A Summer of Big Challenges and Intense Struggle

June 16, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


As spring turns to summer, the situation in the world, and in this country, is very intense. There is potential for eruptions “in the routine,” of one kind or another. We are seeing this right now in Turkey as massive struggle seemingly erupted “out of nowhere” and now the people must confront the force of the government and reaction. We are seeing it in a negative way in Syria, where the imperialists maneuver and intrigue in a horrific civil war, with unforeseeable and possibly explosive consequences. We may see this around Guantánamo, where the eyes of the world are on the hunger strikers standing up to America’s lawless torture dungeon. There is the quickening pace of natural disasters, aggravated by capitalism’s insanely heedless destruction of the environment—disasters which under this system almost inevitably give rise to dislocation, suffering, neglect, repression, and crisis.

A Cauldron of Contradictions

Part of massive outcry for justice for Trayvon Martin, Oakland, CA, February 2013. Photo: Special to Revolution

There is all that, and then there is what is going on right here, in the U.S. This week begins the trial of George Zimmerman, who has admitted to stalking and killing the Black youth Trayvon Martin. The eyes of millions and tens of millions are focused on this. On one side, there are the masses of people, especially Black people, who see the murder of Trayvon Martin as an outrage concentrating a whole chain of oppression and abuse and are determined to draw a line on this one, along with those from all walks of life who stand with the demand for justice and for an END to “open season” on minority youth. On the other side, there are those who defend the whole white supremacist mentality and system represented by George Zimmerman, along with the police—who immediately treated the murdered Black teenager as the criminal—and the criminal justice system itself, which only even considered charging Zimmerman because of the massive outcry and protest. One way or another, what comes out of this showdown will set big terms for all of society on what will be tolerated... and what will not.

At the same time, in California, prisoners who have been locked down in the torture of solitary confinement for years and even decades have announced their determination to go on a hunger strike if their very basic demands for humane treatment and reforms are not met. 2.4 million people are kept in the U.S. prison system—the largest number of any country in the world. At last count, more than 80,000 were held in long-term solitary confinement—a practice that most of the world regards as torture. Whether these prisoners are crushed... or whether their sacrifice reaches millions and forces the state to back down... this too will have huge consequences.

Bay Area, California, June 2012: standing with Pelican Bay State prisoners facing sensory deprivation, isolation and brutality in the Security Housing Unit (SHU). Photo: Special to Revolution

Meanwhile, across the country, state legislatures are moving at a breakneck pace to outlaw abortion—and to thereby force women who become pregnant, for any reason, to become mothers. The restrictions on abortion, and the whole offensive to stigmatize those who need abortions and perform abortions, has already gone way too far and done way too much damage, while the voices of opposition to this have been way too muted and repressed. These new laws take it a whole leap further—will this be the summer that a full-throated opposition again erupts? Again, whether this happens—and how it happens—will have powerful consequences far beyond the summer on people’s lives and futures and how they understand them.

Add into that cauldron of contradictions BA Everywhere—the campaign to raise big money to get word out on Bob Avakian’s analysis of the SOURCE of these problems... and, even more, the SOLUTION to them. Scores and hundreds of people will be going all over, bringing forward thousands more to donate money to get the word out, in film showings and other forms, about the way out of this madness and the leadership to forge that way. Imagine, as all these contradictions and struggles simmer and bubble and maybe boil over, that THIS answer is out there as a dynamic force on the terrain, exercising a growing magnetic power... raising people’s sights... and spurring people forward.

But that is not all. There is, as well, the environmental crisis and the growing efforts and plans of people to act to stop this... there are the constant outrages by the police... there is the continuing exposure of repressive acts by the Obama administration... and there are yet other social and political faultlines, only some of which may be apparent right now. Any of these alone, or any combination of these, or even something totally unanticipated... could lead to what the RCP’s statement “On the Strategy for Revolution” calls “sudden jolts and breakdowns in the ‘normal functioning’ of society, which compel many people to question and to resist what they usually accept.”

Defending the right to abortion on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, San Francisco, January 2013. Photo: Special to Revolution

The statement on strategy then goes on to say—and this is very important—that “No one can say exactly what will happen in these situations—how deep the crisis may go, in what ways and to what extent it might pose challenges to the system as a whole, and to what degree and in what ways it might call forth unrest and rebellion among people who are normally caught up in, or feel powerless to stand up against, what this system does.”

