Editors' note: The following is an excerpt from the new work by Bob Avakian, THE NEW COMMUNISM. In addition to excerpts already posted on revcom.us, we will be running further excerpts from time to time on both revcom.us and in Revolution newspaper. These excerpts should serve as encouragement and inspiration for people to get into the work as a whole, which is available as a book from Insight Press. A prepublication copy is available on line at revcom.us.
This excerpt comes from the section titled "III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution."
And then we have what the Party has identified as the “two mainstays” of its overall work to build a movement for revolution, and the Party as its leading core. What do we mean by “mainstays”? We mean the basic things that are the ongoing foundation for all the work we do, the foundation on which we carry out our overall work to build for an actual revolution. There is the first mainstay, the leading edge of our overall work: the promotion and popularization of the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of Bob Avakian (BA). This now takes a concentrated form in the BA Everywhere campaign,60 a campaign of massive fund-raising to project the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of BA broadly, with major impact in all parts of society.
In the Interview with Ardea Skybreak, the importance of the promotion and popularization of the new synthesis of communism and the leadership of BA, as concentrated now in the BA Everywhere campaign, is emphasized. And here are some more questions: How should we understand the importance of this—the BA Everywhere campaign, and beyond that this first mainstay as a whole—the importance of this overall in building a movement for revolution, with the Party as its leading core, the importance in terms of carrying out the strategic orientation of United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat? And what does this have to do specifically with the aspect of Leadership of the Proletariat? Why is this one of the “two mainstays”—why, in fact, do we say that this is, that it must be, the leading edge of our overall work to build the movement for revolution and the Party as its leading core?
In this connection, I want to talk about some formulations that we’ve developed in relation to this mainstay and the work around it. The first is what we call the role of Huxleys. When Darwin came forward with the theory of evolution, as you can imagine, it was very controversial. In fact, Darwin held off, for some time, in actually publishing The Origin of Species because he not only wanted to work things through and get everything right, but also because he knew that a shit storm would come when he put this out, that he would be attacked by all kinds of religious forces and other people who were upholders of tradition. For a number of reasons, Darwin himself, while he was prepared for that, was not in the best position to go out broadly in society and fight for what was represented by what he’d brought forward. But this guy Thomas Huxley, who was a scientist himself, recognized the importance of what Darwin had done, what a breakthrough it was, what a revolution it was in human understanding. So Huxley said, I’m gonna go out and fight for this, I’m gonna go everywhere. He went among the intelligentsia, he went among the poor people in London—he went everywhere, and explained to people what this theory of evolution was and why it was so important. And he was not ashamed to call himself—in fact, he very boldly called himself—Darwin’s bulldog, taking on all comers who attacked the theory of evolution.
Analogously, we have people whose role is to be out in the world, propagating and fighting for this new synthesis and the leadership that has brought forward this new synthesis, acting as pit bulls in fighting for this. We know that this is controversial. It’s going up against a lot of things that people are invested in—people who want to play around the edges of the system but keep everything going the way it is, in fundamental terms—with attitudes like: “Well, we kind of want some kind of changes, but uhhhh, not too much”; or “This is our turf here, we’re pursuing our petty interests by pimping off the oppression of people and the fact that people are rising up against it, so we don’t want you to bring that stuff in here that might do away with all this, because then what’s gonna happen with the capital we’ve invested in this?” Our Huxleys have to take on the responsibility to go everywhere, propagating and fighting for the new synthesis and the leadership that has brought forward this new synthesis, not only in order to take on the petty opportunist attacks on this, but for the more positive reason that people really need to know that there is a science that has been further developed through this new synthesis of communism that people can take hold of and fight consciously to achieve their own emancipation, and the emancipation of people everywhere, and advance to a whole new world and a whole new future for humanity.
