Revolution #176, September 13, 2009
From the Revolution Talk by Bob Avakian:
Now let’s imagine, let’s step out of this world that they keep us chained in. And let’s imagine what this future world can and will be like.
Communism and Socialism
When we finally get to the final goal of Communism, there won’t be the relations of exploitation and oppression that are so commonplace and that mark all of society today and that we are told over and again are just the natural order of things and the way things have to be. As Karl Marx pointed out, the Communist revolution leads to what we Maoists call the 4 Alls—that is, the abolition of all class differences among people. The abolition or the end to all the production or economic relations underlying these class differences and divisions among people. The ending of all the social relations that go along with these economic or production relations. Oppressive relations between men and women, between different nationalities, between people of different parts of the world, all that will be put an end to and moved beyond. And finally, the revolutionizing of all the ideas that go along with this whole way, this whole capitalist system, these whole social relations. In place of this, what will be the guiding principles in society consciously and voluntarily taken up by people…not forced on them, but consciously and voluntarily taken up as the basis for having abolished exploitation, oppression and inequality. In its place will be collective and cooperative principles aiming for the common good and at the same time, within that, individuals and individuality flourishing in a way that has never been possible before. The first great step or great leap in the road to Communism is seizing power from the capitalists. Without that none of this is possible. But seizing power from them opens that way to making the advance to Communism.
Socialism is the new society established after the seizure of power. Socialism is three things: a new economic system, a new political system and a transition to the final goal of Communism. Let’s talk about what this will make possible right away, once power has been seized. Let’s talk about the whole different nature of socialism as a society in which the masses of people are digging up the old rotten and putrid soil of capitalism and moving forward to the goal of a Communist world.
“Let’s talk about housing and work…”
Let’s talk about work and housing together. Look at all these neighborhoods which under the rule of the capitalist system have been allowed and even encouraged to rot. Look at the youth and others just hanging out on the street corner with nothing to do or no way to do anything that doesn’t get them into one kind of trouble or another. Imagine changing all that because now we have the power over society—we go to these youth and we say, here. We’re going to give you training. We’re going to give you education. We’re going to bring you materials. We’re going to enable you to go to work to build some beautiful housing and playgrounds and neighborhoods here for yourself and those who live here. Imagine if we said to them, you can not just work, you can be part of planning all this, you can be part of figuring out what should be done for the benefit of the people to make this society better and to contribute to making a whole different and radically better world. Imagine if for these youth, they could have a way, not just to make a living, building housing, hospitals, community centers and parks and other things people need, but at the same time, they could have the opportunity and the dignity of working together with people throughout society to build a whole better world. There’s absolutely no reason why these things aren’t possible except that we live under this system which makes them impossible.
“Let’s talk about education…”
Let’s talk about education. Imagine kids who actually wanted to go school? Imagine if they weren’t degraded and insulted all the time and treated as if they couldn’t possibly learn anything or have any important ideas. Imagine if the educational system actually told them the truth and helped them to understand about the world and history and nature and society. Imagine if it actually helped them to think critically, to challenge everything. Yes the teachers, and yes even the party and its leaders.
What if the educational system drew the kids in along with the teachers and staff and said this is a whole new society, a new world. What are your ideas about how this could all be done better? Imagine if the education combined practical things with theory so the things they were studying and learning, they would go out in society and talk to people who did those things. Or, instead of casting the old people off, like useless garbage, they invite the old people in to talk about the horrors of the old society and their experience, and what the new society means to them, and have them have an exchange with these kids in the schools. And have the students learn practical knowledge as well as studying theory learning science and grappling with philosophy.
The same in science. Right now science often scares people. It’s intimidating. You’re taught that you can’t possibly understand these things. That it’s all mysterious. It’s not the scientists’ fault. Or at least not mainly. It’s the kind of society we have and the way in which they want people to be divided into different classes, groups and castes so that some people use their minds and other people can only use their bodies or just waste away, or die fighting in a war. Imagine if science were brought to everybody and made the exciting thing it is for everybody. Struggling to investigate and learn about the world and the way it works and all the different things both here on earth and in the far—what the religious people call the heavens. Imagine if here in the realm of science, the scientists got together with the “ordinary people”—with the students in the school, with the workers in workplaces, and talked to them about science, drew them into scientific experiments and investigation, got their ideas and found out the questions they wanted to know about the world, then worked out ways of people uniting together and cooperating to develop experiments and investigation in science that pursued these things. Imagine if science like education and all these other parts of society actually were serving to transform a society to get rid of oppression, exploitation and inequality and to help the people throughout the world wage a revolutionary struggle to do the same.
“Imagine if we had a whole different art and culture…”
Imagine if we had a whole different art and culture. Come on, enough of this “bitches and ho’s” and SWAT teams kicking down doors. Enough of this “get low” bullshit. And how come it’s always the women that have to get low? We already have a situation where the masses of women and the masses of people are pushed down and held down low enough already. It’s time for us to get up and get on up.
Imagine if we had a society where there was culture, yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world. Imagine if it laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems. Imagine if art and culture too, movies, songs, television—everything—challenged people to think critically, to look at things differently, to see things in a different light, but all pointing toward how can we make a better world.
Imagine if the people who created art and culture were not just a handful of people but all of the masses of people, with all their creative energy unleashed, and the time were made for them to do that, and for them to join with people who are more full time workers and creators in the realm of art and culture to bring forward something new that would challenge people, that would make them think in different ways, that would make them be able to see things critically and from a different angle, and would help them to be uplifted and help them to see their unity with each other and with people throughout the world in putting an end to all the horrors that we’re taught are just the natural order of things. Imagine all that.
[This] is not a fantasy. These are the things that have been done in the socialist societies that have existed—or they’re the things, that on the basis of that experience, we have summed up and are learning more deeply need to be done. This is all possible. It’s not some pipedream. This is what happens when the masses of people rise up and take control over society and this is what waits to be done.
The text here is excerpted from the section “Imagine…a new society—Healthcare, work, education, science, etc…” which is part of the film of a talk by Bob Avakian, Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About. Both this excerpt and the entire talk (and Q&A session) can be seen online at http://www.revolutiontalk.net/films/. The “Imagine…” section is in Session Two.
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