“No one can say in advance exactly”—but what we can say is that what the movement for revolution does in such a situation, as well as in the “normal times” out of which such situations erupt, can have a powerful positive effect. And the converse is true as well—if a movement for revolution fails to analyze reality in a way that correctly identifies the possibility for and emergence of such jolts, or if it fails to maximize the potential of such jolts to hasten the development of revolution at any step along the way... well, this can have a powerful negative effect.

These are the stakes.

Meeting the Challenge

This—the actual events in the world, the dynamics driving forward and giving rise to these events, and the potential within those events to develop in all kinds of different directions, including ones favorable to revolution—is the reality. This is the situation that the movement for revolution confronts.

Taking in BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! in the Bronx, NY. Photo: Special to Revolution

The movement for revolution has brought forward important plans to impact all this. The dynamic factor and leading edge in all this is the BA Everywhere campaign—including the summer plans to much more powerfully project into society the voice and leadership of Bob Avakian (BA), and the understanding that he has brought forward on revolution and the new synthesis of communism. (See "Summer 2013 BA Everywhere Campaign: Making a Difference".) There are also plans, underway right now, to unite and lead people in struggle around the murder of Trayvon Martin, the prisoners’ strike, and the whole genocidal program of mass incarceration. (See "We Are All Trayvon! The Whole Damn System is Guilty!" and other articles at revcom.us.) There is a plan to reverse the whole dynamic around the right to abortion. (See "Revolution Interview with Sunsara Taylor: Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, From both coasts, and through the middle of the country" and more at revcom.us.) And there is the ongoing effort to expand the reach of the revcom.us website, which analyzes and speaks to the whole rapidly changing world from the scientific communist viewpoint, puts forward the liberating communist vision of the future, and gives guidance and leadership to people in understanding, and acting on, significant developments in every sphere.

All these plans, taken together, aim to carry out the objective recently put forward by BA:

THIS MOVEMENT FOR REVOLUTION MUST NOW BECOME A REAL FORCE, POWERFULLY IMPACTING AND INFLUENCING ALL OF SOCIETY... bringing forward growing numbers of those this system has cast out and cast down, who must be and can be the driving force of the fight to put an end not only to their own oppression, but all oppression, all over the world... drawing in many others, from all walks of life, who are inspired to join this same cause... preparing minds and organizing forces, Fighting the Power, and Transforming the People, for REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS.

These plans flow out of an analysis of reality and how to change it, in line with that objective. A few points on these plans:

  • These plans cannot be conceived of as a static, one-two-three set of directions. The way we implement and act on these plans has to be as dynamic and fast-moving as reality itself. These plans have to enable us to change the reality we face—that’s the point of them!—and we all have to be alive to new things developing, both as a result of what we do and as a result of unexpected developments in relationship to these faultlines as well as in other arenas. We have to constantly be analyzing what is going on in reality in its largest dimensions, as well as digging into and drawing out the meaning of our own work in changing the world, and what new challenges—and opportunities—all of that may pose, and how we may have to change and develop our plans in the face of all that. And the whole movement has to be involved in doing that.

  • These are not plans for a stroll in the park on a sunny afternoon. What we are setting out to do involves going up against the system, in struggle. Reactionaries hit back, hard. The more effect you have, the harder they hit you. Revolutionaries, and all those who want a better world and dare to stand up against this madness, need to prepare for that and need to be able to politically come back again stronger in the face of all that. That means always exposing the enemy and what they do, raising people’s conscious understanding, and then mobilizing and bringing forward still more people to respond. This is a critical and necessary part of how movements for revolution develop... part of how more and more people come to see the need for and the possibility of revolution and part of how they become tempered and prepared to win such a revolution. This means being able to pivot on a moment’s notice—going all-out when there are breakthroughs in the people’s struggle to multiply those breakthroughs, and going all-out when there are attacks on the movement to defeat those attacks and turn them into further advances.

  • These cannot be plans for a relative handful of revolutionaries to carry out. These must be plans that build-in ways for masses of people to come into things, to be part of the revolution while they are still learning about it, and to unleash their creativity and initiative to meet the great needs that pose themselves to this movement. This is a key part of our strategy. It is a crucial element in being able, when times change, to have the capacity to defeat the forces of repression, and one that must be built-in from the beginning. And it is an essential thing about the world we are trying to bring into being and what this movement is all about.

