New Edition of Bob Avakian’s Phony Communism Is Dead... Long Live Real Communism now available

From the Publisher’s preface to

Revolutionary Worker #1268, February 20, 2005, posted at

This is a book that upholds revolution and communism. That fact alone marks its significance. For this is a critical historical hour. The international guardians of the status quo are trumpeting the triumph and permanence of capitalism. "Can’t you smell the coffee? There is no use fighting for a different kind of world, and you might as well get used to this one." In a thousand different ways we are told that history has judged communism to be a "grand failure," that revolutions inevitably lead to nightmare. This ideological offensive is an undisguised celebration of everything that is vile about capitalism and its vicious New World Order. Yet even among those who are not the celebrants, the message takes its toll—in the lowering of sights, in the narrowing of horizons.

Amidst this barrage and disorientation, Bob Avakian has written a defiant and powerful manifesto. No, this is not the best of all possible worlds but a cruel and outmoded global system that cries out for deep-going change. Yes, there is a liberating and practical alternative to a social order based on competitiveness, greed, and social division. And far from being that radical alternative, the system that collapsed in the Soviet Union was a counterfeit socialism whose oppressive economic and political structures were those of capitalism.

This book is addressed to a broad audience. To the millions in the ghettos and barrios, in the housing projects and prisons, who yearn to be free of exploitation and the daily degradation and horror that is this system. To those itching to get it on with these world-class oppressors, and who want the science to be able to do so. To rebel youth checking out different philosophies and ideologies. To veterans of various revolutionary struggles and movements trying to sort through the lessons of recent history. To those who refuse to give up their dreams of liberation but who are confused by the political earthquakes of the last few years. To the newly awakened and outraged who want to know how to end poverty, racism, war, and the very destruction of the earth; who want to know the truth about and relevance of revolutionary communism.

The collapse of the former Soviet bloc has raised big questions in the minds of many who have been committed to revolutionary change and socialism. Why is it that genuine socialist revolutions have gone sour, with more than a few of their leaders corrupted? Have the theoretical and organizational foundations of socialist revolution as practiced in this century been fundamentally flawed? Are the historic goals and methods of socialism still valid, or must socialism be "reinvented"? This questioning and debate are also part of the backdrop of this book and the theoretical work that has engaged Bob Avakian over the last few years. And these are hardly academic matters. Because the struggle to defend and define a revolutionary vision, and to correctly evaluate the advances and setbacks along the road of bringing classless society into being, is completely bound up with the struggle to forge ahead in the current situation.

From the Preface to the Second Edition:

This new edition now includes the author’s Democracy: More Than Ever We Can and Must Do Better Than That , which was originally published in A World To Win magazine in 1992 as a companion essay to the first edition of this book.

September 2004



Bob Avakian is Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA. A veteran of the Free Speech Movement and the revolutionary upsurges of the 1960s and early 1970s, he worked closely with the Black Panther Party. By the mid-1970s, he emerged as the foremost Maoist revolutionary in the United States. He has guided the RCP since its formation in 1975 and is a major leader of the international communist movement. Over the last 25 years, Avakian has produced a highly significant body of work, and he approaches Marxism as a living, developing science that must be constantly interrogating itself.

Avakian has penned the most comprehensive account of Mao’s theoretical contributions to Marxism. He has been undertaking an ongoing examination of the experience of proletarian revolution in the 20th century— its great achievements, in particular the profound lessons of the Cultural Revolution in China, as well as its setbacks, shortcomings, and mistakes. He has been addressing issues of revolutionary strategy, in the U.S. and for the international movement. He has analyzed why revolution is not only necessary but also possible within the U.S. itself.

Through these and other critical investigations, Avakian has been bringing forward a vision of socialism and communism that breaks vital new ground for Marxism and the communist project. He has been deepening and enlarging the understanding of the tasks and contradictions bound up with the exercise of revolutionary authority and how the masses can be unleashed to rule and transform society. In recent writings, he has been speaking to the indispensable role of dissent in socialist society—how it contributes to deeper knowledge of socialist society, the critical spirit that must permeate it, and the continuing struggle to transform socialist society towards communism. He has been drawing attention to the importance of the intellectual and cultural spheres under socialism and to the revolutionary process, and historic problems, in understanding and approach of the international communist movement. In works such as Conquer the World?—The International Proletariat Must and Will and Getting Over the Two Great Humps: Further Thoughts on Conquering the World, he has been conceptualizing the international dimensions of communist revolution in ways that have far-reaching implications for the world struggle.

Avakian’s writings are marked by great breadth—from discussions about religion and atheism and morality, to the limits of classical democracy, to basketball. It is often alleged that a vanguard party is incompatible with a searching, critical, and creative intellectual enterprise. Avakian gives the lie to this claim.

From his life experience and revolutionary perspective comes a profound sense of the struggles and sentiments among the masses of people; and he keeps his fingers on the pulse of the movements of opposition in society more broadly. This is a revolutionary leader who has said about leadership: "if you don’t have a poetic spirit—or at least a poetic side—it is very dangerous for you to lead a Marxist movement or be the leader of a socialist state."

Bob Avakian is the visionary leader of a Maoist vanguard party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, which has its sights on the revolutionary seizure of power and the radical transformation of society in the colossus that is late imperial America — all as part of a worldwide process of revolutionary struggle whose final aim is communism, a world without exploitative and oppressive relations and the corresponding political structures, institutions, and ideas and culture.


Phony Communism Is Dead...Long Live Real Communism is available at:
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