The other formulation—which speaks to the role of people far beyond just these relatively few Huxleys who are focusing on this, in this kind of concentrated way—is drawn from the Chinese revolution and in particular the Cultural Revolution in socialist China. And that is the role of what they called “barefoot doctors.” Before the revolution triumphed in China in 1949, the masses of people, particularly the great majority of people in the countryside in China, did not have access to any kind of health care, even basic health care. So, along with developing more doctors, they also trained millions of people who were called barefoot doctors, people from among the peasants who were trained, not in very sophisticated, elaborate medicine that takes a long time to learn (like, say, brain surgery) but in the very basic elements of health care. And then these barefoot doctors were dispatched throughout the countryside to bring, for the first time, basic health care to the masses of people. Using that as kind of an analogy, or metaphor, what we’re saying is that, in addition to the Huxleys, there needs to be a larger, and growing, force that is popularizing, and fighting to win people to take up—or at least win people to seriously engage—the new synthesis of communism and the leadership that has brought forward this new synthesis. There is the need for the Party overall and, more broadly, people in the movement for revolution around the Party, to be barefoot doctors in this sense. And let me emphasize this: Not only is the Ardea Skybreak Interview important in an overall sense, and something people should repeatedly go back to for what they can learn from it overall, but it also is a model of carrying out—compellingly, boldly and with substance—the role of Huxleys in particular, but also the role of barefoot doctors.
60. Through the BA Everywhere campaign, and in other ways, the RCP works to promote and popularize the leadership of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward; this is the leading edge of the all-around revolutionary work of the RCP. Information on the BA Everywhere campaign is available at revcom.us.
Also working “to preserve, project, and promote the works and vision of Bob Avakian with the aim of reaching the broadest possible audience” (as put forward in its Mission Statement) is The Bob Avakian Institute, a nonprofit institute organized for educational purposes. Information on The Bob Avakian Institute can be found at thebobavakianinstitute.org.
Introduction and Orientation
Foolish Victims of Deceit, and Self-Deceit
Part I. Method and Approach, Communism as a Science
Materialism vs. Idealism
Through Which Mode of Production
The Basic Contradictions and Dynamics of Capitalism
The New Synthesis of Communism
The Basis for Revolution
Epistemology and Morality, Objective Truth and Relativist Nonsense
Self and a “Consumerist” Approach to Ideas
What Is Your Life Going to Be About?—Raising People’s Sights
Part II. Socialism and the Advance to Communism:
A Radically Different Way the World Could Be, A Road to Real Emancipation
The “4 Alls”
Beyond the Narrow Horizon of Bourgeois Right
Socialism as an Economic System and a Political System—And a Transition to Communism
Abundance, Revolution, and the Advance to Communism—A Dialectical Materialist Understanding
The Importance of the “Parachute Point”—Even Now, and Even More With An Actual Revolution
The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America—
Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core
Emancipators of Humanity
Part III. The Strategic Approach to An Actual Revolution
One Overall Strategic Approach
Hastening While Awaiting
Forces For Revolution
Separation of the Communist Movement from the Labor Movement, Driving Forces for Revolution
National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution
The Strategic Importance of the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women
The United Front under the Leadership of the Proletariat
Youth, Students and the Intelligentsia
Struggling Against Petit Bourgeois Modes of Thinking, While Maintaining the Correct Strategic Orientation
The “Two Maximizings”
The “5 Stops”
The Two Mainstays
Returning to "On the Possibility of Revolution"
Internationalism and an International Dimension
Internationalism—Bringing Forward Another Way
Popularizing the Strategy
Part IV. The Leadership We Need
The Decisive Role of Leadership
A Leading Core of Intellectuals—and the Contradictions Bound Up with This
Another Kind of “Pyramid”
The Cultural Revolution Within the RCP
The Need for Communists to Be Communists
A Fundamentally Antagonistic Relation—and the Crucial Implications of That
Strengthening the Party—Qualitatively as well as Quantitatively
Forms of Revolutionary Organization, and the “Ohio”
Statesmen, and Strategic Commanders
Methods of Leadership, the Science and the “Art” of Leadership
Working Back from “On the Possibility”—
Another Application of “Solid Core with a Lot of Elasticity on the Basis of the Solid Core”
The New Synthesis of Communism:
Fundamental Orientation, Method and Approach,
and Core Elements—An Outline
by Bob Avakian
Framework and Guidelines for Study and Discussion
Selected List of Works Cited
About the Author