Revolution #203, May 31, 2010
On Reading Bob Avakian's piece: "There Is No 'Permanent Necessity' For Things To Be This Way
A Radically Different and Better World Can Be Brought Into Being Through Revolution"
I want to offer some of my thinking on this piece from the Chairman: "There Is No 'Permanent Necessity' For Things To Be This Way—A Radically Different And Better World Can Be Brought Into Being Through Revolution."
First, I too thought that was one of the more important statements in the Manifesto from our Party—the quote from Marx that "once the inner connection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions breaks down before their collapse in practice."
The more I think about it—the more I think this is very important—strategically but also immediately in terms of the real, moving, living connection—living link if you will—between all our activity today and actually getting to the point where we could lead millions to seize power, go on from there to build socialism, and move toward the day when all classes, all exploitation, all oppressive relations between people, and all ideas that go along with this—that is, the "4 alls"—are uprooted and eliminated all over the world.
All we are doing is about this. Masses coming to understand and feel this. The different and various ways people come to see that this is what the revolution is about—and dedicate their lives to it.
I have to admit that at first I did not fully grasp or fully appreciate the relationship, the dialectical connection between the theoretical and political dimension of this.
This is what I think is very important: a mass movement for revolution. Keeping in mind our understanding that there "are masses and masses." And what the Chairman says about a big part of transforming people is developing a different consciousness and a different morality which we have begun to do, and need to continually do better. But this needs to have much more a mass character to it—we also need growing cores who are entering the political fault lines, political points of contention in society and the world—leading masses with the orientation of "what do we want? Revolution! When do we want it? Now!"—communist revolution to emancipate humanity.
I'm not raising this as something different than "fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution." Or as something different from "the days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...these days must be GONE. And they CAN be."
No, I'm trying to give added emphasis to this—added emphasis to our full ensemble of revolutionary activity in connection with hastening while awaiting a revolutionary situation.
As we know, without this orientation, despite our best intentions, we will get caught up in what is criticized in the "Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have" Message and Call from our Party—of waiting for some "fine day" when revolution will occur. Which is never.
This relates to Revolution Clubs, creating a culture of appreciation, popularization and promotion around Chairman Avakian, really getting the newspaper Revolution out there in big and bold ways. Also the talk Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About by Bob Avakian. The public face of the party really bubbling over with this and representing this and not something short of this. The need for the dictatorship of the proletariat (DoP) and a constitution for the new socialist state, applying the understanding developed with Avakian's new synthesis. All this has to be WAAAAY out there in society and the world.
For me this heightens the importance of the vanguard leading, allowing the masses to come to this understanding. Something to learn from: I was involved in a mass organization that was about revolution in 1969-1970. This was a very short period of time but nonetheless this went a long, long way making you and others feel, think, and begin to understand that this was really about revolution. And even given all the limitations of that organization (i.e., the Black Panthers), you felt this, and at some point decided to dedicate your life to it—before you theoretically understood all of it.
Why? Cause you saw a few others going all out in this way—and boldly challenging others to relate to this. When they were hit with counter-revolution, they reached out to others and brought them into things or into support of this for a brief period of time.
I am not arguing that this is the only way people can come to this understanding (that we are building a movement for revolution) but there is great importance that this be accessible to people in this way and in this form.
One of the things is that we need to give better leadership on this. I agree with this proposal for the constitution talking about what the socialist society would look like and enumerating the rights of the people, including the people who disagree. This is part of building a movement for revolution, for a new state power, making it clear what the goals of the revolution are, how it would be fundamentally different and better from how things go down in this system, and how it would be better from the socialist societies of the past.
This is the movement we should be building. We need to go ahead with that. I think we need to do a similar thing around what is the struggle or fight leading up to where you can make that leap to getting over the first hump. Building a movement that is capable once there is a major crisis that engulfs all society—that can bring the power of the revolutionary people in their tens of millions to meet and defeat the power of counter-revolution. Replacing it with a new revolutionary state power. A movement that is geared towards this and has its eyes on this prize...
When people join this movement for revolution, they should feel it in their bones that what they are contributing to is revolution—on whatever level that might be—and not something else. I.e., they are interacting with people who are doing this and not something else in the name of revolution. In all kinds of ways it hits them, it exudes all around, strikes them with awe, wonder, inspiration and determination. And it sets things on a whole different trajectory. It powerfully contributes to radically changing the terms in society.
Broadly in society people got to relate to the revolution—not "let me see, should we have a revolution." People got to relate to the fact that there IS a revolutionary movement.
