Revolution #183, November 15, 2009
Circulating Revolution and Literature by Bob Avakian in the Prison
We greatly appreciate receiving these letters from prisoners and encourage prisoners to keep sending us correspondence. The viewpoints expressed here are those of the writers and not Revolution newspaper.
Excerpt from a letter received several years ago:
Before I get into these issues, I’d like to express and extend my appreciation towards Bob Avakian for speaking directly to us in Revolution No. 11 and really motivating, inspiring and orientating us to develop ourselves ideologically and politically as not merely "revolutionaries" but communist revolutionaries. He noted the crucial role prisoners need to be playing in spreading the message of communist revolution and MLM [Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought] throughout the prisons and getting the word out to our homeboys and homegirls and families on the streets as part of raising class consciousness and helping build and strengthen the revolutionary movement and contributing to the resistance. Those of us who are trapped under the gun, and those loved ones who are connected to us on the streets ensnared in the barrios and ghettos, need to get with the revolution, study MLM and learn about and promote the leadership of Bob Avakian.
I’m currently in one of the three Security Housing Units (SHU) in California. I can’t imagine any deeper, darker, or more desolate pits in the U.S. than these. Every day I’m circulating the light of Revolution and other illuminating literature by Bob Avakian, the PRLF and Revolution Books stores have provided me among the captives I can reach and communicate with. The SHU "just so happens" to be where they isolate and slam down the most progressive, revolutionary, intelligent and indomitable elements of the prison population. When, by word of mouth or by my political activity on the tier, these cats learn I’m a communist revolutionary with revolutionary literature available for all regardless of race, group, etc., a lot of them are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to use this lit to either acquaint themselves with or enhance their understanding of the political ideology and science our class enemies malign and slander so vehemently. Contrary to what ignorance gets poured on into people’s minds through the bourgeoisie’s political propaganda agents, in prison 99% of us are seeking an alternative to living and dying like this. So, after reading a coupl’a newspapers or a book or two, the first question I’m asked before the wrangling and unity-struggle-unity begins is, "Who is Bob Avakian?" In response to this inquiry, I’ve adopted a updated version of the line Eldridge Cleaver used to describe the identity and significance of Mao in the ’60s to you, Bob Avakian. I reply, "Bob Avakian is the baddest motherfucker on the planet earth! He is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. He has re-envisioned the whole idea of communist revolution by summing up the weaknesses and shortcomings and, more importantly, the great achievements and advances of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the revolutionary movement internationally. He knows the way out of all this shit and into a completely new society and world. If you have any desire to be free and to liberate humanity and change the world into a place we got a shot at surviving in and will actually enjoy living in, then learn about him and what he’s reppin." I state this with complete confidence, and it’s refreshing and invigorating to introduce yet another to this leader who is so genuinely committed to the people. Sadly though, over 500 years of imperialism, colonialism, oppression, degradation, murderous brutality and betrayal, and the very real and all too present history and culture of white supremacy is expressed so poignantly and succinctly in their very next question: "Oh yeah? Dog that’s straight! But what IS Bob Avakian?" Most cats get the impression from his writings that he’s Black or Latino, or even Asian. They’re astonished to learn that Bob Avakian is white. Almost automatically Avakian’s ethnicity acts to disqualify him as a revolutionary in the minds of even a lot of revolutionary minded individuals. So let me get into some of my thoughts on Bob Avakian’s credentials as a communist leader.
This is a theme that has come up very sharply while popularizing the leadership of Bob Avakian and I think they’ve come a long way towards dispelling the notion that there can or should only be particular nationalities from specific socio-economic status (basically excluding whites and legitimizing poor Blacks, Latinos or Native Americans) at the helm of any revolutionary movement in the U.S. since only one from among the oppressed nationalities will and can truly act in the interests of the oppressed nations and resist betraying the people or succumbing to certain race and/or class privileges the bourgeoisie will attempt to entice them to steer the upsurge back within acceptable boundaries or abandon it all together. I have only one thing to say in regard to this, and that’s that it flies in the face of history.
How many Black/Latino/Native/etc. leaders and/or nationalistic revolutionary movements have failed to grasp or understand where the masses need to go, or either been co-opted by the bourgeois political "left-wing" or other imperialist forces or simply and subtly turned revisionist throughout history? Now, I don’t call our attention to history to propose or argue that "minorities" in the U.S. or non-white people internationally are incapable of leading movements or a revolution to fruition, for history overflows with examples of just that and more! Nor am I seeking to lend credence to the erroneous idea that only white people and so-called "white movements" have been largely successful when they’ve risen on the stage of history, and therefore should be imbued with leadership positions or given the reins outright to ensure success because of their supposed prowess in struggle, superior intellectual, cultural and genetic disposition for the opposite has a abundance of historical and scientific precedence.
What we all need to be raising is the reality that the "right" nationality does not qualify and should not sanctify revolutionary leadership, because even if a particular man or woman with an ample amount of melanin comes to the fore, his/her leadership will ultimately serve to sap the initiative of or misguide or even destroy the mass movement or revolution if the LINE is wrong. The correct line is the principal aspect of the contradiction between communist revolutionary leadership and the basic masses, and only by following whoever has the right line can we accomplish our world historic mission.
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I think Clyde Young summed it up very well when he appeared on KPFK in L.A. He was asked "...how revolutionary it is to have an older white man from upper middle class economic background leading a revolutionary organization?" Clyde replied straight up, "I think the crucial question here is not that he is a white leader but that he is a communist leader. I think that’s a very important point to be emphasizing." Yes, Sir! And this is exactly the point I’ve been emphasizing with these cats around here and encourage others to do wherever they’re at with those who believe that communist revolution led by the proletariat and its vanguard party is on the historical agenda but haven’t gotten beyond the narrow nationalism and other expressions of unscientific and unmaterialistic and undialectical thinking. This is not Black or Brown or Red or Yellow revolution. This is international revolution, it’s the proletariat getting where it needs to go....
I’m a 23-year-old "Blaxican" from San Jose, CA and there are those who seriously wonder why I be running around extolling this white dude I don’t even know personally and who doesn’t know I exist. Well, it’s simple really. First, I know what I need to know about Bob Avakian and I respect and admire him on that basis. Second, he does know me, for I am one amongst the masses and he knows the masses very intimately. Third, I wanna be free to live my own life, not suffer and die to enrich a few muthafuckers, not when we’re at the stage where it’s entirely unnecessary. We can’t invest our ambitions into leaders who don’t know the way to bring them to fulfillment. And we definitely can’t wait around expecting some "savior" to emerge who fits the finely calibrated criteria—racially, socio-economically, sexually, culturally, etc.—then launch the revolutionary struggle behind that person. We can’t wait for someone deemed with leadership potential now to start investigating and analyzing everything necessary to develop line and when they "got it!" rally the masses into action. Not only can "we" not wait, "THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT!" Like Avakian says all the time, communist revolutionaries must be leading the masses to where these interests truly lie, infusing their spontaneity with class consciousness, MLM and communist morality, not trailing behind them or sitting on the sidelines cheering them on. Rather, we gotta be right there in the thick in their resistance, soles on the pavement, roaring a resounding "NO MORE."
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