We have a "New Millennium"--
What We Need is a New World
A Statement by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP
January 1, 2000
Revolutionary Worker #1036, December 26, 1999
The "New Millennium" is before us. But what awaits us and future generations, what will define the next thousand years?
Will it be the same old, same old--where a small handful continues to control the wealth and knowledge humanity as a whole has created? Where this handful continues to rule over millions and billions, using the most brutal and destructive means to maintain a way of life in which the great majority of humanity is kept in conditions of poverty and wretchedness. Where the institutions of power...the machinery that enforces "law and order"...the customs, traditions, values and ideas with which people are indoctrinated...all serve to keep this kind of system going. Where 40 thousand children die every day in the Third World from starvation and disease that could be prevented or cured. Where the oppressed are treated like dogs and shot down in the streets, or even in their own homes, by the thugs in uniform who "protect and serve" this system. Where discrimination and racism are the rule. Where every day women are insulted and assaulted, and are constantly told it is their "natural role" to be under the domination of "male authority." Where whole peoples and nations are plundered by a few "great powers." Where those who rule over us can unleash massive destruction and war at their command, bringing great suffering to the people and threatening the future of humanity, and this is all justified and glorified as "duty, honor, and righteousness." For another thousand years, will people have to witness the sickening celebration of this as "the best of all possible worlds" and the most humanity can ever hope to achieve?
NO. This new millennium will be a time unlike any before in human history. It will be an era in which all of human society will be changed in radically new ways. It will be a world-historical epoch in which there will be the chance, in a way there never has been before, to put an end to oppression, to slavery in every form, in every part of the world.
Looking at the world as it is now, as it has been for thousands of years...seeing what the people are caught up in today...HOW CAN ANYONE CONFIDENTLY PROCLAIM THAT THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT, THAT THIS IS WHAT THE NEW MILLENNIUM WILL BRING?
AM I DREAMING? YES--BUT THESE DREAMS ARE BASED ON REALITY.
Check out history. No empire has lasted forever. Even the mightiest have fallen: the Roman Caesars and their descendants, the Pharaohs of Egypt, the empire of Alexander the Great, the ruling dynasties throughout thousands of years in China, and more recently the empires of the Spanish, Portuguese and others in the Americas. This will also happen to today's empire-rulers, the imperialists, whose system is rooted in the "modern" form of slavery known as capitalism. They may rule over large parts of the world today--and, like the empires of old, they challenge each other for the top-dog position--but they will be brought down. This will be true of the German, the British, the Japanese, the French, the Russian, and other imperialists. And, even though they like to declare that they are invincible and will forever be "all-powerful," this same fate awaits the mightiest of all world powers today, the U.S. imperialists.
BUT the BIG QUESTION is: WHAT WILL REPLACE THE RULE OF THESE IMPERIALISTS WHEN THEY FALL?
This has everything to do with how these imperialists are brought down--in what way this is achieved and by whom. If, as in the past, empires are overthrown by other empires--if exploiters are brought down to the dust only to have new exploiters arise in their place--then nothing fundamental will change and the masses of people, living under the rule of these imperialists, will not see a new day. BUT that is NOT the only way things can go--that is not the way imperialism will end. There is another road before us--the road of revolutionary struggle to overturn and uproot all imperialists, all systems of exploitation and oppression, to sweep away all their garbage. And that revolutionary struggle will give birth to a new society and a new world without exploitation and oppression.
HOW CAN WE KNOW THIS IS POSSIBLE?
The reason is that, as a result of thousands of years of historical development and creative activity and struggle by human beings in all parts of the world, a fantastic amount of technology and knowledge has been brought forth. BUT this has taken place through various forms of society in which the few have enslaved the many, in different ways, and have reaped for themselves the benefits of all this development. AND THE PROBLEM TODAY IS THAT, IN THE HANDS OF THE CAPITALIST CLASS THAT RULES OVER US AND STILL CONTROLS HUMANITY'S FATE, THE TREMENDOUS TECHNOLOGY AND KNOWLEDGE THAT IS CREATED CANNOT BE USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF HUMANITY AS A WHOLE AND INSTEAD CAN ONLY SUBJECT THE GREAT MAJORITY OF US TO AGONY AND OPPRESSION. That is a problem for us, yet it is also a problem for THEM, because it makes clear that THIS CLASS OF CAPITALIST EXPLOITERS CANNOT RUN SOCIETY IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE.