In the '60s this objectively was an inspiration and posed a challenge. Even with all the shortcomings and limitations of the time, there was a compelling, captivating inspiration that things could be different. That there could be a revolution.
This is why I think a constitution of a new socialist society with the new synthesis of communism and what the new society will look like—and the struggle leading up to that—getting over the first hump—has to be linked more and more deeply, intimately, comprehensively—with the revolutionary political work we are doing today. So that when there is a sudden and major change in the objective situation we and the masses of people are ready and prepared to do what will be required of us to seize a new revolutionary power out of that situation.
Some of the stuff in "On the Possibility of Revolution" talks about it. You can see some of the contours of how things are shaping up politically. What kind of situation a revolution could come out of, the kind of social upheaval it would have to be ripped and torn out of.
You can see it with the tea baggers, the Glenn Becks and their efforts to cohere this society around a new, different, fascist governing ruling authority.
There is the struggle at the top of the "pyramid of power" and what that causes and what this can potentially cause at the bottom of the pyramid. Things splitting apart...where is it all going to go and how can it go? What do we have to say about the likely outcome of things? How can a revolution develop out of this? This has been spoken to by Avakian in things like "The Pyramid of Power," "The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era," and the pamphlet Revolution and Communism: A Foundation and Strategic Orientation.
This "no permanent necessity" is something we need to continually come back to and grapple with in all its dimensions.
There needs to be growing cores of people who are gelling around "The Revolution We Need...the Leadership We Have." This is all part of the objectives of the finite campaign we are now in the middle of.
If you get this, going amongst our social base, getting into Bob Avakian is one of the on-ramps that people enter the revolutionary freeway from. This is opposed to falling into routinism and accommodating ourselves to where things are presently at.
What we've done with A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, and the recent national tour by Sunsara Taylor, also shows there is no permanent necessity for things to be this way. Sunsara's speech was really good. Because of the whole history of economism, we are not accustomed to hear communists talk about sexuality, how and why women's sexual desires are suppressed, devalued, de-humanized, and mutilated. Sunsara was ripping this up showing the historical basis for why human sexual relations are patriarchal and are closely bound up with the emergence of private property and the splitting of human society into classes—showing, illustrating how things do not have to be this way—shattering all this kind of shit.
I want to speak about a couple of other things more briefly. On the 19 letters on "An Historic Contradiction: Fundamentally Changing the World Without Turning Out the Lights." My main hit off the letters is that it really made me feel—I don't want to say "comfortable" or "at ease"—because I don't think that characterizes it. What struck me is that it gave me a lot of confidence or of welcoming...to really want to be part of leading alongside people like these—people are leading with this method and approach and outlook, really grappling with the new synthesis. How you lead without letting the lights go out? People working in this way. It was all different in terms of what people were speaking to. There was a lot of diversity with the same method and approach—a solid core with a lot of elasticity. It made me feel real good about having this kind of leadership. This is what people need.
"There Is No Permanent Necessity For Things To Be This Way—A Radically Different and Better World Can Be Brought Into Being Through Revolution" is not separate from "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have." I agree we need to push out more on this as we go out there. We need to bring this more to the forefront too. Reading over this and some other things, as well as in discussions, has made me think that we need to continue to do everything and situate everything in the new synthesis.
It has made me think more deeply about the difference between being the emancipators of humanity versus just freeing the working class and all humanity which tends towards and did in fact reify the working class.
In China there was the reification of the peasant masses. It was thought that because they did manual labor they were "clean" and closer to the truth. In another way there was reification of intellectuals. It was thought that those who did intellectual labor were "dirty" and far away from what is true.
What is communism? With our scientific method and approach and our sweeping view of history, we can see that within certain social relations, there emerged a group, a class, the proletariat, that represents new social relations for humanity that can take human history to an entire new place, an entire new world.
"...where people work and struggle together for the common good...Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings...Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world." As it says in the statement: "The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have."
This is what we do and must represent. This is our "identity." The necessity and possibility of this. Grasping and acting on the truth of this. Shaking and awaking others to this. No matter what section of the people you might come from. Comparing and contrasting everything with this. With the new synthesis. Acting on this necessity and possibility.
Some food for thought...
In thinking about the future as opposed to "The Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli," we need a new song "From the skyscrapers of New York City—around the globe—to the shores of Hawaii—fighting for our historic mission to free all humanity."
I do think the more we get out there with the new synthesis, the Manifesto and of the breaking down of permanent necessity, the more people will be inspired to re-look at the lyrics to the communist anthem—"The Internationale" and to the reality of developing a new International. People will be inspired to write new songs and lyrics, and build organization that more reflect the emancipation of ALL humanity.
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