that reflect key concentrations of social contradictions (and is available in poster and leaflet forms at revcom.us):
STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!
STOP The Patriarchal Degradation, Dehumanization, and Subjugation of All Women Everywhere, and All Oppression Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation!
STOP Wars of Empire, Armies of Occupation, and Crimes Against Humanity!
STOP The Demonization, Criminalization and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!
STOP Capitalism-Imperialism from Destroying Our Planet! [back]
2. From The Coming Civil War, Bob Avakian, “There Is No ‘They’... But There is a Definite Direction to Things: THE DYNAMICS WITHIN THE RULING CLASS, AND THE CHALLENGES FOR REVOLUTIONARIES” [back]
3. The “3 Prepares” are: Prepare the ground, prepare the people, and prepare the vanguard—get ready for the time when millions can be led to go for revolution, all-out, with a real chance to win. [back]
4. The fundamental contradiction of this capitalist-imperialist system is between privatized appropriation and socialized production―resulting in and setting the context for the oppression, exploitation, and antagonistic social divides in the world. This can only be resolved by communist revolution. As we state above, this is a revolution to get rid of this system, and establish socialist society—a radically different economic and political system that is a transition to communism, as part of a protracted worldwide process, which resolves this fundamental contradiction through a process whereby humanity―as a whole―takes conscious control of the productive forces, and eliminates oppression and antagonistic social conflicts.
The principal contradiction is the leading edge of how the fundamental contradiction finds expression during a certain historical moment or specific realm. In this country, the fundamental contradiction is now finding expression in this fascist regime, a particular form of the rule of the capitalist-imperialist class, determining of and shaping the principal contradiction, and the task for those fighting for revolution―the immediate political battle against this regime. [back]
5. 3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better:
1) People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this.
2) People have to dig seriously and scientifically into how this system of capitalism-imperialism actually works, and what this actually causes in the world.
3) People have to look deeply into the solution to all this.
May 1st, 2016 [back]
6. For humanity to advance beyond a state in which “might makes right”—and where things ultimately come down to raw power relations—will require, as a fundamental element in this advance, an approach to understanding things (an epistemology) which recognizes that reality and truth are objective and do not vary in accordance with, nor depend on, different “narratives” and how much “authority” an idea (or “narrative”) may have behind it, or how much power and force can be wielded on behalf of any particular idea or “narrative,” at any given point.
―BAsics 4:10 [back]
7. What people think is part of objective reality, but objective reality is not determined by what people think.
―BAsics 4:11 [back]
8. These two guidelines are gone into during the opening chapter of THE NEW COMMUNISM by Bob Avakian and refer to the need for communists to root themselves both in the objective need of the seven billion people on the planet for a whole new world, coming from those interests in everything, and to proceed from and apply the scientific method, and nothing less, in making revolution. [back]
9. The “Ohio” refers to the Ohio State marching band’s practice of marching in such a way as to spell out “OHIO” when viewed from above; in this process, band members who begin the first O, then move through the other letters of the word until they are at the last “O”—the point is that there is an analogous process involved in building any kind of progressive or revolutionary movement, in which people “move through” various levels of understanding and commitment, though this is not (“in the real world”) quite so linear and lockstep as the Ohio State marching band! [back]
10. For more on “the mountaintop” as the vantage point to view the whole sweep of human history, and the “godlike position of the proletariat,” we strongly encourage readers to get into and engage with “Bob Avakian in a Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology―On Knowing and Changing the World.”
In this discussion, he says, “What is the ‘godlike position of the proletariat,’ as I referred to it in ‘Strategic Questions’? On one level, you’re sort of sitting on a hill watching this procession go by of the development of humanity. Some of it you can see more dimly and some more clearly—you look at this whole sweep and then at a certain point this group called the proletariat emerges from within this set of social relations that can take it to a particular place, to a whole different world. But you shouldn’t reify the proletariat: Yes, it’s made up of real people, but it’s not a matter of individual proletarians but of the proletariat as a class, of its position in society and of where its interests lie, in the most fundamental sense, as a class.” [back]
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