BUT THERE IS A CLASS THAT CAN DO THIS. This class is the proletariat. The proletariat is all of us--of all races and nationalities, in the U.S. and throughout the world--who, under this system, can live only so long as we work, and can work only so long as our work enriches someone else--the capitalist class. Our labor, collectively, is the foundation of society and produces tremendous wealth, but this wealth is stolen by a small number of capitalist exploiters who turn this wealth into their "private property," into a means of further exploiting us. We are trapped in this cycle, where we have to work in order to live but the more we work, the more wealth we create, the more it is stolen and turned into power over us. Acting as individuals, we cannot change this basic condition of enslavement, but as a class we do have a revolutionary way out.
Once we have risen up together and thrown off the rule of capital, we can not only free ourselves, we can revolutionize all of society and the world. We can unleash the tremendous creative potential of the masses of people--creative potential that is now wasted, or distorted, or even destroyed under the capitalist-imperialist system. We can take hold of the means to produce and acquire wealth and knowledge, make them the common property of the people and use them to benefit the people and society as a whole. We can transform all of the institutions and relations in society and the culture and ideas so that the common good is promoted and served. This is our world-historic mission. In this, we represent the great majority of the people, and we can lead them to change the world.
This can happen--there is a powerful basis for this to happen --because this is the only way the needs and interests of the vast majority of humanity can be met and that humanity can move forward together. And, until this revolution is brought about, the rule of capital will continue to create conditions that force people to rebel against it. As the great communist revolutionary Mao Tsetung put it: wherever there is oppression, there will be resistance. And resistance can and will be transformed into revolutionary struggle, and ultimately revolutionary war, to defeat the forces of oppression on the battlefield, to smash their machinery of oppression, and to create a new system that puts an end to this oppression. No matter how many times this revolutionary struggle may be defeated, or turned back after winning some beginning victories, it will arise again and again until, finally, it triumphs completely and carries out its mission worldwide. Mao Tsetung also powerfully expressed this great truth: Fight, fail; fight again, fail again; fight again...until final victory--that is the logic of the people. Make trouble, fail; make trouble again, fail again...until their doom--that is the logic of the imperialists and all reactionaries.
But to make this a reality, the oppressed, and in particular the class of proletarians, must become conscious of this historic revolutionary mission. And those who come to see the need for revolution and are determined to fight for it must be organized as a powerful force at the core of this world-changing struggle. This means that the proletariat must have its own vanguard party. A party that is continually strengthened by sinking its roots and its organization ever more deeply among the proletariat and other oppressed people and by recruiting into the party those who come to the forefront in the revolutionary struggle. A party that is guided by communist ideology, by the scientific world outlook and method that today is called MLM (or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, after the three greatest leaders of the communist cause so far: Marx, Lenin, and Mao). This ideology of MLM, and only this ideology, represents the proletariat and its revolutionary mission. The MLM party must take up and concretely apply this ideology to solve the practical problems of the revolution.
In an imperialist country like the U.S., this means leading the masses of people in fighting against the outrages and injustices of this system, and to do this in a way that prepares for the great revolutionary showdown ahead--the revolutionary war that will finally overthrow this system. The party must develop, through all its work, and all the struggles of today, the fighting capacity and organization of the proletariat and its allies. It must continually develop the class consciousness of the proletariat--an understanding of what is the problem and what is the solution, who is the enemy and who are friends and potential allies, how the struggle has to be waged and what the final aim of that struggle is. It must enable growing numbers of people to see the necessity and possibility of the historic mission of communism and train the revolutionary-minded people in the scientific world outlook and method of communism.
In the U.S. today, there is such a party carrying out this revolutionary work--the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. And, in turn, our Party is part of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), uniting MLM parties and organizations throughout the world. The purpose and goal of all these parties and organizations who are united in the RIM is to develop the worldwide proletarian revolution toward the final aim of communism--a world without exploitation, without inequality, without oppressive relations based on distinctions of class, or sex, or race or nationality. It is a tremendous achievement of the revolutionary struggle of masses of people in the U.S. and all over the world that our Party and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement exist; and this Party and this Movement are tremendously important forces for the masses of people in fighting for their liberation.
We call on our class, the proletarians, on all oppressed people, on everyone who would love to see a radically different world, where the great creative potential of the people is not beaten down and twisted into chains on the people themselves--where instead this potential is unlocked and unleashed to serve humanity. We call on you to support this Party and this internationalist Movement. We call on you to help build our Party, to work with the Party and to join the Party. Right now, our Party is carrying out a process of sharpening our plan for developing the revolutionary movement under today's conditions and preparing for the showdown with the rulers of this system and their forces of oppression and destruction. We are building on our work and the struggle of the people so far to bring forth a new revolutionary Programme of the RCP,USA. This new Programme will strengthen our ability to rally the people to the revolutionary cause as part of the worldwide proletarian revolution. Once again we issue the call: join with our Party in bringing forth this new Programme and in carrying out the strategy and plan for seizing power from the imperialist oppressors and establishing the power of the proletariat in order to revolutionize all of society and the world.
