Revolution #62, September 24 2006


Engaging with “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy”

A young friend of mine lives far from the city and we don’t see as much of each other as either of us would like. About six weeks ago I sent him the two MP3-CD set of all the new talks by Bob Avakian. He got a CD player that could play the MP3’s, hooked it up to his car radio and has been listening to them in his car.

Two weeks later we got together and mapped out some ambitious plans for mobilizing forces in his area for World Can’t Wait’s October 5th actions. He came to our meeting excited, and one of the key “ingredients” in his excitement was that he had had a chance to listen to much of the first talk, “Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today… And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution.” The talk spoke to many questions that have been on his mind for years and it spoke to the need and possibility for driving out the Bush regime and the role of those who see the need for repolarization for revolution to be in the thick of this.

I saw him again recently and the excitement he displayed in our meeting was really moving to me on many levels. He’s been taking up new and important responsibilities—he has never been part of building any kind of movement or organization before—so his work with World Can’t Wait is all new for him. But before we could begin talking about all that, he wanted to tell me about what he thought as he has been listening to these new talks by Bob Avakian. He told me that on the drive to see me that day he had gotten to what he described as “a very moving part,” his “favorite part” so far, of what he had heard of these new talks. He was more than half way into “Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy.” The issue of how much dissent and debate there would be in the new socialist society has been a concern of his since when I first met him a number of years ago, and Bob Avakian’s talks and writings over the past two years have been deeply speaking to that. But when I asked him what he had found so moving in listening to this latest talk, he shared some other points: First was the part about Malcolm X and his “Ballot or the Bullet” speech and how even if you really hate both what the Republicans and the leaders of Democratic Party have done to the people, if you don’t challenge the whole set up and instead see your strategy being one of forging a block to bargain with the Democrats to do what you want, you’ll get dragged right back into all you hate and get nowhere. He said this was really thought-provoking to him and saw this as important in the battle at hand in driving out the Bush regime. Secondly, he said he was really moved by the part about the different views of freedom—contrasting that promoted by the bourgeoisie and the new and different communist view of freedom that Bob Avakian lays out. As part of that, he described what he had just heard minutes before on the drive over, about what it meant for him to hear Avakian speak of revolutionary China, in Mao’s time, against the slanders that everyone was forced to dress alike in grey, etc. and how when Avakian visited China he saw children now dressed in bright colors, that they are the future and that future is bright, and about the struggle that had gone on to manufacture and provide decent clothing for everyone, many for the first time in China, and only later had the resources for dyeing clothes in these rich colors. He said, “When I heard that I almost began to cry, I thought about all the people back home [in a rural, semi-mountainous part of Latin America] that I left as a child. I thought back of the images of people there also wearing ragged clothes, dying of diseases brought on by hunger, lack of modern water treatment or other things that in a different world could have been prevented. That is today. I agreed with what Bob Avakian was saying.”

My friend is continuing to listen to these talks, everyday on his drive to and from work. It has broken down some of his sense of isolation, being so far from revolutionaries to talk to. But now everyday, instead it’s like getting a front seat on a speaking tour with the Chairman. And it has brought a deeper long-term vision to him as he jumps in to organize for this ferocious battle to drive out the criminals in the White House.

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