As people are getting active, they must be organized—in everything from very basic forms and organizations around specific struggles, on up through Revolution Clubs; and those who become convinced of the need for communist revolution, and begin to see themselves as emancipators of humanity, need to come all the way into the Party itself, the absolutely necessary instrument for revolution.

Scientifically Measuring—and Advancing—the Struggle... Toward REVOLUTION

We cannot do any of this without theory, without the science of communism. Theory is how we understand reality—including its underlying dynamics and the potential within it—and without it we will grope blindly in the dark. These plans themselves are drawn from applying theory both to our own practice and to the insights of others, extracting lessons and, on that basis, developing policies and plans to change the world.*Theory is key to people raising their sights, and changing how they think and feel about things, as they are getting involved in fighting the power. All summer we must not only get the DVD of Bob Avakian’s BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! speech out to thousands, and learning from their responses to it, we must be getting deeper into it ourselves. We’ve got to be getting deeper into BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, grasping its content and applying it as a guide to action, in the broadest sense and in the closest quarters with the enemy. And then we have to take what we learn about reality through carrying out this practice and sum that up, using our theory, further developing a scientific understanding of reality to push forward the movement for revolution.

The revcom.us website will play a crucial role in doing all of this—in this whole process of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution. It will introduce tens of thousands and more, all over the world, to this movement, this leader, this Party, the communist vision of a radically better world, and the whole scientific way of understanding and changing the world. It will expose to people WHY things are happening—the key events, and the meaning behind those events. It will show people WHAT the movement for revolution is doing in response to all this, WHAT lessons should be drawn, and HOW they can be part of it—including enabling them to see their own contributions and impact. It will introduce people to what has been done by the first wave of communist revolutions—and to Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of what can be done in the next, including the concentration of that analysis and vision in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).

In all of this, we need to be measuring everything we do by the statement on the strategy for revolution—which is all about how we could, starting from today, actually hasten the development of a situation where millions of people would be ready to fight and sacrifice for revolution, and where they would be prepared to win such a revolution. This kind of work—the work we are undertaking right now, this summer—can be and has to be part of what the statement on strategy puts forth:

All this can enable the revolutionary movement, with the Party at the core, to confront and overcome the very real obstacles in its path...to advance and grow, through ongoing work, and through a series of critical leaps in times of sudden breaks and ruptures with the “normal routine”...to prepare the ground, and accumulate forces, for revolution—and have a real chance at winning. It is how thousands can be brought forward and oriented, organized and trained in a revolutionary way, while beginning to reach and influence millions more, even before there is a revolutionary situation...and then, when there is a revolutionary situation, those thousands can be a backbone and pivotal force in winning millions to revolution and organizing them in the struggle to carry the revolution through.

And then the statement goes on to conclude:

For those who have hungered for, who have dreamed of, a whole different world, without the madness and torment of what this system brings every day...those who have dared to hope that such a world could be possible...and even those who, up to now, would like to see this, but have accepted that this could never happen...there is a place and a role, a need and a means, for thousands now and ultimately millions to contribute to building this movement for revolution, in many different ways, big and small—with ideas and with practical involvement, with support, and with questions and criticisms. Get together with our Party, learn more about this movement and become a part of it as you learn, acting in unity with others in this country, and throughout the world, aiming for the very challenging but tremendously inspiring and liberating—and, yes, possible—goal of emancipating all of humanity through revolution and advancing to a communist world, free of exploitation and oppression.

It is this, and nothing less, that must animate and guide what we do this summer.


* The Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA puts it this way:

The ultimate point of this line is to transform the world. There is a back-and-forth interaction between the development of line and the transformation of the world that drives this whole process. This is the theory/practice/theory dynamic, and it is the heart of party life.

Bob Avakian has characterized this dynamic in this way: “proceeding at any given time on the basis of our theory and line, as determined collectively and through the structures, channels and processes of the party; extracting lessons from our practice and raising these up to the level of theoretical abstraction, but also drawing from many other sources (including the thinking and insights of others), and applying the scientific outlook and method of communism, dialectical materialism, to repeatedly synthesize all this to a higher level, in the development of and through the wrangling over theory and line—which is then returned to and carried out in practice, on what should be a deepened and enriched basis. And on...and on...and on....”

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