This revolution means shattering and casting off the material shackles--the economic, social, and political relations of exploitation and oppression--that bind us. These chains are very real, even if they are not the literal slave chains of former times. And, together with that, this revolution means casting away the mental chains that reinforce these material shackles.
This revolution will bring the end of superstition and the "superstitious awe" that we are made to feel for the people and the institutions that stand above and keep down the mass of humanity. It will bring an end to all the kingdoms of real-world "Lords" and "Masters" who rule over us and are determined to keep us in ignorance in order to better exploit and oppress us. And, along with that, it will bring an end to the notion of "other world" or "heavenly" Lords and Masters. It will bring an end to the need for human beings to invent "gods" or other supernatural creatures and forces that are imagined to control the natural world and human destiny. It will bring a beginning to a great new era in which there will be a world community of freely associating human beings, without exploiter and exploited. Then the tremendous diversity among humanity will be celebrated and will actually help build the unity of the world's people. Differences among human beings will not be turned into relations of oppressor and oppressed. All notions of "superior and inferior" human beings will be regarded as ridiculous and outrageous. This will be an era in which human beings, all over the earth, will not be afraid to face reality as it actually is, but will welcome the challenge of continually striving and struggling to more deeply discover why things are the way they are and why things change in the ways they do. But not just that--the point will not be merely to understand things but to change things in ways that serve the interests of humanity as a whole.
When we human beings look out on the never-ending expanse of space, when we try to think of the great sweep of time, when we experience the great diversity and the constant "changingness" in nature, as well as in human society, we cannot help feeling a tremendous sense of awe and wonder. In the future communist society, this will not give rise to fear and superstition and the worship of imaginary beings and forces--or of other human beings as if they were "gods." Rather, it will give rise to the continual efforts of humanity to understand and change reality, to express our awe and wonder at the vastness and changingness of reality, to ponder and dream about things we do not yet comprehend. In the future communist society, material abundance and knowledge will not be the "private property" of a small part of humanity but the common and ever-increasing treasure of humanity as a whole. Then a scientific approach to reality will be the common outlook of the people and scientific knowledge will not only make far greater advances than ever before but will be used to serve the people in ways never before possible. At the same time, human imagination will be given flight in a whole new and greater way. Music and poetry, and many other forms of art and culture, will flourish in ways it is hard to even imagine now. Science and the imagination will continually inform and inspire each other, serving the largest and broadest needs of the people and the all-around development of their society.
WE HAVE ALREADY BEGUN TO BRING THIS NEW ERA INTO BEING. This is powerfully shown in the revolutionary struggles of our class and oppressed people all over the world and in the MLM parties and organizations that are working to lead those struggles to carry out the historic mission of the proletariat. The future has already shined forth brilliantly in the great revolutionary achievements of our class in this past century--especially in Russia and then in China, where the proletariat seized and held power for decades and made great advances in revolutionizing society and promoting the world revolutionary movement. These revolutions in Russia and China were eventually reversed, but they represent tremendously important experience and very valuable lessons for our cause--and, looking at the sweep of historical development, these reversals are but temporary setbacks along the road to the final goal of a communist world. As Mao Tsetung explained, summing up in a few words the historical experience of the proletarian revolution so far and pointing with strategic confidence to the final outcome of that struggle: The road is tortuous, it is full of twists and turns, but the future is bright.
WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO CELEBRATE AND WELCOME THE FUTURE TO COME. THIS WILL BE THE ERA IN WHICH A RADICALLY NEW WORLD WILL BE BROUGHT INTO BEING. IT WILL BE A TIME WHEN UNPRECEDENTED RADICAL CHANGE WILL BE POSSIBLE--WHEN THERE WILL BE THE CHANCE, AT LONG LAST, FOR HUMAN BEINGS AS A WHOLE, ALL OVER THE EARTH, WITH ALL THEIR GREAT DIVERSITY, TO TAKE THEIR DESTINY INTO THEIR OWN HANDS AND MOVE FORWARD TO CONSTITUTE A TRUE WORLD COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE, UNIFIED IN THEIR COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY AND OF HOW TO TRANSFORM IT, CONSCIOUSLY AND VOLUNTARILY CHANGING THE WORLD AND THEMSELVES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS AND INTERESTS OF HUMANITY AS A WHOLE.
DOWN WITH THE OLD WORLD--A BETTER WORLD IS IN BIRTH.
Bob Avakian, Chairman of the
Central Committee, RCP,USA
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