Revolution Online Edition, August 17, 2009
A brief comment on the summation in the "A Reporter’s Notebook 'All That Has Been Hidden'" as well as some threads from other "snapshots" and summations run in the newspaper
I thought that the insights in the Reporter's Notebook re "it really jumps out that people from different backgrounds and strata have been systematically denied a basic understanding of what is meant by revolution, socialism and communism; of the nature of the U.S., and the role it plays around the world; of the fact that we live under a capitalist-imperialist system, and the implications of that for humanity" and the different ways that this presents was helpful in terms of getting a better sense and texture of how this is presenting itself as we go out with this campaign; and further, the reporter's argument, that given such "lack of basic understanding," "we have to constantly remind ourselves of everything that has been hidden from the masses, and everything that has been distorted. And, proceeding from this recognition, we have to be as specific and as substantive as possible in laying out exactly what kind of revolution we are talking about, what socialism and communism mean, what the tremendous achievements of past socialist societies were, and what the content and vital importance of Avakian’s leadership is" is also something to which attention needs to be paid.
At the same time, as part of these insights, it is also important to understand that this lack of a basic understanding of the underlying dynamics and resolution of the problems humanity faces is not expressed as a "blank slate" in terms of consciousness, that is people do have definite or vague synthesis and ideas about the world, what is possible, and views on revolutionary leadership (in the various ways these were reported on in the "Notebook" and other summations). That is, people have "verdicts" on these things. These "verdicts" are based on their "training" by the system, by defeatism in their own lives, etc., though the ability for these "verdicts" to have legs is related to the points of the "Reporter." On one level the statement ["The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"] speaks directly to this "what people don't know" phenomena, and gives an agitational "hook" to acknowledge this ("If you have not heard about this..."), without being defensive or getting stuck on what people don't know, and being able to further engage. On another level, I think that there is a certain "dignity of actuality" in terms of the leadership of Bob Avakian that has to be grasped deeply and on a correct basis, and which can actually drive people to re-engage these questions more "on the ground" so to speak. That is, in their own thinking to begin to re-engage these questions from the viewpoint of "well I had not seen the possibility of (revolution; doing more than getting some reforms; doing more than just surviving; etc.) but the fact of this revolutionary leader changes the equation." In some of the "snapshot" summations there were glimpses of this dynamic. I think that the following segment of the statement is something that should be discussed by revolutionaries taking out this campaign as a pivotal point of agitation to break through the "verdicts" (stated or unstated), as a way to engage people with the reality that there is a revolutionary leader with a scathing indictment of the system, with a worked out vision and plan for how humanity can emancipate itself, a leader of a revolutionary party which is building a movement for revolution in this country NOW.
"Bob Avakian has developed the scientific theory and strategic orientation for how to actually make the kind of revolution we need, and he is leading our Party as an advanced force of this revolution. He is a great champion and a great resource for people here, and indeed people all over the world. The possibility for revolution, right here, and for the advance of the revolution everywhere, is greatly heightened because of Bob Avakian and the leadership he is providing."
These sentences above should become very central to how we are engaging the masses, this in turn will both draw the advanced forward (because in the substance of these sentences is an expression of the possibility of revolution); and this will also become, from many angles, a very contested proposition—the energy around this should become a every important driving dynamic of this campaign. And this can become a living "pivot and hinge" around which we can be "as specific and substantive as possible in laying out exactly what kind of revolution we are talking about,... the content of Avakian's leadership," and his vision of communism. The point here is that we have to learn how to "sell" these truths in a living way which brings forward and challenges the advanced and sets the framework and terms of on what basis we are struggling more generally with people. Another way to put this, is that "what people don't know," while part of the terrain we must confront, cannot be setting the terms of things; the above segment, and the statement overall, which is the "pivot and hinge" of the campaign, must set the terms and framework in the culture we are developing around this campaign.
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