Revolution #138, August 3, 2008
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These next few months will be highly charged. From the Olympics to the elections. . . from the two wars for empire now grinding and boiling on in Iraq and Afghanistan to a possible third one—in Iran—being threatened. . . from food riots in the third world to brutal police murder, savage immigration raids, and the growing specter of increased impoverishment in America itself. . . from the permeation of religion into every sphere of society to the—very related—reassertion of oppressive patriarchal values in U.S. society. . .the turmoil continues.
Big questions are being posed:
What kind of society do we want to—and are we willing to—live in?
What kind of future will we have?
And what kind of change is required?
Is it a matter of making adjustments to what already exists—tinkering, to be blunt, with the blood-soaked arrangements of empire? Or do we urgently need fundamental and radical change? And is a better world—a future really worthy of human beings—possible?
Do we still dare dream of revolution?
And is there a viable vision of what that is, and a leadership to point the way?
This fall, a series of high-profile initiatives, as well as the ongoing work of this newspaper, Revolution, will speak to those questions.
Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy
RCP Publications announces a major new work by Bob Avakian! Today, the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy are widely hailed—to the point where even many who think of themselves as radical or revolutionary worship at this “chapel of democracy,” and almost every demand for social change seems to come “packaged” in those terms. In fact, this expresses a poverty of analysis that has seriously fettered the vision of the movements of today—a poverty of analysis that demands to be subjected to serious criticism.
In the face of this, Avakian takes on the ideals of Jeffersonianism, and convincingly locates even its “loftiest aspirations” in social relations of exploitation and oppression—the social relations out of which those ideals grew, and which they served and continue to serve. In doing so, he draws on a wide range of scholarly research and polemically takes on major contemporary defenders of Jeffersonian democracy. Avakian demonstrates why and how these ideals of democracy co-existed with—and, indeed, arose on the basis of—the enslavement of Black people and the deep embedding of white supremacy into the body politic and ideological psyche of the U.S.
But he goes further: not only showing why events turned out that way, but why those ideals themselves could only and can only generate and serve relations of exploitation and the division, and polarization, of people into antagonistic classes. . .into oppressor and oppressed. Moreover, he convincingly points the way to a vision and future that is truly emancipatory—to a vision of freedom far more radical and thoroughgoing than anything imaginable within the constricted horizons of Jeffersonianism. In doing this, Avakian includes a devastating critique of the “free marketplace of ideas,” contrasting it to a genuinely unfettered search for the truth—and he shows what kind of economic and political system would be necessary for that to flourish.
During the frenzy of the election campaign and the particular hopes—and damaging delusions—being raised by the Obama candidacy, Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy must circulate widely throughout society.
The Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
This August, RCP Publications will publish the new Constitution of the RCP, USA—one that lays out the mission and vision of a new stage of communist revolution, informed by Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communist theory. The constitution will put forward this vision in a very accessible way, as well as laying out the principles of organization and the theoretical foundation of the Party. This will include an important appendix on communist theory as a scientific and revolutionary theory.
This constitution will serve as a bold declaration that there is indeed a party, in the belly of the imperialist U.S., with the determination and strategic analysis to make a revolution. . . and the vision, method and understanding of society and history to ensure that it is a revolution worth making.
Revolutionary Communism at a Crossroads:
Residue of the Past. . . or Vanguard of the Future?
This fall, the RCP,USA will issue a major statement, a manifesto for our times.
The past several decades have witnessed truly unprecedented changes in the world. The reversal of the revolution in China following the death of Mao in 1976. . . the fall of the Soviet Union and rise of the U.S. as the sole superpower in the world. . . the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism as a major contending force in the world, ideologically and politically. . . and the radical reactionary transformations of the U.S. world role, and domestic politics. All these have posed major challenges for the international communist movement, and struggle has arisen in the movement over how to meet them.
Will the movement rise to those challenges? Or will it become a residue of the past, either locked in fading dogma or in thrall to the horizons of bourgeois democracy? This new manifesto will draw out and sharply contrast the contending roads before the revolutionary movement, go deeply into the direction and implications of each, and clearly put forward a line that can lead to a revolutionary future.
If you have any hope, any aspiration, for fundamental and radical social change, you must read this statement and help us get this out to every corner of society.
Broadsheet on revolution
and the liberation of Black people
From the holds of the slave ships to the locked-down penitentiaries and desperate street corners of today, the bitter oppression of Black people, and the struggle against that oppression, has been central to the history and current-day reality of this society. But now some claim that this is all a question of the distant past. Others may acknowledge the desperate straits of the majority of Black people, only to then blame the masses themselves for this situation. Some go so far as to say that the nomination of Barack Obama signals the “transcendence of race” in America. And, meanwhile, the grinding and horrific oppression of the African-American people continues. To take but one outrageous example, one in nine young Black men are locked down in prison—while crises like the collapse of the housing market and the new epidemic of homelessness hit hardest in minority communities.
In the midst of all this, Revolution will publish a special issue on the emancipation of humanity and the struggle for the liberation of Black people. This will go deeply into the history and present-day reality of Black people in America, and will include a major statement by the Party that deals head-on with the main questions facing this struggle today, making the case for the necessity. . . and the possibility. . . of revolution.
Publication of Revolution newspaper in a politically and ideologically charged time
As we noted at the outset, this fall will be a highly charged time, ideologically and politically. It will demand the continued weekly publication of Revolution newspaper, and a real expansion of its reach. Funds are urgently needed to carry forward and heighten the work of this newspaper. Funds to send reporters to cover major events in society and the world. Funds to expand the distribution of the paper, including to prisoners. Funds to maintain and expand our ability to print in color and have better photos. And more.
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The dangers of the situation today are extreme and stark—but it is far from hopeless. Many people are raising their heads and, in one form or another, engaging political questions. And it is no exaggeration to say that the current volatile situation holds the potential for things to politically burst open.
Of course, all that can go in a very good direction—or a very bad one. The question is whether those thousands and millions who begin to question the way things are, who begin to seek a way to understand the world and to resist the outrages, who are driven to ask why when hopes are shown to be illusions. . . will those millions be able to find these revolutionary ideas and a way to connect with this movement? And will the whole larger discourse of society be changed by a project of liberation that is NOT locked within the complicitous so-called “politics of the possible”?
The answer to that is up to you. All these initiatives require your urgent and immediate support. Many people gave generously to our fund-drive last year; but this major effort to boldly put forward “a different way,” and the particular initiatives within that, require major new funding. Help make sure this happens. Give generously to RCP Publications.
If you want these ideas, this world-view, this Party, this leader, and this paper out there
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