Revolution #89, May 20, 2007

Revolution: Connecting People with Bob Avakian

There is no one doing anything like the work that Bob Avakian is doing.  From wide-ranging discussion—and re-envisioning—of the communist project to penetrating analyses of the U.S. social structure; from deep discussions of epistemology to very practical guidance at critical junctures in the struggle; from searching critiques of religion and democracy to explorations of the ethical dimension of communism—the work by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, is a must for anyone who is seriously grappling with the situation we’re in and how to change it. And getting this work circulated through society, week in and week out, is central to our mission at Revolution.

Bob Avakian's recent talk, Bringing Forward Another Way, was edited by the author for serialization in Revolution, and speaks deeply and provocatively to political and moral questions of the day. Excerpts include "Living in the House of Tony Soprano," "American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives," and "Rejecting—and Breaking Out of—the Framework of the "War on Terror."

In celebration of Black History Month 2007, Bob Avakian contributed a series of four articles to Revolution: The Oppression of Black People and the Revolutionary Struggle to End All Oppression. These articles spoke to the bitter reality—and the fundamental source—of the oppression of Black people throughout the history of the U.S., from the days of slavery down to the present time, and pointed to the revolutionary road to ending this oppression, and all forms of oppression and exploitation.

At key historic junctures, Bob Avakian has stepped forward to make deep analyses and to provide practical guidance for struggle. In the wake of 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Revolution ran excerpts from Avakian’s talk The New Situation and the Great Challengesthat dissected the ambitions, and the necessity, driving U.S. imperialism to war, and posed basic points of orientation for building a powerful antiwar movement. In the wake of Bush’s re-election, Avakian’s series The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era included a wide-ranging survey of the forces pulling society apart, and the challenge of repolarizing for revolution.

Foremost among Bob Avakian’s contributions to Revolution have been his works going into the philosophical foundations of the communist project, the history of the socialist revolutions thus far, and a boldly re-envisioned communism for the 21st century. These included two series Revolution ran last year: The Basis, the Goals, and the Methods of the Communist Revolution; and Views on Socialism and Communism: a Radically New Kind of State, a Radically Different and Far Greater Vision of Freedom. These two works in particular not only comprehensively examine and defende the foundations of Marxism; they break new ground in pointing the way to “a radically new kind of state, [and] a radically different and far greater vision of freedom.”

In late 2004, Revolution printed Avakian’s pathbreaking talk On Truth…On Knowing, and Changing, the World: A Discussion with Comrades on Epistemology. And in 2005, Bob Avakian responded in the pages of Revolution to a letter from someone who heard part of his talk, God Does Not Exist—We Need Liberation Without Gods on the radio, and claimed that communism (and atheism generally) was just another form of religion. Avakian’s response, "A Leap of Faith" and a Leap to Rational Knowledge: Two Very Different Kinds of Leaps, Two Radically Different Worldviews and Methods, examined the real and crucial differences between religion and “leaps of faith,” on the one hand, and science and the scientific method on the other hand.

Bob Avakian's writing is infused with his close relationship to those at the base of society. This comes through in his memoir, From Ike to Mao…And Beyond, which Revolution serialized; and it came through as well in his moving Statement on the Occasion of the Death of Willie "Mobile" Shaw, which commemorated the life of a revolutionary communist in Watts.

Avakian's writing in Revolution not only includes complex explorations of philosophy, revolutionary strategy, and ethics;.he also contributes hard-hitting and pithy quotes that pop off the pages, including:

“After the Holocaust, the worst thing that has happened to Jewish people is the state of Israel.”

"What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these ‘outmodeds,’ you end up strengthening both."

“The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.”

Through the pages of Revolution, people from every walk of life and all over the world get a chance to connect with Bob Avakian. And in doing so, they engage with someone who has stepped forward to proclaim a different--and liberating--way and to point to the path forward.


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What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond